Shouting a whisper…

A few years ago, I went out for a run one evening that, ironically, stopped me dead in my tracks. I was about a mile into the route, rounding a hill, when I began to tear up. My breathing got heavier, and I had to physically stop running before the tears ran down my face. There was no injury. I didn’t sprain my ankle, twist my knee, or anything else. The issue wasn’t physical. It was emotional.

A few months prior to that run, I had one of the roughest months of my life. I had to provide counseling and grief support to around 80 soldiers and cadets, for issues ranging from cutting to sexual assault. All of that happened in the span of 3 weeks. And it was all brought on a one cadet committing suicide.

I ran myself ragged for those three weeks, doing everything I could to help people process their grief, guilt, and issues. And in that time, I never really gave myself the space I needed to process my own feelings of guilt, shame, and grief.

Until they stopped me dead in my tracks one night months later when I was running.

There’s a story in 1 Kings, where Elijah, this incredible man of God, stops dead in his tracks.  Continue reading

Insecure faith…

When I was in high school, in addition to being heavily involved in my youth group, I played trumpet in band and tennis. I wasn’t particularly good at either, but I had fun and enjoyed both groups of people. There was just one problem.

His name was Steve Seeburg.

Steve was a really good guy. Polite, well behaved, and smart. He got good grades – better than me in fact. He played tennis – better than me. He played the trumpet – better than me.

That was the problem. Almost everywhere I turned, there was Steve, being a better Brady than me. In high school, it’s incredibly easy to go from confident to insecure wreck in a heart beat. For me, it only took Steve showing up at the courts or band room, and I could feel twelve inches tall. (To be clear, Steve was never anything but nice.)

I wonder if you and I struggle with insecurity in our faith. I don’t mean doubt, where we question parts of our faith because of a lack of understanding. I mean we become insecure – anxious that we may be wrong about something in our faith, or that we’re not as good at our faith as we should be.

Fear-and-Anxiety-An-Age-by-Age-Guide-to-Fears-Why-and-What-to-Do Continue reading

Give us this day our daily need…

When I was younger, I loved to collect sports cards. I even had a couple of specific players I would collect, though those were a bit unusual. Some kids would collect Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, or Ken Griffey Jr cards. I collected John Stockton and Jose Rios cards. They were great players, but they weren’t flashy or super popular. It seemed like a safe bet. John Stockton

Gabi Mann has an unusual collection. Her’s isn’t sports cards, or beanie babies, or anything worth much. In fact, most of us would look at her collection and say that it’s just a whole lot of garbage and junk. She’s got pieces of glass, buttons, and beads. There are single earrings, random pins, and seashells. Each item in her collection is tracked with dates and descriptions.

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She started collecting these things a few years ago, after she noticed that they were being left in her backyard by crows. You see, when Gabi was young, like 2 or 3 years old, she would spill food while playing outside. The crows caught on, and began to follow her around, swiping whatever food they could from her. Eventually, they even began to bring her gifts of buttons, beads, earrings, and seashells to try and get more food from her. So she began feeding them.

One of the strangest parts of the story of Elijah to me comes right at the beginning of it. In 1 Kings 17:1-7, we’re told that Elijah is fed by ravens in the wilderness. It seemed like a random, far fetched story to me. It turns out that it’s not so random or far fetched.

Ravens and crows are among the smartest birds and animals in the world, capable of solving logical problems. They can learn cause and effect, meaning they can learn the benefits of giving.

But there’s a larger point to Elijah’s story about being fed by ravens. One that applies to those of us who don’t feed birds or want to collect pieces of glass or buttons.

Daily dependance on God.  Continue reading

We all need a Charlie Taylor…

Wright-Brothers-First-Flight-in-1903-06-1040x440

Yesterday marked the anniversary of when Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first successful powered flight, thus changing history. In recent years, I’ve become more and more fascinated by the brothers who grew up just down the road from where I did. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Kitty Hawk, where the flight was made (it was an awe inspiring moment for me, comparable to visiting Athens, Greece). I’ve visited their original bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, as well as Hoffman Prairie where they experimented with flight. The brothers were truly geniuses who revolutionized the world. But they couldn’t have done it without Charlie Taylor (the third person in the above picture).

Now I know what many of you are thinking: “Who in the world is Charlie Taylor?”

Taylor was a friend of the brothers who they hired to manage their bicycle shop when they were running experiments. He wasn’t an aeronautical innovator like the brothers. He wasn’t a leading engineer of the day. He didn’t even have a college degree (neither did the brothers).

So why was he so instrumental in the history of flight? And why do you and I need Charlie Taylor’s in our life?  Continue reading

Prickly Grace…

Snowy Cornfield

We had our first real snow of the winter last night. Apart from the fact that it made me realize I miss the two hour delays I used to get as a kid, the snow got me thinking about grace.

The backyard of our house goes right up against the edge of a farmer field, who alternates between soybeans and corn. When it’s soybeans, there really isn’t anything left after harvest. However, when the farmer had planted corn, there are little stalks left all over the place. Seeing as how I grew up in western Ohio, it’s fairly common to see corn and bean fields all over the place.

But there was something about the last time I saw the corn field after fresh snow got me thinking. Continue reading