Saturday, November 30, 2013

Proper Posture

I remember being a kid and my mom telling me to stand and sit up straight or it would affect my spine for the rest of my life. This must be a standard principle from the Mother's Credo along with not sitting too close to the television or my eyes would be ruined, and the need to stop crying before she gave me something to cry about. In actuality, I'm sure it was something that she carried over from her mother and father-the importance of good posture.

It's obviously something that matters to God as well since He teaches on it often. We are counseled regularly in Scripture on the importance of bowing our heads, kneeling, and taking a reverential stance. It reflects our level of honor for God and our recognition of our position relative to Him. 

What spiritual posture are we maintaining in our prayer life or when we read the Bible? What position do we take when we are desperate for an answer from God? Do we come with a position of humility, honor & respect or do we show up with a sense of entitlement thinking that God owes us something? Maintaining a proper posture reveals our level of understanding of our position relative to God. It's a stance that is developed over time as we recognize our need to rely on His generous greatness.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hard to See

I was driving home and listening to ESPN radio the other day and the talk show hosts were talking about a recent decision made by Mitch Kuptchak, the general manager of the LA Lakers. His choice was being over analyzed by countless outsiders as they debated his wisdom and ability to plan for the future. The best commentary was provided by a reporter calling in on one of the shows. He simply said, " It's easier to play Mitch Kupchak than it is to be Mitch Kupchak."

We often rush to make judgments on other people's decisions without understanding all of their reasoning. While it's true that people will sometimes make poor decisions (even with all the facts in hand) we still can't completely comprehend the weight of their thought process. I've discovered (especially in recent years) that leaders of healthy, successful organizations have to make difficult choices that may not be readily accepted or understood by everyone else.  Successfully leading an organization requires a great deal of vision and the ability to make tough decisions after weighing all the options. Leaders are willing to take a risk that will better their organization even if that isn't readily apparent to outsiders. We can choose to be overly critical of every move or show some grace to our leaders by trusting the careful thought & prayer they have invested in a difficult choice. It's a conscious choice to be an encouraging follower instead of a negative critic.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Since it is Thanksgiving I thought I would fight my natural inclination to avoid what is typically being done and instead write about ten things I am thankful for.

1. Grace: I don't completely understand it (and probably never will) but I am grateful for the gifts & patient love that God gives me when I have done nothing to earn them.

2.  My wife: I out-kicked my coverage when I married my wife-there is absolutely no doubt about that. I am forever grateful for our lives converging at the point where & when they did because I wouldn't be the man I am today without her.

3. My children:  We have three beautiful, passionate, wonderful daughters who are highly intelligent and possess fantastic potential to do great things. I am nowhere near the perfect parent, but want to do the very best I can to help them see what God has in store for their future.

4. Calling: I may not have realized it early in my career, but I am grateful that I have discovered exactly what I am supposed to dedicate my life to doing. In retrospect, I can see how God was preparing me to be a pastor and I am thankful for His willingness to use me in spite of my many faults.

5. People: I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am for the people I have walked this path of life with. I am grateful for those that I have known for over 25 years, former students, youth from the ministry, people that have ministered to me as I ministered to them, fellow pastors, and the people of Milledgeville that love us as family now. I couldn't begin to list them all, but I think of those that have impacted my life very often and can't believe how blessed I am.

6.  Future: God is giving me glimpses of what our future will look like and how He is continually guiding us there. How great is it to know a God that still looks for ways to bless His children and allow them to flourish?

7. Second chances: I have seen the damage that my choices have caused in relationships and in those around me. I don't deserve opportunities to make this right, but am thankful that over time I can choose to do things differently and see new results.

8. Contentment: I know that God is always shaping me into a better man, but I am grateful for the contentment with where I am right now. I'm not satisfied to the point of not wanting to change, but I can clearly see how He has molded me over the years and I am eager to take the next step on this journey.

9. Family: While I am obviously grateful for my wife & children, I am also thankful for the incredible influence & love of the rest of my family (both biological and through marriage.) They are all a key part of who I am and I don't go a day without thinking & praying for them all.

10. New Beginnings: It's not just the name of my blog, but it's a philosophy of life. I believe in God's ability (and desire) to make brand new things out of refuse and to turn the ugly into beautiful. It's why I invest in people and why I cling to my relationship with God so firmly. I've seen it in action and want others to experience that newness for themselves.

It's a brief (yet lengthy) list, but I couldn't let the day go by without pausing to be thankful. It's a poignant reminder of what matters most and a refocusing of my energies where they need to be invested.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Generous Spirit

"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." Stephen Colbert

It seems to be natural inclination to look to be a benefit to people during the holidays. This isn't a negative thing, but I am certain we are called to be a blessing on a more consistent basis. It should be a reflection of our regular life mission to seek ways to share what we have with the people around us. I don't believe it's a burden-in fact, I haven't met anyone who regretted making this a regular practice. We simply choose to make a habit and then daily look for ways to make it a reality. It's the life of generosity that is capable of creating change in the community around us even if the scope of our impact doesn't seem that large.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Right There

As much as we are in contact with people via social media we are a society that has forgotten what it means to have true face-to-face interaction. I don't want to sound like an old man lamenting the loss of the personal touch, but I think it's a perspective worth viewing. It's not so much that we've neglected to develop interpersonal skills or that we have lost the ability to communicate in genuine sentences without slang abbreviations (even if we have.) I think the greatest loss is in our inability to see the humanity of the people around us. When our focus is on the tiny screen in our hand and not on the living people sitting, eating, walking, and breathing around us we've lost a part of us that is beautifully valuable. As much as I enjoy keeping up with people from a distance I thrive even more on the up close & personal investments we can make when we near and willing to engage each other in life.

Watch the video below to see this in a simple light and recognize the potential of embracing the friction of life-on-life around us.

Monday, November 25, 2013

No Consideration

Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. Look, O Lord, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed. 
Lamentations 1:9

I like to look ahead to the future and try to determine if my actions are leading me where I truly want to go. I will regrettably admit that this is not a consistent personal practice of mine-especially when I was younger. I would make foolish financial, emotional, and spiritual decisions based on the immediacy of the moment and neglect to think about the long-term implications of my choices. The fallout from this short-sighted decision making can be devastating on an individual level, but even more so for the people in our immediate circles of influence. 

What choices are we making today that will directly affect our future? Are we carefully considering the long-term benefits & consequences of those decisions? If we refuse to take the time to meditate on where we might end up we forfeit the right to be surprised/appalled when the results are less than satisfying. When we won't evaluate the potential results we're valuing the present moment much more than the coming future. I've seen too much damage in people's lives to believe this is the right way to go.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Three Voices, One Message

We had a three-headed message at Northridge today as our entire teaching team shared the Thanksgiving sermon. It was the first time all three of us had taught at the same time and it seemed to be well received by all. I enjoy it when we do things similar to this (Mike & I have taught this way several times over the last four years) as it presents a different challenge as a teacher, but also gives some insight into the relationship of the team. We get a chance to banter back & forth with some planned (and unplanned) conversational give and take while sharing Scriptural truth. It's also a way to break down some barriers between the congregation and our pastoral staff while stretching us as communicators. Hopefully this approach keeps people engaged at a deeper level as we keep the pace moving. It reflects one of our core values of teaching: to do whatever it takes short of sin to communicate the truth of Christ and see
transformed lives.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Good Times

My teenage girls don't react exactly how they used to when good things happen, but they still have a youthful enthusiasm that quickly turns into gleeful squeals. I love surprising them with things that elicit those reactions whether it is taking them to a movie we've been eagerly anticipating or just bringing home unexpected ice cream. They laugh, give big hugs of thanks, and throw themselves into the moment with passion.

We're spending the afternoon with friends and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dr. Who show. My ladies (including my wife) have been looking forward to this since we first planned it and it now involves a big meal and celebration of a show they love. My oldest daughter found it necessary to dress similarly to the good Doctor and has been planning her outfit for a while. All three of them are giddy with anticipation of the showing this afternoon and won't forget to tell anyone about it.

I don't watch Dr. Who so I can't share in their fandom, but their enthusiasm has reminded me of how important it is to just have fun. As adults, we often forget to simply enjoy moments in life whether it's a silly TV show (my apologies to true Whovians), pizza for dinner, or a fire with smores on a chilly night. These are all moments where we can choose to acknowledge it in passing or stop and revel in the simple joys we're blessed to share in life. It's a reminder I need now & then to keep me focused on what matters most.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

It Matters

I attended the ribbon cutting on a new garden and walking trail in a nearby community yesterday afternoon. It is in an economically depressed area of town that is seeing a resurgence as the members of this specific area are banding together to make a difference. The walking trail is open to anyone and people can choose to rent a small area to plant for their own garden. It has seen families, individuals, and community investors partner together to revitalize an area that has struggled for many years. Older men are working alongside young men to make a physical difference while having an opportunity to share life changing truths at the same time. Families are directly enjoying the fruits of their labor while they eat the foods they have grown themselves. The area has become a safe and enticing place to play for children again as well.

The best commentary was shared yesterday by a mother and her family. She said that this community felt like it had been asleep and it had finally been awakened again. That's the result that excites me and encourage me to find new ways for us to change other areas in our community around us. It's exactly why we get involved and will keep investing our resources to make a difference.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Difference Makers

Tonight a group of men from Vaughn Chapel and Northridge Christian Church met to chat & chew. While we enjoyed conversation with each other and a good steak dinner, we gathered for a greater purpose. We were all concerned with the state of our community and the role of men in leadership and want to be part of the solution. It won't be fixed overnight, but it can begin with a group of dedicated, godly men who are willing to prayerfully invest in the generations around us. It's a risky move that requires dedicated time, effort, and spiritual energy to find success. It's almost guaranteed that it won't be easy, but if we won't step up to do something about it nothing will ever change for the better. 

All of us recognize the need for men to step up and lead in our families, in schools, and in industry. We also see the lack of man-to-man mentoring, but realize what an incredible opportunity that gives us.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not Mine

Your will be done in my life, Lord. Not mine, but yours. 

Are we actually content with that? On the surface we are good with those statements while in reality we still want our plans to take place but with God's blessing over them. We're at peace with God's will as long as it matches our agenda, ambitions, and desires. Truly surrendering to His will might mean that we don't end up where we thought we would. This submission dictates that the priorities of God become our priorities and His plans become our plans. 

We've got to decide if we are okay with that or if we are stubbornly going to insist that our way is best. One path leads to contentment & peace regardless of our circumstances and the other creates a tension that we constantly struggle to manage.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


It's an interesting collision when past & present come together. It allows me to see how all of my past has shaped me into who I am today and reminds me of how far I have come through God's grace. I am extremely grateful for this on a regular basis, but being back in my hometown last week only reinforced how much that place is a part of the man that I am today. It's the familiarity of good friends, the memories of growing up, early marriage, and raising kids, the years of influence from people who love me, the tough love that has shaped me as a man, and the mutual investment of lives in ministry, teaching, and maturing that make a substantial difference. 

It's a sweet blending of coming face-to-face with who I used to be and the man I am today while realizing that nothing is wrong with either one of those men. They are both key in the summation of who I am now and I am comfortable with that confident knowledge while God continues to shape & mold me.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Have you ever had an old pair of shoes that you just didn't want to get rid of? They aren't meant to be worn on every occasion, but they are perfect for when you want to wear something comfortable.
Other people may not completely understand why you hang on to them-after all, they wouldn't fit them well anyway. The important thing is that they fit you and you are at ease when wearing them. It's definitely much more about the function of the shoes than the style.

This is similar to some relationships in our lives as well. There are people that are just comfortable to be around. Even though it may have been quite a while since you were face-to-face, there is a sense of ease as you slip back into a comfortable interaction. There is a depth and familiarity from shared experiences that can't often be explained, but feels right when you are in it. Every now and then you are fortunate enough to be reminded of how valuable these kinships are to you and why you continue to keep them around.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wait Time

When I worked in the restaurant business we would often have put customers on a waiting list for a table. It was a sign of healthy, consistent business when all our tables were full and people were still willing to wait to see when they could eat. One of the keys to keeping customers happy was to ensure that the actual wait time did not exceed the predicted wait time. In fact, we would often overestimate the delayed seating by a few minutes so that our guests would be pleased when a predicted 20 minute wait was only 15 minutes. Conversely, people would be very upset when a forecast of 20 minutes became 25 instead.

What's our reaction when it takes longer for something to happen in our lives than we anticipated? 
  • The answer to our desperate prayer for healing isn't answered quickly enough. 
  • God doesn't show us the next step He is asking us to take even though we keep asking what to do. 
  • The mending of broken relationships seems to be moving at a crawl. 
  • Trust that has been destroyed is being rebuilt in very small steps. 
  • A solution to a problem either hasn't materialized or seems to be taking too long for our own preferences. 
  • An area that needs growth isn't maturing as fast as we might have hoped.

There will always be a period of waiting and we won't always understand why. Our willingness to believe in God's deliverance and timing by reacting in patient maturity will reveal the depth of our trust.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Give & Take

Understanding your personality type is a huge benefit. When you are comfortably aware of who you
are, you are able to invest in things that bring great satisfaction and encouragement. It has taken me many years to come to this understanding on a personal level and now I am able to intentionally make time for interactions that energize me.

The past two and half days has been a perfect example of that practice. I was blessed to spend that time down in my hometown with a constantly full schedule of meeting with friends and family. It's a frenetic pace filled with laughter, coffee, prayers, encouragement, and very little sleep. As much as it eventually tires me out physically (mainly due to a lack of restful hours) it increases my emotional and spiritual energy exponentially. I am grateful for a wife and family that understand my need to do this periodically and a church home that allows me to have the time as well. I am still processing all that I experienced and shared in and am very content in the fullness of my heart.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Next In Line

I spent a good portion of today with friends at my alma mater, The Mainland High School. It's always refreshing to catch up with people that I have shared life with-some of them for over 25 years. I
wrapped up the day by hitting the football playoff game and walking the sideline. Sharing that space with me were former students & athletes that I was blessed to teach. These men are now serving as the head football coach, the head athletic trainer, and other football position coaches. Those that we invested in as teenagers are now leading the way by mentoring and training other young people.

It hit me as I stood on that familiar sideline that this is the way mentoring and development is supposed to work. When leaders intentionally invest in other people and give them the opportunity to step up it, becomes a perpetual, sustaining culture. Not only is it the most effective way of developing new leaders it gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment as you witness it in action and recognize the extent of your personal influence.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Some days are more full than others. The schedule might be packed enough to leave zero space for flexibility, but that factor alone doesn't describe the best day. The most complete day is the one that leaves your heart full from rekindled friendships, mutual investment, unexpected conversations, and shared hugs and love. It's a day that allows you to spend time with people you have invested in and shared life with. The mark this type of day leaves on you may not be as visible to others, but leaves you with a confidence in being well loved and grateful for life-to-life influence.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Each day will have something unexpected in it for us. It might be a reaction from someone, a pleasant surprise, a distasteful experience, or an unplanned event. While some of these are big enough to be completely out of our control we still get to determine whether it will be a positive or negative reaction. Like most of our life circumstances, it's our attitude that determines whether something completely derails us or if it becomes part of the story of our daily growth. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Negative & Positive

It's a given fact for responsible adults that we must do some things that are not always pleasant or enjoyable.
It can be simple daily tasks like taking out the trash, dealing with a long drive to work, or a part of a job that is difficult to endure. Those unpleasant tasks can even be centered around monthly obligations like paying bills and other mundane household chores. The distaste we have for these duties doesn't change the need for these to be completed or the consequences may be unpleasant. While mature discipline is part of the solution, I have found that we have to create a balance by adding things that we do relish to our daily schedule. It's an important benefit to our overall health to add encouraging tasks to our daily regimen.
  • What did you do today that you enjoy? 
  • What did you do that brings you a sense of satisfaction? 
  • What were you able to complete that delivers a sense of accomplishment and gives you encouragement for tomorrow? 
It's vital that we find something that positively answers those questions so that we have the strength for the things that we find less than satisfying.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17 NIV)

I keep praying for wisdom and direction from You, Father. Forgive me for seeking things from You instead of simply seeking You. Give me wisdom to know You more fully and to see more of who You are as my King and Savior. I trust that as I know You fully that wisdom in other things will be given to me as well.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I was thinking about the word "overcome" this morning and how we use it to describe trials of life. It can sometimes be casually tossed around to describe all difficult seasons when it really only applies to those that we tackle head-on. We can't avoid adversity and claim to have overcome it. It's not possible to steer clear of (necessary) conflict and talk about how we overcame a problem. 

If you imagine your life as a trail through the woods and difficult circumstances as something blocking that path, you are left with two choices:

1. Jump off of the path, find another route, and refuse to deal with what's in front of you. You can circumvent the direct issue, but you didn't really handle it--you found a way around it that ignored it. It might be possible to find a non-confrontational way around it, but there will be problems in finding your way back to the right path once you're past it.

2. Recognize the huge obstacle in the middle of your path and choose to find a way over over it. This choice isn't easy--it might be covered in barbed wire, be bigger than we first anticipated, and exhaust us more than we thought. Moving forward is an aggressive way to keep moving in the right direction. 

It's the second choice that builds strength in us while revealing fortitude we might not have realized we had. Once we've overcome it (with God's strength being our fuel) we'll be able to look back and realize exactly what's been conquered. There won't be any confusion about finding the right path again--we're still on it and more resolute about keeping our footing sure for our future.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Side By Side

We hosted another "Northridge Cares" day as we left our church building and went into the
community to make a tangible difference. While we had five different locations there were specific intentions behind the choice of each one. We partnered with two schools, a national organization (the Boys & Girls Club), a community organization, and performed a random act of kindness. There were great moments of teamwork and the satisfaction of seeing the direct results of our efforts.

My wife & daughters were at a different location than I as they worked in an area called the Harrisburg Community. It is in an area that struggles economically, but also has a phenomenal resource through a playground, community center, and community garden. We had over 20 people from Northridge at this one location working together to accomplish our task list. The biggest blessing was when people from that community noticed our crews, grabbed their tools, and came to join us in the efforts. It was the perfect picture of what community involvement should be. It's not about a church coming in from the outside to bring transformation through their efforts. True community engagement is a partnership as we work alongside the people we are striving to help. Those that live inside and outside the community are equally important in making a difference. We share the resources we have for substantive, lasting impact when we work side by side.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Creative Solutions

I was in Chick-fil-A a few weeks ago on a dad & daughter date and saw this sign (pictured below) on
the table. I was immediately struck by the extremely high level of excellent customer service this represented. Since Chick-fil-A is very family friendly and has a great playground they are frequented by mothers with young children. As any parent with young ones will know it can be difficult to juggle getting them into the restaurant, ordering food, waiting for the food to be ready, and then finding your seat to get settled. The management at Chick-fil-A obviously noticed this and took creative steps to meet the needs of their customers and ensure that they continue to frequent the restaurant.

What difficulties and potential problems exist in your life that need a creative solution? Are you willing to invest thought to developing something new? Are you willing to do the extra work to put the pieces of that solution in place? The results will reveal the depth of your commitment to your goals and your desire to do what's necessary to find success even if the solution seems unusual at first.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

3F Club

I was writing in my journal this morning and wrote a phrase that caught my eye: far from finished. It was obviously in the context of a specific direction, but I thought those three words encapsulated my own feelings about my current status. 

No matter how much personal growth I have experienced, I am still not even close to being done. I acknowledge the growth and maturity that I have seen in the past few years and don't discount the steps I have taken with God's grace and the Holy Spirit's power. I recognize the essential truth however, that if I stop moving then I'm no longer alive. As I like to often say, "You still here? You ain't done yet."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Resting Discovery

I won't pretend to have the concept of Sabbath down pat. Even though I am fairly faithful (in recent years) with taking that day away from the demands of ministry, I don't always have the proper focus during that time. I find myself running all of the errands that must be done, catching up on reading, or otherwise occupying my mind. I'm missing out on the key component God intended for me to have: rest. 

I am learning that this is essential for survival as my mind, body, and spirit become weary and I function at less than full capacity otherwise. I am just learning that there is much more to Sabbath than my own recovery however. It's in the practice of quiet solitude (not just sleeping in late with a clear calendar) that I truly discover who God is. A packed ministry agenda might accomplish objectives and help lead people closer to Christ, but I am missing a level of personal intimacy when I am constantly on the go--even for the valid ministry of the church. 

It's in the rest (peaceful Sabbath) of God that we find the rest (all of Him) of God.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


As my hometown Mainland Bucs beat their local rival Seabreeze Sandcrabs this past week, I shared this comment online before the game: Preparation + Execution = Success. This principle isn't difficult to understand from a sports perspective. We analyze our opponent, learn their tendencies, develop a game plan, and then execute the plan to win. Every consistently successful team follows this mantra. 

Why should it be any different for a Christ-follower? Why do we fail to apply these same principles for winning our battle with the enemy? I'm not discounting the fact that we can't be perfect, but I have seen (and personally experienced) failure simply because of the lack of preparation. It's a matter of recognizing areas of weakness, putting a plan in place to avoid that temptation, and turning to God's power to find the strength to execute the plan when the test comes. 

It's not going to happen just because we wish for it. We've got to put in the disciplined training and preparation and then follow through at the right moment to create success.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I have run from God's vision for my life for a long time. At an early age (pre-teen) He called me to ministry, but I did everything I could to avoid it. I wandered far off a path of obedience and only began to seize my calling at the age of 32 (although the journey I took was my path that led me to where I am today). Even as I have spoken the truth of that vision over myself in recent years I have found myself fighting against it--at least until recently. 

I have allowed my focus to waver and even questioned my ultimate direction until I accepted that every part of what I am doing is preparing me for the future. Trying to ignore or rationalize that calling is foolish at best and sinful at its worst. I am no longer running away from it, but am now moving towards it with passionate focus & intense desire. 

Even though the next phase of that vision is incomplete (in progress) I am still in a place of peace as I have fully embraced what God is calling me to. I am working to be prepared for what is next and praying that I would trust in His sense of timing as He finally has my full attention in the process. I could only begin the intense devotion of growth by refusing to run away from the ministry my Father & King has been guiding me towards my entire life. I don't know when the fulfillment will arrive, but I am enjoying the journey with a definite destination in mind. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed!” he snorted. “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.” 
Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

I will admit that there have been times when Bilbo's words might have been my own. The demands of life,ministry, and personal ambition can threaten the necessary stability I seek. These feelings are warning signs that my life has been thrown out of balance and an adjustment is necessary. This highlights my need for rest and reinvigoration on a regular basis if I am going to thrive. When I stubbornly ignore that peaceful necessity I eventually run out of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual resources. I am left feeling like a hobbit in need of great change when the solution to my craving is to simply rest in the calming presence of my King who rejuvenates me completely.

The gift of the Sabbath is the remedy for this malaise. While it is often used as a desperate recovery tool when things are out of control, it was intended to be a regular respite for our soul. It's the recognition of our limited abilities and our dependence on God that gives us the strength to endure by finding regular rest. It's one of God's great gifts to us-it's why Jesus insisted that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Good Old Days

I have fond memories of high school, college, and early adulthood. I enjoy sharing those stories with my children & even comparing tales of adventure with other friends. The dilemma I have noticed for some people is that they are completely caught in the past. Conversation with them doesn't involve what is presently happening in their lives, but is focused only on a history of victory with no current conquests. 

Why is the past so attractive to us?  It's easier to talk about times in the past because no one remembers them accurately. We've taken enough liberty with the actual facts that we've accepted the story we tell as the 100% truth even if reality is somewhat less than that. We've rewritten the story so that it says  what we want it to say-intentionally or not. I believe that fear is part of this reticence to move forward too because we're afraid of what we have to do now to be successful and complete. In some ways it's easier to talk about how good we used to be instead of putting in the dedicated discipline to be better today.

The past is important. It has shaped who we are today and it can be a powerful teaching tool for future decisions as long as we don't insist on dwelling in "the good old days." Faithful growth and maturity are found in simultaneously forgetting what is behind us and using it as a springboard for the future.

Friday, November 1, 2013


One of the characteristics of God that I find most appealing is His incredible desire to restore. It's a powerfully attractive quality as we discover the investment of God's energy in bringing us back from the dark side of self-inflicted damage, desperation, and sickness. The truth is that God has always been in the restoration business-it's the way He has told the tale of who He is from the beginning. 

The key to being restored isn't only found in God's willingness however. There has to be a readiness on our part to submit to God's work in bringing us back to a point of being right. Far too often we become so content with our state of sickness and brokenness that we are unwilling to have that removed. The change that healing will bring to our present reality frightens us and so we reject the perfect healing that God is ready to bring. It's a sad circumstance when we have accepted this wrecked condition as the height of the life we strive for. 

Being made right isn't just a reflection of God's ability to heal, but also our submission to His way for our life. It's the healing of our dependency that brings the greatest freedom.