Sit a Spell

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God: “Pull up a chair and sit a spell.”

Me: “Sure, I’ve got a few minutes. This is nice…to slow down for a minute.”

God: “It is, isn’t it. Did you notice how beautiful the rain is this morning?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s quite a lot of rain. It’s keeping me from fishing this morning, though. You know that’s why I came down to Kentucky this week, right…to fish.”

God: “I thought you came to get some rest and restore your soul. You mentioned being spiritually empty and needing some time to be re-filled with my Spirit.”

Me: “Yeah, I just really think I could do that better out on the boat with hooks in the water than stuck here at the house in this rain.”

God: “But this is nice, right? This rain sure is peaceful isn’t it?”

Me: “Yeah, sure. I like the way it sounds hitting the trees and ground.”

God: “I knew you would.”

Me: “Sure would be nice to be out on the water, though.”

God: “You’re not the only one of my creation that needs restored and fed, my child.”

Me: “Oh. Yeah, I suppose you have quite a few others to think about in that regard, eh?”

God: “…”

Me: “This coffee sure is nice. Thanks for making that possible.”

God: “You’re welcome. I like giving you the things you enjoy.”

Me: “I enjoy time in the boat. 😉”

God: “…”

Me: “So, what’s new? I just read this passage here, and I suppose you have something for me in that somewhere, right?”

God: “Do you see how the rain is bouncing off the leaves there and making it look like the bush is dancing? Isn’t that awesome!?”

Me: “Ummm. Sure, yeah that’s cool. Doesn’t really have much to do with this passage from your Word that I just read, though.”

God: “It takes a lot of work to aim each rain drop just right so it’ll hit the right leaf at the right time.”

Me: “Mmm. Yeah, I don’t reckon I ever gave that much thought.”

Me: “Well, this has been a nice few minutes, but I’ve got to get going if I’m gonna serve you today.”

God: “You just got here. Can’t you stay just a while longer?”

Me: “Father, you know I’d love to, but if I’m gonna be fruitful for your kingdom today, I better get going now.”

God: “Can’t you stay just a bit longer. This is nice.”

Me: “Maybe just another minute or two, but that’s all I have time for today.”

God: “Isn’t this nice, though?”

Me: “Yeah it is, but we can talk throughout the day about the specifics if you want. I really should get started with my day. I’ve got a lot going on today.”

God: “…”

Me: “What, you’re gonna guilt me for wanting to get out in the field doing your kingdom work?”

God: “I didn’t say anything.”

Me: “Oh, I thought that was you.”

God: “Since you bring it up, I don’t really NEED you to do the work, you know that right?”

Me: “True. I guess you could just snap your fingers and it’d be done, but you called me to it right? So it really is something I should get out there and do if I’m gonna do it well and bring you any glory today.”

God: “Even the leaves on that bush are bringing me glory as they dance in the rain.”

Me: “So, you’re saying I should go dance in the rain?”

God: “I’m saying you don’t have to be busy to bring me glory. In fact, you simply being brings me much glory.”

Me: “Oh. But you built me to move.”

God: “I created you to bring me glory.”

Me: “But I’m wired to be busy and moving from one thing to the next.”

God: “You’re ‘wired’ to bring me glory.”

Me: “But I don’t know how to do that just sitting here doing nothing.”

God: “Sitting with me and watching my rain is ‘nothing’?”

Me: “Well, when you say it like that it sounds harsh.”

God: “…”

Me: “I know it’s not nothing. I’m sure it’s quite the orchestration of events to make rain happen like this. It’s just that…”

God: “It’s what?”

Me: “I don’t know. Its just hard to sit here this long.”

God: “I understand.”

Me: “Do you? I mean, you’re God. You can be everywhere in the world all at the same time.”

God: “I had to sit and watch my Son die on the cross.”

Me: “Oh yeah, there is that. I don’t know how you did that.”

God: “It was hard, but worth it. I did it so that we could sit and talk this morning.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

God: “It’s through Jesus that you can know me.”

Me: “Oh. Well, thank you for that.”

God: “You’re welcome.”

Me: “So I can go now?”

God: “I was never keeping you.”

Me: “But you made me feel guilty for wanting to leave.”

God: “No, I was WANTING you to stay and spend time with me.”

Me: “I do want to, I just have a lot to do today.”

God: “I understand.”

Me: “We can talk throughout the day.”

God: “Sure, if that’s what you want.”

Me: “Isn’t that what you want too, to talk to me throughout the day?”

God: “I want you.”

Me: “You have me.”

God: “…to spend time with you.”

Me: “We can spend time together doing the things I have to do today…two birds so to speak.”

God: “It’s not the same.”

Me: “But you’re God. You can make it the same.”

God: “That’s not how it works.”

Me: “Oh. I wouldn’t know.”

Me: “Well, I best get going. This has been nice.  See you out there.”

God: “Ok. I’ll be here when you’re ready.”

My Six Rules For Using The Public Shower – I Might Be Too OCD For This

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There are some jobs of fatherhood no one ever really prepares us for…long-standing traditions that need to be passed on to our children and grandchildren…lessons of past generations to be remembered, memorialized and honored. Sometimes, those traditions are as obvious to us as the nose on our face, the things we have woven into the very fabric of our family name and heritage. Things that have shaped who we are as a people. 

More often than not, are the common things we do every day without really even a second thought as to how we learned them. Things that never really even appear as a blip on our radar…until the moment presents itself. And then in that moment, that “aha!” moment, when the blip appears on the radar, it’s THE most important thing right now, and we instantly know we HAVE to get this one right…or risk losing the precious knowledge handed down to us by our forefathers. 
So, to honor those who came before us and protect this critical knowledge for generations to come, let’s take a moment to review the top six rules…of public shower use at the campground.
As complicated as I could actually make this, I’m dealing with a 6 and 8 year old on their first weeklong camping trip, so I’ll keep it as simple as I can. Because honestly, it took less than 12 hours to forget the first rule. So, let’s get to it:

Rule #1 – No skin touches the floor.
This includes feet, hands, butt cheeks, and everything in between. For those who are asking, “why list ‘butt cheeks’ specifically?” You obviously don’t have boys, nor do you understand how a child takes off his shorts. I need say no more.

Rule #2 – Only the bottom of your Flick Flocks touch the floor.
No really, refer to Rule #1 above. It’s Rule #1 for a reason.

Rule #3 – No clothing or towel touches the floor.

Are we seeing a pattern here yet?

Rule #4 – Lock the door behind you.
Seems self explanatory really, but needs said nonetheless. Nothing really witty or funny to say about this one. The sad fact is there is an evil that walks among us, undetected and unseen…until it strikes. When it strikes, it does so without warning or provocation, so take measures to reduce your risk.

A side note to this rule: Remember, there’s safety in numbers. The “Two-In-Two-Out” rule in firefighting is our equivalent of the Boy Scouts’ “Buddy System”. It applies in many aspects of life, including this one. That is, unless your “buddy” likes hiding your clothes and turning the lights off on you while you’re in the public shower. If that’s the case, maybe go it alone…and reconsider whether your “buddy” really is a buddy.

Rule #5 – Wash your feet.
Like, really, really, really well. Really. It’s called ‘incidental contact‘ or ‘splash-back‘. Regardless of how well you adhere to Rule #1, it’s gonna happen…wash it. Really well. Really.

Rule #6 – Look up.
You’re camping. Probably near trees and woods. Bugs live in the woods. Big bugs. Eight-legged, hairy bugs that will carry you off into the deepest, darkest recesses of the wilderness and eat you alive kinda bugs. Bugs like water, so much they migrate toward water sources. You’re in the shower. The shower has water. Need I say more (Okay, maybe the bugs aren’t THAT big, but they’re big enough that when the water knocks one from the shower head into your hair or face you’ll be screaming like a girl and running around like a bug just fell on your face. Save the embarrassment and look up first.)

There you have it, my top six rules to using the public shower. Use at your own risk from here out. No lifeguard on duty.



P.S. I know I’m OCD about some things (germs in particular), but I embrace it, because I also know I’m not completely lost to it. I’m somewhere between “what doesn’t kill us builds our immunity” and “I put gloves on before I put gloves on, so I don’t get my gloves dirty.” (Although, I have actually put gloves on before I put gloves on so I don’t get my gloves dirty, but that’s a story for a whole nother day.)

P.P.S. I can see by the photo below that I need to readdress Rule #1
 and make it clear that it also applies to using the same public shower/restroom facility when we’re taking a potty break during a swim. Ugh.

I know I’m not alone in my craziness here. What are some of your “rules” for using the public shower?

First Day of First


Just yesterday you were learning to walk. No really…it was just yesterday. And now today you’re heading off to first grade.

My little man is becoming quite the young man. Overnight, you’ve matured right before my eyes. Okay, maybe not overnight…but when you have kids of your own you’ll understand what I mean. So this morning, as you scramble around the house looking for your new shoes…the ones you’ve been looking forward to wearing today for over two weeks, there are a few things I want to share with you before you head off into a world without your mom and I for the day.

1. Remember who you are. Your identity sets you apart from every other person trying to fit into the world around them. Don’t try to fit in, son. Don’t try to conform to everyone around you and blend in. Don’t try to please your friends or seek their approval. You don’t need it. You have the approval of both your heavenly Father and your earthly dad, and that’s all you need. Stick out. Stand apart. You’re God’s son. When you blend in, it becomes too easy to adopt the world’s values and morals (or lack thereof) as your own. You’re better than that. You have an identity in Christ that is yours alone. Claim it. Own it. Live it.

2. Remember why you’re here. Just as you’re set apart as God’s son, you have a purpose…a reason for being called into existence. It may take you years to discover what your purpose is, but trust that you have one. God has placed you right here right now to fill a purpose. To do something that no one else in all of creation has been able to do before now…or can do now. I can testify that part of your purpose has been to help me become a better dad and Christ-follower. Simply put, I’m a better man because of who you are…not by anything you’ve done…simply because of who you are. You bring out the best in the people around you, and you bring out the smile in everyone who gets to know you. Keep God close to your heart, son, and let people get to know you…and then share your story with them. Be the light to your friends today. Go out there and find your purpose.

3. Remember how to live. You are wonderfully made, righteous and holy. Your body is a living sacrifice. How you live today will directly impact who you become in Christ. The way you live today will directly affect your ability to be the light for Him. You are holy, not by your own actions, but because you are made holy though Christ in you. Understand that, and then live your life today in a way that reflects it.

4. I love you, and I’m proud of you. Not for what you’ve done, are doing, can do, or will do. I love you for who you are…my son. I’m proud of you for who you are…my son. There is nothing you could ever do to take that love and that pride away. EVER! Have a great day son!




Watch Out For That Alligator in Your Ear…He’ll Poke Your Eye Out

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For most people, today is tax day, but it’s so much more than that. For me, it’s the day I walked my beautiful daughter down the halls of the courthouse to sit down with the judge to finalize your adoption.

Walking my daughter down the aisle

Walking My Daughter Down The Aisle – April 15, 2001

Which in itself is still quite the miracle – it was only a few short months before, near your second birthday, that you started walking. Born with Ventricular Septal Defect (a hole in the inner lining of the heart), it was all your little body could do to stay alive, let alone develop and grow like everyone else’s.

I still vividly remember the days surrounding your open heart surgery at the young age of 11 months.

Open Heart Surgery

PICU recovery room following open heart surgery at 11 months old.

What a ride that was! And what a drastic change in you when you woke up afterward…the life that had been missing from your eyes for 11 months was finally there…and was burning with a passion to get out there and live.

Open Heart Surgery

Recovering and Ready to Go!

Most days, I still can’t believe that was 11 years ago. You have taught me so much about life, my young child, that I could write for hours about it and only scratch the surface. God has used you to change me for the better in so many ways…made me a more responsible man. Shown me that a smile and a cheerful heart can brighten the worst of days. Helped me overcome my shyness. Taught me compassion and true love. Planted patience and acceptance in my heart that continues to grow everyday. Deepened my faith and trust in God with the realization that I need Him to be the dad you need me to be. Proven to me that with God, we can overcome any adversity. Guided me through uncertain times with the knowledge that He has it all in his hands. Shown me how He truly can heal the broke-hearted and use the weak in powerful ways to humble the strong. And reminds me every now and again that having fun keeps us young… that we’re never too old for butterfly, Eskimo, and frog kisses, or that we have water-skiing alligators in our ears that do amazing and creative things – right before they poke us in the eye for peeking in on them.

Happy Adoption Day baby girl! I love you!



“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” – Romans 8:14-16

Not My Job

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When one child recently told me “not my job” when asked to do a household chore, and another told me “you are not the best anymore” when I was honoring what I’d said about not getting dessert without eating dinner first, it got me thinking…am I starting to become more your friend than your father? That’s a slippery slope to navigate, so, I want to set the record straight right now and be crystal clear in where I stand on the answer to that question…

It’s not my job to give you a cookie when your siblings are eating one for dessert and you want one too. It’s to teach you that there are rules. Eating your dinner before you get dessert is one of them. It pales in comparison to the rules you will experience as an adult…and when you’re an adult, you can choose to eat dessert first if you want. 😛

It’s not my job to ensure you’re happy. It’s to help you find joy…even in your darkest moments.

It’s not my job to ensure you get what you want. It’s to teach you the skills you will use to provide for yourself and your own family some day.

It’s not my job to keep you from falling. It’s to teach you how to get back up and try again.

It’s not my job to get involved in every argument or fight you have with siblings or friends. It’s to teach you how to respectfully interact with others who have opinions and beliefs different than your own…and to show you how to think outside the box…and to admit when you’re wrong.

It’s not my job to think for you. It’s to teach you how to think for yourself.

It’s not my job to pick up after you or to clean up your messes. It’s to teach you how to care for yourself so that you can be a contributing member of society, not a drain on it.

It’s not my job to make sure you never lose, or that you always win. It’s to teach you how to lose without losing your cool…and how to win with grace and humility. There are winners and losers in life. There is no prize for participation when you become an adult. The sooner you learn that, the better your odds.

It’s not my job to keep you from being hurt. It’s to teach you how to see when others are hurting and to help them.

It’s not my job to serve you. It’s to teach you how to serve others.

It’s not my job to pay for everything you want. It’s to instill in you a work ethic that says “If I work hard for it, I can buy it myself.”

Likewise, it’s not my job to give you money (i.e. allowance) for doing nothing. The government is doing that well enough for all of us. It’s to teach you money management so that you have the ability to live a debt-free life if you choose wisely. You need to know that merely existing as part of our family (or society in general) is not worthy of getting a handout. You want money from me? Earn it. Know, though, that in life there are things we adults do without reward or compensation. Likewise, some chores around here are expected of you…without compensation…simply because your existence contributes to the wear and tear on the things we have.

It’s not my job to see that you never experience anger, frustration, disappointment or sadness. It’s to teach you the sanctity of life and that every life matters…and how to control your emotions and to show respect for others regardless of how you feel.

It’s not my job to teach you to avoid conflict. It’s to teach you to approach conflict like you’re walking up to a small fire with a bucket in each hand. One is filled with water…the other with gasoline. How you react to the situation (I.e. which bucket you choose to pour on it), is what will determine the outcome.

It’s not my job to keep you from making mistakes. It’s to help you learn from them. Many of the best lessons I’ve learned in life came from the mistakes I made. There will be times you’ll make the same mistake more than once. Until you learn from them, you’re destined to keep repeating them.

It’s not my job to make sure your heart is never broken. It’s to show you how to lead your heart, not be led by it.

It’s not my job to make sure you have friends. It’s to show you how to be a friend to others.

It’s not my job to make sure you’re right all the time. It’s to teach you truth…and that there are absolutes in life, regardless of what society wants you to believe about this. There are some grey areas in life, but there also exist a set of absolutes that are true…regardless of whether we believe them to be true or not…and it’s my job to equip you to defend those truths.

It’s not my job to make sure you don’t ever miss the school bus. It’s to teach you time management…and how to make a plan and execute the plan, and to have a contingency plan…because “when you fail to plan you plan to fail.”

It’s not my job to stand over you constantly to ensure you don’t sink. It’s to teach you how to swim. In the beginning that means providing you a life jacket to keep you afloat until you can stay afloat on your own. And when you do sink, I’ll be there to extend a hand to help you up…not out…up. Because there’s a lesson to be learned in sinking…one you won’t learn unless you get yourself out.

It’s not my job to fast forward through the commercials and previews for you. It’s to teach you patience and self control…and that good things come to those who wait.

It’s not my job to fight your bullies for you. It’s to teach you how to protect and defend yourself from tyranny. And that in some situations, the best defense is a good offense.

It’s not my job to keep you and your siblings from ever fighting. It’s to remind you that some minor conflict within the family is a natural thing, but that family comes first…we stand on our family’s side in times of conflict from sources outside our family.

It’s not my job to ensure you always have a roof over your head. It’s to teach you to be thankful for what you have…because camping out with nothing but the stars overhead is fun on occasion, but the harsh reality is that it’s all the “roof” many in this world have. We’re blessed beyond what we can comprehend. Don’t take it for granted.

It’s not my job to teach you how you should vote or who you should vote for. It’s to instill in you a love for your country and a respect for those who’ve served, bled and died to protect your freedoms, including your right to vote…and that it’s not your right to vote…it’s your responsibility. When you don’t vote, you give up the right to complain about your elected officials and anything they do.

It’s not my job to solve all your problems. It’s to teach you critical thinking skills…how to explore multiple options until you discover one that works to solve the problem for yourself.

It’s not my job to make sure you catch a fish with every cast. It’s to make sure you know how to fish. When Jesus told the disciples to put down their nets and taught them to be “fishers of men”, not even they “caught” every man for Christ. It’s called fishing, not catching, for a reason. We win some…we lose some. But you won’t win any unless you cast the line.

It’s not my job to respond to your every request for my attention. Likewise, it’s not my job to be with you 24/7…that’s not healthy. It’s my job to teach you independence…and to take care of my spiritual, mental, physical, and psychological well-being…because when one of those is out of whack, I’m of no use to you or anyone else. Trust me, my sanity is important for your well-being…and as much as I love hanging out with you, I need to be away from you sometimes too.

It’s not my job to argue with your teacher for not giving you an “A”. It’s to teach you that we get out of something what we put into it…and to earn the “A” yourself.

It’s not my job to shelter you from the storm. It’s to help you weather it. The strongest trees in the forest are the ones who survived the storms, high winds and forest fires.

It’s not my job to see that you never lack what you need. It’s to teach you the survival skills that will help you overcome adversity. Trees that survive drought do so by sending their roots deeper into the ground in search of water. The deeper roots provide more strength for the tree. They’re stronger because of the drought than they were without it. The deeper your roots, the stronger you will be.

Likewise, it’s not my job to see that your every need is met instantly. It’s to teach you how to recognize the needs of others and to show love and compassion to those less fortunate than yourself.

It’s not my job to provide you the latest and greatest “thing”. It’s to teach you to be content with what you have. I grew up without 24/7 internet access, cell phones, DVR’s, or iPods…and I survived. You will too.

It’s not my job to put only foods you like on your plate. It’s to teach you where your food comes from and how to provide food for your own family some day, whether by working a job for the money to buy it…or hunting it yourself.

It’s not my job to make sure you have fun at school. It’s to teach you respect for your elders and those put in charge over you. For that matter, it’s not my job to provide you nonstop, fun-filled activities throughout the day or to constantly entertain you. You want to have fun? Do what I did…pick up a book. Go outside. Explore your world.

It’s not my job to see that you grow up to become a firefighter like me. It’s to let you see how much I love my job and to instill in you a passion to serve your community. I will love and support you, no matter what you do with your life…that’s what dads do…it’s how we roll.

It’s not my job to love you more than your mother. It’s to remind you that she and I existed before you…and we have to live with each other when you leave out on your own. She comes first…yes, before you. I love you, but I love her more. Get over it. Guess what? I love God more than her. She’s over it.

It’s not my job to force you to believe what I believe. It’s my job to share what I believe and allow you to choose for yourself.

It’s not my job to make sure you never feel lost. It’s my job to show you that you’re already lost. So am I. It’s only through the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ dying for us that we are ever found.

It’s not my job to be your friend. It’s to be your dad…and to teach you how to be a dad someday too. I don’t always get it right, but I’m trying my hardest with every day.



The Do-Over Only Works on the Playground

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Do you believe in “do-overs”? In giving grace and showing mercy to someone and allowing them a chance to do something again, to try to right a wrong? I am. Unfortunately, that’s nearly impossible to actually do when our “do-over” is needed after we say something we shouldn’t have said. We can try, but we’re just never really able to completely wipe the memory of our words away.

It’s been almost a week since I wrote. For me, that seems like an eternity. I’ve just not had the passion within me to write much this past week. My last several notes took a lot out of me, and I’ve not had the desire to even think about or discuss the root of my problem, the incident at work that threw my emotions into a tailspin.

This morning, mom and SI had left for school, and while waiting for NE’s bus to pick him up, I enjoyed sitting and watching him play. I haven’t just sat and watched you or your siblings just play in awhile. I’m usually sitting with the computer on my lap, a phone in my hand, or while walking around doing stuff around the house…I don’t remember the last time I just sat and watched. And in my time watching NE this morning, I heard God. For the first time in at least a week, I heard God’s whisper. It’s amazing how clear He is when we when we sit and be still:

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

In God’s whisper this morning, He convicted me, and immediately I knew that I had handled a situation last weekend poorly. And just to drive the point home even further, I spent some time in the Word afterward…and this is what God showed me:

“for we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.” – James 3:2

I spent almost all of last month in the book of James, but apparently in all that time, I didn’t learn what God had brought me here to learn. God spent a month preparing me for last weekend’s email, and had I heeded James’ warning, perhaps I would have handled it better. It’s apparent, I’m not as mature as I’d like to think I am most days. At 39 years of age, I’m obviously as immature as they come. The rest of chapter 3 talks about controlling the tongue…and chapter 4 talks about being proud or humble. I read these words dozens of times last month…literally several dozen times. So when the email from a family member arrived in my inbox on Saturday, I recognized that I needed to take some time to digest it and put some thought and prayer into my reply. What I failed to actually do was put some serious prayer into it. You see, controlling the tongue is not just about watching what you actually let cross your lips…it’s also about what you write. I should have picked up on that before last Saturday…my immaturity is painfully obvious.

For what it’s worth, I did wait to reply. I prayed some throughout a busy day at work, and I put some thought into my reply. I should have put some more thought and prayer into it, because I almost instantly knew it was the wrong reply. I don’t fault this family member for reaching out to me. I don’t fault the family members who asked him/her to reach out to me. I know that everyone’s intentions were in right place. That they were trying to help me through a difficult time. I tried as eloquently as I could to word my response in a way that made that clear…and in a way that did not put this person on the defensive for what I claimed was an attack at my faith.

I failed…because if I had written back with what I believe God would want me to have said, it would have been much different. If given the opportunity for a “do-over”, I would simply say:

“Thank you for caring enough about me to write to me. Thank you for having the courage and for loving me enough to reach out in faith to try and help me through this. I appreciate it more than you will ever know. It means the world to me that you care enough about me as a person to write to me. Please know that I’m good. I’m working through my issues with this incident, and God is carrying me through it. I may sometimes walk through some dark places with my emotions, but I won’t be there long because I have the resources to get through it. I’m good. Thank you again for loving me. I love you too.”

But, that’s if we lived in a world where the “do-over” actually worked. Learn from my mistake child…because we don’t. The “do-over” only works on the playground.



I Get It Now

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Do you remember how I used to give you grief for how you treated David and Derek differently than you did me and Stephen after I left for college? I still remember my first trip home for the weekend. After dinner, you got up and washed the dishes while they walked out of the room. I stood there in shock watching you wash dishes for what had to have been the first time in my life (at least as I remember it). I felt jaded by that. Knowing that this chore was rotated amongst the four of us boys when I was living at home, this simple act seemed to communicate that David and Derek were different…special…somehow more important. In the ignorance of my youth, I didn’t understand…I didn’t get it. I just want you to know something…I get it now.

Last week, I was walking into the store with all three kids, and NE and SD were walking ahead of me. SI, stuck his little arms up at me and said “I wand you hole me.” And as I looked down into his admiring eyes, arms stretched up waiting for me to pick him up, a thought crossed my mind. I realized that it was at about this age I stopped carrying NE as much, making him walk more often than I carried him. And while I realized that NE likes his independence…prefers to walk beside me now, rather than be carried…I knew that I’d trained him that way. My strictness in making him do things for himself – while done with the good intention of teaching him to be self-supportive – had taught him to stop asking me to carry him. Even more important…what also occurred to me was that it won’t be much longer that they’ll both be too big for me to carry…that my youngest boy is growing up faster than I prefer. The baby years are gone, and we’re in the toddler years. Before I know it, I won’t be able to carry him even if I wanted to. So as I picked SI up and enjoyed the moment for what it was…one of the fewer and fewer opportunities I have left to hold on to my youngest child for as long as I can…the memory of my first weekend home from college in the fall of 1991 came to me like an epiphany. As I hugged SI close to me, walking into the store I knew…and I get it now.

Ju and I attended a marriage conference this weekend, and while I took a lot away from it, one of the things the pastor said that really stuck in my head was that “wedding vows are not a declaration of current love. They’re a promise of future love.” He followed that with 30 minutes of showing us that when we stood at the alter and made those vows, there was no way to foresee the future and know who we would be. There was no way to predict how the pain of family sickness and death would change our spouse…no way of knowing how having four children would change us…no way of knowing what life events lay before us that would change us. While certainly true for the marriage relationship, God opened my eyes to the reality that what he’s saying here is also true for every relationship, including the parent/child relationship. And I get it now.

Lots of “parenting experts” say that parents need to be consistent in their parenting style with every child…discipline each the same…show affection to each the same…etc. And I agree, that if not done with delicate balance, treating each child differently can have disastrous results. Conversely, I see that it’s quite honestly just not possible to do. The thing is…as I’ve aged, I’ve changed. I’m not the same man I was when I first became a father. As I learn from my mistakes, my parenting style changes. As I see what others do that works…and what doesn’t work…I adapt my own style a little. As I age, God reveals to me little by little what is important and what is not as important as I once thought…and my heart softens a little. As my relationship with our heavenly Father grows and strengthens, I learn more from Him about how to be a dad, and I grow and mature in how I father. I’m just not the same dad I was when I first became one 12 years ago. I think I’ve known this for awhile subconsciously, but it was just this weekend that God truly revealed it to me…and I get it now.

It’s not that we love one more than the other or that we set out to treat them differently. It’s that each child holds a different piece of our ever-changing heart. Granted, my time “in the seat” of fatherhood is far subordinate to your experience, but when I reflect back on my time as a dad, I can already see how my parenting style has changed to reflect the various stages of my life. As I watch my children grow, I’m hit with the realization that in the grand scheme of things, my time is short…that not all of the little details matter as much as I think they should…that there is no shame to be found in picking my battles…that there is a time enforce strictness and rigidity, and a time to enjoy life with my children. And I get it now.

As you enter this new phase of your life, I hope you enjoy the time you have to do the things you enjoy…and to enjoy your children and make memories with your grandchildren. You’ve worked hard all of your life, and you’ve earned the right to enjoy retirement. I have learned so much from you over the years…about being a father…a husband…an employee…a friend…a follower of Christ. I look forward to many more years with both you and mom by our side. I still have so much to learn…and there are just some things best taught by a dad. I get that now.

Love ya,


The Earth is my Treadmill


The day before my first half marathon, and my nerves were really setting in last night and this morning. More excitement than anything I think. I drove the course this morning, plotting out water stations and scoping out the elevation. I gotta say it’s a beautiful course…starts on Market Street with an amazing view of the Arch, passes by Busch Stadium and the old courthouse building, City Museum, the Fox Theatre and the campus of SLU before heading south past the Botanical Garden and through Tower Grove Park, circling Lafayette Park and finishing back near the start line with another great view of the Arch in the background…not to mention all the beautiful neighborhoods with gorgeous architecture! The elevation is pretty level, with at least one awesome stretch of moderate downhill for about a half mile near mile six. All uphill runs are short, a block or two at most. The pavement is uneven…potholes and sewer covers abound. For the last six miles of the course, I had two cars following me, doing the same thing. Haha.

Afterward, I went through the expo, registered and picked up my bib, swag bag and freebies. Got checked into the hotel, ate a sub sandwich for lunch, picked your mom up from work and finished up some last minute errands before settling into the room for a few hours for some stretching and a short nap. We walked up Market Street to scope out the start/finish area for your mom, and one carb-filled meal and a snack later, I’m laying down for the night, what I pray is a restful night.

God has eased my anxiety, removed the nervousness and replaced it with a confidence in knowing I’ve done all I can to prepare. All my pre-race preparations are done. I’m physically prepared. I’m mentally ready. Over 160 miles ran in 4 months. Running in the heat. Running in the humidity. Running in the rain. Running in the cold. Running in the cold rain. Waking up to run in the wee hours of the morning before the birds are even awake. Staying up to run late at night. Running through the pain. Repeatedly pushing my body past the point of exhaustion and failure. Countless hours of training my mind to accept a new comfort zone. And baby, it all comes down to this!!! One race and only 13.1 miles stand between me and the finish line. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Donald Walsch

No matter where I place or how well I do, I’m already a winner. I’m walking alongside Christ in this life, secure in my eternal destination. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”Phil 3:12-14.

I am not yet the man God has called me to be…but I try every day to be him. With each day, I struggle to let more of me out and let more of Christ in. That is big part of what motivates me to keep running…with each pounding of my foot against the pavement, I envision my weakness and imperfections leaving my body and Christ’s love and strength replacing them. When I’ve fulfilled God’s purpose for my life here on Earth, He will call me home and I pray, reward me with seven words…”Well done my good and faithful servant.” Until then, “The Earth Is My Treadmill.”



A Change of Plans

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Summer. When you hear the word summer, the mind takes you down memory lane, and there are several activities that quickly come to mind that are forever associated with summer. For me, I remember spending almost every day at the pool. It was only 3 blocks from the house, well within walking distance, and we were there almost every day. As I became a dad, I found myself longing to be able to provide awesome summer memories for you…spending the hot days in a pool. It’s a little more difficult here, though. The nearest pool is 2 miles away, so it’s not like we could easily just walk back and forth throughout the day. We tried the inflatable popup pool here at the house for several years, but it seems we kept popping holes in it, so it never really worked out for us. I’d given up that dream until about three weeks ago. Some dear friends from church offered to give us their pool, because it seems they hadn’t used it in a while and knew that our family would get some enjoyment out of it. The fire in my eyes and the dream of providing a pool for you was once again alive and well.

I enthusiastically went and helped take it down, disassembling it piece by piece and bringing it home in two trips. I borrowed a hand tiller from a friend and got to work tearing up the grass and top layer of dirt. With your mom’s help, we hauled out all the loose dirt and grass, placing it in varying spots throughout the yard to build up the grade of the yard for better rainwater drainage. That process alone took two days. You all even helped in your own ways, using your snow shovels or my little hand garden trowel to move dirt from the circle into the wheel barrow. And then, the plan was put on hold.

It started out with a day of rain. And then it rained again…and again…and again. For the last three weeks, when I’ve been at work for two days straight, it’s been beautiful and sunny…great weather to be installing a pool. And then I come home…and it rains It’s rained so much that the circle of mud is taking 2 days or more to dry out after each rain. I even went out last night and spent 45 minutes bailing water out by hand with a scoop shovel. My hope was that by getting the bulk of the water out, the rest would evaporate and/or run off quicker, allowing me time the following afternoon and evening to get out to finish leveling the stones and moving dirt. Well, I’m typing this note now instead of working on the pool, so you can guess how well that worked. I woke up this morning to find as much water as the day before…before I bailed water for 45 minutes. It didn’t rain overnight, so the ground is so saturated that runoff from the neighbor’s yard and other parts of our yard is all collecting in the circle. I work the next two days, and it’s supposed to be nice and warm…no rain in the forecast. So it will have had a good 3-4 days to dry out by this weekend. My first day home is supposed to be no rain, followed by rain in the forecast the following day. I have a short window of opportunity it appears.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not completely the fault of rain that has kept me from working on it. Last Saturday was a perfect day to finish the project. Problem there was that I worked Thursday and Friday, had only 6 hours of sleep in those 48 hours, and came home to run in a 5K. After the race, my body felt like I’d just finished a half marathon. I was spent. So I laid down for a nap in the mid-morning and crashed for 5 hours. When I woke up…it started raining. I blew my opportunity to get some work done.

Last night as I was bailing water out by hand with a scoop shovel, I had bailed for about 10 minutes in one area, and I had that little low spot almost clear of all water when I stopped to revel in my accomplishment. As I sat there resting, proud of clearing the water from that hole, I noticed it. Water was slowly running back into the area. I thought the area I had chosen to toss the water would direct the water out of the yard, but it didn’t. It slowly trickled its way right back into the hole. That was it for last night. I’d bailed as much water as I could. At least the other 35 minutes of bailing water would help. Nope. By morning, water from around the yard and the neighbor’s yard had worked its way in, negating all my hard work.

Our spiritual life is like that too, I think. At least mine is. I work for days…weeks…months to develop a stronger relationship with God. I read the Bible, do a daily devotion, attend church 1-2 times a week, take part in a small group, am actively involved in several ministries, fellowship with other believers…live the life. And then wham! All that hard work is ruined by my weakness. I fall into sin again. Sometimes the fall is brief. Other times, it’s for longer periods. Either way, all my effort is negated by a momentary act of weakness. I work tirelessly and with passion to seek after God and to be more like Christ each day…and then I make a choice to let my flesh win out over Him. The water I’m bailing from the yard, comes right back. And so does the temptation to sin. In the yard, there are times I can see the water coming in, either flowing in on the surface or falling from the sky as rain. Conversely, there are times I can’t see it coming in, as it seeps up from the ground underneath the surface.

In my spiritual life, it’s really not much different. Sometimes, the temptations are right there in front of me as they flow back into my life. Other times, they seep up from the under the surface and catch me off guard. Like I have no control of the rain, there are times that temptations are placed before me outside of my will. Other times, like the water that flowed back into the hole because of where I chose to toss it, the temptations are in my life because of my own actions. Either way, how I choose to react to them is my choice alone to make.

As I write this note, it’s been almost three weeks into the pool project with very little progress. I had hoped it would take a week, maybe two at most. I’ve found myself becoming more and more frustrated in the lack of progress. Then this morning, I read Proverbs 19:21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” And just like that, I’m humbled at my frustration and now see that in my frustration, I’m sinning against God. To think that I have the right to be frustrated because something is not going according to my plans. I’m learning…again…that the plans I have made are not mine to make. It’s not that I’m not supposed to make plans, because going into any project without a plan would also go against God’s will. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,” – Mark 14:28-29 It’s just that I need to be flexible enough…and willing…to adjust my plans, acknowledging all throughout, that God’s plans are bigger than our own, and that my plans are secondary to His. I know He has a plan for this pool, and I know it will get done…in His timing, not mine. I’m sure He is trying to teach me something through this, and I will try better to work my plan around His.

And so goes it with life for you. As you grow into adulthood, you’ll be faced with more and more decisions. As you face those decisions and choices, tackle them with God by your side. Set your own goals aside in lieu of God’s plans for your life. When you’re in the middle of something and it’s not going as you’d planned or hoped, make sure you’re respectful of what God is doing through you…and for you. Take time to reevaluate what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Make sure your plans are aligned with God’s plans. And be prepared to embrace a change of plans now and again.



At War with the Weeds

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There was a time when I had a gorgeous yard.  Not that I put a lot of time, work or effort into keeping it well groomed, mind you.  When we bought the house, the previous owners had apparently done a great job of investing time, sweat and effort into meticulously keeping it well groomed.  The grass was lush and full…not a single bare patch to be found.  There were no dandelions…no crabgrass…no weeds…it was golf course quality grass, that’s for sure.

When I took over as the primary groundskeeper, I put in a valiant effort at keeping it groomed to that standard.  Within a year, as SD made friends with all the neighborhood kids, it became painfully obvious that I was in for a battle of epic proportions.  We bought the playground, and almost instantly our yard became *the* yard to hang out in.  The following year, the trampoline followed, and so did the circle of dead grass under it…and all the socks and shoes left behind from your friends in the neighborhood!  Then came the pool…two years with an 18′ pop-up pool gave us another “crop circle” in the back.  The pool didn’t survive past the second season, and the grass around it has never been the same.  I’m not sure at what point I gave up, but certainly by the time NE and SI came along, I had resigned myself to the notion that I could either raise a yard or raise kids…but not both.

So for several years, I neglected it…only mowing it.  No watering…no over-seeding…no aerating…no weeding…no fertilizing…nothing but the weekly mow.   Within about three summers, my yard had gone from a beautiful landscape of plush, vibrant green to a hodgepodge of barren spots, crabgrass and dandelions…with some good grass mixed in every so often.  My neglect had tarnished what was once a sight to behold.

Fatherhood is like that isn’t it.  I can spend (and certainly will) years, even decades of time, sweat and tears pouring love into you, showing you the love of Christ.  I will devote all my efforts in the next 18 years to bringing you to Christ and helping you strengthen your relationship with Him.  I’ll do so because I have no greater commandment from God but to love Him and love others.  It’s my love for Him…and for you…that drives my passion to live with you on the over side of eternity.  However, once you’re out of my care, I have no control over the person you will become…the choices you will make…the life you will live.  Like the homeowner before me who dutifully tended to my yard when it was in his care, leaving it to me to carry on its care…or neglect…I too must face the day that you are responsible for your own walk of faith.  I will soon face the day that I have to sit back and watch as you continue to flourish in your faith…or allow weeds to grow along your path.

Weeds.  I’ve let the weeds in the yard take over in the past few years, so this year I’ve struck out anew…on a mission to reclaim my little plush plot of land.   Like any good warrior, I spent time learning about my enemy…its tactics…its survival instincts…its strengths…its weaknesses.  I learned all that I could because it’s not until we know our enemy that we can overcome him.  Did you know that the root of the dandelion can grow 10″ deep?  I didn’t…until now.  Had I not known that important piece of information, my methods would not have worked, because I would have simply pulled the visible part of the weed out of the ground…fruitless!  Turns out they also thrive better when there are patches of dead grass.  They seek out and thrive in those areas because there is less competition for sunlight, water and nutrients in the soil.  Makes sense really, but not something I’d given much thought to before now.  Which is how I came to one of the lessons I’ve learned in all of this…that it’s okay for a guy to read the instruction manual from time to time.  Yeah, I know.  I’ll catch all kinds of grief for admitting that.  Guys are notorious for not reading directions.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve read the instructions when assembling a new project…or read the owner’s manual on a new electronics purchase.  It’s our thing…guys just know how to fix things…without being told or shown, we know.  However, I’ll openly admit that it’s okay to read the owner’s manual every now and then.

Yeah, just this month I broke down and resorted to reading the owner’s manual.  I bought a new trimmer last season.  It came with a spool of line that ran out earlier this month.  It also came with some shorter 10″ lengths of line that are supposed to fit into the head of the trimmer differently, so that once they’re loaded they lock in place…and are used in place of the longer spool of line.  I struggled for days trying to figure out how to lock those little suckers into the head.  I’d work on it for awhile one day and get frustrated to the point that all I wanted to do was throw the whole stupid trimmer away!  Aagghh!!  So I’d set it down and forget it.  The following day, I’d pick it up again and work diligently to figure it out on my own.  I reasoned that “it can’t be that hard…I don’t need to read the book.”  After days of frustration, I finally broke down and pulled out the book, and within only 10 minutes of reading, I was able to figure out how to accomplish what I wanted.  Ten minutes!  Really?  Had I just read the stupid book two days ago, how much time and frustration would I have saved?  By the way…it wasn’t that hard to figure out.  In fact, the solution was right before my eyes the whole time, but I was too blinded by pride and frustration to see it.  Ssshhh.  Don’t tell your mom that, okay?

So, back to the weeds.  Once I’d done my research, and my recon was complete, I launched my offensive.  I meticulously sprayed every one of those pesky little dandelions.  I kept them mowed down before they could sprout and spread their seed to propagate their species.  I over-seeded, laying down new seed, and have kept it watered.  I’ve spread fertilizer at just the right time, and I’ll continue fertilizing every 2-3 months as scheduled.  I’ve kept vigil throughout the last month, not letting down my guard and quickly jumping on any of those little suckers that have sprouted up…yep, I’ve waged an all-out war to turn the tide in favor of healthy grass.  So far, it’s looking good for Team Dad, but only time will tell if my efforts will prove successful.  Certainly as next season approaches, some will return, but hopefully not in such large mass.  Hopefully, what I’ve done this year has laid some good groundwork to reducing their numbers as the years pass.

Weeds.  There are some eery similarities to the weeds in our yard and the weeds in our lives.  The weeds that grow in our yard lurk just below the surface, out of sight…until just the right conditions are present to strike.  When they attack, they spring up with little warning.  Left untreated, they spread their seed so that even more come up the following year.  Even one weed left untreated can quickly spread out of control before you know it.  They can very quickly drown out the good grass, suffocating it as they compete for nutrients, water and sunlight.  The root of these weeds can grow deep down into the soil, making it difficult to uproot.  Simply attacking what is above the surface is not sufficient to kill it, because the root remains and will certainly re-sprout the following year.  Yep.  Unattended, these weeds will quickly take control of a yard so that no sign of the good healthy grass even exists.

The weeds in our spiritual lives are exactly the same!  So many things compete for our attention and affection that when left unattended, our relationship with God can quickly be suffocated by the world.  The weeds in our spiritual life come in many forms.  Work.  Money.  Pride.  Greed.  Selfishness.  Anger.  Resentment.  Family.  Friends.  Ministry.  Yes, even family and ministry can be weeds if we allow.  Anything that competes with our attention and affection for God has the potential to be a weed.  God is to be our number one love…above family and above ministry.  One of the things I’ve learned through three seasons of leading the Upward Sports ministry at our church is that even service to the Lord can distract us from the Lord.  You wouldn’t think that would be possible, but trust me…it is!  We can get so wrapped up in what we’re doing that we forget to take time to connect and grow with God.

So what is the plan of attack for the weeds in our spiritual life?  First, and foremost, we need the intel.  Just like the time I put into learning about the weeds in the yard, we need to read up on the enemy…his tactics…his methods…his strengths…his weaknesses.  Who is the enemy?  Satan.  The devil will use anything possible to win his war for our soul.  He will even use our relationships with family to pull our attention and focus away from God.  In Upward, he has used my love for children, my attention to detail and my commitment to serve in a way that exceeds expectations… to pull me further from God.   So, take time to read the Owner’s Manual.  Where can we find such a manual?  Not on Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Britannica, or any other worldly source that may come about between now and the time you’re old enough to read this.  Nope, the Owner’s Manual for life is God’s Word.  It’s the best-selling book of all time, the beginning and the end:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.John 1:1

The Bible is the Owner’s Manual for life.  It has all the answers for everything you’ll ever need to know.  It’s in reading the Word of God that we learn more about Him and learn about how He wants us to live.  It’s not simply enough to read it though.  To truly know God, we have to be able to hide His Word in our hearts so that we can draw upon Him in our time of temptations and suffering:

  • “Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.” – Proverbs 4:4
  • “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Pslam 119:11
  • “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” – Deuteronomy 11:18

I find that I struggle most when I fail to read God’s Word consistently.  When I roll out of bed and get my day on…without taking time to read what God has prepared for me in His Word for that day, I find that I’m more susceptible to temptation, and I wander from the path that points toward Him.  I have also found that in reading the Word in the morning, my mind and heart are better equipped and prepared to deal with the specific problems I will face that day.  I can’t count how many times I’ve done my morning devotion, and at some point in my day have faced a spiritual, emotional or physical battle that God prepared me for through that morning’s devotion.  That’s not a coincidence…that’s God knowing all…and working it all through His plan…for His glory!

One of the other major components in our battle against the weeds in our life goes hand-in-hand with Bible study.  Prayer is our direct pipeline to God.  It is our opportunity to praise God for all He is and all He’s done, to ask Him to meet our needs, to ask Him to meet the needs of others, to tell him the desires of our heart.  He knows the desires of our hearts already, but He wants to hear us…He wants to communicate with us…not just to listen to us, but for us to hear Him.  Praying is as much about talking as it is about listening.  In your prayers, take time to simply sit and listen for Him.  His voice comes as the soft, gentle whispers on the heart. ..as the breeze blows through the trees, His voice comes to our heart.  If we don’t stop to listen, we won’t hear Him.  Prayer comes in many shapes and sizes.  It can be aloud with family.  It can be alone in our fear.  It can be silent as we face an obstacle.  It can be a short sentence…even one word.  Or a lengthy conversation.  It should be an opportunity to praise Him for being God and acknowledging that we’re not.  However you pray, pray often.

  • “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12
  • “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:4-6
  • “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24
  • “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

I’ve also learned that in our time of hurting, we rely on our relationships.  While God’s grace carries us, it’s our relationships within the body of Christ that He uses to strengthen us.  It’s the accountability I have within my circle of believers that helps to keep me from veering into sin.  It’s fellowship with like-minded people…people that are strong in their faith… that encourages me to continue the fight.  I can call upon them for help in finding scripture to address the specific weed I’m dealing with at the time.  Even with all the Bible study I can do, I have encountered times I can’t find the answers I need right away.  It’s fellow believers who can point me in the right direction.  It is in “over-seeding” my relationships with the good seed that the lush, green grass of my faith grows and drowns out the weeds.

  • For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20
  • ” Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down,  one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

Obedience is also important in fighting off the weeds.  That word can sound scary, but it’s not if you look at it in the right context.  Practice makes perfect.   In my job in the fire service we practice like we intend to work, or in other words, we play like we work.  The theory is that if you practice how you intend to perform in the heat of the moment, it becomes habit so much so that you don’t have to think about it when you’re in the moment…instinct.  When we’re obedient in small things, it becomes instinct to be obedient in bigger things…not because we have to be, but because we want to be…instinct.  God gives us free will, so it’s up to us…because it’s His desire that we’re obedient because we want to be. Mind you, it’s not that I particularly enjoy going out and being obedient to the work it takes to stay ahead of the weeds in the yard.  I am obedient to the work, though, because I want to be.  If I don’t want to go out and do the work, I don’t have to…no one is going to make me do it.  I want to though…because I know the reward will be worth it in the end.  And once I’ve turned the tide in my favor in the yard, I know that if I spend a little time each day and week to stay ahead and deal with each weed that sprouts up immediately, the work is easier than it is when I’m starting off with a yard full of weeds.  It’s not much different spiritually really.

And, lest we forget that even Christ himself was obedient.  Mark 14 tells us that as the time was drawing near that Jesus was to be arrested and crucified, He prayed to the Father that He might “Take this cup from me.” and continued on, “Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Obedience at its finest hour…

  • “rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” – Philippians 2:7-9
  • “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” – 1 Peter 1:13-15

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower.  There are similarities to what He is saying there and what I’m trying to say here.  Rather than try to bring the two together, I encourage you to do as I pointed out above.  Do your own research.  Gather your own intel.  Go read it for yourself and allow God to talk to you through it.  Gather from it what He would have you to know.

And so, it is my prayer that as you grow, your relationship with Christ is solid and set deep in the soil of your heart and soul.  Because the weeds will come for you.  We each have our own weeds to face…and yours will come.  It might be a day…a week…a year after you’ve left my care, but they will come, and you will be faced with your own war.  It’s my intent and goal in the coming years to help you foster a lush, green yard of faith and to equip you with the tools to battle the weeds in your spiritual life.  Because, just like the homeowner before me cared for our yard, it was up to me to continue to care for it…or to neglect it.  The same is true for you.  Your walk is not mine to make.  It is for you to decide who you will become.  I’ll struggle with that when the time comes to let you go, and I’ll continue to pray that when that day comes God will strengthen me to face it.  But for now, you’re mine to groom.  I’ll start by waging an all out war with the weeds in my own spiritual life so that they are not an obstacle for you in yours.



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