A Beautiful Moment


I saw one example of Eucharisteo paying off today.  My mother and  were on the way back from picking up my grandmother from her assisted living apartment. We had Hank Williams playing in the car, hoping my grandmother would recognize the old music.

We got to the song “Hey Good Lookin'”, a song pretty much EVERYBODY has heard of at some point in their lives. My mom started singing and, lo and behold, my grandmother chimed in. I don’t know why that moment blessed me so much, but it did.

Out of all the great things that happened today– seeing my niece Lizzie’s joy in opening her birthday presents, being with family, driving home at night with the windows rolled down– that moment topped them all. In fact, I’d say it has hit the charts with a bullet for one of my favorite moments of 2013.

I guess I love that moment because I was able to slow down to catch that fleeting moment and savor it. I didn’t miss it like I’ve missed so many others because I was too busy looking back in regret or looking ahead with anxiety. I was squarely in that moment and seeing God at work right then and there.

My grandmother is 89 and her memory’s not what it used to be. I know she won’t live forever, as much as the 10-year old part of me thinks otherwise. I know no one I love lives forever. At some point, I will have to say goodbye to everything and everyone I love this side of heaven. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t relish in every moment I’m given. It doesn’t mean that I can’t build memories of moments that will carry me through the grief back to the joy.

I love my friends, whether they’re in my life for 15 minutes, 6 months, 2 years, or a lifetime. I know better than to assume every friend will always be my friend and will always be around. I also know that each person, whether family or friend, has left footprints in my heart and residue of their spirit in my soul, so that I am forever changed, more like Jesus, because of knowing them.

My prayer isn’t that people will look back and remember me as a really swell guy, but that they will look on the times they spent with me and reflect on how much closer to Jesus they are now because of my small part in their lives.

That’s all.

Set Free VBS- Day Two

IMG_0809 On my way to the second day of Vacation Bible School at Set Free Church, I ran into some heavy rains. As in I almost couldn’t see the road. I like a good storm now and then when I’m safely tucked in bed inside my own home, but not so much when I’m driving in it. Especially on the interstate.

But I got there. Thanks to the rain, it was quite a bit cooler, though still quite muggy. I’m pretty certain that more kids showed up today than yesterday. I can’t say that I’m the world’s best VBS volunteer, but I showed up. And so did these kids. As my pastor said once, all God needs is a place to start. Not perfect obedience or perfect planning. Just the smallest little opening.

IMG_0892So we planted some seeds. As you may well know (even if you’re not a farmer), most seeds don’t automatically sprout into full-grown plants or trees. In fact, you probably won’t see any visible results for a while. But underneath the soil is where all the change is taking place.

These kids may not seem different. But underneath, in their hearts and souls and minds, God is working. He’s showing them a Father different from any they’ve probably ever known. He’s showing them a Love like they’ve never felt before.

IMG_0917I can tell God’s working in me, too. Once again, I’m finding out how true it is that you simply can’t outgive God. In fact, even in serving all you’re doing is receiving and letting what you’re given pass through you to those around you. I’m reminded of what Ann Voskamp said:

“”Christian hands never clasp
and He doesn’t give gifts for gain
because a gift can never stop being a gift –
it is always meant to be given.”

I hope at the end of this year’s VBS some kids will pray to receive Christ (and some already have). I pray that their lives (and mine) will have been transformed and changed so that there’s a little less greed and a little more generosity, a little less lusting and a little more loving, a little less like the world around us and a little more like Jesus.

That will make every bit of what we’ve sacrificed to be there more than worth it.

Life Lessons from Candy Crush Saga

I’m a fan of Candy Crush Saga. In the past few days, I’ve been slightly addicted to . . . er, I mean really dedicated to this game. My pattern is that I’ll be stuck on a level for quite a while then suddenly I’ll breeze through several in one sitting. 

I’ve learned something about the game. You have to be intentional with just about every move you make to be successful.

Life is like that. You may wish for more hours in a day (just like I might wish for a few more moves in the game before I run out), but really the question is how intentional are you about using the time you’re given? Are you task-focused or people-focused. At the end of the day, you have to decide what really is important and what’s not.

I’ve said it before but the harsh truth is this: you will find time for the things and the people that matter to you. If you find yourself making excuses over why you can’t find time for someone, maybe it’s because they aren’t really that important to you. You may call yourself their friend, but the truth is you’re just an acquaintance.

You can’t do everything and you can’t be friends with everyone. You have to decide who and what you’re going to invest in and make those things and people your priority. You choose people whose qualities you most want in your life, who are headed in a direction you want to go, and who will ultimately help you become your truest self, i.e. more like Jesus.

If your so-called friends can’t ever make time for you, let them go. Pray for them and wish them well, but don’t keep trying to reserve a place in your life for someone who doesn’t want to be there. You will find plenty of people who want you around and who want to spend time with you and will live it out. Remember the best way to spell love is T-I-M-E. No other way shows your love for people than spending time with them.

After all that, do give people plenty of grace. I gave someone chance after chance to be my friend, but they ignored every request I made to spend time with them and hang out with them. They only responded to me after I suggest that it be best for us both to move on.

As for that infernal game, one day I will defeat level 23. I’ve come tantalizingly close, but then managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s my talent. Did I mention how much of a gamer I’m not?

Anyway, as always, take what’s useful to you from this and leave the rest. Hopefully, God will speak some truth into your life from these ramblings. Thanks again for investing in my life by taking the time to read these posts.


More for Those With Broken Hearts

I have something I’ve learned about having my heart broken a few times that I want to pass along to you. First of all, I want to say that okay to grieve when your love or interest in someone goes unrequited. It’s okay to hurt. I think it requires as much of a grieving process as losing a loved one, because you’re seeing the death of a dream that was very dear to your heart.

I think it’s okay to be brutally open and honest with God about the pain. He can take it. Besides, he already knows those feelings that you pretend aren’t there when you tell yourself that you’re fine.

That said, I think one good thing out of having your heart broken is that it is never again the same shape as it was, pre-break. It’s larger. And if you choose the path of healing versus the path of grudges and bitterness, good things can come out of the pain, such as these:

You have more room to love others and you have an increased sensitivity to those in pain around you who need your love.

You give more grace toward those who act out of their own hurt toward you because you remember when you did the same out of the great pain you were once in.

You have more compassion and tenderness in general because you know what it’s like to need it and find it so you want others to experience the same joy you did.

Finally, you become a little more like Jesus because you’ve shared in his sufferings. Jesus above all knows the pain of a broken heart, both physically and metaphorically. He’s the one who wept over Jerusalem because they wouldn’t come to him and find life and freedom. His heart was just as broken that day as when the spear pierced his side into his heart.

So remember that there is nothing broken that God can’t take and make beautiful. No, not just beautiful like it was before. It won’t ever be the same. It will be much, much better.




Confessions of a Ragamuffin (inspired by good conversation tonight at Ben & Jerrys)


My greatest fear is that people will find out who I really am deep down inside and will leave me and want nothing else to do with me. I project my own self-condemnation onto others and believe that they are angry with me or upset with me or have written me off when it is just me that is not liking me.

Most of the time, I feel the constant need to be approved, affirmed and admired by everyone and my biggest peeve is to be ignored (or to feel that I am ignored). I try to be all spiritual and come across as so very wise and super-saint, when many times the words coming out of my mouth feel like hay and rubble that will not stand the test of the fire. I say I trust in God, but I am almost always working on a backup plan in case God fails me and does not come through for me. I am a mess.

I am also beloved by the God who knows all this about me and more. He was not willing that I should perish, but that I should come to repentence and He will not ever stop loving me. I am blessed. I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies (so why do I still want more?). I am becoming who God has already declared me to be. I am constantly amazed just about every single day at the extreme lengths God will go to in order to prove Himself to me through friends, circumstances, reminders and (most importantly) through His Word.

Thank you to my friends who have inspired me by their honesty and willingness to be naked emotionally and spiritually. Your words and actions make me want to be more like my Jesus. You help pull me out of myself (notice how many “I”s are in this blog) and keep me wanting to live for a kingdom bigger than my own. You will never ever know how you have blessed me. I feel like I have given one tenth of what you have given me, but I want to do more.

So who am I? I am not my weaknesses or my strengths. My greatest strengths apart from God become my biggest weaknesses and the biggest obstacles to me being who God wants me to be. My greatest weaknesses in the hands of God will turn into His perfect strength working in and through me to impact the world around me. I am BELOVED, BLESSED and BECOMING LIKE JESUS. My Abba is very fond of me.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.