here’s how: coming home


reaching out…for the thing(s) we can’t see

trusting without the use of our senses


letting go…of what we can see



giving…of ourselves

to those who need it
maybe even if the one in need is us

…stewardship of our words – how we talk to and about ourselves
…stewardship of our time – how often do we take care of ourselves physically and emotionally and spiritually and mentally
…stewardship of our resources – time, talents, gifts, abilities, finances

returning to the basics of our faith


stewardship – the task of taking care of something

restore – to bring back

come home – changing direction


“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus replied to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ – Matthew 22:26-39 (AMP)


unselfishly seeking the best,
better than what we have
for others…
do I do that?
could that be at the heart of giving
and serving
and restoration?

It points to giving freely, for in almsgiving one gives something to someone from whom one does not expect to receive anything in return. Gratuitousness should be one of the characteristics of the Christian, who, aware of having received everything from God gratuitously, that is, without any merit of his own, learns to give to others freely.

Today, gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps us to experience giving freely, which leads to freedom from the obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others. – Pope Francis

what would giving freely look like in my life?
giving freely with
my time
my words
my finances

giving, not out of a sense of obligation
or duty
but out of a deeply rooted
love and sense of who God is

what would that look like?

radical thinking
scandal of grace
the Gospel

Can we get back to the altar?
Back to the arms of our first love
There’s only one way to the Father
And He’s calling out to us – Ryan Stevenson, the Gospel

what would it look like to
come home?

“You’ve wandered around this mountain long enough. Turn north…” – Deuteronomy 2:3 (the Voice)

beckoning grace.

here’s how: release


reaching out
letting go
serving, and being served



Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal.  Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we week for the kingdom of God. – Andrew Murray

when I think of letting go
I think of surrender….and not always in a positive light

what is the “posture” of surrender?
hands in the air


the posture of surrender
me making a choice
the responsibility lying with me
letting go

what if that?

what if
by surrendering
I am gaining something
instead of losing?

what if
by releasing
that “thing” no longer
has control over me?

what if
by emptying
I make room for something
greater and better…
far beyond what I could hope or imagine?

what if
release is freedom?

“Whatever Satan is using to bind you, Jesus came to free you. Free from…and

free to. I can’t say that enough. For far too long we’ve looked at freedom

only in terms of what we are free from. But freedom encompasses so much more

than a shedding of chains. Jesus set us free to live the abundant life by being

all He has created us to be and accomplishing all that He has planned for us to

do.”- Sharon Jaynes

what if
release is actually freedom
and freedom to…?

what stops us from
from emptying
from releasing?

what is it?
having to face the fact that we don’t have it all together?
losing a sense of control?

but really…aren’t the things which we don’t let go of really in control anyway?

realizing that we need God?
not wanting to lose our “freedom”

what if our freedom is really our prison…

isn’t this all part of the journey of Lent
of looking at things from a different perspective?

connecting  reaching out
letting go  releasing  emptying
giving  serving and being served  restoring….

why have we complicated things so much?
when did Jesus become not enough for us?

seriously…when did that happen?

what if
our posture of surrender
of release
of emptying ourselves
becomes not so much of a
“oh no – I’ve been caught”
but more of
hands up
wanting more than what we have
willing to take responsibility
and do better
and be better
and wanting to experience freedom?

what if release
is at the heart of that?

Drench my soul
As mercy and grace unfold
I hunger and thirst

unfolding grace…




here’s how: doing the next thing

what’s the 4-1-1 on

what the skinny on

how does it all work?
how can I be effective at these things?
where do I start?

just Google “the 411 on prayer” and you will find the answer

how to pray effectively – learn 12 keys to answered prayer

the 411 on prayer

practice the Jesus prayer – learn a new way to pray

the secret to powerful prayer – how to receive miracles

prayer to pray this prayer – 3 simple steps to answered prayer

how to pray – this one will change your life

does anyone else kind of expect a voice-over guy to come on-air and say:

“but wait…there’s more!
prayers can be answered
if you say the right words
in the right sequence
while holding your mouth right
and standing like a flamingo…
just pay shipping and handling.”

this is a bit humorous…but is it really?
don’t we start to believe that we aren’t doing
something right
when our prayers do not get answered

the way we think they should

we didn’t say it right
or at the right time
or with the right inflection

I’m just being honest here.

when did we start making
following Christ
a series of
and if nothing happens
or if bad things happen
we must be doing something wrong.


But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
    what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
    be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
    take God seriously. – Micah 6:8 (MSG)

how did we take something so plain


and terribly complicate it?

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’” – Matthew 22:37-39 (MSG)

connecting with God….
isn’t that the essence of prayer?

reaching out

with all of our
and intelligence

…and in our attempt to connect
we end up dividing and isolating

doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

we take the
of it all
and think we can
bedazzle it
to meet our own
wants and needs…
and then when it all goes south
we either don’t get it
or we blame God for it…
we are fickle people.

we complicate
we overdo
we pretty it up
we tweak it here
and shave it there
a nip
and a tuck
and the end result
is nothing more than
our own self-serving version
of who God is and what
He requires from us

come on, folks…we do this.

but…is this truly how we do the next thing?
when we don’t know what to do
do we create our own
next step
to bypass
the unknown
and the uncomfortable
and the painful
and the necessary?

perhaps, my friends
this is when reaching out for the unseen (Andrew Murray)
is best seen…
connecting with our Father
who is all around
constantly revealing Himself to us
who is Holy
who is living among us
who is yet to come
who is our Provider
and in teaching us that we can forgive
because He has forgiven us
and has His best for us in mind…always
and in leading us away from temptation
and in saving and freeing us from evil
and in Him who was and is and is to come. – based on Matthew 6

Jesus taught us how to do this…

And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” – Matthew 6: 5-8 (MSG)

could it be that the foundation of all of this
is simply love?

could that be what this is all about?

could this be the “how” that drives it all?

more thoughts to come…

Over and over again, Your love and Your mercy begin
No matter how far, You find me where I am

reaching out for grace…







what now? redefining the next thing

I am learning,
or maybe
re-learning and
the important things…

reaching out
serving and being served

as I continue to explore Lent.

often, I don’t know
what’s next for me…
and I question
the decisions I have made
the paths that I have taken
where I am headed
God’s plan for me.

and I find myself afraid…
ever been there?

fearful of…
the unknown
the “what now”
the wilderness

me too.

“God takes us into wildernesses not to abandon us – but to be alone with us.  Wildernesses are not where God takes us to hurt us – but where He speaks to our hearts.  Wildernesses can be safe because we are always safe when we are always with Him.” – Ann Voskamp

don’t you love the word “wildernesses”?
I do…
love the word that is
I have no affection really for the location

it seems like I forget that
Jesus came so that I could have life to the full…
when I am broken and feeling alone.

I came to give life with joy and abundance. – John 10:10 (the Voice)

 Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us – Ephesians 3:20 (the Voice)

you too?
I don’t feel like I am “winning”….
I definitely feel defeated – and dare I say – a “loser”

what if the “next thing”
is not necessarily “winning or losing”?
what if the “what now”
for me is…

a wilderness
or silence

what does it look like to win anyway?
what does it look like to lose?
is the opposite of winning – losing
or simply not winning?
and is the opposite of losing – winning
or simply not losing?
are those things the same?
and what does that look like?

does your head hurt yet?
sorry if it does…
this is what my head does

so…back to the original thought/question…
what now?
maybe, for me at least, the answer to that
is not at all a question
but a change in perspective
a redefinition if you will

and a remembering
to connect
reach out
and serve and be served.


could the next thing
be that easy?
ah yes…
maybe it is that simple…
but not that easy.

I am thankful that I don’t have to have any of this figured out
that every day
every next thing
every wilderness
brings me deeper
and higher
and closer
to the One
who calls me

Relight the fire that burned so strong
Reminding me what You have done
My one request is to be changed
So lead me to the cross again

what now? grace.






what now?


“When you don’t know what to do next, just do the thing in front of you.” – Elisabeth Elliot

what’s in front of you?
what’s your next thing?
what now?


The number 40 appears in the Bible again and again as the number of days (or years) in which a person (or a people) undertake a cleansing and life-changing journey. Rain pouring down on an ark for 40 days and nights. Forty years in the desert for the tribes of Israel before they can enter the Promised Land. Forty days in the wilderness for Jesus during which he resists the temptations to turn from God’s will. – Karen Herzog

the Lenten season is
reflective of Jesus’ 40 days/nights
of fasting and prayer
right before the Spirit led him

“Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon Him, alighting on His very body.

Voice from Heaven:  This is My Son, whom I love; this is the Apple of My eye; with Him I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:16-17 (the Voice)

then the Spirit led him into the wilderness
to be tempted, to be tested

the Voice translation indicates that even though Jesus had fasted for 40 days
and was hungry
he was also curiously stronger

I wonder what it looks like in my life to be curiously stronger?
have I ever been that…

  • strong
  • curiously strong

is that what this season is all about?

let’s kind of break this down a little, yes?

God “identifies” His Son

Jesus knows Who He is

“This is My Son, whom I love; this is the Apple of My eye; with Him I am well pleased.”

“My identity must be anchored to the truth of who God is and who He is to me. Only then can I find a stability beyond what my feelings will ever allow. The closer I align my truth with His truth, the more closely I identify with God—and the more my identity really is in Him.” – Lysa Terkeurst

the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness

Jesus knows where He is

The Spirit then led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil

Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights

Jesus knew He was not alone

Satan questioned everything about Jesus…and tested Him

if You are…

“If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”

“The more Christ fulfills the cravings of our souls, the more he changes our taste capacities from the inside out. The more we walk with him, the more we want him. The more we taste of him, the more we enjoy him. And this transforms how we live and what we live for.” – David Platt

if You are…

“If You are the Son of God, jump! And then we will see if You fulfill the Scripture…”

Jesus didn’t take the “it is what it is” attitude..

Satan continued to poke and prod…hoping to trip Jesus up

“And still the devil subjected Jesus to a third test. He took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain, and he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in all their splendor and glory, their power and pomp.

If You bow down and worship me, I will give You all these kingdoms.”

then Jesus
in His brilliant wisdom
told Satan to get out!

“Get away from Me, Satan. I will not serve you.”


Jesus was “identified” publicly
He was aware of where He was
He was not alone and knew Who was with Him
from the beginning, we were a big deal to Him
He is both the question and the answer
through it all, even in the midst of

his hunger
his becoming curiously stronger

we were on His mind…

our next steps were on His radar
we were His next thing…
we were His “what now”

Nothing like that had ever happened before—no eye had ever seen,
    and no ear had ever heard such wonders,
But You did them then for the sake of Your people, for those who trusted in You. – Isaiah 64:4 (the Voice)

it’s interesting to me
and intriguing to think about
the fact that we are God’s
memory of the familiar
we are familiar to Him


So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – John 13:34 (the Voice)

and equally as interesting
is our lack of memory of the familiar

my lack of intimacy
lack of association
with the constancy of Jesus


so, what now?

“When you don’t know what to do next, just do the thing in front of you.” – Elisabeth Elliot

and rely on the memory of the familiar
the pattern of grace
the message of mercy
reaching out
serving and being served.
the here and now of grace…

Hope is stirring deep inside me
Making all things right – Kari Jobe

when questions are answers: connecting emptying restoring









“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal.

Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” – Andrew Murray

kind of looking outside the box
we tend to put God in…

kind of turning that box upside down
and shaking things up a bit…

not being satisfied with how things have been
how things are…
but seeing beyond to how things can be

reaching out…for the thing(s) we can’t see

trusting without the use of our senses


letting go…of what we can see



giving…of ourselves

to those who need it
maybe even if the one in need is us

…stewardship of our words – how we talk to and about ourselves
…stewardship of our time – how often do we take care of ourselves physically and emotionally and spiritually and mentally
…stewardship of our resources – time, talents, gifts, abilities, finances

returning to the basics of our faith


maybe the question is
not where
but how

not what
but why not

not why
but how much

not when…
but always.


connect empty restore

grace is the answer…





when questions are answers

the art of asking questions…

clarification – why do you say that?  how so?
reasons and evidence – what would be an example?
viewpoint and perspectives – what would be an alternative?
implications and consequences – how does that tie in with what we learned before?
question about the question – what was the point of the question?  what does that mean?  how does this apply?


where are you?
the starting point…
gathering clues

who’s there?
who is this?
I can’t see…

why bother?
it is what it is…
what’s the big deal?

could there be answers in these questions?
is the question actually the answer?

I think that is what I have been journeying through
this Lenten season.
looking at Lent differently
and asking a lot of questions


and starting out with the presupposition
that I don’t have any answers…
today, I am wondering if I really do have the answers
because I am asking the questions.

am I searching for answers
while the question eludes me?


what if what looks like it’s falling apart
is actually falling together? – Ann Voskamp

what if the answer is the question.

Who do you say that I am?
Do you want to be well?
Why do you call me Lord, Lord?
Why are you so afraid?

where are you?
who is this?
why bother?

you’ve just got to do the next thing even when nothing feels like it’s changing anything. – Ann Voskamp

“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal.

Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” – Andrew Murray

in the questioning
in the pondering
in the sorting and sifting
…we learn to
and let go
…we learn to
and fast
…we learn to

grace to do the next thing.

There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know – Casting Crowns, Oh My Soul




why bother? what’s the BIG deal?

what’s the big deal?
why is this so important?

why bother with Lent?
why bother with
trying to understand
or figure anything out
or dealing with the mess and the crud

Over time, our hearts and souls, when left unattended, get messy. Lent invites us to deal with the mess. This is not about quickly cleaning things up and pretending they were never there, nor is it about ignoring the mess. Lent invites to roll up our sleeves and sort through the debris of our lives. – Michael Hidalgo, Why Lent Still Matters

getting dirty
and paint splatters

prayer fasting giving becoming doing changing redemption
resilience hope repentance mystery freedom

grease under your nails
sweat on your brow
and scraps

unworthy less than failure selfish chaos confusion questions disappointment heartache defeat

become a new thing
beauty from ashes

I see shattered
You see whole
I see broken
But You see beautiful
And You’re helping me to believe
You’re restoring me piece by piece – Natalie Grant, Clean

what if this newness comes
when we sit in our stuff
when we sort through it
when make moving forward a big deal?

when we make taking care of
who we are
a big deal?

“Lean into the pain. Stay there in the questions, in the doubts, in the wonderings and loneliness, the tension of living in the Now and the Not Yet of the Kingdom of God, your wounds and hurts and aches, until you are satisfied that Abba is there too. You will not find your answers by ignoring the cry of your heart or by living a life of intellectual and spiritual dishonesty. Your fear will try to hold you back, your tension will increase, the pain will become intense, and it will be tempting to keep clinging tight to the old life; the cycle is true. So be gentle with yourself. Be gentle when you first release. Talk to people you trust. Pray. Lean into the pain. Stay there. And the release will come.” – Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist

what if we started to bother with
and be bothered by
whatever is

true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse (Philippians 4:8, the Message)

truly, what would that look like?

might there be less
and gossip
and drama
and dissatisfaction
and disappointment?

what if we were in actual communication with God?
instead of using Him as a sort of cosmic
ATM – continually wanting something out of Him –
no matter what it might be

what if we shifted our focus
from meeting our own desires
to concentrating on and thinking about
those things listed above

what if we actually looked for
needs around us
and then did something about it.
what if we gave more
and took less
what if we practiced stewardship
in every area of our lives?

what if we paid closer attention to the words we speak
the things that we watch
what we eat
what we do to soothe our own anxieties
those things which may ignite our senses?

what if we fell into step with Jesus…

to learn the unforced rhythms of grace

what if the big deal about Lent
is that this is a time for us to
sort through our crap
and learn to walk again.

Rhythms anchor us and center us. A rhythm may move slowly at points, and more frenetically at others, but the cadence gives order to it. Breathing is a rhythm. Life happens in rhythm. – Glenn Packiam, What’s the Deal with Lent?

what if we have lost our rhythm?
I think I have lost mine…
or maybe I just need to remember it.

“To walk with God is an unfolding rhythm of life, a wild music of many moods and tempos, embracing the shadows of doubt and disillusionment and the black dark of despair as well as the sweet blue heavens of joy and affirmation, the glorious sunset colors of the soul moved by beauty, amazed by peace.” – Esme, in The Clear Light of Day by Penelope Wilcock

or maybe I need a fresh set of eyes
a new perspective
to live

grace – it’s kind of a big deal.



Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt. 11:28, Message)






why bother? it is what it is

it is what it is

what does that mean?
when do I use this phrase?
what do I mean when I say it?

It’s just a short way of saying “this is the reality and we can’t change it, or don’t want to”. – Paul Cutcliffe

this is just the way it is.
there is nothing I can do about it.
I don’t want to do anything about it.
that’s just the way I am.
I might as well suck it up and get on with it.

it is what it is.

so, why bother?

The problem with “It is what it is” is that it abdicates responsibility, shuts down creative problem solving, and concedes defeat.

“It is what it is” is an admission that the problem is too hard and suppresses the attitude that leads to creative, unseen solutions. – found on

throwing up my hands and declaring that
I can’t do anything about it
I don’t have to take any responsibility
and I also don’t have to even think about a solution

I put off working on that project
and the final product does not
reflect my ability

it is what it is.

I have so many things on my plate
there are not enough hours in the day

it is what it is.

my feelings were hurt
my pride was poked
I don’t really feel valued —

it is what it is.

yeah, God and I have been closer
I can’t seem to
get anything out of my relationship with Him
He seems distant
and silent.
I know that He loves me
and He is not going anywhere…
it’ll get better

it is what it is.

why bother with any of it?
why try to maintain relationships at all?

why attempt to sift through years of
and crud –
nothing is going to change

it is what it is.

what if —
what if our perspective changes
we look at life through changed and fresh eyes

what if we look at things as they could be?
would things be different?
maybe a world of possibilities could start to emerge
a simple square —-
it could be a square, or —-
it could be a baseball diamond, or the frame of a house, or a graduation cap

what it could be…reframes the mind to look for solutions without boundaries –

solutions without boundaries.

that kind of shatters the
“it is what it is”

because, really
the defeatist attitude that is attached
to that phrase
is kept neatly
packed in a box
that same square that could be so much more
with borders and boundaries
and fences
that are laced with barbed wire
and electricity

we don’t have to even try to scale them
there is danger
there is fear
there is doubt and guilt
and shame

why bother?

if we can try to visualize
that “thing” (whatever it is for you)
without boundaries and borders
and electrified shards of
hurt and pain
and discomfort

do you think that perhaps
we could start to live –

truly live?

as I have been examining 
Lent and what that means in my own life
and trying to figure out where I am 
and who’s there
and why even bother with any of it…

I have been hit
square between the eyes…
with Truth —
and it hurts
it is painful
it is uncomfortable

and it is hope-full.

and I have been called to something higher – Matthew 5:48 (the Voice)
we all have.

think about this with me….

imagine if our Savior
looked at his Dad and said…
“it is what it is.”
or if he uttered those words to
the Enemy in the wilderness
as he was hungry
and tired
and alone
“it is what it is”
or if when accused
“it is what it is”
or if when He looked
at my and my sin
and my separation from Him
and shrugged and
“it is what it is”

what if He was like me?
like you?
like us?

I am so grateful and thankful
that He is not like me, like you
like us.

I am glad that He bothered with grace…

O Your grace so free washes over me
You have made me new, now life begins with You
It’s Your endless love pouring down on us
You have made me new now life begins with You – North Point InsideOut, Death was Arrested

why bother?

turning Lent upside down…

the advent of Lent…

the heaviness of Tuesday…

where are you?

who’s there?

why bother?

lots of thoughts
tons of words
some making sense
some – not so much

trying to unpack
the basics

ever looked at a project
with its overdue deadlines

or your living space
that is overrun with clutter

or what you’ve accomplished
and wondered if you have made a mistake?

and thought…
why bother?

what’s the point?

the effort is too great
I am exhausted
I am frustrated
I am getting all wound around the same idea
I need fresh eyes
(I need a maid) 🙂

back to the basics…
why bother
and try to go deeper
with one opinion

why bother?

the expectations for the project are too high

I can’t seem to make a dent in keeping
my own living space in order..

I never thought this would be
so controversial

why bother…

why try to figure this out..
why have a different view
a different outlook
a peculiar perspective

why bother?

you are good at your job
you are diligent
you are conscientious

baby steps
one item at a time
one room at a time

remember that I know the plans
I have for you…
to give you hope
and a future
not to set you up to fail
or feel like a failure

why bother?

seeing what stands in your way
but being able to see past that
to the possibilities


that’s why we bother.

that why I unpack my thoughts
and examine the words
that I have heard
to sift them into

why bother?


and restoration
and redemption
and resilience



why bother?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy – I Have This Hope, Tenth Avenue North

fussing over grace…


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earlier bits

August 2017
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