Unmasked


Whilst searching the interwebs the other day, I realized something: It must be tough getting up every morning and putting a mask on. 

What I mean is that people get up every single day and just put on a face so that they can skate through the day. They say all the right things on social media, “look the part” in public settings and they doll the family up just right to mask their true self. However, what lies beneath is truly terrifying. They hide lies, deceit, infidelity, insecurity, and just all out nastiness. 

Your reply to this is, “So what? We all have flaws and things that we don’t want people to see.” That’s not what this post is about. This post is about realizing that the façade is more damning than the truth. 

A façade is only another lie that just masks the other junk underneath. What generally happens is the lie that you have told to cover up the initial junk is exposed and then another is built. Then another. Then another. Then another. Until finally you have become this shell of what you formerly were. You can’t deal with the person in the mirror because the façade has become greater than what you believe lies beneath. 

But, as always, there’s hope! There’s a way to remove that façade brick by brick, exposing all that is underneath for cleansing. The only way is to fall at the feet of the Creator and be honest with Him and yourself. 

“If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:8-9 MSG‬‬

Who are you fooling? It’s certainly not God. “But it’s hard to do that. What will people think?” Do their opinions matter? Last I checked, I report to one person and He’s not clicking ‘like’ on my profile. He’s wondering why I haven’t come and crawled into Abba’s lap to talk about my troubles. 

The Word says in Psalm 55:22 to “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Instead of the front, how bout you use all of that energy talking to Abba God? It will be one of the most freeing feelings in the world. I guarantee it. 

Y’all be safe out there. 

To have and to hold*


*Disclaimer: Claim only applies if the following conditions are met: shower curtain is closed after using, dishes are rinsed and placed in the dishwasher, no open can drinks are left on countertops or refrigerator. Other terms and conditions may apply and be revealed without warning. 

I have known couples who have worked their relationships exactly like an iTunes Terms and Conditions section. One bride had a three-strike list and just one day before the wedding, the groom was teetering on strike two!

It’s these petty disclaimers that have whittled the institution of marriage down to a handshake between two people, but their fingers are crossed. 

Last week, Pope Francis came under fire for saying that “great majority of our sacramental marriages are null because they (the couple) say ‘yes, for the rest of my life’ but they don’t know what they are saying because they have a different culture.” Simply put, people are getting married for the moment and not for life. 

But that is what today’s society has transformed marriage into. “If it doesn’t work out, we can just split up and do our own thing again. No biggie.” However, those couples don’t realize that they are breaking covenant. 

Let’s talk covenant today. Now this is going to be a super simple explanation of covenant. A covenant is defined as an agreement, a bond that requires a certain conduct from those making it. 

Back in Biblical times, covenants were lifelong and sealed with the shedding of blood. Sealers of covenants would slaughter an animal, walk through the slaughter in a figure eight with both parties stating terms and the consequences of not following said terms (which was usually the shedding of…ahem…blood.)

So when does this apply to our marriage talk? Well, I’m glad you asked. Couples begin their covenant agreement by verbalizing their vows to a minister and in front of their family. Later that evening…they are to seal that covenant with the shedding of blood by having sex for the first time. That’s when the covenant has been signed, sealed, and delivered. 

As the Pope plainly put it, our culture has changed. People are having sex out of wedlock, they aren’t forming their covenant bonds with their spouse, but they are forming it with everyone else! Plus, as we said in an earlier post, divorce has become commonplace. 

Couples aren’t being taught the importance of the covenant that they are forming. Men and women are taking the reins and steering their relationships right into the ditch, simply because they don’t understand their roles within the covenant that they make. Titus 2:4-5 says, “…train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” 

Husbands are to love and to treat their wife like Christ treat the church. Check it out.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.

 Ephesians 5:28-29 NLT

With all that being said, your vows and the covenant that you make with God and your spouse are to be taken with the upmost importance. No disclaimers, conditions, or things that could sabotage the relationship. 

Ben Harper has a song called “Forever” that really fits with this topic. He talks about how he doesn’t want a year or two or four, he wants forever. Go check it out when you have time. 

These marriage blogs have been taking a little time to put together, so please bear with me as they trickle out. Thanks for reading, y’all be safe out there. 

Till death…err, something like that…


After struggling for a topic to write about, I finally settled on one that I have been meaning to talk about for a few weeks: marriage. This post has been sitting in my draft bin for the last two months, I just couldn’t get the pen to write the words needed. 

Now, I know that this is an extremely broad topic to handle in a 600-800 word blog, but this one is its gonna be the tip of the iceberg. So bear with me as we walk through a few of these together.

According to the numbers, forever isn’t very long. Numbers from the Barna Group state that one-third of all adults have ended a marriage. That means that one out of every three people have been a part of a divorce. The General Social Survey, a demographic study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, found that Christians, like adherents of other religions, have a divorce rate of about 42%. The rate among folks who aren’t associated with a religion in America is 50%. (USA TODAY article, 2011)

It used to be a lot harder to even think about splitting up. A king had to imprison a few ladies and create his own church to do it one time. 
In America during the 20th Century, divorce was not completely unheard of, but it was a lot more low key. In the 1950s, the divorce rate hovered around 15 to 20 percent and sometimes hit 11 percent. The drive upwards didn’t gain much ground until California governor Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce bill in 1969. This allowed spouses to end a marriage without probable cause. Marriage was officially no longer a holy union for life, but more like a toy loved on Christmas morning, then forgotten and discarded in the following weeks. 

Now, I love being married. It has been like having a sleepover with your best friend, which is pretty awesome.

But marriage isn’t always sunshine and roses. For some, it started out on a lie and just snowballed into a image to upkeep. Next thing they know, they hate one another and are just being civil until the kids grow up.

 Just looking around, it seems like divorce has just become the norm of our day to day. The biggest question is this: Has it become easier to give up on a marriage than it is to build one?

A big part of understanding your marriage is understanding covenant. When a couple enters into marriage, they are entering in a covenant with one another and, more importantly, with God. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 in the New Living  Translation says, ” A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

To translate, a person alone kinda sucks. Two people, let’s take on the world. Three…ironclad.

It was ordained in the very beginning. Adam + Eve + God = Holy Union. He literally pulled Eve from Adam’s side, signifying that husband and wife work side by side, no one is higher than the other. 

However, over time we have fallen into the same trap that ensnared Adam and Eve. We have been lied to and told that we know better than what has been instructed of us. We continually eat the apple and hear the snake laugh at our faults. 

But there’s hope! 

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.

Psalm 71:20-21 ESV

No matter how hopeless or crappy things seem, God sees you. He’s right there, ready to pull you and your spouse out. 

As we wrap this portion up, go listen to this song. It’s a good one that def applies to the situation.

Thanks for reading and y’all be safe out there. 

**Signal Lost**


Remember when this little guy would pop up on the TV screen? By the time I was old enough to realize what was going on on the tube, this was not as prevalent, but a nuisance nonetheless. 

Growing up in the country, we didn’t have satellite or cable. Our stations came over the air, from the translator in Childress. We had a whopping six stations: the big three, Fox, PBS and a wildcard station that varied with the mood of the translator operator. 

You always hoped and prayed those two weeks out of the year when the operator went on vacation that they remembered to keep the tower on. If not, us country folk watched static for seven to 10 days. 

When that happened, it was a crippling feeling. I mean, television was our lifeline to the outside world. Don’t get me wrong, we played outside A TON, but nothing replaced Saturday morning cartoons or weekday afternoon cartoons following a hard day at school. 

Sometimes we would lose signal, not because the operator wasn’t there, but because our antenna got blown a different direction. (It sucked going out to tune that thing. Yelling at your brother to make sure it was right, ugh!)

I was just thinking that we have a lot in common with that antenna than we think. We have a connection with God through His Son, Jesus. It’s not a physical connection, but a spiritual one. Kinda like those signals beaming to out antenna. 

There are times where our signal is clear, which is due to consistant communication, prayer, worship and reading the Word. We are getting what we need and things are all good.

Jeremiah 33:3 says that when we call into Him, He’s gonna show us great and mighty things that we don’t know anything about. You think you’ll get that without being tuned into Him?

But there’s a flip side to this. We tend to lose our signal with God. That could be through complacency, temptation or just flat out walking away to do our own thing. 

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

James 1:14-16 ESV

You see, that solution to keeping that signal a strong one is simple enough on paper, but we don’t live life on paper. We war with our flesh, the words of our peers, etc. 

I know sometimes it seems like your prayers don’t get any higher than the ceiling. That your signal to the Lord is so weak that you just about give up any and all of the things that once made your relationship so strong. Look at this verse:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 ESV

As these temptations come, and they will, we should not let them affect our signal or communication with our Creator. According to the verse above, we should be steadfast in our faith and our stance with Him. 

For more on this topic, drop some comments below. I would love to hear what you think. Y’all be safe out there. 

Our Cardboard Existence 


Have you ever worked with cardboard? It’s stiff, rigid and virtually unworkable. You can cut it into some pretty sturdy shapes. But once it’s cut into that shape…good luck changing it.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that we have become cardboard worshippers. We are stiff, rigid and unwilling to change from what we have cut ourselves into. The bad part about it is that we don’t even realize that it has happened. 

We walk through the doors of our place of worship, we glad-hand our way to our seat (God forbid anyone take our “spot”) and when the service starts, we become stiff and stale like one of those John Wayne cutouts. There is no worship. No engagement between us and the God who so desperately wants to have that relationship with us. We are too preoccupied with our phones, our clothes, who to attack next on Facebook and what kind of crap that person on the other side of the sanctuary is talking about us. 

Every week, we get two chances (or more) to gather with our fellow believers at the feet of God, a luxury that some people can only dream of, and worship unabashedly. But it is often taken for granted because it doesn’t fit into our cardboard existence that we have crafted for ourselves. Many are content just showing up, warming a seat and improving our stock in the eyes of our fellow man. 

This behavior isn’t new. In fact, Paul wrote to Timothy about it in 2 Timothy 3:1-9. 

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:1-5‬ MSG

So what do you do? Paul had the solution just a few lines later. 

“But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:14-17‬ ‭MSG‬‬

We have to be at constant war with our flesh so that we don’t fall into the trap that the devil has set for us. We have to engage with our God on a daily basis in our prayer life and quiet times. When it comes to worship, we should whole-heartedly give ourselves over to Him. Press in and glean from the Word that is set forth to us by God through your pastor. 

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Hebrews 4:16 NLT

With the world going just about as crazy as ever, now is the time for the Church to be as active as ever. To be lovers of people rather than lovers of self.  To pray and seek His face rather than seeking our own. To serve rather than wait for service. 

Take you cardboard life and trade it for a clay one, ready to be molded by the Potter’s hands. 

Thanks for reading. Likes, comments and shares are always appreciated. Y’all be safe out there. 

Why write?


I like to write. It’s kind of a passion of mine. For a while, I thought I was doing pretty good…well, a few weeks ago I got put in my place. 

You see, I started writing this blog back in January and I was all jazzed up about honing my craft and wanting to get people to read it. I’d spend countless minutes every day looking to see what views I had, where those views were and how I could increase my digital foot print. wanted to get people talking about what I wrote and what I thought. But I was wrong. 

It all came to a grinding halt a few weeks ago right before writing “When words just aren’t enough.” I was trying to figure out what to write about this particular topic and God said, “Why are you worrying about that? Are you writing for you or me?”

It blew me away. I had been doing me for so long, I forgot about doing it for Him. It reminded me of some lyrics that Lecrae sang in his song Background

So let me just shadow you, let me trace your lines

Matter of fact, just take my pen, here, you create my rhymes

‘Cause if I do this by myself, I’m scared that I’ll succeed 

And no longer trust in You, cause I only trust in me

I had to be reminded that I’m here to play the background, not sit front in center.

God has sent us here for a purpose, to further the Gospel. That means whatever we do, we should do it to glorify and edify Him. That includes our time, our talent and our treasure. He has gifted me with writing; therefore, I’ll use that to further His kingdom. Am I super awesome at it? Maybe not, but at least I’m using it to further the Kingdom rather than in the world. 

In Isaiah 43:7, it says that God created us for His glory! And 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 in The Messge Bible warns us about trusting in ourselves and not leaning on God. 

“These are all warning markers— DANGER!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”

All that being said, I don’t write these blogs for you, the reader. I write them for God with hopes that you’ll be encouraged and share it with someone else. That’s how the Word will spread. If it doesn’t apply to you, move on. If it challenges you, press in deeper. If you can’t care a hill of beans about what is here, don’t read it. 

So, whatever you do, whether it is turning a wrench, pushing papers or tending to your children at home, glorify God with it. You’ll be blessed. 


Thanks for reading! Y’all be safe out there. 

Time to put your man pants on


What makes a man? 

Many will say that it’s how much one knows. If you know how to change your oil, build a fence and can drive a motorcycle, you’re manly. If you’ve got an epic beard and can dress to the nines, you’re a man. 

Some will even think that if they gather their children around other men, they will learn to be a man by watching and being around them. Well…unless your child learns by osmosis, it’s a long shot.

I remember watching my dad and always knowing that it took a lot to become a man. It took blood, sweat and tears. As a child, my definition of a man was skinned knuckles, greasy pants and a dusty cap. A man was someone who provided for his family regardless the cost.

Wildman taught me how to be a man. I didn’t learn it anywhere else. He taught me how to be honorable and respectful, the traits of a great man. I remember leaving home knowing that my dad made me a man. 

But I was ill prepared. 

By the world’s standards, I was developing into a man, but something was missing. I was missing what it took to be a man spiritually. It took a my Heavenly Father to make me a complete man. 

Through His Word, I learned how to become the man the He created me to be. I learned that being a man was not only about the “art of manliness,” but that “a good man lays up an inheritance for his children and children’s children.” (Prov. 13:22)

A true man means to stand for what is true and to put away the childish things of life. He models his life after Jesus. He endures opposition and never loses heart (Hebrews 12:3.) He is a man of the Word, using Scripture to overcome temptation (Matthew 4:1-10.) He is a man of prayer (Mark 1:35.) He is a man of love and sacrifice (John 13:1.)

Essentially, it all boils down to living The Word in your everyday life. Showing it to your children, leading by example and not by mere words. 

Learning all that other stuff is well and good, but without modeling your life after Christ and living that day in and day out, you are only half a man. 

So fellas, where do you stand? Are you a man of God or just a poser who wants to talk a big game for the audience? Ladies, where does your man fall? Don’t get me wrong, I know that we are all works in progress.  But that’s the thing, there has to be progress, not a stalemate with the worldview. 

I encourage you men to press in and learn more about your role as a man in the Word. Ladies, pray for your man, whether you’re married or not. Pray that he understands his role as a Godly man. 

That’s all for today! As always, comments, shares and likes are appreciated. Y’all be safe out there. 

Coffee across town

  

I sit, 

in a booth, in a diner

on the far side of town.

My spoon is dirty,

I stir my coffee with a fork.

As I sip,

the bitter heat sears my memory.

Our wedding day,

where we smeared cake

across each other’s face.

Moving into our first house

and sliding through the kitchen

Saturday mornings in just our socks.

How could all of our good times

just slip away, like the moon at dawn?

As I reach the shallows of my fourth cup,

I glance across my ‘fortress of solitude,’

a couple catches my weary eye.

They are old, him in his red Member’s Only jacket,

and her with her blue hair and matching eye-shadow.

They aren’t talking,

they just sit, and eat their pecan pie.

They talk of their grandchildren,

and plans for a 50th anniversary.

Tears erupt.

This could work, we could work.

We don’t have to end with litigated papers.

I motion to the waitress- Jean, I think-

I pay the tab for me and the couple.

I pull myself from the booth,

and shuffle towards them.

“Thanks,” I say, “You saved us tonight.”

“But you’re by yourself,” they reply.

“No, I’m not,” I said, looking to my left hand.

I had a hard time getting something written today. So, here’s a poem I wrote nine years ago! 

I hope that this will offer just a smidge of hope for you if you are going through a rough patch. What this poem is lacking is the third strand that is vital to any marriage. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” That means that for any marriage to get where it needs to be, God needs to be added in there. 

The Word talks a lot about marriage and what it takes to be successful. What you need to do is crack the book open and read it! Learn what it means to be a good husband or wife. Study the covenant that you have between God and your spouse. Be encouraged!

Thanks for reading, y’all be safe out there. 

When words just aren’t enough.

  
Recently, we had a family in our church who lost a child unexpectedly. Like, he was good the day before, gone the next morning. It’s a terrible tragedy for this family. 

What do you say? You fight for the words of comfort to say to them. Eventually, you let the Spirit do the talking because mortal words have little comfort. You just let them cry on your shoulder and pray. 

I had a similar situation when I was in full-time ministry. A family of four were traveling home from visiting family Mexico when they rolled their vehicle. Only two of the four survived, the mother and teenage son passed. I was in my office when I heard the news and just couldn’t believe it. We prayed as a staff for the family and prepped for the services. Since this happened across the border, it was going to take some time for anything to happen. 

A day or two later, the father and his extended family came to plan the service. I had talked to him a handful of times before, but it was always just a little difficult due to the harsh language barrier. Our eyes met and I stood to greet him. He rushed to me and hugged me. We cried together and that was really just it. No words, just love. That was what he needed at the time. 

When a death in the family happens, it’s like your whole world just stops. Nothing else matters. Your mind definitely isn’t in the present and you just can’t find any words to illustrate how you feel. 

The outpouring of love and support is generally a great one. Your church family is around, food is getting dropped off and you just get to reflect. But what happens afterwards? 

That is when it hits. The reality of the whole situation sets in. They aren’t coming back and generally the outpouring that you had up to the funeral is gone. It’s just you and your thoughts. Where do you go from here? As I stated earlier, mortal words aren’t going to help.

It reminds me of when David lost his first son with Bathsheba. He cried and fasted while the child was dying, but when he gots news of the death, he changed. 

“David got up from the floor, washed his face and combed his hair, put on a fresh change of clothes, then went into the sanctuary and worshiped. Then he came home and asked for something to eat. They set it before him and he ate.”

‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭12:20‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Everyone was puzzled at what was going on. He just replied, “I can go to him, but he can’t come to me.” He took comfort in the fact that his son was in Heaven and one day, he was gonna see him again. 

You might be going through a loss in your family. It might be the loss of a child, a husband or some extended family. I want to encourage you to get off the floor, clean up and go worship. Nothing in the world can replace the loss that you’ve experienced, but God can fill that hole with His love and supernatural peace that passes all understanding. 

Maybe you are on the outside looking in to this kind situation, just get in there and love on the hurting folks. Be those hands and feet to the body like we’ve been called to do. Sometimes all it takes is a hug and a smile to let them know you’re there. 

As always, thanks for reading and comments/likes are appreciated. Y’all be safe out there. 

A tire guy, a lunch lady and Jesus walk into a room…

  
Last week, we had a blow out on the crane at work. It was an outer tire, so we were able to limp to our location and call for a quick change. 

Since I have been in the oilfield for a little while now, I know that it is a little bit of a challenge to find us sometimes. My coworkers and I figured it would be an hour at least to get the tire changed. Our world was about to be rocked. 

Thirty minutes after I placed the call for the change, a tire truck pulls up on location. Out waddles a rather large man who looked like he was in no position to be changing tires. We just knew that we added about 40 minutes on our wait. 

He stared at the tire, grabbed two levers from the back of his truck, popped the busted tire off and had the new one on and aired up in 10 minutes. Just like that, he smiled and was gone. I stood amazed. 

As I picked my jaw up from the dusty ground, I thought, “Man, that guy knows his stuff.”

While walking in United this weekend, I saw a face from my college days. It was the lunch lady, Viver Loving. It’s pretty rare for me to forget a face, but I knew I would never forget her because I saw her everyday of my first year in college. 

She was old then, now it’s been a decade. But the years have been kind and she was shopping on her own with a cane in tow. The Spirit just nudged me to talk to her. 

I introduced myself and told her thank you for cooking for me all those years ago. Her eyes lit up and her reply hit me hard. She said, “You’re very welcome, I just loved cooking for you kids. It was just great. You have made my day today.” We said our goodbyes and went on. She didn’t only know her craft, but she loved it. 

You see, as people we tend to get dissatisfied with our surroundings fairly easily. We want to move on as soon as things get hard or we disagree with someone. What happened to growing where you were planted?

These people knew their craft and loved it. They grew where they were planted. Now I can’t say whether or not these two were following God’s instruction in their life, but they were going to be the best tire guy or the best lunch lady there ever was. 

I was always taught that same thing growing up. Wildman would say, “If you’re chopping weeds, you be the best. If you’re cleaning toilets, you be the best.” Little did I know, the Wildman was pouring a little bit of the Word in me. 

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is talking about a husband and wife’s relationship, but take out marriage and place work in there and you have an excellent reminder of how you should act. 

“And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.”

1 Cor. 7:17

Grow where you have been planted! God is going to guide you through this season. Are you having trouble believing that where you are is really where you are supposed to be? In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it says “for everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” 

Grow where you have been planted!

Use this time to hone your craft. To get better at what you’re doing right now. God is using you in this season. He could be using this as a stretching time, a growing time, or it could be a place where you just need to seek and draw closer to Him. 

I tell ya what, this preached to me big time. Hopefully, it’s gonna do the same for you. Thanks for reading. Y’all be safe out there.