If I Care at All, I Can't Look Away.

If I Care at All, I Can't Look Away.

As I write this, nearly 300 children are on our campus, playing games, climbing rock walls and learning that God loves them. It's what any child should be doing this summer. But it's not the reality for too many children - in our world, and right here at home.

I'm talking about human trafficking.

In the state of Indiana (my home state) last year the youngest reported victim of human sex trafficking was 7 years old. 7 years old. My eyes involuntarily close when I type that. My heart breaks. I want to turn away from my own writing like I've done too many times when the image of a starving child appears on my TV screen. But I can't look away

27 million people are estimated to be trafficked worldwide, producing $150 billion (U.S. Department of State). And it turns out the Midwest - the Crossroads of America - is a hotbed for this ghastly crime and victimization. I can't look away.

Last week I attended a community information meeting...

Read More

Care is Intentional

Care is Intentional

What if you could learn...

  • how to listen - not only to words, but to someone's heart?
  • how to leverage your own brokenness in order to step with love into the brokenness of someone else?
  • to journey with someone whose shame is binding, confusing and masking their true identity?
  • to avoid some of the ridiculous...
Read More

What's So Good about the Dark?

What's So Good about the Dark?

The writer of Hebrews penned a passage that long ago became known as the “faith chapter” or the “hall of faith.” Chapter 11 begins this way: 

Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, the evidence of things not seen.

Put another way: Faith is the “sureness” of what we hope for…to be certain of things we cannot see. 

This verse seems to paint a picture of what it is to walk in the dark. Faith isn’t required in the light of day, when all is visible. Those “things we cannot see” are not merely out of sight, but rather...

Read More

One Agenda. Only One.

One Agenda. Only One.

It’s curious to me how many end goals, expected outcomes… or agendas we attach to caring for someone. 

With sincere hearts we create agendas from a sense of obligation, responsibility… even calling. We mean well. We feel an obligation to be helpful. We feel responsible to lead people to hope. We feel called to rescue and deliver. But too often our agendas for an expected outcome get in the way of what we’re actually trying to do

Read More

Made in the Image of LOVE

Made in the Image of LOVE

I often feel like I’m supposed to have the spiritual stuff of life all figured out. I think I mostly feel that expectation from other people; after all, I am a clergy-card-carrying pastor. That doesn’t mean every person expects this of me. I do plenty of projecting onto unsuspecting, even anonymous, people, assuming I know what they’re thinking. Turns out, what I do have figured out is that I’m still a work in process. But I digress. 

I don’t have all the “spiritual” stuff figured out.

  • Like, the problem of evil. Why?
  • God’s take on the notion of “original sin.”
  • Why God heals some people and not others. Or does he?
  • Why God protects some people from certain death in the face of danger and allows others to die. Or does he?
  • What it means to be made in God’s image. 

God’s image. There’s a “spiritual stuff” question. You and I…created in God’s image. Really? Just what might that mean? There are many explanations about what it means to be image-bearers of almighty God. Among those explanations are the following…

    Read More

    I Don't Want to Stay Where I Am

    I Don't Want to Stay Where I Am

    This past week was a staycation during "spring" break. You know what I mean. Don’t spend the money you would on a trip away. Lay low. Sleep in. Get projects done around the yard and house. Watch more TV and movies. Drink more. Coffee.

    I did lay low. I didn’t sleep in – at all. I got some chores done, but no projects to speak of. Yes, The Voice is headed into final competition and Designated Survivor still has Keifer Sutherland in the Oval Office. So, I enjoyed my normal TV viewing with my wife, Laura (and relished lunch with her nearly every day). And I absolutely drank more coffee. More coffee in various coffee shops, not just a cup at home. I tried new flavors in new places with the same special people in my life.

    But the week wasn’t about being lazy while taking in abundant portions of caffeine.

    I’ve read...

    Read More

    The Lens of Awareness

    The Lens of Awareness

    My wife, Laura, and I shared breakfast at "our" Starbucks this past Friday just before I headed for the airport. As I kissed her goodbye, I looked into her stunning eyes and reminded her: "I'm so thankful you're here...that you are alive." She responded with the same heart-felt expression of gratitude about me. 

    And we both knew exactly the journey that led to this depth of thankfulness we share...

    Read More

    Right Where You Are.

    Right Where You Are.

    A common mantra in the Church about God’s love goes like this: “God loves you right where you are, but too much to leave you there.” I’ve said it too. It’s true. 

    Sometimes I wonder if our mantra risks communicating an unwillingness to love people right where they are. 

    I talk to others a lot about accepting people right where they are. It’s at the core of the guest services training I do with churches and organizations. It’s what I teach. And yet, I’m embarrassed that I am still learning...

    Read More

    I Kept Living

    I Kept Living

    This is my view everyday at my office. It has been for years. The picture of my wife, Laura, and our daughter, Olivia, on the right was taken 20 years ago at our home in Tacoma, WA.

    I'm not pictured with them, because I was an hour away in Seattle, trying to gain the courage to fight for my life. I'd gotten to the edge of despair enough times for several months prior that...

    Read More

    Broken

    Broken

    I admit it: I am broken.

    There was a day I wore my brokenness as a badge. Right below a larger badge that boasted I was aware and in touch with my brokenness. Both of those badges were worn on a coat of "I've dealt with my crap" self-righteousness. I was so proud of my humble condition. Which only further compounded my brokenness.

    Eventually, I shed my coat of self-righteousness along with the badges that announced my prideful humility. I put on a different coat. A "normal" coat. An "I'm ok" coat. There were initiatives to lead, objectives to accomplish and, quite frankly, people to impress. More symptoms...

    Read More