Don’t Panic

“Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you” (Isaiah 41:10).

There’s a wonderful series of books called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which all sorts of sci-fi shenanigans occur and in which one electronic book features prominently, the book after which the series is named, On the cover in big friendly letters are the words “Don’t Panic!”

I think that’s very good advice for these uncertain days.

No matter which way you lean politically, the end is not nigh if the opposition wins. America is not done for if “they” win.

No matter how out of control you feel right now, despair will not have the last word.

No matter how much you avoid looking in the mirror because you detest the image looking back, those voices in your head will not have the last word.

God will have the last word. Jesus already had the last words when He cried out on the cross: “It is finished!”

For those who have clung to the cross as their last desperate hope, victory is the final word. Peace is the final word. Joy is the final word.

I have read the last word of the last page of the Great Story. It is Amen. The Bible ends with the promise that the final victory is for all those who will simply drop their pretenses and come.

That’s the invitation. Come to Jesus just as you are, not after you’ve cleaned yourself up and pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps and vastly improved your morality. Just come, you and your scars and regrets and shame. He will never cast out anyone who comes to Him in earnest faith.



Family Reunions


My cousin posted a picture on Instagram that got me thinking. It was a picture taken of the extended family gathered together, all smiles and laughter.

It made me think back to all those family reunions we used to have back in the day. I so enjoyed seeing those people, many of whom I only saw that one day a year.

Looking back, I have one regret. Why didn’t I get to know these people better when I had the chance? Why did I wait until it was too late?

I think everyone who has ever lost a close loved one will feel like they took their loved one for granted to some degree, that they left words unspoken or good deeds undone.

I look at this picture and I see a lot of people who aren’t around anymore. So many that I miss. If I only had some kind of time machine to go back, even if It were only like watching an old home movie. That would be enough.

You think you will have enough time with those you love. You won’t. You think that if they live a good long life, their passing won’t hurt as much. It will.

All you have is the time you’re given. All you have is today, as the old Robert Earl Keen song goes. Every moment you spend with a loved one now is one less regret you’ll have tomorrow.

Don’t think that I have only sad memories. The majority of the feelings that come from this picture are happy ones. Good ones. I feel like I grew up in a family with a long legacy of love, laughter, honor, and faith. I was (and still am) very blessed.

Time Machines and All That


I had a mini-marathon of Mad Men Season 6 tonight. Every time I watch that  show, I have a longing to be transported back to the 60’s and all the history that was in the making during those years.

There’s something  about retro and nostalgia that comforts me. Even if it’s from before my time, I’m still drawn to it.

I had an idea for a motel that I think would work. Each room would be completely furnished from whatever was popular and trendy from a particular year or decade. So, there might be a room dedicated to 1965 or to the 50’s. And there wouldn’t be any technology that came after in these rooms.

Maybe that’s a dumb idea, but I’d pay to see that.

Sometimes, I think I’d like to go back and sit and talk with people in my life who have passed on. People like my grandmother and two uncles on my Dad’s side. Both my grandfathers. My childhood friend. People that I at times took for granted and now wish I could spend time with.

This may be me repeating myself yet again, but don’t take those people in your life for granted. Don’t ever assume they know how you feel about them. Nothing brings more regret than unspoken words. People are in your life for a limited time and once they’re gone, you can never retrieve the time or the chances you had with them.

I know that scientifically time machines aren’t possible. But I still like the idea of them. I like reading stories and seeing movies about people who can travel through time. It just appeals to me.

I may not be able to go back in time or into the future, but I can be fully present where I am and not miss the moments God gives me. That’s the best I can do to honor those who are gone from my life.


Those Little Moments


I found out something that broke my heart tonight. I can’t share specifically what the details are, but I can say that it made me very sad for a good friend of mine. I have some takeaways (none of which are new or original) to pass along and which I hope to practice more in the future:

1) Never take those you love for granted, whether they’re blood-related or not. As morbid as it sounds, it is true that you never know when or if you’ll see that person again in this lifetime. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

2) If possible, err on the side of telling family and friends you love them TOO much rather than not enough. By that, I mean tell them every time you see them or call them or text them.

3) Practice forgiveness and mercy and grace. Forgiving someone may be hard, but not as hard as living with the regret of words not spoken and the knowledge that you’ll never again have the chance to say “I’m sorry, forgive me” or “I forgive you”.

4) While you never fully appreciate anything or anyone until you look back in hindsight, you can choose to value those around you and let them know how much you value them.

5) Pray for those you love and let them know you’re praying for them. Nothing means more to me than knowing family and friends are praying for me.

6) Choose hugs instead of handshakes. Choose the people you’re with instead of your social media friends. Choose today to reach oit to someone you’ve lost touch with or had a falling out with or neglected in recent months.

That’s all I have. I am as always thankful for you. God bless.

PS Those little moments will be the ones you treasure and remember most fondly. Not the accolades or awards or promotions or titles or accomplisments. It will be the time you spent with those you love.

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.

Hello, My Name Is . . . : What Jesus Wants to Say to Every Woman


This is inspired by something I heard tonight from Amy Jo Girardier, guest speaker at Kairos tonight. I think if Jesus could talk face to face with any one of His daughters, He’d say something like this:

“My Precious Daughter,

I see the way you look at yourself in the mirror and sigh. I see the way you look at your life and see only chores and tasks left undone, goals unreached, dreams dashed.

You’ve once again allowed the world around you to define you and name you. You’ve believed that insidious lie that you in and of yourself are not enough, that you need something more to be complete. A man, a marriage, children, a career, a title, a reputation.

You look back with regret and despair at your past and take on names for yourself such as Useless, Damaged Goods, Unwanted, Ugly, Invisible.

Do you not know that you are the apple of My eye? Do you not know that you have ravished My heart with one look of your eye? Do you not understand that I look at you, the pinnacle of My creation, and say, “She is very good. She is exactly what I dreamed her to be. She is beautiful”?

I saw you at your worst moment, in the grip of fear, insecurity, and doubt. I saw you when you were unable to trust anything or anyone, even Me, and I fell in love with you.

I would rather go through hell for you than go back to heaven without you. For you and you alone, I’d gladly endure all the torture and pain of the cross. You were (and are) to die for.

Let me name you. Hear Me calling you


My Lovely Bride

Fair Daughter of Zion

My Beloved in whom I am well pleased

Princess of the King of Kings


Lily of the Valley.

I love you passionately, perfectly, and permanently all the days of your life. I am in you, with you, beside you, and for you. Always.

Believe My love is just as real in the dark, in the pain, in the quiet moments when you can’t feel me near. Believe I don’t just have what you need. I Myself am what you need.

And I don’t give you strength or wisdom or grace. I give you Me and all of My strength, My wisdom, My grace, My perfection.

I can’t wait to unveil the finished you before creation and see you dazzling and radiant and perfect. In other words, just like Me.”

A Good Night for a Homecoming


It was a good night for a high school homecoming game. It seemed more than a bit surreal to be at Beech High School on their homecoming night, but you couldn’t ask for better weather.

The home team won. Barely. The game was probably more suspenseful than it needed to be, as the Beech Buccaneers kept letting Gallatin back in the game. All that matters in the end is that the home team won and lots of good memories got made.


I was purely a spectator. I didn’t know anyone at the game save for the handful of folks from my community group. I was feeling a bit weary and disconnected, so I did my fair share of wandering alone through the masses there to celebrate one of the truly great and time-honored rites of passage still left sacred in our society.

I was a bit saddened by the regret of one blog I wrote about a friend some months ago that caused a strain on our friendship. I’ve since deleted the post, but it’s still not the same as it was (and may never again be). If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself not to write that blog. It’s one thing I wish everyday that I could go back and undo.

But enough of that. I got over it. I saw a very strange but creative halftime show by the Beech High School marching band. Apparently, it was themed around the M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs, but all I saw were little green men and women scurrying around a fake cornfield and playing eerie movie music. Kudos for creativity, but not so much for making sense.

I made a new friend (Rachel), had some very salty Powerade, witnessed a great game, and hung out with some amazing people called the Green Hills Community Group.


It’s funny how at times I remembered exactly how I felt as a 17-year old during my high school homecoming game. All the uncertainty, fear, doubts, insecurities, and joys came rushing back. But I saw it all through (hopefully) wiser 41-year old eyes.

I hope to do the high school homecoming game thing again, but hopefully not after putting in 40 hours of work in 4 days and hopefully more rested.

God is just as good to me at 41 as He was when I was 17. It’s nice to know some things never change. Even when I’m 64, that same God will be with me and for me and love me just the same He did when I was in high school and like He does now.

The Hardest Person to Forgive

I  recently messed up with a friend and spent the whole day beating myself up. Believe it or not, that’s an improvement over what I would have done a year ago. My whole day wasn’t ruined, at least.

I got admonished and I deserved it. I won’t go into details or name names, but I certainly had it coming. In fact, it was much more kind and graceful than I really deserved.

I kept running lines from the note through my mind and wishing I could go back and undo what I had done. I couldn’t and I can’t.

All this is to say that the person who most needs to forgive me is me. I hope and pray my friend forgives me, but I know that unless I do, I’ll be stuck and unable to move forward.

Did I mention I am hard on myself? I am better than I was. I used to be extraordinarily hard on myself, but I’ve eased up a bit in my old age.

If you feel like you can’t forgive yourself, let me tell you you’re not alone. I’ve felt that way and I understand. You may think you never will come to that place, but I am living proof that you can and you will.

Just let the Word of Truth wash over you. Let Jesus speak healing over you. Remember that you are still His beloved, no matter what. He at least will never give up on you or quit wanting to be around you.

Anyway, that’s my confession session for the day. I pray it will speak to someone and bring deliverance where it is most needed.