I'm having a difficult time writing today.  

We've been going through a sad season in my family's life.  

Sadness can weigh heavily on you.  It can cover you like a heavy, grey shroud that keeps you from feeling the warmth of the sun, or seeing the bright colors all around you. 

It can also permeate the nooks and crannies of your home like a fog, touching everyone who lives there, and making it difficult to see one another clearly.  

Sadness is an unwelcome, but familiar guest for many of us.  

When Sadness makes it's way into your life, you find yourself wavering between holding on to it in a desperate embrace, and violently shoving it out the door.  

Some days you wish you could banish it forever from your life.  

Other days you wonder if you'll ever be able to live without it. 

One of the most important verses in the Bible (John 11:35) is also one of the shortest. It's just two words:  "Jesus wept."  Jesus was at a funeral for Lazarus, one of his closest f…

Like A Dove

Several years ago, my wife Merideth and I visited Rome and spent some time at the Vatican.  

At the time I was feeling a bit dusty and dry spiritually. I figured that if there was anywhere on earth that I might experience a sign from God it would be in St. Peter's Basilica in the center of Vatican Square.  

As we waited for Mass to start, Merideth and I went into a gift shop.  Merideth hates to shop, but I love it.  Merideth got tired of shopping and went outside while I stayed inside poking around for gifts. 

Suddenly I heard a commotion outside and went to investigate.  Merideth said, "You're not going to believe this!  A perfect white dove just flew down into this square, hovered over everyone who was here and then flew away!  It was amazing!"  

I was dumbfounded.  I'd been searching for a sign, and I had missed the one that God had sent.

We went inside to attend Mass.  I was beating myself up, and wondering what was wrong with me, why I always seemed to be missing…



Different - Week 3: "Speech"

I have a list of words that I would like to see eradicated from our cultural lexicon.  I don't ask for much--perhaps issuing hefty fines to people who use them until they learn not to would be a good place to start. 

Honestly, if everyone listened to me on issues like this the world would be a better place. 

So... to the words:

"Bromance" - This is a word that is used to describe the affection that exists between two dudes who want to ensure that no one mistakes their relationship as something other than manly friendship---and so they use a word that combines "brother" and "romance," which honestly just makes the whole thing worse.

"Foodie" - This word is used to describe someone who really, really, really likes food.  People will use it in a pretentious sort of way, "Oh, I really don't care to eat at Chipotle--I'm kind of a foodie, you know."  Oh, you like food?  So does everyone.  Find another word. 

"Irregardless" -…

Taco Dreams

I'm on day 13 of The Whole 30 diet, which is designed to eliminate sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol from your diet.  In other words, all of the things that are enjoyable and awesome. 

I know I may have mentioned this in a previous devo, but I'm suffering and need to share.  

The instruction manual for this diet states the following about the phase of the diet I am happen to be inhabiting at the moment: "This is the part of the program where our brains are desperate to drive us back to the comfort of the foods we used to reward ourselves with."

I know this is true because I was watching a Taco Bell commercial last night and I had this vision of sitting down with a 12-pack of those tacos with the Doritos shell and eating every... single... one.  

At this point, I am doing this diet because I have to make some changes in my life.  I am not feeling joy about it.  There is no happiness here.  I am told that it gets better, but right this second, I am putting one foot in front…

Stumble On.

When I was a kid, I remember being asked to ponder a question that was frequently posed in sermons, youth meetings, Sunday school and a host of other church environments.  The question went something like this:  

"How's your Christian walk?"  

In the faith communities of my youth, that was church-y language for "Are you living up to the standards?  Are you keeping the rules and regulations?  Are you checking all the things on the checklist?"  

But at some point in those early years of trying to follow Jesus, I realized that my "walk" had become more of a "trudge."  I was trudging along after what I thought was a Jesus path, but found I was barely able to pick up my feet. 

Oswald Chambers once wrote: 
"It's difficult to get into stride with God, because as soon as we start walking with Him we find that His pace has surpassed us before we have taken three steps..."  It took many years and more than one crisis of faith, but I finally c…

God Is Love

Some years ago, I was asked to watch a video of a sermon by a pastor acquaintance of mine, who served a church in the same small town as me.  

The pinnacle of the sermon came when my pastor friend began railing against preachers who had "watered down the Gospel" and preached too heavily on the grace and mercy of God.  

His view of God was not of a God filled with infinite and never-changing love.  His view of God wasn't the view of God that Jesus shared of a loving, forgiving parent, who never gives up on us.   

This pastor's view of God was of an angry deity, bent on wreaking vengeance upon all those who crossed Him, but mostly on people who didn't agree with this particular pastor. 

Author and pastor Brian Zahnd recently wrote: 
"Religious people generally like to be told that God is [angry, violent and retributive], as long as this divine disposition is primarily directed toward other people." Truth be told, I have a long list of people I secretly hope wi…