Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Myth of Mutual Exclusivity:

The Myth of Mutual Exclusivity:

It seems that the myth of mutual exclusivity is such a driving force behind nearly all divisiveness. In churches, in the workplace, in families, racism, law enforcement, ministers, denominations, gender issues, sexual assault.... the myth is so pervasive it feels like no topic can escape the devolution to that end.

(consider the antithesis of each statement as assumed)

  • If you are pro BLM then you must hate cops.
  • If you are pro LE then you must hate black people.
  • If you believe a sexual assault complaint then you have to be a liberal.
  • If you are a Christian than you Must be a Republican.
  • If you minister to women who have had an abortion than you are pro murder.
  • If you are a liberal church then you don't believe the Bible (but if you make up 1,000's of laws that Jesus never imposed then you are somehow deemed "conservative")
  • If you love trump than you must hate all minorities
  • If you don't believe Christians should be involved in politics then you must hate America.
  • If you believe that God loves the LGBTQ community then you don't believe in God.
  • If one thing in the Bible is inaccurate/mistaken/contextual/allegory then NONE of the Bible is true.
  • If you don't believe in a physical Hell then you can not believe in a physical Heaven.
  • If you want to reach millennials then you must want to abandon, discount, and even (probably) hate the older people.
On and on and on and on we go....

These Us vs Them, Right vs Wrong, You vs Me, black and white lines in the sand creep in, infest, and take over every conversation we have. It makes us fearful of our own beliefs, first, which then makes us fearful of everyone else's beliefs.


I realize that's a lot of rambling without a defined "point" but know we all encounter these every day if not every hour.

We must combat these in ourselves and then learn (genuinely... I don't know the answer....)
how to combat them all around us.

The myth of mutual exclusivity is tearing our relationships, our churches, our country, our world, our very souls apart.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

An Open Letter to ALL Women, On Mother’s day:

Dear women,

I hear you. I hear you when some of you say that Mother’s Day is the hardest Sunday of the year. I hear you when you speak of the insensitivity and mishandling of this day by churches around the country that cause you pain and make faithful women stay home from Church on Mother’s Day.  

This day, for me, is always held in tension, joy-pride-thankfulness butted up against sorrow-loss-pain. 

For some, Mother’s Day is looked forward to all year, with joyful anticipation, for others the status of Mother’s Day is painfully elusive, for some it is met with dread and terrible sorrow. 

We have women who are single, women who choose not to be mothers, women who don’t feel called to have children, mothers, step mothers, adopted mothers, foster mothers, surrogate mothers, stand-in mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-waiting, women who know the unbelievable joy of watching their children faithfully grow, those who know the deep pain of having wayward children walk away, those who gave children for adoption, those who experience the heartbreak of infertility, those who carry the weight of an abortion, those who have faced the darkness of failed adoptions, and those who know the unfathomable pain of losing a child, as well as those children who never knew their mothers, people who have lost their mothers, and people who owe their very lives to their wonderful mothers. 

We love you all. God loves you all. 
God values you all, cheers for you all, and weeps with you all. 

We are a family of many parts, a family of many joys, and a family of many pains. We are here for you, this day, and every day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

For those who teach/work with children:

I spend most of my writing time on sermons and lessons these days, short (and sometimes too long...) Facebook posts, and the occasional (should be more) letter. 

It has been nearly a year since I lasted posted on this blog.  

That said, something has been greatly on my heart as of late and it concerns all of us who work with kids.  Whether you are a school teacher, a Scout leader, a coach, a Sunday school teacher, or a youth minister, how we interact with kids (and WHY) is something that touches me to the core.

This has been on my heart a lot and what I have learned from teaching high school, teaching reading intervention, coaching kids sports, coaching high school sports, teaching children's classes, AWANA, youth group, and Being one of those kids myself....

As teachers of children, first and foremost we are here to support, build up, inspire, and encourage kids by showing them LOVE. For many of kids, the love they get from us may be the only love (patience, compassion, encouragement, etc) that they are ever shown at all.

Now, believe me, I know kids can be very difficult sometimes. It is NOT always bliss and this is not a kumbaya-parent-shaming post. 

Kids can be rowdy, crazy, disrespectful, rude, lethargic, uninterested, and obstinate. That's on the good days 

What I pray we can all remember is that they may be rowdy because, perhaps, they are over-medicated the other part of their day, or perhaps they don't have access to medication they actually need, or maybe they have no tools to get a piece of your coveted adult attention any other way.
They may act crazy because your place doesn't make sense. They may live in a home where attention isn't given, where adults aren't present (either physically or emotionally) and they are pulling and pushing on all the guardrails to see what's real.
Perhaps they seem disrespectful because that is the only behavior they have ever been modeled? I would argue, however, that even more likely is that (like how your own children act worse for you than they do for others) they actually feel safe here with you and perhaps they don't other places, so here is where they feel like they can "cut lose".
Don't teach them they are wrong about that.
The appearance of being rude can be a misinterpretation of social cues that simply don't translate from how one person lives and what environment another must live in.
We must remember that they may not have grow up in our home, our socioeconomic status, our religion, or our culture.
They may, at times, seem lethargic because they (even at elementary school age) may be putting themselves to bed at night, alone. They may not have a safe and comfortable place to sleep well, or may even be working at night to help with the family, either at a job, around the house, or caring for other siblings (or caring for incapacitated parents that are supposed to be caring for them).
Often times a child that seems uninterested may be feigning disinterest to protect them-self from being "found out" - typically this is because they can't read or can't read on grade level. This can also be because they cognitively can't understand the questions but have been ridiculed to the point of developing a fear of asking for help. This can also be because they simply don't know your organizational words and lingo (higher education, churchie, etc.).

We all need to look for opportunities for every child to have their moments to shine. Most children will not shine in all areas and we want to praise them in the areas they do - meet them where they are. We want to love, respect, encourage, and take pride in the child who comes for game time as we do the child that finishes all their book work early, as the child that hangs on every word of the lesson, as the child that constantly talks and acts out during the lesson to deflect their level of discomfort.

We certainly can not let bad behavior simply go or allow kids to treat each other (or adults) poorly.

There will be times that we yell, times that we cry, times that we do this well, and times that we do this horribly (for we are as human as the kids).

I just want to encourage all of us to take a moment and consider that a child might be acting like a kid with "no raising" because they are, in fact, a kid who has never had anyone to truly raise them. Until us.

We want to be a soft place, a safe landing - we want to be Jesus. Jesus with open arms, warm smiles, loads of patience, and grace-Filled love. We will fail at that. All of it. When we do, we want to admit the shortcoming, get back up, and try again. Love more.

We have to remember that children don't try to push us away to actually push us away.... they try to push us away to see if they are really worth it for us to actually stay.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

be a master in 5 minutes!

What people once mastered by dedicating their life to, we now want the same results in an hour.

Athletes dedicated 80 hours a week to becoming competitive but now parents want to send their kid to an AYSO practice for one hour every other week and are baffled that their kid isn't D1 material.

Parents and school boards and politicians pressure teachers into giving people A/B honor role just for showing up and then are mad at the teachers when their child, who made straight As, makes a 17 on their ACT.

Some Parents want teachers, in addition to being hard but easy, firm but sensitive, zero tolerance but lenient, and teach 3 years of state standards in 90 days, to then raise their kids -- when the teacher gets bladder infections because they don't even have the time or ability to take bathroom breaks for themselves.

Some want to tell their kids that if they're not good at dinner the cops will come get them and lock them up but then want those same police to be "approachable".

Often times people want the youth minister of a church to change their child's life, redirect their trajectory, teach them manners, morality (and the Real gospel) and if said youth minister can't turn around little Johnny's/Suzy's life in an hour a week for 4 weeks, then the youth minister is the one who has failed that child.

We as adults want to our Christian faith to be propped up by the 30 minutes we "dedicate" to a sermon every seven days and are bewildered that we can't clearly discern the voice of God.

We want to righteously fight for/against and vote for or not for a politician that has been campaigning for 4 years, based on the 90 second YouTube video we watched that one time shared by that one person on that one social media channel.

We want our kids to be endlessly grateful for an award or accolade when they (and everyone around them) get a new trophy every other day whether they were even present for whatever event they're celebrating.

We want to be madly, deeply, and completely understood without _really_ listening to understand, even on a surface level, anyone else.

We want everyone around us to know we did/didn't mean something based on them intimately knowing our character, without ever considering the character of the person "attacking" (aka "disagreeing with") us.

We all want to master everything we try in 5 minutes (or else give up) when the person in that YouTube video we're watching to learn it has been practicing it their whole life.

Friday, November 18, 2016

23 Absolutes that should be present in every marriage

  1. In marriage, you always assume the best of your partner
  2. You never tell your spouse you don’t respect them.
  3. You never tell your spouse you don’t love them.   
  4. You never tell your spouse they “ARE” something when you mean they are “acting” like something.
  5. Avoid absolutes (see what I did there?):  If you feel like your spouse is acting (again – acting, not Is) a certain way today, be specific ("today", "for the last 2 days", "since Monday", etc), but not “always”.   
  6. Rage has NO place in a marriage.  Ever.  No matter what.  Not in a marriage.
  7. You never scream at your spouse.  You also never scream at your spouse and play the semantics game and say you were just “yelling”.
  8. Never speak to your spouse in such a way where if someone was listening in they  wouldn’t be able to tell if you were speaking to your spouse or your child.      
  9. Never cuss At your spouse, never call your spouse a curse word-do not label.
  10. Never physically lay hands on your spouse, ever, never, ever, never, never (this goes without saying, of course, but hey… since I’m making a list:).   
  11. Don’t threaten. 
  12. Don’t attempt to use intimidation (physical, threatening, withholding, tattling, etc)
  13. Never use sex as a bargaining chip (no withholding).
  14. Never use the kids as leverage.
  15. Never play the kids off your spouse.
  16. Keep the verbal diarrhea to yourself – because after you’ve “fixed” whatever the issue was, you won’t be able to find everyone who heard you griping about it to tell them it’s now all better. 
  17. Do not carry over one argument to the next.
  18. Try not to go to bed without having first discussed anything that has made one spouse hurt or angry that day.  Will you Always be able to fix everything before you lie down?  No.  But don’t go to bed without first attempting to start the softening process.
  19. Never speak to your husband in a way that you would never allow your son’s future girlfriend to talk to him.
  20. Never speak to your wife in a way that you wouldn’t be perfectly fine with a future boyfriend talking to your daughter.
  21. Never forget that your spouse is your spouse.  You are divinely charged with their emotional, physical, and spiritual care.  Not just when it’s easy.  Always.
  22. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (and never become enraged)
  23. Whether your spouse “deserves” something can’t even be in your vocabulary.  The ONLY thing they have to do to deserve your best is to be your spouse.  That’s it. Not be their best, just be your spouse.  Therefore, always be patient, kind, respectful, loving, not arrogant, not rude, tender, selfless, never rejoice in their pain, never resentful, humble, always believe, always hope, always love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


This past Sunday I preached on pornography.  I didn't "have the opportunity", I wasn't "blessed to talk about", I didn't "joyfully present", I did as I thought I was commanded.  Even when I didn't want to.  Let me explain:

Pornography touches every family in the United States of America.  Every family.  Pornography knows no demographic, no target market.  Porn is not bound by class, gender, race, age, religion, or creed.

Pornography has mind boggling statistics associated with it.  Numbers so large they're dangerous, and what I mean by "so large they're dangerous" is this:  if one person dies it's a tragedy.  If 10 people die it's a national crisis.  If 1,000,000 die it's a statistic.  A number.  Nothing more.  We glaze over it because we have trained our brains and our minds to do so.

Why wasn't I excited about preaching this sermon?  Because it's scary.  Stepping on other people's toes is one thing, but signing up to drop an anvil on your own bruise, battered, and exposed toes is another.  But God asked me to.  I firmly believe that, when I allow it (when I shut up and listen and don't worry about schedules, and stress, and logistics, and optics), the Holy Spirit guides me (and Anyone who will allow it - I'm NOT special in this.  At. All.) to preach on what God wants the group I'm getting to speak to to hear.  But I was still nervous.

That may not sound like a big deal, but I don't get stage fright... like... ever.  If you give me 5 minute warning, I can preach to a large group and feel okay about it.  But preaching on pornography?  That gave me... pause (and stomach indigestion 5 minutes before time to walk on stage).

Pornography is one of (if not the) biggest issue the modern church family is facing.  Josh McDowell calls pornography the "black plague".

Take a listen to this sermon, listen to all the statistics shared (from a 2016 Barna Group study: "The Porn Phenomenon"), and see for yourself.

Then, please, Please, PLEASE listen to this coming Sunday's sermon (the follow up) for what do we do, how do we face it, how do we address it, how do we Beat it.

Thank you....