Where you are …

“God has an amazing capacity to use leaders in their present situation, while at the same time using that present situation to train them for future ministry challenges.”

Jeff Iorg, Leading Major Change in Your Ministry, (Nashville; B&H, 2018) xvii

Where you are is getting you ready for where you are going.

Often we become dissatisfied with the current reality. That sense of dissatisfaction in and of itself can be a good feeling. Being dissatisfied with your current reality can fuel the conviction to pursue the Lord and forge a better future for yourself and those you love.

However, dissatisfaction can also foster a delusion that nothing good can come from this moment. That this time is wasted time.

Gideon felt this way. He was dissatisfied with his reality but deluded that anything could be different and that he could be used as that difference maker. God used his present situation to prepare him for his future reality.

Jeff Iorg writes, “God has an amazing capacity to use leaders in their present situation, while at the same time using that present situation to train them for future ministry challenges.” God can use you where you are to shape and influence those around you. He can also use where you are to shape and influence you for today and the days to come. and use where you are.

Where you are may not be where you will be. But dreaming of where you might be can isolate you from impacting your present situation.


Everyone wants excellence.
Few want what excellence requires.
Excellence demands efforts that very few, if any, see. For the athlete, excellence requires hours training in the dark, alone, for the moment of crossing the finish line. For the writer, excellence is editing, writing, and editing some more. Creators of excellence know the costs of their muses bidding. Those who crave excellence absent her demands will never taste its sweetness.
The price of excellence is great. But, for those who pay the wages excellence demands, the price is worth every cent.

Killing the good in the Quest for the perfect

Sometimes we kill what is good in search of the perfect. In the quest for the better widget and the perfect life we create unnecessary anxiety and turmoil and wind up missing what is right here. What works. What is necessary.
Seth Godin writes, “Here’s the thing: Swedish matches are better. They might be the best in the world. They do everything a match should do–but better. They light more quickly, burn hotter, and give more match satisfaction.
Except you probably don’t have a box in your house.
Because you don’t care that much about matches.”
The critical question is not what is the best      (fill in the blank). The question should be what is essential in order to fulfill God’s purposes and build the life He would have for me.
The best match does what the cheapest match does. Burn.
Seth Godin, “What does ‘better’ mean?”,  Seth’s Blog, http://www.sethgodin.com, February 26, 2020.

Would the Apostle Paul Root for the Kansas City Chiefs?

Would the Apostle Paul root for the Kansas City Chiefs?

In short. Yes. Especially if he was from Kansas City. But if he was from San Francisco he would probably root for the 49ers.

selective focus close up photo of brown wilson pigskin football on green grass

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com

Paul’s aim was to share Jesus in any way he could. He would become all things to all men to win some (1 Cor. 9:22) and use the language of the place he was to communicate with those who lived there (Acts 17:24 – 29). My assumption is that Paul would probably root for the team of the city he was in.

Sport is a common connecting point for many people. Whether your athleticism is speed walking from the couch to the fridge or completing an ultramarathon many can connect to the story and struggle that emerges from sport. Paul often used the imagery of sports to communicate spiritual truth.

Look at the following from Paul (emphasis added);

  • Acts 20:24 (ESV); But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24 – 27 (ESV); 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
  • Philippians 3:14 (NLT); I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
  • Galatians 5:7 (ESV); You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
  • 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT); “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:12 (ESV); Fight the good fight of the faith
  • 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV); I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
  • Philippians 2:16 (ESV); Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.

Sport creates a connection point. The imagery of sport helps to apply one’s faith. To endure challenges. To know what it is to rise from failure. To celebrate more than the win but competing well.

Does God care who wins the big game? No. God cares about how the players play. In a similar way, God cares how you live out your faith. That your faith will by His strength endure. That the free gift of grace will be worked out in the arena of your life. Fight the good fight. Run the race to obtain the prize. To quote Hebrews 12:1- 2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Run. Fight. Win.

And Go Chiefs!


God sees what I cannot possibly see

Gideon is one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament. When we first meet Gideon he is hiding in a cave threshing out wheat. An angel of the Lord appears to him and greets him in a way that is not consistent with the circumstances. God sees who Gideon will become, intervening in his life, long before Gideon even knows who he is.

My recent column at The Southeast Missourian expands on this blog.



Summer Reading

I’m always reading something. I just finished The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt: A Lifetime of Exploration, and Triumph of American Natural History by Darrin Lunde. A fantastic read. I am currently reading American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon. (Though while doing some research for this short introduction I’ve been made aware of a controversy surrounding Solomon’s work that I need to investigate further.)

My latest post with LifeWay Pastors speaks to three reasons to add a biography to your reading list this summer. I say there are three, but really include four in the post.

Three Reasons to Read a Biography This Summer