The Biggest Worship Mistake Ever


Everyone, everywhere seems to have an extremely detailed opinion of what or how worship is supposed to be.  Interestingly enough, most of these opinions do not refer to true worship in a biblical sense, but are more about music style, sermon methodology, tradition (or the absence thereof), and permissible clergy clothing.

However, when Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah 6, he experienced the greatness of God, realized the extent of his own sinfulness, and witnessed his sin being atoned for.  The end result of his worship experience was when Isaiah said “Here am I, send me.”

God shaped us after Himself so that we could experience His presence and accomplish His purposes.  When we realize who He is and all that He has done for us, our only reasonable response to Him is worship and absolute surrender.

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Real Friends


I went to a very small high school.  There were only 50 students in my graduating class.  I knew everyone and everyone knew me.  Even though there were 50 of us, we were more than classmates.  We were friends, at least on the surface.

During my lunch breaks of high school, however, I went to sit with my real friends.  There, on the same concrete benches everyday, I joined with a smaller group made up of band geeks, drama nerds, teacher’s pets, and journalism brainiacs.  We were more than friendly acquaintances.  We had been to each other’s homes.  We had eaten with each other’s families.  We shared an identity.  We were on the same team.  We were all friends.

However, my best friend in high school was Steven.  We did everything together. From band trips to drama club plays to church youth activities, we were there together.  We shared our hurts, fears, hopes, and dreams with each other.  Even after graduation, we stayed in touch.  When he was married in Arizona, I sang in his wedding.  When I was married in Arkansas, he served as an usher.  When he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease in his twenties, he called me.  When my wife and I lost a baby to miscarriage in my thirties, I called him.  When he became the pastor of a church, I did a music and drama presentation for his congregation.  When Katrina struck New Orleans, he brought water and relief supplies to mine.  Today, we still visit, text and call each other from time to time.  Steven is my real friend.

Being real friends with someone is a lot of work.  It means being honest and open with them when you would rather be shallow and superficial.  It means being sincerely happy about the good things that happen to them even when you wish it would have happened to you.  It means making an effort to spend time with them even when the pressures of life and work make it extremely difficult.  It means getting up in the middle of the night or leaving in the middle of a meeting when they call.  It means sharing and celebrating the joys of life together.  It means experiencing and mourning the disasters of life together.  That’s what it means to be real friends.

How many real friends do you have?

Late Night Frustration


There I was, once again, working long into the night, angry that my ministry project wasn’t producing the results I expected.  In frustration, I threw up my hands and cried out, “God, what am I doing wrong?”

That’s when, in my head, I heard a whisper say, “Ask Me for help.”

Why do we do it?  Why do we spend countless hours working on ministry projects, seasonal productions, mission trips, evangelism strategies, small group trainings, and worship planning meetings without asking for God’s favor?  Why don’t we ask Him to establish the work of our hands?

We all make this mistake on an almost daily basis.  We get so busy serving the Lord that we fail to ask Him, the all-knowing Creator God, to guide us in the work that we are doing.  We simply forget to ask Him to bless the work of our hands, minds, and voices.  In other words, we neglect to involve Him in the process of our ministry projects and processes.  Why do we do this?

Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands-establish the work of our hands!  Psalm 90:17 HCSB

It’s time for us to ask His forgiveness.  It’s time that we asked Him for His favor.  It’s time that we trust Him to guide us once again.

Lord, forgive us when we forget You.  May we find favor in Your eyes.  Will You please establish the work of our hands?

Why I Decided to Try the 10k for Pink Training App


On Friday morning, I ran my first 5k, practically by accident.  I spent 8 weeks training for it with the C25k (Couch to 5k) App.  I finished it just in time for the New Orleans Crescent City Classic Run, but was not able to participate.  Since the app had several practice sessions included after graduation, I decided to continue to train.  It was raining outside, so I went to my local gym to run on the treadmill.  As my run neared the 35 minute mark, I realized that if I ran for another 10 minutes, I would hit the 3.106 miles or 5k.  So I did it.

Today, I walked out of my home, fully intending to continue the practice sessions.  But when I clicked on the App, it took me back to the first session.  I didn’t want to continue that session, so on the spur of the moment, I clicked on the 10k App ad, which I’ve been wondering about for a couple of weeks.  So, I guess I’m now training for a 10k.

If you see me past out on the side of road, please honk and try to raise me back to consciousness.

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The Joy and Pain of Finding Gray Hair


Bill Cosby once said that Gray hair is God’s graffiti.  If that’s true, then the Lord has been hanging around my head while I sleep because I’ve definitely been marked here recently.

It didn’t bother me so much until other people began noticing and commenting.  Even the young lady who cuts my hair said to me, “Oh, Mr. John!  Look at all the gray hair on your head!  You must be getting old!”  I thanked her for the kind observation and informed her that although it was appreciated, it wasn’t necessary to add the Mr. honorific title when speaking my name.

I read today in Proverbs that gray hair is a glorious crown.  I’m not sure that I would call it glorious, but it does change a few things.  The gradual graying (or whitening in my case) of my hair means that I’ve been around the block a few times (or maybe even several times).  It means that I’ve made some hefty mistakes and lived through them.  It means that I’ve had my share of joys and victories and an equal number of hurts and defeats.  It means that, believe it or not, I’ve attained at least a little bit of wisdom that I am now responsible to pass on to the generations that follow me.

Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness.  Proverbs 16:31 HCSB

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Is There Anything Truly Unique About Christianity?


Phillip Yancey, in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace, tells a story about C.S. Lewis and grace.  During a British conference on comparative religions, experts were discussing whether there was any belief that was truly unique to Christianity.  Creation, incarnation, and resurrection were quickly eliminated because of similar examples in other religions.  C.S. Lewis wandered into the room and enquired as to the topic of conversation.  When told about the debate, without hesitation, Lewis replied, “Oh, that’s easy.  It’s grace.”

Grace is so simple that it baffles the experts.  Grace is what makes Christianity unique.  Because of it, we have the opportunity to know Jesus as Savior and Friend.  Grace helps us understand the difference between happiness and joy.  It allows us to conquer all of our fears.  There is nothing we can do to earn grace and there is no way that we can destroy it.  In Ephesian 1:5-6, the Apostle Paul wrote:  He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.  


Grace is free and yet it is also priceless.  It truly is amazing.