Be brave

This month, this song is haunting me.

No one believes me, no one believes meThey shake their heads and say“What good comes from Bethlehem?” I know what I saw, I know what I saw And it was just like they said Just like they said it would be Wrapped in a cloth, laid in a mangerYears later I walked by this placeI know this placeThe roof caved in, but I know this placeCause I ran the whole wayAnd it was just like they said

We get one glimpse of the shepherds. We don’t know their names or if they were friends or how many there were. We don’t know anything about …


the third conversion

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

It was offering time, and the father sitting in front of me handed his 3-year-old son a dollar bill. The boy happily placed the money in the basket as it passed by, and then resumed working on the important task of covering his entire bulletin with green crayon scribbles.

While it was a nice moment, I distinctly remember thinking, “Sure, it’s easy to give someone else’s money.” But the truth is, I find it quite difficult to part with cash from …


becoming curious – an interview with Casey Tygrett

It happened again last month. I was in a Bible study and the leader was posing some challenging questions about how to apply the concepts presented in that week’s lesson – how to choose joy in our daily lives and how to face real struggles along the way. “Trust God,” one person said. “You have to pray,” said another. The conversation faltered and we went on to another topic.

Jesus didn’t require these pat answers. In fact, he discouraged them, challenging the skeptical and searching people he encountered with profound …


coming near

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

One of the most commonly quoted verses from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” Bible is John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” This metaphor for the incarnation is referenced so often because, like all good poetic language, it succinctly describes a profound truth: Jesus not only came to earth to be with us, he came to be one of us.

Following Jesus means following his example and “incarnating” the gospel in our own neighborhoods. Sometimes this means tutoring …


repost: cracks of God

As I type this, I’m hiding from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Every month or so two of them appear on my doorstep, pamphlets in hand, asking for my time and suggesting I read articles with titles like “The Truth about Halloween.” Because the walk to my front door passes right by the dining room window, and because I spend much of my workday on the comfy red chair in front of that window, it’s easy for them to spot me inside. To avoid talking to them I’ve taken to …


This can be the best time for the church – in spite of Trump

I am more fearful for the American church during Trump’s presidency than I ever was during Obama’s.

The American church panicked as Obama legalized gay marriage, which many evangelicals saw as a direct violation of the Christian scriptures and their own religious beliefs. Many Christians also took issue with Obama’s approach to health care, foreign policy, the environment, and federal spending.

Many Christians railed against these policies, maligned Obama, and feared for the future of the nation. However, many of them also grappled more deeply with their understanding of biblical sexuality, prayed more strongly for …


almighty favored

Hands upI write a lot of small group Bible study curriculum, and in the process I work with many different churches, different pastors, and different perspectives. One of my favorite clients is a preacher in Atlanta who leans toward the “spirit-filled” side of the spectrum and often talks to his congregation about God’s favor. He encourages his church members to pray for God’s favor in their families, their business dealings, and their health.

Sometimes I question the theology of those prayers. Sometimes I question whether I am brave enough to …


a quiet thing

I love to anticipate things.

I told Matt early on in our relationship that I always need something to look forward to. This doesn’t have to be a spendy vacation or a big event – right now I’m excited for my first listen of Christy Nockels’ new Christmas album and having some good Mexican food for lunch – but I’ve learned that I enjoy life more if it’s filled with a series of small pleasures. In fact, the small ones are often better, because the big moments in life usually turn out differently than we expected.

Six weeks ago Matt and I won a three-year custody battle for …


my one life

jesusI have been a Christian for 28 years, and I have not led anyone to Christ.

It is painful to admit that. There were no “prodigal years” in my youth when I got off track with my faith. I never left the church, and my good friends who aren’t Christians know that I am. But I have never brought anyone into a relationship with Jesus. I don’t like that, but it’s true.

When I talked to Jeff Vines about OneLife, an initiative that challenges every person to bring someone to …


fear not

94270-90683I am angry about the state of our union. And I’m not alone. But anger isn’t the core problem.

In January, the Esquire/NBC News “American Rage Survey” reported that half of Americans are angrier than they were a year ago. In February, BBC.com reported that 69 percent of Americans are either “very angry” or “somewhat angry” about “the way things are going” in the United States. As I write this, the day after the Orlando nightclub shooting, I’m sure the numbers are even higher.

We are angry about climate change, about …