Seek _______ Well

Seek Well.

Seek what, well?

It seems that’s a question worth asking.  What are we seeking? What are we putting our energy towards?  For what are we striving?

There are many things we can seek on a daily basis.  The typical vices are there…money, fame, etc.  The “under-the-surface” vices are there as well, and these are harder to identify – seeking other people’s approval, for example, is one that catches me often.

But as Christians, we’re instructed to seek one thing well, and everything else will come with it (Matthew 6:33).  Seeking Jesus first, and the things He desires for us, is Christian Living 101…and 201, 301, 401, etc.  We never graduate from needing to be still and seek Jesus.

Friends of mine began getting away to a campground a few years back and spending time together, and spending time alone with God.  It was the beginnings of Refresh, a spiritual retreat for guys who need and/or want to get away and listen to God.

The concept is the same even though the vision has grown.  Seek Well is now an established rhythm for many.  It’s a chance to be still and listen to Jesus.  A chance to seek Him well.

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This past week I was able to get away again – to be still and listen, to seek well.

It’s a rhythm I hope to never lose because it’s a rhythm that will ensure that I am putting aside all of the other things I could seek and focusing on the only thing I need to seek…Jesus, my King.

It’s worth spending a minute or two and asking yourself, what are you seeking today?


You look just like your Dad

Growing up I would always here this phrase.

“You look just like your dad!”

For me, it’s a compliment.  My dad’s a good looking man.  And for my dad, I’d imagine it’s a compliment as well.  I’m guessing there’s a sense of pride parents feel when their kid looks like them, has the same mannerisms, character traits, and even personalities…of course, all the good aspects of those things.


And now that the news is out that I’m going to be a dad, hearing those words would be music to my ears.  Except if we have a girl.  I’d make an ugly girl.  (For her to have my wife’s looks, however, would be hitting the jackpot).

This didn’t have spiritual implications for me until recently when my Grandma told me, yet again, that I looked like my dad.  Of course, I said “thank you” but I couldn’t stop the mind-drift that was happening – thinking of all the ways that, as Christians, a phrase like this would have massive implications.

The Bible says in Genesis 1:27 that you and I were created in the image of God…our Heavenly Father.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

That doesn’t mean we all look alike – I gave my thoughts on that in my last post.  What it does mean is that we all have the fingerprints of God…His attributes, His character, His personality.  Though we portray those each uniquely, it’s in the portraying that we begin to look most like our creator.

Figuring out who God made us to be and then portraying those unique attributes to the world is perhaps one of the best uses of our time (along with the Great Commission, of course…but even this, I believe, helps us accomplish the G.C).  In so doing this, we show off our Heaven Father.

We show off the kind nature of God when we’re kind.
We show off the forgiving nature of God when we forgive.
We show off the creative nature of God when we create.
We show off the _____________ nature of God when we _____________.

You can fill in the blank better than I could because you have attributes of God that I don’t.  And whenever you step fully into those and be who God created you to be, you’re looking more and more like your Heavenly Father.

And I’d imagine there’s a sense of Godly Pride that He feels when his creation desires to look more and more like Him.

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?

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.


Under Construction

Since moving to Chicago, I’ve really enjoyed the neighborhood we moved into.  Not too big, but not too small.  There’s room to run some miles, get a good bike ride in, etc.

Near the back of the neighborhood is a park that’s easy to run to and run around once there.  The past few months, however, it’s been closed for Construction.  They are expanding the neighborhood, and doing a lot of work to the park.

It’ll be closed most of the summer.  When I ran by it the other day, I thought, “Oh man, what a bummer.”


After thinking about it for more than 2 seconds, however, I realize it may not be as big of a bummer as I first thought.  Construction means progress and process.  And progress/process usually means growth.

My mind often goes to direct application to my Christian life…

As a Christian, I believe God has saved me, is saving me, and will save me.  I decided to follow Jesus in 8th Grade (He saved me).  Since then, however, I’ve been in process – under construction – continually being molded and shaped into who God created me to be (He is saving me).  One day, when Jesus returns, the redemption story will be complete and we’ll be restored to full wholeness in Christ – completely saved, without sin, sickness or death (He will save me).

It’s the middle “saving” that can be frustrating sometimes.  Being under construction is not fun…but just like the neighborhood park, construction means progress and process. And even though there’s delays, setbacks and obstacles…there’s also victories.  And ultimately, construction doesn’t last forever.  Heaven does.

Philippians 1:6

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.


Reflecting vs. Dwelling

A friend asked me recently, “How often do you think about your diagnosis/cancer journey?”

It’s been 3 years, today, since I was diagnosed.  How often do I think about it?  Often.

There two main reasons for that.  The first reason is quite practical. There are scars on my body from two surgeries that weren’t there before.

Practicality doesn’t necessarily mean mundane.  Reflecting on my scars can be an exercise in worship, because it’s a reminder that God brought me through some difficult times.  Elevation Worship wrote a song a few years ago that deeply affected me the first time I heard it.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Thank You for the scars I bear
They declare that You are my healer
How could I have seen your strength
If You never showed me my weakness?

I was able to see God’s strength in that season of my life because I was brought to weakness.  Seeing my scars allows me to remember that.

Beyond practicality, I reflect on that season of my life so that it’s not wasted.  I want that season to be one of many things God uses to shape and mold me into who He created me to be.  That won’t happen unless I reflect on it.

Reflecting and Remembering.

I think they’re essential ingredients to the Christian life.  All throughout the Old Testament we see the practice of remembering.  The Psalmist will remember the good deeds of the Lord and it will give him strength.  The Israelites will fail to remember God’s provision and it causes them gripe, complain and eventually turn away to false gods.

This is one of the reasons I journal.  It’s a built-in way for me to reflect and remember.  I recount the ways God has been faithful to me in the past, and that practice gives me strength to trust Him in the future.

Reflecting is different than dwelling.  Dwelling on something in the past isn’t always a good thing.  Reflecting on it sets the expectation that things will change because of it.

So today, 3 years after my diagnosis day, I reflect…expecting that my life, way of thinking and behavior is different because of what happened that day.

You can read more about my journey here, here…and here.

What I learned: Divine Direction

I’m a sermon junkie.  Many of my friends know this.  I’ll listen to most sermons I can get my hands on.  And over the years, I’ve grown to really love listening to certain pastors.  Craig Groeschel is one of those pastors.

Aside from preaching, he’s also an author.  I haven’t read all of his books, but the ones I’ve read have been very beneficial in changing the way I think.  His latest – Divine Direction – is no different.


The book is framed around 7 decisions that will change your life.

  • Start
  • Stop
  • Stay
  • Go
  • Serve
  • Connect
  • Trust

Craig goes through each decision, what it means, and how it has the potential to change your story if you’ll let it.  Each chapter is full of stories, quotes, life-lessons, scripture and application.  Because I highly recommend you grab this book, it’d be counter-productive for me to give a detailed explanation for every chapter.

The one chapter (or decision) I will highlight, is the one about connecting.  Craig suggests that we are potentially one connection away from changing our world – if we would only reach out and connect with the right people.

He explains there are three types of friends with whom we can connect.  Those who make us want to be better humans just by being around them; Those who help us fight temptation when we are weak; and Those who will tell us the truth no matter what.

This chapter got me thinking about all of the incredible people in my life.  I’m blessed to have people I can turn to for encouragement & inspiration, strength in the midst of temptation, and the truth no matter how it makes me feel.

However, it has also caused me to think about the next connection I need to make.

Who might God be putting in my path? Who might God want me to connect with, so that I can be an encouragement to them?  My prayer is to have open eyes to see and an open heart to connect.