Featured Post

the blue book is now available on amazon

Exciting news!   The Blue Book is now available on Amazon! And not only that, but it also has a bunch of new content!  I've been work...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

a gentle interiority

Opening Prayer: Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.  (Philemon v. 4-7, The Message)

Scripture: Philemon (v. 4-7)

Journal: What is the state of your inner space right now?  What effect is it having on those around you?  On your prayers?

Reflection: Today I imagined my inner self as a place crowded with pins and needles.  How could I receive anyone in my prayer when there is no real place for them to be free and relaxed?  When I am still so full of preoccupations, jealousies, angry feelings, anyone who enters will get hurt.  I had a very vivid realization that I must create some free space in my innermost self so that I may indeed invite others to enter and be healed.  To pray for others means to offer others a hospitable space where I can really listen to their needs and pains.  Compassion, therefore, calls for a self-scrutiny that can lead to inner gentleness.
    If I could have a gentle “interiority”—a heart of flesh and not a heart of stone, a room with some spots on which one might walk barefooted—then God and my fellow humans could meet each other there.  Then the center of my heart can become the place where God can hear the prayer for my neighbors and embrace them with his love. (The Genesee Diary by Henri J. M. Nouwen) 


Closing Prayer: I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon v. 4-7, ESV)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

return to me

Opening Prayer: O Lord, our God, forgive us from turning away from your love and chasing less wild lovers who can never satisfy the deepest longings of our souls.  Help us, O Lord, to return to you, our one true love.  Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 3:1-14

Journal: Who, or what, is God’s main competition for your love and affection these days?  What does it look like to return to him as your one true love?



you have scattered 
your favors to foreign 
gods under every 
spreading tree…
return, faithless people,
for I am your husband.
(Jer. 3:13-14)

o my bride
my church
i am your God
your husband
your lover  

i made you for myself
that i might give myself to you
that you might live with me
in a sacred romance
in union and intimacy 
beyond your wildest dreams

but you have turned away
you have given
the most intimate 
parts of yourself
to other lovers

you have given your
attention and affection
to foreign gods
that do not love you
the way i do

you have scattered
your favors to them
under every green tree

o my love 
my bride
what shall i do with you
you have broken my heart

how i long to be 
the focus of all your love
the object of 
your deepest affections
how i long for you
to return to our bed
that i might show 
my love to you once again.

but i will not share you
with another
i will not compete
for your love

you must leave
your other lovers
and return to me

return to me
my love
my bride
for i am 
your one true love


Closing Prayer: O God, you are our lover, our husband, our God.  Help us to love you before all else in our lives.  For anyone or anything that comes before you is an idol.  Lord, have mercy.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

a new dance

Opening Prayer: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
     If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.(Psalm 139:7-12)

Scripture: Psalm 139:7-12

Journal: What is your experience of God's presence these days?  What do you think his intent is in that?  Do you really believe he is with you even when you can't feel it?  How might God be teaching you to dance with him in a new way?

Reflection: There is nowhere that God is not.  Therefore, when we do not have a sense of his presence, we cannot just assume that he is absent.  Actually, quite the opposite is true.  For even when we cannot perceive him, he is still there--in the heavens, in the depths, on the far side of the sea, and even in the deepest darkness.  We just need to truly believe that.
     Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote: "What is decisive is not the mystic experience of our being close to him; decisive is not our 'feeling' but our 'certainty' of his being close to us--although even his presence is veiled and beyond the scope of our emotion.  Decisive is not our emotion but our 'conviction.'"  God is always present, but sometimes we simply cannot perceive him.  Our perception, however, is not reality.
     Most of the time when we go through periods where we cannot sense God's presence, it is because God is inviting us to experience him in a brand new way.  The season of disorientation (in this case, the absence of God's perceived presence) has as it's goal a reorientation, a new way of being and seeing.  Unfortunately, in times such as these we usually try to cling to some old and familiar way of relating to God rather than opening ourselves up to the new and the unknown.  The problem is that this old way of relating--this old orientation--is dead and gone, and a new one must be arrived at.
     It is like God is inviting us to learn to dance with him in a new and different way, but we keep reverting back to our old and familiar ways rather than being open and willing to learn a new dance.  This often leads to frustration, and even feelings of abandonment.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  God has not abandoned us.  In fact, he is actually trying to lead us into new levels of intimacy with him that we have only dreamt about.  But in order to do this, we must learn to let go of the old.  We must be willing to trust in him and to follow his lead the best way we know how.


Closing Prayer: My God and Father, Lord of the dance, allow me to see this day and this moment for what it really is—an invitation to dance the dance of life and faith with the One who made me.  May I dance this day with joy and passion, knowing that there will never be another one just like it.  In the name of Jesus I Pray.  Amen.

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Opening Prayer: Jesus, help me to learn what it means to truly abide in you every second of the day.  For then, and only then will I live the fruitful life you created for me.  You are the vine, Lord Jesus, and I am just a branch.  Help me never to forget that.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

Scripture: John 15:4-5

Journal: How have you been trying to manage your life these days?  Where have you been abiding?  What would it mean for you to abide in Jesus?

Reflection: The ability to hear what God is saying, to see what God is doing, and to move in the realm of the miraculous comes as an individual develops the same intimacy with and dependence upon the Father. How did Jesus do what He did? The answer is found in His relationship with the Father. How will we do the “greater works than these” which Jesus promised? By discovering the same relationship of intimacy, simplicity, and obedience. ~John Wimber


Closing Prayer: Intimacy, simplicity, and obedience; help these qualities to mark my life with you, today and every day.  Amen.

Friday, October 20, 2017


Opening Prayer: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
     When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
     Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5, NIV)

Scripture: Psalm 32:1-5

Journal: What stirs within you as you read this Psalm?  What is disturbed within you?  What do you do with that?  What might you need to acknowledge, uncover, or confess?  Will you?  The life of your soul depends upon it.  

Reflection: Misunderstanding, then, on this point of known or conscious sin, opens the way for great dangers in the higher Christian life.  When a believer, who has as he trusts entered upon the highway of holiness, finds himself surprised into sin, he is tempted either to be utterly discouraged, and to give everything up as lost; or else, in order to preserve the doctrine untouched, he feels it necessary to cover his sin up, calling it infirmity, and refusing to be honest and aboveboard about it.  Either of these courses is equally fatal to any real growth and progress in the life of holiness.  The only way is to face the sad fact at once, call the thing by its right name, and discover, if possible, the reason and the remedy.  This life of union with God requires the utmost honesty with Him and with ourselves.  The blessing which the sin itself would only momentarily disturb, is sure to be lost by any dishonest dealing with it.  A sudden failure is no reason for being discouraged and giving up all as lost.  Neither is the integrity of our doctrine touched by it.  We are not preaching a state, but a walk.  The highway of holiness is not a place, but a way. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith) 


Closing Prayer: Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.
     When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.
     Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.” Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. (Psalm 32:1-5, The Message)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Opening Prayer: O God, I can’t hide from you.  You see all of me.  You see even the things I try to hide from everyone else.  This hiding is lonely and shameful, O God, help me to come out into the open.  Help me to confess and renounce anything and everything that keeps me from being all that you desire me to be.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture: Proverbs 28:13

Journal: What are you hiding these days?  How is it affecting your soul?  How and when will you confess and renounce it?


I want to unfold
Nowhere do I want to remain folded
Because where I am folded,
There I am a lie.

            ~Rainer Maria Rilke


Closing Prayer: You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them. (Proverbs 28:13, The Message)

Monday, October 16, 2017

open me

Opening Prayer: Open me up, O God, to the flow of your life and your Spirit within me.  Help me to make space and time for you, that I might have room to flourish.  Amen.

Scripture: Genesis 26:17-22

Journal: What is blocking the wells of your soul these days?  What is stopping up the flow of the life of the Spirit within you?  What would it look like to re-open those wells?

Reflection: The practice of confession is essential to the spiritual life.  It is a practice that opens us up to the work and movement of God.  It is a practice that brings life.  Without confession we live in secrecy and shame.  Secrets bring about the opposite of life.  They close us off.  They stop us up.  They clog our wells.  They dry up the flow of the Spirit within us.
    In confession we are able to empty ourselves of shame and open ourselves to God, and to each other.  Thus, confession—and forgiveness—is intended to bring freedom.  It is the unburdening of ourselves to God.  The practice of confession helps to reopen our stopped up wells and give us room to flourish.


Closing Prayer: Unclog my wells, O God.  Open up the pathways of the Spirit within me, that your life and your power might flow in and through me unhindered.  Amen.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

have mercy

Opening Prayer:  Forgive us, O God, for we have sinned against you, both corporately and individually.  Give us the courage to stand where we are and fully admit—and confess—our failures and our shortcomings and our refusals to love.  For until we do that, we will never be able to move forward in our lives with you.  Lord, have mercy on us!  Amen.

Scripture: Nehemiah 9:1-3

Journal: What role does confession play in your life with God?  How and when do you practice it?  How does this passage speak to that?

Reflection: There are no two ways about it, confession is essential in our lives with God.  And a significant part of confession, it seems, is the willingness to stand where we are.  The people of Israel gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and having dust on their heads.  They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers.  They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God.  They spent significant time in confession, and worshipped the Lord their God.  All of this was essential in them moving forward in their journey.  They didn’t live in the past, or try to skip over where they were by jumping ahead to the future.  They simply stood where they were, confessed their sin, and worshipped their God.  They didn’t hide, or avoid, or escape, or rationalize.  They owned where they were and confessed, in order to be able to move forward.  There’s a great chance that we will never be able to move forward in our lives with God until we have fully confessed—both corporately and individually—as well.  But are we willing?

We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future.  It will not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit we should be ashamed.  For to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing.” ~George MacDonald


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Opening Prayer: Forgive me, O God, when I offer my affections to things that are not worthy of them.  Forgive me when I set out in search of affirmation and attention from others, when you are the only true source of both.  Set my affections, O my God, on you first, for only then will they be rightly ordered.  Amen.

Scripture: Hosea 1:1-11, 3:1-3

Journal: What is the main target of your attention and affection these days?  How do these verses speak to that?  How will you my God your first and truest affection in the days ahead?

Reflection: We all, like Gomer, are guilty of leaving our One True Love for the company of less wild lovers.  We all have prostituted ourselves.  We have traded the Sacred Romance in for some cheap imitation that can never satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.  But, even still, God never gives up on us.  His love is undying and unfailing.  He never ceases his relentless pursuit of us.  His heart will simply not allow it.  Even though I continually chase after the affirmation and attention of others, he continually chases after me.  O God, thank you that you love me that much!


Closing Prayer: Forgive me, O God, when I run to others before I run to you.  Forgive me when you are not the first object of all my affections.  Forgive me when I try to make people think I’m awesome before I try to make them think you’re awesome.  Be my first and truest affection this day.  Amen.

Monday, October 9, 2017


Opening Prayer: Come to me you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30

Journal: What yoke (or whose) are you wearing these days?  What is the effect on your soul?  What does it mean to take Jesus’ yoke upon you?

Reflection: What yoke are you wearing these days?  It seems like a bit of an odd question, doesn't it?  What the heck is a yoke anyway?  
     According to the dictionary, a yoke is a device for joining together a pair of draft animals, especially oxen, usually consisting of a crosspiece with two bow-shaped pieces, each enclosing the head of an animal.  The Greek word used here is zygos, which comes from the root zeugnumi, meaning to join.  So when Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon us, he is inviting us to join ourselves to him in some mysteriously intimate way.  He is inviting us to do life with him in such a way that he bears the brunt of the burden, not us.  Thus, the end result of us taking his yoke upon us is rest for our souls.  It follows that if we are weary and burdened in our lives, we must be wearing a yoke other than that of Jesus.  Someone or something has slipped in and put a load on us that we were never meant to bear.
     So I ask again, what yoke are you wearing these days, and where did it come from?  What burdens are you carrying?  What load is upon you?  Is it possible that you have taken on a yoke than is not meant for you?  A load that only Jesus can carry?
     An old legend goes that Jesus, being a the son of a carpenter, specialized in yokes.  People would come from miles around because he was the best.  He was the only one who could make a yoke that was perfectly fit for the animal that was to wear it.  And he does the same with each of us.  He has made a yoke that is perfectly fit for you and for me.  Why would we wear anything else?  But we do.  We continually carry burdens that are not our own.  We continually wear a yoke that was put upon us, either by ourselves, or by others, or by the world.
     The yoke of this world says, "increase," but the yoke of Jesus says, "decrease."  The yoke of the world says, "climb," but the yoke of Jesus says, "descend."  The yoke of the world says, "make yourself something," but the yoke of Jesus says, "make yourself nothing."  The world's yoke will exhaust you and wear you out, but the yoke of Jesus will renew and restore you to your true self.  "My yoke fits perfectly," says Jesus, "because it was made for you.  Wear my yoke, take it upon you, and you will find rest for your souls."


Closing Prayer: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

Friday, October 6, 2017

the gentle breeze

Opening Prayer: Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love: hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons in one God, now and forever.  Amen.  (Oremus)

Scripture: 1 Kings 19:9-13

Journal: What is keeping you from being able to hear God’s voice these days?  Are you going out regularly to stand on the mountain and wait for him?  If not, why not?  What does God want to whisper to you today?

Reflection: When we go out and stand on the mountain of God, we should not be surprised when the first thing we encounter is the whirlwind, or the earthquake, or the fire.  No, these will come and they will go, but God is not in them.  We must allow them to pass.  We must weather the storm of our anxieties and doubts and insecurities.  They will assault us and attempt to distract and overwhelm us, but if we stand firm in the stillness, and wait patiently for God to pass by, eventually he will come.  He will not come with a lot of noise and commotion and fanfare.  He will come like a gentle breeze.  He will speak in a soft whisper.  So hush, my soul, be still.  Wait patiently on your God.  He will come.  He will speak.  And when he does everything in you will be raised to life.


Closing Prayer: Whisper to my heart, O God.  Do not let the noise and chaos of this day keep me from being able to hear your still, small voice.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

be exalted

Opening Prayer: Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 57:5, 11)

Scripture: Psalm 57:1-11

Journal: Who or what is being exalted by your life these days?  What would it look like to exalt God?


     be exalted

whenever i begin
to think that this life
is all about me
be exalted o lord

whenever i forget
that i am only a small part
of your good creation
be exalted o lord

whenever i get
confused and consumed
by the worries of this world
be exalted o lord

whenever i start
spinning around in my own
needs and concerns 
be exalted o lord

and remind me
that this life
is not about me
but about you


Closing Prayer: Soar high in the skies, O God! Cover the whole earth with your glory! (Psalm 57:5, 11, The Message)