Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I'm learning about words these days. Turns out they're pretty powerful. You'd think it'd be something I was aware of. Sure I've said words are powerful. I've heard that we need to be careful of what comes out of our mouth. But life as of late has taught me lessons that hit home just how true this really is.

In Genesis, God spoke. It's the first thing he tells us he did. And because he speaks we know that we can believe, we know that what he says will happen because that's the precedent that he sets. I believe his promises because he spoke them. I wonder if the same could be said for me. How many times do I say things that I don't really mean, or mean things and then not follow through? How much weight do my promises actually carry for people who know me? I don't know if the answer is one I'd like to hear.

Photo by @lakeanncamp
At camp last summer every Friday we would have combined chapel which meant all the campers going into 6th grade through graduated seniors were all in the same room at the same time. And every Friday Ken Riley, the director would get up on stage and talk about the great tradition that is the Glory Bowl. At the Glory Bowl all the kids would gather around a giant fire and anyone who wanted to could share about what God had done in their life that week. As Ken introduced this event, he gave two reasons that he believed the glory bowl was important. The first was that it's encouraging to those around us to see how God is moving in us. The second is that our decisions are solidified in our hearts when we speak them out loud.

That second one has been a game changer for me lately. When I speak it solidifies what I think in my heart. Which means when people ask me how I am and I complain about all that's going wrong, that's solidified. It means that when I mention all the things this one person has done that irritates me, that's solidified. But it also means that saying "I forgive you" can be followed by the feeling. It means that talking about the things that go right, might actually shift my gaze from the things that don't.

If my words will translate into actions down the road, I want to be speaking truth. I want to speak joy. I want to speak peace. I want to speak the pure and the noble and the right, the excellent and praiseworthy.

I am no master of this skill. I'm not really even good at it. But God is teaching and I am learning and my hope is that you too will see the value of this lesson and apply it to your life. Be careful of the things you let come out of your mouth and have a blessed day.

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


It's so easy, so comfortable to live in the box of things we know. We strive for exact and final answers to our questions. We look skeptically upon that which we cannot fully comprehend. 
The unknown is scary. So we run. We think, we wrestle, and we try to work ourselves to the answer. 

One of the most beautiful things about Jesus, to me, is that I cannot ever fully understand. At times it's frustrating, exhausting, even overwhelming. But then I'm reminded that if I could know everything that God knows, if I could understand how and why He does what He does, there would be no reason to depend on Him. I would not need him because I'd already know all things. 

Following Christ is all about the journey. There will never be a time while I'm alive when I will have reached the final destination in my walk with Christ. I will never achieve perfection, or total knowledge. But that's the beauty in it. Every day I can search and grow and learn and become closer to my Jesus. 

We try so hard to box God in. To strap him down and pull out black and white answers to life. We long for the black and white because it's safe. It's right or it's wrong. No gray. Gray is scary. I'm right and you're wrong and that's all there is to it. But what if that's not how it was supposed to be? What if it is gray? What if the black and white mindset is keeping me from loving someone who desperately needs it? What if the black or white or gray doesn't even matter?

I think we miss out on so much of the goodness that God intended for us when we let ourselves go to the black and white. We stop thinking once we have our answer. We stop listening. We stop growing. In my experience the closer I get to Jesus, the less I care about exact answers. The journey is joy because each step takes me closer to Him.

Donald Miller says it this way in his book, Blue Like Jazz: "At the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and I know the chances of any of our theology being exactly right are a million to one, I need to know that God has things figured out, that if my math is wrong we are still going to be okay. And wonder is the feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. I don't think there is any better worship than wonder."

Take some time today to wonder. Wonder at the things He's done. Wonder at the things He's doing. Wonder at the world around you. Wonder at the little daily blessings.

It's good to be alive. It's good to be loved by Jesus. It's good to have another chance every day to serve and honor and worship Him. Remember that and smile.