The Importance of Being a Great Closer

(Today I am recovering from the marathon of the baseball season. I humbly offer this gently read post from the past as the Monday Musing) Because many of you have somehow forgotten to buy my books (Shameless plug) I continue to make my primary living by directing sporting events. I am the faceless guy (actually I have a face, it just isn’t on camera) that selects the camera shots that you see during a televised game. For thirty-three years I have directed Texas Rangers baseball. And all of those seasons have taught me a valuable spiritual lesson from the National Pastime. I have learned how important it is to be a good closer. In baseball parlance the closer is the pitcher who comes into the game in the last inning to protect the lead and finish off the win. It all comes down to the closer. If he does well the collective efforts of eight position players and the pitchers
Continue reading...

Priest doing a sermon


Like Christmas displays in September the political season seems to get earlier and earlier. The conversation between the two parties over the next few months will often be less than gracious. You have to be a trained professional to have that kind of grasp of the obvious. I had to laugh when a forgotten song by Chris Rice cycled up on the iPod today titled “You Don’t Have to Yell”. I tuned in to hear the news I don`t want your point of view if that`s the best that you can do, then something`s missing and experts on whatever side you plug your ears, you scream your lines you claim to have an open mind, but nobody`s listenin` don`t you think we`re smarter than this? How should a follower of Christ engage in the political discourse? Dr. Gregory Boyd has said some controversial things but, in my humble opinion, this is not one of them. “Christians are not to seek
Continue reading...

Football chains

Satan’s Strategy Includes Prevent Defense

If you read more than a snippet of my writings you know that I am a grace guy. But there is a question that confounds me. “If grace based theology as the way to live out the Christian life is true then why is it not more popular in the church?” That is a great question. I have been swept away by grace. Everything in my life has been changed by taking away my performance based faith and believing in Christ’s performance for me. During a recent football telecast I thought about a parallel between one of my least favorite football strategies and this grace conundrum. Perhaps it was an insight from the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it was simply because my brain is not wired to factory specs. But this idea popped in my mind. A lot of football teams play a defense that is called the prevent defense. That style of defense is designed to allow the opponent short yardage gains as
Continue reading...


The Biggest Problem For Christianity Today May Surprise You

I was walking with a co-worker recently who is not a person of faith. The comment from this individual about the treatment of Christianity in the media and culture surprised me. “I wish they would balance out their reporting with some of the good things that Christians do in the world in addition to the hypocritical things.” So do I. But as my sainted Granny used to say “that horse has left the barn”. I thought about that statement later. What caused this person who does not believe to defend Christians? I think it is because this friend has seen me (and other Christians) deal honestly with life through our lens of grace and Jesus. They have watched real people that they have a relationship with represent Jesus through kindness, giving and caring. That is what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it
Continue reading...


We ALL Serve Somebody or Something

Bob Dylan wrote some powerful songs about his faith journey in the late 70’s. One song he composed popped up on the iPod recently. “Gotta Serve Somebody” simply says that no matter how independent, self-sufficient or in control we might try to be we still serve something or somebody. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody That lyric struck a spiritual chord because it reminded me of some seriously head and heart messing stuff I have been reading from Tim Keller. Keller wrote a thought provoking definition of idolatry and how we can substitute even good things for God. “Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.”
Continue reading...

DON'T FORGET! red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

How Quickly We Forget

Recently I have been saddened by the all out sprint to judgement of people and institutions that have made mistakes. It often seems the harshest comments come from people who ought to tap the brakes before they go there. These are folks that have made their own mistakes. Big ones. And they were offered grace and second chances. My initial response was self-righteous indignation because, let’s be honest, I am good at that. Eventually the quiet voice of the Spirit reminds me that I am also that guy who is too often quick to judge. I am that guy who tries to argue with God about forgiveness and whether someone “deserves” mercy. A little snippet from my book Stay addressed this very issue after Paul threw down an incredible statement to the Ephesian church. Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32, NLT) That is a very tall order
Continue reading...


Is Grace Worth It?

Sometimes I just want to step away from ministry. I get tired. And then the song “Lean On Me” cycles up on the iPod. That is not funny Lord. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about being there for others. Life happens, John Lennon famously said, when you are making other plans. Life has been happening to us and many close to us in recent months. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in community with messy people is worth it. I am drawn to the dysfunctional. My heart goes out to the wounded lambs. But I will confess that I struggle with the cost of walking in honest
Continue reading...