God Gives Promises…and People

This past weekend in Elevate I taught a message about God’s promises.  The premise was simple:

No one person is at 100% promises kept…except God. Therefore, we should fully trust in God’s promises!


I opened the talk building a case as to why we live in a world where no one operates at 100% promises kept.  Of course, I had to talk about the guarantee Rasheed Wallace made in Game 2 of the Conference Finals in 2004.  He blurted out, “We will win game 2” and made a promise to the entire city of Detroit. Luckily it panned out for him…but it doesn’t always work that way.

It was a solid case, because it was true.  This doesn’t make people bad, it just means we’re all in the same boat when it comes to this reality.  God is the only one in history to have never broken a promise.

Fast forward a few days and I was listening to Bob Goff’s new book “Everyone, Always” on Audible.  He was talking about God’s promises, and he said this line:

God doesn’t just give us promises, he gives us people!

My mind started racing.

But wait.  I just gave a talk about how people let us down and the only person that’s batting .1000 when it comes to “promises made vs. promises kept” is God.

Just then I felt the nudge of God whisper, “You forgot about grace.”

Sure, people mess up and break promises.  But people also show up and are great examples of God’s love.

While what I said was still true — only God operates at 100%, I was a bit more polarizing than I needed to be. Goff’s point brought me back to the middle where grace often is…the middle ground that says even though we often fail, God still uses us to be there for each other.

One of the many promises we can bank on is God always being with us…and sometimes He may use a friend or family member who is consistently showing up in times of need to showcase that promise.

Even though your friend, or your parents, or your spouse, will eventually break a promise (big or small), God can still use them to bring you through hard times, or show you grace + forgiveness when you stumble or do something dumb.

The promises of God can be fully trusted, and sometimes God uses other people, even though we’re flawed, to come through on those promises.

Grateful for grace.

Authentic Shot

In January I attended another Seek Well refresh retreat.  These have been a part of my quarterly rhythm for a few years now, and it’s a fantastic pause in my schedule to be with friends, spend time listening to Jesus, and enjoy the outdoors.

During that time, we were shown a video that captured the essence of what I’ve been feeling and processing through — being unique.

It’s a scene from the Legend of Bagger Vance.  Matt Damon is the golfer, and Will Smith is his Caddy.  Smith encourages Damon to not simply “hack away” at the golf ball…but to find the one authentic shot that’s his…that’s in harmony with the playing field, and live in that rhythm.

This resonates so much with me…and perhaps it will with you.

I think God created us with an authentic shot, and when we’re living outside of that authentic shot, it’s as if we are hacking away at life simply trying to get by.

My encouragement to you this week would be to take time, get away with Jesus, and listen to what He might say to you in relation to this. What authentic shot did He create you to play?  What does “hacking away” look like for you?  What gets in the way of you stepping into the rhythm of the authentic shot?


I was watching TV and a commercial came on.  I had seen this commercial before, but this time I was drawn in.

The scene opens with men on an assembly line…almost like robots; they all look the same (Portraying that humans are simply cookie cutter versions of one another).

Then…out of the assembly line a head pops out.

He’s not content with being like everyone else. He wants to be different. And so he jumps off the line and begins to escape.

Alarms are going off. Security guards are scrambling. The man is running for his life…and for seemingly his ability to be unique from everyone else. I was so drawn in. Will he escape?

I was quickly snapped back to reality when the logo for Gillette Shaving Cream came on.

Go figure.

But I’ll tell you what it was that drew me in like I was watching a blockbuster movie in the theater.

It was my own desire to be unique; To be different than everyone else; To be the only me.

I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in this. I believe deep down there’s a desire in all of us to know we’re unique…that we weren’t just carelessly made from cookie cutter templates.

It’s a human longing.

It’s also a spiritual truth that dates back all the way to Genesis 1 & 2.  God creates man and woman in His image.  His image isn’t cookie-cutter, though.  How is that possible?  I’m not exactly sure, because I’m not Him.  But I do believe He’s infinite…and so creating infinitely unique individuals doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.

All throughout scriptures we see glimpses of uniqueness in each individual.  Sticking with the Old Testament theme, we see the Temple being built by people who were uniquely and purposely gifted to do different things (wood working, metal working, etc).

Additionally, when Nehemiah took the task of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, he called people that had specific and unique gifts to do specific and unique things.  Every one in Scripture is unlike everyone else in Scripture.  It’s just the way things are.

Ironically though, uniqueness doesn’t come naturally. 

The marketing team that put together that commercial was able to identify a tension that most humans struggle with – settling for blending in with everyone else, or doing the work that uniqueness requires.

Make no mistake, they both require work.  It’s exhausting work to constantly compare myself with other people and to always second guess myself based on what other people think.

It’s also work to spend time listening to Jesus, discover my unique wiring, and figure out how God is calling me to implement that uniqueness.

My encouragement to you (and me) is to do the work of discovering your uniqueness, and like the guy in the commercial, run away from the temptation to do what everyone else is doing.

We’re not OK, and that’s OK…but let’s get better, together.

Have you ever been to a counseling session?  I have.  Multiple times.   It’s incredible.

I’ve been to group counseling as well.  That’s great, too.

The people I hang around and work with are actively trying to take the negative stigma out of counseling and normalize it.  I sincerely hope it’s a trend elsewhere, too.  It needs to be.

Sitting in the counselor’s chair is admitting that you’re not OK and there’s areas of your life you wish were more healthy.  When you do that there’s immense freedom that overwhelms you.  A freedom that breaks the chains of performance-based living.


I was talking to a friend recently and commenting on how, in America, there’s a desire to be seen as all-put-together (probably in other parts of the world too, but America is my context).  We live in a performance-based culture, where everyone wants to be seen when they’re at the top of their game.

Even though it’s understood that no one is perfect, we’ve created a society where perfect is what’s presented.  Airbrushed images, makeup to cover blemishes, scripted talk-shows, etc.  If it’s on camera or print, then it’s gotta be perfect.

The byproduct of this culture is when a less-than-perfect area of our lives presents itself, our first — and loudest — desire is to hide it.  No one can know that we’re not perfect. No one can know that we struggle.  And so it becomes a secret.

When sin becomes secret, it secretly grows.

Whatever you’re struggling with will grow, even though it seems as though you’re managing it.  As long as you keep it a secret, it’s gaining power behind the scenes.

James, the brother of Jesus, talks about this. He penned these words (James 1:14-15):

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

The word “allowed” sticks out to me.  James knows that because of Jesus, sin doesn’t have to grow…but it will if we allow it.  If we keep on hiding the failures, struggles, and sins that haunt us, they’ll eventually grow to a point where we no longer have control of them.  They’ll find a way out.

I don’t know the details, but I’m guessing this is one of the reasons multiple people are being outed for inappropriate behavior towards women.  We live in a culture that makes it easy for men to objectify women.  If we, as men, hide that sin long enough and pretend that we have control over it, it’ll eventually take us out.

My friend, Noah, is releasing a book soon – and just wrote an article for the Lansing Post – about this very subject.

The sooner we can all admit that we’re not OK, the better.  The sooner we humble ourselves, stop photoshopping our flaws so it appears we have none, and come to grips with the fact that we’re not Superman (or Superwoman), the sooner the performance-based, portray-only-perfect culture will begin falling apart.

We must begin normalizing our pain, struggles, failures and areas in need of growth.  If done in healthy community, those things that once hid in the shadows and had power over us will be brought into the light and the power deflated.

But that’s just step one.

It’s not enough just to all huddle together and chant, “We’re not OK! We’re not OK!”  The reason our Heavenly Father sent Jesus was so that, by His Grace, we can be free from the power of sin and take steps towards health.  We can join others in community and help each other grow.

If all men ever did was admit to each other that they struggle with lust, and they don’t have a healthy view of women, but never did anything about it, then nothing would change.

Accidental growth doesn’t exist.  It must be intentional.

Apply this to finances.  I’m a spender.  If all I ever did was confess, “I spend!” but then never hold myself to a budget, I’d never move forward in my finances.

We must grow.  Because even though it’s OK that we’re not OK, we were created to continually take steps towards living like Jesus.  To settle into complacency is to cheapen the grace Jesus bought us.  As Bill Hybels often says, “God has only ever given us His best.”

So here’s to throwing away perfection, setting down the photoshop brush, locking arms with other flawed humans, and running after Jesus.

We’re not OK, and that’s OK…but let’s get better, together.