Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Oh, Father...

Praise to Your holy name!

Praise for Your lovingkindness.

Praise for Your creation, ongoing.

Praise for Your mercies, new every morning.

Praise for Your perfection, beyond my understanding.

Praise for Your mysteries, hidden from me, making me feel I know You altogether.

Praise for Your Word, teaching me, piercing me, building me.

Praise for Your Son, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Praise for Your passion for every soul, not just mine.

Praise for Your concern for the little things of my life.

Praise for Your power over kings and presidents.

Praise for Your humble entry in the form of a baby.

Praise for Your Spirit's filling of my selfish heart.

Praise for Your artistry on this earth and in my heart.

Praise for Your grace, wholly undeserved.

Praise for Your presence in joy and grief.

Praise for Your fearlessness in the face of any threat.

Praise for Your laughter in the face of my arrogance.

Praise for Your patience with my foolishness.

Praise for Your willingness to absorb my ugliness.

Praise for Your hand molding me as clay.

Praise for Your creation, ongoing.

Praise for Your lovingkindness.

Praise for Your holy name!

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Oh, King!

What will I place ahead of You?


Not my family, and my joy in their love.

Not my career, with its rewards.

Not my body, with its cravings.

Not my suits, ties, and wing-tip shoes, with their self-importance.

Not my dreams, with their enticements.

Not my intelligence, with its lure of solid ground.

Not my pride, with its poison.

Not my ability to please others, with its quicksand.

Not my past, with its memories.

Not my future, with its hopes.

Not my guilt, with its martyrdom.

Not my anger, with its blade.

Not my speaking ability, with its impressiveness.

Not my humor, with its sarcasm.

Not my judgment, with its self-pleasing accuracy.

Not my vision, with its false credit to me.

Not my money, with its security.

Not my amusements, with their fun.

Not my reputation, so important to me.

Father, Master, Maker, Lord, and Friend:

Not one of these will come before You.

Take hold of my life.

Take it, it is Yours.

I am Yours, Oh King!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

When Your Child Becomes a Global Pariah

If you're a parent, you know the feeling.

Your kid does something so embarrassing, you just want to hide. You know you did the same to your parents, but that doesn't help. There's nothing quite like it.

But what if your child's transgression is not a private matter? What if your child not only does something awful, but the deed is exposed to your community, or your child is foolish enough to post it online as well, and spark the next whirlwind of global condemnation?

What if your son or daughter becomes the social media poster child for everything that is evil and wrong with "this generation"?

You may have seen the recent video of a teen abusing a dead dog's corpse, and you may have read the predictable pile-on from outraged strangers pointing out the obvious and heaping shame on someone they'll probably never know.

The video is truly awful, and the young man's actions beyond the pale.


How in the world could you possibly respond as a parent?

How would you manage to address your child's obvious failure, as well as their intense vulnerability, at the same time? How would you juggle your horror at your child's conduct, along with your disgust at the bloodlust of the hordes calling for your child's head?

How you respond might depend on what your child has already seen from you:

How do you respond when it's someone else's kid who does something awful?

How do your kids see you respond to the nuisances and outrages of your own life, as well as the many grievances shared online by your friends all the time?

How have your children heard you speak about those who have wronged you? About strangers who have done terrible things, at least terrible things that you haven't done yourself?

Does your child have reason to believe there is grace for an offender?

Has your son or daughter seen someone receive love in the aftermath of error, even when that error brought devastating consequences? Do your kids know that someone can be sent to prison, alienate their spouse, fail their children, lose their career, destroy their health, squander their fortune, offend the most basic human sensibilities, ruin their reputation, even become the next You Tube pariah...and still be so important to God that He has already paid the price to redeem them?

Does your child know a Lord who spoke the word that made powerful men drop the rocks they were ready to throw at a woman so ashamed she might have welcomed an untimely death?

If not, what will your kids expect to experience someday when this happens to them?        

One day it won't be a stranger exposed for some terrible deed.

One day it won't be so simple.

One day no one will understand the whole story.

One day you'll want nothing more than for someone to be kind, even in the face of an offense no one can overlook.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's the Word for That?

What do you call the fight that never happened?

We need a word for that.

The argument that never took place, because someone bit their tongue and let the moment pass.

The confrontation that might have happened, but didn't, because someone decided it wasn't worth it, and turned out to be right.

The horn that wasn't honked.

A snarky comment left unposted.

The middle finger that kept its seat.

A fist left unthrown.

The war never started.

Vengeance left unsought.

An empty space in time, left unfilled by an offense no one remembers.

Thank God for these...whatever you call them.

A married father strapped into a hospital bed, dropped on his head by a bar bouncer, wishes more than anything for one of these...whatever you call them.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Beaten-Up Book

Let me be a book you can't give away,

Marked up from saying things that meant something to you,

Carried everywhere you went for a season,

Pulled in and out of your bag a thousand times,

Wet from the beach,

Wrinkled from the sun drying me out,

Sand somehow still stuck inside,

Reminding you of good things, giving you hope and an advance on sweet memories to come,

Making you glad you really knew me, and didn't just download the Kindle version.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Running from Nothing

"What's the worst that could happen?"

When's the last time you asked this?

For me, this is how I wrestle with a decision of whether to do something risky, or a challenge to convince someone else that a risk is worth taking.

But after reading this story, and dwelling on our new American normal of constant fear of violent death, this question is starting to mean something else. It's hard to fathom a stampede of terrified people trampling an old couple in mass desperation to get away from...nothing.

Yes, it's easy for me to say. No, I wasn't there. No, I didn't hear the noise or the rumors of a shooter. No, I can't say for sure how I would have reacted.


This is what we have become?

Are we really so afraid of losing this earthly life?

Is a violent death really the worst thing that could happen to us? Falling from a cliff? Going down in a plane crash? Drowning? Being burned alive? Buried alive? Being beheaded with a knife by a jihadi? Shot by a sagging-britches gang member who was aiming for someone else? Caught without your trusty gun, and choked to death by an intruder?

Losing your loved ones to such horrors?

Public humiliation, career suicide, financial ruin? Dire illness, betrayal?

Being stripped of everything we hold dear in this life?

What do you really consider to be the worst thing that could ever happen to you?

And when was the last time you considered these words:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or sword? Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

How easy is it to read these words and still never consider actually facing the painful fates listed by Paul, who knew suffering better than we ever will? How easy is it to forget that many of our ancestors in the faith have met a dreadful end to this earthly life? (Hebrews 11:35-38)

Pain, suffering, tragedy, injustice, and terror are not the worst things that could ever happen to you.

The worst thing that could ever happen to you would be to live this life apart from Christ, grasping hold of this vapor like it's all you'll ever have, clawing back at everything that hurts or scares you, and then dying anyway, only to have Jesus tell you He never knew you.

No, your time on earth is not a cheap thing to be foolishly risked or thrown away for no reason. But it's also not the whole story.

Don't spend it running from nothing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

An Ugly Mirror

Let me be a messed-up old mirror: spotted, dingy, and cracked. 

Clear enough to leave no doubt what you are, but clearly not anyone to talk.