Young lamb on the road after escaping the fences

Prone to Wander

Joni and I recently enjoyed a brief and delightful getaway to Fredericksburg, Texas. But there was one sad moment that I keep thinking about. We stayed away from the city and drove country roads into town. Each day we passed a sheep pasture. We chuckled about one adventurous sheep that found a way to get out of the fenced area and grazed happily in tall grass along the road. He seemed to know what he was doing and never got too close to the dangerous highway. The next day he was out again enjoying his freedom and a different grazing menu. Then we spotted another sheep that had also tried to find greener grass on the other side. This poor creature had gotten stuck under the fence and it had not taken long for the searing Texas heat to take his life. It was obvious that this unforunate animal had everything he had needed on the safe side of the
Continue reading...

steps of change to spiritual growth

The Outrageous and Scandalous Mystery of Grace!

I think a lot about the church. When you write a book called “When Bad Christians Happen to Good People” you tend to hear from angry and wounded churchgoers. I have received hundreds of emails and blog posts from hurting believers. If a modest selling author and blogger like me gets that many responses then you can extrapolate that this is a big problem for the American church. I began the book mentioned above with this paragraph. “I am a hypocrite. I can be arrogant and selfish. I have been known to stretch, conceal, or slightly message the truth. I am sometimes inconsiderate and insecure. I struggle with lust and impure thoughts. My ego often rages out of control, and I battle foolish pride. I can be lazy and foolhardy with my time. I get angry, petty, and ill-tempered. I am sarcastic and cynical. I am a Christian.” I can make the claim in the final sentence only because of
Continue reading...

American football balland de-focused players

Training Camp for Team Jesus

I love football. The opening of football training camps gets my juices going. I watch some of the greatest athletes in the world getting ready to play a highly skilled game. So what do they start with every summer at training camp? Footwork and technique drills. Coaches demanding constant repetition of fundamental skills. The best teams are the ones that most consistently execute the basic fundamental aspects of their craft. Legendary Coach Vince Lombardi famously began each training camp by gathering wide-eyed rookies and grizzled veterans around him. He would begin by holding the pigskin in front of him and solemnly proclaiming this truth. “Gentlemen, this is a football.” From that rather rudimentary start he would detail the importance of understanding the fundamentals of the sport. I can learn something from that approach. When I first came to faith I was so excited to learn the fundamentals of faith. How do I study the Bible? How do I pray? How
Continue reading...


Enjoy Another Free Chapter From Stay!

In honor of National Mutt Day my friends at Tyndale are providing another free chapter from my latest book Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. Since our newest rescue Maggie is a mutt she wanted me to feature her. This chapter relates how difficult it was for our rescued friend to learn her brand new forever name. Download “Forgetting Her Name” from Stay by clicking on this link. I hope you enjoy this sample! If you want to read the rest of Stay you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine retailers.    
Continue reading...

Mallard duck closeup.

Can’t “Duck” The Truth That We Need Community!

Last week the “ducks were on the pond”. Baseball fans will recognize that phrase as a colorful way to describe having a runner on every base. But this time I was enjoying some time off from the baseball gig with my lovely bride. We were sitting on the porch of our little cabin near Fredericksburg, Texas when a flock of eight ducks noisily left the pond and waddled toward us. They lined up and quacked expectantly. If I spoke duck I suspect the translation would have been something like the famous quote from Caddyshack. “Hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” We fed the ducks some cereal flakes and apparently that was an acceptable offering. Every time we went out on our porch the ducks would waddle over and wait for their snack. Joni and I were fascinated by their behaviors. They always stayed together. There was a clear leader of the pack and
Continue reading...

cooling down for dog at the beach

Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer

Summer has made it’s presence known this week in Texas. The oppressive heat leads to scenes like this for the canine friend Maggie. For years I have been throwing around the phrase “dog days of summer” with no clue about its origin. The Romans noticed that the hottest days of the years happened to coincide with the appearance of the “dog star” Sirius which is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. They believed the appearance of this bright star contributed to withering heat. The Greeks were likely the first to use the term dog days and you will surely recall this reference from your most recent reading of the Iliad by Homer. Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky On summer nights, star of stars, Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat And fevers to suffering humanity. I was surprised to find that dog days appear in the first copies
Continue reading...

Faith Word Graphic Montage

My Heroes Are Not Famous

One of the problems with our cultural Christianity is that we too often confuse giftedness and godliness. Someone may be gifted at speaking or writing or singing and we elevate that person in our spiritual estimation. God uses gifted people to be sure. But I am learning that God can use regular people reflecting Jesus through trials and suffering in miraculous ways. These heroes of the faith generally don’t make headlines. What they make is much more important. They make a difference. Our friends Debbie and Jim Dixon have made a difference in our lives. Two years ago our non-smoking friend Debbie was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I don’t think the cancer realized what a tenacious foe it had attacked. Debbie has unleashed every single thing she has in her battle with this terrible disease. She has suffered a heartbreaking litany of side effects and setbacks in her long struggle. I think I might well have conceded after
Continue reading...