Throwback Sundays…Heartless Worship

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Amos 5:21-24

It was almost a year ago that I remember actually hearing that passage for the first time. God messed with my head that March 4th in Nashville when Paul Briney, who I am now honored to call a friend, shared that passage of Scripture. That was the spark that lit the fire that eventually took me away from Appleton and brought me to Nashville.

You can read the rest of the post here. Love looking back on memories like this one. :)

The Twenty #8 – My Prayer for my Children

My prayer for my (future) child is really my prayer for every person on this earth. Maybe that sounds strange or not special enough. But if God chooses to bless me with children someday I recognize that they will not be mine, they are just entrusted to my care for a short time. We are all His children. And because of that my prayer for all of us is the same.

I pray you know and feel just how much our great God loves you, that you root your identity in who you are as a loved child of God redeemed by grace. And you live in the freedom that comes through that.

I pray you have enough pain to keep you humble. Yes, I said I pray you have pain. I can promise you will have pain and heartache and disappointment and suffering. I can promise that because Jesus promised that for each of us. But may God give you peace in the truth that in our weakness He is glorifies.

I pray you also have success through which God’s glory shines. May you be bold and courageous enough to live in the place of God margin. The place where miracles happen. Where dreams are big and ideas are crazy. And you have friends who encourage you and will even dream big with you. The place where God’s power and faithfulness comes to life.

May God bless you with community that holds you accountable and encourages you. And that loves you just as you are. But also loves you so much they don’t let you stay where you are. Know that those people will not be perfect. That they will let you down. But be courageous enough to risk vulnerability because in the end that is what strengthens community.

I pray God gives you compassion and breaks your heart for His people. May you know that whatever your gifts and skill set is you can do “ministry.” You are uniquely gifted to serve the Kingdom. Embrace that.

And when all is said and done, I pray that you know that it really is as simple as loving God and loving others. And that you live that out. Love hard and love well knowing it will be messy and painful at times but that it’s worth it.

This is the eighth post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.

Squashing Creativity and Lots of Questions

When I was a child I had big dreams. I created with abandon. I didn’t care what people thought. Somewhere along the way I learned that creating & dreaming meant risk and that risk was bad. And that everyone would simply laugh at me if I failed. And they encouraged me to just do what was safe. And so I did.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard a musing similar to that in the last couple of months. It makes me kinda sad. I think it’s great that we’re aware of our society’s tendency to kill creativity and that we want to try to change that that future generations. But how?

How do we stop from simply reacting to that process and instead proactively change the process? Prevent the squashing of creativity before it happens. Can we have streamlined organizations that run efficiently and value individual creativity at the same time? Should efficiency even be something we strive for? Do organizations need to be smaller in order to accomplish this? How many generations will it take to make the change?

Clearly I have more questions that I have answers at this point. But I’d love to hear your thoughts because it seems this whole idea of creativity being squashed is a recurring theme. And I think there’s probably a reason for that.

The Twenty #7 – What the Kingdom of God Really Looks Like

The Kingdom of God. We throw that phrase around a lot but I often wonder if we know what it means. And I’ll be honest, tackling this topic is daunting.

I had a professor in college who made us memorize this definition: the Kingdom of God is God’s rule in the hearts of His people. I think that definition fails to capture the majesty of the Kingdom. Even now I struggle to find words that seem fitting to describe what it really looks like.

It is powerful and grand yet also found in the beauty of simplicity.
It is the intricate web spun by a spider.
And the tallest building constructed by men.
It is the sound of a thousand voices joined in worship.
And the barely audible rustling of leaves in a calm breeze.
I see the Kingdom of God in the mountains.
I see it in the center of the city.
In the eyes of strangers and the smiles of friends.
I hear it in the laughter of children and love freely given.

Quite simply: the Kingdom of God is His presence. It is a Holy God choosing to dwell in the hearts and lives of unholy people. It is love. It is grace. It is relationship. That’s where it starts and that’s where it ends. In between is the Church.

This is the seventh post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.


I can do nothing to enhance the Word of God. I can only tremble at the expanse of vision that the Word of God led me to during my work on this project. This vision is a luminal space that, in recent times, imagination has rarely approached. We are invited by our Creator to enter that space, an invitation which is extended to anyone desiring to journey there. – Makoto Fujimara

“Enhance.” We throw that word around a lot in churches today it seems. Makoto put words to my thoughts on the word and I think this quote is beautiful. It is from the introduction of Makoto’s The Four Holy Gospels. It is the Scripture of the Four Gospels illuminated by Fujimara’s paintings. It’s quite a sight to behold.

Throwback Sundays…Needs No Words

My heart has been breaking for all of Asia over the last three months. Breaking in ways that are bigger than me…beyond my control.

This little boy’s face has been at the forefront of my mind since I met him in Memphis this last July. I believe he is from Burma.

Today, my heart is breaking for him.

You can read my first post about this little boy here.