No Fears

“…new day & *no fears* because fears are just the bad stories we tell ourselves. *And your Father is far bigger than your fears.*
This is why ‘I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken’ Psalm 16:8. He pulls you right close & whispers it, ‘Do Not Be Afraid.’ He knows how hard things are. And He knows how *faithful He will be.*
That’s why He repeats it again & again, 365 times, so we don’t have need to fear any day of the year: Do Not Be Afraid. He holds every minute of this week & His grace & timing are *perfect.*
So we’re just going to go all out & Trust & be brave this week: It takes courage to listen with our whole heart to the tick of God’s timing, rather than march to the loud beat of our fears” (Ann Voskamp) 

Again, I remind you that fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear always looks to the future but fails to figure God into the equation. Fear always forgets what God has done in the past, but faith as the antidote to fear reminds us that God remains faithful in every circumstance.

Sometimes, fear comes over a specific circumstance, like a loved one being far away from home or the uncertainty of an undiagnosed illness.

Sometimes, fear is generalized and hard to pinpoint. You have anxiety but aren’t exactly sure why.

In either case, the cure to fear is still the perfect love of God. It’s believing that God’s perfect love can overcome whatever it is that you’re fearing.

Fear says that God is not enough. Faith says God is more than enough.

Once again, I say the words, “I believe,” even when my feelings tell me otherwise. I proclaim it until every part of me receives it and until I fully believe it.

God is enough.

Just This

I went to Goodwill today and came away with a few treasures. I even found a CD of Rachmaninoff concertos played by Mr. Rachmaninoff himself.

I’m sometimes amazed at what people decide to give away. I suppose that it’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

You might feel like that some days. You feel like something in a thrift store– overlooked, unwanted, and worthless. But God sees you.

You might feel like a total screw up some days. You might feel like you’re close to 100%– for messing up everything you touch. But God knows you.

Today, in the middle of another long week, God both sees and knows about you. He is actively moving on your behalf.

I’ve discovered that there are also people who see and know you. They will be the ones God uses to remind you that you are not alone. They will be the ones to speak life and healing and hope into you when you need it most.

You generally don’t find these people by looking for them. They tend to show up when you least expect it. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold on to them once you find them. Treasure these people for as long as God puts them in your path.

Remember, friends. You are seen. You are known. You are loved. You are treasured.

You Are Not Less

I love my Mom. I love the fact that there’s a Sunday in May dedicated to mothers just like her who have sacrificed and devoted themselves to their families in ways we will never even begin to repay.

I also am aware that Mother’s Day doesn’t have the same joy for everyone. Some feel shamed and some feel heartbroken on this day. Some are made to feel (whether intentionally or not) like they are less of a person and less of a woman on this day.

I want to send this out to those reading who may fall into one of these categories that you are not less.

You are not less if you have chosen not to have children in your marriage because of your own convictions.

You are not less if you have chosen not to get married in order to devote yourself more fully to missions and the service of God.

You are not less if you struggle with infertility and have tried vainly for years to have children. That doesn’t make you any less of a woman of God.

You are not less if you lost a child due to either miscarriage or still birth. It’s not your fault and God is not punishing you.

You are not less if you gave your child up for adoption long ago. Perhaps God knew that the people who raised your child would be better able to meet their needs at that time than you would have been.

While being a wife and mother are beautiful and important roles, they are not your primary role as a believer. You are first and foremost a child, a daughter, of God. If you fail to live that out, you will not truly live out your marriage and family to the fullest. If you do embrace your role as child of your Abba, then the rest will be better for it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, whether the children are biologically your or not, whether you even have children or not.

You still matter very much to God and you are not less.


A Little Note About Humility

“Humility is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing done to us, to feel nothing against us. It is to be at rest when nobody praises us and when we are blamed and despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord where we can go in and shut the door and kneel to our Father in secret, and be at peace when all around is trouble” (Andrew Murray).

I still think the best definition of humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. It’s about getting out of your narrow little world into a world where you can encourage and bless others through service and sacrificial giving.

The best example of this kind of humility was Jesus. He did nothing of His own accord but only what He saw His Father doing. His only purpose was to serve and to lay down His life for the many.

Take note that even though Jesus had more rights that anybody to defend Himself against the accusations and slander, He kept silent. I’d never tell you to let people walk all over you, but I wonder sometimes if we (me included) aren’t overly concerned about defending ourselves and our preferences?

Humility is definitely not a popular characteristic these days. Everything is about promoting yourself and your brand. While that’s all good and well, I still think being others-centered is the best way to live.

I confess that I’m a little scared to pray for humility. I suppose it’s like the fear of praying for patience because you know the day you do your patience will be tested in all kinds of ways and shown to be severely lacking.

Perhaps the best way to attain humility is to keep our eyes on Jesus as often as possible, as opposed to focusing on me and my circumstances. I’ve found that’s a much better (and way less stressful) way to live.


Another Rare Political Post

I can’t tell you how tired I am over political posts on social media, specifically the ones that are always bashing a particular person or party and come across as very self-righteous and holier-than-thou.

More specifically, I mean all the anti-Trump posts.

First of all, let me state in no uncertain terms that I am not a fan of President Trump. I think he definitely needs to govern more and tweet less. He comes across as a bit cartoony and ridiculous on more than a few occasions.

That said, I don’t like how people who profess faith in Jesus can turn around and post how much they hate him and wish him harm. That has no place coming from the mouth of one of Abba’s children.

I do believe that Jesus told us to love and pray for our enemies. I also believe He didn’t qualify that statement. We don’t get to pick and choose which enemies we want to love. Jesus doesn’t give us the option for disobedience simply because it makes us uncomfortable or we don’t like it.

This is my suggestion. Perhaps instead of bashing the current President, try praying for him instead. Try remembering that you were once an enemy of God, yet God in Jesus sought you out and redeemed you.

I don’t mean that you have to love everything Trump does. Far from it. You can speak your mind. But maybe do twice as much praying as you do speaking out.

I also wish that all the people who were so adamantly opposed to President Obama would have spent a lot more time praying for him and a lot less time posting criticisms.

Again, in case you missed the point of all this. Pray. Pray all the time. Pray for the people you like AND the people you don’t. Pray for those in leadership, EVEN if they are with that dreaded evil political party that you despise.

That loving and praying for your enemies thing? Yeah, it’s not optional.


The Return of Mr. Irrelevant

Yes, the NFL draft was upon us yet again. I watched parts of it but not all, since I thought it might be better to actually have a life today and not live in front of the television for hours and hours.

I did see where Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly (nephew of former great Jim Kelly) was the last player drafted in the last round of the draft. At least I knew who he was and the school he was from.

Frankly, I’m not a fan of the term Mr. Irrelevant. It’s a bit of an insult to the player who gets taken last. At least he got drafted, unlike multitudes of others who would probably  love to be in his place.

It got me thinking again. Social media can be a tough place for those who feel the constant need to be approved and admired. It can be a lonely forum for those who base their identity by how many people like and comment on their posts, pictures, memes, updates, etc.

I know because I used to be there. It took some time away from Facebookland to get my head straight and my thinking right.

You might feel like Mr. Irrelevant when you post something witty or inspired and you can almost hear the crickets in the background from the lack of responses.

You might even feel like nobody appreciates you or even knows you exist as you go about your normal daily existence. You wonder if what you do (or even you yourself) matter to anyone.

God says you matter. The cross says you count. Jesus literally thought you were to die for.

I’ve found that God always puts people in your life who will see you. They will be witnesses to your life and testify to the fact that you have value. You probably won’t have very many of these people throughout your life, but those will be your true friends.

You are not irrelevant. You do matter.


Never Say Never: The Musical

Once again, I’ve found myself in a place I swore I’d never be in a thousand years. I found myself driving home from work with Roy Acuff playing on the car CD player.

For a second there, you probably thought I was going to say I spent the night in jail or had a lost weekend of partying and drinking. Nope. I’m not that exciting. I like to remember the good parts of my life and I also like to not have to fear for my life or my masculinity when bending over in the shower to get my soap.

I did say once that I’d never listen to country music. I was fairly adamant about that. I believed that Conway Twitty was the gateway on the path to dating your first cousin and dipping snuff.

Thankfully, I’ve matured and broadened my horizons. Still, Roy Acuff is about as country as you can get.

I’ve been reminded yet again that more often than not, it’s best to refrain from saying never when it comes to new experiences and trying new things, especially when it comes to music.

The life of faith is all about getting rid of expectations and learning to trust moment by moment. I’ve decided that God always leads me where I would have originally decided to go had I known everything that He knows.

It really is just as much about the journey and the process as it is about the destination. It’s about who you’re becoming along the way as much as where you’re headed.

Roy Acuff was great. It felt like I slipped back to a simpler time and place that by and large doesn’t exist anymore except in music, movies, and books. And no, I have no desire to date any of my close relatives or go anywhere near chewing tobacco, thank you very much).


Life Lessons from Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs

I confess. I had little to no faith in my Nashville Predators to be able to beat those mighty Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

I boldly predicted that Chicago would take the series in five games (and I thought I was being generous to Nashville by giving them that one game). The regular season series between these two teams hadn’t gone well for the Preds. They managed to win that first game, but after that it got ugly.

I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.

My Nashville Predators not only won the series but they swept those mighty Blackhawks. For the record, no 1 seed has ever been swept out of the first round in the 100-year history of the NHL. Nada.

I wonder how many of us have given up on a dream because we’ve already decided before we begin that it’s a lost cause. We’ve convinced ourselves not to even bother trying because it can only end in abject failure.

With God all things are possible.

Do you really believe that?

Do you believe it not as an abstract generality but as a specific reality meant for you?

I know that God’s not a celestial genie giving me whatever I want whenever I want it. Some of God’s best answers to prayer are no because that means a bigger and better yes is following, something I would never have dared to dream.

I also know that God is able. I’ve said it before (and credit again goes to Pete Wilson for this one) that what seems impossible to us isn’t even remotely difficult for God.

I’m hoping my Preds keep winning. It’d be awesome to see Nashville bring home the Stanley Cup (although that’s still a long shot). That kind of hope is along the lines of I hope I win the lottery.

I’m hoping God will keep His promises toward me and always do what’s best for me. That kind of hope is certain and secure, as sure as Jesus who made them is alive and sitting at the right hand of the Father.

Next time I might have a little more faith in the home team.


Take Your Time

One of my favorite Kairos moments from back in the day when Mike Glenn used to lead the prayer time.

Put both feet on the floor, he’d say. There’s nothing that will come up in the next few minutes that’s more important than what God’s saying to you right now. Relax and breathe. All those errands will still be there later. Right now, all you need to do is focus on God.

We live in a culture that celebrates busyness. Not necessarily productivity. Just busyness. The mantra of the age is that we don’t have time because we’re so very busy doing God knows what.

The idea is to never have a dull moment or any down time. We have all these time-saving gadgets that create more time to get more done. As a result, we have less leisure and free time than ever.

Maybe the most freeing words anyone will ever tell you– take your time. That was my takeaway from tonight’s Kairos message.

Sometimes, it’s good to focus on your breathing. It’s good to be silent and still. It’s good to rest. Above all, it’s important to be in the moment, not always thinking ahead to the next big event or thinking back to the what if’s and the could have been’s.

“There’s no present like the time.” That may be my new favorite line from a movie. Time is not infinite. You get a precious few years to live, too few to waste in busyness. Life is to be lived and savored and not merely gotten through.

Take your time.  Wherever you are, be all there. Do less but do it with everything you have, offering it as your spiritual act of worship. Enjoy the little things and pay attention to the moments in your life.

Also, take plenty of naps. Those are good.




Good Friday 2017

“But thank God the crucifixion was not the last act in that great and powerful drama,” King preached. “There is another act. And it is something that we sing out and cry and ring out today. Thank God a day came when Good Friday had to pass” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act” (Mahatma Gandhi).

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf of springtime” (Martin Luther).

Why is today called Good Friday? What’s so great about Jesus being tortured to death for a crime He didn’t commit? Why does it still matter nearly 2,000 years later?

It seems weird to call the day of Jesus’ crucifixion Good Friday, but when you look at it with Easter Sunday in mind, it makes a lot more sense.

If all you had was Good Friday with no resurrection, then it’s a very Tragic Friday. We should all stay home on Sunday and live however we want. Get stoned, get drunk, get laid, do whatever because none of it matters if Jesus is still in that tomb.

But God raised Jesus from the dead. He walked out of the tomb two days later and everything changed. Absolutely everything. That’s what makes it good.

So much of what happens in our lives will only make sense in reverse. When God promises to work all things together for our good, we often can only see that good not looking ahead or in the midst of it, but looking back on it. We see then how God orchestrated every moment perfectly to lead us where we are now, the best possible outcome.