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Finally Confident In Where I Am

I had some social media fun with the picture above helpfully proclaiming “YOU ARE HERE”. As if I could be anywhere else while I was, well, there. But as you probably already suspect that picture produced some musing that begat today’s blog. For years I wandered spiritually wondering where I was on my journey. Was I going to Heaven? Was I a good, bad, or indifferent Christian? Was I loved? Was I significant? The question of where I was as a follower of Christ and who I was as a person consumed and confused me. The always present Enemy answered the questions above on a regular basis. Likely not going to Heaven. Definitely a bad Christian. Not really loved by God or bad things wouldn’t happen to you. Totally insignificant. The following is a little excerpt on this topic from my latest book Waking Up Slowly. For too many years I believed the accusations, without considering the question that Philip
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I was blown away the first time I heard Lauren Daigle’s song “You Say”. The lyrics perfectly describe the battle that most of us fight to believe that what God says about us is true. Here is a sample of her powerful lyrics. I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low? Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know… I wrote about this topic in my book Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. I am drawn to wounded and dysfunctional people like a moth to light. When I hear their stories, I see a familiar pattern. They tend to believe that all the old junk in their lives is still true about them in God’s eyes. Too many followers of Jesus cannot
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Back When I “Knew” It All

OK, I admit it. I like country music. I also like rock, Motown, jazz, pop, folk, gospel, and classical music. I once tried to distance myself from country in an ill-fated attempt to be sophisticated. To quote an old family idiom, that effort was like putting earrings on a hog. I am a small town boy and my roots are in the hills of Kentucky. So I no longer deny that I have a few banjos and some fine squirrel recipes in my genetic pool. In addition to my chromosomal predisposition toward Nashville, I am developing a deep appreciation for the honesty of country music. It is one of the few safe places to discuss God, country, and old-fashioned values without fear of politically correct busybodies getting their undergarments twisted. We all laugh at a few outrageously titled country tunes, but there are many songs that reflect exactly who I am: a proud father, a husband who married way up,
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My Hope

Sometimes we wonder if God is still there. Sometimes we wonder if He really cares about what is happening in our lives. Sometimes we wonder if it will ever get any better. Those are questions that every honest follow of Jesus has wrestled with. My friend Bart Millard of MercyMe was pondering those questions when he wrote one of the most powerful songs from their amazing new record Lifer. I found it interesting that in the same time frame I was writing a chapter about doubt in my book Waking Up Slowly. Bart can write in a stanza what it takes me hundreds of rambling words to say. But both of us experience the same struggle. We share the hope of grace. We write and sing about how our identity is not worldly success but who we are in Christ and who God says we are because of that relationship. You should be extremely grateful that Bart Millard is the
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Did Satan Invent 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 preseason 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
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The Myth of Control

You see t-shirts and signs that proclaim that I am the master of my destiny. Slogans like these sounded really empowering. “If it is to be, it is up to me” “If you can dream it you can achieve it” I agree that having a good attitude and determination is important. But sometimes my life experience is more accurately described by the great boxer and philosopher Mike Tyson. “Everyone has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth” Yep. Well said Mike. No matter how much I may plan my life I will face the inevitable “punches” in the mouth that life delivers. No amount of efforts to control my life will prevent illness. I do not have control over every relationship in my life. I cannot keep those I care about from making bad decisions. I cannot control unforeseeable circumstances that impact those I love. Recently I have had a couple of Mike Tyson moments. James warns about
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Six Things I Wish I Had Known in High School

I wrote this for my niece a few years ago. Perhaps there is a student you can share it with. 1.    I wish I had known that my high school years did not define me for life My teen years were a mixed bag of memorable highs and incredible lows. Now I realize that I am grateful for what I once considered some of the worst moments of my life. In many of those spiritual valleys you could not have begun to convince me that God was molding me or that those experiences could ever be of value. I have developed a heart of compassion for those who are wounded. Why? God gave me the privilege of being wounded early in my life. That sounds crazy as I read back over that last sentence. But I can now see that my struggles as an overweight, geeky and often outcast adolescent molded my heart to empathize with those who are hurt and ostracized by
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