Saved People Serve People

“Anyone God uses is always deeply wounded.  On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars” (Brennan Manning).

It’s that simple. If you’ve experienced the love of Jesus in a real and tangible way, you can’t help but share that love with those around you. Like Mike Glenn says, you can’t hold the ocean in a thimble, and one person can’t contain all the love Jesus pours out on him or her without some of it spilling out onto those he or she comes in contact with.

Tonight, my friend Michael Boggs spoke about the passage where Jesus took off His outer garments and washed his disciples’ feet. That was His demonstration of what real leadership looks like. He said that the one who wants to be greatest must be servant of all.

Michael said something that convicted me. He said that in the end, Jesus won’t look at you and see titles, treasures, or trophies. He will look to see how dirty your towel is. He will see where you ministered to the least of these got your hands dirty in the process, because real tangible love is often messy.

Jesus kept the wounds in His hands, feet, and side to show us that in the end we won’t be known by our vast wealth or network or influence but by our scars.

You don’t get scars from sitting in a comfortable chair living out your perfect suburban life with a perfect wife and perfect kids in a perfect setting forever. You get scars by stepping away from everything that’s familiar and comfortable and going to meet Jesus in His most distressing disguise as a refugee or a homeless person or any of the least of these that are often ignored and overlooked.

Shameless plug: if you’re looking for a safe place to serve in the Nashville area, consider being a greeter for Kairos at Brentwood Baptist Church. It’s a much-needed ministry and a great way to get your foot in the door, ministerially speaking.

Whatever you do, remember the example Jesus set when He washed His disciples’ feet. That’s what true leadership and service look like.

The end.



A Good Place to Start

It was another good night at Kairos, a young(ish) adult worship event that takes place at 7pm every Tuesday night at Brentwood Baptist Church (shameless plug). It’s located off I-65 exit 71 if you’re ever in the area (another shameless plug).

Tonight, Mike Glenn spoke about how Jesus, who defined how we measure history, came into the world in an inauspicious way. He didn’t come with pomp and circumstance to Jerusalem or Rome. He was born to peasant parents in backwater Bethlehem and the first eyewitnesses to the event were some smelly shepherds keeping their flocks in a nearby field.

The takeaway from tonight? Jesus is looking for a good place to start.

If I can offer up even the most hesitant agreements and the most tentative yes to God, He can completely transform my world and then use me to transform the world around me. I still believe that because I’ve seen it too many times not to believe.

That’s why I love the Christmas story. Jesus didn’t ask us to get our acts together and get cleaned up so we could make our way to Him. While we was still mired in sin, Jesus came down to where we were and became one of us. Not as a high and mighty ruler or a holier-than-thou mystic, but as the son of a carpenter. A regular joe.

By the way, if you come to Kairos, they have free coffee and Cheez-Its. For me, that’s an irresistible draw, but I understand that not everyone has come to truly experience the awesomeness of the little snack crackers known as Cheez-Its. I pray they one day will.

And if you’re stuck in a rut or don’t like where you are, remember that God is always looking for a good place to start. Maybe that next place is in you?


Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given


“During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples: Take, eat. This is my body” (Matthew 26:26).

I’m in the middle of another Henri Nouwen book and I am loving it. He more than any other writer (except for maybe Brennan Manning) always seems to speak to where I am right here and now.

He says, “To identify the movements of the Spirit in our lives, I have found it helpful to use four words: ‘taken,’ ‘blessed,’ broken,’ and ‘given.'”

I had never thought about it that way before. I never looked at Jesus breaking the bread at Passover and made an analogy to my own life.

We are taken (or chosen) by God who loved us from the start. We are blessed by Him with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. We are broken by our own sin and the broken and marred world we live in with so much poverty, injustice, and inhumanity. We are given to be God’s hands and feet to bring healing and justice and compassion into the world.

I read somewhere that my life is loaves and fishes. Remember the ones that Jesus used to feed the 5,000? In and of myself, I can’t do much. But if I am blessed and broken and poured out, God can bless so many more through me.

News flash: God takes and uses broken lives, scarred hearts, screwed-up pasts, and promises left unfulfilled. He can use anybody. In fact, He more often than not prefers the outcasts and nobodies and failures to be the ones to turn the world upside down (see the 12 disciples for examples).

Lord, may I be taken by You, Who chose me before I was born and gave me the name Beloved, and blessed with as much of You as I can stand. Break my heart for the things that break Yours and then give me out to those in need.

PS The book I’m reading is Life of the Beloved. Expect more blogs to come out of this. I’m not even halfway through. And, to throw in yet another shameless plug, go buy or download or pilfer or ingest this book as soon as humanly possible. It’s that good.

My two cents on spiritual warfare

A group of guys and I have been watching a DVD series on spiritual warfare by Chip Ingram called The Invisible War (and yes, that was a shameless plug). It got me thinking about the mindset of so many American believers (including me) regarding the whole topic of spiritual warfare. Plainly put, either most of us don’t believe there is an war going on with an enemy that is constantly seeking our destruction. If we believe, we sure don’t live like it much of the time. Again, me included.

The war is real. The enemy is real. In this world, we are not tourists on vacation, or passengers on some kind of luxury cruise, but soldiers engaged in battle. Our ignorance of the battle and our enemy can only do us harm. We need to wake up to realize that we are under attack. But here’s the best part.

The battle is already won. Chip Ingram said, “As believers in Christ, we don’t fight FOR victory. We fight FROM victory.” That’s the good news (which is why it’s called the gospel!). But there is still a battle.

We fight back by putting on the armor of God as described in Ephesians 6: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. We should pray these on every morning and pray these for each other on a daily basis. We should pray with eyes wide open to the spiritual realm, asking God to give us eyes to see the battle around us like the Elijah prayed for his servant when they were surrounded by the Syrian army. We should pray for discernment and wisdom. Most of all, we should pray at all times to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled, taking every thought captive and submitting them to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We must fight together. If you are fighting the enemy on your own, apart from other believers, you may succeed for a season, but you will ultimately grow weary and faint. You will stumble and fall. You need other believers praying God’s protection over you, encouraging you and keeping you honest.

We fight ultimately with one weapon– LOVE. Not as a feeling, but as a decisive act of the will. We fight by showing that Calvary’s love is stronger than hate and that love overcomes anything. Chip Ingram said, “Love is giving to another person what they need the most when they deserve it least.” Love is doing whatever you can, even to your own detriment, for the good of the beloved. It means dying to yourself and your rights and own ideas about how the world should work.

So live with eyes wide open, hands raised, side by side with your brothers and sisters in Christ. And remember that the battle is already won and that we have overcome!

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.