the humility of the garden

I am no gardener. Whether it’s because I lack the skill, the bandwidth, or the desire, I just can’t seem to care enough to tend to the earth around me with much beyond a hearty fern or a couple bails of pine straw. But I find it beautiful. I am enamored by my best’s friend’s knack for growing vegetables in abundance and moonflowers that audaciously bloom when the sun goes down. I am drawn to my mother’s daily rhythms in her garden as she sees how things could be better,… Continue reading the humility of the garden

how big is your Jesus?

What is the solution to division in the church? I know you have experienced it, too.  There are so many things we can’t talk about.  When they come up, we tighten up inside.  Will it get ugly?  Do I say anything?  And while I hate the things that I feel, the frustration and the judgmentalism, I still can’t believe that “they” are that stupid!  Then I feel judgmental and arrogant, but that is quickly overcome with fear and uncertainty, anxiety and even some sense of desperation. Vaccines, race, politics, masks.… Continue reading how big is your Jesus?

the gift of responsibility

I’ve been thinking about trading in my car. I’d like something roomier, where I sit up a little higher. So I made a short list and imagined myself in those vehicles, riding down the road with a taller perspective. Yes, I would like that, I think. But then, on my mental drive, I pull into an imaginary gas station and realize, Wow, it costs $68 dollars to fill up one of these big vehicles! Hmmm…. that’s a lot. Maybe, I don’t want that after all. So I revise my search.… Continue reading the gift of responsibility

the new future

Yasser Youssef is the president of The Budd Group, one of the leading facility service companies in the country, a North Carolina-based company that provides facility support services in the Southeast. Throughout his career, Youssef has met leaders from all backgrounds, and believes leadership is for everyone. Over the past few years, he has developed an affinity for writing and contributing thought leadership, and is often asked to speak to businesses throughout the country about authentic leadership. Want to continue the conversation? Subscribe to Yasser Youssef’s blog or contact him… Continue reading the new future

A New Year and Another New Beginning

This article originally appeared on  We are grateful to the author for his permission to reprint it. A New Year and Another New Beginning by Stephen W. Smith   A New Year means a new beginning! We get many opportunities to get things right in life. The timeless truth of the ancient image of the potter at work on the wheel reveals an all important truth for us! The potter’s wheel turns many, many times giving the potter time after time to get the pot right. We never just… Continue reading A New Year and Another New Beginning

Sitting in the Ashes

  It was not where I wanted to be. I was waiting in a doctor’s office to talk about my mental health. It felt like an easy cop out. And then again it felt like the hardest, most shame-filled thing. But it had been years of feeling this way. Not a constant, but really what has felt like a roller coaster of emotions. Feeling like I am a failure, feeling incapacitated by my fear of other people’s opinions towards me. But wait. I’m a Christian? I’m not supposed to have… Continue reading Sitting in the Ashes

Grace for the Worst in Me: A Fellow Reflects On Her Experience at The Barnabas Center

. Note: This post was written by Ashton Songer, Charlotte Fellow class of 2014. Ashton is an amazing freelance photographer and Pure Barre instructor living in Atlanta, GA with her husband Thomas.  Reposted with permission. Beauty and the Bitch: Grace for the Worst in Me—oh yes, that was the eye-catching title of the book my counselor recommended to me during my time at the Barnabas Center. And it’s a book I want and need to read again and again. The title alone pretty much sums up a massive chunk of my experience… Continue reading Grace for the Worst in Me: A Fellow Reflects On Her Experience at The Barnabas Center