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Hi Again

I know God is not wringing His hands in frustration that I haven’t posted here in awhile, so I bet you aren’t either.

Ecclesiastes says the writing of many books there is no end, so what does that say about blog posts? I apologize for not writing, but God speaks to us 24/7 even if a writer decides not to write for whatever length of time.

It’s past midnight right now in Nashville, and I’ve got to get up at 6, so this is going to be short. Plus the glass of red wine finally made me sleepy, so I’ll be able to go to sleep. I did go to bed at 10, but I was not able to fall asleep.

I wrote an overview for a cleaning protocol that I was pleased with, checked a checking account balance, and contemplated the beautiful post on Beauty Beyond Bones site. If you don’t subscribe to her amazing feed please do. You won’t be disappointed.

I love you all, and I hope you’re well.

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Once Again Him

IMG_2801Sometimes when I come here I’m overwhelmed with the direction I can take any given post.

God loves me unconditionally, yet that does not condone my sin. As a faithful believer in Jesus Christ I do not spin my life circumstance to make room for the sin that separates me from Him.

I wrote the above two paragraphs several weeks ago, but they still hold true today. Funny that the 4th of July is tomorrow, and my family and I are enjoying a “Friday night” on Monday. It’s actually 10:20pm on Monday night, and I hear fireworks in the background that Lucy, my dog, could do without.

There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since I last shared with you wonderful people, and I hardly know where to begin. You’ve been there and done that and you have the t-shirt, so as I unpack my drivel bear with me.

I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is that I had to back out of my office lease only after 2 weeks of trying to make it work. I had to let my employee go, and I had to turn down a lucrative account because there was no way I was going to clean a whole club house and eight cottages on a golf course by myself.

My wife and daughter went to Chicago with my father-in-law preceding that, and there were some mental challenges during that week I’ll not elaborate on here . Maybe in a book. I’m of the age now that I’ve got enough sin and epic fails in my life that the lines on my face aren’t from studying all night in college for an important exam. No, these fails I carry with me to the grave, but thankfully I sense I’m a long way off from the grave. I’m not afraid to die, but some bridges burned are never rebuilt. I’m at peace with that.

I deleted all traces of my presence on Facebook because of this recent epic business fail, and I will not go into detail about that for legal reasons. Although legal is hardly the reason because under Tennessee law you can part ways with any employee at any time for any or no reason at all. It’s called at-will employment. Ask any payroll expert, attorney or accountant about it. But my conscience drives me to pay what I owe, and even though I may be way behind in paying my bills I always pay my bills. It’s the right thing to do.

I’m learning authentic manhood doesn’t demand perfection at any season of life, but it does provide perseverance as my LORD increases faith in the path of suffering. You cannot escape the path of suffering, but neither do I want to because when you travel the path of least resistance you become a patsy for evil. There is a line I will not cross.

I am fond of the quote that goes something like this. Failure is a chance to begin again knowing what not to do. If anything is certain it’s that I learn as much from failure as I do from the stories of books that reign accolades of praise upon men who seem to have conquered the world. Gives me another reason to be thankful that Facebook is no longer a black hole.

I may have been to a valley, and I suspect there are more valleys to come, but the mountain top experiences are delightful when I ascend from the valley, and I think I’m on my way to a mountain top.

Writing, speaking and sharing life’s struggles with other men views the valleys, but it transcribes a prescription for mountain top living. Seasons are bearable so long I have a routine in that protocol.

He walks with us nearer than we can possibly know, and even when there’s barely enough cash in your pocket for gas the overflow is there in His presence.

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The Well House

I’ve now been to The Well House Church twice. It’s a movement of the Holy Spirit through Rob Touchstone. It’s not for everyone. It’s not a secret society, cult or manipulative religious movement to control your every move. It’s a sincere search and open door community that meets people where they are at. It excludes no one, and not only is it a jumping off point for those who are new to Christianity, but I think it could me a very deep place of discipleship for those who take the Great Commission seriously.

unnamed-2Salt and light do not call attention to themselves, yet they make a profound difference when they aren’t present. When the body of Christ gathers in any form or place powerful things happen, and the seeds planted in receptive hearts grow exponentially with the hope that only our Creator can give.

Evil is not new. Evil is actually very old, and we are all guilty of perpetuating it. All all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and these computers, iPhones, Androids, iPads and Microsoft Surfaces have increased the distractions we face.

There is literally only one thing that is needed. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

The Well House Church might be a place you can find that.

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Church, Death, Depression, faith, relationship

Our Jesus

The perfection of my Father never ceases to amaze me. I’m thankful He is all knowing in the face of my ignorance. He reveals things to me when I need to know them, and if I don’t need to know them I am comfortable in knowing He knows what to do. That just made me think of an old hymn.

Needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Life is exceedingly painful, and I’m not going to say one season of life is harder than another because suffering is suffering, and when a one-up-man is at play it doesn’t serve to relieve the suffering one of pain. That’s not God’s purpose. When you read the book of Job I think you learn a powerful lesson in how we are to respond to any kind of suffering. Most of the time complete silence is order. Being present with the one who is hurting is all that is needed. Holy Spirit reveals to our hearts and minds when words need to be said. Life itself is a teacher, and our filibusters do more harm then good. We get off on some rant of what we think that person should have done in any given experience, but no one knows what they would have done until they go through it. Walk in that person’s shoes, and then if something needs to be said it will be revealed.

Listen from different angles, suspend judgement if life is not at stake, and when you can rationally discuss details then and only then should words come.

My friend Lynn got me to thinking about these things earlier in the week as we sat in her living room. Our mutual friend Landon was a our topic of conversation, and he has built a life and ministry around this very principle. He’d shy away from this kind of spotlight, but nonetheless we are two who have been transformed by his willingness to be moved the way the Spirit has moved him.

We teach each other don’t we? We move each other in the way we listen, speak and sit silently with each other because we have One who came here, and He showed us perfection in being with people.

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faith

The Pitcher’s Mound

It’s easy to miss the significant in the midst of the mundane. God is constantly at work, and pursuing mankind even in the midst of a girl’s softball game.

Unless the LORD builds the house the laborers labor in vain is what we learn from Psalm 127:1.

The Mt. Juliet team initiated the prayer with our Civitan girls, and as I looked upon these young ladies gathering at the pitcher’s mound in prayer I marveled at the presence of the Father who calls us all His children.

I grieve the loss of innocence and turning from faith the many in our nation are engaged in, but when I pause in wonder at a group of girls who pray after a double header on a Tuesday night I know our nation is in good hands.

God is not wringing His hands in Heaven wondering what to do with His creation. He didn’t even do that during the times of hedonistic Rome when civilization was much worse.

So long we teach our children to pursue the Father who pursues them 24/7 then we are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all other things will be added.

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Death, Depression, faith, relationship, Women

An Apologetic

Today’s Jesus Calling (June 10) reminded me of a class I had in college. Doug Varnado taught a class called Christian Mind and Devotional Life for 3 hours credit, and it was during that semester that a song really came to light deeply on my heart and mind. Here are the lyrics.

I just want to be where You are dwelling daily in your presence. I don’t want to worship from afar. Draw me near to where You are.

I want to be where You are. Dwelling in your presence. Feasting at Your table. Surrounded by Your glory. In Your presence. That’s where I always want to be.

I just want to be. I just want to be with You.

cropped-cropped-mg_2841.jpgThe suffering servant is a very real reality for billions of Christians. Two of my friends are deeply suffering because their wife and mother have departed this life. An hour hasn’t passed since I found out that I have not thought about both of them. I wrote an entire post in memory of our beloved Bonnie. I went by her beautiful house, but Malcolm was out and about. I texted Malcolm III, and I posted on Facebook respectful comments of my grief for her passing. I knew Bonnie for over half my life, and her love, instruction and presence are impacting me now even in her absence.

Her absence makes my Father’s presence feel even more real, and when my Carey and my daughter were in Chicago I felt a painful void without their physical presence. We are constantly reminded that this life is to be lived by faith, but I am thankful that one day faith will be obsolete because we will gaze into the face of the One who defeated death. I have not concept of that now because I continue to “lose” people I love.

Mac, Bonnie’s husband, is an incredible provider for his family. His smile, unconditional love during the epitome of my depression inspires me now even though he may have no idea it does. I have an inkling into the pain he suffers from the loss of Bonnie from his Facebook posts, but I have no idea the pain he goes to sleep with or the pain he wakes up with without his precious lover near him in the same house.

He is not the first man to lose his wife, and there will be billions more who will experience the same thing, but the pain is real, and I do not glaze over it for anyone.

Two posts are hardly replacement for a life who impacted our eternity, but we draw comfort from the fact she is literally in the presence of our Father.

We long for that because the fallen nature of this world, and the fact that our hearts and strength fail is proof we are not here to stay.

Don’t grow too attached to what you have here, but invest in the things that remind you of God’s presence.

Scripture tells us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added.

That’s easier said, written and quoted, and sometimes impossible to practice because the pull of other things is so deafening and powerful in the face of our human strength. We are not left to our own devices because we have a Helper near and in our hearts and minds.

She/He intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express, and when I’ve been face down in pain I am given strength to rise up because of Her.

My Brother Jesus sweat drops of blood in the garden well before Prozac was discovered, and my Father, who is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (every where all the time) and omnipotent (all powerful) is closer then the blood in my veins. Satan is not. Is he powerful? Obviously so. Turn on the television. But he is not all powerful. He was created like us, but he chose to reject the Father.

Bonnie did not, and I do not. Choose Him because He chose you (John 3.16).

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My Superpower

Single In The Suburbs

Seeing women supporting women is one of my favorite things in the world.

Something that has made my heart so incredibly full has been all the incredible support I have gotten from friends and family since announcing my new business with Rodan + Fields. I haven’t been able to work since I got sick with POTS right after graduating college, so having a job is a really exciting thing for me. I’m stoked to have something really productive and fun to do with my time, and I want to use this business to change the world. I know how ridiculous that may sound, but as someone who as suffered with pretty bad acne for years I know just how great it is when you are able to stop focusing on that and feeling confident in your own skin. Clearing my skin might not have changed the world at all, but…

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