just once i want to play my usual game

I was playing golf the week after Christmas; I hadn’t played in two months.  It was brisk, to the say the least, when we started.  But I was hopeful. I’m always hopeful on the first tee.  The slate is clean.  Everything in front of me is an opportunity.  As a friend said to me years ago about golf, “Just once I would like to shoot my usual game.”  Get it?  I find that I live on the verge of being a decent golfer.  I show flashes of accomplishment.  I look… Continue reading just once i want to play my usual game

who did he come for?

  I don’t like to be needy.   I want to be humble, but also noticed and respected.  I have been in Christian “leadership” for forty years, and I have been privileged to start and serve at the Barnabas Center.  I have taught Sunday school, led countless Bible studies and small groups, and served as an elder and pastor in the church.  And despite all of that service to the needs of others, I still hate feeling needy myself. So what does neediness have to do with Christmas? This is the… Continue reading who did he come for?

savor the present

  I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to manage time.  I was an early convert to Daytimers.  I drank from the Steven Covey fountain.  I wanted to be more efficient and more effective.  I knew the saying that “each of us has all the time there is,” and I wanted to use every minute as wisely as I could. In my early years, I thought there would be no limit to how much I could do, as long as I kept increasing my efficiency.  There was no… Continue reading savor the present

redemptive consequences of suffering

  I want to be a prosperity gospel kind of guy.  You know what I mean?  I want to believe in a gospel that produces prosperity for me as long as I am obedient.  I like the idea that my efforts can control my circumstances.  I used to like the idea that I would be blessed based on my level of righteousness (until I began to see a heart that was darker than I could have imagined!). And I also want to be the one that determines what prosperity is.… Continue reading redemptive consequences of suffering

Living Like I Am Loved by God

  Have you heard of the Enneagram?  It is an old personality test.  There are nine personality types with great descriptions of both their strengths and weaknesses.  The books describe how one is affected by stress and relates with other Enneagram types and does a good job of suggesting the hidden motivations of the different types. According to the tests, I am a 3–an Achiever.  That wasn’t a surprise to me.  I have always been driven to accomplish things.  I make lists, plans, etc.  The Achiever gets things done.  Some… Continue reading Living Like I Am Loved by God

A New Year

  A New Year – is it really?  My circumstances haven’t changed since yesterday.  My heart and mood and character feel the same.  The fear of reentry and reengaging with my world on January 2nd reminds me of years past.  What is new about it? On the other hand, I do find myself smiling a bit when the words come up in conversation.  There is something potentially fresh and different as we take down one calendar and put up another.  The Christmas season brings a culminating sense of finality to… Continue reading A New Year

Going Home for Christmas

This last week I found myself answering that familiar question this way: “Lynne, Kathryn, and I went home to Richmond for Thanksgiving.”  We went home. “Home” is an interesting word to use for a place that I lived almost a half century ago.  But it is where I grew up.  My three siblings, many of their kids and grandkids, and my mom all live there.   I have lived in Charlotte for forty years, yet when I go to Richmond, it is so familiar.  I bump into old friends, feel… Continue reading Going Home for Christmas

Life is a Gift

Life is a gift.  That is the topic I was given to write about.  Life is a gift.  Even though it is true, I am not so sure I like that idea. Something in me would rather earn it.  I prefer to think that there is a plan that if followed properly – diligently, with great effort and even great wisdom – then it would produce “life”.  If “gifting” is the required procedure to be followed in order to acquire “life”, then I am dependent upon someone or something.  I… Continue reading Life is a Gift

Relational Courage

There are many conversations that I am afraid to have with a wide variety of people, for various reasons.  Some of the people are more important than others.  Some of the issues are bigger than others.  But my reluctance can show up in almost any instance… Most often, I am afraid that the relational tension that might result is not worth the potential benefit.  Asking someone for a favor.  Requesting something that requires more of you than I think you want to give, or even are able to give.  Expressing… Continue reading Relational Courage

Life & Death are in the Power of the Tongue

Words really matter.  They don’t go away… especially the ones we wish would disappear, the ones we wish we could take back. Those don’t go away. Surely it has happened to you.  You are in a fight with someone you care about – like your spouse or your child.  You feel really frustrated or pushed into a corner and then out it comes.  The dagger, the sword, the bullet that pierces their heart.  And years later, the pain remains.  Occasionally, it comes up again.  They remind you.  Or you want… Continue reading Life & Death are in the Power of the Tongue