Read Your Own Life

“So take seriously the story that God has given you to live. It’s time to read your own life, because your story is the one that could set us all ablaze” (Dan B. Allender).

That’s it. Staying true to your own narrative isn’t easy. It’s much easier to copy someone else’s life or to live to the expectations and desires of what others think you should do and be (or your own conception of what others think you should do and be).

No one will be set ablaze by a second rate imitation but by a first rate version of you being uniquely you. You-niquely you.

“Never, for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experience or convictions” (Dag Hammarskjöld).




All Things British

I recently subscribed to another streaming service in addition to Netflix. This one’s called Britbox and it contains all sorts of British programming, including all the classic episodes of Doctor Who that still survive.

I’m in heaven.

I’m getting acquainted with the first Doctor, William Hartnell. He’s a far cry from the Doctors of the current incarnation of the show that started back in 2005. He can come across as haughty and egotistical, but I find him growing more and more human as the first series progresses (which is a bit ironic since he’s actually from the planet Gallifrey.

I find that the limited special effects of the time forced the series to focus more on story and character than the special effects, with good results. The results are compelling stories where the imagination takes over where limited technology ends.

I can’t think of anything American that compares, unless you consider the Star Trek franchise. I’m looking forward to catching up to the current Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, at some point.

Until then, I’ll post periodically and update you on where I am and what my thoughts are as to the Who-verse.


It’s Not All Good

“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan” (Romans 8:28, The Voice).

The popular rendition of this verse is that in God all things work together for good. Note that it does not say that all things are good but that all things work for good.

In other words, it’s not all good.

All you have to do is watch the news, read the newspaper, or catch the headlines on any news website to know that. Creation is beautiful but broken, due to that original sin that messed everything up.

It’s not all good when racism still exists and people are looked down upon as being less than for skin color, ethnicity, or gender.

It’s not all good when schools aren’t a safe place to learn, as too many students have died from gun violence.

It’s not all good when parents bury their children, when women want desperately to have children but can’t, and when someone else gets a cancer diagnosis.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not “I’m okay, you’re okay.” It’s not an “It’s all good.”

The gospel of Jesus Christ says that God can take anything, even the worst kinds of evil, and work it into something good and beautiful.

The gospel says that one day, all will be made right and there will be no more pain or tears.

So no, it’s not currently all good, but the cross proves that God can take even the very worst and redeem it.

That’s all good.


No One Should Be Left Out

“Praise the Eternal!
Praise the True God inside His temple.
    Praise Him beneath massive skies, under moonlit stars and rising sun.
Praise Him for His powerful acts, redeeming His people.
    Praise Him for His greatness that surpasses our time and understanding.

Praise Him with the blast of trumpets high into the heavens,
    and praise Him with harps and lyres
    and the rhythm of the tambourines skillfully played by those who love and fear the Eternal.
Praise Him with singing and dancing;
    praise Him with flutes and strings of all kinds!
Praise Him with crashing cymbals,
    loud clashing cymbals!
No one should be left out;
    Let every man and every beast—
    every creature that has the breath of the Lord—praise the Eternal!
Praise the Eternal!” (Psalm 150:1-6, The Voice).

As I read the words to this particular Psalm, I was reminded of something that John Piper wrote. He said that worship is the ultimate purpose of the Church. Missions, he said, exists because there are places where worship does not. Missions exists because there are people who still have not heard of God’s saving power in Jesus and of His worth and value and of His redeeming love.

Missions will not always exist. The Bible says that one day there will be a multitude of people from every ethnicity and race and language gathered around the throne of God and that the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the seas.

Until then, we have the Great Commission, so that no one is left out of the opportunity of an eternity with God.


50 Years of YEC

Again, I was privileged to participate as a volunteer in the 50th Youth Evangelism Conference put on by the Tennessee Baptist Convention. For me, it’s been 7 years in a row that I’ve been able to help out.

I still can’t get over the Friday night invitation when I lose count of how many students are coming forward to give their lives to Christ. I never went to a Billy Graham Crusade in person, but I can imagine that this invitation felt a lot like one of his.

The whole entire area around the stage was filled with these students who prayed to receive Christ. Even the speaker, Clayton King, was amazed.

I heard that in the 50 years of these conferences, over a million students have attended and somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 kids have come to saving faith in Jesus. That comes out of a lot of sacrifice, dedication, and faithful service by a lot of people.

Hats off to Kent Shingleton, who once again led this year’s conference. I hope I get to thank him again for allowing me to be on the ground floor for something that can only be explained in terms of the power of God.

It’s 11:59 pm and I have to be back at 7:30, so I see lots of coffee and naps in my very near future. And maybe Chick-fil-A.

I hope to make it 8 years in a row in 2019, but for now, I will relish another chance to serve and be a part of something grand.

When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

I wish I’d read this before I took Lucy on her last trip to the V-E-T. It would have made the ordeal easier. Not easy, but easier.

If you’re contemplating having your pet put to sleep, these are some helpful tips. The best advice I can add is to find a new pet, not to replace your lost love, but to be a new place for all your love to go. I recommend rescues, because they’re the most grateful and affectionate.

A Puritan Evening Prayer of Praise

I have a collection of old Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. I honestly don’t know a whole lot about these Puritans, other than they prayed some of the most beautiful prayers ever, as evidenced by the book.

One of their prayers is my own prayer at the close of another day. It’s my own words put much better than I could ever pray them:

“Giver of all, another day is ended and I take my place beneath my great redeemer’s cross, where healing streams continually descend, where balm is poured into every wound, where I wash anew in the all-cleansing blood, assured that You see in me no spots of sin. Yet a little while and I shall go to Your home and be no more seen; help me to gird up the loins of my mind, to quicken my step, to speed as if each moment were my last, that my life be joy, my death glory.

I thank You for the temporal blessings of this world — the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers’ sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over. Suffer me not to be insensible to these daily mercies. Your hand bestows blessings: Your power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of Your Spirit, the strength of Your restraining will, Your spiking of hell’s artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!”

I think that says it all. If I had any doubts about how blessed I am, I think those are put to rest for now.