One Weird Weekend


Forgive me if I’m having trouble remembering what day it is. Let me explain. No, there is no time. Let me sum up. (A shiny nickel to the first person to correctly guess what movie I just referenced).

I worked Wednesday. Tracking so far?

I had Thursday off, since it was Thanksgiving aka Turkey Day aka National Food Coma Day.

I had Friday off, because it’s Black Friday aka National Recovery from Yesterday’s Food Coma Day.

I worked today.

I’m off tomorrow.

Where am I? Who am I? What year is it?

Ok, it’s not quite that bad yet. I know it’s still 2013 for another 31 days. I know there are 24 shopping days until Christmas.

Sometimes, we all lose our way. We forget who we are and why we’re here. We forget that it’s about more than just you and me in our tiny well-ordered lives.

As Rick Warren most famously said, it’s not about you. It never has been. It has been, is, and will always be all about God. But God has invited you and me to be a part of what He’s doing. We get to be conduits of blessing that bring Him glory.

I forget who I am. I forget Whose I am: I am the Beloved of my Abba, the one in whom He is well pleased.

I forget why I’m here. And my purpose is this: “Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

To celebrate God’s goodness. To pray without ceasing. To give thanks in everything. That is God’s will for me. Yeah, it’s that simple.

I needed that reminder. I hope you did, too. And it is Saturday, FYI.

For When You’re Too Tired


I didn’t think I could be this tired and not be asleep. I’ve actually been so tired that I have trouble sleeping, as weird and wrong as that sounds. Plus, I’ve been having some very David Lynch-esque dreams.

I’m reminded of a few things that it’s good to think about when you’re tired.

Everything’s more annoying and I have very little patience with people. I truly “vant to be left alone” as Greta Garbo was always famous for saying. Maybe she was sleep deprived, too.

It’s easy to make comments– or lack of comments– seem much more than they really are. What might have been an oversight suddenly seems like an intentional snub. What is probably just an offhand remark comes across as an insult or a put-down.

It’s easy (at least for me) to think the worst of people when I am super-sleepy and even easier for me to want to give up on them. That monster called Woe-is-me rears its ugly head and makes you think that nobody REALLY cares about you, that eventually they will all desert you.

Fears become amplified and worries take on almost superhuman overtones. You can feel overwhelmed and defeated by the smallest details of your life when you’re tired enough.

By the way, this iPad that I normally love is annoying the crap out of me by not typing what I want it to. Or more truthfully, it’s supposed to read my mind instead of going with what my very sleep-deprived fingers are typing. Duh.

God is good when I am tired and He loves me when I am grouchy. His grace is sufficient for the sleep-deprived and restless (even if they aren’t so young anymore).

I am still growing in grace, which means I make allowances for me to be less than perfect and mature all the time. I know just as I understand when my friends and family have less than stellar moments, those who truly care about me will allow me to be Oscar the Grouch on rare occasions. Just as long as it’s not too often.

I’m thankful on this Thanksgiving Eve for comfy beds, good friends and family, and God’s promise to give sleep and rest to those He loves and cherishes. Which includes you and me.

So good night and sleep tight and don’t let any of those bedbugs bite. And may you hear once more the song of peace and joy thatvyour Abba Father will sing over you again tonight.

Why I Love Room in the Inn


I have to confess something. I almost skipped Room in the Inn tonight. I mean, it’s frickin’ cold outside and I am tired from a long workday and a not-so-great night of sleep.

But then I remember that the guys who benefit most Room in the Inn would otherwise be sleeping out in that bitter cold. Room in the Inn brings homeless men into different churches during the week to have a warm meal, a hot shower, and a place to sleep that’s out of the elements.

I remember how blessed I am every time I volunteer at Room in the Inn. I have all these things every day and routinely take them for granted. Which makes me wonder if all i had were those things I had given thanks for the night before, what would I still have left?

These guys put me to shame in many ways. They are grateful for everything. They have literally next to nothing but they also are always so thankful and kind. I always end up receiving more blessing than I ever could think of giving.

How are you serving and giving to those who can never repay you? How are you serving Jesus by serving the least of these? Will you give thanks for those little things in your life?

Just some food for thought on a chilly Monday night.

Those Times

I’ve been living my miracle. I’ve been counting my blessings and finding joy in the everyday minutiae of life. But sometimes . . . .

You know the feeling. It happens when you’re tired or hungry or by yourself– or all three. 

You feel like your friends will all eventually abandon you. Little things, like someone not responding to a text or someone else who usually liked and commented on your posts not having done so for a few days, seem like proof that you’re not really wanted or desired.

You find it’s much easier to wallow in that old mire of self-pity and entitlement than to fight for the joy and to consciously bring to mind the blessings. Sometimes it does feel good (but not in a good way) to feel sorry for yourself and believe that no one truly understands or cares about you. Lies are sometimes easier to believe and more comforting than the truth. Well, most of the time.

It’s at those times when you want to lean on what you’re feeling as a gauge for how you’re doing. It’s times when you want to use your understanding as a crutch for figuring out your life at that particular moment.

But just remember this familiar verse:


“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding [or feelings]. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6. Amplified)

I added that part about feelings, in case you wondered. But it’s implied in the Hebrew. 

Trust God, not in how you feel or what you think. Those things (thoughts and feelings) aren’t always trustworthy. But God is.

And I know from experience your friends aren’t nearly as ready to abandon you as you think they are. Sometimes, they just get caught up in life, their own pain, crazy work or school, etc. They haven’t forgotten or left you.

Remember even if one or two has left you, God never will. He’s promised with an oath as sure as Himself to be with you, no matter what, not only up to the end, but beyond.

That should help you get past those times.


The Golden Ticket


I love the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It’s dated and I’m pretty sure everybody in it has a combover of some kind. Even the little boy Charlie. The Oompa Loopas look like victims of bad tanning bed experiences and the songs are more than a bit annoying and preachy. And what’s up with their pants?

But there’s just something lovable underneath all the weirdness of Willy Wonka. Plus, who doesn’t love the concept of winning one of five golden tickets to get a lifetime supply of chocolate?

I can’t help thinking that grace is a lot like a golden ticket. I don’t mean you can buy it or earn it even by eating lots and lots of chocolate bars. And it is not limited to five people.

But think about it. In the end, Charlie gets a lot more than just chocolate. He gets everything that belongs to Willy Wonka. The factory, the candy, all the candy-making secrets, and even those creepy Oompa Loompas.

If I belong to Jesus by grace through faith, then I get salvation. But I get so much more.

I get life to the fullest that lasts forever. I get joy. I get peace. I do have troubles and suffering but I get Jesus to go through all of it with me. I get everything I need to be everything Jesus created me to be. I get not just God’s gifts but God Himself.

Above all, I get to be a part of the amazing work God is doing in rescuing His created universe and His children. I get to share God’s heart for everything He made and, best of all, I get to know God and to love Him and be loved by Him. I get to be one of the coduits through which His power, grace, love, and healing flow to hurting and needy people.

By the way, I can’t help thinking Mike Teevee grew up and became Jay Leno. They both get on my nerves (said in Christian love and mostly in jest).

Pre-WordPress Writings Part 3


From January 15, 2011:

“I may not be anyone’s first choice, and that’s OK. I may be the substitute for the person they really want to be with or hang out with, but that’s OK. When Jesus chose me, it wasn’t because the person He REALLY wanted wasn’t available. He wanted ME. The same way He wants YOU, not as a substitute for someone else He can’t get, but FOR YOU. I am just one note in the symphony of God to the world. I may not be a very high priority on anyone’s list and I am really really fine with that. I will always be in God’s heart and on His mind. That’s enough for me. I am just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody that can save anybody!”

From January 9, 2011:

“God, I’m giving up. I’m letting go. I’m letting a dream I’ve had in my heart die. It feels like a part of my heart is dying, too, but I know You are the one holding the pieces of my heart together right now.

I felt so certain and sure that it was Your plan and Your will, but now I can only surrender the bits and pieces of what’s left of hope to you.

So, here I am at 12:01. I’m done trying. I can’t do anything else but throw myself on your mercy and plead your grace. Take my dead dreams and if it be Your will, You can make them live again. But if not, You will be my new Dream-giver and give me new dreams to dream.

I will praise You in the silence this moment. You are still good. If I never got one more good thing or any desire of mine fulfilled ever again, You would still have been better to me than I deserved.

I am Yours. That is all that matters. Do with me what You want. Here in this moment, I am laying down and dying at Your feet.”

From February 3, 2011:

“I don’t know if this will speak to you, but maybe it will speak to someone you know and you can pass it along to them. I pray God captures your hearts and minds with these words:

1-3 A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek

I want to drink God,

deep draughts of God.

I’m thirsty for God-alive.

I wonder, “Will I ever make it—

arrive and drink in God’s presence?”

I’m on a diet of tears—

tears for breakfast, tears for supper.

All day long

people knock at my door,


“Where is this God of yours?”

4 These are the things I go over and over,

emptying out the pockets of my life.

I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd,

right out in front,

Leading them all,

eager to arrive and worship,

Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—

celebrating, all of us, God’s feast!

5 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?

Why are you crying the blues?

Fix my eyes on God—

soon I’ll be praising again.

He puts a smile on my face.

He’s my God.”

From July 10. 2010:

“I have learned a few thing in my time that I want to pass on:

1) Never try to figure out anything, especially people, when you are tired. I personally tend to drift toward the negative when I am exhausted and am not really good at being balanced or fair to others when I am worn out.

2) When you are inclined to judge someone’s actions, remember that there is at least one factor that you don’t know about that person that if you knew, would cast a totally different light on their actions. Also, remember that in the same circumstances you might do the same or worse. Which leads to the next point.

3) If you err, err on the side of grace. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Of course, use common sense and don’t be a doormat, but think of what you would be apart from the grace of God and then you realize that you have no place to give up on or despair of anyone (I totally stole that one from Oswald Chambers!)

4) Remind yourself that in life and the big picture, it never was, is not and will never be about you. It always was, is and always will be about God and His redemptive plan for the world. His will for you is always in context of His plan for the world.

5) Never go by first impressions, regardless of what the world tells you. Some of the best people I know who have impacted me were the ones whose first impression was unfavorable. I think you sometimes have to step out of what is comfortable and familiar if you want to find God’s secret blessings and surprises.

6) What is important in life, what I want you to remember, is not me or how well I write or how clever I am. You can forget all about me and if you remember that God loves you, that God is in love with you, and that God can take the worthless and transform it into somethng priceless, then I am OK with that. As one person said, I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody that can save anybody. That’s all I am, regardless of what my ego tells me.

What are some lessons you have learned? Share them with me, because I am always learning and God always has something to show me. Plus, we only grow and mature in the faith in community. You can never discover God’s will for your life by yourself, but only with other believers as you share yourself and your gifts to serve one another in love.

That’s all for now. More later.”

Joy on a Rainy, Yucky Sunday


I had an amazing time dining at Chuy’s with some friends old and new. And by that I mean friends that I’ve known for a while and friends I met today. Compared to me, they were all young whippersnappers.

I had my standard taco salad with both chicken and steak. I had my water with both lemon and lime. I figure why should you be an either/or person when you can be a both/and person? Life’s much more fun that way.

Life’s also more fun when you see the sun behind all those grey clouds and joy in the midst of difficulties and hardships. It’s not like the sun went AWOL during all this rain. It’s still there, behind the clouds and waiting to be unveiled at just the right moment.

Joy’s like that. It’s always there. There’s never a moment without a blessing or a place with no joy to be found. You just have to see with eyes of thanksgiving and gratitude to find the blessings and the joy. Even in the darkest of times, you can always find light if you know where to look.

Later on, I’m celebrating Thanksgiving with some more friends. This year, it’s more than a lot of turkey and dressing. It’s about being truly alive and counting all my gifts that I once took for granted. It’s about celebrating the people in my life who are helping me find and love out my miracle.

Truly, life is good, God is great, and I am still blessed.

Another Day at McKay’s


I spent the afternoon in one of my favorite places on earth. For those who are unaware of my recent history, that would be a tiny used bookstore in West Nashville called McKay’s. And for those of you unfamiliar with Nashville, I use the word “tiny” in the most non literal sense of the word possible. The place is HUGE. It’s ginormous.


I traded in more movies and came home with a load of new treasures. And yes, I kept my salivating to a minimum. For a book/DVD/CD nerd, that’s not easy. It’s like walking into used heaven.


I picked up seasons 1-3 of Absolutely Fabulous, the complete series of Twin Peaks, season 2 of The Walking Dead, and the first series of A Fine Romance. I added Billie Holiday. Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, and The Beach Boys to my vast and varied music collection.

It was a very good day.


As always, I went in looking for one thing and came out with another. Kinda like when you go to Target for toothpaste and walk out with 15 items (but no toothpaste).

I’ve learned life with God is like that. I think I need to be dating like yesterday. He thinks I need to learn to love being me and grow in grace a bit more. I want a big salary and lots of moolah. He wants me dependent on Him in every moment.


I’ve learned (or am still learning to be more honest) that God’s ways are 100% better than mine 100% of the time. I think I want to much, but God sees my dreams and desires not as too big but as too small. Too limited and narrow and self-focused. God has a much bigger picture in mind, a much better dream, much grander desires for me.


And I still have $1.33 left over in credit.

PS I had a scary moment in the parking lot. I got to my car and realized I had locked it with my keys inside. 😮 Then I just “happened” to remember that I had stuck a spare key in my pocket this morning without really thinking about it.


I guess God had this afternoon in mind when He put that thought in my noggin. I definitely outsmarted myself again. One small heart attack and one call to AAA and one possible LONG wait averted.

Life is good, God is great, and I am still blessed.


Love on a Tuesday Night


Mike Glenn spoke about love tonight at Kairos.

No, it was not another sermon on dating or marriage or romantic love. It was about loving Jesus and what that looks like.

It looks like obedience.

As unpopular a term as that may be, obedience defines my love for Jesus. In other words, if I love Jesus, I do what He says. If I don’t do what He says, I don’t love Him, no matter how many warm and fuzzy feelings I get in a worship setting or how well I talk of Jesus or even how much I know about Him.

If I love Jesus, I will do what He says. I will obey Him. Not only when it’s easy or convenient or rewarding.

I think the gauge for my level of obedience is to ask those around me who know me best. Ask them if I really live out what I say I believe. Ask them if I look and act like Jesus on a daily basis.

I do know I fail to be grateful for being so blessed. I have so many people in my life who show me exactly what loving Jesus looks like in lifestyles that model obedience and faithfulness. I have so many people who love me with the love of Jesus and forgive me with a forgiveness that can only come from Jesus.

I don’t have to feed 5,000. I just have to give a cup of cold water to one. I don’t have to build a hospital in Kenya. I just have to visit one sick person or provide something to wear for one person in need. I just have to be faithful today, in this moment, to what I know Jesus is calling me to do and to be.

I don’t ever have any excuse to be disobedient to Jesus. No matter how my obedience is received, no matter how people disdain my efforts, no matter if anyone notices, I still am called to not only hear the words of Jesus, but DO them. To put them into practice. To live them out.

Like every fallible human saved by grace, I could do a lot better. But I’m thankful that ultimately the love that counts most isn’t my love for Jesus, but His unfailing love for me.