Where Do We Start?

The ceiling fan in my daughters room hadn’t worked in a while. Well, the fan part worked but the lights didn’t. I know next to nothing about ceiling fans but being “the man of the house” I felt like it was my job to try to fix it.

The first step was to do what any real man would do who had no relevant experience or knowledge about how to fix a thing: Google some relevant terms and watch a number of YouTube videos about how to fix the particular problem.

After doing this I felt pretty confident that I knew what the problem was and how to fix it. All the videos I watched said basically the same thing: “If you’re having this problem, do this and it will be fixed.” Great.

So I did exactly what they described in the videos. I pulled the part of the fan off that needed fixing. I cut and spliced wires. Everything looked just like the videos told me it should. Can you guess what happened when I put it all back together?

Yep. The lights still didn’t work.

Frustrated, but not ready to give up quite yet, I gave it another go. I googled some more. I watched some more videos. I ordered a part from Amazon. I followed the videos and replaced that part just like they said.

It still didn’t work.

So with no other ideas left to try and no where else to go, I reluctantly gave up and ordered a new ceiling fan.

I accepted defeat. I walked away with my tail tucked between my legs. I felt defeated and very much less of a man than I did before I started. If I can’t fix a stupid little ceiling fan, how am I going to rescue my family if they ever needed anything really important? Not being able to fix something as simple as a ceiling fan has me questioning my manhood yet again.

It’s Not Just Ceiling Fans

There are so many places where I don’t feel like I measure up. So many times when I feel like I am failing as a man.

I have a weed eater that won’t start. I have no idea why. And no skillset from which to pull from in order to fix it. So you can almost bet that I’ll just order a new one when I need it.

I want to build a bigger shed so that I have a place to store things (and maybe keep the snakes out). But I have no building skills. I have no idea where to start. I’ll probably just end up ordering one of those prefab ones and have it dropped off. Or … more than likely … I’ll just live with the one I have because who wants to admit they can’t build it themselves?

Oh … and then there are the snakes I just mentioned. I hate the snakes. Why do we have snakes? Why am I afraid of them? Why can’t I just “man up”?

No Retreat, No Surrender

And there it is right there. Why can’t I just “man up”? When life calls for me to be a man, I retreat. It’s easier for me to play video games or eat or read comic books then it is to learn and lean into what it means to be a man.

Again, I’m not just talking about ceiling fans here. This is in pretty much every area that requires something of me. I mean sure, it’s in the fixing things I have no idea how to fix. There are parts of life that just call for a man to step up and do something. And it’s in those moments where I feel like I fail all the more. I run when I should step in.

Why do I retreat? Men, why do we run when we’re called up to something higher?

There are many reasons we don’t feel like men. I think a lot of them come down to things that feel a lot like incompetence. “I don’t know how to do this or that” but feeling like we should.

We most feel like men, like we have it all together and are at the top of our game when we know what we’re doing.

Men in Media

There are 2 types of men I see portrayed in media. There are those men that don’t know what they’re doing. These are the men that are on the sitcoms we watch. They are the ones that get made fun of for their incompetence. We laugh at them because they don’t know what they’re doing but deep down we realize we are those men.

The second type of man you see is the “man’s man”. The man who actually has the “know how” to do just about anything. They can fix a sink, dig and pour footers for a building, and raise animals. They love their wives, spend all their time with their kids, have enough money to take vacations and live in giant homes and never have to worry about budgets. They do all of this while still getting 8 hours of sleep a night, finding time to look like a Greek god, and hang out with the boys for poker night every week.

This is the example we’re meant to strive to, isn’t it? So it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of believing that to be a man of any value (and to not get laughed at) we need to be this way too.

Even David, the “man after God’s own heart” in the Bible, could write songs, lead armies and countries, and knows how to take care of flocks and herds … killing lions and bears with his hands.

Let’s be honest: I can’t sing, I’ve never really led much of anything, we have a dog that doesn’t really listen, and the last thing I killed was probably a fruit fly.

How can any guy measure up?

You Can’t

I think it’s best if we just take off the mask, put away the pretense and come out with it right now:

That will never be us. At least, that will never be me.

And that’s okay.

I don’t have to be able to do all those things in order to be a man. I don’t have to know how to fix a ceiling fan. I don’t have to know how to raise herds. I don’t have to know how to fix my car.

What you see portrayed in front of you as a “man” is really more a myth. It’s Hollywood. It’s someones dream of what a man should be. It’s not real.

I don’t think they exist.

So What Do We Do?

I think where we start … what’s important right from the beginning is that I listen to God and follow Him into what He has for me “as a man.”

Since the dawn of time God has been offering us an invitation to follow Him into masculinity. It looks different for each of us. There’s no one size fits all way to be a man. But I think we find it when we open our hands, our hearts, and our lives to God and ask Him to father us and show us how to be a man.

I could be terribly wrong. Remember, this is a journey. We’re headed into unknown territory. There might be twists and turns in the path. We might get a little lost and need to backtrack. All of that is okay.

But I think if we’re going on a journey to manhood then that’s where it starts. It’s been my experience that it’s always a good idea to start with God.

If you’re struggling with what it looks like to be a man, may I humbly suggest that you start by asking God what manhood looks like for you and asking Him to father you. I think we’ll all learn some pretty important stuff as we surrender our idea of manhood to what God says it is. I hope you’ll join me and head out on the journey.

The Desire to be a Man

Some videos just know how to get you, you know?

You’re just watching this thing and then all of a sudden you’re crying or you’re mad or you’re ready to go charge the enemy. They just know how to twist that one emotion inside of you that’s aching to come out.

That happened to me the other day while watching a commercial for a knife company. A freaking commercial. Watch it below.

Obviously they are trying to advertise for their company and sell you a knife or two. But the story they are telling isn’t just about a knife. They are reaching for something primal. Something deep within. Much more than just “buy a knife,” I think what they were really saying was:

“If you have one of our knives, you can be a man like the men we’re showing you in this video. You see these men? These are MEN. If you have a knife like they do then you could be a man too.”

That speaks to me. It speaks to a core desire I have within me. I want to be a man. Many times I don’t know how, but the “want” is there nonetheless.

What that video said to me was that they know the secret to being a man. And they will sell it to me.

So now I want a knife.

Not because I need one. I literally have no reason for buying or carrying a knife. I’m a web developer and a writer for goodness sakes. I work on lines of code all day. I write words in my spare time. What could I possibly need a knife for?

I want this knife … no, I need this knife because something deep inside of me is calling out to be a man.

At the end of the day, it’s not the about the knife at all. It’s about the desire to be a man.

I think just about every man, if he were to dig deep down inside himself, would say that he has a desire to be a man. To be able to stand up and do what men do. But I think there are two things standing in the way.

What is the Definition of a “Man”?

One is that we don’t have any earthly clue what “being a man” means. We get mixed messages from the world around us. We get messages “from men for men” and “from women for men” and they couldn’t be further from each other. Like complete opposite poles.

Is it the burly bearded guy who knows how to work on cars and can build things with his hands? Or is it the guy who is in touch with his emotions and can be emotionally present in relationships?

Men say “Hunt. Fish. Wear flannel. Bleed.” Women say “Sit still. Don’t get so dirty. Be careful. Don’t play with guns. Or axes. Or anything that might hurt people.”

Men say you’re not a man unless you can start a fire, fix a sink, or win in business (wearing that suit and power tie, you dapper man you). Women say men should be more like women.

Which one is it? We don’t know. And that’s the problem.

Where is Our Heart?

The second thing is that even if we did know the definition of “manhood”, we’ve hidden our hearts so far down and away from us that we couldn’t do anything with it if we wanted to.

When we watch videos like the one for the knife company, there is something inside of us that stirs. A little inkling of something dangerous inside of us that brings an emotion we’re not familiar with. I don’t think I could name it. But for just a brief moment something is there that isn’t usually there. And it scares us. What was that? Where did it come from? I better hide it before someone else sees it and accuses me of being too macho or tries to insult me for being “manly.”

So we do. We push our hearts further down and try to hide anything even remotely resembling manhood - by whatever definition we use to define it.

We don’t know what our hearts are telling us because we don’t know where our hearts have gone. They’ve been hidden and starved. They’ve been stolen. They’ve left the building.

If we had our hearts perhaps we could process what we’re experiencing. But we don’t. We’ve been told that we can’t be vulnerable so we push our hearts down a little. We’ve been told we can’t cry. So our hearts go a little deeper. We’ve been chastised for being too loud, or brash, or wild. In response we stand up on top of our hearts and jump on it, shoving it down as far as it will go.

Things just seem to go smoother when we don’t bring our hearts into our life. Less people get hurt. Less arguments abound. These are true. But also … less life happens. Less living from the thing we were meant to live from and more deadness of our souls.

We need our hearts if we’re ever going to understand this desire deep within us to be a man.

I Know Nothing

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even really know where to begin. But I am going on a journey. To discover the heart of what it means to be a man. To find where my heart went and how to get it back. To learn what we think a man is and then to relearn what God says a man is. Then to see if I can’t put some of that into practice in my own life. Intentionally.

Maybe I’m just getting old. I’m past 45 now so maybe this is just a mid-life crisis. Like I should be further along in “manhood” at this point. But I don’t think so. This is a question I think a man of any age would ask … or better, is asking. I hope we can all figure it out together.

Working From Home

My Desk

Have you ever dreamed of working from home?

I have. I’ve thought about it a lot over the years. What my ideal day would look like, how I would spend my time … you get the idea. I’ve even imagined in great detail what my office would look like.

There have been many variations of this “dream office” over the years.

  • A huge office filled with dark wood, animal heads, a giant wall of bookshelves and a big, stately wood desk. I call it “The CEO”.
  • A giant office filled with monitors, video game consoles, and all the techie gear you can think of. I like to call this one “The 64-bit”.
  • A big room with a desk for work, a giant TV (and giant speakers) for watching all the things, with sports memorabilia along the walls. Obviously, this is dubbed “The Man Cave”.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I’ve really put big thought and effort into this. I’ve never had a job that allowed remote work, but I’ve dreamed about it a lot.

Now, because of the global pandemic we’re experiencing, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to give it a go. I don’t have the giant office I’ve dreamed about (we just don’t have that kind of space in our home) but I’ve got a little corner in the front of the house that serves as my “office.” That’s the picture you see above.

It’s not much, and it surely doesn’t even come close to my dream scenarios, but I actually really dig it. It’s calm and peaceful. There are windows all around me. I can focus here.

How Has Working From Home Been?

Two of the saddest days of my life were the days that I had to go back to work after my son and daughter were born. It broke my heart to know that I wouldn’t get to be there to see them do all the things that kids do for the first time because I had to be at an office in a chair to do a job that I could easily do from home. Granted, that was almost 20 years ago and the technology wasn’t what it is today. The internet wouldn’t have supported that plan. But the sense of loss I felt was still just as real.

I’ve been working from home for 6 weeks now and I absolutely love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my team at NewSpring and I really do want to see them all again but … I love my family even more. It’s been so great to be able to live and work and do all the daily things right by their side day after day.

For the past 6 weeks I’ve gotten to experience what it would have been like back then. And oh man, do I love it.

The day that they tell us that we have to go back to the office again I think I might experience that same sense of loss that I felt all those years ago. Except this time I know that things can be different.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with those emotions honestly. It’s going to take some time to process all of that. There are just so many benefits to working from home for me. The freedoms that remote work provides are huge.

Benefits of Remote Work

It seems rather obvious at this point but getting to see my family more is the biggest benefit for me. But there are other things that stand out as perks too.

A more flexible schedule.

Last Thursday I was able to go give blood in the middle of the day. I knew I could work a few hours later that day and/or over the weekend to make up the hours so taking a few hours in the afternoon to go do something good was amazing.

Granted, I know NewSpring would have let me go do it anyway (because they’re awesome), but so many employers just want their people in their seats for 8 hours a day. It’s about being in a chair not how productive you can be. Those people couldn’t go do things like this.

I know that if my family needs something at 1:30 on Tuesday that I can be with them and not think twice about it. If I’m getting my work done, it doesn’t matter when and where I do it.

Shorter commute

I also get my commute time back. Working from home means that my commute is as quick as walking down the stairs from my bedroom to my desk. I live about 30 minutes from our office so every day without the commute gives me back an hour of my time.

I used to use that time to listen to podcasts … something I have yet to find time for in my new schedule … but now I get that time back for other things I’ve been wanting to do.

I could sleep in and get an extra hour if I wanted to. That’s a possible perk, right?

Personally, I’ve been getting up and exercising before work which is something that benefits my whole day.

Plus I have time to write daily if I want. A daily writing habit is something that I’ve wanted to create for a long time and I’m just now starting to put it in place.

A 30 minute workout and 30 minutes of writing time sure beats the heck out of driving to and from work every day.

Bonus: I’m saving a LOT of money in gas right now. I used to put gas in my car once a week. I haven’t even driven my car in the last 6 weeks. I know gas prices are cheaper because of the whole oil price thing, but at it’s previous price I’ve saved at least $180 just on gas for my car. Come on, that’s just too good.

Casual dress

Every day is sweatpants day.

Haha. I know some people say that you should get up and get dressed every day like you’re going into the office anyway. It keeps your routine and gets you ready for the day. In the beginning I thought that was true for me. I wanted to not lose the rhythm of the office. I got up and put on the same clothes I would normally wear to work. I was proud. I thought I was doing this thing the right way.

Then one day I didn’t get up and get ready before work. I wore sweatpants instead of jeans. And you know what? My day didn’t fall apart. I was just as productive as I was when I got dressed for work. So it’s been sweatpants day every day since.

Now, it’s not like I’m a slob. I’ve been getting up and working out and taking a shower every day just like normal. I just don’t have to put on my “office clothes” to work.

I’m not even a little bit ashamed of it.

Focused time

I get so much more focused work time than I did before.

When you work in an office, in particular an “open work environment” like I do, there are distractions everywhere. People are constantly talking around you. Because there are no barriers they also feel the freedom to come up and talk to you for any reason, no matter what you’re doing. I’ve even noticed that the international sign for focused work time (putting on headphones) doesn’t always help. The ease of access to individuals makes it extremely hard to get any real work done.

I’ve heard it said that every time you’re interrupted from being in focus mode (or, “the zone”, if you will) that it takes 30 minutes to get back to where you were when you were focused. If someone comes to chat or ask a question or buzzes you on Slack and you take the time to answer, you not only lose the time you are talking or Slack-ing, but you also lose an entire half hour of productive work time. All it takes is 8 small distractions and you’ve effectively lost an entire day.

We think we are a productive people because we sit in an office for 8 hours a day when that couldn’t be further from the truth. We are a distracted people who happen to sit in the same office with other distracted people every day.

I’ve found that I have been more productive since working from home than I ever have been in an office. Ever. I’ve had the opportunity to think deeper and have a clearer head while doing so than I ever have before.

There Are More

These are just the biggest things that have been a benefit to me since I started working from home 6 weeks ago. There are others. For example:

  • I’m eating healthier because I’m not “forgetting” to bring my lunch to work. Which you think would be saving us money but I think our grocery bill has gone up. 😂
  • Meetings at work seem shorter. Everyone just gets through what we need to get through and then we’re done. There’s not the standing around and chatting … which, don’t get me wrong there is a place for, I’m sure. As an introvert though, I love it when there doesn’t have to be a ton of chit-chat for the sake of chit-chat.
  • I can get a hug from my wife or kids just about any time I want or need one. Going around the house hugging my family at 3:30 in the afternoon might be the next routine I put in place. I like how that sounds!

Working from home has been a blessing for me in this season. I know a lot of people don’t have the ability to do that so they are just out of jobs right now. That’s sad and scary and I am praying for you. I know I am very blessed to work where I work and have the ability to do what I do. I’m extremely grateful that I get to do it from home right now. I am hoping that once everything return to “normal” that there will still be a possibility of doing the work from home thing at least some of the time. It can work, and it’s awesome.

P.S. Also, being able to go to the bathroom by yourself and not 5 or 6 other people at the same time … that’s reason enough for remote work right there. 😄

A New Creation

In my writing app, I keep an “Ideas” list.

It’s a whole separate folder with half-started documents, one sentence descriptions, or even just titles for things that I thought at one point were a good idea to write about.

It’s sort of like an eventual to-do list. Whenever I struggle to come up with something to write about, I can go look at this list and pick something that sticks out to me and move it forward.

The problem with this list is that for a lot of these topics, the “muse” has left the building. I had an idea and was excited about it at one time so I wrote it down. Over time though, these ideas have lost their glittery shine and they don’t stand out as much as they used to. I really have to dig to find one that has a sparkle anymore. That doesn’t mean that they won’t ever shine again. It just means that I have to take them out and clean them up a little before I can remember them for the beauty that they were when I created them.

Something old can be beautiful again. Just because it’s covered in dirt and a little worn down doesn’t mean that it can’t be restored to it’s former glory.

I love shows like Fixer Upper for just this reason. Obviously Chip & Joanna are ridiculously talented, and that helps a ton. But they are known for taking something that no one else would look at and turn it into something that everyone wants to look at. They are fantastic at taking something old that has been neglected and worn down by time and restoring it to it’s former glory. They are great at taking an old piece and displaying it in a way that allows others to see the beauty it still possesses.

And so too it is with God.

God is the master at taking old things and making them new.

During my sophomore year of college, I had a couple of friends (one who would eventually become my wife) who, on purpose, started talking about Jesus around me. Eventually, the whole Christianity idea had peaked my interest so I began to explore it myself. Over time I began to see my need for a relationship with Jesus in my life. Then on March 22, 1994 I gave my life to Jesus in my dorm room. All by myself in the middle of the night. Just like any good introvert would do. 😄

(Side note: That paragraph just reminded me of the 3 steps in relationship that Donald Miller talks about in his book Marketing Made Simple. There’s curiosity, then enlightenment, and finally commitment. Haha, my friends, without even knowing it, were using a sales funnel on me. That’s hysterical.)

God took me, a 20-year-old kid with a decent amount of baggage and changed me that day. He took the “old me” and turned it into a “new me”.

Stop. Scripture Time.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

When we become Christians, God takes the old us and makes a new us. The old me becomes a new me. The old you becomes a new you.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:1-5

Worse than just being an “old me”, I was a “dead me”. I had no hope and no future. Jesus came along and not only made me a “new me”, he made me an “alive me”. I was a dead man made alive through Jesus. He gave me a hope and a future.

He can do the same for you.

I might be able to take dying and dead ideas and give them new life through writing. The Gaines’ for sure can take dying and dead things like homes and give them new life through restoration. But only Jesus can take dead people and literally breathe new life into their lungs, making them alive again.

He can take and old me and turn it into a new me. He can take a dead me and make me alive again.

He can do the same for you.

Just ask Him. “Jesus I believe you are who you say you are and did what you say you did. Make me new. I want to live again.”

You feel that? That’s new, fresh breath in your lungs. That’s you becoming a new creation. Just like that.

Breath deep.

You Have an Enemy

As we are all well aware, this whole COVID-19 thing has gotten us all on the ropes. Every one of us has been affected in one way or another.

As such, over the last few weeks I’ve tried to write about some things that might help us in this time. I’ve written about fear, peace, and mostly hope. The last two weeks especially have been especially good for me (I do write these things for me as well) because while I don’t live in fear, hope is something that seems in short supply these days. All we hear is news about how bad things are. I need to remember, now more than ever, that there is something on the other side of all of this that will be good.

But here’s the thing. Hope is not a strategy.

Funny (and by “funny” I guess I mean “ironic”) how here in spring, when everything in the world around us, in nature, is starting to come back to life again after the dormant, dark days of winter, there is a virus that is trying to take life away from us. Trying to steal not only our life, but our hope, our peace, our beauty, and our joy.

There’s Something Happening Here

A few years back I learned this simple “trick” from John Eldredge, author of many great books including Wild at Heart and Captivating (which he wrote with his wife Staci). It’s a little question you can ask when you are trying to process the things that are happening around you. If you’re ever left wondering “Where did that come from?”, or “Is this from God?”, you can usually figure it out by stepping back and asking “What is the fruit of this thing?” Meaning, what are the results of it? What’s happening as a result of this thing?

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. – Matthew 7:15-20

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

You shall know them by their fruit.

The result of things from God (the fruit) are the things listed in the Galatians verses above. If it’s from God you will see things such as love, peace, and self-control.

If you don’t see those things as a result of the thing you’re questioning, then it’s not from God.

Where Did This Come From?

So in the case of this virus, let’s seek the fruit. Let’s ask some questions. Do a little Q&A.

Question #1:

Q: Does this virus reek of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control?

A: No, that’s not really the vibe I’m getting.

Question #2:

Q: Does it smell more like an enemy that prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)?

A: Absolutely.

Question #3:

Q: Does it seem to come as something that wants to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10)?

A: 100%.

So if the result of the thing that’s happening isn’t from God, then it kind of points to it coming from someplace else, right? It points to being the work of the evil one.

Satan walks around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He is continually looking to steal, kill, and destroy. This virus has brought the world many things, but it hasn’t brought with it much peace, joy, or self-control, has it?

What do we do with this information? I think if we want to be successful right now, there are two things we need to do.

Job Number 1

Our first job is to do all we can in the natural world to stay safe and “flatten the curve”. Stay home, wash your hands, cover your sneezes … you know the drill.

I know there has been talk about “reopening the economy”, but we’re not there yet. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working.

Support those people who are working hard and are on the front lines of the battle with the physical disease.

  • All the health care workers who are literally standing next to and helping those who have been infected.
  • Police, fire, and emergency personnel all over the world who have no choice but to put their lives on the line to keep us safe. They need our support right now more than ever before.
  • Local businesses need us.
  • Those of us who have lost jobs need those of us that haven’t.

There are so many people who need our support right now. Let’s do all we can to help and support those we can right now.

Job Number 2

Our second job starts here:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

There is an enemy looking to devour. There is someone that wants to steal, kill, and destroy.

Do not miss this. Whenever you go online or watch the news, what you’re hearing about is the physical virus. It’s real, and dangerous. That’s why the first thing we need to do is guard against it.

But there is a very real spiritual component we’re missing. There’s a whole realm of reality that we’re not talking about at all.

Where do you think this virus came from? You think it just popped up out of thin air or that some guy ate a bat and now the whole world is sick?

We have an enemy and it wants to destroy us.

We are at war, friends. A war with two fronts. One you can see and one you can’t.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. You can’t see the wind, but it’s for sure real.

Brothers and sisters, it’s time to stand up and fight.

It’s time for us to be willing to get on our knees and fight in the spiritual realm against these rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces to push back the kingdom of darkness.

It’s time for us to put on our armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and go into battle for our families, our cities, our nation, and our world.

It’s time to humble ourselves and start to pray 2 Chronicles 7:14.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We need a healed land. We need to work and pray like never before.

It’s time for us to wake up to the fact that we have an enemy.

It’s time we acknowledged that we are at war.

It’s time we decided to stand.

It Might Be Friday but Sunday’s Coming

For those of you that read this blog regularly, one of the things that I hope you’ve noticed by now is that I want to be an encourager. I want to help you along your journey is this life. I want to be a hope dealer.

To that end, I really want to bring you some hope today.

Good Friday?

In the Christian tradition, today is “Good Friday.” It’s the day we remember that Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins.

It’s a very sad day. It’s a dark day.

As a Christian, I want to mourn today.

Jesus had what is, quite possibly, the worst 24 hours a person has ever seen. It was brutal and about as horrible as one can imagine. Betrayed, mocked, beaten, wrongly accused and convicted, beaten some more, and ultimately nailed to a cross to die from asphyxiation.

My life, the things I’ve done and the sins I’ve committed made it necessary that a sacrifice be offered to make me holy and acceptable to a just God. Jesus decided to become that sacrifice for me. He suffered, bled, and died for me.

That’s overwhelming. That someone as holy and righteous and perfect as that man would choose to become a sacrifice for someone as not holy, not righteous, and not perfect as me is astounding.

So I mourn, because the one true perfect man died because of me. It’s my fault.

Yes, Good Friday!

But there is good news. There is a reason to celebrate what happened to Jesus on that Friday. The story doesn’t end there.

Yes they killed Jesus. He died, humiliated, on a cross for everyone to see.

But …

Three days later, He came back to life. The stone was rolled away and He wasn’t in the tomb any more. He’s not in there!

Because Jesus won, because He rose victorious over sin and death with the keys to Hell in His hands, I can celebrate.

I can celebrate because by His death and resurrection I am forgiven. I am holy. I am made perfect in the eyes of God. One day I will see Jesus face-to-face because of His sacrifice.

It’s because of what He did today, and the fact that He rose again on Sunday that I will get to see Heaven. I get the hope of redemption, the peace of forgiveness, and the joy of salvation.

And so do you.

It might be Friday, but Sunday is coming.

It’s Dark Right Now

Today might seem dark in your world.

This COVID-19 virus is running rampant across the globe. Many people are dying. Hospitals are overwhelmed. So many people are fighting what seems to be a hopeless battle right now.

Our economies look like their collapsing. Millions of people are out of work. We are all seemingly stuck in our homes, with only Netflix, Disney+, and Zoom calls to keep us company. Grocery stores are out of all the things that we once took for granted would always be there.

The world has gone crazy.

This is a depressingly dark time. Just watch the news. They’ll tell you that the world is ending, the sky is falling, and that this is, quite literally, the worst time ever.

It might be Friday, but Sunday is coming.

There is another side to all of this. Today is not the end of the story.

We will emerge out of this at some point. We will be allowed to meet together again. To hug our friends and family. To see each other face to face.

We will be able to go on vacation, go to work, and not have to disinfect everything. Life will move on again. Maybe not exactly as it once was, but it will move on again.

This virus is not the end of the story. Satan didn’t get to win when Jesus died and he won’t get to win here. On the other side of this (and even in the midst of it) we will have hope, peace, and joy again.

It might seem dark. Friday is here.

But have hope my friends.

Sunday is coming.