Coming Soon…

Mike —  October 11, 2016 — Leave a comment

I’ve just ordered a proof of a prayer journal I’ve been working to publish. Once I’ve had a chance to review it and make sure everything’s where it needs to be, it will be available to purchase! It’s been a long process, but all that’s left will be done in just a couple weeks or so, and I’m excited to see how God will use the journals to move in people’s lives.

I’d love it if you would join me in praying for the launch over the next couple weeks. Not that there’s a book tour and launch party type of stuff happening, but pray that as the book goes out, God will be at work. And of course, keep watching to find out when and where you can get your copy!


Political Fear Vs. Faith

Mike —  September 28, 2016 — 1 Comment

I mostly stay out of political issues (at least the ones that are purely political). I’ve rarely seen any fruit grow out of the rare occasion that I have entered into political debates of some sort. This may be the source of my current dilemma:

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how the two major parties have provided us with the two current candidates. How did the States of America become so disUnited that Clinton and Trump are even in a conversation about the Presidential office? Of the millions of individuals who could potentially run for President, how did these two emerge as the final options?

Obviously, I don’t know either of them personally. Neither do you, so let’s not pretend… But based on track record and what gets reported (which is getting very difficult to accurately weigh these days), how does anyone of any party have any hope that either of them will be good for our country? Between the mountains of litigation and investigation, along the trails that run from Benghazi to Watergate to imminent domain disputes and unpaid invoices for shoddy work, what exactly have these people done to make us think the job of President is a good fit? Do they even actually understand what the job of the President is? Do we? I have friends on the left and on the right who are terrified that “the other” is going to become President and destroy our country.

Honestly, I have little to no hope that the next president of our country will do much to strengthen our Union… But I’m ok. I’m not losing sleep about this. (We’ve survived bad presidents and their idiotic policies before, right?)

I can sleep at night because my hope is not in a President. No president will solve the issues that are threatening our nation. No president will bridge the fissures in our society that seem to grow at an alarming rate. No president can fix what is broken in humanity. Only Jesus can do that.

And so I hope. I pray. I imitate Him and love people that don’t deserve it (like others have done for me when I don’t deserve it). I follow Him and seek to reconcile everything I can to Him. And I’m calling the church to stop being afraid. If I have ever had any kind of spiritual influence with or impact on you, I’m asking you to take a deep breath, remember who He is, and stop spreading fear. Pray that God would fill you with the courage of real faith that has allowed His people to change the world for thousands of years. Pray that God would move in His church to heal the brokenness in our nation. Pray that He would move in His church to show people that they matter because they’re made in His image. Then, go introduce your neighbor to Someone who can actually change the heart of a man and build a better culture out of him. Go a little further and show your city what a difference God is making in your own life. Put your faith to work and let Him love people through you so deeply that they can stop being afraid, too.

Proud or Priceless

Mike —  August 31, 2016 — Leave a comment

This summer, I was excited to take my high school students to see For King and Country while we were in California for CIY Move. The concert would be coming toward the end of what I anticipated being a great week, but a long one. I’m not a concert guy, so I was expecting to enjoy watching my daughter and the rest of our students enjoying themselves more than I’d enjoy the concert itself. I should write more about this later, but the show was incredible! Engaging, meaningful, inspiring… and way more fun than any other concert I’ve been to.

One of the things that I appreciated so much was the message of hope and chivalry contained in the song Priceless. Our girls are being taught to find their identity and value in ways that will never really allow them to know their true worth. Popular songs like Sit Still, Look Pretty encourage girls to refuse to settle for being some boy’s trophy (which is great), but there’s also a lot of pain and emptiness when you get to be queen of your own world and discover that’s not what you really wanted after all. (I’m not picking on that one song in particular, it just happened to be on the radio earlier & it’s really catchy.) It’s concerning that behind the facade of empowerment lies a prideful spirit that does not lead us nearer to the heart of God. Don’t settle for being proud, when in fact, you are priceless!

We are, male and female, made in God’s image. God is at work to restore that image in all of us, but the pride that says “I don’t need you or anybody else.” keeps us from seeing that. By pridefully declaring our self-sufficiency, we push away the One who is actually sufficient and all those He’d like to work through to rescue, heal, and fulfill us. Priceless has been a great reminder of human value that steers clear of the pride that so often trips us up. Something to think about…

I have not seen an official video for Priceless, but there is a trailer for their film by the same name. I hope there will be a video at some point because they’ve really done a great job on the other videos I’ve seen released. You should check those out, too.

From Trash To Treasure

Mike —  June 14, 2016 — Leave a comment

I have a problem. I maintain that it’s a good problem, but still… a problem.

It’s hope.

Hope is my problem.

I can’t stop hope.

I can’t look at someone or something and write them off as a lost cause.

This morning, I took a truckload of crap that’s been cluttering up my yard for way too long to the dump. Why did I have all this stuff laying around? Hope. That rotted railroad tie might be useful for something… If I can get a few more Christmas tree trunks, I could make something… That block of scrap wood could be turned into a… something. It’s not bad enough that I’ve let all this stuff clutter up my yard/patio/garage/shop/etc. It’s worse.

As I was loading up, trying to maneuver 8 feet of waterlogged timber into place, I stopped to evaluate if I REALLY needed to get rid of it. As I was holding this filthy, heavy, rotting corpse of something once useful, I (I’m not making this up) stopped and stood for several seconds trying desperately to find some legitimate justification for NOT dumping it! I have a problem.

I can’t see trash.

Oh, I can look at it. But I always see more. I always see potential for something else. As frustrating as this can be (just ask my wife) in the “workshop”, when it comes to people, I’m glad I have this problem. It’s allowed me to see beyond the Facebook facade and the haze of smoke and the hard stares and razor scars and blank eyes and concealing hoods and accolades and great test scores and smiles and makeup and so many other things that have concealed some of the amazing students I’ve known and grown to call friends. Hope has somehow let me see what could be, not just what was.

God can always change what was. I may not ever get around to making “something” out of the debris (let’s just call it what it is) that I’ve held on to, but I believe with every fiber of my being that God can bring hope to any situation. I’ve watched it happen. He can pick up the filthy, rotting corpses of our lives and breathe new life into our lungs. He can breathe hope anywhere…

even in homes wrecked by alcohol and drugs and the abuse that so often comes with them.

even in journalists that can’t seem to agree on what facts are actually facts.

even in election cycles that drag on forever and divide us from each other.

even in families mourning the tragic loss of a child.

even in war ravaged nations and villages.

even in Orlando.

even in me.

This world is so broken. Humanity is so in need of hope. Would you let Him breathe hope through you today? Look through the clutter and noise, find someone who’s hurting or hiding or just in need of someone who will really SEE them, then hope. You just might get to watch transformation take place before your very eyes!

Hi. It’s been a while… Sorry for that. Circumstances have caused a great deal of self editing as I’ve been wrestling with them. But life continues to happen, and I’ve been working on a new project that I’m going to need some help with. I hate to ask after not sharing anything here for a couple months, but I have to. For years, friends and family have encouraged me to write a book. Several of you who read this blog regularly have been the most vocal in your support. Now is the time that I’m hoping that support will translate into the funds needed to get this project off the ground.

I have a guided journal that I’ve used a few times with groups of students that has been helpful to them in developing a deeper life of prayer and I want to make it available to a wider audience. I’ve expanded it a bit and added some elements to help spark the journalers thinking about prayer. But it will cost a little more than I can cover to get this published in the right format, so I’ve started a Kickstarter to help with part of the upfront costs.

So much of our life grows out of who we think we are.

Who we think we are should be informed by our communication with the One who made us and knows us better than we know ourselves.

You are who God says you are.

But how do you know who God says you are? Can you learn to listen to that ‘still, small voice’? This project will help people look into what the Biblical writers thought about prayer and just how they conversed with God, and also guide readers/journalers in some creative steps into that conversation as well.

Check out the funding page if you’d like to help give this bird wings.

Your Journey or His?

Mike —  March 29, 2016 — Leave a comment

Have you ever noticed how life often rises or falls to the level of your own expectations? The story you play over and over in your head causes ever deepening grooves that begin to block your view of any other perspective than the one you’ve already seen. Your experience teaches you all too well how events will unfold. After all, we’ve heard this story before, haven’t we?

And so we settle. We settle into the sameness and stop noticing those unique flashes all around where life breaks through the monotony. Oh there’s something to be said for the mundane… we can’t live without it. But I don’t want to get stuck in it, either. I don’t want to settle into taking all the same routes to all the same places I’ve already been. There are just too many places to go and people to see. Too many adventures waiting to be had…

His Dreams

What about you? Is God nudging you out of comfort and into some unknown adventure? Does He want to stretch you and take you further in your journey than you’ve ever dared to go before? What new horizons does He want to show you? Can I help you get there somehow? You might never find out if you don’t take that next step in front of you. Go ahead. His dreams for you are greater than you can imagine. Go live them. Don’t settle.

I Am At Work

Mike —  March 15, 2016 — Leave a comment

I was humbly reminded this weekend that I am not what I once was. You’ve probably had those moments, too, when you notice that you’ve changed… the old really has passed away and the new has come! Someone commented to me about how I’d done something so “naturally” and all I could think was how it wasn’t natural at all. What he’d seen me do was only the result of God invading the shaky pieces of my life and transforming them into a solid mosaic made to put Him on display. Natural? No way.

I’m grateful that God’s grace has been working to transform me. It’s good for the world that I’m not what I used to be. It’s good for my family that I continue to become what God is shaping me to be. I’m also grateful that I’ve had people around me throughout my life who didn’t just see what I was, but what I could be!

Would you find someone this week who may need reminded of what could be and help them see it, too? Maybe it’s a kid who feels like they’re not going to make it through school… Maybe it’s a young adult who wonders if he’ll ever make it out of your basement… Maybe it’s a young mom who feels like she’s drowning in an avalanche cheerios and toddler socks…

Fence Musings-3

Remind them of what grace can do. When I AM is at work, we are never stuck as we are… transformation is right around the corner and anything is possible. Help them see His image beneath the homework and apathy and insecurity. Help them see that they are enough because God’s grace is enough.

Would you help someone see themselves the way God sees them…

What Are You Fighting For?

Mike —  February 25, 2016 — Leave a comment

I’ve been reading through some old journals over the past several months. Sometimes, I kick myself for letting me get stuck in some of the same patterns of thinking… other times, I thank God for how He’s worked through circumstances in my life. It’s been an interesting exercise to say the least…


I generally like to keep the peace, but today I came across an entry from several years ago that I titled “Things I Fight For…” that looks like this:

  • The church is not a building.
  • Youth ministry is a missionary endeavor, not babysitting for church kids.
  • Young people need connections with adults.
  • Discipleship requires everything.
  • Christian students are not second class citizens in the Kingdom; they’re the church now.
  • Great things only rise out of great expectations. “We’re just kids” is not an excuse for mediocrity.
  • Consumerism is not compatible with Jesus.
  • The Holy Spirit is real – He’s alive – He is still at work in the world today.
  • A church that doesn’t live and breathe and move in prayer will lose touch with God’s heart – and die.
  • Leaders either keep growing or stop leading.

If I had to narrow the list, there are some items here I’d give priority to, and some of these statements may reflect the circumstances or what I was reading at the time I originally wrote them. But on a regular basis, I still find myself fighting for these principles (and a few others). And I still find them worth fighting for.

What about you? What do you find worth fighting for?

-I feel like I should add a thought here: Marriage and family and truth and justice and stuff like that… these go without saying, so I didn’t include them in the list. But don’t worry… they’re on my list, too.

What Will Guide You Today?

Mike —  January 29, 2016 — Leave a comment

He has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity… So let’s not listen to one.

The Spirit Breathes-3

What will you do with your day today?

What will guide you as you choose your way?

Will you let Him breathe life into the bones of this day?

Often in life we are forced to live in other people’s stories – stories of which we don’t know all the details.

  • Like that idiot driver who just screamed past you on the street (on his way to the hospital with his wife in labor in the back seat)…
  • Like the grumpy lady at the cash register who barely uttered a word to you (who just lost her best friend and husband of 20 years to cancer)…
  • Like the mean teacher who grades you so harshly (because she sees potential in you that she’s trying to help you unlock, even if you don’t see it yourself yet)…

When we don’t know the details, we tend to make them up or root around for them in the gossip pile. We create a narrative in our own minds about what must be going on. But often those stories bear little resemblance to what’s actually going on. The assumed motivations we fill in with our imaginations are often far from the truth, and they tell us a lot more about the troubles and victories in our own stories than they do about anyone else’s.

Between the Lines

What you read between the lines tells you more about you than about the one who left the gaps you’re trying to fill with your imagination. So be sure to fill in the gaps with grace. Be quick to believe the best about someone else’s motivation instead of the worst. It just might be that they have information that you do not. Maybe their experience has taught them something you have yet to learn. Maybe their humility allows them to see a perspective that you can’t quite make out just yet.

If you find yourself in circumstances where you feel the need to find out what’s going on behind the scenes, be careful. Rumors and innuendo make fools of the best of us. If you really need to know, go to the source instead of listening to the back channel chatter. And be careful not to read the wrong story into the one God is writing in your circumstances…