With Thanksgiving 

Thanksgiving has always been an incredible holiday experience in my family. Food, family, and fun have always been the norm resulting in a lifetime of memories that have helped shape my values and direct my life. This has given me a thankfulness for my past that is rooted deep in my soul.

I realize that my experience is not the same as everyone else’s. I know how blessed I am. I know that those like me who find the holidays to be refreshing and full of joy have something truly amazing to be thankful for. I try very hard on a daily basis to live in a way that does not take it for granted. This stage of life is showing me on a daily basis what I have to be thankful for right now, today, every day.

Last year Thanksgiving changed. We were at my parents’ farm where I group up. It was early in the morning. We were getting to ready to have breakfast when we got the news. My father in law had passed away early in the morning hours before dawn.We were close. He would frequently supervise me as I tackled projects way beyond my skill set—offering up his expert advice and informed opinions—all smothered in generous helpings of his winsome sarcasm. 

Over the years I had come to love and appreciate our conversations. They were packed with questions. He would quiz me on different passages of scripture and I would share my opinions. We disagreed almost as much as not and I ALWAYS came away learning something even though I was the one being asked the questions. 

His passing hit me hard. He had become a second father to me. Of course I was sad, as most people are when losing someone they care for, but I was reassured by one simple passage of scripture that I have probably heard hundreds, maybe thousands of times.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭100:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A year ago that’s exactly what he did. It was a reminder of the joy that awaits us. In an era of cultural uncertainty it has renewed in me a sense of thankfulness for the future.

From One Mom to Another: You should go on a mission trip . . .

On mission trips there are needs surrounding you at every moment. Needs of the people you are there to minister to. Needs of the missionaries, families, and staff you are in country supporting and assisting. Needs of your own team. It is a great burden and responsibility. It also a wonderful opportunity to experience incomprehensible joy. Much like motherhood.

Mom, won’t you join us for a few funny (and genuine) reasons why you should spend time in the mission field and on short term mission trips. So here we go…

5. The newborn phase already taught you how to survive without a shower.

4. You automatically count the number of your people who are on the bus/car/truck/motorcycle.

3. You don’t whine much because no one at home is listening anyway.

2. You’re used to carrying your body weight in diaper bags, toys, equipment, and children.

1. You’re an amazingly efficient packer when packing for four people, there’s no telling how efficient you could be only packing for one.

Truthfully, consider these:

5. You’re family will survive without you. They need the chance to take over some of your responsibilities.

4. You have been inherently gifted to give your heart to those around you in the way God specifically created a woman to love. You have been given little blessings on whom to perpetually practice this skill.

3. Being a mom has uniquely sharpened your ability for your heart to break without your Spirit breaking. Being resilient is a God given trait. I’m pretty sure it appears in the dictionary with mother.

2. Because of your experience, an experience resulting in a practical and powerful faith, you will be able to minister to other wives and moms in ways single ladies or men will never know.

1. We can’t JUST tell our kids that Jesus said Go into all the World and preach the Gospel……

Moms have a lot of GREAT reasons not to go. We have a great calling here in our homes and jobs, but that does not cancel our other callings. My children NEED me but they need Jesus MORE. And they also need to understand there are kids and moms around the globe who need Jesus even more than my kids need me.

In a few short days, You can invest in and make an eternal impact on families in a far away place. Then with renewed vision, strength, and perspective you fly home and continue to invest in your family.

SERIOUSLY! Prayerfully consider joining us for a trip soon. From one mom to another, I can’t wait to go again.

Love: More or Less

The cashier looks at us and says the words everyone hopes to hear standing in the checkout line. “I’ll take the next in line over here” as she opens a new lane.

A man and his wife cut in front of our family at the grocery store. I’m holding my six month old son, he’s crying, having exhausted all patience for this place. My oldest son is bouncing from rack to rack begging for candy. My wife has had a LONG week. Sick kids, crazy work stress, the pressures of ministry. How do we react?

Love. But it doesn’t feel very lovely. In fact I have a rare talent for opening my mouth at all of the wrong times. And this is one of those times when I absolutely want to. But I don’t. Truthfully it won’t hurt us to wait a couple of more minutes—and I don’t know what is going on with this young couple that they feel the need to rush in front of a dozen or so other people. 

Now, don’t confuse love in this situation with quiet, or passiveness. In fact, never confuse love with quiet or passiveness. Sometimes loving someone means making A LOT of noise and getting right in their face to tell them the hard thing they need to hear. 

I work with people. Most of us do. I see people, talk to people, and help people daily. If I don’t love them how can I fulfill what I believe to be my life’s purpose? Really that’s what this idea boils down to for me. 

Every day, in every situation, we have a choice to make regarding each person we interact with. We can choose to love them more, or love them less. 

Loving them more could mean extending grace, holding back judgement, and offering goodwill, but it could also mean correction or confrontation. We have to decide that. You know, like that famous Disney cricket from the 20th century said, “Let your conscience be your guide.”

What does it mean to love people less? Well, don’t we see the fruits of this on a regular basis? War and violence, disrespect and discord. 

In the absence of love there will be the presence of something. Some emotion. Some thoughts or feelings. I choose to fill my heart and thoughts with love toward others. I don’t always get it right. But I’m aiming to love more, not less.

What about you? It’s not a one time sweeping decision. It’s an every day—every interaction—kind of decision. Choose. Because you can. Choose to love more, not less.

Thanks for reading,


Parent Stuff: The Weight of Grace

In 2011 I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the Arkansas State Capitol at the invitation of then Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr. My responsibility that day was to open the afternoon session of the 88th Assembly of the Arkansas State Senate in prayer. I had thought long and hard about the words I would pray over those important lawmakers. Here is an excerpt from the prayer I prayed that day.

“God, my fervent hope today is that you would help them to continue to hear—not just the voice of their constituents, but your voice as well. God grant them the wisdom to make sound decisions and the discernment to understand the far-reaching implications of those decisions.”

I don’t remember what was on the docket for the day. But I know that each man and woman in that chamber was responsible for representing a body of people they had chosen to serve. Their actions—no matter how small, or even seemingly insignificant, carried weight. What they discussed, conclusions reached, votes cast. It all mattered. It all made a difference. The molding of the law was akin to working the clay of civilized society.

What about you?
In your world you may be the lawmaker. You may be making the rules of the house. You might be passing down mandates and dictating decisions that shape the days, months, or years to come. If you’re a parent or guardian of a child you better believe this is true.

Your every decision, reaction, omission, and word have weight. The things you do will echo in the future of your child. The things you don’t do will echo just as loudly! The point I’m trying to make is that you have a responsibility. It is holy. It is God-given. It is authority. It is blessed. It is vital.

The implications of your every action are so important. I wish I could say I always get it right. I love my boys so much. But not an hour ago I was sending my three-year-old off to bed with a much harsher tone than was probably necessary. 

Parents, do you feel the weight of the life you hold in your hands? I hope so. Does it keep you up at night sometimes? I hope so. I think it should.

Now. Stop holding your breath. Unclench a little bit. Relax. Breathe deep. After all, you’re not perfect. Yes, your every action and inaction as a parent matters. But you’re never going to get it all right. But guess what? It’s alright. After all, who better to guide you through your imperfectness as a parent than the perfect parent?

Ask God to help. Go ahead. Ask him right now, I’ll wait.

Now, doesn’t that feel a little bit better. Ok,maybe it doesn’t yet. But long before you became responsible for guiding this little human being through the obstacle course of life God set your memories into motion. The first steps, the first fight, the crying, joy, gladness, serenity, and taxing anxiety of parenthood…God has already experienced all of it, for everyone, ever. Whoa!

He’s right there in the middle of your mess waiting for you to ask him to make it better. I love my boys “to the moon and back again” as one of our favorite bedtime stories goes, but I’m so far short of the perfect parent.

Thank God I’ve got God. He’s in the mix. He’s helping in the moments when I want to duct tape my son to his bed and scream at the wall. He’s there rejoicing when I get it right! He’s there when my heart hurts over a poor decision I have made. After all, there’s grace for that.

Yes, there are far reaching implications for your every action but God’s actions can reach farther than yours. There is a weight to grace.

You Can’t Fly a Watermelon

Watermelon Rocket

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon. Its rind is not resistant to exiting and entering the atmosphere. It has no fuselage. No fuel. No propulsion. It was not designed to fly to the moon. That’s not even rocket science!

Nothing works right unless it conforms to the realities of its intended trajectory, or path. This is shaped by both external circumstances and intended purpose. In simpler terms that means something won’t be very good at doing a thing it wasn’t meant to do. A rocket flies because engineers account for aerodynamics and gravity. It was designed to meet the specifications needed to navigate external circumstances in order to reach an intended purpose along a planned trajectory. That is rocket science!

God designed you with a purpose in mind. You were built to fulfill his mission in this present reality. Until your life begins to match that purpose—until your desires, thoughts, and actions pursue His purpose—you will be out of sync with his path for you. Until you begin to do the thing you were meant to do everything else will seem underwhelming, unfulfilling, and incomplete.

What’s your trajectory? What’s your course? That is the path he has laid before you. That’s the destiny he wants to rocket you toward.

Have you known all along and been to afraid to engage? Don’t be afraid. Stop. Turn around. Run toward that burning fire in your bones. God put it there. It’s rocket fuel. His Spirit is alive in you pushing you past the point of your fears into the providential place of his purpose and plan.

Have you been inadvertently bouncing around like a pinball? Tilt the table. Lean into God. Ask for his help. Seek him. Say it out loud. Get a little mad about it and tell him how you feel. He knows already. Reject the apathy and confusion that you may have had. Go to the God who has the unmatched perspective. If you’re stuck let God get you out. He will send you right back on track.

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon, but you can enjoy the sweet refreshing fruit inside. You can enjoy it’s intended purpose, but only by asserting an external force to reach the delicious fruit inside.

God is the architect of physics. He is the engineer of the principles that actually go into real rocket science. He is also the designator of your design. He planned you. He purposed you. He willed you.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was freaking out over the calamity and depravity the Jewish people were going through. Stuff they had brought on themselves through generations of neglecting their purpose. Here is what Jeremiah heard from God…

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD ’s Decree. ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:10-13 ‭MSG‬‬

You get that? God decreed it. His plan for you comes from the same vocabulary as “let there be light” and “it is finished”.

God said it. God did it. His plan. His purpose. Your path.


I marveled at the near midnight colors of the clouds cutting across the wing on my side of our Boeing jet as we made our decent into Peru just a few short hours ago. Blues, greys, and intermittent flashes of red, orange, green, and white played across my narrow field of vision—and then it happened.
We broke the cloud line.

The mist-filled murkiness of our midnight approach into South American peeled away into a crystal clear visage of a sea of lights. Lima loomed below. Beautiful and beckoning at the end of an approximated 2,900 miles of flying.

We were here. Peru. Adventure and opportunity await. Prayer and planning have refined and pointed us toward our purpose. Let’s do this!

He Knows Jesus

I just found out that my friend Nick​ passed away last night. Already I can see the impact it’s having on people. The droves posting their condolences and “I’ll miss you’s” on his facebook page. Nick and I had the opportunity to visit for several hours in my living room just a few short weeks ago. We had gathered with a small group of people to talk about the desire to know God better. A desire he definitely had. We also talked about his amazing friends (whom he was super quick to brag on). Nick knew Jesus. He didn’t understand all of the religious does and don’ts and he wasn’t interested in them. He knew Jesus. He captured this video a few months ago while at a Korn concert. In a lot of ways it reflects his story. And now it reflects his future. He knows Jesus.