431 Union Street

Last night, as I was driving home... I started thinking about what today was going to look like. I started to anticipate the pain that would come as soon as I watched the clock change from 11:59 to Midnight, starting another day... and realizing that another year had passed. It took 6 years to write my first post about what happened 7 years ago today. After I did that, I realized how freeing it was... I realized the healing power in doing that. So in order to try and heal just a little bit more, and to pay tribute to what is now lost, here I sit. In front of a screen, attempting to put all my thoughts and emotions into so few words. I laid down in bed around 10:30 last night... and watched all 90 minutes tick by on my clock. Instead of trying to sleep, and more so to avoid the nightmares, I laid there praying that this year it wouldn't hurt so much. I looked at pictures of the house from the days that followed the fire. It still seems so surreal. I drove by 431 Union Street this morning, just long enough that I could catch a glimpse of what used to stand there. It's funny, because as each year passes, it gets more real every time I drive by...

I have spent a collective 20 years living in Hope, Indiana. There was a time when I thought I would never return to live here full-time after college... I was wrong. Yet looking back on where I was, where I've been, and where I'm going, I'm thankful for the time I have here... because most likely, it won't be where I live forever. There is one scar from growing up here that hasn't healed completely. December 19th, 2005. That's the day my world came crashing down around me, and had it not been for this small town, I don't know where I would be today. My family lost our home, our belongings, our pets, everything. It was hard to fathom. I stood there at one point listening to someone scream as we watched the fire engulf our home... then I realized the person screaming was ME. It's been seven years since we lost our home, and the 19th this year, was just as hard, if not harder than all the others. This post follows last years', in that it is just a little bit easier to write this one, than it was that one. I write about this for a reason, so that I can be reminded of what matters in life. You see, now that I am in the "real world", the reality of what today means is even clearer. It's not just the cliche "don't take things for granted" or "we are only promised today", but more than that. It's a reminder that it's not about me, or my plans, or my wants. It's about God's plan. God has used this to glorify the Kingdom, in more way than one. God has shown me a lot of things about that day in the last 7 years, most importantly, He has shown me the value of friendship and community. The core of this is carried forward from last year, because it still holds true...

I still can't believe the way people took care of us when we lost everything. People gave us clothing, places to stay, food, money, hugs, and most importantly prayers. There were people who probably had barely enough money for Christmas gifts for their own families, that replaced many of ours. People I didn't know offered money, and condolences. There are so many important people I would love to thank for what they did, but that would take a lifetime. One group of people has always stuck out in my mind when I think about that time in my life...

Before they were husbands, fathers, college graduates, teachers, coaches, adventure-seekers, insurance salesmen, businessmen, and athletic trainers, there were a special group of guys that were all part of a State Championship. Some were players, others fans in the crowd. That day was a special day though, because it was in that moment, that I saw Christ bless some very important people in my life, by helping them to achieve their dream.

A little more than 7 years ago I wrote an article that made the local newspaper. It was entitled "Before they were champions.." Take a look:

Hauser High School's boys' basketball team brought home their first state title this year, bringing a terrific season to a perfect end. Team and fans alike celebrated their happiness together. However, Hauser's team isn't one that is only there for the good times. Before they were champions, they were just a group of great guys, and true friends. On December 19th my family lost our house to a fire. We were able to salvage very little. Four days later, we were there ready to sift through the ruins and rubble and find what could be salvaged. As I got out of my car at the site of my former home, I heard more cars pull in behind me. They were members of Hauser's varsity basketball team. Not only are they state champions, but they are true good-hearted friends. Each one of them left practice, and drove straight to 431 Union Street. Gabe Miller, Blake Roth, Zach Fugate, Bobby Jolliff, Bryce Mize, Justin Baute, Brandon Barker, Nate Long, Seth Baute, Bryan Bailey, and Ben Gearhart approached me with arms wide open and smiles on their faces. At that moment I felt the true meaning of living in a small community. Eleven young men, current and former Hauser basketball players, clad in old clothes and heavy gloves, ready to help me and my sister sift through our childhood. As we sorted through the remains, I was able to laugh and cry with the best friends a kid could ask for. Eleven kids willing to give up a day of Christmas break, to help a family in need. I stopped after about an hour of working and looked around at these 11 guys. Replaying the memories I had with each and every one of them in my house. Late nights playing video games, and all day football games in the yard, it was all very emotional for me. They were my support system, and I saw it as my duty to return the favor. I spent my Saturday supporting Gabe Miller, Blake Roth, Zach Fugate, Bobby Jolliff, Bryce Mize, Justin Baute, and Brandon Barker in their time of need, by sitting in the front row of the cheer block, cheering them on in their quest to be "Living the Dream". The others, Nate Long, Seth Baute, Bryan Bailey, and Ben Gearhart joined me in the sea of black at Conseco Fieldhouse. At the end of the game, with all the excitement buzzing, I stopped and took a moment to thank the Lord. I thanked Him for giving back to the friends that had helped me through a very hard time. The memory I have of watching my best friends win a state championship is enough to fill the void of all the things I lost in the burning of my house. It's an amazing feeling to watch the people who you've spent your entire life with, accomplish something that seemed so impossible, for so long. Congratulations to the 2006 Indiana Class 1A Boy's Basketball State Champs, and thank you for all you have done for me and my family.

I am so thankful to this day for those boys, now men. They are still some of my best friends, I have seen 3 of them get married, three are married with kids, 9 have graduated college, 1 has trained sled dogs in Alaska, and 1 of them has become my roommate. These guys have all gone on to do incredible things with their lives. They have continued to be a huge part of my life, and they will never fully comprehend what they mean to me. The other thing is, I can remember so many other people that weren't mentioned in that article because they weren't there that particular day, that should have been added to the list. My dear friend,Nick Long, wasn't able to be there that day, but I remember he came to me later and apologized for being sick. He wanted to be there but needed to rest. Just the fact that he thought there was a reason to apologize meant the world to me.Bryan Fields spent hours searching for my grandfather's 1950 Purdue class ring (pictured below) one of the few things I have left of my Grandfather, and found it amongst all the rubble. The cheerleaders, our neighbors, our friends, our family, the teachers, my soccer team, the coaches, administrators, and coworkers of my parents went above and beyond what anyone could have asked them to do.

Since that day, there are been more people that have come along that deserve to be thanked. My small group, my church, my friends from college, and my coworkers. All of them have brought joy, peace, comfort, refuge, strength, and clarity into my life in a multitude of ways. I am so thankful that God has provided such a core group of people to help me through the bad times, and to celebrate the good.

Today will be difficult, but it will also be a day of healing. Which is something I have been praying about for 7 years, and will continue to pray about for many years to come.  Always Remember, and Never Forget... 431 Union Street.



This morning on my way to work, I was listening to the news and I felt burdened. Burdened by the fact that there was nothing I could do to stop the tragedies that had been taking place in our city, our state, and all over our country. I prayed for the violence to end, for there to be comfort and understanding. I prayed that kids in my community would stop taking their own lives, and start realizing that if they die to self, and are reborn in Christ... they have a reason to live. Throughout the day I have thought about this off and on as I have read the news periodically at work. I didn't think it could get any worse... then I came back from a company Christmas Luncheon to this headline:

"Horror Unfolds at Conn. Elementary School" (Yahoo! News)

Really? An elementary school? Is this what society has become... walking into a school of Kindergarten-Fourth grade students and shooting, as though it were a game? I'm sick to my stomach, my heart aches, and I'm at a loss for what to do. The last number I saw was 18 children dead. Dead. 27 people total. How do the demonic animals that committed these horrendous acts not realize that children are our future. Those kids they killed, were future CEO's, Pastors, Teachers, Husbands, Wives, Mothers, Fathers, Leaders... Their actions not only destroyed and ended lives in a Connecticut community, but damaged the hope we have in humanity across the country. As I sit here, I move from heartbroken to angry. I just want to know what in the hell these people were thinking. Then I am reminded that they weren't. They allowed their lives to be directed by the enemy, by a lost, broken, horrific, falsity that children in an elementary school deserved to die. Instead of keeping children safe, they stripped away their lives. Lives that were too young.

Pray. Pray for the families of the victims, pray for the community, pray for the school staff and the children that survived, pray for elementary schools across the country, pray for our country... but also, pray for the gunmen and their families. Pray that the families of the men that did this can find peace and comfort in Christ, and realization that had their family member found himself basking in the Holy Spirit, this wouldn't have happened. I have faith that the community of Newtown, Connecticut will find healing in the years to come. I have faith in that because of what it says in Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed". 

I find my hope in that verse alone. Prayers to all involved, Lord provide comfort and healing in the midst of everything that has happened.

Grace and Peace


Faith like a Child

It's the most wonderfuuuuuulllll tiiiiiiiime of the year!!!! That was me singing, lucky for you, you only had to read it, not hear it. So we are quickly approaching the Christmas season, in fact, for some people, it began a week ago after Thanksgiving ended. I love "The Holidays" as we call them, because they are filled with family, friends, food, fellowship, but most importantly, one Holiday in particular is incredibly vital to my Faith. Christmas. The day that CHRIST was born. Now, you may be wondering why this post is coming so early, it's only December 3rd and it's 70 degrees outside... not really very "Christmasy" (yes, I added a "Y" to make that an adjective, don't judge me!) Here's the thing though, last night really set the tone for the Christmas season for myself, and many others, last night, Community Church of Columbus had their Children's Christmas Program. It was Legen...... wait for it........ DARY. That's right, I said it... it was legendary, and here's why.


The kids in the program were great. To use a bit of alliteration they were absolutely adorable, completely cute, and terrifically thespian (even though 98% of them probably don't know what a Thespian is, for that matter 68% of you are probably "googling" it right now). Honestly, the kids last night, nailed every bit of that program. It was funny, heartwarming, and I'm almost positive that not one kid messed up their lines. However, the thing I liked the most, was seeing how excited they were to participate in a musical that was directly focused on Christ and the importance of the true meaning of Christmas. I have to say, it was exactly what I needed. I often get down-trodden during the winter months. Generally from the end of November to the beginning of March it's dark when I leave the house, and dark when I get home. It can be depressing, especially when all the distractions and pressures of life keep you from focusing on the source of our Joy, God the Father. I'll be honest and completely transparent... I wanted to cry last night. More than once my eyes welled up with tears, ready to unleash the flood gates because it just absolutely overwhelmed me (in a good way) to hear such tiny voices preaching such a HUGE message. It was even more special because these were kids I had taught in Tuesday Connection and Sunday School. Kids that I have gotten to see grow up, even just in the last year. While I was sitting there taking this all in, one scene in particular started... and out fluttered Kate. A little more than a year ago I wrote a blog about Kate called Big Answers Come in Small Packages... Kate is this vibrant, amazing little girl that has been battling cancer most of her life. She has moved me to tears on numerous occasions, but nothing as powerful as last night. Last night, Kate was a ballerina. She came dancing out onto the stage, and was absolutely glowing with excitement. I could tell Kate loved every minute of it, and it made me stop and think. How often do I complain throughout my day, to people, on the phone, on Facebook/Twitter, etc. We complain all the time, and yet, despite eating one too many cookies occasionally, I'm healthy. Yet, sometimes I act like I have the whole world resting on my shoulders... then there's Kate. A little girl that has fought one of the most terrible illnesses known, and yet she's dancing for Jesus. Absolutely loving life. Kate reminded me last night what's important in life, and that in order to truly live... I need to find a way to dance for Jesus each and every day. Just like Kate.


Once again, a big answer came in the form of a small package. The kids reminded me how important it is to focus on Christ, and the joy of His birth during the CHRISTmas season. It brought about the start of a period of restoration, which is something I have been praying for, for quite some time now. I am so thankful for all the kids in our church, and for the staff and youth that helped make last night's performance so special. I am thankful that we have parents in our body that are teaching their children about the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. I am thankful for childlike faith. (Excerpt from Big Answers)  Luke says in chapter 18 verses 16&17-- 16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” If we have faith like a child, if we receive the Kingdom as a child does, we'll inherit it. A child? Someone so small, young, naive, inexperienced at life... no, someone that has yet to be corrupted by this world, someone who still understands the fundamental parts of faith, that isn't bitter at the world yet... someone like Kate.and the rest of the children at CCC. 

Grace and Peace,


How Christian Are You?

I wrote an entirely different post yesterday to put up for this week. It can wait until Monday. This morning, being the news junkie that I am, I was checking into some headlines on my Summly App, which allows you to customize what kind of news you want to see. Naturally, two of my key words that Summly searches for in the news each day are Jesus and Christianity. So, as I was perusing the headlines under my Christianity tab, I came across this little gem.... "Christianity Quiz Shows 1 in 4 Christians are Not Very Christian" (absolutely mind-blowing how great the title of that article is). In the name of research, I decided to read the summary of the article, then the article in it's entirity. Now, some of you may be sitting there thinking "Well they suckered you" but you would be wrong. I only visited the website and looked at the quiz as fodder for this blog. Let me just share what the disclaimer says:

"The Christianity Quiz is a 10 question self-assessment to gauge how well your daily thoughts and actions reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is not intended to pass judgment on you. We are aware that no quiz can assess the complete Christian experience, nor can it peer into your heart as God can. And so, this Christianity Quiz is not intended to say whether you are or are not a Christian. It’s not intended to say whether you are a good or bad person. However, when taken for what it is, it can be used as a reflection of your current level of engagement with your Christian faith. If you are a new Christian, you would expect your score to increase over time as you continually seek to know God and His ways more and more. And you should expect your score to increase over time as you submit yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, obeying his teachings. If you have been a Christian for a longer time, you might expect your score to fluctuate up or down over time as you renew your commitment or find yourself drifting away. Every Christian goes through times where they feel more or less connected to God, and this quiz can generally gauge where you are at right now. Good luck on the Christianity Quiz and let us know if you have any feedback on it using our About > Contact Us form."

I almost don't know where to begin...so I highlighted the parts that bothered me the most, let's start with the fact that it's only 10 questions. 10. Ten. 1/10 of 100. 10 questions. That's it. Apparently the valuation of your faith can be measured by 10 simple questions, because, well, being a Christian is just that easy. Wrong.Wrong.Wrong. The first issue I have with this, is that 10 questions on a website cannot assess my heart, there's absolutely no way. The second big issue with the 10 questions is, who on Earth has the authority or audacity to think that they have the authority to create these 10 questions. Where in the Bible does it say, "In order to know whether you are following Christ, answer 10 questions created by some over-zealous, self-proclaimed prophet". I'm not saying the website itself does not have any validity or a mission worth talking about.. to be honest, at this point I haven't taken much time to research the rest of the website because this is about this absurd Quiz. That, despite that it claims to let you gauge where you are right now, is in no way judging you. Even though the end results range from "Far From Christ" to "Spiritually Mature". I for one, am confident that an online quiz can accurately assess my spiritual maturity.. because, you know, there's no way that you could nullify the accuracy by answering in a way that you believe will give you a better score. I did my best to not read too much into the questions (and by that I mean, try to answer in a way that would skew the results) and went through all 10 questions. I gave strong consideration to taking a "screen-shot" of each question, but figured there might be some copyright infringement or something there... so I only took a screen shot of the first one:

That's right, this quiz is only for Christians. and by clicking that little button, you are affirming that you are a Christian. It's like an online version of the Sinner's Prayer... So, after affirming my salvation by clicking a button, I started the quiz (against my better judgement). The questions are things like "How often do you read your Bible and/or spend quiet time with The Lord", and "When someone recklessly cuts you off in traffic, you respond by:". Now, I'm not saying these questions are not valid questions, and can't serve as accountability if they address things you struggle with. However, I also don't believe that answering these 10 questions can provide and accurate summation of where I am in my relationship with Christ. Again, for the sake of this blog alone and because I fully believe in transparency between myself and my readers, let me provide my results in the next image:

Go ahead and applaude me, I'm a "Good Christian". That's right, as you sit there in your jealousy, I am basking in my achievment of being a "Good Christian"... which means I will stop here and coast until I reach eternity!!! Here's the real problem, I think they got it backwards. First off, considering I know myself better than the internet does, I would say, unfortunately, I struggle more with truly living as a Christian outwardly than I do inwardly. Which begs the question, if we are "living as a good Christian outwardly" but not inwardly (as the quiz says) does that really make me a "Good Christian". If I am not inwardly seeking Christ the way I should, but outwardly I allow the world to think that I am... aren't I decieving the world? Aren't I causing my brothers to stumble by pretending like I am someone I am not? I understand that actions speak louder than words, so living that way outwardly is extremely important. However, I also fully believe in transparency, and in order to be held accountable, my brothers and sisters in Christ need to know what I'm struggling with. Living one way behind closed doors, and another way out in public is hypocritical-- I don't feel like that makes me a "Good Christian" at all.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Maybe you disagree with me... I want to know your thoughts. I don't have all the answers, I just have my reactions and opinions. To me, my faith and relationship with Christ absolutely CAN NOT be measured by 10 questions. To be honest, I think this can create even more hypocrisy within Christianity. As long as you are living outwardly in a way that shows you love Jesus, you are a "Good Christian"... NO! Not at all! What makes me a Christian is my belief, intentional relationship, worship, praise, conviction, faith.. if I'm living a life of sin when no one is looking, I'm not living a life that Jesus calls us too. We too often preach this "fluffy" Gospel, that if you do certain things or think a certain way, say a Sinner's Prayer, you will recieve salvation and eternity... The Gospel is Truth, and the truth is the Gospel is convicting (or should be) to believers and offensive (or can be) to non-believers. We can't sugar-coat the gospel in order to create mass numbers of hypocritical believers, because that isn't glorifying to Christ. We can't assess people's faith with an arbitrary quiz of 10 questions that can easily be navigated to provide an "affirming" answer that we are all living as "Good Christians" by just reading into the questions and realizing what answers will get you there. In fact, I did that just now. I took the quiz a second time, answered a few question differently and was able to get the grade of "Spiritually Mature". The quiz is biased, and shaped to get you to answer certain ways. The questions are multiple choice, each of the 4 choices easily matches with one of the 4 grades. There's absolutely nothing scientific about this "assessment".

Brothers and Sisters, please don't misunderstand me... I understand the intent behind this quiz. I'm sure the creators thought they were doing people a favor! However, we will only face judgement from The Father, not from man! We can not assess our spiritual life or walk with Christ by any measure other than God's Word, the Truth, the Gospel! Please understand that the only way to truly live a life that Christ calls us to live is by following The Word and living the way Christ has called us to live. No quiz can compare to the the Gospel. Especially not one created by man. I don't recommend anyone take this quiz, therefore I refuse to link it to my blog. However, if you do decide to investigate this on your own... take it with a grain of salt, and do your best to not shape your responses to try and receive a "good grade". Most importantly, Christians, let's preach the Gospel in it's entirity. Let's show people the love of Christ, and also convict them by sharing The Truth about the way we are called to live. Let's not worry about the Gospel being offensive, let's focus on the fact that Truth is Truth.

End Rant.

Grace and Peace,



3 years in review..

It's been 17 days since I wrote my last post... and there's a reason for that.

The last 17 days I have spent reflecting on the last 3 years ago... because 3 years ago was an important day for me. On November 16th, 2009 I sat down at my computer and began typing, in very much the same way I am typing now. However, 3 years ago, I had no idea what I was going to write about. I just knew that God was moving, and I needed a place to write all of that down, so I could sort through it and hang on to it as well. The first post I ever wrote, was titled Passion and Purpose. That post was all about distinguishing between what you are passionate about and what your purpose is... and it's about the uncertaintiy of my future. Take a second (if you didn't read the whole thing) to look at this excerpt from that very first post...

"I felt that I knew what God was calling me to do, and that was the end of the story. Once again though, God has more to say, I just had to listen... I realize now that, no matter what, my studies matter... Not because I'm not going to become a missionary, or not because I'm going to work in a bank, but because I. Don't. Know. The. Answers. I have no idea if I'll become a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, or if I'm going to work as a bank teller, or grocery store manager, or be a stay at home parent. Only. He. Knows. And tonight it was God telling me that, just as it says in Colossians 3:17 "And whatever ever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him".. I don't know what I'll be doing in 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, or 1 month.. I don't even know where I'll be this summer, but tonight I realized, it doesn't matter. I will go where I'm called, and do whatever it is God wants me to do, if merely to glorify Him.
My. Future. Is. Only. Known. By. Him."

Well, it's now 3 years later... and where I thought I'd be then, is not where I am now. I am thankful for that. God knew the plan all along, He led me back to the city that I grew up in, a place where I know more people than I care to some days, even though He knew my desire was to be elsewhere. God knew what He was doing, and it took me a few months after college to realize that. It's crazy to see the way God has completely transformed this blog, my relationships, my life, and my character since this journey began. I've been through heart ache, love, loss, pain, overwhelming joy, the birth of my niece and nephew, and many other things. In the last three years I have been in 16 different states, and 4 different countries. I have been involved in two very different Youth Ministries, I have worked in a restaurant, a green house, a bank, and now my current position, a global company. I graduated from college with a Bachelors degree, I have been in 3 weddings, and seen at least 16 friends get married. I got my own place, bought a new car, mended past friendships, and watch others fall to the wayside. I've laughed so hard I couldn't breath, and I've cried so long I had no tears left. However, through all the craziness, all the changes, all the distractions, all the "once-in-a-lifetime" moments... one thing has always remained constant.


Christ has been present through all of it. He has guided, provided and protected me through a crazy 3 years. I have been able to grow in Christ in ways that 3 years ago, I thought would never happen. He has completely transformed my life... and while that in no way means that I am no longer a sinner, it means that I am not defined by my sins, but rather my salvation. I am a prince in the Kingdom of God, I am a beloved child of God, and I am striving each day to be a man after God's own heart. If I had to pick one lesson, out of millions, that God has taught me in the last 3 years it would be: That I must put others before myself, but in that I also cannot lose sight of my own morals, values, or goals. I must love myself... even when I don't feel like I'm worthy of love. Christ died on the cross so that I could be set free from my sin, by accepting that truth into my heart, and living a life that is glorifying to Him. I don't succeed at that everday, but I'm getting better each and every step. Which makes me wonder... what will this look like on November 16, 2015...

Thank you.

Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this blog over the last 3 years. This morning I looked at the numbers... that very first post received 8 views on this site. 3/8 views were probably from my Mom. Granted I used to post these as "Facebook Notes" as well... but still. To see that I have gone from 8 views to an average of 35 views per post. That just absolutely blows my mind... Thank you for your support, for reading this blog, for the feedback: encouragement and criticism. Thank you for being a part of this journey... here's to the next 3, 5, even 10 years down the road. Today is a special day for this blogger-- and all the glory goes to God for giving me the words to write.

Grace and Peace


Do Better

At 11:30 today I received a phone call. I was sitting at my desk at work, in my Halloween costume no less, when a dear family member called to inform me that my great-grandmother, Mammaw, had passed away. Initially I was in shock, and panic. Carrie, my cousin that called, couldn't get ahold of her husband to let him know what had happened. Chris and I work in the same building, I didn't even have time to process what I had just heard... I needed to find Chris so he could call Carrie, and then go to be with her. Even after getting ahold of him, I was rushing around trying to figure out what is next. Whether I should leave work, or stay. If I had any time off, if my sister knew, how my Dad was handling things, how my grandmother was handling things... I didn't take any time to handle things myself. Then a co-worker asked me a question... they asked if she lived close by. The answer to that question was like a punch in the stomach...

A few months ago is the last time I saw Mammaw... despite being ill for quite some time, she had made it out of the house to come listen to me preach. It was that day, that she asked me to come and visit her more often... and when my sister was home to bring her with me as well. Naturally, I told her I would do both. That punch in the stomach was because... I lied. I didn't go and visit... and I didn't take Stephanie to see her when she was home in September. All I can think about is how many times she mentioned me coming to visit, and how many opportunities I never took. The sad thing is, if I wanted it to be, her house is on my way home. Some of you are probably wondering why I'm admitting this to you... well, it's part of my process. You see, as a writer I hold certain convictions that I will not only hold others accountable for the lessons God gives me, but also to hold myself accountable. In the last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time writing and talking about being intentional about being relational. I've missed the mark in a huge way. I realize that I'm not perfect, and there's no way that I can give the right amount of time to each and every relationship in my life. However, I also realize how selfish I've been lately. There's been numerous times in the last two months (and more) that I have taken the afternoon off early, and I could have easily gone to visit Mammaw. Instead I was too focused on spending time at home, at the church goofing around, or with someone that there was an interest in. I was being selfish, because those things satisfied me... and yet, I was talking to other people about being selfless...

I want to make sure everyone understands I'm not looking for sympathy through this... I'm seeking accountability. My life needs some prioritizing in order to be sure that I don't miss opportunities to tell those that I love, how much I really care. I'd like to say that it's only because I was busy, and that if there were more hours in the day I would have made it over there... but I can't say that with 100% confidence that it's true. I do know that things need to change, that I need to make more of an effort to spend time with my family, all of my family. I am at a loss for emotion at this point, minus the anger and hope. I text a brother of mine and told him what I was struggling with, the guilt and the anger.. and told him why. His response was this: "Ask the Lord for forgiveness, repent, do better. I'll pray for peace brother". It's as simple as that friends, I need to ask God for forgiveness for my selfish nature, repent from that, and do better. Do better. Two words that carry a whole lot of weight with them. I'm tired of being mediocre, and I'm tired of being selfish. It's time for me.. to do better.

Grace and Peace


A man of God, not of this world

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a man. By that I mean, I've been thinking about what it means to be a man after God's own heart. I'll be honest, I'm often better at being a man of this world, than a man of God. Being a man of God is much more difficult because it requires obedience, reverence, surrender, and sacrifice. Being a man of the world is easy, it requires an ego, pride, selfishness, and foolishness... all which come pretty easily to us men. However, I also realize that what I gain by striving to be a man of God is exponentially greater than what I gain from the world. Over the last two days my thoughts about Godly manhood have been running rampant... and I've realized that there are a few key things that are crucial to my development as a Godly man:

 A Godly man must kneel before God and pray... fervently.

There are three key words in that statement... kneel, pray, fervently. The first key word, kneel, is important because kneeling before God is an act of reverence. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm not reverent through prayer when I'm not kneeling. However, I believe that when I kneel before God I am acknowledging (in a physical way) that I am smaller than God, that I am weaker than God, and that I am in awe of God. Now, to me personally, kneeling can be rather uncomfortable-- and I find that in my discomfort, I must be more disciplined in the way that I pray.  By being more disciplined in my prayers, I am able to be more transparent with God... more, vulnerable with Him. I believe that the strength and intimacy of my relationship with God is greatly impacted by my ability to be vulnerable before Him. In order to stand tall in this world, I must kneel before my God. The second key word, pray, is pretty self-explanatory. In order to truly understand who God is calling me to be, I need to open the lines of communication regularly. I don't mean that I pray every night before bed, and that covers the 24 hour period that we call a day. No, it's much bigger than that. It means I consult God throughout my day.. some days more than others.. but regardless I seek His counsel in each and every decision I am faced with, in order to be fully vested in the will of God. That third word, fervently, that's quite possibly one of the most crucial words in the above statement. My prayers absolutely CAN NOT be relaxed. In order to seek God's counsel I must pray fervently, which means I must pray with a burning, fiery, passion to know the will of God for my life. I love using the word fervently to describe how I want/need/sometimes do pray because it conveys a sense of urgency. My communication with God is urgent, because I can't do anything without Him... at least nothing that is glorifying to Him.

A Godly man must be a leader.

As I stated before.. I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Godly man, which has led me to thinking about the kind of man I want/need to be, which has led to thoughts of the future. I must preface this in saying that I am in no way prepared to be married, or making plans to be married anytime in the near future. However, that doesn't mean I don't think about marriage, or my role as a husband and father. Those thoughts initially tie right back into my first point about prayer. In order to be the kind of husbands God calls us to be, we have to pray for our wives. It's never to early to do that. I started praying for my wife years ago... and I don't have any idea who she is. I pray that she is growing in her relationship with Christ, that God is preparing me to be a man that can provide for and protect her, and that He is also preparing her to love me for everything I am, and everything I am not. I pray that I can be a leader for her and for my children. In order to lead, I must pray fervently. The two go hand in hand. As a man who (attempts at best) studies the Bible, I know that I will be called to be the head of my household, and a spiritual leader for my family. Now, let me clarify, that being the "head of the household" does not inherently mean that I believe I must make the most money, or that I am in some way more important than my wife. Not at all. A husband and wife are equal partners in a marriage, but I also recognize that as a man, it is my duty to provide for her, and to lead my household in the way that God calls me to do so. I must show the love of Christ to my wife and my children daily... Lord willing, that won't be a difficult task at all, because by the time that season of my life rolls around, God will have prepared me to be what they need, and He will have prepared them to love me even when I'm not. Leadership isn't just restricted to marriage and fatherhood though. I must be a leader to my fellow man.. which means I must live a life that convicts others to live a life that strives to be more Christ-like. I need to be strong in my convictions, and I need to seek counsel and accountability from those around me. In order to become a Godly man, I must lead a Godly life. That's often easier said, than done... so I'll add that to my prayers throughout the day.

A Godly man must be held accountable.

Accountability is crucial to our growth as men. Now, I get that some people think that accountability and being intentional about being relational can be... too emotional. However, if we aren't emotional, if we aren't transparent and vulnerable amongst men, how can we be those things in the presence of God? I struggled for a long time with accountability and intentional relationships with brothers in Christ. However, in the last year I have seen my accountability grow stronger, and the intent of my relationships grow deeper. If it were not for my relationships with my brothers, I would not be the man I am today. Accountability is a principal that is based on the life of Christ. Christ surrounded himself with 12 men, disciples. These 12 men were in constant community with Christ. They helped each other grow closer to Christ and to each other. What better accountability is there than to be held accountable by our very own Savior. In order to be truly convicted by the accountability that Christ holds us to, we have to be in communication with Christ and with others. It's simple logic. Surrounding ourselves with people that will help develop us into better men, better leaders, and better pray-ers (I realize that's not a word), we have to have a community of believers holding us accountable for the way we act.

A Godly man must find his self worth, in Christ alone.

Part of what inspired this post was a thought I had yesterday, that I proceeded to share with my network of social media outlets... the thought was this:

"At some point a man must realize his own self worth is measured by his obedience to Christ, not to the world.."

That's a truth that God spoke into my life yesterday in a huge way. I realized that His ways are so much better than my own, and in order to have the confidence that I am someone worth loving.. I have to realize that that is dependent on me obeying Christ's will for me life. A follow up to that thought, was this one:

"Man is not defined by his mistakes, his missteps, or his sins, rather who Man is, is defined by his salvation in Christ and the redemption he was offered by Christ's sacrifice for Man."

My obedience to Christ is how I measure my self worth. Who I am as a man, is defined by Christ's sacrifice to me. Christ gave his life so that I would be a child of God, forgiven of sin, and washed by the blood... because of that, I need to be obedient to Christ, because, well... it's the least I can do to thank Him for dying a torturous death in order that I may have life. This week, this month, this lifetime... I want to focus more on my self-worth, on my obedience to Christ... and I want to constantly be reminded, and remind others, that because of Christ's sacrifice for us, I am saved... and my salvation is what defines me, not my sin. I want to continue to grow into a Godly man-- so my focus needs to be on prayer, leadership, and finding my self-worth in Christ... Men, will you join me on this journey to become more Christ-like?

Grace and Peace 



I generally shy away from writing about politics... okay, that's an understatement. I purposefully avoid writing (and sometimes talking, especially with loved ones) about politics. It's not because I'm "anti-Merican" (that was a joke) or because I'm some kind of anarchist.. it's because I can't stand the deceit and corruption that ensues, so I'm better off just not getting worked up over the situation. However, this time is different... this time, I'm riled up, and this time my convictions are stirring so strongly that something must be said. Let me preface this by saying that I will in no way state or even elude to who I will be voting for, nor will I place any specific blame on any one candidate, or any one political race. From local governments to the National government, my deep rooted beliefs are annoyed greatly by one thing...


I'm not talking about misrepresentation of the American people, of the middle class, the upper class, the lower class, the impoverished, blue collar, white collar, race, gender, education.... I'm talking about misrepresentation of the Bible. The Bible is so widely misrepresented on a daily basis it's incredibly hard to preach it to those whose hearts have already hardened towards it. Then you bring the spotlight of a political race into the mix and.. for lack of a better term... all hell breaks loose. This rant has been a long time coming, and I'm sure it's going to upset some people... but I won't apologize for my convictions. This is in no way an attack on anyone's religious beliefs... except for those that claim to be Christ followers. My anger isn't even necessarily caused by their labeling themselves that way-- and that's for two reasons 1. I don't know their personal lives or relationship with Christ 2. I myself do things that aren't characteristic of Christ every day. This is about their use of the Bible, or lack thereof, to try to impart their political agenda on others.


Some of you reading this may be surprised... because a lot of people think I don't educate myself on the current political race/issues. However, I see far too often things about politicians backing their political views with what they deem to be "God's intentions" or "God's command" and yet... absolutely not one bit of Biblical scripture to back up their claims. In fact, if you look at Scripture..  God tells us concretely that "My thoughts are not your thoughts, says the LORD, and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine" Isaiah 55:8.  CHRISTIANS we have this book, I'm not sure if you have one... some of you honestly may not, but you've at least heard of it... it's called The Bible! It's God's Word in written form... We are commanded to utilize it to strengthen our resolve and our relationship with God. We are not to twist it to make our lives more comfortable. It's supposed to be convicting. It's supposed to cause a little discomfort because The Word speaks Truth into our lives and keeps us from running from the things we are doing wrong or justifying them. Let me make my point clear here... The Bible = God's Word, God's Word = The Truth which in turn means that The Bible = The Truth.


I understand that things are twisted all the time. I'm not naive to the fact that a lot of people whole-heartedly believe that the Bible is a "story book" or completely "open to interpretation". The undeniable fact is that this is the Word of God... therefore if you are going to claim that your political agenda is due to God's intentions... well, you should be able to find some scripture to back up your claims. Otherwise, while you are lifting up yourself, you are downcasting the Lord. You are intentionally misrepresenting Christ in order to achieve your personal goals for success... which directly damages the public image of Christ and Christ-followers. the enemy uses this to try and dishearten and destroy those that both do and don't have a relationship with Christ. Don't get me wrong, Christians are in no way perfect-- nor is the Church-- and it's not just politicians that cause this negative image to be reflected throughout the world.. but when you are in the spotlight, when all eyes are on you heading towards November, and you are fully aware of what your words and actions will do to people's opinions of Christ... choose your words and actions wisely.

Ephesians 5:1 "Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children"


Because I am fully aware that some of my readers are going to work diligently at finding something wrong with this post... let me go ahead and put what I'm preaching into practice-- below you will find scriptures (*New Living Translation) that directly back up what I'm saying...

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." 2 Timothy 3:16

"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." Hebrews 4:12

"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:10-17

"In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God" John 1:1

Grace and Peace


The Kingdom advanced through retreat

"Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ." A.W. Tozer

There are a group of students in Columbus, IN... that embody the very thing that Tozer said above. These students have not only demonstrate a faith that is living and flaming... but also a surrender and obedience to Christ's call on their lives. I was blessed to spend a period of time with a large group of those students over the weekend. It my favorite part... was that I was reminded exactly why I am so passionate about Youth Ministry. It is because of their passion for the Lord, for worship, for community and fellowship that spurs me in the right direction. It is because of their hearts for each other, and their ability to be vulnerable. It is because they make me laugh unlike any other group of people. 

This weekend I saw the Kingdom of God advanced through a retreat for High School and Middle School students. Not only did I begin to form relationships with students, but I was able to learn from them... and hopefully they from me. I got the opportunity to have some one-on-one time with a few high school guys-- to talk about life, struggles, sins, hopes, desires, and prayers. I got to pray with them, for them, and over them in the midst of all of the beauty that is God's creation. I was convicted not only by my brother in Christ, Ryan, who spoke truth into myself and these students... but also by the realness of these kids' faith. They held nothing back, they were exactly who God has called them to be. I laughed... I cried... I spent time with God just praising Him, thanking Him, crying out to Him, and pleading with Him for answers to questions that I have been asking for a very long time... and as usual, people younger than me became answers to some of my questions.

Ephesians 5:1 says "Be imitators of God"... I, Brad Robertson, have mentioned this verse time and time again. This weekend, I saw it being strived for by kids that are anywhere from 7-12 years younger than I am. I heard them cry out to Christ, I saw them raise their arms in praise, and I heard them say things, some of them for the first time in their lives, things like: "I am royalty", "I am beautiful", "I am loved", "I am a child of God". The conversations that stemmed from them acknowledging those things... were mind blowing. The craziest thing about it-- is they were excited about God. I mean, don't get me wrong... I get excited about God too... but these kids were excited all weekend. They reminded me of what it's like to have "faith like a child"... and yet, in a lot of ways, some of them have a faith that's more mature than my own. That's a hard lesson to learn, especially in the midst of all the insanity that is "the real world". 

I was absolutely wrecked. Wrecked by the grace, mercy, comfort and love that completely covers me because of God's desire to have a relationship with me. I am redeemed and saved through grace and sacrifice. There is nothing I can do to earn it.. but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of things I need to do to thank Him for it. My passion for ministry was rekindled to the fullest. The funny thing is, as I lay on my bunk Saturday night... I started to pray. I was praying for healing because my back had just been completely killing me, and in the middle of my prayer, I heard a student come up to the neighboring cabin singing "Into marvelous light I'm running, out of darkness, out of shame, by the Cross YOU are the Truth, YOU are the Life, YOU are the Way" and in that moment... I realized, the enemy could inflict all the pain he wanted.. he would not steal the joy I had found in spending time with our students. It may not be the right time to enter ministry as a full-time career just yet... but it doesn't mean I'm not called to serve God by investing in these students, or that I won't learn more about God by these students investing in me.

I am truly blessed.

Grace and Peace



What to do about Women...

Once again... I've been doing some thinking. I swear if I could get paid to just think all day long... I could end World Hunger with all the money I would make. Regardless, there's something specific that has been on my heart, something that has been tugging at me for a couple of weeks now... That is, the relationship between men and women. Now-- I realize some of you may be thinking I'm getting ready to approach a very delicate subject; and you would be correct. There is nothing easy about the relationship between men and women, yet there are things that I know to be concrete. That's what I want to talk about, because I have been convicted time and time again in the last few weeks that we as men... are often missing the point in a BIG way. Just as a buffer, let me state that: these are my opinions and beliefs about being a Godly man, I will be using the Bible as a reference, and I will not be "calling anyone out" specifically. The thoughts that are going to be presented are the fruit of conversations, prayers, and study.... Here we go.

Thought #1- Women are to be cherished.

Proverbs 31:10-12 "Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."

I wrote recently about how much I love the "Brotherhood". I was then reminded that the Brotherhood that I am a part of, is vastly different than the Brotherhood most of the world is a part of. In fact, the Brotherhood of this World is destructive to our lives, because of the way it teaches us to approach the relationship between men and women. Too often we take women for granted... and yes I mean that as a generalization. I'm guilty of it as well, in a number of ways. I want to clarify one thing... when I say "Women are to be cherished", I don't just mean your wife or girlfriend... I mean Women, the whole population of Women. Does that mean that there aren't some women out there that are just as lost as us men? Not at all. However, as men we are still called to cherish them. That includes our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, nieces, cousins, coworkers... all of them. I personally am very thankful for every woman in my life, ESPECIALLY the first two from the list above. Even though I don't show it all the time... because I'm a man, which inherently makes me an idiot at times... I cherish my mother and sister. Without their influence I wouldn't stand a chance finding a girlfriend/or wife.. and I sure as heck wouldn't be the man I am today. Obviously the influence our family has on us should be one that we cherish, especially when it's positive. However, in my opinion, there's one huge reason I think women should be cherished, which leads to thought #2.

Thought #2- Women are to walk beside us, Men.

Think about what I mean here..

 "So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs[d] and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” Genesis 2:21-23 (NLT) 

Could it be anymore clear? Woman was taking from Man's side.. created from a rib. 
 "Woman was taken out of man; not out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled underfoot; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved." 

That's what I'm getting at here. It's true, God created Woman to be a helper to Man, because God realized no other mate would do. MEN, women were created to complete us, because we couldn't be happy or fulfilled without them... Woman was taken from the rib, near to his heart to be loved. We are inherently called to love women... and I don't mean that in a worldly manner. What then are we supposed to do when we realize that? I refer you back to Thought #1... let's cherish them. Which leads too...

Thought #3- Women are to be honored.

I'm going to quote a brother of mine, that has hit the nail on the head with his take on Godly courtship of a woman...

"In Biblical courtship, commitment precedes intimacy. As men, we are to treat all women as sisters in Christ, with absolute purity. We should show leadership and willingness to bear the risk of rejection by illustrating the foundation and the pace of the relationship. Christian women will be honored, even as they are pursued. Christian wives will be honored. And God will be glorified."- Tyler Lee DeHaven

You see what I highlighted there? Christian women will be honored... just as we as Christian men often expect to be honored. I wonder if people realize just how significant that is.  Through the honoring of the women in our lives, we glorify God. Women are not "prized possessions" because we do not possess them. We stand next to them, we walk through life with them. Thought that we should also be honoring them. They deserve to be honored because of all they do for us as men. And there are too few men, standing up for what's right when it comes to the way we approach relationships with women. I'm not married-- yet-- but I love what Ephesians says to husbands about their wives..men are called to love their wives, as they love themselves.. because NO MAN has ever hated his own flesh. As Godly men, shouldn't we be preparing ourselves to love our wives that way, by honoring the women that are so influential in our lives currently? 

Here's the last quote I'm going to throw at you... 

"Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God has loved us. To lay down our desires and do what’s in his or her best interest. To care for him or her even when there’s nothing in it for us. To want that person’s purity and holiness because it pleases God and protects him or her."- Josh Harris

Every relationship. Not just the woman we are going to marry, or our mom, or sisters... Every relationship. That means every relationship we have in our daily lives should be used to love like Christ loves.. I realized today that's a pretty big list. That means all of the women in my family, all my friends that are girls, all my female coworkers, even Rosie-- the lady that rings up my bagel and coffee every morning at Papa's Deli deserves to be cherished, honored, loved, and prayed for the way Christ has done all those things for me.

I'm sure there are men that are going to laugh at this, maybe some women too. I hope the main point is understood though. As MEN we have a responsibility to uplift the women in our lives.. because let's be honest-- if God hadn't created Eve from Adam... we wouldn't be here today. So thank you to the women in my life-- thank you for loving me, for providing joy, comfort, conviction, an ear to listen, laughs, and a perfect example of the beauty of God's creation. I hope that in the coming hours, days, weeks, and months I can show the women in my life how much I cherish them, I can walk beside them, and I can honor them. God has called me to do so... and answering that call is crucial. 

Grace and Peace


Finding rest through my burdens

"Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

This was my "Verse of the Day" from the YouVersion bible app. I generally read this either when I first wake up or when I first get into work. Usually it's something I post to Facebook, ponder for a little while, and maybe text to a few friends. But this morning... this morning is different. This morning this is a verse I want to talk to more people about... because not only is it full of TRUTH, but it also fills me with conviction. We'll start with the truth part... and then move forward. So stick with me here.

The Truth of the matter, is that Jesus was foreshadowing in a HUGE way what was eventually going to happen. At the same time... it's a sign of what is to come for us now as well. If we are willing to lay down our lives, and follow Christ... He will give us rest. That doesn't mean that we won't be weary or carry heavy burdens. Not at all. Jesus doesn't say "If you follow me I will make everything in your life perfect, and you will never, ever be burdened again." Jesus knew that we were going to carry burdens, that we would sin and fall away from God. That didn't stop Him from loving us... in fact, it made him love us so much that He gave His life for us. The words that He spoke above, are the results of what was done at The Cross. The Cross, The Crucifixion of Christ... is how He provided us with rest. Because He died and gave His life, we can find rest when we are weary, and relief when we are burdened because we have salvation through His death and resurrection. There's also some conviction there...

I started thinking about Jesus' life, and what He knew about the way His life would end (*The following comments are made from the understanding that Jesus is both man and God, 1/3 of the Holy Trinity). It hit me that, not only was He foreshadowing when He made that statement... but the really crazy thing (to me at least) is that He knew what was coming and He was still talking about US being weary and burdened. As though what we as humans were/are going through was/is ANYTHING compared to the weariness and burden He was going to face as He carried the cross to His own death. I mean... this Cross was HUGE. You want to talk about a burden weighing you down... and yet, even in the midst of what He was about to face.. a terrible, horrific, painful, torturous death-- and He was concerned about my burdens, about my weariness, about ME. That's something I'll never understand... I'll never understand how God could love a group of wretched sinners so much, that He would send His Only Son to die on The Cross, face weariness, burden, pain, torture, and death for a bunch of people that... in all honesty... didn't appreciate (and largely still don't) the sacrifice He made. While I was sitting there thinking about the implication this realization needed to have on my life... I started thinking about the kind of man I want to be. The kind of man God is calling me to be. And I realized I can't fathom what He is going to do with my life. So, sitting at my desk, I took a few minutes to grab my Bible and I turned to the Book of Job... this is what I read next--

"But if it were I, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before Him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." Job 5:8-9

Funny how God does that, huh? Right there, in the passage God laid on my heart... I find an answer to what I was thinking about. That answer is that I want to be a man that appeals to God. I want to run to God with every question, every prayer, every yearning, every desire, every longing in my heart... and lay it before Him. I want to do those things, because like the above verse states, He can perform wonders that I cannot fathom and He can perform miracles that I cannot count. I don't need to know how or why He does those things. I just need to trust it. I need to be honest about what I want/desire/long for, lay it before Him and trust that He will provide whatever it is He wants/desires/longs for in me, my life, and my service to Him. If I go to Him, He will give me rest... because, well... He already has. He gave me rest from my burdens when He offered a chance at forgiveness for the sins I had not yet committed. In thinking about that, I realize that my life... is the least I can offer in repayment.

Grace and Peace


An early morning beating... and a story of restoration

One of the bad days.

Today began as one of the bad days. Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago, I wrote a post called "Tell me who I am..". I explained why I was giving such a transparent view of myself.. and then I wrote this paragraph...

"Each day I will battle with myself over finding my self worth in Christ, the way I should. Some days I wake up and immediately praise Him for my life, for who He has created me to be, and what He's going to do on that day. Other days I wake up and think... "What are you doing God, what's the point of all of this? Who I am? Why do you care?"... that's a hard and terrible way to start your day. Now, let me add here that this has greatly improved over the last 3 years. These days are fewer than they use to be, and the feelings of self-doubt are not as serious... but they are still present. The enemy is always there, waiting to attack me on those days. he tries to tell me I'm worthless, that there's no need for God because a God that perfect couldn't love someone so wretched..."

That's what happened this morning. I hadn't even made it to the "roll over and turn on the lamp" part of my day, yet the enemy was already working hard to destroy me. I had no hope, no motivation, no will. I sulked to the bathroom, stood under the running water and tried to pray... but I couldn't. All I could do was think about how terribly some situations I have been facing could end up. I started to doubt myself, doubt what I thought I knew to be true... I started playing out these terrible scenarios in my head. I got dressed, got in my car with the radio tuned to The Bridge... and yet, even the music on this Christian radio station couldn't lift my spirits. I again attempted to pray... but my mind kept running, Satan kept interrupting my attempts. he was making me feel as though God didn't want to hear my prayers anyway. I felt worthless in that moment. I almost turned around and went home...

In the midst of all this I knew what I needed to do. Since I couldn't pray myself, I needed to ask others to pray. So I sent out 12 text messages... I didn't realize how ironic that was until just now while writing these words. At first I thought I would just ask for a blanket prayer, but then I realized in order for this to really combat what the enemy was doing, I needed to be specific. The core of the messages I sent was this "If you would say a prayer for me today, it would be appreciated. I woke up feeling very burdened and I can tell the enemy is attacking me. Just pray for peace, respite from these burdens, and the strength and the will to fight back". I'll be honest, I was to the point where I just wanted to crawl into a hole. Then I started to get some responses from the 12. Some of the Truths that were breathed into me this morning are these:

"Romans 8:38-39.. nothing can separate you from the love of Christ... not even death!!"

"Let the Holy Spirit fight for you today. Lean on Him. You don't have to do anything out of your own strength... I know what it's like to not even have the strength to pray... thank goodness for friends to stand in the gap for us. Praying for you today"

A phone call, that was made just because a conversation was left hanging last night, and this friend could tell I was off. They just called to say hi, and at the end of the conversation to tell me "I love you and I'm praying".

"All I can think about is Job. God just allowing Satan to test you because He knows you're strong enough...I think the only way to fix these things is just lots of prayer and awareness of what God is doing around us.. separate that from the stunts Satan tries to pull and believe whats truth.. truth is we don't know what tomorrow holds... I think that's what has torn me up inside before-- is the worry that for some reason I'm not getting it, or wasting my time. when really if I'm not doing what God has planned for me, and taking things one step at a time, I'm really just wasting His time.... I'd turn worry into hope and continue to look for God in the situation"

Each of these conversations were placed in such a specific manner. God used them to slowly put me back together this morning. That last one, it led to me reading the first 3 chapters of the book of Job this morning. Reminding me that God allows Satan to test us because He knows we are strong enough to withstand the enemies tactics. Right as I finished reading that... the song at the bottom of this post came playing through my headphones. It reminded me that God would brighten my skies during the darkest night. I just needed to sing a song of Hope and ask God of Heaven to come down. It was what lifted me this morning. I am thankful for the redeeming grace of Christ...

I realize this is just one battle of many to come over the rest of my lifetime. The war will continue, and as I have said before... the closer I grow to God, the fewer these days will become. I am thankful this morning though. Because if it hadn't been for the utter brokenness I was feeling this morning, I wouldn't have remembered how important it is to have hope in Christ, and to be surrounded by a community of believers. I can walk tall today... the enemy is still present and fighting like hell to destroy me. My God is bigger than the enemy. My God is bigger than my failures. My God conquered death so that I could have life... and it's not a life that I'm willing to let the enemy steal away.

Grace and Peace


Students with no Word

I am apparently much more naive than I previously thought.

Something interesting happened to me tonight, and it happened during a crossroads with a class I have been co-teaching. It was brought to my attention that there are some kids within my class, our church, our community... that have never read or flipped through the Bible... some of them have never so much as held a Bible. Now, I really don't know why that shocks me the way that it did... but not only did it really catch me off guard, it broke my heart. I can remember even when I wasn't a Christian (and by not a Christian I mean I hadn't allowed God to transform my life, or allow the Holy Spirit to dwell inside me) still reading my Bible from time to time. I guess I had an advantage because I was raised in a home where the Bible was revered, read, and revealed to me at a very young age. Yet, the whole way home tonight it just kept bothering me...

A brother of mine once said to me that he realized, long ago, that "children are not ours-- they are God's children, we are just charged with raising and protecting them while on Earth". I believe that to be true... and I think that's why I am so distraught over the fact that there are children-- GOD's children-- that are missing out on the Truth. The Bible contains the very words of God. Whether they were directly spoken to the author, or conveyed in some other way... they are from God. The Bible is such an important part of my relationship with Christ; at times-- it's how He answers me in time of need, how He lifts me up when I'm down, and how He calls me to do things. It's a comfort for me, to be able to pick up my Bible and know that I hold in my hands the Truth that God wants to speak to me. Don't get me wrong, I can understand how there are kids that don't know the Bible, or even choose not to read it... but to literally be at a place in your life where at 15 years old you have never even held a Bible.. in THIS country, that blows my mind.

Throughout the day, I had been feeling as though God was trying to speak to me about something. I actually have written two drafts of two very different blog posts today. While writing the first though, I could hear God telling me that my time to write had not yet come today... I needed to wait, I needed to put it off just a few more hours. Now I know why. I love the way God prepares us for these lessons... He's been preparing me for almost a week. Last Friday, I went to the first "Theology for Breakfast". Basically, it's a gathering of high school students, at 6:30 am, to just really dig deep into Theology through a book called Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem. It's a condensed version of the book Systematic Theology, and it focuses on 20 basic questions every Christian should know. The first topic/question (which we discussed last week) was "What is the Bible". God was preparing me for tonight. He was stirring in me a prayer, a hope, a passion for students to really know the answer to that question. I got an opportunity to somewhat answer that question, in a prayer I wrote this evening during my class... I prayed this:

Father--I realize now I need so much patience in more than just the situations I have been pleading to you about, Lord. I don't understand how kids here, in this class, and in this church have never read or even looked through a Bible. Lord, Your Word is so precious and it literally breathes life into the lifeless. Not knowing You results in lifeless-ness. Father, surround these students with Your love, stir in them a desire to know You. Use me in whatever way you need to, to help speak Truth into their lives. No one should grow up without feeling the unending grace and redeeming love that comes from You, Lord. Start a revolution in the hearts of our students, set fire to the dry forest that is a generation and let it burn like crazy. Move mountains when they face mole hills, flood them with the Holy Spirit when they face storms. Lord, begin to change the face of a generation, of a culture, and of the world. I love you. Amen.

That prayer was written because it was exactly what was on my heart in that very moment. I am convicted by the knowledge that there are students in my midst that don't know the Word. Some don't even have access to it, which makes something like posting a verse on Facebook-- seem so much more important. I don't know what God's going to do through this lesson-- but I do know it has already caused me to treasure my Bible in a way that I never have before. The Word of God is a beautiful gift, and a guide to how I need to live my life on a daily basis. I am more thankful for that gift tonight, than I ever have been.

Read your bible. Right now... go on, I dare you- and if you have more than one Bible, maybe one you aren't reading at all-- give it to a friend, a student, a kid at church, or a guy on the street. Everyone needs God's Word.

Grace and Peace,


The Old Man and Me

Some days... I just want to write personal shout outs on this blog... and luckily today, that shout out will come with some serious insight about my relationship with God. Today is my grandfather's birthday... He's got a lot of different names in our family Grandpa, Poppy, Old Man, Old Tymer, or Johnny K. It doesn't really matter what we call him (I favor Old Man or Old Tymer... if the shoe fits...) one thing is guaranteed... we all owe him a lot. Old Tymer is easily one of my favorite people, and always has been. I still wait to see where he's going to sit when we have dinner with my grandparents so I can be sure I get to sit right next to him. It's because I know he's going to teach me something new, every single time I'm in his presence...

Man, oh man, the things he's taught me. I remember so many things it's remarkable. I can remember as a kid, I always wanted to go to lunch with him and Grandma after church. I look back on those lunches, and I now see how many life lessons were planted within me during those meals. Hearing him talk about the message at church, about something he read in the Bible, or something he remembered begin to stir a desire in my heart to know God the way my Poppy did. He never missed a ball game, and even though I'm not a little kid anymore... he still makes it to my softball games. I can remember every home soccer game... I'd glance behind me to the back right corner of the field, and see his truck parked there with him sitting on the tailgate... always there at the start of warm-ups. Some days I would even see him out there during practice, and it made me want to be better. He instilled in me pride in where I come from. He has loved these people and this town his entire life. It's funny because there was a time when I didn't understand it... I didn't understand what he saw. Know that I'm older I can understand it better. He has taught me how to fix things, how to build things, how to laugh at myself (especially when my pride is hurt), how to love others like Christ, and how to give back to the people that have given me everything and more. The beautiful thing about the Old Tymer is that he and I share more than just the knowledge he has imparted upon me.

There's nothing I love more than baseball season, because it gives us a lot to talk about. I love baseball because the Old Man loves baseball. I drink coffee because the Old Man drinks coffee. We solve the world's problems, we "sell and buy" stock/antiques/teams/cars/homes that we don't have the money for, we watch the news, and just sit and talk. Those moments when it's just the Old Man and Me, are some of my favorite moments in my life. I talk to him about everything... even when I know he doesn't understand what I'm talking about because he still acts like he cares. He's always there when I need him, and I wouldn't be who I am today without him. Even with all that... there's one thing that stands out the most about him...

I want my relationship with God to reflect my relationship with Old Tymer. What I mean by that, is I want to have the same meaningful and meaningless conversations with my Creator as I do with my grandfather. I know the love God has for me is exponentially greater than that of my grandfather... but when I think about what God's like... I think in a lot of ways he's like old Johnny K. He's warm, loving, affectionate, stern, insightful, comforting, wise, kind, patient, and safe. I am more thankful for that Old Man, than the words in this post could ever express. He's a one of a kind... and I pray every day that I will be half the man he is. This one's for you Old Man... can't wait to learn something new the next time I see you. Happy Birthday!

Grace and Peace,


My Chains are Gone

I am blessed every day and last night I was blessed in an awesome way. For years, I have always justified my lack of Christian brothers by the thought that "I just get along better with girls", which in all honesty, is absolutely hilarious. Don't get me wrong, my female friends bring a lot of joy, insight, and comfort into my life and I am definitely blessed by them. Yet, yesterday... was a day filled with 4 conversations that truly engulf what it means to live in community with The Brotherhood. These conversations were completely sparked by God telling me I needed to reach out, be vulnerable, and seek counsel from men that have been where I am. I had no idea what that looked like, because in all honesty, especially in certain situations... I don't do that often. Last night I did though... 3 of the conversations were about what's on my heart, about the patience I know I need to have for God's will for my life, and how my brothers have each approached similar situations. The 4th conversation was just about reconnecting. I have a brother that is 8 years younger than me in age, but right beside me if not ahead of me spiritually... but that's a story that you have to wait until October for....

So it may seem like I'm rambling, but there is a point to this nonsensical typing. I want to touch on something very important that was said to me last night by my buddy Aaron. We were discussing life, and how to approach certain things from a Godly perspective. Aaron said to me, that because of our humanity we are always going to take God's gifts and make them ours. That's a terrible reality. It hit me hard, because I realize that's what I have done from time to time with this blog. This thing I do, writing... it's not my gift in any way, shape or form. It's God's gift, that He has bestowed upon me, so that He can use it for HIS glory. So why have I not been more intentional about giving the glory to God? Because naturally, as a man, I want the glory for myself. I selfishly and sinfully want people to believe that these words are my own... but they are not. I'm merely the hands that peck the keys... It's the Trinity, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that speak the words that I write to you. Here's what I mean by that--

If it wasn't for God creating, loving, and guiding me... this blog wouldn't exist.
If it wasn't for Jesus saving, redeeming, and restoring me... this blog wouldn't exist.
If it wasn't for the Holy Spirit coming upon me, living in me, and filling me to the point that it overruns my soul... this blog wouldn't exist.

It's taken me 3 years to realize that. It's taken me 3 years to realize a lot of things. Yet, I am thankful for the lesson today. It's given me a different approach to this blog, and to my daily life. Everything I have, everything I am, everything I will become... is from God, for God and of God. It really has nothing to do with me at all... in fact, I'm just a vehicle for Him to move things from one point to another, whether it's words or deeds. Which makes me realize how precious the gifts He has given me are... words, people, family, love, friends, comfort, stability, opportunity, etc. The really cool thing about the gifts I receive from God, is that I receive them in His time, not my own. If I received them in my own time... some I would receive way too soon to handle, and others I would never receive. I say that because I realize that there are people, things, and opportunities in my life that I would never even realize I needed. I wouldn't approach things the way I do now, because it wouldn't be about Him... it would be all about me. That's a hard lesson to learn, but I am thankful for it. This morning I spent my time alone, praying and worshiping... which is really what my daily life should look like. As I was driving to work, "Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin came over the radio. I began to sing it like I always do, but something was different this morning. I could literally feel the chains of ME begin to break away. I began to feel His mercy and grace raining down on me, and could hear Him say... "It's okay to die to yourself today, come and let ME lead you... follow  ME, and I will restore your brokenness. I am proud of you for giving yourself to ME, for surrendering your desires, and trying your hardest to be patient and wait for MY timing." This morning I was redeemed... and God knew exactly which conversations I needed to have yesterday to get me to that point today.

"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23

Grace and Peace