Dusk shilouette

The promise is so simple, so straightforward and true, it’s easy to dismiss it.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

What if He meant just what He said? What if the circumstances and signals all around you were echoing the same refrain? Maybe it’s time to take Him up on His promise…

When it seems as though you’re arguing with everybody in sight, it’s time to draw near.

When you’re lost in a war of wills, and it feels as though the whole world is pushing against you, it’s time to draw near.

When you life is a continuous array of unacceptable disappointments, it’s time to draw near.

When divorce or disowning is not an option, but murder is looking pretty good, it’s time to draw near. [click to continue…]


You live in what feels like a constant state of tension. Even your “good stress” is, well, stress. You check the news at least each day to make sure you’re on top of the latest thing to worry about. Your time is stretched so thin that any interruption or change of plans sends you reeling emotionally.

Your credit cards are loaded to the max, and your life feels a lot like your email inbox – loaded with clutter, junk, and unfinished business – some of which is actually important.

Your best sleep comes after 2:00 in the morning. You avoid those medical checkups because you already know what they’re going to say. Unless, of course, you need to get that prescription refilled.

And then…

…then, somebody comes along, usually on a Sunday, and says…

“Let’s worship Jesus!”

And honestly, it just feels like another reason to feel anxious.

What if I were to tell you that if you’re harried and helpless, stressed out or fried emotionally, the Bible actually gets where you’re coming from? If I could show you a way to magnificently worship the Lord Jesus, even when you’re at the end of your rope, would you be interested?

This is an Offering for the Overworked, overstressed, overeating, over-fill-in-your-blank.

Ready? Here it is: [click to continue…]

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Hidden Clock

In the mood for a little detective work?  Care to uncover a secret that may have right in front of our noses for years?  It certainly was in mine, and I was oblivious.

Would you be interested in mining out some clues if I told you that when you do, you may have discovered one of the most powerful life and success principles known to humanity?  And that if you master this one skill, the transformation in your own life, to say nothing of your influence and circumstances, can be breathtaking?

Am I exaggerating?  No, if anything I’m understating the potential of this discovery.

Getting this – I mean really getting it – can explain why you tend to sabotage yourself after you’ve made progress toward a goal.

It may explain why churches or individual leaders lose their influence, or why they nourish it.

It may explain why you have made progress toward healing, then somehow hit a wall.

It may explain why your relationships go in frustrating cycles – hot today, cold tomorrow… intimate today, lonely later.

Finding this secret is like discovering a clock on your wall that’s been there the whole time, quietly ticking away, pointing to the correct time, but you may have never noticed it.  In one sense it’s obvious – in another, it probably calls for a closer look than you have given it.

Will it help you win the lottery?  Doubtful.  But it could lead you to a place where you never pine away for sudden wealth again.

Will it solve all your relationship problems?  Maybe, maybe not.  But it will position you to gain the most from every relationship you have or want to have, whether others cooperate or not.

I wish I could tell you that this secret has been locked away in some government vault and is now being released to a select few, and that if you pay me $3,999.00 I will share it with you, along with seven free bonus offers.  But the thing is, this secret has been in open view for anybody to see – and it’s free.

Still here?  Ready?  Okay, no more hype.  [click to continue…]


Loneliness Concept - 3D

What did rejection look like to you on the school playground?  What about Junior High?  College?

What did rejection look like after you got married, or started a family?  What does it look like today in your workplace or your worship space?

Describing your experience with rejection is like describing an encounter with a snake.  Each experience is a little different, and the beast appears differently in every scene.  But in each case the result leaves a story to tell and an emotional experience to re-live or respond to.

I’ve had my own experiences, of course.  And I’ve seen it played out in countless lives…

Like the 59-year-old woman who said of her then-76-year-old mother, “Just once I wish I could hear my mother say I did something right.”

Or the only-child high school student who was rejected by his friends because he had a helicopter mother before the term was ever invented.  She meddled, and her son, whom she was trying to help and advance, was hated all the more.

Then there was the businessman who was rejected in the business world because he was part of a revolutionary approach to financial services, but was obnoxious about it.

I knew a pastor once who was rejected by the deacons in his church. After years of service, they felt that it was time for a change. So they gave him a deadline and asked him to find somewhere else to go. When he was unable to, they cornered him about resigning, and he turned the rejection tables back on them. Unbeknownst to them, he showed up one Sunday morning with has car packed, he got up at sermon time, explained that he’d been asked to resign, and walked out the door.  Ouch.

It may surprise you to know that some of the most memorable and powerful success stories in history are people whose lives arose from the ashes of rejection.  [click to continue…]

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Man with hands folded in prayer

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

Yes, I have searched you and known you.

Now I want you to search me and know Me. 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

I want you to know when I sit down and rise up.

You understand my thought from afar.

I want you to understand my thoughts,

even in the places that seem distant.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,

I want you to search Me like that.

And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

I can be found!

I can make you intimately acquainted with all My ways. [click to continue…]


Alpha Symbol

Something keeps you moving.  It gets you out of bed in the mornings.  It narrates your hopes and dreams.  It defines your values and informs your motives in all you do and say.  It’s often invisible or subconscious, and at times can act as a puppet master or a judge.

Call it your Alpha, or your First Life.  Some people call it “Lord,” “boss,” or “Prime Mover.”

Regardless of the name, the good part is that you can decide who or what your Alpha is.

Meanwhile, despite what you may be reading in the latest edition of the Not-My-Home News, you have been included in a cosmic Master Plan for all time.  God has His own Alpha, and invites you to enter into that experience with Him.

“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18).

“He Himself,” of course, refers to Jesus Christ.  And because He is the first to rise from the dead and remain alive (to this very day), Paul says He is our First Life… our Alpha. [click to continue…]



In his book, Rekindled Flame, Steve Fry tells of moving to Nashville and talking to some Christian recording executives about a potential project.  When asked what he was working on, he told them about wanting to write a worship musical that focused on the character of God.  To his surprise, they were very cool to the idea.

Frankly, they said, most believers wouldn’t buy an album about God.



According to their demographic studies, that kind of project wouldn’t appeal to most Christians.

Later he met with a book editor that he knew had his finger on the pulse of the Christian marketplace.

“I want to write about God!” he said. “I want to take snapshots of the many wonders of His character and just focus on Him.”

“I’d like to help you write that kind of a book,” he replied. “In fact, the Christian market desperately needs that kind of book. But honestly, the average Christian is not going to buy a book about God.” The editor added:  “The only way you can get the average believer to read a book about God is to somehow show them how God benefits them.”

I want to say I’m surprised, but I’m not.

I want to say I’m offended, but I’m not.

I want to say I’m the exception… [click to continue…]


Two boys go hiking with backpacks on a forest road bright sunny day

Are we there yet?


When are we gonna get there?

Five minutes sooner than the last time you asked.

We’re never gonna get there.

We’ll get there.


Soon enough.  Look outside and see how far we’ve come and how fast we’re moving.

Are we there yet?


I’ll bet you’ve had a few conversations like that if you’ve ever been on a road trip with kids (or maybe a few adults).  And inevitably, the younger he or she is, the sooner this question pops up:

Why does it have to take so long to get there?

And the only right answer, which they can never seem to grasp at that age, is, because to get there, first you have to go here.  And here is where we are.  But we can still enjoy being here until we get there.

The Christian life has its own version of “There Yet.”  [click to continue…]

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It’s one of the highlights of the season – going to the mailbox and seeing who may have sent a card or annual Christmas letter and spending a little time catching up or reflecting on special people in our lives.  I especially like the ones that have family photos, to see how the kids have grown and changed.

It’s also interesting to see how lives have evolved and changed, too.  Ours certainly have in the last year.  And it was in that frame of mind that I read a different kind of greeting recently.  It had nothing to do with Christmas, yet it had everything to do with an updated snapshot into somebody’s life and how that life had evolved.  Check this out:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother… (Colossians 1:1).

Seems like pretty basic stuff.  Season’s greetings from the mission field.

Would it change your perspective to know this was written from a Roman prison?

True that.

[click to continue…]

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Heaven Worship

I could duplicate stories like these all day…

The Job Site

I was working construction (pausing here for those who know me to gasp or laugh or something).  It was a high-pressure day and I was off with a coworker on an assignment with a deadline that just wasn’t getting done.  It was Friday afternoon, I was leaving out of town, and the pressure just kept building.  I was a failure at this, and knew it.  I figured at that point the whole world knew it.

I had to swing by the other job site where my boss and Ricky were, to give the boss the bad news. Ricky and I usually worked together, but we’d been separated for a few days on different projects.  I’ll never forget the way Ricky made me feel – it was as though we hadn’t seen each other in years.  After hours and hours of devaluing myself in my head, his infectious smile and greeting made me feel like the king of the world.

It was a foretaste of heaven… where grace has the final word.

The Classroom

In a transparent moment in an online classroom filled with future and present church leaders I wrote this:

“If I could go back and do one thing over again in my 32 years of pastoring… I would be more ruthlessly intentional about leadership development.  I would allow myself to be criticized more for neglecting some things in order to focus more on developing discipling leaders. As passionate as I am and was about preaching, and as passionate as some of you are, may I just say, preaching alone won’t come close to accomplishing this.  Leadership development isn’t about lessons, outlines, or proclamation.  It’s about duplication of your passion, knowledge, skillsets, and passion in the lives of others.”

In reply to that, I got a simple, but profoundly encouraging reply from a student in that class:

I hope you know that by teaching guys like me you ARE accomplishing leadership development.  I doubt I will meet you here on earth, but someday I look forward to seeing you in glory! Thanks for everything, and may God richly bless you as you follow Him.

It was a foretaste of heaven… where grace has the final word. [click to continue…]