Pinky promises…

Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye…

Making sure fingers aren’t crossed…

We are all very familiar with promises. Making them, breaking them…all of it. We’ve experienced the joy of someone following through on a promise made, increasing our trust in that person. But we’ve also experienced the pain of someone breaking a promise made to us.  Maybe we’ve even been on the side responsible for breaking the promise. All of this to say, promises are nothing new to us. In fact, promises go back as far the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 3:15, we see what is called the “protoevangelium” (there’s your 10-point word-of-the-day).  The “protoevangelium” (or First Gospel) is the first promise ever made. What was this promise? Well, it was the promise of God that Jesus would crush the serpent’s head…that Jesus would be victorious over evil.

You see, God has been in the promise-making business for a long time. The Bible is full of God’s promises to his people. One person’s count puts the promises in the Bible at the number of 3573. There are promises of God’s provision, his protection, his deliverance, his judgment, and his love for us. Personally, one of my favorite promises in all of Scripture is found in James 4:8.

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

This is not just a hollow statement or a false comfort. It’s not a hopeful situation where we draw close to God and maybe he’ll show up…when he has the time…or if it’s important enough.  No! This is God’s promise to us that when we draw near to him, he will draw near to us. That gives me hope and assurance that God’s love for me is always there and He is always ready to engage in relationship with me.

Since I gave you the first promise in Scripture, I see it fitting to leave you with the last promise we see in the Bible:

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” 

- Revelation 22:20


In 1995, Dr. Gary Chapman published his very well known theories on what he calls “Love Languages.” He postulates that there are 5 universal love languages that everyone needs to hear, speak, and recognize. They are time, touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and acts of service. He makes it clear that while we all need to hear all 5 languages, we don’t need to hear all 5 from everyone we meet and there is usually one we hear louder than any of the others. I like to go a step further and focus on how we speak these love languages. We tend to speak one better than the others, and it isn’t always the one we hear the best. 

For example, I have a friend who is great at giving gifts but would rather you come spend time with her than anything else. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. No language is better than the other. 

With that said, I challenge everyone to intentionally learn to speak all 5 languages and practice them.




Jesus persistently tells us that Love is incredibly important. In John 13:34 he flat out commands us to love one another. God defines what love is and what it isn’t in Colossians 13. Then just to make sure we got it he repeats Himself in Mark 12:30-31 saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

No greater commandment! Fantastic! Everyone on board? Lets intentionally say I love you and I care about you in as many languages as possible! 




That’s a really easy principal to support. 

Here is the hard part. Say “I love you” to the people that you aren’t already saying it to. The people who don’t look like you, vote like you, act like you, or live where you do. People who have done, will do, or are doing things you never would. People you disagree with. The people whom if you ever tried to utter the words “I love you” to, your tongue would hide behind your clenched teeth and you would have to bolt your feet to the ground to keep them from stomping off. 

The lonely neighbor who talks way to much. I love you. 

The family member you will never impress. I love you. 

The co-worker you would fire if it were up to you. I love you. 

The homeless man you walk by. I love you. 

The server who is clearly having a bad day and it’s starting to affect yours. I love you. 

Notice you don’t have to particularly like these people to love on them. 

Because its not about weather or not you like them. Its about if God likes them. And guess what? He does. So love on them. Because God loves them. And You are his hands and feet in this world.  

If you love Him, you must love them. 

So, because of and in spite of everything they are, go spend a moment with that neighbor. Give that family member a hug. Help your co-worker keep their deadline. Ask that homeless man what his name is. Give a good tip to that server.  

And not just once! And not just twice! 

Continuously, intentionally, relentlessly — just like God loves you. 




I love a new perspective, don’t you? Especially one that gives me a picture I can hold on to and reminds me how amazing our God is. That’s what I found in a sermon by Trevor Barton titled “Itty Bitty Giant”.

Recently I found myself allowing thoughts about situations I was facing overwhelm me. This went on for several days. It’s just crazy how our thoughts can consume us and become instruments of fear in our lives.




Maybe that’s how it was for the army of Israel when Goliath was taunting them daily, several times a day.

I Sam 17: 8-10 says, “Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us. Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.”

Kind of like my thoughts taunting me: “what if this happens?”; “what if it’s that?” or “how will you handle any of it?” and “is there going to be any way you can get it all done?”

And verse 16 says: "For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand."

First thing in the morning and last thing at night—it’s constant and it’s exhausting and after a while others begin to notice.

This is where David enters the picture and hears the giant shouting his “usual defiance”. David’s response is to basically ask, “Who does this guy think he is?”

There is a lot of wisdom and power in letting someone else in on what it is that stirs fear in your heart—the “usual defiance” you hear every morning and every evening and all day long. It’s not always easy to admit our fears, but when we keep them to ourselves they seem to gain power. One sure way to deflate them is to bring them into the open by sharing with a trusted friend —

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

and with God —

I Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”




When we face “giants” it’s easy to remember what we should forget (past failures) and forget what we should remember (God’s faithfulness).

David remembered God’s faithfulness in his life and told King Saul, “don’t worry-God’s got this” (see I Sam 17: 32, 37). 

And then David RAN toward his giant (I Sam 17:48) and defeated him. The thing that enabled David to do this was the way he saw the giant and the way he saw God.

This is the perspective that has been so helpful to me. I knew this, but seeing it this way was just different and fresh and impacting.

David did not take the perspective of fear that looks like this:




David had the perspective of faith that looks like this:




After a few days of dealing with my “giants,” I remembered the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and shared my fears with a friend or two. It’s amazing how quickly that deflated the threat I was feeling. Actually, now, just a few weeks later, I can’t even remember what those giants were.

God has always been faithful to me. I know he always will be. And now I have a great “word picture” to remind me that he is bigger than any giant I will face. He has already faced down and defeated sin and death through his son, Jesus. Just like the Israelites all shared in David’s victory over Goliath, we all share in Jesus’ victory through the cross.

Look out giants, here we come!!


Driving a car is a necessity and privilege that comes with great responsibility. I have vivid memories of getting behind the wheel on the country roads in southern Indiana where I honed my skills as a driver. Similar to most young boys at this stage of life, rules were less of a priority than simply experiencing the freedom and rush of punching the gas and going. Or the laid back “coolness” of cruising. Yeah, back in the 80’s in Scottsburg, Indiana there were two things to do on Friday night: go to the basketball game, then cruise main street. As a young driver, it was a generally safe and conducive environment to further development my driving skills and comfort behind the wheel. I’m so grateful for those days, my parents and my Driver’s Ed instructor who put their life on the line teaching me how to drive. They showed great patience and passed on the necessary knowledge and “rules of the road” to have the best chance for success and safety as a driver.




Driving is a metaphor for life. It can be a great ride but there are a lot of potholes and tricky curves along they way. Some we can see coming, and many we can’t.  Fortunately, we have some clear instructions and wisdom in God’s Word that help us navigate and, if we are smart, we will pay attention.  

“Get wisdom, get understanding, do not forget my words or swerve from them.”  - Proverbs 4:5

Like a young driver, we struggle to “stay in our lane.” We tend to swerve in and out of the path intended for our safety or the limits that are there to preserve order. We forget that we not only jeopardize ourselves but many others as well. Have you ever considered the domino effect of a traffic accident? It’s profound. When we step out of God’s wisdom and guidelines for our life we put ourselves and others a great risk. But when we live within the precepts of God’s Word, we find great freedom and are able to enjoy and be fulfilled in the open road of a life in Christ.




So keep studying the manual. Keep honing your skills and learning from the experiences God allows you to go through.  

“Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”  - Proverbs 4:10-11




After 8 years in ministry, I found myself in a period of transition. It was one of those times when I was waiting to hear from God, and finding a lot of perceived quiet coming from His end. I had left my previous church without knowing what God had for me next. During this time, I had a brief stint working with an irrigation company. Talk about a change in what my days looked like…

We didn’t get into anything too crazy…mostly installing sprinkler systems for apartment complexes and for private residences. My days started earlier than I was used to and sometimes went longer. We were working outside, usually in the full-on summer sun.  The normal was for me to be soaked through with sweat by 11am and downing water like never before. At the end of the day, I was wearing clothes that sweat through at least 2 times (if that's possible), covered in dirt and mud, with sore hands, knees, and back……and I loved it!




Now, even though I would not want that to be my permanent job, I found a kind of joy from doing something different; learning new skills and how to work with different people was a good thing. It was healthy for me to disconnect from a church office setting for those few short months and be around “regular” people. I gained fresh perspective and was reminded of the gifts and talents that God had blessed me with.

Having been back in the ministry and church world for several years now, I have to be honest…sometimes I miss those “Irrigation Days.” Not that I would rather be doing that all day every day — but sometimes I miss the simplicity of “Dig a hole there” or “Connect this pipe to that sprinkler head” or “It’s 4 o’clock…we’re done for the day.”  Sometimes I just want to be told to dig a ditch from here-to-here and then be left alone.  In a lot of aspects, those irrigation days were a lot easier than full-time ministry. You don’t have to think much about digging a ditch or running a pipe. Dirt doesn’t create problems for me to solve. And if it did, I’d just hit it with a pick-ax. You can’t really do that in church. (Although there was that story in the Bible of the woman putting a tent peg through some guy’s skull.)




It’s a gift for me to know that I have the skills and abilities to do work “out in the world”, but I know that my calling is to work for the Church in a ministry capacity. My hope is that through that, I can continue to equip others to serve the Lord through their jobs of doctors, teachers, grocery baggers, construction workers, or whatever else it may be.  What I know to be true and place my hope in is the words of Colossians 3:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive your inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  ~Colossians 3:23-24


If we look forward to all the changes we plan to make during the first month of the new year, then in the second month we often find ourselves looking back at where we’ve fallen short. Even when we know it’s for our own good, it’s hard to change. Most of the goals and resolutions we set for ourselves are for the good; exercise more, save a little, spend more time with family. But change is hard.




Change can also be scary. And nowhere is this more apparent than when the changes in our lives aren’t of our own doing.

At the beginning of 2017, I can remember saying that I felt like God was about to do something major in my life. I felt restless in my spirit. An anticipation for… something.  Change was coming, but I had no idea when, where, or how. So it was only slightly surprising when, during a sermon, I felt God calling me to go back to college. “What?” I thought. Now, I spent seven years just to finish my Masters, working full-time and going to school part-time.  And when I graduated, I was done. That was it. No plans to go for more. So to suddenly have the thought to go back… that I needed to go back… could not have been from my own will.

So I prayed. And I asked others to pray for me. And I came to an understanding with God. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll do my part, but you’ll have to make a way.” Something would have to change to make this plan possible.




That change, coming barely a month later, was my company losing their contract and subsequently me losing my job. “This isn’t the change I meant, God!”

Jeremiah 29:11 says: “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)  This is a scripture that I have etched on the tablet of my heart. Me and God, we’ve done this song and dance before. I find immense comfort in this verse. “I know the plans,” God says. “You don’t have to know them. You just need to trust me and be faithful in what I’ve called you to do.”  God is the master weaver. He sees the whole tapestry. Each of us, the individual threads whose lives twist and turn to carry out God’s beautiful, perfect work. We can’t see the end result of our twisting. But God does.

I know many of you may be going through seasons of strife. Not all changes seem for our good. What good is there in sickness, death, or sorrow? But God’s prosperity transcends our own understanding. God sees into eternity, while we can barely see past today. And the hope He offers is what we are to cling to during those dark times. We don’t have to understand. Only hold to His promises.


“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 

- 2 Thessalonians 3:3 NET

A month or so ago I talked about the storms in life, and how we can find little comfort in common sayings such as “the grass is greener on the other side.” But even still, we should allow God to light our path as Psalm 119:105 states. 

But, as those who are going through what seems like an everlasting storm, they know constant outside encouragement is needed in addition to being attentive to God. So if you are in the middle of what seems like an everlasting storm, with valleys that seem to only get deeper and deeper, take a moment a ponder over this verse above. Two of the most essential qualities we need in getting through any storm are strength and protection, and God not only provides such aspects; He fully embodies them.




Something else I believe that is essential in surviving the storms of life is the ability to see things from a different perspective. A good friend of mine once shared Isaiah 43:19 which says “ ‘Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen. Don’t you recognize it? Yes I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness.’” As things appear to be falling all around us, we also need to look for the opportunities God is putting in front of us. In my blog “Value in the Broken Pieces” I talked about how God uses the brokenness, the shattered pieces of humanity to make himself known. That’s what we need to look for in these storms — the  valuable opportunities that are only made visible when chaos arises. I also want to point out that in the verse from Isaiah, God reveals that not only is He illuminating our paths, but HE IS MAKING OUR PATHS. So, if it’s difficult to comprehend God being omnipotent and knowing where the path is in order to light it, know that he makes the path — through the deserts and wildernesses where we are weakest. He created a way through that He is going to guide us through, one step at a time. All we have to do is trust in Him and look for the opportunities He has placed before us.

As you go about your week, I DARE YOU to try and find those opportunities. Talk to a friend to help keep you focused and open about where you are in this storm, and what possible opportunities God may be revealing to you. And remember “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”


Do you ever hear about someone or read about their life and just think…that dude was crazy!  A recent example of this for me was Felix Baumgartner’s 24-mile skydive jump FROM THE STRATOSPHERE… that’s up in the Ozone Layer!! During this jump, he reached a top speed of 843.6mph. You’re average airliner plane travels at 621mph. He jumped from a helium-filled balloon capsule in an astronaut suit with the sole intent of breaking the world-record for highest free-fall, breaking the sound barrier in free-fall, and highest manned balloon flight. All of that to say… this dude was crazy!




I’ve been reading through the story of Abraham recently, and I must say, Abraham was crazy!  Abraham’s story (or Abram, at the time) starts in Genesis 12. And it doesn’t take long to see the first thing that might make us think Abraham was kinda crazy. In Genesis 12:1, God calls Abram to leave everything he has ever known, everything that he has worked for and acquired, and to follow Him “to the land that I will show you” (emphasis mine). God tells Abram to leave every comfort and security he has to blindly follow God to a place that He will show him. He doesn’t tell him where that place will be, how long it will take to actually get there, or even why.  But the crazy part is in verse 4: “So Abram went…”

Abram went… no questions asked (at least none recorded in Scripture). With only the promise that God had a land in mind for him and that God would make him into a great nation, Abram left it all to follow the call of God. And the craziness isn’t over. If you know anything about Abram and his wife, Sarai, you know that they could not have any children. Now, God promised to make Abram into a great nation by giving him offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky. But it’s kinda hard to see that happening if you can’t have any children.

Eventually, God opens Sarai’s womb (at the age of 90!) and blesses them with a son. And here’s crazy part #2. In Genesis 22, God calls out to Abraham again. And again, he has a crazy request for him: Take your one and only son, the one through whom I promised to make you into a great nation, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Now, I’m no scientist or biologist… but I’m pretty sure sacrificing your only son would make it difficult to expand your family tree. But again, Abraham doesn’t hesitate to follow God’s calling.




Most of us know the rest of the story: Abraham goes to sacrifice his son, God stops it from happening, and God blesses Abraham because of his obedience. But what has always spoken to me from the life of Abraham is his unflinching willingness to be obedient to God. He didn’t follow God’s leading kicking and screaming. He didn’t try to negotiate or make a bargain.  His attitude and response was simply to trust and obey God. So we may look at Abraham and think he was crazy for believing that even though he was heading to kill his only son, God would still come through on his promise to expand his offspring into a great nation. We may say Abraham was crazy for giving up everything he had worked for to follow a blind promise of a better land and future to come.  But when he put obedience to God’s calling ahead of everything else, we see that God comes through on his promises and rewards those who are faithful.

“Don’t worry about how clearly you can see what God’s up to. Just have faith and take the next step.” - Craig Groeschel (Pastor of Life.Church)

What is God nudging, asking, or clearly directing you to do? Let’s be crazy and follow Him.


Singing has always been a part of my life. I was raised a preacher’s daughter, and at age 5, sang my first solo. I married a preacher’s son who also grew up singing in church. We raised two daughters who love to sing. 


It drew our voices closer in harmony and connected us deeper with Jesus’ powerful words of truth. It connected us with each other (of course, not without some family arguments).  In a hospital room, I watched in awe as our premature granddaughter grew stronger and our hopes lifted as we sang over her tiny, helpless body each day. 

So now you get it.  Me and my family love singing.  I’m assuming you love singing, too?  Maybe you prefer the spoken message and wait patiently for the singing to end or grin and bear it because the music style doesn’t match yours?  If this is you, then here are a few thoughts as to why singing really does matter.




God himself sings over us.  “…..He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you in singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17b)

The Apostle Paul commands us to sing. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” (Colossians 3:16). Words of scripture put to repetitive tunes, beats, and rhythms connect our minds, bodies and spirits to God’s Word.  Scientists now understand that our brains are wired to remember music better than words alone. The power of music is seen when Alzheimer’s patients can’t remember the day, time or their closest family members but will remember a song they learned as a child. 




Singing should be an emotional event and should affect us in some way. It is intended to stir our emotions and engage us with God in a way that steers
our words, thoughts, choices, and actions. Of course, this doesn’t happen 100% of the time. I’ve been guilty of singing songs while thinking about what to have for lunch. There have been dark times when my song sings over a feeling of numbness. The good news is that we serve a merciful God who used music in the past and wants to use it again to break through our apathy and hardness of heart. When we pray and ask for Him to have mercy on us during these seasons, He is faithful to answer. When we become vulnerable before Him and tune into His Words of love for us, singing draws us closer to Him. 




It is the gospel that unites us – not the style of music.  I love the people in my church not because of the type of music they listen to but because Jesus’ death enables me to love them. This bond grows even stronger during times of corporate suffering. In Acts 16:25, Paul and Silas were unjustly prisoned for the sake of the Gospel, and what do they do while they’re in prison?

They sing!

There have been similar modern day stories where persecuted, imprisoned Christians responded with singing and were made stronger in their dire circumstances. If it can strengthen them in the face of trials, what can it do for us?  

I hope we all learn to love singing. I pray we will continue singing for God’s glory and for the advancement of the gospel until our time on earth is up and we go where we will sing forever!



If you believe in a higher power at all, then you have probably asked that higher power for something at least once in your life. For Christians, we know this Higher Power is God. He is the Supreme Ruler and Creator of all, and His Intelligent Design set us all into motion. That’s a lot of Power that we have all taken for granted (1 John 5:14). How often do we go to God with mediocre prayers? We ask God to watch over the dog, water the grass, to have a good night sleep, and for it not to rain this weekend so we can go to the lake. I know that God cares about the little things in our lives, but I can’t help but wonder if God yawns when we pray. We pray repetitively, we pray simply, we pray for what we’ve already been given (Matthew 6:7). Sure, we sometimes follow Scripture in our prayers and ask God to protect us, provide for us, mold us, teach us, and use us. But what do we mean exactly? Have we thought about that? Aren’t we still praying it safe? Don’t we really mean: God use me today as long as it is in my comfort zone, in my time frame, and without too much of an inconvenience? To some, we may only pray to the all powerful space daddy when the lottery gets really high — we pray to win! Or when our favorite sports team is playing, we pray for them to end up on top! But to what end? For what purpose? Our own pleasure? Does it truly please God or aid in our purpose for existing? Again, God does care about the things we care about, even if they are insignificant — but is that all we are praying about? Is that all we are living for?




Prayer is not the easiest discipline to develop. We get busy, we’re distracted, we have doubts and grow weary. But even in creating a habit, it is easier to just say the same rehearsed prayers over and over, night after night, and check it off the list rather than tune in to what we are actually saying. I would contend that most of us do not have a consistent prayer life and those that do are high risk for ritualistic praying. This has to be because we lose sight of who God is and what prayer is for! God is our Father, our King, our Savior! Prayer is the communication bridge of our relationship with Him. What if God and I made some plans to fulfill our purpose here? If money weren’t an option, if there were no limits, what would I do for God? What would I build to further His kingdom? What would I need to get there? Who do I need to become to be capable of pulling it off? This is what I should be praying for!


Do you think God gets excited when you pray? Is He pleased by your praise? Is He eager to do what you ask because it is in His Name and for the sake of His kingdom (John 14:13)? I have to wonder — am I praying in a way that will change the world for Jesus’ sake? Am I praying in a way that will change me? If how I live is based on how I pray, am I living too safely, too?




I know that’s a lot of questions packed into a few paragraphs, but I think they are necessary ones. I’m not writing them all out just to challenge you — I am at the front of the line, confronting and questioning myself! Am I where God wants me to be? Am I doing what God created me to do? And is my prayer life guiding that? I don’t want to get to the end of my life, face Jesus, and realize that I did a mediocre job for Him. I don’t want to say: Here I am, Jesus, I survived a long time, I kept my kids alive, I had a decent savings account and we lived moderately according to the American Dream. No, I want to say: Hey Jesus, this was crazy and impossible, but You did it through me and I gave everything for Your sake in faith and hope and love. Amen. 


And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. ~ Matthew 6:7


And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. ~ John 14:13


And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. ~ 1 John 5:14