I’m not an expert. I’ve never claimed to be an expert. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most experts are aware that someone else out there in this vast ocean of people is more knowledgeable than they are in any given field. I’m a worship leader by trade. That doesn’t mean, and should never mean that I’m closer to God or in tune with the heart of God. Well, not necessarily. Obviously, I’m a worship leader and must, therefore, have some form of more intimate knowledge if I am leading people into worship. However, we are all worshippers. We are all ministers. The fact that I’m a worship leader by trade is that I was (I’d like to use the word lucky here, but hard-nosers would remind me I’m blessed) blessed/lucky enough to be one of the few that God chose to make a living of bringing people to the place I’ve been with God. There’s the catch about being the expert. Your experience and knowledge can never stop growing. I can’t just decide to point people to God, one day. I have to bring them along to where I’ve been. Which means? Yep. You got it. I’ve got to be continually growing in my relationship with Christ. I’ve…never...arrived…

My job is not to be a signpost pointing to where God is, my calling is to leave breadcrumbs for people to follow, holding their hand if it’s needed.

Office Supplies


I’m an office supply junkie. I could literally spend hours in any office supply store, even if I don’t buy anything. I am still upset about a certain pen that was discontinued 9 years ago, and I can’t find it anywhere, even though I only owned like 3. They weren’t those $30 pens either. You could buy a dozen for 15 bucks or so. That was about the time the Pilot G-2 07 pens came out, and I’ve used them almost exclusively for nearly a decade. I’ve got one in my pocket right now. Anytime I see someone using one, I always make comment, and somehow they don’t find me completely insane, so maybe there’s hope, or at least some other freaks like me.

I used to use pencils all the time, but using your typical wooden pencil got tiring because they lose that ultra-sharp tip within the first ten seconds of writing, then as your line becomes wider and less-defined, you find yourself longing to regain that crisp, dark line you started with. The problem is you have to weigh how bad you want that freshly sharpened pencil tip against how comfortable you are in your chair and how far it is to the sharpener.

Enter the mechanical pencil. Now, you have that perfectly sharp, always perfect line without ever having to leave your seat. The interruption is momentary when all you have to do is click the forward-advancing mechanism to regain your sharp tip. Unless, of course, you’re using 0.5 lead, which breaks, on average, every seventeenth letter, at least it does for me.

The problem is, though, there’s no character in a mechanical pencil. Sure there are different brands. Sure, there are different styles. Sure, traditional pencils and mechanical pencils are mass-produced in much the same way, but there’s something different about a wooden pencil that feels right. So, it may take more time and effort to keep it in working shape the way you want it, but so does a good home cooked meal versus a peel-and-zap frozen dinner or a lasting relationship, and those are always worth the effort.

Be Holy...


Scripture says in Leviticus 11:44 to “Be Holy for I am holy.” I used to think that meant I had to try really hard to be holy like God is: to follow his example. I have heard many people say, “God knows you’re not going to be perfect, but he expects you to try.” What is that?! God know you’re going to fail, but try real hard anyway? That’s stupid! That’s like in High School when they used to tell us that the standardized test we were taking doesn’t really count for anything for us, our grade is unaffected, and the school is only being graded on your performance; but do your best anyway. Why?

Let’s think back to the encounter between Moses and God at the burning bush in Exodus 3. God tells Moses in Verse 5 that the ground on which he’s standing is holy. It happened to Joshua in Joshua 5:15 when the captain of the army of the Lord tells him the exact same thing. Was the actual, physical dirt holy? No. What made it holy was the presence of God.

The tabernacle had a holy place and the most holy place, or holy of holies. Was the room itself holy? No. It was just a space cordoned off by fine linen and gold. What made it holy was the presence of God.

I Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you…The temple of God is holy, and that’s what you are.” When we as follower of Christ are called to “be Holy for [God is] holy,” it’s not a command but an explanation. It’s like setting a bird free while saying the words, “Be free.” You’re not commanding the bird to try it’s best to be free. Even though it’s impossible to free yourself, you, little bird, should try really hard anyway. No, the words ‘be free’ are an explanation of the bird’s state and an encouragement that freedom is what the person in charge (me holding the bird) wants and has granted. God is saying, “be holy” in the same way. Holiness is what he desires, and its what he’s granted to me by making me his temple; his dwelling place. Because he dwells in me, I am holy! When God says “be holy for I am holy,” what he’s really saying is, “you are holy because I am holy and I have chosen you as my dwelling place. My presence, not what you do, makes you holy. Wow! Rest in that today!

Mary had a baby...


It’s Christmas time, and everybody is running around like crazy. You’re seeing commercials about buying “that perfect gift” for “that special someone.” That person “who has everything” and probably couldn’t find a spot to put anything anyway. You have people who make you feel guilty for buying too much, if you don’t give enough to charity, if you don’t spend the right amount of time with family, for eating so much, for buying the wrong gift, and countless other things. Then you try to find refuge in church, because that’s just what you do around Christmas time, only to be reminded that it’s Jesus’ birthday, and you probably shouldn’t give gifts anyway, because you’re commercializing this holy day, and it never ends.

When my Dad was growing up, he was what he calls a C & E Christian; he only showed up on Christmas and Easter. He couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out how Jesus went from being a baby in December to being 33 years old in April and having to die. To be honest, I couldn’t figure that out either, growing up in church. We seemed to celebrate his birth, Death, resurrection, then tell stories about him the rest of the year. This Christmas, don’t focus on the guilt that’s piled on you. Don’t focus on whether or not you got the right gifts, wrong gifts, enough gifts or if you volunteered enough time or money. Don’t even focus solely on the fact that Jesus came as a baby. Rather, spend time on why he came at all. It’s not necessarily that he came as a baby (whatever time of year it actually was) but it’s why he came. His love for you, and the fact that he chose to fix the relationship that sin had decimated is the only reason he came. He came as a child, humbly to walk where we walk, live where we live, and still point towards the love of God. Merry Christmas to all, and God’s love for your life..

More like the Father


In Luke 15:11-32, we find the well-worn "story" of the Prodigal Son. It's so well known that even people that know nothing of the Bible know this story. Earlier this year, I was reading Steve McVey’s Grace Walk, where he concluded that both brothers missed the goal, which was relationship with the Father. One brother felt like his misbehavior forfeited his status as son. The other son hoped his work would make Daddy happy. Truth is, they were both still his sons, no matter what they did. When I was a kid, My Dad told me, in a similar vein to an old song by Steve and Annie Chapman that if I were president, I'd be his son. If I were a prisoner, I'd still be his son. Wow!

Isn’t it amazing when God takes a passage you know so well and blows it wide open all over again? Check out the language the older brother used to talk to his father in verse 30. He calls his brother "this son of yours." He didn't even acknowledge him as his little brother; he had been reduced to his father's son, and no brother of mine. You can almost hear the contempt in his voice and the venom in his words. I can sense bitterness in him; betrayal that his father didn't view this brat the same way. Where the father is the very picture of mercy, grace and forgiveness, the older brother is the polar opposite. He holds up his obedience and discipline as a trophy for his father to see. But, the father doesn't even glance at them. Instead, He reminds him that he currently is and always will be his son, and that the other boy is still his brother. In verse 32, the father uses the older brother's phrase to throw back at him that they are still a family. He says, "This brother of yours was dead and is now alive. He was lost and is now found." He invited the son to drop his pride, bitterness and anger, sense of injustice and contempt and join the party because they are still family.

Reading this, I look at the symbolism Jesus uses. He never explains this one out like he does with the parable of the farmer sowing seeds. He's telling this parable in a series of parables to the Pharisees. The point wasn't lost on them. If the younger brother is a person who is running from God's love and the Father equals God, then I see the older brother as the long-time Christian/Churchgoer who has allowed piety and service to be their God, not Jesus. Someone like the Pharisees! The older brother had focused so much on the stuff he did for his father that he had missed the relationship with him. Because he was tied more to his work instead of his Father, he didn't become more like his father. The more time you s
pend with someone, the more alike you become ("He acts just like his dad!"). The problem is, too often, people get wrapped up in church stuff instead of being wrapped up in Jesus. Jesus, the very picture of grace, love, mercy and forgiveness looks different than his followers who have missed Him. Who are the most judgmental people you know? So many times it's the people who have followed Jesus the longest. Shouldn't they be the first in line to love and forgive when someone is drowning in sin? God would be, and if we who have been Christians are quick to be judge and jury to pronounce condemnation on those far from God, who have we been following? If we were close to God and not our rules, we would be more like Him. Our hearts would line up with his, and people would be flocking to Jesus because they feel God's love in the everyday Christ-followers they encounter.

When we feel like we're doing all the right things and following all the rules, we tend to love God's justice and wrath more than his grace and mercy because we feel like we deserve to be called His followers more than those filthy, godless, flesh-seekers. That's why people call us hypocrites, because we love God's grace and mercy when he forgives us, but refuse grace and mercy towards those we deem unworthy. None of us deserve it! God Loves! We're the ones who spoil it.

I know it sounds flowery and prosaic, but these are the lines that came to mind when I thought about all I try to hold up for him to see:
Oh, How differently my
trophies shine
when God’s light falls
on them.
Now, they look broken and
rusted instead of the
dazzling gold I thought
they were when seen
in the light of my own piety.



I’ve got nothing to say today. My blog was started with the intent to let you into the not-so-typical mind of a minster. The fact of the matter is, most ministers will be the first to admit that we’re normal people. We struggle. We fail. We doubt. We’re in the spotlight often, and so when you hear of a pastor or minister failing, it’s normally a huge fall or a publically humiliating situation. I’ve heard of ministers having affairs, embezzling money, getting caught in inappropriate relationships that aren’t actual affairs. I’ve even heard of pastors who decided everything they believed wasn’t true and walked away from God entirely. Just because you don’t hear of any of the ministers you know personally or that you follow falling from Grace, don’t think they don’t fail. That’s a mistake that puts unnecessary stress and strain on your ministers and minister friends. It’s unfair because when (not if) they disappoint you, if you’ve set them up on some above-average-people pedestal you’ll be shaken at their lack of super-human ability.

Let me tell you why it’s been so long since I’ve written anything. I’ve had nothing to say. I’ve wanted to only write when God shows me something super-amazing as opposed to just letting you know the little things that go on. That’s going to change. For one thing, I’ve not spent the time with Christ that I’ve wanted to. No, it’s not about doing stuff so God likes me, but in relationship I want to spend time with him, instead of running from him. That’s a huge change from my relationship prior to his change in my heart several months ago. I used to hide from him for weeks on end. Now, I’m allowing business to keep me from him, not a lack of desire. I desire God. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to be able to write that and it not be some sentimental gush. It’s finally truth. If it shocks you to think that I’ve had doubts about God or that I have never truly wanted him until now, and I’ve been a minister for 2+ years, then you’ve set me up on a pedestal. I struggle. I doubt. I worry. Boy, do I worry. Man, do I ever worry. In fact, I’ll take up that topic again soon. I just wanted to let you know I’m still here, God still speaks, and now I’m listening.

The airing of the Fears


About a week and a half ago, a thought came across my mind that requires absolute honesty. I think we have all dealt this this thought, but few of us have taken the time to entertain it, chew on it, and mull it over because it scares us to death! The thought is this; somewhere, in the back of our minds, we are fearful that if God wouldn't spare his own son, why would he spare me? Jesus was perfect and yet he was brutally tortured and murdered. I am far from perfect, much less decent, on my own accord, and deserve far worse. why would this loving God not spare his own son, yet would love me?

See, we are far beyond thankful for Jesus' sacrifice and the relationship it brings. But somewhere in my mind, (a dark recess, no doubt; one I refuse to allow myself to think on) I fear that if this great, almighty, "loving" God would sacrifice his one and only son (even if it was for my sake, in redemption of our relationship) he wouldn't waste any time in sacrificing me for any slight reason. I'm not talking about a physical killing-off, as it were, merely a tossing-to-the-trash-heap-like-a-high-school-romance king of thing. It's silly, I know, but a genuine fear from the deep cavities of a mind warped by fear and sin. But, if Jesus were to get rid of me out of anger, spite or mistrust, it would fly in the face of his own sacrifice to win me back in the first place. Why would God go to such great lengths to restore our relationship only to destroy me or abandon me? But somewhere inside of me is a scared little boy hoping he's good enough to still be allowed to hang around.

I'm painfully aware of the fact that I have a strong personality. I'm an encyclopedia of ridiculous and unnecessary facts, and I love to talk with anyone and everyone. I know I can seem overbearing, and I worry all the time that I'm getting on people's nerves. I've had friendships for long periods of time, only to find out they found it agonizing to be around me at all. I'm sure we've all felt that way at least once. I know it's also happened for me (and I'm probably not alone) that I've done something or experienced something that was amazing to me or that I'm very proud of only to discover that others find it mediocre at best, and, at worst, stupid. I've known those that no matter what story, experience or creation you bring to the table, theirs is better. Living in that muck from day to day is tiring, frustrating and discouraging. Pretty soon, you're afraid of being yourself; gun-shy of being confident in your abilities. People mistake your pride in the talents God has given you for arrogance, and now you're afraid to share what God has put in you.

That kind of social conditioning trains us to believe that God is the same way. He isn't, though. He is, instead, like the mother whose daughter brings her a bouquet of fresh-picked weeds. The mother doesn't scold the child for bringing her worthless, parasitic plants, but puts them in a crystal vase in the picture window or the dinner table, proudly displaying the priceless, beautiful gift. In and of themselves, the weeds are ugly, unwanted things, but the love of a daughter for her mother is expressed, and that's what's important. Only self-centered, spoiled brats care more about the gift than the giver. God doesn't require you to be the best. He doesn't even require you to be your best. (Think on that for a second! He doesn't require you to be your best because your best isn't good enough!) He just wants you. Scars, wounds, limping, bruises, all of you. He loves YOU.

God, I know your son had to die to restore our relationship. I know you didn't send him as punishment or because you were mad at him, but because you loved your creation so much that you'll stop at nothing to get at me, and show me your love.

Dad told me a story of an earthquake halfway around the world. It struck in the middle of the day and among the damage, an elementary school was leveled, trapping children inside. After digging in the area, rescue crews deemed it too unstable and dangerous to continue, but one father kept digging in the rubble with his bare hands, despite the risk. He was told to give up, but he wouldn't quit. After 2 days, he broke through into a chamber in the wreckage where his son and 30 classmates were still alive. The boy beamed at him, shouting, "I told them you'd find me! They said their dads would give up, but I knew you'd save me!" God risked everything by loving us. The fickle, adulterous people we are. He has fallen madly in love with us and will stop at nothing to restore us...

I knew you'd come for me...