Why Get Married?

I was channel surfing on a night when there wasn’t much that caught my eye. I came across Shall We Dance,  the American remake of a Japanese movie, neither of which I’ve seen all the way through. But I did see one scene that caught my attention.

In it, the character played by Susan Sarandon is offering her own reason why people get married. You’d expect her to say for reasons of romance or passion or out of desperate need. In fact, that’s what most people would say. But her answer floored me.

I’d never thought about marriage in this context before, but it makes sense. At least to me. Here’s what she said:


It makes me want to watch both versions of the movie all the way through. I hope it will change the way you view marriage, whether you’re already married, engaged to be married, or just one of those hopeful romantics who haven’t met the right person yet.


A prayer for My Future Wife in 2014



You know how tired I am from waiting. You know how weak my faith is and how unstable my belief can be.

I’m still holding onto that mustard seed-sized faith, clutching it with everything I’ve got, with all my heart and strength and soul and mind. I want to rest tonight not in Your promises or provisions, but in Your person, Your character, in You.

Lord, I’m still believing in the miracle that some woman will fall in love with me and want to spend the rest of her life with me. It seems impossible sometimes, but then I remember the words of a pastor: what seems impossible to me isn’t even remotely difficult for you.

I’m praying you will be with her tonight and envelop her with your peace and surround her with your everlasting arms. May her joy be full as she rests in you, completely comfortable in who You’ve made her to be and in Whose she is– Yours.

May she cast aside every hindrance, every distraction, every clamoring voice, and run only after You, her true heart’s desire. May she keep a single-minded focus on Your Son, Jesus, and not fall into the lies and deceptions that tell her she is not enough.

May you bring her into my life, but not until the time that both she and I are ready– and not a moment sooner. Help her faith not to falter and her trust to remain stedfast and secure in You only.

Help me to be the man who can win her heart and guard it until the day you ask for it back. Help me to become the man who will help her to unveil all the beauty and wisdom and lovingkindness you have placed in her so she will become all that you created her to be.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief. And hers, too.


Advent Is For You

Maybe you know the feeling.

Maybe a certain someone at work is friendly to everyone else but you.

Maybe you’ve set your heart on someone only to have that feeling go unreturned and maybe even unackowledged.

Maybe you feel alone in a crowd, unwanted and invisible.

Maybe you’ve even felt that the world would be better off without you in it.

Maybe you feel like no one will ever choose you, that no one will ever desire you, that no one will love you in the way you’ve always dreamed of being loved.

Advent says differently.

Advent says God saw you at your worst and thought you were worth saving.

Advent says God loved you so much and couldn’t bear to be without you to the point that He put on human skin to be born in the lowliest way to the lowliest people to show that no one is beneath His grace.

Advent says that God’s love for you is more than academic and theoretical. That love led Him from a manger to a cross, where His death once and for all gave your life meaning and purpose and value. He really did think you were to die for.

In the next 13 days, it’s always good to remember those we love and choose gifts that represent how much the people in our lives mean to us.

But don’t forget the best gift is already given. The best gift came wrapped in cloth, delivered in a dirty animal feeding trough, born to die so that you who are dead may know what it means to come alive to God and everything good.

What is my gift in return? Me. What is your gift? You.

Not your good works. Not your best intentions. Not your trophies and awards.

You. Right where you are, just as you are, warts and scars and all.

Like 2,000 years ago in a little barn, all God is looking for is a place to start.

Crazy Little Thing Called Fear


I’ve heard that the command “Don’t be afraid” (or some variation of it) occurs 365 times in the Bible. Then I read somewhere else that it’s nowhere near that many times. I’ve read arguments on both sides.

First of all, is it really necessary to argue over everything? Is it so all-important to be proven right all the time?

I know this command is used more than the commands to “Love others” or “Tithe more” or any other. I know it’s because we’re fearful people, prone to worrying. I’ve known fear for much of my own life. Too much in fact.

Jon Acuff mentioned that his favorite verse about fear comes in Matthew where Jesus tells us we are worth more than birds, whom the Father feeds and clothes and takes care of. He uses the most common example so there’s practically nowhere I can go without a visual reminder of why it’s safe to trust Jesus instead of listening to my fears.

Fear has kept me bound to the past, to shame, to the humdrum. Fear has kept me from stepping out on adventures and trying new things.

Maybe fear has kept you from asking that certain someone out on a date.

Maybe fear has kept you from going deeper in your marriage and dealing with all those unresolved issues.

Maybe fear has kept you bound to a job you hate, to a routine that feels more like a rut, to a life without much meaning.

There’s no such thing as a comfortable adventure or a safe quest. Bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but going forward even though you feel like crying and throwing up and passing out all at the same time.

I’ve always loved this definition of courage: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

May you find that the perfect love of Jesus really does cast out all fear.

May you step out in faith even in the midst of fear to find out the bridge built on planks of thanksgiving and joy really does hold (thanks to Ann Voskamp for that one) and that Jesus will be with you in the fieriest furnaces and the darkest nights and the coldest days.

Fear ends. The love of Jesus never will.

That’s where my hope lies.

A Multiple Choice Quiz About My Life


Surprise! Professor Greg is giving you a pop quiz about his fascinating life. Hint: all the answers to all the following questions will be d) all of the above. Keep your eyes on your own paper, no talking, and no gum chewing. Here goes:

1) I was recently interested in a fellow Kairos greeter until I found out a) she’s interested in someone else, b) she’s WAY too young for me, c) I’m perfectly content to be her friend for as long as God allows, and d) all of the above.

2) Tonight at Kairos, I learned that a) love is an action, b) Jesus calls me His friend, c) He calls me to love and forgive those who aren’t easy to love or forgive, d) all of the above.

3) My eventual demise will come from a) tripping over my cat, b) choking on a spoonful of Wendy’s Frosty, c) in a very non-heroic and non-graceful manner, d) all of the above.

4) True or False: Greg is one of the most awesome people alive. Hint: the answer is True.

5) Today, I’m glad that a) I woke up, b) I didn’t fall down, c) I am still forgiven and loved and held by my Abba Father, d) all of the above.

6) Jesus’ love for me is a) unconditional and unending, b) amazing, c) not meant for me to hoard but for me to share, d) all of the above.

7) Kairos is a) a worship event at Brentwood Baptist Church, b) at 7 pm every Tuesday night, c) something you need to attend weekly, d) all of the above.

8) Multiple choice tests are a) a pain, b) given by teachers too lazy to create real tests, c) a crapshoot, d) all of the above.

9) I always get ice cream at Chick-fil-A after Kairos because a) it’s ice cream, b) it’s free, c) it’s free ice cream (thanks to the Foursquare app on my iPhone), d) all of the above.

10) You are a) fearfully and wonderfully made, b) amazing and unique and beautiful and special, c) someone I am thankful for (and not just because you’re reading this blog and taking this quiz), d) all of the above and then some.

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.


Blog #1,161


I still write these blogs as reminders to myself of how good God’s been to me. I am so very forgetful and prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love, prone to return to broken cisterns of doubt and fear.

I write about grace so much because I love it so much, and I love it so much because I’ve needed it and found it at just the right times. Left to myself, I can very clingy and needy, very co-dependent, and self-absorbed. I am an approval-addict. An affirmation junkie.

But that grace of God found me. And it did not leave me where it found me. I found that Jesus’ amazing love for me makes me loveable. I discovered that it’s more than okay for me to be myself. It’s the best form of worship I can offer. Just me loving being me. Me refusing to be conformed to what everybody else says I should be, to what the media tells me I need to be to matter.


I will never stop telling the story of how Eucharisteo forged my miracle, how a lifestyle of joy and gratitude and thanksgiving opened my eyes to manifold blessings and allowed me to open closed fists to receive more of God’s riches.

I am blessed. Even if I never have a six-figure salary. Even if I am ever more the friend and never the love interest, the guy girls want to marry. Even if I never get another blessing or another visible reminder of God’s presence.

Here’s to 1,000 more posts to remind forgetful me of how good my life is and how great God is. Here’s to all of you who keep encouraging me, challenging me, and blessing me in ways I will never be able to repay.

Thank you.


That Old One-Note Symphony of Grace


I’ll be honest. I sat here staring at my laptop trying to come up with something else. I even scanned the headlines on msn.com in a vain attempt to find some noteworthy news to comment on. Nothing exciting happened today, so I guess I’ll fall back on a familiar topic. Grace.

Grace never gets old for me. It may get old for you reading about me writing about it yet again, but it truly never gets old for me.


If I lived to be 1,000 years old, I think I’d still be amazed by grace. You’d still catch me dumbfounded, mouth wide open in awe of grace working in my life.

Grace is why I’m not still mired in my own sins and phobias, trapped by my own sense of worthlessness, doomed to stay inside a prison of my own making.

Grace is the smile of God over me and the Everlasting Arms underneath me that keep me going on the good days and gets me through on the bad days.



Grace sees past the awkward conversations, the good intentions once again executed poorly, the regrets of words not spoken, and all the failures to the perfect end result.

Grace sees the best in me and allows me to see the best in the other and helps bring it out of both of us.

Grace revives dashed hopes, broken dreams, crushed spirits, ruined relationships, and forsaken lives.


Grace is me not getting what I deserve and getting what I do not deserve– life more abundant and full and satisfying than anything else out there.

Grace means I woke up today with a thousand blessings waiting to be seen through a heart filled with thanksgiving and gratitude and joy.

Grace is my family and my friends loving me, rooting for me, calling out the God-colors in me, and helping me remember the song in my heart when I’ve forgotten the words.

Grace is the setting sun, the autumn breeze, the laughter of children, the old couple still holding hands, the leaves changing colors, and the applause of heaven over one  wayward sinner who comes home.

And grace is mine, all mine.


How to Not Marry a Jerk


This is again going outside of my comfort zone. As in different time zone kind of outside. But I have some things that I need to say after something I witnessed at work.

A girl who is otherwise nice went out of her way to apologize to a guy who had gone out of his way to be a jerk to her because she did something he didn’t like. She barely speaks to me, who goes out of my way to be nice and friendly to her.

My own advice on how not to marry a jerk is as follows:

1) Don’t date jerks.

I know it sounds past obvious, but so many girls will marry the handsome guy who treats them like garbage thinking that her love will change him over time. Since this is a Baptist blog, I will say bull-oney.

Guys are who they are. They generally don’t change all that much. Who you see now is what you’ll see ten years down the road. If you’re thinking of marrying (or even dating to marry) someone, ask, “Can I live with this person exactly like he is now for the rest of my life?” and “Would I be proud to have a son exactly like him?”

I know there will be someone who knows someone who married a frog and ended up with a prince. For every one of those, there are a hundred more stuck in bad marriages or living out the pain and shame of a broken marriage.

Even in Beauty and the Beast, the Beast learns to love and become a gentleman BEFORE the beauty falls in love with him and marries him.

Check how he (the man not the beast) treats his parents and his siblings. Watch how he treats servers at restaurants and cashiers at the store. Especially watch how he acts when he’s angry.

Learn to distinguish between confidence and cockiness. Confidence doesn’t always have to prove itself or show itself like a peacock preening its feathers. Also, know the difference between a man who is willing to fight for you and a guy who just likes to fight. The first will cherish you; the second will belittle you and cut you down and make you feel worthless. He might even abuse you verbally and/or physically.

2) It’s better to be alone than with the wrong person.

Don’t date someone who doesn’t share your faith. Period. You will end up either feeling alone in your marriage or your faith will suffer. And I don’t just mean date a guy who says he’s a Christian. Go for the man of God who strives to be like Christ and who lives out his faith on a daily basis.

Date a man who loves Jesus more than he loves you, not the other way around. If he loves Jesus most, he will love you unconditionally and with the love of Christ. If he loves you most, he will make you into an idol in his life and place expectations on you that only Jesus can meet.

Don’t date just to date. The danger with that is that if you date a guy you don’t intend to marry, you could end up falling for him and disregarding all those red flags and warning signs.

On a side note, don’t go for a guy who is 30-something and still lives with mom and dad. If he mooches off of them, he will mooch off of you. If a guy like that says he loves you, respond with three words in return– “get a job!” I stole that one from Mike Glenn.

Date who you want to marry. I personally believe the best marriages start out as friendships before they become romances. And if you keep ending up with guys who treat you badly and use you, maybe you need to step back and look at you. Look at what vibes you’re sending out, where you’re going to meet people (a bar is generally where you find a real gentleman), and how guys perceive you (as a godly woman or as a flirt who likes to date around). If you hop from relationship to relationship, that will turn off a true gentleman.

Looks and attraction matter, but they’re not everything. Character matters. Kindness matters. Over time, you will see that true beauty can’t be seen with the eyes but felt with the heart. And beauty is who a person is on the inside that shows up in their actions and behavior more that what you wear or look like on the outside.

Men, you have to be just as diligent. But that will have to wait for another blog on another night. Sadly, gender equality means that both men and women can now be jerks.

These are my thoughts on the matter. I don’t claim to be infallible or know even close to everything about love or dating or romance.

Blessed Are the Ignored

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty” (Mother Teresa).

Have you ever felt like you were being ignored?

Have you ever worked in an office where a co-worker made the point of chatting with everyone else but never with you?

Have you ever sent out a friend request on Facebook and not even gotten the dignity of a response?

Have you ever texted or messaged someone and it seemed like that person didn’t even feel you were worth bothering to respond to?

Have you ever felt that no guy or girl ever even saw you as a romantic possibility or even thought about you as anything other than a friend?

I read this week that to feel ignored is the worst feeling of all. I agree. It hits at one of our most vulnerable spots– the need to feel valued and appreciated as a human being.

When someone ignores you, that person is essentially saying to you, “You don’t matter. You have no value.” It’s demeaning not only to that individual, but also to the God who created them (see Psalm 139).

Jesus knows exactly what that feels like. He stood before Jerusalem, weeping because they refused to turn to Him so that they could have true and eternal life.

Do you know something? There is never a moment that goes by where you are not on God’s mind. There is never a second where you are not on God’s heart and His eye is not on you.

Jesus would rather go through the hell of crucifixion and death for you than go to heaven without you. If you had been the only one, He still would have gone through all of the torture and pain because He thought you were worth it. And He still does. He still thinks you’re to die for.

Jesus’ love for you proves once and for all that you have worth and value. You matter. Whatever anyone else ever says or does to you will never negate the fact that your Abba loves you and is very fond of you. He has forever set His affection on you and nothing and no one can ever take it away.

Maybe you’re reading this and realize you’ve been guilty of ignoring someone, either consciously or otherwise. Maybe you’re feeling a tug at your heart compelling you to go to that person and make it right. Don’t let another day go by until you repent before God and restore that relationship.

Remember, God’s heart is still for the widow and the orphan, the outcast and the forgotten, those that society ignores. He still blesses those who bless them. In the Kingdom of God, everyone has a place. In God’s call, everyone is to hear the Good News; no one is ever to be left out.

I now understand that sometimes people are too overwhelmed by circumstances to see me. Sometimes, it’s all they can do to hold themselves together and not fall apart completely. The best thing you can do for someone who doesn’t acknowledge you is to pray God’s peace and healing over them. To pray they know in that very moment that God sees them in their pain and knows where they are.

God, you see us when no one else does and You’re with us when we feel most alone. Be with the ones feeling alone and may they feel You near in the moment of their greatest need. Amen.