Hand writing Follow Jesus with marker, concept background

Are We Afraid to Follow Jesus Too Closely?

I was following a gravel truck down the highway when I noticed the usual warning. The only problem was that you have to get closer than 200 feet to read the doggone sign! The message was simple. If you are going to follow this truck you have to keep a respectful distance so you won’t get hit with rocks. Following too closely has its risks. I think we do the same thing with Jesus. We follow Him at a respectable distance because it does not always feel safe to follow Him too closely. I can talk about how Jesus is love and Jesus loves me but when I follow too closely I get hit with rocks of truth like this. “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in
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Signs of the Times!

I am sure that at least a few readers of these humble ramblings remember a song by Five Man Electrical Band. The song was called “Signs” and it told about some warning signs that dared to tell us what to do. Sign Sign everywhere a sign Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign I remember the opening part of the song quite well. And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do So I took off my hat I said imagine that, huh, me working for you woah! What struck me most is that the official Five Man Electrical Band website actually has that last word spelled “woah”.  Hearing that song recently on an oldies station made me think
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I Am Thrilled To Announce My New Book!

The Monday Musing is actually an announcement. I am just putting the finishing touches on Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual Lessons from My Dog, My Kids, Critters, and Other Unexpected Places. This has been an incredibly challenging, convicting and fun book to write. The premise is pretty simple. We are the most connected culture in history but arguably the most disconnected from God and one another because of devices, schedules and misplaced priorities. I asked myself this question as I began the book. What if we are stubbing our toes on the sacred every day and not realizing it? What moments of joy do we inadvertently miss as we stare at our screens? What performance idols destroy our ability to appreciate God’s gifts? I set out to find out how life might look differently if I awoke each morning consciously looking for the easy to miss “postcards from God.” Waking Up Slowly is a completely vulnerable exploration of my journey to
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Bald is Beautiful

(Joni shared her story at  Waterbrook Bible Fellowship and she referenced a blog I wrote ten years ago during her cancer journey. I re-read it yesterday and it brought back a lot of memories. I decided to share it as the Monday Musing as an encouragement to those going through valleys. You can make it one step at a time. You can watch her story here) One of my smart aleck remarks that I use periodically is that “I am not burdened by that whole maturity thing.” There are many times when I go about demonstrating that in real life. But the unwelcome intrusion of “life” into my happy little routine has caused me to evaluate a lot of things. God is teaching and revealing a lot of things to me during our cancer journey. 1. I am clearly a work in progress as a follower of Jesus. 2. He has done a lot of work over the years that
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Louder and More Personal Does Not Make Your Point More Persuasive

The next couple of months of our political season are going to be brutal. The conversation between the two parties will be less than gracious. You have to be a trained professional to have that kind of grasp of the obvious. I felt like it was worth revisiting an earlier post about our political discourse as followers of Christ. A song by Chris Rice cycled up on the iPod 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.
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"High Road, Low Road" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Trusting God’s GPS for My Path…

Last week we were blessed to join our friends Ed and Judy Underwood in Southern California. On Monday morning we left bright and early for breakfast at Crystal Cove Beach. The navigation app directed driver Ed to take a different course from the norm. We debated briefly and then decided to follow the GPS directions. “Probably a traffic accident on the normal route,” I offered. “The satellites have access to the big picture and we don’t.” Almost immediately it hit me that I am willing to trust a satellite navigation system but I often question if God’s direction is best for me. When God asks me through His Word to take a path that is counter-intuitive to my normal path my first instinct is to question the course. For example, if someone criticizes me unfairly the normal road taken is to defend myself and fight back. God’s navigation system suggests a very different road.  “But to you who are willing
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Two hands of different races grip each other in a handshake

Black Feelings Matter Too

My heart has been deeply saddened by the racial tension that has surfaced in recent months. Like many white Americans I rationalized that I was not a part of the problem. Three friends have been helping me to see another side. My eyes began to be opened by my friend Kevin Butcher. Kevin is a white pastor to a predominately black congregation at Hope Community Church in Detroit. He told me that Black Christians want their White brothers and sisters to listen to their hearts and not offer excuses or rationales. They simply want to be heard. So I decided to do just that by seeking to hear the hearts of two Black brothers in Christ. I know Duke Barnett well. He is an amazingly talented educator, administrator and leader. He is a great husband, dad and friend. The other man I asked to share his heart is a pastor in Nashville, Tennessee. I became friend with Montagne McDonald through
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