Fall Preview? Almost

As I sat on the patio at Athens Family Restaurant, eating my delightful lamb bacon burger, I noticed that for a few brief moments it almost felt like fall. Almost.

It was still too warm to really be fall-ish weather, but when the sun hid behind the clouds and a friendly breeze was blowing, I could almost imagine leaves changing colors and bonfires blazing somewhere in the distance.

As eager as I am to get to Autumn, I am not as eager to throw away the last days of summer. I know that there are no rewind or pause buttons on the remote control of life. Once a part of your life is over, you can never go back.

That’s why I am learning to cherish each and every day. Even the ones in August where the heat and humidity leave me feeling like I stepped into a sauna every time I step outside. I don’t do hot weather as well as I used to, or maybe the humidity is worse than I remember. Either way, I’m not a fan.

Still, I know that I can find the hidden joys even on the hottest days and that giving thanks still unlocks the miracles even in the midst of the humidity. After all, any day that you’re still breathing and full of purpose is a good day, regardless of circumstances or the weather.

So as I type this, I have a snoring geriatric cat on the pillow next to me. It’s just another reminder to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of this life, the little God-winks of each day.

Thank You, God, for the day and all it holds. Thank You that no matter what comes my way, You are more than sufficient to handle it and no matter how much I hold in my hands at the end of the day, You will always be enough. Amen.


Back at McKay’s

“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31, The Message).

If you’ve kept up with my posts, you know that my idea of heaven is a place like McKay’s Used Books, CDs, Movies & More. It’s a place where the inner book-nerd can bask in the glow of the warmth that comes from a warehouse filled with everything to satisfy his geeky little heart.

I went Saturday and did my usual trading old unwanted stuff for new wanted stuff. I picked up The Beatles Anthology Volumes 1 & 2. Lo and behold, when I got home I discovered that Volume 1 consisted of two Disc 2s and no Disc 1.

So I went back today. What else could a self-respecting multimedia nerd do?

I ended up trading in a bit more and picked up a fantastic (to me) CD called Music Box Christmas Creations (which I am currently listening to as I write this) for the princely sum of 19 cents.

I also got the Beatles Anthology Volume 1 with both discs.

I had thoughts of putting up a hammock and calling it home, but then I realized my cat Lucy might object. She’s already camping out on my backpack to keep me from leaving home after I spend four nights dog sitting in the Bellevue area.

The best place is still in the “Very Scratched” section. Most people will pass that up, but I’ve learned that with the miracle of a little 70% rubbing alcohol (and occasionally some toothpaste) you can get any CD with scratches to play, In fact, you really have to work hard to make a CD unplayable (as I’ve learned).

Most of us are like that. We’re not new. We’ve got some scratches and scars and wear and tear from a life of poor choices, unfortunate circumstances, and that old persistent problem called a sin nature.

God still chooses to use us. He goes to the discarded section and picks us out because He has plans for us. I love that about God.

I only wish I had more stuff to trade at McKay’s. Maybe one day soon.


Reminders for When That Mid-Life Crisis Hits


Maybe it will hit in the middle of the night.

Maybe you’ll wake up and wonder where your life has gone and what you’ve done with it.

Maybe you’ll have that pounding in your chest and that overwhelming anxiety, scared that you’ve wasted your one and only life up to this point.

Maybe, just maybe, you feel like it’s too late to make anything of yourself and that you’re doomed to mediocrity.

Remember this: not everything that pops into your head is from you. The father of lies can be incredibly sneaky about pushing little fabrications into your mind about your identity and your purpose.

If you let him, he’ll have you believing that you have no purpose or worth. That your life doesn’t matter. That it’s too late to change and become who you might have been, that best self you always dreamed you might be.

Let your Abba Father speak truth over you. Hear Him call you Beloved, not out of anything you’ve done to earn special merit or out of any outstanding character traits that you possess, but simply because you are His.

Let your Abba Father remind you that you have supreme worth because you are created in the image of God and because Jesus paid the ultimate price for your redemption.

That’s what counts in the end.

Not salary.

Not titles.

Not awards.

Not accolades.

But simply living out of being the Beloved of your Abba and letting that love define who you are and what you do. If you end up with everything you could possibly want, everything the world says you need, and miss out on God, you have nothing. But if you end up with God and nothing else, you will have found everything that truly matters in the end.

Just think about that for a while.



Grace on an October Thursday Night

“For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

We are heaven’s poetry etched on lives. I like that.

You and I are not accidents. We are not mistakes. You and I matter very much because God says so.

You and I have a purpose. Some may take longer than others in finding theirs, but all of us have one. And I believe strongly that it is never too late to find out what that purpose is and to discover who you might have been and still could be.

Just remember that when you go to bed tonight, feeling tired and worn out and useless. You do matter. God says so.


More of the Good Kind of Tired


So, if you read last night’s post, you know I had to be back at the YEC by 7:30. I managed to arrive on time, even though I cheated on my alarm and gave myself an extra 20 minutes of sleep. It was worth it.

The whole weekend was worth it. I saw at least 1,000 students give their lives to Christ. I heard great worship music and great preaching. I was reminded of my own YEC experiences as a teenager waaaaay back in the 80’s.

I used to think most Christian t-shirts were cheesy in the extreme. I still do. But after helping to sell them for two days, I understand them a little bit better.

I know that as a teen, I wasn’t always able to articulate my faith very well. Sometimes, the t-shirt helped. Then again, if I live one way and my t-shirt testifies to another, I defeat the purpose.

My favorites were the one that had a half-bitten apple and the words “My bad. -Eve” and the one that said “satan is a poo poo head.” I also thought the one from Adam’s point of view was clever. It simply said, “Got rib?”

So yeah, I like Christian t-shirts again. I mean, just about every t-shirt out there makes a statement. So do all those labels on coats and shirts and jeans. The question is “What kind of statement do you want to make?”

Do you want people to know you wear the “right” labels or that you identify with a particular sports team? Or maybe that you want people to know that you love Jesus?

I still think the best way is still telling your own faith story in your own words, but sometimes you need a conversation starter.

So back to the YEC. A good time was had by all. The end.

I think after all that, I’ll have no trouble sleeping tonight.

Happy Birthday Eve to Me!


Everyone knows about Christmas Eve. Apparently, Thursdays are now being referred to as Friday Eve. So why can’t the day before my birthday be birthday eve?

Birthdays are always a good time to reflect and look back. Sure, I’m not where I thought I’d be at this point, but I am alive. I survived another year. I woke up this morning. That has to count for something.

The fact that you and I are here means that God isn’t through with us just yet. He still has a purpose for you and me.

I believe God has already told us what our purpose is: for Him to shape us into the spitting image of Jesus. I also think that we do that when we savor life and relationships and moments. We do that when we show gratitude in everything and find joy everywhere.

Jesus lived life to the utmost and has called us to do the same. Through His power, we can. I’m not saying all our days will be perfect and sunny and bright, but even on the darkest of days there will still be joy to be found and a multitude of reasons to give thanks.

So I’m happy to be here and thankful for another day of life. And if I wake up tomorrow, I’ll celebrate another year of being alive and loved and blessed.

A Ragamuffin’s Take on the Gospel of John


As part of a Wednesday night class I’m taking at my church, I read through each of the four gospels, ending up with the Gospel of John this past week.

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite is the Gospel of Luke because of his attention to detail and his inclusion of those on the fringes of society. But I really, really like John.

To me, the Gospel of John is like an epic movie in the style of a Cecil B. DeMille or a David Lean. Think grand along the lines of a Lawrence of Arabia or Doctor Zhivago.

Of all the gospel writers, John is the most unapologetically apologetic (not in the sense of saying “I’m sorry,” but in the sense of defining and defending the faith). He practically puts his purpose in bold red letters: so that you may believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah and believing, find eternal life in His name.

I like to think of John 1:1-18 as a kind of overture with themes expanded upon in the rest of the book. It’s got Jesus as the incarnate Word coming to pitch His tent among us, rejected by His own, but granting life to those who recognize Who He is and believe.

It has light versus dark, life versus death, righteousness versus sin, ultimate good versus ultimate evil. And in case you’re wondering, good wins.

I love how John’s Gospel is the most love-centered gospel. John even refers to himself as “the beloved disciple” and “the one Jesus loves” because he can’t get over the fact that Jesus could love a hot-headed mess like him.

Ultimately, I love how each gospel writer injects his own personality into the stories and helps draw out different facets about the life and ministry of Jesus. The end result is a very three- (or four-) dimensional portrait of the Messiah.

On a totally random note, I wonder if John read the other Gospels and said something like “Oh, you have the ascension of Jesus in yours? That’s cute. I have the freakin’ vision of Heaven in my book.”

Probably not. But that’s just the way my warped mind works.

I still highly recommend reading through all four Gospels as often as humanly possible. Those books never get old.

Another Good Question from Kairos


“If all you have is Jesus, is that enough?”

That was the question from tonight’s Kairos service that has been stuck on replay in my mind all night.

The topic was purpose. Aaron Bryant spoke about how God’s purpose for all of us is found in Romans 8:29: that we be conformed to the likeness of His Son Jesus.

So many look to their careers as being their purpose. So what happens to that when you get fired or laid off?

Some see their purpose in their spouses and their children. What happens when the marriage fails, when the kids don’t turn out like you hoped they would, or when they move out on their own?

Careers and family are important and meaningful, but ultimately your purpose has to come from Jesus. After all, God had all eternity in mind when He gave you your purpose.

You are not your marital status or your current paycheck. You are not your income or your car or the label on your jacket. You are not defined by your last exit interview or all those things the media tells you you’re not.

You are exactly who God made you to be and it’s never too late to become what God has dreamed for you all along. Just like Jesus.

I love Jeremiah 29:11 because I see in it a God who knows the plans He has for me, One who alone knows my purpose. I know it’s still okay to pray for a new job or a better job, for a relationship, for a family. I also know that your true destiny is to be formed and shaped to look like Jesus.

That’s what God promise all of us who have put our faith and trust in Him. And God always keeps His promises.

So for me, Jesus is enough. Ultimately, everything else is hollow without Him anyway. I can attest that everything and everyone else will at some point disappoint you or let you down. But Jesus never will.

Theology from a BBC Sitcom


I’ve discovered a great new (to me) BBC sitcom called Miranda. It’s about a very tall and very awkward English woman named– wait for it— Miranda, played by –again, wait for it– Miranda Hart.

The whole concept of the show is Miranda being socially awkward, clumsy, and hapless in just about every situation. Something none of you can relate to, I’m sure.

Maybe you find your self talking to someone you’re romantically interested in and you find the most bizarre things coming out of your mouth. Your mind is thinking, “What in the world?” but is completely helpless to stop your mouth from talking.

No one? Then how about this one, sports fans?

I’m not a woman. Big shocker.

And I’m not 6’1″. At least everywhere except in my own happy little world.

But I’ve had my share of socially awkward moments, of trying way too hard to be friendly, of being both obsessive and compulsive with certain relationships, and of not being “normal.”

But I’ve come to the place where I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. I’m having way too much fun being me. I’ve finally caught a glimpse of God’s heart for me and His dream for me and how He made me like no one else.

Not everyone will get you. That doesn’t make you inferior or less worthy. Trust me, God will bring people into your life who will more than just get you. They will embrace you and celebrate you and champion you. They will make you feel like a superhero on days when you can’t even button your shirt up right.

Remember that God Himself more than gets you. He made you. He designed you just the way you are to be like no one else and play a part in His ongoing Story that absolutely no one else could possibly fill.

I’ve seen 5 episodes so far and I love it. I also love the way my family and friends love me. I adore how God adores and celebrates and rejoices in and dances over and shouts over me.

I call that a very good reminder for this All Saints Day.