Three years later, this still surprises me.

Three years ago this week, Jenny and I stood in the jungles of Vietnam. Why?

Because readers of this blog went on an adventure together that changed two villages halfway around the world.

I think about this video and that project whenever I wonder about the power of online communities. I think about the generosity of you and the possibility of us.

Those are two powerful things that I think God loves to throw together. Individuals that might never meet, giving hope to a village that might have never heard of, in a country they might never visit.

Never doubt what our mustard seed growing God can do when we step out in small, brave ways. There’s no such thing as a step that’s too small when you take it with a God who loves big adventures. Watch the video and be reminded and encouraged.


The secret circle of people you text funny stuff that you’re afraid to share online.


I have a confession.

I have a small group of friends I text funny stuff to that I am afraid to share online. They are like minded, humor friendly, non judgy people I trust not to shame me for laughing at something I probably shouldn’t be laughing at.

It is possible I am the only one who does this.

It is possible that you will have two reactions to this post:

  1. How dare you sir! I never text funny things to a select group of like minded people.
  2. You’re not brave! I tweet, Facebook, and pin whatever I feel like.

But regardless of your reaction, I felt it was time to come clean.

Here’s how it usually happens:

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Group Prayer: The How to’s and The Houdinis

(Today is another great guest post from Gabriel Lytle! Check him out on Twitter too @gaberuski!)

If you’re not already cringing, then you may be what some would call a “sneaky snake.” (words chosen purposefully)

We’ve all been there.

They’ve just finished up weekly home group, the end draws near, the night is almost over and that can only mean one thing:

Time to pray. Out loud.

Your leader peers around the circle, and everyone is already saying a small prayer, “Please God, don’t pick me.”

One to play the Houdini card?

Here are 5 subtle moves to get out of dodge (Unless you’ve got Enoch-level clearance and can literally disappear):

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You broke my burrito! and 2 other moments I stink at giving people grace.



Sometimes I like to think I’m good at this grace thing.

Mostly this happens after I have listened to the song “Oceans” by Hillsong United. Having been hit with the audio waves of that fantastic chorus 92 times, I take my headphones out and make some strong declarations.

“This is it! I’m going to show other people grace! I am going to walk on water and be bold and brave and yay #TeamGrace!”

I don’t pronounce the word “Hashtag” out loud because I’m not 13 but in that moment, I do get ready to live with so much grace.

Until, I run into these three situations and realize I stink at grace:

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Something no counselor tells you about marriage.


I wish you could take your honeymoon 10 years after you’ve been married instead of 10 minutes after you’ve been married.

When you first get married you don’t know how to vacation together. You’re amateurs at this whole “doing life together” thing. On my honeymoon for instance, I decided to spend four hours winning a ping pong tournament. Why? Because I’m an idiot and didn’t know that one of Jenny’s love languages was “Spending quality time together.” I swore that her love language was “My husband winning a ping pong tournament at a Sandals resort.”

The vacations we take now are so much better than the ones we took 13 years ago.

But despite what we’ve learned about each other and our relationship, there’s one marital crisis no counselor prepared us for. Despite our best attempts at oneness and leaving and cleaving and every other phrase associated with marriage, there was something we were not ready for…

[Read more…]


(Today is a great guest post from Gabriel Lytle! Check him out on Twitter too @gaberuski!)

I’ve spied shell necklaces under a collar.

I’ve seen “Ice” swaying about one’s tank.

I even once witnessed pants touching the ground,

But there’s a new sheriff in town: In-ear monitors

In-ear monitors (aka “ears”) are high-tech earphones typically molded to fit snug inside your ear. You know, something a musician uses while performing.

I’m enjoying my job as a snobby barista, making lattes and denying room-for-cream, when suddenly a local worship leader walks in with them ears hangin’ low. Like, he got in his car with those on.

What’s my next move?

Do I say anything? I mean, if I won’t, even the lattes will cry out:

“Forgive me sir are those extra ears around your neck, or are you just happy to gram me?”

Instead, I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Instead, I convince myself that he hadn’t noticed two ear-molds weighing around his neck.

I tell myself, “At any moment, he’ll have to zip up his boots ‘n’ jet out of this God-forsaken coffee house, straight onto stage for a youth group that can’t wait for him to string his ears back down his shirt.”

I breathe. I assure myself it’ll all be over faster than I can say “4-count click set at 250 BPM”, when suddenly he presses his in-ears inside his actual ears (to, I honestly don’t know, listen to music maybe?).

Silver is the lining.

I sit back, call out “Latte to-go”, understanding full well… Bro can’t hear me.

Worship leader readers, (fun rhyme) have you ever done this?

Non-worship leader readers, (still pretty good) have you ever seen this?

When God goes full circle.

Full Circle

Six years ago, Jenny and I lived in Alpharetta, GA. We had a small house with green carpet and a purple bedroom that I called “Purple Rain.” The older woman before us who had owned it had what I believe interior designer’s call “Thomas Kinkade Palette.”

We had young kids that were in that intense age where it’s impossible to leave the house, you destroy restaurants when you show up and you get roughly 92 minutes of uninterrupted sleep at night. In many ways we were in the survival years, but in others we were just starting to dream.

Every few weeks, we would drive to a planned community called “Vickery.” In addition to a collection of beautiful homes with the kind of sidewalks that beg for bikes and trikes and memories, it had a small downtown area. Shaped in a horseshoe, there were a handful of businesses, art galleries and restaurants. In the middle was a courtyard and a small gelato shop.

On nights when the hour commute home had not completely worn through my humanity, we’d visit Vickery and push strollers and hope around the pathways. We’d talk about living there someday, planning a future that would most likely require a meteor made of money to land in our driveway. We’d say, “Someday, it’d be amazing to live to here, wouldn’t it?”

That was six years ago and as I write this today, I’m sitting on the third floor of a brownstone overlooking that little gelato shop.

We didn’t buy a place here. That was not to be, but we experienced one of those round about, full circle moments that reminds you what a sense of humor God has.

Four years ago, though it feels like 14 at times, Jenny and I went on an adventure and moved to Nashville. It was a rocket ride of opportunity and challenge we will forever be grateful for. A year ago, God nudged us to do the same thing again. To dare anew, to dream again, to step out. Was it perfect? Nope, it was messy and beautiful, with mistakes and wins and ups and downs and all the things that always accompany stepping out.

And yet, this morning I laugh with God. I find myself doing that a lot more with him lately. For though we never bought a house in Vickery, we did get to join a family here. Reggie Joiner and the Orange Team, who I get to work with and dream with, have their headquarters in Vickery. While Jenny and I were walking these same sidewalks six years ago, his team was building their dream in this very same place unbeknownst to me. At least once a month I find myself spending the night at this townhouse, overlooking the gelato shop, across from the building where close to a hundred members of the Orange Team do amazing work. The townhouse is a creative space used for brainstorming, dreaming up projects, writing books and in my case, sometime reminding people who need a place to crash after a day of work that God has a wonderful sense of humor.

So I laugh, with a God who brings things full circle.

I can’t say where I will be writing from in six years from now, but I can say who I will be writing with.

A God who writes better stories than me. A God who calls me to build his kingdom not mine. A God who invites me into adventures and will not leave me alone in the fear that inevitably comes with doing anything worthwhile.

I hope you get to laugh with him in six years or maybe six days.

He’s got a better sense of humor than you can possibly imagine.

And he loves when we dare to dream with him.

How to write an amazing Christian passive aggressive note.

Someone sent me a picture of a sign they saw in a church.

It is perhaps the greatest Christian passive aggressive note I have ever seen in my life. Since we Christians are so into “teachable moments” I thought I might be able to redeem this but turning it into a teaching tool. Let’s do life together. We’re in a season. We should sit in circles not rows!

Sorry, I get a little carried away when I start down the path of the ole Christian conversation.

Here is how to write an amazing Christian passive aggressive note.


1. CAPS. YOU GOTTA GO WITH CAPS. You know who loves lower case? The devil. How do I know? Because hell is lower than heaven.
2. Start off by calling people “servants.” Come right out of the gate with a strong reminder that this note is not addressed to church members, it’s addressed to “servants.” How are you going to argue with whatever is in the note after that title? What you’re not a servant? Oh, you’re too good to be a servant?
3. If at all possible, get Jesus in the first sentence.
4. Put him in twice in the first sentence if you can and looking at this note, they could.
5. Three times if you want to slap the reader just they think it’s over. I love the completely unexpected … for walking with Jesus. Always come back to Jesus. We’re not thanking you for cleaning up like the disciples did when they had to pick up all those fish and loaves. We’re thanking you for walking with Jesus.
6. Do not worry at all about spacing or fonts or punctuation.
7. Throw a Bible verse in at the end. The one they used here is actually a curious choice because it’s about complaining. One could easily argue that the passive aggressive note is a form of complaining. That’s actually black belt note writing right there. They used a verse against the reader of the note before the reader could use it against the writer of the note. Brilliant. Bonus points for using a verse that makes it impossible for servants to complain. “See right there in the Bible? Says you can’t complain! Boom! Shot blocked your complaint with a Bible verse!”

A lot of people would instead suggest that you actually be in community with other people. That you write short, clear notes that don’t shame people but instead encourage everyone to pitch in. But that approach can take forever. It’s a lot faster and easier to skip that whole “be in messy relationships with people who are imperfect just like you” thing and instead write a passive aggressive note.

I appreciate you reading this blog post. Thanks … for walking with Jesus.