Three Questions Every Graduate (and the rest of us) Should Ask


If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem and my life depended on it, 

I’d spend the first 55 minutes determining the right question to ask.


Dear graduate, Congratulations! After years of hard work (or hardly working for some of you!), you’ve made it!

As great as this moment might be, I bet there is already a question working its way from the back of your mind to the front of your not yet fully developed prefrontal cortex – a question that is beginning to nag at you – and I bet that question is this: NOW WHAT?

How do I know this?  Because it’s the one question you, and every other graduate, will likely ask for the rest of your life!  As one achievement or accomplishment (or sadly, one loss or failure) ends you’re likely to begin the next chapter in life by asking, Now what? Continue reading

REPOST // 3 Ways Christians Can Graduate from Attending Church


“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” – James 1:22

It’s that time of year where high school seniors, and eager 20 somethings don their caps and gowns and march down the aisles toward a graduation ceremony that will conclude, in one fashion or another, with these words: “We’ve prepared you well, now get out there and do something!”

This seems appropriate, doesn’t it – that after spending 12 years in high school, and then perhaps another few years in college that those graduating would receive the commission to DO something with what they have learned?

Here’s the thing though, I rarely remember hearing these words from those standing before me in my childhood church.  They were, and many of them still are, good people to be sure, but there was never that turning point in my spiritual development where an older, more mature, Christian stood before me and said…Go! or Do!

It would seem that many of our churches are still full of such people who are stuck in a form of Christianity that leaves people stuck in their seats. Continue reading

Hillbillies, Saints, and the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions

“I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments,
as transformation is harder than a moment.”
JD Vance, Hillbilly Elegy
“There is no such thing as not worshipping.
Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”
David Foster Wallace
“New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies:
They’re fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain.”


I hate making resolutions.

Yet, for the longest time, I made them anyway.  I bet like you, I resolved to get organized, be more financially responsible, get fit, and other things I’ve tried to forget.  I made them year after year, and year after year I mostly failed at them! Continue reading

Twas the Long, Dark Night Before Christmas // A Devotional for the Fourth Week of Advent, 2016


“Because of the tender mercy of our God,

by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven

to shine on those living in darkness

and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

— Luke 1:78-79

Mary and Joseph walked for days and miles from their home in Nazareth to the town of Bethlehem.

They walked for 70-90 miles and for 4-7 days depending on who you ask.

Why?  Well, Luke tells us it was because the Emperor told them to.


One of our favorite traditions is to put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It’s a tree that has been in my family for THIRTY YEARS and the ornaments span from the childhoods of my wife’s and mine all the way up to our own children’s ornaments.  All that to say that putting the tree up means something to us.  It’s an event chocked full of tradition and memories and each year we attempt to create an experience worthy of such an occasion! Continue reading

Dylan’s Advent // The Times They Are A Changin’


Advent is a time of sitting and waiting, but also for anticipation and preparation.

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that our preparation for the coming of God’s great gift is about preparing ourselves, and the world around us, for the change that will take place before our very eyes.  To some, this change will be redemptive – and for others, condemnation.

A prophetic singer-songwriter in our own era heralded similar words.  Bob Dylan, though his singing ability is questionable, has often been spot on with his message:

For the loser now / Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’…

The line it is drawn / And the curse it is cast

The slow one now / Will later be fast

As the present now / Will later be past

The order is / Rapidly fading’ / And the first one now / Will later be last

For the times they are a-changin’

One can undoubtedly hear echoes of the Gospel in nearly every line of Dylan’s prophetic tale.  What we often miss, however, is that the heart of the Gospel is beating to the rhythm of Israel’s ancient prophets – especially Isaiah.  What John prepares the people for (remember, Isaiah 40?) is the coming fulfillment of God’s desire for justice.  The Gospels, then, illustrate in various ways how this will come about, but this one thing is clear:

Some will benefit from this coming justice more than others. Continue reading

How (Will This Be)? // A Devotional for the Third Week of Advent, 2016


I love Christmas!

I love the trees, the lights, the presents.  I love the all the variety of nativity scenes, carols about the coming of Christ, and the profound attempts to discover joy this time of year.

I need you to know that before you read what comes next.

But (you knew it was coming didn’t you?) I’m afraid we’re missing quite a bit of what’s going on this time of year in the original Christmas Story.

One of the things our modern version of the “Christmas Story” misses out on is the uncertainty of the whole enterprise. Continue reading

Waiting on God // A Devotional for the Second Week of Advent, 2016


3 Things You Can Do While Waiting on God

Kids are so impatient!  Well, at least mine are.

Maybe yours have learned from an early age to sit quietly and wait with hands folded for a response from you – never interrupting conversations between you and another or pulling on your sleeve while you’re responding to a text.

Not only are they impatient, but they are also insistent I acknowledge every time they ask a question or tell me something.  Dad, she won’t leave me alone.  Dad, did you hear me?  Dad, did you hear me?  Dad. Dad. DAD! Continue reading

An Unexpected Gift // A Devotional for the 1st week of Advent, 2016


Have you ever gotten a Christmas gift that you didn’t necessarily expect? Or maybe one you didn’t even appreciate?

Socks & Underwear, anyone?

I could tell you about the times this has happened to me, but my family might be reading this!  So, instead I’ll tell you about a time it happened to one of my family member! Continue reading

REPOST Advent: Week 1 // Sitting & Waiting


The bus driver called for the police. She did not move, but instead sat and waited. She did not invoke violence, neither in word nor in deed. Instead, she sat and she waited – sixty years ago on this very day.

Rosa Parks would not have to sit and wait for long, though; the police were on their way. When they arrived, they arrested her and took her to prison – not for sitting in the “white” section of the bus as some have mistakenly supposed – she was not a lawbreaker after all. No, the arrest was made because she refused to move back even further than required by law after the white’s only section of the bus became so full that white passengers were forced to stand. At this point, the bus driver came to the first row in the back section reserved for “colored” passengers and demanded that Parks, and three others, move back. The others moved. Rosa Parks sat and waited.  Continue reading

A Song for Those who Hurt // Soundtrack Part 3

This is part of a series where I hope to join two of my life long loves together: the music I listen to, and the Scriptures I read – in a series I’m calling Soundtrack, because each piece will explore the music that has often marked the various chapters in my life with the soundtrack of Scripture, the Psalms.


I can’t believe the news today
Oh, I can’t close my eyes
And make it go away
How long
How long must we sing this song
How long, how long
‘Cause tonight, we can be as one

“Sunday, Bloody Sunday” (on U2’s album, War. 1983, Island Records.)

Orlando, FL.  It’s now another another short handed addition to a long list of cities we associate with tragedy.  Other cities are, of course on the list: Newton, CT; Aurora, CO; San Bernardino, CA.  The mere mention of the city reminds us of the not distant enough, and all too often occurrence of tragedy brought about by other human beings.

We wake too often to the tragic (and sometimes mass) loss of life. Continue reading