There are times that I have to press in and get rid of the outside noise to understand what the Lord is trying to communicate to me. There are other times when His message is crystal clear and right in front of my face. A recent 24-hour period was one of them.
I was having a conversation with someone the other day, and they asked me about how to begin to find opportunities to travel and speak. They'd noted that they've seen that I've been out from time to time and wondered how they could start to do the same thing. Quite honestly, I didn't feel like I had a lot of great advice to offer. I am continually baffled at God's grace toward me and believe that it is He that has been a real catalyst for any interest in anyone wanting to hear anything I'd have to say. But the first question that came to my mind when they asked was, "why do you want to do it?" Which, of course, caused me to look inward and ask myself the same question.
When we dedicate ourselves to praying with and for others, it breeds a deep sense of unity. We develop a desire to be together and to serve each other well. It calibrates our focus as a people on the mission and way of Jesus. The way that this plays out practically is a significant element of our faith.
A couple of nights ago, I had a "bucket list" experience. A friend of mine surprised me with tickets to see one of my absolute favorite singers, Gregory Porter.
When people are confused, hurt or afraid, there is an old adage that holds true. Sometimes, the best type of encouragement we can offer someone is to simply listen. I've also heard this coined as the ministry of presence.
After an amazing season of sabbath and a huge transition, I feel as though I am free to write again!
The main reason I'm thankful for the internet is how it shrinks the world and enhances our ability to stay connected, to some degree. I definitely don't do well or have much interest in using social sites to "grow a platform" (which is immediately evident because 95% of my posts are either pictures of Noah, comments about food or requests for prayer).
On February 26th, my dad was admitted to Robert Wood Johnson hospital in New Jersey as the result of a stroke. When we had finally heard about his presence in the hospital, he had been in the hospital for 3 days. Through the Lord's provision and the graciousness of family and friends, I was able to fly to New Jersey to spend the last couple of days with him. Many people love my father and have been praying for him all around the country, so I wanted to give an update with all that I know until this point.
I love Christmastime.
I love so much about what this time of year represents. It’s fun to see so many folks finding ways to connect together and celebrate life. For me, the most beautiful aspect of this season is the celebration of advent.
As a mixed guy (half black/half white) I was essentially born into an intentional conversation about race. I've never had the opportunity to recuse myself from it, as I've had to navigate stereotypes, misconceptions and their implications on both sides of my own family.
Our little man has definitely gone mobile. He has been crawling, scooting and stumbling all around the house. It has been so much fun to watch him try to figure out how to get from point A to point B.
Being a people pleaser is certainly a part of my story. For most of my life, even into young adulthood, I was consumed with the desire for others to like me. No matter the root cause, this idea tainted the way that I made decisions and had a direct impact on my personality.
Our family is on an adventure.
This is not the type of quest that will result in us being chased by some huge boulder down a mountainside or will cause us to be hanging from the side of a cliff, but this adventure is just as wild to us, nonetheless.
So, I've been studying to preach a message on 1 Corinthians 13 this week and, as usual, the Lord is challenging me in some good and unexpected ways.
I suppose this could be filed under the "Lessons From Noah" category but there is absolutely no question about it; my wife is a gift.
A few weeks ago I saw something that was incredible.
I was at the airport waiting at the gate where the plane from my connecting flight would arrive. It turned out that the flight was filled with veterans that had fought in the military. One by one, these brave individuals exited the plane.
This, right here. This is good stuff. I'm so thankful for the folks that God has placed in my life that have invested in, challenged, encouraged and loved on me.
I've had a lot of conversations lately that, at some point, had the individual that I was chatting with point out how "tired" they are. In moments of honesty and vulnerability, they've pointed out that their journey toward connecting with and understanding who God is has them feeling burnt out. These have been conversations with people that are "established" in a church and folks that have never stepped through the doorway of one. Some of these folks are people that believe that they have been "doing all the right things" and are still feeling empty. Some are searching for a point of entry that would establish a connection with God. This makes me sad but I'm hopeful because there is a remedy that provides rest. The interesting thing is that the remedy is the same, no matter what the reason for fatigue.
Oh, the love of a father for his son!
One of my favorite times lately is at about 6am, just after Noah finishes his morning feeding. It is an opportunity before the start of my day to allow Monique some extra rest and to spend some time with my son. It is the most incredible feeling when she passes him to me and he gives me that big smile.
This is our first go 'round as parents but I think I can safely say that Noah is a great baby. He loves to smile and laugh. He loves to talk to his mommy and daddy. He loves to explore with his eyes and discover new shapes and colors. The only thing that seems to unsettle him beyond consolation right now is the longing for food. When he is hungry, he will immediately let you know. (I certainly can relate at times). Once Noah gets some food in his belly, though, he returns to the content and joyful little baby that he usually is.