I have an acid problem


Hi, my name is John and I have an acid problem.  Well, a stomach acid problem, that is.  This, partnered by the fact that I don’t really seem to get heartburn, the acid has caused damage to my esophagus.

So, I’ve been researching the topic and have found a few causes of stomach acid:

  1. Smoking – I always knew it would get back to me.  I took a long drag on a cigar when I was in the 2nd grade.  We were using it to light fire crackers.
  2. Drinking – I know this is hard to believe, especially since I live in New Orleans, but I’ve only had one drink of alcohol in my life (and it was in church).  I was on a mission trip in Indonesia and didn’t suspect that the team would be serving real wine for communion.
  3. Caffeine and Carbonated Beverages – I never drink soda.  Just kidding.  That’s a big part of my problem.
  4. Consumption of too much spicy food – or in other words, eating any type of food that tastes good.  I don’t understand the problem.  I don’t always eat New Orleans style food.  Sometimes I eat Mexican, Spicy Chinese, or Italian.  Even when I don’t, there’s always Tony Chachere’s, Tabasco and Louisiana Hot Sauce, but I just use a little.
  5. Lack of drinking water – Water consumption has gone up and down in my life, but it’s certainly going up now.
  6. Stress – I’m in ministry.  Go figure.

Ok, so I’m doing better.  My diet’s changed for the past 3 ½ weeks or so and I’ve already lost about 10 lbs.  I’m eating Oatmeal every morning and drinking 7 gallons of water each day (Well, maybe it’s only 6 gallons).

More updates to come…

Why I Choose To Be Thin-Skinned


King David was a king, a warrior, and a man after God’s own heart.  He was also an artist, a musician and a writer.  Who else but a sensitive person with an artistic heart could have written so many heart felt psalms?  Who else but a talented artist could have played so skillfully that demons fled from Saul as he listened?  The church needs artists today.  We need people who cry when listening to beautiful pieces of music.  We need people who stop running so frantically and see the beauty, hurt, and awe around us.  We need people who pay more attention to God’s creation than business plans.  We need people who feel deeply and have the ability to communicate those feelings to everyone else.

Rory Noland, in The Heart of the Artist, writes that “Everyone with an artistic temperament has been told at some point in his or her life to develop a thicker skin.  That’s nonsense!  The world doesn’t need more thick-skinned people.  It needs more people who are sensitive and tender.”  I agree with Rory’s sentiment for the most part.  I suggest that artists, in the church at least, need to be thin-skinned people when experiencing beauty and hearing from God but who also have the ability to put on full-body armor when experiencing evaluation and criticism.

I am a firm believer that God determines what He wants someone to do by who He made them to be.  I also believe that everyday, as we grow closer to Him, experience life’s victories and defeats, learn new skills, and tolerate pain and resistance, that we are in a constant state of becoming.  So, the two questions are, “Who did God create you to be?” and “How has God being creating you recently?” 

Did He create you to be an artist of some kind?  Then keep reading.

The world pushes artists of all kinds down from the time they are young.  Think about it.  Adults ignore or laugh at children’s artwork when presented to them, kids taking artistic lessons are often downplayed by those in sports leagues, Jr. High students are merciless in their teasing of anyone trying to express themselves in any way, high school and college standards weed out those who simply want to create art for enjoyment, and then adulthood comes along and presents us with the immediate priorities of financial obligations, thank you very much.  I know, I know.  Life happens and people have to grow up and find real jobs in order to stay alive.  That’s true, but what fun is life is there isn’t some kind of beauty that we can experience along the way?  What good is the money we make if we are numb to art and beauty?

I want to encourage artists, especially those in the church, to not be afraid of your own sensitivity.  Feel what’s going on around you.  Experience it.  Live it.  Make it a part of you.  Then communicate it to the world around you in beautiful, unique ways.  Write, sing, sculpt, paint, draw, play, act, compose, speak, direct, form, whatever…

Just don’t stop.  If you do, it’s not just you who loses.  It’s all of us.  


The Real Lies of Christians


A.W. Tozer once wrote, Christians don’t tell lies, they just go to church and sing them.  He was right.  If we truly lived out everything that we sang in worship, our lives would be much different.  We would all be much more like Jesus.

I’ve often heard it said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  It’s a phrase that has been around for hundreds of years.  In 1708, Jeremy Collier and Andre Dacier wrote a biography of Marcus Aurelius where a similar phrase was used by the Roman emperor himself.  He said, You should consider that imitation is the most acceptable part of worship, and that the gods had much rather mankind should resemble, than flatter them.

Even though the emperor was mistaken as to the number of deities that actually exist, he was correct in the remainder of his statement.  Offering our praise to the Lord is very important, however, it is not just about us singing or speaking praise to God in the moment, but it involves us imitating Jesus.  In Ephesians 5, Paul stated Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.  And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. We are to love others as He loved us.  So, let’s give the Lord our sincerest form of flattery.  Let’s imitate Him and walk in His love.


I’m Lost


“I don’t believe this!” I cried.

I was lost.  I had less than an hour before my next appointment, which was at least a 40-minute drive away.  Acknowledging my condition, I pulled out my GPS and entered the address.  It informed me that my destination was only 14 minutes away.

“Yeah, right!” I said, but decided to follow the directions anyway.

Within a few seconds, the GPS directed me to turn down a side street and drive for a mile.

“There’s no way that I’m going to make this meeting.”

Soon, I found myself in a short line of cars driving up a small hill.  Then I heard the GPS say “Board Ferry.”

“Ferry?” I questioned.  “No, I’m not boarding a ferry.”

But it was too late.  I was in the line of traffic being directed onto a small ferry.  To my surprise, the ferry was still boarding.  Within minutes, we had crossed the river and I was a short 8-minute drive from my destination.

I initially wanted to break that GPS, but now I’m really pleased that I followed its directions.

I sometimes do the same thing with the Lord.  I’m all set for a long haul project, but then I hear Him saying, “It’s not going to take all of that.  Just follow Me.  I’ll lead you where you need to go.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. (HCSB).

My GPS directed me in a good way across the ferry.  However, there have been times when the updates on the GPS have not been kept up and I find myself more lost than before.  Fortunately, the Lord never needs updating.  He is faithful and doesn’t lose power when you turn off your car engine.

He’s worth following.

Bad Mood


“Has God ever done anything for me?”

I sometimes ask myself this question when I’m in a really bad mood.  My answer always starts with, “I can’t think of anything at the moment, but I sure can think of a lot of bad things that have happened to me.”

Do you know why we sometimes give in to that way of thinking?  It’s because we get so concentrated on our current circumstances that we start counting our curses and completely forget about counting our blessings.

So, how do we turn that around?  We have to start small and retrain ourselves to count our blessings.  We should start by saying something like, “Thank You, God, that I’m still alive.  Thank You that I can get up this morning!  Thank You for this place where I live.  Thank You for my friends and my family!  Thank You that I have the opportunity to worship You.”

If we thank God for what comes to mind, no matter how small, He will instantly bring more to our attention.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.  Psalm 118:1