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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Friday, February 24, 2023

absolute surrender

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19)

There is a shift necessary if we truly want to follow Jesus.  It is a shift that’s as demanding as it is unavoidable.  It is the shift from autonomy to obedience, the shift from independence to dependence, the shift from clenched fists to outstretched hands, the shift from leading to being led.  It is ultimately the shift from control to absolute surrender.

That is the invitation of Lent, the season where we are invited by Jesus to “Come and die, that I might raise you to new life.”  Which makes the real question of the season: What needs to die in me in order for something beautiful to be born?

Lord, you know me better than I know myself.  Your Spirit pervades every moment of my life.  Thank you for the grace and love you shower on me.  Thank you for your constant, gentle invitation to let you into my life.  Forgive me for the times I have refused that invitation, and have closed myself off from you.  Help me in the day(s) to come, to recognize your presence in my life, to open myself to you, to let you work in me, to your greater glory.  Amen. ~St. Ignatius

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

ash wednesday 2023

ash wednesday is
about moving from
control to surrender
from clenched fists
to open hands

whenever you sense
the movement from
control to surrender
you can be quite sure
that the Spirit of God
is behind it

Jesus is not just inviting us
to let go of some things
he is asking us to let go
of everything

Thursday, February 16, 2023

the story i'm telling myself

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, ESV)

“Don’t let the false narratives keep you at their mercy.  The story you are telling yourself is rarely the story that’s actually true.”  That was the message from my time with Jesus this morning. 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about false narratives, those I live by and those that I allow to hold me captive.  The lies I’ve bought into about myself, my world, and even my God, that make me the absolute worst version of myself.  They make me fearful and anxious and insecure.  They make me busy and driven and manipulative.  They call me to acquire and compare and compete.  They tell me I need to earn and achieve and perform, all in hopes of convincing myself and my world that I am actually worthy of being loved.  And until I realize that I am already loved, and therefore of infinite value and worth, I will never really be able to love anyone else.  I will be too busy trying to extort and manipulate love out of them. 

I don't know what your false narratives tell you, but mine tell me I am not enough—not talented enough, not gifted enough, not skilled enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough, etc.  And they tell me I suck: I suck as a writer, I suck as a worker, I suck as a son, I suck as a husband, I suck as a dad, I suck as a friend, I suck as a man, I suck as an everything.  

When I am believing these lies, they cause me to interpret everything in light them--which is actually oh so dark.  In turn, this causes me to create narratives for others that do not exist and assign motives that are simply not true, which just reinforces the lies I believe about myself and my world, only making them stronger.  It is a downward spiral that is impossible to pull out of unless Jesus--the way the truth and the life--intervenes.  When I let these voices control and consume me, my neediness and fear and insecurity rule the day.  It’s astounding, and more than a little baffling, that I give these voices the free rein that I do.

Then Jesus comes along and tells me the truth: “You are seen, you are known, and you are deeply loved.  You are of infinite value and worth and do not have to do anything to prove it.  You don’t have to do anything to justify your existence.  You don’t need others to give you your value and your identity because I have already done that.  Let my love be the basis and foundation for everything you do.  Don’t let the false narratives hold you hostage, I came to tell you the truth.  Abide in my word and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.  For if you are not free, it means that you are believing something that is not true.  So stop listening to the lies and start believing the truth.”

Lord Jesus, save me from myself.  Let your love and your grace and your truth define and determine me.  Free me from the lies I believe about you, about myself, and about others, and help me to constantly abide in your truth.  Amen.


Monday, February 13, 2023

treasure me

“One thing you lack.  Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)

One thing you lack.  In fact, the very first one.  The first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”  I must be your one thing.  I must be your treasure.  Let go of whatever you treasure most, in order to treasure me above all else.  Whatever the currency of your life is, whatever (or whoever) occupies that first place, let it go and follow me.  There is no other way to the life you seek.  Treasure me.

Thursday, February 9, 2023


“But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you.“ ~Henri Nouwen

What does it really mean that God is enough for me? It means I can stop living for the attention, admiration, adoration, and affirmation of others. It means that I can stop trying so hard to please and perform and impress, and just rest in the love and affection and enough-ness of God. It means that even if no one ever calls or asks or invites, even if no one ever buys or reads another of my books, it’s okay. God alone is enough for me. It means that I am finally free.

Sunday, February 5, 2023


1 cor 2:16

when i have
the mind of Christ
i think what he thinks
i see what he sees
i say what he says
i do what he does
i love what he loves

Lord have mercy
i have so much
further to go

Friday, February 3, 2023

waiting, not limbo

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5-6) 

I think I have always thought of waiting as being in limbo, when that’s not what waiting is at all.  Waiting is an invitation into transformation.  If I can make that leap in my mind, I can learn to embrace waiting—and the transformation it brings—rather than resisting it.  As long as I continue to view waiting as some sort of limbo, I will always feel stuck in some way, rather than freed.  But if I can begin to see waiting as the vehicle through which genuine transformation takes place, I will be more likely to enter into the space it offers.  Then I can come to see that I am not waiting for transformation; waiting is transformation.

Help me to learn how to wait for you, O Lord, and not just my desired outcome.  Give me the surety that something beautiful is happening in the waiting, even if I cannot yet see or perceive it.