Thursday, December 31, 2009


“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and they know me.” - John 10:14

I have these joint issues that won’t seem to go away. I’ve got balky knees and bad shoulders. I’ve had, to date, one knee surgery and two shoulder surgeries. It’s bothersome really because I never feel 100%. My problem is that I’m a 100% effort sorta guy. And I’m really into fitness and I am extremely active. Yet, there are days when I can’t do what I want, what I feel I’m capable of because of these issues. I’ve prayed that God would heal me from these things. He is, after all, the Great Physician, right? I mean, I’ve really fervently prayed for healing.

And God seems to be ignoring me. I have to admit; this has really pissed me off. ‘Why won’t You heal me,’ I asked over and over again. Nothing. Silence. Then, I started bitching at Him about it. I’m reminded when I do this that the apostle Paul had a “thorn” in his flesh also. Maybe, I thought, my “thorn” is to keep me humble cause I tend to get full of myself at times.

Recently, I was meeting with some fellow warriors. We were discussing John chapter 10. In this chapter, Jesus refers to himself as ‘shepherd’ a lot. Read it, you’ll see. So we were talking about this and my buddy Tom tells this story. He said he had heard this in a sermon. Listen to this and let it soak in.

Apparently, some sheep have a tendency at times to wander off. When this happens over and over, the shepherd will break one of the lamb’s legs. Then the shepherd will set the leg back and, while the leg heals, the shepherd will carry that lamb. Once the leg is healed, that lamb will not leave the shepherd again. I just sat there, stunned. A light came on in my heart. I could hear His voice in my heart saying, “Are you paying attention? Look at me, I have something to show you.” That’s when He told me what this was all about and walked me through it.

It’s all about the grace of the Shepherd. See, to break a lamb’s leg sounds cruel to everyone but a shepherd. The point is to teach the lamb that, apart from the protection and provision of the shepherd, there is only danger and death. I’m not saying that God is gonna break your leg or give you balky knees to make you more dependent on Him.

What I am saying is that He may allow you to know disappointment, despair, pain and discomfort. This is for our good.

Parents discipline their children out of love, to correct improper behavior. God allows life to punish us at times, cause us pain for a reason. That reason? So that we, the sheep, understand that our provision and protection is in the presence of the Shepherd. When we understand that, we recognize Him as “the good shepherd” and we run back to the fold, back to His arms.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Under a cold and barren sky,
full with the moon,
you come.
Crashing, shattering my solitude
with visions of joy,
Squeezing my soul
with new shades,
bright Dreams.
Powerless before you,
stunned by your touch,
I am undone.
In my dreams a thousand times,
I have longed, wept,
And then...
You come.
Breathless with your laughter,
haunted by your pain,
aching to give a love yet known;
Weeping with surrender before you.
Under a cold, clear moon
you come...
crashing into my heart
with visions of joy,
I am undone.


I really can’t stand those television preachers. You know, the ones who smile at you from their expensive suits and tell you God wants to give you stuff. Cars, houses, money, fame. I always thought that was a little weird cause I’ve never read that in the Bible anywhere. What I loathe so much about them is how fake they seem. Then I look at myself in the mirror and realize how fake I can be. Inevitably, we hear of some evangelist or pastor who falls. Or someone we know falls. And we are disappointed, disapproving. We shake our heads and say things like, “These people give Christianity a bad name.”

The thing I’m most convicted about and concerned about is this; what am I doing to turn people away from Christ? What in my life, in your life is giving Jesus a bad name? Not Christianity. Jesus. He is the standard bearer after all. Not your church or denominational label.


In the book or Romans, chapter two, Paul absolutely castigates the Jewish believers in Rome for their hypocrisy. In verse 1, he says, “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” But, later is where it hurts and becomes personal for me. In verse 24 of the same chapter, Paul says this. “No wonder the Scriptures say, ‘The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.’”


How many of us who claim His name has turned someone away from Jesus because of how we live our lives, our judgmental attitudes, our unsolved hypocrisy? Jesus put it this way in Matthew 7: 3-5. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

Isn’t it time we began to live our lives differently; with honor, integrity, grace, humility and love? If we claim the name of Christ, things should be different about our lives. It’s not easy for me either and I fail daily.

It might just be time for us to “put our money where our mouth is” in our own lives. It might be time for us to live the truth rather than just talking about it.

You live it. He will speak through you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and they know me…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:11, 14, 27 (New Living Translation)

We all hear voices. Don’t look at me like that. You know you do. So do I. The question isn’t whether or not we hear those voices in your head. The question is: which voice do you listen to? Awhile back, I began to seek the voice that would guide me. It didn’t take me long to realize that the voice I was looking for was His.

The voice of God. The call of the Shepherd.

I had a friend ask me, “Yeah but how do you know it’s Him?” I said, “Well, I just know. I know in my knower, ya know?” Seriously, it’s a valid question. First of all, I think we must recognize that we are sheep in need of a shepherd, wandering souls looking for meaning. We must, secondly, know the Shepherd. It’s hard to know the Shepherd at times.

He’s the ghostly figure in the night standing watch over our hearts and minds, protecting us from the predators, leading us to life giving water. He’s the one we so often take for granted and the one who never takes us for granted.

You have to know Him before you can recognize His voice. Once you know Him, you know His voice. It’s already there, we just have to read it in His word, recognize its song in our heart and act on it. The Shepherd will never guide you where His word will not take you.

A perfect example of this was shown to me recently. Every year, my extended family gets together to go Christmas caroling. One of my cousins brought her young daughter this year. Quick hit here: my dad is an identical twin. It has bearing on this story. So, my uncle’s daughter, Lori, brought her daughter, Sadie. We were standing in my aunt’s living room, all of us talking simultaneously. Sadie, being held by Lori, saw my dad. She looked at him, turned her head and looked at my uncle. You could see the obvious confusion on her face. She kept looking back and forth between them with that ‘what’s goin’ on’ look on her face. My dad said, “You want to come to me?” and held his hands out. Sadie again looked back and forth between them. My uncle smiled at her and simply said her name. “Sadie.” I saw her eyes light up. She turned to the voice she knew, smiled and reached out her arms to her grandfather.

Isn’t this true of us? We are so confused so often. We are looking back and forth between our options, considering our lives, choices to be made. Which way do we turn, how do we know which way to go? Then, the Father speaks, our Shepherd calls. We turn and He welcomes us with a smile and open arms.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sons and Daughters

I'm sick of panty-waist believers. I was talking to someone recently and told them we as Christ followers needed to learn how to live out our glory. He said he didn't have any glory, that his marriage was a wreck, his kids were a mess, he hated his job and the pissing and moaning went on for several more seconds. I thought gee, maybe you should go jump off a bridge. Seriously, could we whine anymore? What hogwash, what crap, indeed what lies of satan!

Peep this. "So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord - who is the Spirit - makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." - I Corinthians 3:18

This is our glory, that we have had the veil of satan's lies removed by Christ and we can reflect His glory. We act like we are defeated, beaten. Christians walk around like their world is coming to an end. Why are we accepting defeat; in our personal lives, in our churches, in our homes, in our walk with Christ? I see far too many believers with their heads down, mumbling their way through life. Stand up! Be bold! Was Jesus not bold? Are we not to follow His example? I'm not talking about beating people over the head with a bible or getting up in people's faces or being obnoxious. I'm talking about living lives of purpose, passion and joy because of who we are!

When you came to know Christ, the bible says you were made new. A new heart, a new identity. II Corinthians 5:17 says, "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" So why are we still living in defeat, like we've lost already? We haven't lost anything, we've already won! Hear the words of Christ from John 16:33. "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

Somewhere, along the way, when we met Jesus, when we came to know Him, He renamed us. Remember Jacob? He wrestled with an angel, with God. He met God face to face. God marked him with a limp and a new name. Israel. When you met Jesus, He marked you for glory, He gave you a new name. He now calls you sons and daughters of God! Did you hear me?! Sons and daughters!

Stand up! Live with the purpose of His glory made yours! This is the glory we have been created for; to be sons and daughters of God! Anything less is surrender, second best. Jesus calls us to more. Take heart, children of God, He has overcome!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All In

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ - Matthew 22: 37-39, New Living Translation

My brother and I taught my parents how to play poker last Thanksgiving. Not that my brother and I are any good at it but we were kinda chilling and we’re a card playing family so we thought why not. Turns out my mother is quite the card shark. She tries to look all innocent and confused. She’ll say, “Is this a good hand?” She says it with a smile while she cuts your heart out and takes all your chips.

While attending a retreat earlier this year, I heard one of the speakers use the analogy of poker chips. He talked about how some people will play and leave a couple of chips in their pocket just so they don’t walk away with nothing. In poker, this is not a bad idea. In life, you’re missing the point if you hold some back.

I think that was the point of what Jesus was saying here. To remind you of the story here, the religious types were questioning Jesus, wanting to try and catch him in an awkward moment to test him. So they asked what the most important commandment was. These verses in Matthew were Jesus’ reply. This is a matter of investment I think He was saying.

Notice Jesus says love with all; all your heart, soul and mind. All. Everything you got. Everything you are. Give until it hurts then give some more. Why would we hold back from God? Why wouldn’t we give all? What are we waiting for? What are we afraid of? He’s not going to hurt you. After all, He gave all for us. He gives all for us. I’m not saying our lives will be easy when we give all. Life is sometimes difficult and there will be pain. Look at Job, for goodness sake. But he didn’t waver. Job gave all and still worshipped God, even when all was taken.

Jesus loved so much that He gave His life, freely poured Himself out as the ultimate expression of Love. How could we think to give less?

This sense of giving should also be true of our relationships with other people. Jesus didn’t stop with just love God with all you got, He included everybody else too. Investing in other people hurts at times and it’s risky, let’s be honest. You will be hurt by others. But look at the reward. I promise you this. If we give to others, all we have in love, we will be rewarded. If in no other way, it’s good for your soul. Think about the last time you poured yourself out for someone. Didn’t that feel good? Didn’t that make you smile and give you that warm feeling? That was God’s way of saying ‘thank you’.

So, what are you holding back from those in your life? More importantly, what are you holding back from Jesus? Don’t keep that chip in your pocket. In life, in Love, in Him you can’t cash that in later. It’s now or never. All in.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I wanna move to Colorado and buy a Jeep. Or buy a Jeep when I get there or something. Seems to me Colorado would be so much cooler with a Jeep. You know, the whole living in the mountains, you gotta drive a Jeep and snow ski kinda thing. Or go back to Africa and do some great humanitarian works that will change the world and people will write songs about me.

I guess we all at times think the grass is greener somewhere else. We spend so much time wishing and dreaming of the other pasture, what’s over the fence that we don’t appreciate the value of the moment we’re in. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. But too often we are so preoccupied with the future that we are absent in the now. There may be a reason for where you are and what you are doing or going through. I’m not always happy about it either but this, now is where God has you.

If anyone in the world had a reason to think the grass was greener or dream of a different place, it was Jesus. Think about it. He was from H-E-A-V-E-N. That’s about as good as it gets, right? He was God. And He came here. Not like Donald Trump here. Like a dirt poor carpenter here to a people who were in the bondage of Roman rule. Where He came from was the epitome of peace. He was perfection. Yet He came to a poor family, born in a stable. For what?


Only love could look at this side of the fence and envision greener pastures. Only love would come to poverty and Roman rule, get blisters on His hands from work, sleep in the dirt. Only love would die just for you and me, even if we were the only ones. Only love rose from the grave to prove it was stronger than hate, stronger than us.

Is the grass greener over there? No. So learn to enjoy where He has you, the time He spends with you. Hold on to it. When we dream of greener pastures, just remember that His love is enough. Love exists now for the hope of a brighter tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009


The soft feel of dawn.
A cold, sacred hush
surrounds me, embracing
a new day.
Echoes of your laughter
hang softly in the air;
The sound of your smile
gently lights dark corners
of my soul.
To feel again...
I am overwhelmed by fresh
Hope, a new vision
of consequence, Love.
Understanding flits at the
periphery of joy, wraps its
unfamiliar warmth in bright
shades of new.
I heard Your laugh in my soul,
felt its push on my heart;
To believe in the possibility,
the calm quiet of surety.
I awoke in the soft feel of dawn
to find...

Jan. 20, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009


As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:3-5, 7, 10-11 (New Living Translation)

There’s really a lot packed into this story. Some popular opinion has it that this woman was Mary Magdelene, although the Bible doesn’t say so. Here’s a question I have; where was the dude? You know, the guy she committed adultery with. Where is he and why didn’t the religious types bring him to Jesus as well? Just curious.

This confrontation, this story is an astounding picture of the mercy of Jesus. This woman was, according to the Jewish law, to be executed for her crime. Aren’t some of us glad we don’t live under Old Testament Judaic law? Obviously the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus into something here. Why is it, I wonder, that so may religious leaders then, and today, seem to look for holes in Jesus, rules to govern, a salve for their insecurity? It’s like grace isn’t enough for them. But I digress. So, the Pharisees are trying to trap Him. But Jesus is a smart guy. And merciful. Think about this for a second. The Bible clearly teaches that God is perfect, without sin. In fact, He cannot stand to be near sin. Yet Jesus shows compassion when He doesn’t have to. We could all use some of what He’s having.

Jesus goes even further in speaking to the crowds after this incident in verses fifteen and sixteen of the same chapter. Hear the words of Jesus. “You judge me by human standards but I do not judge anyone. And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me.” Ok, did you get that, what Jesus said? “I do not judge anyone.” Contrary to what so much of the religious preach, Jesus does not judge us. He loves, He forgives, He shows mercy. This was an astonishing revelation for me. Not only am I forgiven, He does not and will not judge me. Later in the New Testament, Paul gets Jesus’ back. In Romans 8:1, Paul says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Read that again. And again. Did you feel that? If you belong to Christ, there is no condemnation, you are not judged. Jesus has already taken that judgment for you when He went to the cross. How can this not set you free to live the life He has called you to? Amazing love! Here’s where our part comes in and this is important. Go back to the woman. What did Jesus say to her? “Go and sin no more.” In other words, stop being who you are not. You are forgiven, set free. Stop being who you are not and live the life He calls you to.

When we are confronted by the love of God, the mercy of a Being who is love, we have two choices. Accept His mercy, His love and live in it. Or, reject it by walking away and living in our own power, living in sin. Why would we not want to walk in His love, embrace His mercy, to “go our way and sin no more”? So I guess the question is; what’s your choice?

Behind door number one, the chains of our sin, a life lived apart from His love. Behind door number two, the love, mercy and life of freedom He offers. Your call but it sounds like a no-brainer to me. Just sayin’.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I was married once. We are divorced now for a multiplicity of reasons. It was my fault and it was her fault. It was both our faults. I did a lot of stuff wrong. I was actually sort of a prick on several, actually a lot of occasions. But, as I said, we both made mistakes and we paid for those mistakes. We paid in the sense that we lost our marriage and we paid individually because something was lost. Something vital, something precious.

I remember praying about it all the time and begging God to help me, show me how to save what I saw dying before my very eyes. Then she would say something that would piss me off or I’d just have a bad day and out would come “the real me”. Things that should never be said to someone you love were said and I’d feel like an ass, a failure. I was a failure at it. I prayed and prayed. Nothing. I heard nothing. Our marriage fell apart around us and a part of both of us died.

I was really angry at God for a long time about that. I ranted at Him, cried out to Him, blamed Him and said some pretty nasty things to Him. I didn’t get it. Over time, there has been healing from all this. Jesus and I had some pretty in-depth conversations and He had plenty to say. I mostly just sat there and took it cause it was all true and terribly humbling.

He reminded me that all the crap that had happened was because of choice. My choice. I could have chosen to respond differently, I could have chosen to love, I could have chosen to be kind…and a hundred other stupid, selfish decisions I made. But, He didn’t condemn me for my bad choices, He merely pointed them out to me so I could learn from them.

There are times when God will swoop in and rescue us. I really believe that. There are times when He parts the “Red Sea” that stands in our way, times when He allows us to walk on water. Then, there are times when He gives us over to our choices, to the consequences. There are times He won’t part the sea cause we decided we’d swim across cause we’re smarter than Him, times He lets us sink under the waves cause we take our eyes off Him just like Peter did. He’s a gentleman and we have free will after all. I think there are times when we’re flailing face down in two feet of water, screaming that we can’t swim. I picture Jesus as the lifeguard saying, “Hey dude, put your feet down and just stand up.” He might just let us learn the hard way. He does that. Tough love some call it. It wasn’t a fun lesson for me either. It’s still not.

So when we make dumb decisions, don’t be surprised when He doesn’t stop us or interfere. He’s not our butler and He doesn’t owe me or you anything. Sometimes He wants to teach us something in the midst of the storm. Sometimes love isn’t fun but true love, His love is always faithful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I’ve been involved in two police action shootings during my career so far. One I pulled the trigger, one I did not. To begin to explain all the emotions that go along with that would be entirely too difficult to do unless you’ve been there so I won’t bother. Strangely enough, the one I didn’t pull the trigger in sticks out the most in my mind. I was on the SWAT team at my former department in Alabama, except we called ourselves SRT, Special Response Team. We were a busy team, plenty of action for us adrenaline junkies and plenty of training to keep us on that sharp edge. During one of our operations, we were assisting the county sheriff’s office on an entry. As our team started in to the door, the suspect opened up on us. Three of the first four guys that made it through the door were wounded, two of them pretty badly.

It was total chaos. I could hear the guys who were hit yelling, “I’m hit, I’m hit. Medic, Medic!” I could hear Dave laying down covering fire and screaming at everybody to get out, get out! Automatic gunfire, people screaming on the radio…seemed like the firefight lasted forever but it was over in a matter of seconds. I helped with the wounded. I was carrying Craig to a car to get him to the hospital. He was bleeding really badly all over the place and, as you can guess, in a tremendous amount of pain. I remember talking to him, telling him he was going to be fine. He was hurt really bad. I remember helping get Dave in a car. He had gunshot wounds to his shoulder and head. I think he was probably calmer than I was. It was surreal. Every once and awhile, I still have dreams about that night. I still hear my friends screaming and the sound of gunfire, I still feel the blood on my hands, soaking my call out uniform, holding their shattered bodies.

I can look back on that now and see some lessons, the turns that Christ has taken on this really horrible night. It is a perfect illustration to me of community. I think too many of us try to live our lives as though we were an island. You know, the whole ‘I’ll do it myself attitude’, as if we were the friggin’ Malboro Man or something. Our culture, for whatever reason, only solidifies that attitude. But we cannot do this alone. This life, I mean. We cannot live it alone. We weren’t meant to be alone. God created us to live in community, with others. Living and doing life together.

Look at Jesus’ time here as an example. Sure, He spent some time alone. The Bible clearly states on many occasions that Jesus went out to be alone and pray in the wee hours of the morning or often all night. But the vast majority of His time was spent with others, his disciples mainly. Doing life, teaching, laughing, crying, eating, griping about their feet being sore. Just living life together. I am learning that I need community as well. This is not easy for me. I’ve always been sort of a loner and spent a lot of time alone. But, as I learn more about Christ, He puts others in my life, draws me closer to other people to show me that I cannot do this alone, that He loves me.

When you are wounded by life…and you will be, know this. Christ is there to hold you and stop the bleeding but there are times when there are others there as well, holding your shattered mind, soul and heart until Help comes. Hold on to Him, hold on to them, cherish those we have in our lives that make up our community.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I keep shaving

I keep shaving all my hair off. I’m not really sure why exactly. I guess I can never decide what I want to do with my hair so I just cut it off so I don’t have to mess with it. I realize that might make me a little moody or crazy or whatever but it’s my hair so I guess I can cut it if I want. For a little over two years recently, I decided not to cut my hair. My assignment at work changed and I didn’t have to be clean cut anymore so I said ‘screw it, I’m not cutting it’. So, I didn’t. It got pretty long. In fact, it got long enough that, one night, I was asleep and rolled over on my own hair. When you’re a dude and you pull your own hair in your sleep, it might be time for a hair cut. Plus, my brother was getting married so it gave me the excuse I was looking for to cut it. Then, when I started cutting, I just didn’t stop till I was bald. I got a lot of funny looks from my co-workers and my mom looked at me and called me ‘Q-Tip’. I realize that some of you are wondering what the point is.

I think it’s a matter of identity. I struggled for a long time knowing who I was. I mean really, how many of us really know ourselves and who we really are? When Jesus spoke to me, I was a little scared to be honest with you. Then, He started using words like friend and I felt comfort. Then He called me son and I realized I had come home. Home to where someone knew me and loved me for who I was cause that’s who He made me to be. I was having a conversation recently with a good friend. He began to talk about the changes he had seen in my life. Then he said something interesting. He said, “When I first met you four years ago, I could see who you really were. It’s been good to see you become who you are.”

That really struck me. I spent a lot of time thinking about that and He helped me sort through that, unpack it if you will. He began to speak into my heart about my sonship in Him, how my real identity is found in Him. Jesus talked about that a lot, about how He and the Father were one. Then, I realized that God calls me son too. He calls me friend and tells me, in His word, that He created a new heart in me. So, it’s true. I am a new man. You are a new person. He has created your identity in Him. He calls you son or daughter and friend. Today, rest in your identity as a child, a friend of God.

By the way, you don’t have to shave your head. In case you were wondering.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


How wonderful it would be if we all believed in magic. If we all believed that there was something else, something greater, bigger, darker, brighter...magical. We could all live our lives believing and striving for that magic, that something, that Someone. Maybe we should all go back to being children when there were monsters, things hiding under the bed, cops and robbers, good versus evil. I've heard people say that children are too simple-minded. Really? Maybe us grown ups are too complicated-minded. Perhaps we have overcomplicated things. Maybe life is as simple as cookies and milk, sleepovers, puppies and the mystery of a great scary story.

Jesus once said that our Father would take care of us more than the sparrows. Think about sparrows for a minute. Do we ever see them worrying? Not that we know what sparrows think, unless you're a bird whisperer or God. Seriously though, think about it. We have over-complicated and cluttered our lives until we don't even recognize it as life. We worry, we fret, we buy and sell, worry about whether this girl or that guy likes us, if our clothing is in style. When was the last time we simply slowed down and looked around us at the magic in our lives? When did we last watch a sunset, wonder at its beauty and be amazed? To watch the heart of stone in people melt; the look in someone's eyes who is set up to be angry or suspicious until...we are needlessly compassionate, when we reach out to touch someone's hand because they are God's child, a fellow human on this journey.

I was in California on Valentine's Day of this year. It was a coolish night and I was walking down a sidewalk in Santa Barbara with my friend Vanessa. We had just come out of a coffee shop, I don't remember the "brand". I like to imagine it was some quaint little shop in Italy where people knew me and I spoke Italian. Anyways, we walked out of the shop arm-in-arm. As we began to walk away from the shop, I heard a voice say, "Hey man, can I get some change?" I looked over my shoulder to see what was clearly a homeless man sitting on a bench. He was dirty, unshaven and honestly looked a little drunk. What did I do? I kept walking, didn't even blink, walked right past the guy like he wasn't even there. I got about fifteen feet away from him when I felt His push on my heart, His voice in my soul, "Go back." I argued with the Voice, "I don't want to. He's probably drunk and he'll use the money to buy more booze or dope." I could almost see the smile on His face, "So? Why do you care? It's not up to you. Go back, I want to show you something." So back I went. As I approached this man, I honestly began to wonder what his name was, where he was from. I suddenly wanted to sit with him, buy him a beer and ask him to tell me his story. I walked up to him, he looked up at me and I could see it in his eyes. Suspicion, hope, rejection, fear, hunger, despair, hope...all of it. It was like slow motion. I watched my hand extend with my fresh cup of great coffee in it toward him. I heard my voice say, "Hey dude, would you like my coffee instead?" I could see it again; suspicion, hope, rejection, fear, despair, hope. Then I saw something else in his eyes...tears. His hand was shaking when he took the cup and I heard him...and Him...say, "Thank you." Then it happened. Magic. And I couldn't stop smiling.

This story, just so you know, is not about me being nice cause I'm usually not. But I learned something that night in Santa Barbara. I learned that the Voice still speaks, that He had something to show me and, had I not gone back, I'd have missed what He had to say, I'd have missed the magic. How wonderful it would be if we all believed in Magic.

I do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Purpose

"We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren't capable of remembering how we got here...God is slowly turning the lights on...What I'm saying is I think life is staggering and we're just used to it. We are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we're given..." - Donald Miller

Just sit and think about that for a second. Let is soak in really good. The glory of life, what a thought!! Too many of us are walking through life like it doesn't matter how we live, as though life doesn't matter, as though there is no glory. We're just here. How wrong could we possibly be? When God created me/you, He did it on purpose. He meant something when He made you. That is staggering, humbling, almost numbing if you really let it sink in. What a gift we've been given. I know that life sucks sometimes, sickness comes on us, selfishness shatters relationships, abuse happens, death crashes happens. I just think that we should all take some time to realize that God deliberately made us for a deliberate purpose and that is to embraced with all that we are. What an isult it becomes to our Maker when we don't live like we mean it.

During this time of year, we are supposed to be thankful, right? I know, sometimes it doesn't feel like it. I feel alone sometimes too (alot actually), I have and do feel the burning anguish of loneliness, the mental shrug of 'whatever' meaninglessness. We've lost jobs, people have hurt us, and we have hurt others. But then, He speaks into my heart...words of love, words of life, words of joy and purpose. And I realize I am not alone, that my life has purpose and meaning. And I am thankful. I am thankful for my life, all the pain, the self-imposed bullshit I've put myself through, all the laughter and tears, all those long nights I spent inside a bottle, in the arms of the bimbo of the week, all those moments of hating myself and my life. I'm even thankful for the consequences of my stupid behavior. I'm thankful because He has shown me that it was for a reason, a purpose greater than me.

I have learned so much about my own weakness. I am learning to live with purpose because God meant something when He made me and He meant something when He made you. What a difference it would make in our lives, in others' lives if we all began to live each moment recognizing the power of that moment, to know it matters. Not 'live like you were dying' but live like you were living. Laugh more, cry more, know that some of this is going to hurt but that's kinda the point, right?

Live on purpose, recognizing His gift. Live your life like the gift it is and can be to others. Be thankful. Live like you were meant to live; on purpose, with a purpose!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I remember simpler times.
A place where the wind blew not,
a warm, dry place,
shelter from this freezing rain,
from bitter, harsh reality.
Moments of beauty,
waves sighed gently on the shore,
birds hung lazily on the warm breath
of contentment, peace...
Times when my heart sang loudly its love;
Every breath i drew was a moment
suspended, waiting
for a touch, a glance,
a kiss piercing bated breath...
I remember.
Now they are gone,
those stolen seconds of bliss.
All is grey, cold rain hisses
on the fire of my resolve,
threatening to consume me,
Was there us?
I wonder was it a dream,
some thing, false memory I created
to give meaning to a room gone dark,
a heart bleeding itself on the floor of my soul.
I remember more simple times,
things; A place where the wind...

Aug. 23, 1999

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


A world of damp,
a cold rain hisses.
A grey day threatens resolve,
drowns reserves, mutters
of doubt, fear.
Something there is that makes
me walk in the rain, feel
the soaking into my soul…
Throwing a challenge in
the teeth of cold, liquid lies;
to shout Hope!
In this incessant void,
to see Love renewed.
A world of damp
bleeds new life on
the fabric of my soul.
Warm rain pours
over my heart, lending
strength, Hope,
quiet shoutings to
rise up in Love!
Something there is that
makes me run in the rain…

Monday, November 16, 2009


“Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” – Luke 4:1

I remember reading this and wondering why the Spirit would, in one translation, “drive” Jesus into the wilderness. Then, I spent this last weekend (well, part of it) in the wilderness hiking and rock climbing and I think I get it now. Well, I have begun again to understand it. What a great weekend this was! I visited a camp facility in northern Alabama, near the Appalachian Trail. What beauty, raw and wild I saw.

Saturday I arrived at this camp facility. I was there to look over their facilities for a possible site for future men’s retreats. Little did I know that God had something else in store for me. I met the guy who runs the camp. His name is Roy. I didn’t ask him how old he was but he looked like he was probably in his 60s. He showed me around the facilities and we chatted for awhile. Then, he asked me if I could drive a 4-wheeler and off we went into the wild.

We drove for awhile to the brow of the mountain, overlooking a tree-clad valley named by the locals as ‘The Penitentiary”. As we stood on the cliff, with a waterfall providing the music, I could feel my soul take a big, deep sigh of relief. Roy began to go into his vision of how to use this wonderful property could be used to reach people. Then, he kind of smiled at me and said, “You mind hiking? Let’s do some exploring; I’ve got a couple things to show you.” So, we began to hike around the summit of this cliff and he led me to an entry of a rock canyon which led down the mountain to the valley. He pointed into it and said, “We’re going down. Follow me.”

Down we went, climbing and scrambling over and under rocks, working our way down the canyon. During the climb down, there were areas we literally had to crawl to fit between rock walls shooting into the sky. The whole way down, Roy led the way, guiding me down with encouragement and example. Then, we came to a crack in the rock, a chute that ran down at an angle to a landing of rock. Roy began to explain how we needed to descend the chute. We would have to use our legs pressed against one side of the rock face while pressing our backs and upper bodies into the rock face on the other side. We would, he explained, be able to descend the chute without using our hands at all, a process he called ‘bridging’. The key, Roy explained, was the keep your legs strong and not get too vertical. And down we went. Keep in mind, this dude in his 60s but he was down that rock like a kid. He displayed such confidence and energy, I was honestly amazed. He beat me down, of course, because I was behind him. When he reached the bottom, he turned to encourage and coach me down, taking a few photos while he was at it. When I reached the bottom, he just smiled and said, “See, too many people have stopped believing in themselves. They’ve already told themselves they can’t do this or that. But, you can do what you thought you couldn’t just by a little effort and belief.” Ding! Teaching moment. Then we hiked out of the canyon, all the while listening to the sound of the wind in the trees, leaves crunching underfoot, a soft breeze blowing, sun shining off the rocks…a picture of raw, visceral beauty. I took the whole way up the canyon to just feel, not think about anything.

We climbed back on the 4-wheelers and drove to another spot on the mountain to have a look at another building he’s working on. While there, the sun was beginning to set. I stood there, looking through gaps in the trees at the sun setting over the Tennessee River. I looked at Roy, smiled and said, “I can feel the stress running right out of my toes.” Back down the mountain we went. I spent a little while cleaning up at my cabin before dinner that night with Roy and his wife, sister in law and Tye, a volunteer at the camp who lives for adventure. We talked into the night of faith, God, interpretations and our practices of faith, told stories of life, love and loss…a wonderful day capped off by a great evening. I walked back over to my cabin and was serenaded to sleep by the sound of the waterfall behind my cabin.

Back to Jesus in the wilderness. There is something about being surrounded by a completely natural setting, something raw and visceral that awakens inside us when we are ‘out’. I needed that so badly to reconnect with a natural part of my life, an embrace of God that I simply cannot find in my daily life, my crackberry ringing, my computer, my boss. I left the mountain feeling completely energized with the embrace of love He showed me this weekend. See, I think Jesus went into the wilderness for several reasons. He went because the Spirit sent Him there to renew, prepare and experience an embrace from the Father that He could not get in the busyness of His life. When did we lose that? Why have we allowed our lives to become so busy that we cannot or do not take time out to reconnect, to renew, prepare and experience the embrace of a God who made all that beauty just for us? Get out, feel what He has made for you, for me and welcome His embrace!

Monday, November 9, 2009


“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” – Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)

I was recently having a conversation with a friend who was remarking about the things that God seems to be doing and the changes He has made in my life. This person went on to basically say that there were things that needed to change in their life but they probably wouldn’t change. When I asked why, this person said they wouldn’t change because they didn’t want them to change, that there were things they were unwilling to give up, actions which are clearly at odds with the way Christ calls us to live. I started to think about this and realized that this in an issue of freedom and slavery. This passage from Isaiah speaks specifically to that. Actually, when Jesus began his public ministry, this is the passage He quoted in the synagogue that day. I wonder why.

See, many people seem to think that a life lived with Jesus means some sort of list of rules, dos and don’ts. This could not be further from the truth. Jesus himself said, in quoting Isaiah, that He came to set us free, to bring us the good news of freedom and life and to comfort us. Set us free from what? Slavery. Slavery to ourself, to the lies that satan feeds us, from the sin which we bask in as though we really enjoyed it. I can only look at my own life for a story of self-induced slavery.

During my twenties, I was a slave. I served so many masters, I had no idea what I was doing about half the time. I served the master of booze, sex and anger, just to name a few. I was in bondage and hated myself for every second I spent wallowing in those pits and then hated myself for hating myself. I was so turned around, I had no idea how to break free or which way was up or down.. And, satan was happy. See, he got me to agree with all the crap said about me, all the things I lived out. He got me to agree that I was a drunk, that I was a womanizer and an angry young man. Once I agreed, the chains were clamped on and I became a slave.

Then, to top it all off, my beloved sister died suddenly for some reason I could not possible comprehend. My world was rocked, shattered. I was numb, raging, confused and desperate. In that rage, that fog of confusion, He spoke to me. He told me he loved me and He had come to show me a new way, a way to freedom. Naturally, I was in no mood at the time to listen to a God who had just allowed my sister to die. But, things began to change and He would not stop chasing me, He would not let me go, He would not let me surrender to my chains. And, over time, He is making all things new in my life.

He has showed me how to live without slavery, without fear, without chains. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are times when I still jump back into old habits, back into slavery. It is at those times that He simply reminds me of who He is and how much He loves me. I want you to know that you don’t have to be who you hate. You can remake yourself if you will only surrender to the One who makes all things new. If you find yourself wanting to change, to break free, then throw yourself on Him, His mercy, His love for you. He loves you and He will remake you. The Word says that He has created in us a new heart, that we are a new creation if we know Him. There is no compromise with evil. We cannot live in a way that says, ‘Well, give me this and I’ll do what you ask.’ It’s not that we don’t love God, it’s just that we love ourselves more than we love Him and, for whatever reason, we are addicted to our chains, our self-made prisons.

In the movie Braveheart, there is a scene which rings true with this theme. The princess is sent to barter peace with Wallace and his army. The king offers Wallace land, titles and a chest of gold if Wallace will only withdraw his army. Wallace’s response? He refuses of course because to accept this bribe, this agreement would make him a Judas to his own people, to himself. The princess says, “Peace is made in such ways.” Wallace snaps back with fire in his eyes, “Slaves are made in such ways!”

So, will you accept the offer that the great liar has for you? Will you accept his compromise, his chains? Why would we choose our chains? Why would we choose to be slaves? Would you be free? Ask yourself that question…do I want to be free?

Would you be free? Then you must stand and fight!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Hope glimmers faintly
on the horizon of my soul,
bleeding, sighing into darkness as the sun sets,
fading, clawing into blackness.
My heart feels frozen,
quiet in this time of waiting,
awash in the pale moon of emptiness.
I cannot surrender
to the sinking inevitability
of loneliness, pain which seems to know no end.
Confusion wars with discipline in
this quiet morass of chaos.
So many questions, so little time.
And now, I must wait again
for Love, Peace, Surrender...
Hope glimmers faintly in this suffocating blackness,
fading, clawing
toward the horizon of my soul.

Nov. 6, 2001

Where is the love?

Somebody correct me if I’m wrong here but, if we claim the name of Christ, shouldn’t there be something different about our lives? I know this…I know far too many Christ followers, myself included, that claim His name and live contrary to what He teaches. I’ll give you a perfect example…language. I cuss too much. Now, lemme just say this; I’m not one of those legalists that is going to condemn you to hell for using “cuss words”. If I did that, I’d have to condemn myself. I don’t think it’s about “cussing” anyway, I think it goes much deeper than that. To make major issues out of peripheral issues like cussing or drinking beer is to cheapen faith and what it means to follow Christ; it trivializes it in my opinion.
Back to cussing. I’ll use myself as an example here and one other dude I know. I too often find myself, when I get pissed (angry if you’re one of those legalist types that don’t like that word), I sometimes let a word or two fly. I used to think well, that’s okay. I mean, it’s not like I’m using His name in vain or anything, right? (whatever that means) Anyways, I work with a guy who is very outspoken about his church attendance. He’s actually a deacon at his church, I might add, and he’ll tell people this. When I get to the office in the mornings, he’s usually here, sitting at his desk, reading “the good book” as he calls it. His partner walks in and the the usual ‘man banter’ begins. Within seconds…not minutes, seconds…he’s droppin’ f-bombs etc etc. This happened yesterday and I just looked at him for a second. I wanted to say, “Hey man, why do you even bother to read your bible or tell people you got to church?” I shut my mouth very quickly when Jesus whispered softly in my heart, ‘You know you should worry about yourself first, right?’ That shut me right up.
I will say this though…cause this is what I do is run my mouth and voice my opinions. Actually, let me start with this whole church thing. I am not a fan of “organized religion”. Let me just get that out there right away. I often skip church and I am a Christ follower. I do believe in church attendance but I think that we and our church leaders too often substitute that for a relationship with Christ. So, church is not the answer folks. Christ is. Enough of that for now, I’ll come back to that another time.
Who do we think we are, us ‘Christians’, those who claim Christ? We are horrible witnesses to those outside the faith. I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves here. We are the reason people don’t come to Christ. He is not the reason, we are. Our behavior does not point others to Christ. If we claim His name, we should be living like we know Him, right? If we’re not, then we should shut up, cause we are really doing some damage to the Kingdom work. Here’s another one that really chaps me; Why are we against everything? Seriously, when was the last time you heard a ‘Christian’ talk about love, tolerance, acceptance for those “different”? No, we’re too busy condemning homosexuality, beer drinkers, smokers and those who fornicate. Where is the love, people?
I again consider Christ. If you will read His story in what we call the Gospels, He hung out with the scum of society. And I love Him for it, cause I am guilty of scum behavior at times. Doesn’t that give you hope? Shouldn’t we share that hope freely with anyone and everyone, whether or not we agree with what they are doing? Of course Christ told people to stop sinning. I have a news flash for all of us. We are not Christ. It is His job to change behavior; it is ours to love others. Notice that not once in the Gospels does Jesus tell his disciples that He wants them to go out and judge people for their sins. I am the chief of judgment on others so I’m preachin’ to myself here as well and I’m not saying we shouldn’t give our opinion about something if we are asked. Let’s just give our opinion in love. This is my prayer. I want Him to show me love, to teach me love, tolerance for others because that’s what He said.
Hear the words of Christ. “’Jesus replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22: 37-38, NLT.
I didn’t say it. He did. Perhaps we should heed that.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


"You cannot kindle a fire in any other heart until it is burning within your own." - Eleanor Doan

I posted this quote a few days ago on my fb page. My niece's response? "I don't get it." Sadly, I don't think she's the only one who doesn't get it. When did we lose our fire, our passion? When did we begin to surrender? We, as Christians, have begun, in my opinion, to surrender, to acquiese to satan. It begins very subtly. We become lazy in one aspect, one area of our lives, eg. exercise. Some will push back and say that has nothing to do with "spirituality" or faith. Bull! We need to begin to realize that Christ wants all aspects of our lives....ALL. When we don't strive to be what He has called us to be, we abdicate our responsibilities as Christ-followers.
I look to the word. God was constantly chipping away at great biblical heroes; to make them more, to train them. Moses was sent to the wilderness for forty years so that God could prepare him to lead the Jews to freedom. David reaped the consequences of his sin to be broken before Him, to be called 'a man after God's own heart'. Gideon's army was taken away from him so that he could face his own fear and learn that God provides. Peter denied Christ, yet Jesus declared, "On this rock I'll build my church". Paul, perhaps the greatest missionary of all time, was stoned, shipwrecked, locked up. Christ Himself asked the Father to "let this cup pass".
Why? Because His ways are not our ways. He is interested in our character, our heart, our passion and its development. That fire that should burn inside us comes from God but that doesn't mean that we just lay down and wait for Him to do something. Be proactive, be faithful in the small things of life.
Hear the words of Paul. "I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." - Phillipians 3:12-14
Paul says he presses on, he works to achieve. I personally believe this effort, this discipline, this fire applies to every aspect of our lives. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, the Bible says we should be striving for perfection. It doesn't say reach perfection, it says strive; we must press on, we must try. It's called discipline.
I read an article recently about Lance Armstrong. One of the things we know about him, along with his phenomenal physical abilities, is the strength of his will. This is a man who knows about striving, pressing on, fire in his soul. This iron in the soul, the fire in our belly...we owe it to Christ who came for us, who gave all for love. Imagine the will it took for Christ to go to the cross, to experience that anguish. He didn't have to do that. He chose to because of His love that could not be broken, His will that would not surrender.
If we are not pushing ourselves, stretching our soul, our minds, our bodies, our hearts...if we are not striving to be more, love more, then we have already surrendered who we were meant to be.


Ever feel like you’re drowning, choking on the dust and blood of a battlefield somewhere? Do you ever feel like you’re in the middle of D-Day, a firefight for your soul and all that is good? You are. So am I. In that moment, we’re cruising along and BOOM! Blindsided by the fight, the war going on around us. We start thinking, ‘What the hell is this? Where’s God when I need Him?’ Well, that’s what I start thinking, what I have said to Him recently…maybe I’m the only one but I doubt it. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting my butt handed to me on a pretty deep level, an intense time of spiritual warfare. Let me just say this…whether you believe in spiritual warfare or not, it is very real. It doesn’t really matter if you believe in it or not, it exists with or without your “belief”. I always love it when people say to me, “I don’t believe in God.” Cause I think and often say, “Well, that’s okay because He believes in you.” But, I digress.
So, back to the fight over the last couple weeks. As I said, the battle has been raging and it took my mother to kinda point it out to me that this was what was going on. Then, it took fellow warriors, brothers to come around me and begin to pray with me before the Light began to break through. This morning I met with a couple brothers for coffee. I love these times of sharpening, these times of guarding my heart as Mike put it this morning. So, we’re discussing what’s going on in our lives and Mike says, “This is all preparation. God has you on a crash course for something.” And, I was reminded of Paul…that would be the Apostle Paul, by the way. You know the guy who was beaten, stoned, thrown in prison etc. for his faith, for proclaiming the good news of freedom and life, remember him? Anyway, Paul speaks of training and preparation, buffeting his body, disciplining himself to “fight the good fight”. See, even Paul knew you had to train, prepare.
I was talking to my dad the other day about all that has been going on and asking for advice. Despite some philosophical differences, I always seek my father’s advice. He is one of the wisest men I know. Besides, he seems to be a lot less emotional than me so he’s calmer. Anyway, I was talking to him about all this and he says (paraphrasing), “Remember Ephesians 6 where Paul talks about spiritual warfare and putting on the armor of God. Use the shield of faith, ask God to shield you. Put on the belt of truth by reading scripture. Pick up your sword, our only offensive weapon. Get ready to fight cause you’re in a fight, it’s on.” Now, as I said, I’m paraphrasing what Dad said but holy crap! I got fired up just by him saying that. So, I did. I begged God to shield me, save me from these attacks because I can’t do it without Him.
Some of my friends know how passionate I am about physical fitness. I’m kind of a nut really. Over the last several months, I have discovered a new training regimen. It’s called CrossFit. While I’m not plugging it, it is a fantastic workout and training regimen. The other day, I was at the gym with my coach/trainer. We were doing a CrossFit workout named ‘The Filthy 50’. This involved 10 exercises, 50 reps of each exercise as fast as you can do it. So, I’m working through this, training through it. I’m starting to hurt really badly and suck air. My coach, Bryn, says to me, “I know it sucks. I know it hurts. But, don’t stop, don’t slow down. Keep going! Don’t stop! Don’t stop!” And so, I didn’t stop, I kept moving, kept pushing and broke my own record by over five minutes.
See, I see Jesus sometimes as a coach and as that wise father-figure I go to. He’s the guy saying to me, “Get under the shield. Don’t stop, keep going! Draw your sword, it’s on!!” Know this, He will shield you, whatever you’re going through. He is preparing you, training you for what lies ahead. We cannot fight effectively without training. Soldiers understand this, cops understand this. We must prepare for the day of battle as if our lives depended on it because our lives depend on it!!
So, I know it sucks. I know it hurts. But, don’t stop, don’t slow down. Keep going! Don’t stop! Draw your sword, it’s on!!


Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.” John 4:10 (The Message)

I love this story about Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman. Read the whole story and let it really sink in.. I’m involved with a group of men who meet every Tuesday night to study the Word and hang out together. Awesome time spent with those fellow warriors, by the way! What I really love about hanging out with these guys is that we’re all searching, we’re all wondering how to make this life work and how our faith fits into it all. This is all very real and raw and wonderful and I dig it. So, Tuesday night, I shared with the guys how I’ve been getting my butt handed to me recently. It’s been a rough couple weeks, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. I have just had the crap kicked outta me. So, while I’ve been raging against this all and looking for some retribution for a recent betrayal, I’ve been wondering why I feel so tired all the time. So, I’m driving home from work Monday night and I was talking to my mother on the phone. I was bitching, pissin’ and moanin’ about the crap that’s going on. She says to me, “You know what this is right? You are under attack and satan is trying to distract you and get you mad so you lose focus.”A light bulb came on in my heart. Why is it that when we are under attack, we are so often lost in our own battle and we don’t see the bigger picture for what it is? So, God used my mom to kinda wake me up there. That’s when things got cool. Before going to bed Monday night, God and I spent some time together. I apologized for being distracted and allowing myself to fall back into some old patterns that have been counterproductive in the past…and clearly still are.Tuesday morning I’m driving to work. As I’ve said before, I’m a moments kinda guy. I have discovered that He uses these moments to speak to me, often by nature. I love fall. It is by far my favorite season. The leaves, the cooler weather…love it! So, the great liar was kicking me in the teeth again on Tuesday, saying nasty things to me; telling me that I am the problem, not those people who betrayed my confidence, those old patterns felt good to slip back in to, look how easy it was….yada yada yada.So, I’m driving up 126th Street and I’m feeling it all come back. I literally have this thought, a voice in my head that says ‘look left’. I turn my head to look at what I don’t know and there it is. I was passing a small house and, in the yard are two big trees. I have no idea what kind of trees they are and don’t care. The leaves were a brilliant, luminous yellow on one tree and blood red on the other. The sun was behind the trees, lighting up the leaves…it was breathtaking, beautiful. I could almost literally hear Him saying to me, “That is for you. Just wanted to tell you that I love you. Thanks for being my son.” I was staggered, stunned, done. Tears began to run down my cheeks. See, He knows me very well. He knows how the beauty and power of nature touch me and He knows how those moments move me. God took time to reach down, put His arm around me, touch my heart. He didn’t have to do that but He did. He met me where I needed Him in that moment in an intensely personal way.Rewind to this story in John about the Samaritan woman at the well. In that moment, Jesus took time to touch this woman in a deep, personal way. To speak into her heart and soul in a deeply intimate way that only she would understand. He didn’t condemn her for her clearly immoral lifestyle, He didn’t berate her. He simply spoke into her heart and shattered her preconceptions. He loved. Know this…He is a personal God who comes to where you are to meet your needs, touch your heart and speak to you. The whole Bible is the story of a God who cares, who comes to us, touches us, bleeds for us, loves us without precondition. He knows you and me personally and cares for us in an intensely personal way. He meets us where we are and says, “I just wanted to tell you that I love you. Thanks for being my child.”

In Honor

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said,"I came naked from my mother's womb,And I will be naked when I leave.The Lord givesand the Lord takes away.Praise the name of the Lord!"In all this, Job did not sin by blaming God.
-Job 1:20-22

I have taken part in an event, a passing, over the last couple of days that gives me pause, a reason for reflection. Today, we buried one of ours, a fellow soldier. She was faithful to her duty and never shirked it, even when it caused her pain. She was always cheerful, with a smile and a warm hug to give, encouraging her fellow officers, her fellow humans. She was courageous, valiant and hopeful through her disease and suffering. She leaves behind a mark, an imprint on our hearts, a line in the sand of time.
Leslie was not only a fine police officer and valued friend, she was my sister in Christ. I think I will miss her most for that. She was the first to come to me after my divorce, with kindness in her eyes, and tell me she was praying for me. She encouraged me as I began to reach out in my faith, prayed for me as I launched a men's group for police officers in my home. Less than a week before she died, I went to visit Leslie, to say my goodbye. I knew she was in bad shape and had not been given long to live. Her condition, both physical and mental, was shockingly bad for someone who had always been so vibrant and healthy. She was heavily medicated, due to the pain. And yet, the first thing she did was smile from ear to ear and said, "Gimme a hug." She smiled again as we embraced and asked me how my men's group was going. I was astounded...she was dying and wanted to know how God was working in my life. Before I left her that Wednesday, I held her hand as we prayed together and cried together. I thanked God for who she was and how she had lived her life.
I have been honored in my life to have known several women who lived out their faith with more than just words. Three immediately come to mind; my mother, my sister and Leslie. My sister I lost six and a half years ago. Despite that pain, He showed me His faithfulness through the faithfulness of my sister..and He continues to show me that. Watching how Leslie lived her life was and is humbling. I have never known that type of courage, that kind of faithfulness through that kind of agony. She never wavered in her steadfast hope in Christ and she lived in such a way that others could see Jesus. Here's where it gets a little murky for me cause I don't get it. I don't understand why people like my sister and Leslie have to die at young ages. I do, however, know the Guy who has the answers.
Talking with some of the guys yesterday, one of them said, "She was the real deal." Think about that for a moment. I know I did.Isn't it time that we were all the "real deal"? I'm not talking about perfection. I'm talking about pointing others to Christ with the way we live our lives. Leslie wasn't perfect, I'm not perfect, you're not perfect. But, we gotta try, right? I honor Leslie because she was the real deal. I wanna be the real deal; I want my life to point others to Christ.
When I left Leslie's home last week, I hugged her for what I knew would be the last time here on earth. When I stood up to leave, she smiled at me and said, "I'll see you later." His kingdom work on earth lost a great leader and tender warrior this week. The King welcomed her home this week, saying, "Well done my daughter. Rest now."Leslie, I'll see you later...

The Wall

This last weekend was an event. A moment in time and space where God showed up. It was again wonderful to watch the light switch come on as men begin to learn what we were created for…a life of freedom, real life and consequence. My first boot camp was in the spring of this year, April to be precise. A couple of my friends…brothers now…Paul and Rob would not leave me alone about attending. So, I went. I went for several reasons. I went because my brothers pressed me into the heart of Christ and pursued me and I went because I was thirsty for more in life. The first one was a shock to my system, a blow upside the head. I was shocked into quiet by the crashing of His presence and love into my life in a blazing, fresh way. Jesus showed up that weekend in April and told me that He had something for me to do, He wanted to set me free to live the life He had for me. I didn’t really know what to do with that. I mean, the church never told me that Christ came to set me free. The church told me to be good, be dutiful, to follow the rules, not rock the boat. Jesus showed up and said, “Hey dude, wake up! I came for you to have real life, to follow in freedom, to get up off your butt and live!” And, so this journey began. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the things He has been leading me into but the ride has been good. Bumpy, yes…rocky, yes…frustrating, yes…fulfilling beyond words!So, this past weekend was the fall Outpost Boot Camp. I invited my dad to come along on this one…my earthly dad that is. I’ll be honest, I was a bit surprised when he agreed to come. Surprised but delighted. I was a bit apprehensive actually. I was looking forward to it because I wanted my dad to see what I was passionate about, what had set me on fire. I wanted him to be able to experience the freedom that I had felt. Not that I think my father isn’t free, I just personally feel he has been tied down at times by “the church”. I was also a bit nervous cause this time, my dad was going to watch me in a leadership role…I was a group leader this time.Lemme just get into that for a minute. I truly don’t feel qualified to lead men in this…well, I didn’t. Then, Jesus told me I was qualified and I needed to put up or shut up because He was capable and, through Him, so was I. What could I do except follow Him, obey, pour myself out? See, it’s time for me to surrender my fear, time for me to embrace the gifts He gave me and intends for me to use, time for me to stop offering excuses and step up to the plate. So, here I was, nervous about that but knowing that God was going to show up. And, brother, did He. I think I actually learned more this weekend than in April. April was a shock to my system…this weekend was a teaching time, a time for Him to embrace me, to begin to Father me in a new way.Friday night was a very emotional night for me. It’s sort of difficult for me to describe it actually but I’ll try. I want to share this because it was so meaningful and personal, illustrating to me that God loves me individually and personally. He showed me again how much He loves me. After one of the evening sessions, my dad and I were standing in the dining hall talking. During our conversation..and I don’t even remember the exact words…my dad became emotional, as did I. As I was walking away from him to join my small group, he reached up, squeezed my shoulder and said, “I’m proud of you.” I was overwhelmed. I walked away from my dad and got about two feet away from him when the tears came. See, in that moment, God spoke to me, fathered me. I saw His smile, felt His touch and heard His voice in the words of my earthly father, “You are my son and I am proud of you.” I was a mess, I was sobbing at the beauty, the tenderness, the vulnerability of that moment. My small group, recognizing that I had something to deal with, gave me the opportunity to go back and speak with my father, rather than join in immediately. So, I pulled my dad out of his group and we had a moment that will always ache with feeling for me, no matter how long I live. We shared an embrace, tears. That moment with my dad…and my Father…will live forever in my mind and heart. God spoke to me in the embrace of my dad, in the tears we shed together, in the words from his heart, “I’m proud of you.”Saturday was another day of lessons, another opportunity for God to speak to me. During the afternoon, my dad and I were walking around the camp facility together, chatting and chilling. We came to the climbing wall. We were just kinda hanging out, then somebody (probably me) starting talkin’ trash about racing my dad up the wall. He didn’t respond the way I thought he would. He looked at me and said, “Let’s do it.” Now, I had to put up or shut up. So, we strapped on the harness and the safety ropes and here we went. About halfway up, I knew I was in trouble. Dad was smokin’ me up this wall. I got about three quarters of the way up and quite frankly, locked up. I felt a rush of fear that kinda paralyzed me for a few seconds. I got taken out in that moment by my fear. My dad, on the other hand, was up that wall like a friggin’ spider monkey. Another lesson learned there…Jesus said He goes before us to prepare a place, show us the way without fear. He takes us on a journey and sometimes has to go ahead of us to say, ‘See, it’s not so bad, don’t be afraid. You can do it.’ Well, I didn’t do it. I stopped and dad beat me, handily I might add, to the top. So, we rappelled back down the wall. Here’s where it gets good. We go to the bottom. Literally, before he even got the rope off, the first thing my dad did was walk over to me and wrap me up in a big hug. He smiled at me and said, “That was fun. Let’s do it again, you want to?” Wow.See, that’s just like Jesus. In the moment of truth, we’re climbing the wall of whatever it is that’s going on in our lives…there is a challenge before us. Never doubt that He is there with us in that moment. He goes before us, comes alongside us, encourages us on. In that moment when we feel the fear, maybe like me we are frozen by our fear, Christ doesn’t get mad, doesn’t ridicule, doesn’t embarrass us. With a smile on His face, He wraps His arms around us and says, “That was fun. Let’s do it again.” See, the point is not whether or not we fail but if we try, if we fight, if we stay in there. Don’t let the wall beat you and never doubt that He is with you, coaching you, guiding you, fathering you with a smile on His face and a warm embrace.


John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, "Are you the Messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?" Jesus told them, "Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen--the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, 'God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.'" Matthew 11: 2-6

I read this Sunday morning and was leveled...again. Did you ever have a dream that you felt was just for you? Have you ever believed that God reached down from heaven, tapped you on the shoulder and said, "Hey, I love you and I have something I want you to do for Me, for us, for the kingdom. Let me show you My love."? Then, you get on fire from His touch, your soul burns with desire, a passion. Your heart feels full suddenly and you want to share it. You are basking in the light of His smile, the touch of His hand. Then, doubt creeps in, things seem to grind to a crawl or a stop. The great liar satan starts whispering in your ear, 'Maybe you just misunderstood.' Or he gets real nasty and says, 'You were never good enough anyway' or the one he always uses on me, 'Why would God use someone like you, who has done what you've done'? And, a grey blanket of numbness gets laid over your heart and you are battered, confused. You question, 'God, is this real? Did you really say that to me or did I just imagine it? Help me, God, I'm drowning here.' The blanket becomes heavy, a cloud cover rolls in and all suddenly becomes foggy.I love this passage for so many reasons but I won't talk about all the reasons for now. I love it, it speaks to me because I've recently had a blanket thrown over me just like John did. What I love illustrated in this passage is John's humanity. He had one of those moments we've all had, one of those Are you kiddin' me? moments. Keep in mind, this was one of the first people to announce to the world who Jesus was. He had spent his entire adult life and ministry pointing people to Jesus. Then, John gets his blanket party, his numbness settles in. He gets locked up and things start to get foggy in his heart and he doubts, he questions. John has to be thinking, 'Dude, remember me? I'm the guy who was singing your praises and tellin' everybody about you. What's up with this prison crap? You gonna help a brutha out?' And I really love Jesus' response. He reminds John of who He is and what He has done. Jesus doesn't chastise him, belittle John for his doubt, his lack of faith. Rather, Jesus loves. He simply reminds John of what He has done and how He loves.See, I had one of these moments this week. I was in a bit of a fog, a funk, under a blanket if you will. And I was sayin', 'Hey Jesus, You gonna talk to me here or what?' Then, a moment happened...two actually. Before my brother, Tony, got married this weekend, I was honored to lead the other groomsmen and my dad in prayer over him and his upcoming marriage. God told me, 'Pray over your brother.' I gave Him the eye roll and my best 'whatever' look. He said again, 'Pray over your brother, I have something to say to you.' So, I did. Then, we walked into the sanctuary a bit later and I stood up with Tony as his best man. I watched as my brother was overwhelmed in the moment. I watched his hands shake, I saw him wiping tears, I heard his voice break as he gave his vows to his lovely wife. And, I was overwhelmed myself. I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat at the tenderness of the moment. And, in the beauty of that moment, He spoke. He spoke to my heart in a way that I cannot explain and no words can really suffice. He showed me in that moment that Love still exists, that Hope never dies and that He still cares.'s not foggy anymore.


I wonder if you know the blackness
of despair.
Life's unanswered questions
leaving you covered
with the dark blanket
of hoplessness.
The bitter aftertaste of unfulfilled dreams
is acid in your mouth,
on the texture of your soul;
madness calls to you through the
murky air of sadness.
I wonder if the Light
has broken through,
rendering life too bright to look on,
too painful in its inexplicable beauty;
the bliss of Peace is so poignant,
it leaves you gasping with desire.
How we long for that piercing Light
to save us from falling into ourselves.
I wonder...

Feb. 19, 2002


Proverbs 4:23 - Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

I wonder why it is that we, at times, feel so alone in the middle of where He is. Why is it that, at times, I stand in the middle of His love and everything feels foggy? Why do I/we have to feel Him at all? I mean, I know why I have to feel Him (I'm kind of an emotional guy) but why do we have to feel Him? For me, it doesn't seem real unless I feel it, unless it moves me to something. One could explain all they want using logic or whatever but it just seems boring - numbers, charts, graphs, rules...blah. But then, my heart is moved, shaken awake and I am alive again. Watching a sunset loses every ounce of its meaning, its magic if it is broken down into scientific formulas and reflected light. Sonnets, poems were not written because somebody discovered iambic pentameter. Poems flow from a cry of the heart. Women are not wooed because of some base mating instinct. Women are pursued because they exude a beauty that captivates. Soldiers don't throw themselves on to grenades, cops don't run into a gun battle because of some calculated survival of the fittest thing. Cops and soldiers do what they do out of love for their fellow soldier, their fellow man.It is no wonder that He came to speak to our hearts. Why would we follow someone who is merely efficient, who had a formula, a list of rules? Formulas are boring, efficiency can be cold and we all know what a list of rules can get you. I want to be moved! Jesus could have come as a conquering king, the military liberator the Jews were expecting. Instead, He came as a carpenter's son, a teacher, a rabbi. He taught love and forgiveness. He spoke in riddles that challenged people's hearts and minds and upset the apple cart of religion. He embraced the unlovely and hung out with fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes. He came to set people free from an enslaving set of rules that were nothing more than equations for a version of salvation. He challenged people's ideas of what it meant to follow.Then, shattering everyone's concept of what a messiah should be, He allowed himself to die a horrible, tortured, ugly, excruciating death. You gotta know the disciples were thinking right about then...why did I believe this dude? Why did He move me so, make me believe, show me glimpses of freedom only to die now? And, just when despair was setting in, He changed the world forever and rose from the grave! Plug that into your formulas, your list of rules, your abacus..whatever. Put that kind of love into your pipe and smoke it...see if it doesn't change you.Why do I feel? Because no one can read His story and not be moved. No one can deny that Jesus changed the world...and I cannot deny how He has changed me!


Recently, I heard a comment that really kind of struck me and is really sticking with me even now. I have had a group of fellow officers meeting in my home every other Sunday night, discussing the book ‘Wild At Heart’ and generally what it means to be a man, a husband, a father, all while living our lives true to our faith. This is really difficult to do, by the way…for those of you who didn’t already know. At any rate, we were recently watching a video of the author of the book and some of his friends discussing the adventure of living. Eldredge, the author of the book ‘Wild At Heart’, used an expression that, as I said, struck me. While talking with his friends, he said that he craved a “conversational intimacy” with God. And so, the wheels began to turn for me. I asked myself what that would look like and feel like.I am forced to consider biblical people of faith in this. Moses, for example, had one of those kinds of relationships with God. He was called, in a way only he could know, to deeper, more meaningful time spent with God. The incident with the burning bush, the issuance of the commandments, the parting of the Red Sea…and the list goes on. Jacob comes to mind. It is said that he “wrestled” with an angel but, for all practical purposes, Jacob wrestled with God. After that “conversation” with God, Jacob was never the same again. In fact, his name was changed and he walked with a limp…he was a marked man. King David comes to mind as well. The beauty and passion of the Psalms speaks volumes of a “conversational intimacy” with a God who loved him, moved him and, at times, seemed to punish him.Perhaps the greatest example of this is, of course, Jesus. Of course, this would stand to reason, right? I mean, wouldn’t the son of God have a conversational intimacy with his father? In reading the Bible, we see many times that Jesus went off alone to, as the Bible says, “pray”. In my simple mind, that means he went out to be alone with his father…some quality time. It strikes me that this is what it’s all about. Of course Jesus was the son of God. He was also a friend of God who loved spending time with his father, talking over things, listening. The twelve disciples come to mind also. Imagine if you will, spending three years hanging out with Jesus. Talk about your conversational intimacy! I mean, they got to see Jesus in his great moments and in his not so great moments. They got to watch him raise Lazarus from the dead and ask his father to “let this cup pass”. They watched him laugh, weep, rage against the Pharisees…they saw it all. And, in the end, they were forever changed by the humanity and divinity they saw displayed by this one of a kind man.This is the kind of relationship I want with Jesus. I remember being amused and annoyed as I was growing up by the prayers of some of the religious types with their thee and thou prayers, their pomposity and vagueness. What happened to intimacy? What happened to saying what you mean and meaning what you say? Here’s my thing…God knows what you really think so why don’t you say what you really think? I have zero problems telling God that I think something sucks or that I’m pissed off about something. When I tell Him how I really feel, He understands. I really have a problem with people who don’t say what they really feel. You are doing yourself and God a disservice. This is the point of having an intimate relationship with someone. To be able to be who you are without fear of rejection, judgment, ridicule. If you can’t have this kind of relationship with the God who created you, what is the point of having a relationship with God at all?However, there is one side of this intimacy agreement that I think a lot of us miss and I’m just as guilty as everybody else. Part of intimacy with someone other than ourselves involves listening to the other person. For those who are or have been married, you know what I’m talking about. Try explaining to your spouse that you are developing conversational intimacy with them by doing all the talking. We have to listen sometimes. So, try this…shut up sometimes too. God not only wants you to speak to him, He wants to speak with you also. If we will be quiet sometimes, we will hear Him. It’s hard to hear when you’re running your mouth. And, trust me when I say this, He will speak. It might not be in an audible voice or it might be. I have experienced enough of this myself that I can say this, He will speak and He will speak when he is darn good and ready. Our time is not his time, our place not his place, our ideas not his ideas. But, never fear…if you ask from a pure heart, He will speak and He will speak in a personal way, just for you. See, He knows you; He made you so He knows how to touch you. I know this to be true because of how God speaks to me. He knows that I am a “moments” kinda guy and He uses those moments, sometimes in nature, to speak to me, hold me. Fog over a cornfield in the light of the rising sun, a breathtaking sunset that just squeezes something inside me…and maybe inside you and we just know that there is something other than us there in that moment. Don’t put that aside, listen…He is calling you, holding you. God is not some distant, callous, impersonal thing somewhere out there. He is interested in you, your character, what makes you tick. So, try this…next time you have something to say to God, just say it. You might be surprised at the response you get. Yeah, I know…it scares me too.Intimacy is, to be quite frank, extremely frightening to all of us and it’s scary because true intimacy means being known for who you really are and knowing another for who they really are. I was married once and sadly, for a lot of reasons, we didn’t make it. I’m not going to sit here and blame her because it was just as much my fault as it was hers. But, I didn’t have true intimacy with my wife because I was scared. What if she found out who I really was, how insecure I really was, how dark my heart was sometimes…what then? Would she still have loved me?If God knows us intimately, what are we afraid of? Are we afraid that He won’t love us anymore if He knows how insecure we are, how dark our hearts are sometimes? Here is what is amazing about His love…He already knows us for who you really are and He loves us anyway. He craves that personal intimacy with you, with me but He’s waiting for us to invite Him to share our lives in a personal way. Why wouldn’t we want the only being who will always love us unconditionally to be an intimate part of our lives?


I wonder...
As the moon gazes down on me,
Solemn; Weeping serenity, gasping
love, hope, desire;
Leaving me spent, tearing at the anguish
of Human Frailty, my own failures.
Do you see how I long?
Crickets chant a cadence of peace
yet hate rules my dark world.
Does God see, painfully weep
as we flog and flounder our way through eternity,
seeking meaning?
I am dying by inches, by minutes my love.
Hold me in this moment; Vague visions haunt me --
The moon sighs with dusky passion,
silent gasping;
Hope, love tears
at this house of cards, failings of
my Human Frailty...


I recently watched again a movie which is becoming one of my favorites of all time, 'The Last Samurai'. Now, immediately some of you will dismiss it because of Tom Cruise so let me just get this outta the way...I think Tom Cruise is a nut job and I in now way condone his version of life. However, the movie is fantastic and it really strikes me and moves me to consider myself. The movie, for those who don't know, is about a former U.S. Cavalry captain who travels to Japan to help train an army and quell a rebellion. What the movie is really about is one man's discovery of his salvation and the healing of his heart and soul.So much of Cruise's character, Captain Nathan Allgren, speaks to me on a deep, soul level. Allgren, you see, has bought into a lie about himself. He has bought into the lie that he is doomed, condemned on some soul-searing level because of actions in his past he views as despicable, henious, murderous, unworthy of redemption. But, rather than face those demons and, by facing them, kill their power over him, he chooses to drown his past and his pain. He drowns it in booze and self-loathing. What a chord this struck in me not so very long ago. I can look back at demons I battled, past trangressions if you will. I also drowned them for awhile in booze and self-loathing.Allgren is taken captive by a band of rebels, led by an astounding warrior named Katsumoto, who is a picture of a true warrior-king. During his captivity, Allgren finds what he has really been searching for all those years. He finds himself; he is ambushed by peace and surprised to find a life worth living. Here is what he found, what I found, what we all seek...We all seek something greater than ourselves, something to give meaning to a room gone dark, to a world we don't understand and rage against. Allgren found discipline, service, honor, something greater than his self-blindness. During a monolgue in the movie, he speaks of the samurai way of life as a life of discipline, a single-minded dedication to perfection, an inner stillness, an ideal. How we all desperately search for this very thing! Perhaps one of the most telling statements he makes is that he's surprised to find the meaning of the word samurai: servant.How I long to give myself to a life of service, discipline, a single-minded dedication to the perfection of an ideal within me. It is a deeply personal longing for all of us...and a deeply spiritual one. Think with me about the heroes, biblical in this case, of the past. Moses, Noah, David, Daniel, Elijah...and the list goes on to the twelve Jesus himself. They were all passionately dedicated to a life of discipline, a single-minded dedication to the perfection of an ideal, a faith. Yet none, save Jesus, were perfect. They all had dreams and they all had demons they struggled with and, at times, they all tried to drown it out..except Jesus. In the end, they all had one thing in common; they were all willing to die for these ideals, this faith.Back to the movie. In the middle of his captivity, away from all his former distractions, Allgren faced his pain and found healing. He found a new meaning, a reason to live and a reason to die, if need be. There is a poignant scene where Allgren and Katsumoto are standing in an ancient garden, surrounded by blossoms, bright and beautiful. Katsumoto says that to know life in every breath, every blossom, every cup of tea, every life they took as warriors is 'bushido'. Honor as a way of life. That called to me!To know life in every breath He gives me, every sunrise, every cup of tea, every life I can save by showing them Jesus...that is honor! At the end of Katsumoto's life, the emperor asks Allgren, "Tell me how he died." Allgren's reply, "I will tell you how he lived." Ten thousand years from now, at the end of my life, your life, what stories will be told? In eternity, when we're all sitting around a campfire in heaven, telling stories and toasting the King, what stories will be told? Will it be how you/I died...or how we lived?

A Dream

A while back, something happened to me...and I began to feel a pull. A pull toward one thing and away from another. A dream was awakened in me. I began to believe in this dream, to listen to the Voice that told me there was more, called me to something greater than me. A mission to live and meaning to light the darkness. I wonder if...actually, I know, that some dreamers are often thought to be totally mad. Moses was possessed of a dream, a vision, a mission for his life. For his dream, he was laughed at by the Egyptians, scorned and mocked by his own people. To top it all off, Moses never got to see his dream come to had a dream of life in the promised land, despite the size of other people's doubts, despite of what the other scouts said..then, he recruited Caleb into his dream. Haggai was driven to finish the temple..all the prophets dreamed of a people returning to God. And people thought them mad, out of touch, dreamers recklessly pursuing what could not be. John, often called the Baptist, was a crazy wild man living in the desert, eating bugs, wearing camel's hair, calling the Pharisees names, dreaming aloud..calling his people, all people to repentance. 'Make ready the way' was his dream, 'for the Messiah comes'.Jesus had a dream. Jesus dreamed, before time began, of us. He dreamed of offering freedom and life to everyone, for all time, to save us from ourselves. Religious types of His day(and our day) told Him to be quiet...'Don't upset the apple cart, we got a good thing goin' here'. They called Him a drunk, crazy, a devil worshipper, a liar and blasphemer. Then, they murdered Him for His dream, His passion. Why? Because they, and we, cannot fathom His dream. We cannot understand that His offer is life and that His love transforms, transcends, uplifts. All He asks in return..."Follow Me."When His love presses us, when He speaks, when we let Him dream a dream in us, nothing is ever the same again. What will we do when His dreams are madness to others, when the Voice won't be silent? Are we willing to dream, to jump in the deep end? What happens when the lifeguard can't swim, when all we thought was stable is not? What happens when that dream takes hold of you and you cannot let go of it? What happens when He changes it all? Will we follow? Will I follow? I have to remind myself not to think of what cannot be done, to remember that Peter walked on water when he held on to his dream, to remember that ordinary people have changed the world because they dreamed and followed...and to remember that Jesus has already saved the world because He held on to His dream! So, what happens now in His dream for me, for us?


I don't know about most of you but I have some very fond memories, mostly fond anyway, of my grandparents. My dad's dad, Papa (southern pronunciation is Pawpaw), was an interesting fellow. I don't remember him being really very talkative around me. There have been a few things he has said over the years that have stuck with me though. One in particular that kinda popped into my head this morning after I got out of the shower. Somehow, and I have no idea how this subject came up in conversation with my grandfather, the subject of being sans clothing came up in conversation. He gave me some good home-grown wisdom that still makes me smile to this day. He said that there were two forms of being without apparel. There is naked, which is not having any clothes on. Then, there is nekked, which is, and I quote, "not having any clothes on and being up to somethin'".At any rate, this conversation of being naked kinda struck a chord with me this morning because of some things that have recently been going on in my journey with Jesus. I began to think about Adam and Eve in the garden. According to the Bible, after eating from the tree, they realized they were naked and hid from God when He called for Adam. I think there is something to the fact that He called for Adam and not Eve but that is another subject for another time. So, God is walking in the garden, probably wondering, although knowing, where Adam and Eve were and calls out to Adam. He asks, "Why were you hiding?" Adam replies, "Because I was naked." And, from that moment on, mankind has been trying to hide our nakedness, our vulnerability from God and everybody else. Why? Because satan tells us we are guilty and that guilt breeds fear, vulnerability...we are naked.And yet, I kinda think that's really the point, isn't it? The Bible says that before we were born, when we were formed in our mother's womb, He knew us. When God created everything in the world, He looked on it and said it was good. So, if He knew you before you knew you and He said it was good from the beginning of time, why are we afraid to be naked to Him? It brings to mind some of the disciples. I love these guys...what a bunch of idiots, a pack of lovable losers that remind me of all of us. I know Jesus got pissed at them sometimes, the Bible says he did. But, despite that, He loved them. They were naked before Him because He was God and He knew them before He called them, before they were even born. I find that thought to be so poignant when Jesus looks into Peter's soul, saw him naked despite his bravado and said 'you will deny me'. When Nathanael met Jesus, Jesus called him a "true son of Israel and an honest man". Nathanael was like what, how do you know me? And Jesus said, "I saw you under the fig tree before Phillip found you." Put yourself in Nathanael's place for second there. I would have just stood there with my mouth open probably. Or said something stupid like, "Dude, you're good." And, the most astounding one of all...Judas. Jesus knew, God knew what Judas was going to do when Judas was born. Yet, He loved Judas. Think about that...seriously.I love the fact that Jesus knows me so well that I can be naked and not be ashamed. I think the mark of true friendship, true love is when you can be who you are, vulnerable and naked, and be loved anyway. Jesus loves us in that way....amazing love! How can it be?

Last night, I stood naked
under a clear moon, bare
before silver, washing Light.
You are near, always in
my thoughts, a constant Love
that cannot surrender...
Pleas of ecstasy,
chants of dreams
crash through my heart,
tearing my soul with the beauty
of remembered Touch,
the agony of separation.
Washed pure my love by
the blood of Choice,
the cost of Sacrifice.
That God would create
a Love before time,
an embrace of Grace
poignant beyond words...
Last night, I stood naked
under a clear moon, bare
before Your love,
weeping at the wonder of it all.


I don't know about you but I have an active imagination and I sometimes wonder. I wonder what it would have been like to have followed, physically, Christ. To have lived to hear the Master's voice say, "Follow Me," the pain in his words, the hope in his voice, the love in His eyes. I wonder if I'd have followed. Would I have been the zealot, hoping for a bloody revolution, an overthrow of oppression? Would I have been disappointed, angry to hear Him say, "Love those who hate you...Turn the other cheek...Take up your cross and follow." I probably would have been Peter, recklessly shouting, "I will follow, even to death," only to feel His eyes on me, burning into me with profound love, pouring sorrow, saying, "You will deny me." To have sat at table with Him, toasted our future with Him, traveled dusty desert roads, pray with Him...imagine, to have sat at the feet of God-in-the-flesh and see Him smile. Imgaine! I can see it in my mind's eye...It's partly cloudy and a stiff breeze is blowing off the Sea of Galilee, sharp and cool. (can you see it?) I look around. Sprawling upon the pebbly beach and rocks, my companions. Twelve of us have been chosen, now tired, dusty from travel. There is a small fire burning, a smell of broiled fish briefly on the wind, snatched away on the breeze. And then, I hear the voice of the Master...laughing. A deep, completely abandoned, contagious laugh and I can't help but turn to look. A few feet away, Jesus. Your head is thrown back, clapping your hands, howling in sheer delight at something Matthew has just said. Matthew...with his dry wit and almost-wicked smile. I see it, hear it. A taste of water on the wind, a storm approaches. I hear You say, "Come friends, let us get in the boats and cross while we can." A smile, a flicker of pain in your eyes..."Come friends..."

Over time and space,
I wonder.
My mind goes back
and I wonder, question...
If I would have believed,
followed, died
for Someone greater
than my dreams.
If, shattered by grace,
I would bow, worship,
weep at His death,
His revolution.
How could this be real?
would I have thrown myself
faithless, floundering in religion,
rules, to a life of servitude?
Could i abandon Love,
a life of meaning,
for the safety of the known,
mindless, sheepily following
generations of tradition?
Had I known, I might have
failed, denied,cursed...
Yet, You love.
Opening the heart of eternity,
You pursue with
the reckless Passion of
death giving Life!
How can this be real,
this Hope you give?