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.

Top 3 reasons I Journal (and why you should too)

I was never into journaling.  Maybe it’s because I was never good at it.  Or perhaps, more likely, I had not developed the discipline it takes to sit down each day and write.  However, since developing the habit, I’ll likely never turn back.


Here are my top 3 reasons why. And I don’t think these benefits only apply to me.  I truly believe everyone should begin journaling in some way or another.

  1. Allows me to process my thoughts.  I don’t really have a template for journaling…but if I did, it would look a lot like what Michael Hyatt blogged about.  When I open my journal and commit some minutes to it, I gain clarity.  It could be a situation at work, home, or in my own mind – but writing down my thoughts allows me to process them in a way unlike anything else.
  2. Allows me to look back & learn from the past. There are specific journals for this – the 5 year journal is one of them.  I don’t use those – I just have a practice of “every-once-in-a-while” I go back and read previous entries.  Reading something I wrote 365 days ago puts most of life into perspective.  I can read what I was praying about…and then see how God answered that prayer.  I can read the things I was worried about…and then see how it worked out in the end.
  3. It disciplines my time with Jesus. This was actually the reason I started journaling, and it has proven over and over to be effective.  Putting pen to paper while spending time with Jesus has helped me in two ways.  First, it allows me to write down my prayers, which helps me stay focused.  Second, it allows me to write down thoughts about Scripture, which helps me engage with the text more.

So, those are my reasons I’ll likely never stop journaling.

Do you journal?  What “top reason” would you add to the list?

By Faith…

was thinking today about all that we, as christians, believe.
conclusion:  we believe some pretty wacky stuff.

by faith we believe

that behind this created world is a loving creator
a virgin gave birth to God’s son, Jesus.
Jesus lived a perfect life (didn’t sin), died on a cross, and rose again.
that by rising again Jesus defeated death…so that we can live.
that anyone who calls on Jesus will be saved

that hell actually exists, and that it’s gonna suck
that Christians make up the Church.
that as the Church, we have access to the Holy Spirit.
that this is the same Holy Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead.
that through Jesus we are “adopted sons and daughters” into God’s family.

that the power we have (God in us) is greater than the power that’s in the world.
that Satan is really real and he’s really mean.
that the Bible is the only inspired word of God.
that one day the world as we know it will cease to exist.
that Jesus is coming to our world again…this time to reign forever.

that no matter what a person has done, Jesus loves them.
that he died for them.
that no one is beyond grace.
that anyone can be redeemed.

I believe all of that.

Get on with it

Lazarus was dead 4 days before Jesus showed up.
it was common knowledge that at day 4, the body has already started the process of decay
so when Jesus said “roll the stone away,” you can imagine the looks on everyone’s faces
the people had every reason to not roll the stone away
it was over for Lazarus

so many times in our lives we think it’s over
but its not

the decay of sin has an effect on everyone
we all make stupid choices
choices that make us feel like “it’s over” for us
but Jesus is “the resurrection and the life”
it’s not over until He says its over
so go ahead, roll the stone away…get on with living

God spells love “T.I.M.E.”

recently i took a day and just went away.  my goal was to connect with God on a level where there were no distractions, nothing around me that needed my attention.  so i turned my phone to “airport” mode, got my Bible, the book “Deep-Rooted in Christ” and my guitar…drove 40 minutes north and ended up at Kensington Metro Park.

this was my view.

pretty amazing.  i took this next pic cause i thought it looked sweet.

overall i had a fantastic day…just me and Jesus…talking about how I can become more like Him.

how long has it been since you had some “Jesus Time?”

spontaneous in a never-changing kind of way

so our rustproof team (for plymouth and saline) is going through the 4 gospels in 40 days.  one of my favorite parts of this process is reading about the healings of Jesus…specifically how He healed 3 blind men.

  • one man got mud put on his face (after Jesus had made the mud with spit)
  • one man got two doses of mud…maybe because the first dose wouldn’t have taught him anything
  • and then one man simply heard the words “see,” and he was able to see.

Jesus never healed the same way twice.  I love the creativity.  I love the spontaneity.  we serve a God who changes things up…but is never changing.  we serve a god that is always creating, yet remains the same.

Jesus is spontaneous in a never-changing kind of way

Every time I sin… [part.two]

i have learned it’s not enough to just revel in the fact that Jesus forgives us when we sin.  while that is the most glorious truth, we shouldn’t view that as a permission slip from heaven to keep on sinning (Romans 6:1).  so what can we do?  how do we make sure that our temptations to sin don’t get the best of us?

  • stay connected to Jesus (John 15:5).  daily disciplines such as bible reading, solitude and prayer help keep us focused.  the more we spend time with Jesus, the more we realize who WE are in light of who HE is…which keeps us very humble.  it’s hard to be selfish (the root of most sins) when we’re humbled.
  • when tempted…RUN.  1 Peter 5:8 describes Satan as a roaring lion just waiting to devour its prey.  Peter is trying to paint a clear picture that we shouldn’t hang around when temptation shows its face.  that’s how David got into trouble…he was somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be, so it was easier for him to do things he wasn’t supposed to do (2 Samuel 11).
  • know your enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18).  any good sports team will take time to study their opponent.  the bible makes it clear that we have an opponent (Satan, demons, our own evil desires, etc).  the more we know how our enemy operates, the less likely we are to give in to the temptations he throws at us.  you should also know that Satan is not very creative…he knows our particular weak points, and he’ll keep pressing those buttons as long as they work.  so stay alert…know your weak points and protect against them.

be encouraged.  Jesus was tempted, yet he never sinned.  in the heat of temptation, he used scripture as his weapon of choice.  so today, may your mind be filled with the words of hope so that your normal temptations won’t feel as strong.


you can’t fool god

i, along with a few others, am reading through the gospels in 40 days.  in matthew 25 i came across this passage that i’ve read many times, but this time something new stuck out.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

if i was a shepherd, i would hope that it would be very easy for me to distinguish between a sheep and a goat.  i imagine it’s the same with God.  those who aren’t living for Him are not fooling Him.  He knows a goat when he sees it.  i pray that my life is lived in such a way that it is obvious that Jesus lives in me.