I once saw a mural of Jesus in the classic “sitting-on-a-rock-looking-over-Jerusalem-at-night” pose. The first thing I noticed was the way the painter had depicted the face of Christ: he was not attractive at all. In fact, the face was quite unremarkable in every way and quite unlike the “expected” image of Jesus. Continue reading
“Position before submission.”
Those were the words spoken to me by an instructor in a martial arts class as I steadily ratcheted the force on my opponent in an attempt to make him tap out and thus end the match. Continue reading
Sweet Pea, one of my mom’s horses, looked on with a placid stare as I growled, hissed and spat in the moments after a large, mahogany-colored paper wasp rammed its stinger into my lower eyelid. I was cleaning out the horse’s trough so I could feed her when the dive-bomb attack occurred. It was sudden, unprovoked and, all things considered, a dirty, sucker punch orchestrated in a brain the size of a pinhead. Continue reading
“The Chick-fil-A Rap,” the latest offering in the video pantheon of Emily Powell, sings the praises of the humble yardbird and elevates the ubiquitous food to a near-divine pedestal of ambrosial satisfaction. The understated opening begins with a tracking shot of the rapper Diggle-Wiggle walking across the parking lot of a popular Chick-fil-A (a specific location, I might add, that has been the source of a couple of deeply meaningful meals for this reviewer). As he enters, the revelatory shift comes: he is no mere customer, but a poultry evangelist. With the confident swagger and pleading earnestness of a tent revivalist, Wiggle warms to his theme of the desire for, or more accurately, the necessity of, menu item #7 (the biblical number of perfection). As his testimony builds, a robe-clad choir punctuates and encapsulates the message with the refrain: “Ain’t got nothing if I ain’t got Chick-fil-A.” Clearly, this is serious, life-or-death business. Only great providence meets the most desperate of needs.
The mood takes a somber and contemplative turn as P-Nasty makes her entrance. Stealing in under the cover of darkness, she confesses to falling away from the way of the Baptist bird. We are left to draw our own conclusions as to where her wayward path might have taken her. She may have succumbed to burgers sold by a clown, been lured by border foods wrapped in border foods held together with cheese, or perhaps she listened to the siren’s song of a purveyor of promised 11 secret herbs and spices (a number symbolizing disorder, something far from perfection). Whatever her transgressions, she knows that no other eatery offers the fellowship and membership under the beacon of the red-lettered sign. But to receive the invitation, she must make the journey; she must cross the road.
As she enters, the darkness dissipates as choir members welcome P-Nasty back to the flock. She spreads her arms in wing-like fashion as her hard-core street attire is enrobed in the dress of the faithful. Her sins are covered, and she is lifted up.
The prodigal has returned.
The party begins.
The fatted calf is feasted upon. (Or in this case, sweet tea is lavishly poured out as a drink offering.)
Ultimately, “The Chick-fil-A Rap” is not about chicken at all, but the grand themes of life. Wherever you may have fallen, mercy is available under the caring wings. The call goes out for all. Celebration follows reconciliation. Straying, redemption and returning home–it’s all there, distilled into 3 minutes and 21 seconds (3 being the number of divine unity and 21 being a multiple of 7 and 3…make of it what you will).
This work of art demonstrates definitively that P-Nasty’s words ring true: “I’m not finished; I’m just beginning.”
Click here for video.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:4-7
I forget all too easily.
I am His kid. In His presence. Before His throne.
Not only that, He has other children.
People I forget to see that way at times.
People I forget are standing in His light just as I am.
People He calls His beloved.
People in His very presence, vessels of His Spirit.
My seat mates in the heavenly places.
And when I forget that…
I stop acting like His child.
I forget I am His son,
Step away from the light and into my own darkness.
And I treat others like people they are not.
I needed to be reminded of the throne room.
And who I am.
And who others are.
And Who He is.
She named the dog “Mercedes.”
It’s an unlikely name, given the way he looked and where he was found. But I suppose that the name itself reflects the nature of the gift given. True mercy often runs contrary to the expected, and the greatest acts of grace always smell of scandal.
But then, I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading
By most standards, he blew it.
He seems to have been a bold one — charging ahead, seemingly without concern, the proverbial bull-in-the-china-shop with his own foot firmly in his mouth. Misspeaking was common, his overstepping of bounds was likely expected, and if one knew him, it seems that his generally-brash demeanor would come as no big surprise. Peter was quick to say exactly what was on his mind at any given moment. But then he went too far, even for himself. Continue reading
(Originally published in 2016.)
Blind Willie Johnson seemed to know early on that his future lay at the crossroads of two vocations. He built a cigar box guitar for himself when he was only five and told his father that proclaiming the things of God to the masses was his desire. He grew to become a preacher, and yes, a bluesman too. The story goes that, when he was seven, his father beat Willie’s unfaithful stepmother; she took bitter revenge by throwing lye in the young boy’s face, permanently blinding him.
You will face a series of tests in your walk with Christ. There is no way to avoid it. How you view the tests will be determined by how you view God. If you see Him in the wrong way, you will see your trial in the wrong way. The life of Joseph reveals some of the tests you might face.
To all of you who have followed, commented and taken the time to read these posts since this blog began. Your support means more to me than I can express. I wish I could sit down with you over a cup of coffee and hear your story. Maybe one day… Continue reading
A while ago, I wrote the post “How To Pray for Your Future Wife” here on my blog. What started as my own prayer list turned into something more. The response was overwhelming at the time, and it still stands as the most-viewed and most-shared post on the site. Since the original posting, I have received emails from numerous countries and have partnered in prayer with others across the globe who connected with me because of how God used that single post. I am deeply humbled by the encouragement, the stories and the prayers that you, the readers, have shared with me.
In my original post, I encouraged men to remain sensitive to God’s leading when He gave new prayer topics personally applicable to each individual situation. Taking my own advice, I began praying in new ways in addition to those mentioned in the first “How To Pray for Your Future Wife” post. Most of these 31 “new” prayer points were the result of the prompting of God during reading the Bible, some came from listening to the struggles and concerns voiced by women I know, and some arose during my own prayer times. So, in the same vein as the post that started this journey with the readers, I invite you to step into the deeper waters of prayer for your own “Miss Pending.”
But before we begin, can I ask you a personal question? It is a question that has been pressed upon my heart as of late… Continue reading
If God said “yes” to all your prayers, would your character be able to bear it?
Could you treat His gifts to you as treasures?
Or would pride and selfishness be the result?
Do you find yourself single on this Valentine’s Day?
Kinda’ stinks in some ways, doesn’t it?
The overblown marketing began at the local mega-mart sometime around New Year’s Day, so you have been living with the reminder of your solo journey for a month and a half already.
Your Instagram feed is rolling along, a saccharine visual river of flowers, gifts and romantic dinners. Continue reading
One of my mentors was fond of saying, “God likes this faith business.”
And he does. Continue reading
You likely have those things that, when they come along, you know that Christmas will be here soon. Maybe it is a decoration, or a food, or a song, or a smell in the air—whatever it may be, when it is present, Christmas is not far behind it.
For my brother and me, when we were children, it was The Wish Book. My mother would bring home that thick catalog, The Wish Book, full of nothing but toys. Continue reading
Legalism is just the flesh in its Sunday best.
(This is a new version of an earlier piece from a couple of years ago, but it is Christmas, after all…)
This is the time of year when the thoughts of many turn to family, memories, and or course, gifts.
God is a gift-giver. The best one, in fact. Continue reading
It is one of the loudest things you will ever hear.
The silence of God.
The battle-torn heart-cry rasps your voice, your cheeks redden, salt-burned with tears, and you raise your face, hoping to hear a word…hoping to hear anything at all…
But there is only the sound of the blood pulsing in your ears and the rise and fall of your breath marking out the moments of no answers. Continue reading