Why I’m Thankful

Time for a bit of Thanksgiving introspection. There are, of course, a litany of reasons for thankfulness which should by no means be limited to a solitary Thursday in November, but, in keeping with custom, I’ll select an aspect of life for which I’m most grateful and share it. Was that circuitous enough a route for you? Anyway, here we go:

This year, I’m thankful for Fatherhood.

It began with change, as do so many of the telling moments of our existence. A year and a half ago, I said “I do” and gained a beautiful wife and a darling daughter. Eight months ago I witnessed the amazing, as my not-so-little son entered the world.

With these changes came even more, both financial and physical. Stress has increased. Sleep has decreased. It goes with the territory. Increasingly, however, I am aware of how what I see as difficulties are actually opportunities for greater joy. And so…I am thankful.

I am thankful for more responsibility as a provider, because it has taught me to depend on His provision.

I am thankful for working more hours, because it has taught me the blessing of rest.

I am thankful for my schedule causing times of separation from my son and daughter, because it has taught me how incredible was the sacrifice God the Father made when His justice caused Him to turn His back on His Son, as the guilt of your sins and mine lay fully upon that Blameless One’s shoulders.

Yes, I am thankful. Full atonement has been made, for sweet little children and for struggling new dads. We stand together at the foot of the cross, grateful for the grace and marveling at the mercy.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!





Is It Art?

…’cause I know it’s funny.

Le Gogh


We live in a world that is a lot more about self-esteem than God-esteem. Values matter little, participation trumps achievement. Marriage, church, relationships – they’re all about what you can do for me, and if you don’t meet my “needs,” I leave you. It comes as no surprise, then, that this same culture trumpets the “need” to always feel good about ourselves, even if it comes at others’ expense.Identity-in-Christ1-286x400

I was taught to revolt against those ideals, and am not afraid to say so. Philippians 2:4 backs me up. But I’ve been touched
recently by Andrew Peterson’s song “Be Kind to Yourself.” He wrote it for his daughter, who often struggles with perfectionism. At face value, I might pooh-pooh such a song, given it’s title, and say that it’s just another shallow, substance-less, esteem-boosting ballad; that it’s at best a pat-myself-on-the-back tune, and at worst straight-up selfish. But that would be nearsighted:

You got all that emotion that’s heaving like an ocean
And you’re drowning in a deep, dark well
I can hear it in your voice that if you only had a choice
You would rather be anyone else

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He made your precious heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

I know it’s hard to hear it when that anger in your spirit
Is pointed like an arrow at your chest
When the voices in your mind are anything but kind
And you can’t believe your Father knows best

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He’s shaping your heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

Andrew Peterson, “Be Kind to Yourself”

I’ve often struggled with perfectionism. I’ve tied my value to my grades, my looks, my athletic goals, my career achievements. No matter what my level of success or failure in each category, I continually found myself unsatisfied. I’m not going to say that when I was saved, this all changed. It’s been an uphill struggle. I want so badly to succeed, to achieve, and when I fall short I often wonder if  things would be different if God had spent just a bit more time on me.

Don’t believe the lies. This world is a continual deluge of messages that tell us how to dress, how to speak, what to drive, who to befriend, who to avoid, and on and on. In that haze of conformity, it’s easy to lose sight of who we are underneath. And when time or circumstance peels back the comforting layers, we’re left naked and confused.

We need to know we have value, but, far more importantly, we need to know why. Take art as an example. I could paint a beautiful landscape, and it would hardly fetch fifty bucks at auction. But a work by Monet, Manet, Renoir, or Degas? Millions.

Why? Because the value of the work comes from the renown of the artist. And friends, my Bible tells me that you were hand-knit together in your mother’s womb by the same hands that formed the sun, moon, and beautiful blanket of stars, the hands that cause the daily tides to rise and fall, that set time and space into perfect motion. The Creator of your universe hand-shaped you with that same artistry, care, and abiding love. That’s the artist who provides your worth.

I have one brother who dunks a basketball like an NBA player, and another who was born with spina bifida and struggles to walk unaided. Same Creator. Same value.

And for a Christian, it goes to a whole new level: When we are born, we are formed in His image. And when we are reborn, it is the beginning of the transformation into what we shall look like for eternity: His Son. The trials and glories of the flesh will be forgotten in the triumph of His radiance. “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2). Until that glorious moment comes, we are day by day molded and melded into the eternal image we will one day bear.

When I take pleasure in what God has created, I please Him. When I realize who I am in Christ, I am declaring His worth, not my own. I realize that my value is intrinsically bound up in His. And He doesn’t make mistakes.

I Might Need One of These…

I’m a work in progress when the Packers are playing.

football game

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Whether it’s a cold-blooded murder on live television, or remembering the devastation of Katrina a decade ago, the chilling events and painful memories of last week could easily make us question the sovereignty – or even the inherent goodness – Katrina2of a God who is purported to have His hands in all events and circumstances.
When life gets hard, we tend to question. Is God still good if I get cancer? Is He still good if He takes my kids? Can He really be trusted?

Continue Reading »

Rocking the Chalk

As a kid, I thought I was cool because I chalked out “streets” in our driveway with realistic dashes in the middle. So yeah….

ChalkArt1 ChalkArt2ChalkArt4 ChalkArt3

Making The Most Of It

Guilty. Though I also look up the houses of friends, loved ones, and some distant acquaintances.

Google Earth


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