The Ultimate Fairy Tale

“It is a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight. It is a world where terrible things happen and wonderful things too. It is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos, in a great struggle where often it is hard to be sure who belongs to which side because appearances are endlessly deceptive. Yet for all its confusion and wildness, it is a world where the battle goes ultimately to the good, who live happily ever after, and where in the long run everybody, good and evil alike, becomes known by his true name….That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, one crucial difference from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is that it is true, that it not only happened once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still.” (Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale).

Perhaps that’s why so many of us are still drawn to fairy tales after all these years.


Takeaways From Another Immersion Conference

I attended an Immersion: Going Deeper conference at Brentwood Baptist Church over the last two days, featuring Union University professor Dr. George Guthrie.

It was as good as billed and more.

God’s Unfolding Story was the theme and Dr. Guthrie spoke about how grace always has a face and a space in which to work. To me, that says that grace works best not as a theoretical proposition, but as a concrete reality lived out in the midst of where we live, work, and play.

Grace says that I have a standing invitation into the throneroom of the God of the Universe that never expires and never gets rescinded. As a student at Union University back in the day, I’d never have dreamed of barging into University President Dr. Hyram Barefoot’s office and telling him fears and dreams.

But God invites me to do just that. It is His desire that I come to Him at any moment with whatever’s on my mind. He is a good, good, Father, as the current worship song says.

Sometimes, it’s good to simply sit in God’s lap and bask in His presence. Other times, only two words will do for my prayer: thank you.

There have been times when the hurt and pain go too deep for words, yet God hears the sighs and groans that go deeper than any words can ever express.

It was great seeing Dr. Guthrie again, as well as Chuck Maxwell. It was also fantastic getting to hear Michael Card perform a couple of songs on Friday night. That alone was worth the price of admission.

Sometimes, it’s good to go deeper into God and to find out that He’s way more amazing than you had ever imagined in your wildest dreams. He never disappoints those who seek Him with pure and willing hearts.

That’s a fact.

The end.


A Very Long But Very Good Day

I had a very long day. It was also a very good day.

It started off with a 6:40 appointment to get my teeth cleaned at the dentist. Yes, that’s 6:40 AM (as in way too early for this guy). That went well and look ma, no cavities!

From there, it was off to work, where I ended up being an hour late from the dentist. I made up half of my missed time by staying 30 minutes extra. That made for a longer day, but it was still all good.

I ended up the day with worship, Kairos-style. I got to greet the good folks at my usual Door H and then experience some good worship music and teaching.

I’m home now and my cat is ever so grateful. She probably wishes I could stay home and attend to her every whim, but alas, I must go forth and earn the bacon for her to feast upon.

I’ve decided that just about every day is a good day because every day I’m alive is a gift. Every day I’m alive has God in it and God has proven way more than once that He is enough for those who truly learn to rest in Him.

So that’s where I am at 9:22 pm on a Tuesday night. Tired but happy. Exhausted but filled with joy. Ready for bed but knowing that I am blessed.

It’s all about perspective. You have to train yourself to look for the good in every day, then you will see God in every day. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth the effort.

Once again, I’m blessed by the people God has in my life. My family, of course, is awesome, but I also have some good friends (especially the ones I greet with at Kairos). I even have a few furry friends.

Best of all, knowing that nothing I have ever done can lessen God’s love for me or cause Him to turn away from me is priceless.

PS Brennan Manning’s memoir, All is Grace, is available FOR FREE from the Amazon Kindle store (if you have either a Kindle or the Kindle app on your mobile device of choice). Go get it now.


I Love Me a Good Quote

I love a good quote. I love the way someone can express a thought so succinctly. Better yet, I love how someone can take what I’ve been trying to say and state it in a way better than I ever could.

Here is a small sample of some of the quotes that I’ve run across recently that have impacted me.

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world” (Karl Barth).

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair” (G. K. Chesterton).

“Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself” (Charlie Chaplin).

“Religion is what you are left with after the Holy Spirit has left the building” (Bono).

“See, I return good for evil, love for injuries, and for deeper wounds a deeper love” (Father Peter Chrysologus).

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much” (Blaise Pascal)

“The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy” (Henri Nouwen).

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable” (Brennan Manning).

“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup” (Someone Wise).

“I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery” (Brennan Manning).

ISO One Magical Wardrobe


I’m re-reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I can’t express enough how much I love this book. I also can’t express enough how much I’d like one of those magical wardrobes that you climb inside and wind up in a different world.

I’d love to be able to visit Narnia from time to time and see all those wonderful characters.

I do realize that wardrobes don’t work that way all the time. I also get that Narnia exists only in the world of fiction. Or does it?

There’s a little bit of Narnia in the best of my dreams. There’s a little bit of Narnia in those moments when I am truly and freely myself, when I really don’t care what anyone else, when fear absolutely ceases to exist for a moment.

These books were written for kids, but even as a grown-up, I still find so much that makes me pause and think. There’s really so much depth in the simplicity of these stories.

I love that Aslan isn’t safe, but He’s good. That’s true of God. We want Him safe and predictable, never asking anything unexpected of us. But that’s not the God I read about in the Bible. The God I read about isn’t safe, but He truly is good.

God’s primary concern isn’t our safety. It’s us looking and behaving like Jesus, even if we go through some harrowing places to get there. God doesn’t want us happy as much as He wants us holy (which probably goes against most of the feel-good theology that comes out of most pulpits these days).

I even love that Mr. Tumnus who started out to do a very bad thing, but repented and stuck to his word, even if it meant being turned into stone. And even Edmund became a decent fellow in the end.

I just love these books!


A Third Letter to a Way Younger Me


Remember that day you thought was your worst day ever? Remember how you felt like you were having a nervous breakdown? You weren’t. Just for the record.

Remember how you thought you’d made the biggest, most colossal blunder in the history or blunders? You didn’t.

As I learned tonight, the worst day ever can be the beginning of your best day yet to come.

You fin that the dreaded worst case scenario did not come to pass. No one stoned you. No one ostracized you. Nothing was lost that wasn’t replaced eventually by something 10,000 times better.

As Joseph put it, even when the worst got thrown at you, what people meant for evil and harm, God used for good. God took all those rough patches to make you who you are now and to help you start to realize all that God could do in and through you.

Even the worst days end. They are 24 hours long, just like your best days and your so-so days. You didn’t croak or kick any buckets. You are still here and those supposedly insurmountable problems and obstacles aren’t. Just you remember that.

It really is darkest before that proverbial dawn. It does get better and you will eventually wonder why you made such a fuss over it.

As I said before, naps are good. You don’t get a rollover plan on those naps, so take them early and often while you still can.

My Creed (A Work in Progress)


Note: I don’t intend this to be in any way universal or a replacement for any of the historical creeds that have served the Church so well down through the centuries. I do think it’s a good thing to formulate your own beliefs and to be able to summarize all that you believe. It’s vitally important to KNOW what you believe and to be able to explain it to someone else. So here goes:

I believe God created the heavens and the earth and called it good.

I believe God created male and female and called it very good.

I believe the woman was deceived and the man soon followed after and sin entered the world.

I believe in that moment, death entered the world.

I believe that God became one of us and came to dwell among us.

I believe He died in my place for my sins so that I might live with Him.

I believe He rose again to defeat death once and for all.

I believe He offers rest to the weary, hope to the despairing, and life to all who call on His name.

I believe that whoever calls on His name will be saved from death to eternal life.

I believe He is returning soon for His own.

I believe in the end, Love wins.

What I Read This Morning


I’ve been reading through the Bible this year in a different translation. It’s called The Voice, and I really like it. It’s not perfect, but I have yet to find a translation that was perfect. That’s why I tend to use more than one and go back and forth between different ones.

That being said, I was struck by reading a familiar passage in a different way. Here it is:

If you’re listening, here’s My message: Keep loving your enemies no matter what they do. Keep doing good to those who hate you. Keep speaking blessings on those who curse you. Keep praying for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer the other cheek too. If someone steals your coat, offer him your shirt too. If someone begs from you, give to him. If someone robs you of your valuables, don’t demand them back. Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them.

Listen, what’s the big deal if you love people who already love you? Even scoundrels do that much! So what if you do good to those who do good to you? Even scoundrels do that much! So what if you lend to people who are likely to repay you? Even scoundrels lend to scoundrels if they think they’ll be fully repaid.

If you want to be extraordinary—love your enemies! Do good without restraint! Lend with abandon! Don’t expect anything in return! Then you’ll receive the truly great reward—you will be children of the Most High—for God is kind to the ungrateful and those who are wicked. So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is.

If you don’t want to be judged, don’t judge. If you don’t want to be condemned, don’t condemn. If you want to be forgiven, forgive. Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give” (Luke 6:27-38).

That’s a hard teaching. I know I could never do all that in my own strength. But that’s what t I’m aiming for. That’s what we’re all aiming for if we truly follow Jesus.

I had another thought. People want to paint Jesus in their own colors. Either they make Him into an ultra-rightwing conservative or a peace-loving liberal fanatical. I do think there’s some merit to both, but yet each side falls short in its vision of the Messiah. Jesus Himself prayed for Jerusalem that she might know His peace, but yet He also said that He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.

To me, Jesus was so much more than either conservative or liberal. He was (and is) the Eternal God-Man and, just as God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours, so in a way is Jesus. He’s beyond any of our categorization.

One thing I know. Jesus didn’t come to legitimize one side or the other. He didn’t come to justify a belief system or a political platform. He came to seek and save the lost, no matter where they came from.

He asks one thing of us. His command is, “Follow me.” More than an ideology or a systematic theology, Christianity is and has always been about following the person of Jesus. That’s it.

New Year’s Adam 2013


Ok, so you’re probably wondering what the heck I mean by New Year’s Adam. Think of it this way: Adam came before Eve, so New Year’s Adam comes before New Year’s Eve.

Now that we’ve got our terms defined, let us proceed.

I’m both glad and sorry to see 2013 go. But mostly glad.

It’s been a trying year with lack of stability in the employment and financial areas. I’ve had to reassess my view of relationships and realize that sometimes it is good and healthy to give up on certain relationships and move on rather than stay and risk further disappointment and hurt.

Yet I’ve known more intimately how God can sustain me and hold me up in the midst or turmoil and uncertainty. I’ve learned to count it all joy and find my miracle by living out of eucharisteo, or thanksgiving with joy and gladness.

Most of my loved ones are still here. Most of my friends have stuck around and remained as encouraging and positive as ever. Even some of the weight I lost has found it’s way back home. Boo.

I haven’t set any new year’s resolutions yet. I may not. Those generally tend to flame out in the first month anyway. I’m more inclined to let God lead and concentrate more on seeking Him in a more disciplined and consistent way than in 2013.

I still have three movies I haven’t seen from last year’s list of best picture nominees. I should probably get around to thar before the new list gets revealed.

I’m thinking 2014 will be a good year because it will be God’s year. I’m anticipating and expecting more than ever that He will show up in every area of my life and do great things.

More to come tomorrow.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Weird (A Celebration of Life)

First of all, the good news. I FOUND MY PHONE! WOOHOO!

Can you tell I’m a tad excited? I think so (said in my best Joey Tribbiani voice).


Apparently, the lady at the Connection Cafe found it after I left it on one of the tables and took it back behind the counter, turning it off to save the battery. Thank you, nice Cafe lady whose name I don’t know but to whom I and Steve Jobs are eternally grateful.

Also, I had a marvelous time in downtown Franklin with a Facebook friend and her daughter, with whom I am also now Facebook friends. They are two of the best people ever. Seriously. Thank you, Carol and Hannah for making this Wednesday one of my best ever.

The bad? It was rainy and I had a sinus headache. The rain passed and so did my headache. End of story.


The ugly? I may have found my phone but I’m still looking for my mind. If you see it, make sure and put it someplace safe and comfortable and make sure it gets fed twice a day. Preferably cheese and chocolate.

The weird? Me on a daily basis. But I’ve come to love my own particular brand of weird that I prefer to call eccentricity.

I still love that God knows where I am at all times. It’s even better than that Find my iPhone app.  He knows the secret thoughts I carry and the secret scars hidden so deep no one has ever found them.

Hannah, keep writing. Keep telling your story and keep singing the song God has put in your heart. Someone out there needs to hear it.



To celebrate, I am posting pictures of animals and people celebrating. I am also sitting on the couch with one very non-celebratory cat sleeping in my lap. Yay.

I celebrate being alive and redeemed. I celebrate drawing another breath and breathing in the grace of God in every moment. I celebrate God’s amazing goodness to me who never deserved one iota of it.

Life is good, God is great, I am blessed. The end.