Sunday, January 22, 2012


Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

We are called to be and make disciples, and while young people are certainly not the only ones who need a Savior, the path toward a relationship with Christ begins the moment we come into this world. You may or may not be a parent, but you absolutely have the power to make a positive difference in the lives of children. The influence we have as adults is indisputable; meaning, we don't get to choose if we have influence or not - we just do. However, the impact of that influence is well within our power.

I want my daughters to know I love God, their mother, them, and all people. I want them to know I will fail, miserably at times, at demonstrating this on a consistent basis. I want them to know the grace provided to us through Jesus covers it all, and I can only hope to demonstrate a mere fraction of this grace to others. So, I ask myself consistently if I am doing what I claim to believe. And, if I am not, I ask myself consistently what I should say and do differently to avoid the laziness and hypocrisy that's so easy to return to.

My testimony is similar to many others I know. Regardless of how we come to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, it seems as though nearly all of us never know we need a Savior until we know how broken we are. And, we seem to never know how broken we are until we stumble and fall on our own - usually over and over and over again. The hardest lessons are the ones we have to learn ourselves. While we hope for shortcuts, there are none.

I want my children to obey and be safe. I don't want my children to resist and feel pain. But, you know, they will, and we have to let them. Encouraging disobedience and unsafe behavior is not the same as recognizing the reality it will and typically even needs to happen. That, in the end, is what trusting God is all about: We can't do it ourselves, but instead need Him, and He knows best - always.

I'm sure glad He's my Dad.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I wish we talked about grace as much as we talked about sin.

I mean, we're obsessed with sin. We rank people according to how bad we think their sins are and how much or how little we believe they are convicted by their sins. We speak of loving the sinner but hating the sin. And, we're reminded that if there was no sin, there would be no need for a Savior. But, that's really the point, isn't it? There is a Savior.

Spending so much of our time talking about sin distracts from and even makes light of the fact that grace actually exists and it is powerful beyond measure. In our distorted sense of reality, that world of human frailty and brokenness, we believe that if we stop talking about sin we'll sin more and not understand the need for a Savior.

No matter how much we talk about it and no matter how often and how hard we try, we can't wash the sin away. We will never be able to get the sin out, off, away. It'll keep coming back - no, strike that - it'll never go away. Our obsession with sin is simply another demonstration of our desire for control, our belief that we can actually do something about it.

If we put as much energy into talking about grace as we did about sin, we could change the world. He loves us like no person can ever love a person - ever, now, and always. Love is what won, and love is what wins. Not love by our definition, ensnared by the trappings of our desire for control; rather, love by His definition, only giving and never taking.

I wish we talked about grace more than we talked about sin.

I wish all we talked about was grace.

I wish all we did was love.

I wish.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Every year between Christmas Day and New Year's Day, our church, along with the sister churches and ministries associated with our family of churches, sponsors a conference called Faithwalkers. I've been able to attend three times now - once in 2007 in Missouri, once in 2009 in Nebraska, and once in 2011 in Colorado. It starts with an evening of worship and prayer, followed by three days (early morning until late night) of worship, prayer, messages, and seminars. Both mentally and physically, it is exhausting, overwhelming, challenging, and uplifting beyond measure.

Each time I've attended, I've left with something powerful to help me in my walk with Christ. The first time, it was focused a lot on myself and my passion for God. The second time, it was centered more on others and living out what God calls us to do. This most recent time, it is revolving primarily around my relationship with God.

I've invested a great deal of energy into working on things from an external perspective; meaning, I need to improve myself and my relationship with my family and friends and others, and I need to play an active role in promoting a positive relationship between others. While this is true, and worthy of my time, I feel I haven't concentrated enough on developing my relationship with God. All blessings flow from this, and all I will take from this world is this; therefore, I know what I need to invest in the most.

And so I walk on with Him.