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OVERCOMING "WORRYITIS"

It's amazing how often I worry about things I don't need to worry about. The Lord reminded me in a stark way how fruitless and misplaced worry is when I truly reflect on both the majesty and compassion of the God we serve. But I think I get to the point where worry becomes a chronic condition - something so ingrained in my response to trial it blinds me to the Lord's daily provision. Let's call the condition "worryitis", otherwise known as ENES - Enough is Never Enough Syndrome - a syndrome of which I am a lifetime carrier. It's embarrassing, actually. Even if I simply look at the basics - this is what I should be looking at anyway -  in our household, everyday we have: - Breath in our lungs; - Time as a family; - A roof over our heads; - Clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet; - Food on our table; - Two steady paychecks to pay the bills; - Reliable transportation to get to those jobs And, yet, nearly everyday I still find something to worry about. I …

MERCIES IN THE MORNING

"Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV Read: Psalm 34 This year has been 20 years since I walked across the stage and received my high school diploma. Often when I reflect on the intervening years from then to now, it seems a wonder I am still here to write these words. Countless times, I strayed. I sought fulfillment and approval in anything but God. I tried to take the easy roads, but the easy roads have always left me stranded in the middle of nowhere, searching for a way back home.

The "March Madness" of the Easter Story

I have always been drawn to the underdog stories. I just love seeing the underdog get his (or her) day. It's one of the reasons that my favorite movie has always been "Rudy", the story of the 20-something factory worker who chases, and finally catches, his dream of playing football for the vaunted University of Notre Dame football team. It's also the reason March is perhaps my favorite month of the year as a sports fan.  This is the month of "March Madness" - the NCAA basketball tournament, the tournament well-known for giving the underdogs their day "on the court." The beauty of this is that it's not just the underdog stories that win during the tournament, but the teams that make it in that were not even supposed to be there in the first place. Every year has it's David versus Goliath story, and far from being different, this year seems to have more of those stories than usual. One of the lowest seeds in the tournament beats the best team i…

NOTHING TO FEAR

A million thoughts are racing through my head right now, very few of them good ones. I have an appointment with a specialist in a couple of hours to get a prostate problem checked out. Though my rational mind says it’s more than likely a small, benign issue, the more worry-prone, less rational side cannot help but imagine the worst possibilities that could come of this. At 37 years old, I feel like I am too young to even be having to entertain these ideas, but the twinges of dread linger in the dark corners of my mind nonetheless. What if it is serious? After a long family history of cancer, the fear lingers that I could be the next to battle it – again, I know not necessarily rational, and maybe a needless concern, but it is amazing what our minds and hearts consider when fear invades. I have a beautiful wife that I want to have many more years with, and a treasured daughter that I want to be there for as a father as she grows. Even the most remote possibility of not being able to b…

WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER

When I think of the most influential men in my life, I think of the men who invested deeply and believed in me when there was not a lot to invest in. Each time, their continued investment in a troubled and struggling young man has helped me grow, helped me to understand more about what being a man means. They’ve shown me that real strength is leading with service and compassion. They’ve shown me that a real man follows Christ and never retreats on his responsibilities to his family and community. They’ve shown me a man of God’s responsibility is not to himself alone, but to the Lord, and to the ones the Lord’s given him to lead and shepherd. A man of God stands for what is right, when what is right is not popular. But a man of God acts decisively with courage, not fear; fierce love instead of fierce anger. He draws from the strength of God, not from his own strength. And when He draws from God’s strength, He seeks to strengthen others. His foundation should be Christ alone, and he should…