Lessons in Forgiveness

Lessons in Forgiveness

Today is my ex-wife’s birthday.

Normally, I would not make mention of it on my blog (even though we have a good, cordial relationship), but she’s been on my mind lately for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, she was very helpful last week following my car accident. She was genuinely and sincerely concerned, and she took care of our Max so Lee could focus on taking care of me post-accident.

Secondly, I was reading my Bible plan this morning and came across Matthew 18. Verses 21 – 22 read:

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

There is a reason my ex-wife is my ex, and I am that reason. Sparring the detail, I will say I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness in the nearly fourteen years since our marriage ended, and I’ve learned it mostly by watching her.

She always put our kids first, even when perhaps it meant swallowing some pride in public. She was always gracious and polite, even when perhaps her inclination was to punch me in the face.

I’ve grown leaps and bounds since beginning my faith walk anew in 2009, but looking back, I can see my ex-wife’s actions toward me in the years preceding 2009 laid the foundation for my walk with Christ. For what is more Christian than being extended forgiveness when you least deserve it?


Happy birthday, Ale. Thank you for being the best mother to our children that I could ever hope for. Thank you for maintaining your generous heart when I gave you a reason not to. Thank you for showing me what it means to model Christ with your actions. I owe you so much more than I can ever say with mere words.

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Counting My Blessings

Counting My Blessings

God is a good and faithful God. Even when we’re experiencing tough times, we continue to praise His name and glorify Him.

I was sitting at a red light last night when I was rear ended by a drunk driver. It appears I was propelled into the intersection where I was hit by a second vehicle. Thankfully, I have no recollection of the accident (#blessing). I came to with a man in my passenger seat instructing me to stay calm because I’d been in an accident (#blessing).

The first responders on the scene (#blessing) used the jaws of life to pry open my door and remove me from the vehicle. Ryan and Cody helped keep me calm as the took my vitals, loaded me on their rig, and transported me to Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, which is less than a mile from the crash site (#blessing).

I was brought into the ER, my head and neck stabilized as a needed precaution. Another first responder found my phone on the scene and brought it to me (#blessing). I was able to then notify people of what had happened.

It's but a flesh wound.

My wife Lee arrived and coordinated with my ex-wife Alex who was already in the waiting area of the ER (#blessing). Lee and I are staying in a hotel in Tampa this week with our puppy Max. Not knowing how long the evening was going to be, Lee brought Max with her to the hospital and Alex took him home for the evening so Lee could focus on me (#blessing).

I was treated by the amazing team at FHWC (#blessing). Kate (my PA), Sharon from radiology, Aaron and Justin (my nurses), and everyone else with whom I interacted were exceptional.

My injuries are minor (#blessing). Small laceration to my forehead, burns and scrapes on my left side due to airbags, and a deep bruise to my right Achilles tendon. I also sustained a mild concussion.

Upon being discharged at 3AM with my foot in a splint and my scrapes bandaged, Lee drove me to our hotel where we both promptly fell asleep.

We spent most of today on the phone with our auto insurance company (#blessing), scheduling appointments with various doctors (#blessing), speaking to our attorney (#blessing), and keeping our family and friends abreast of the situation (#blessing x2).

The book of Job teaches us the story of a man who, “was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” (Job 1:1 NLT) Yet he was made to suffer loss and personal anguish. And through it all, he remained faithful to God and did not curse His name. “So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning.”
(Job 42:12 NLT)

I am not a blameless man like Job, but I am the Lord’s servant. I could have easily died last night, or suffered devastating injury, or be in an ICU tied up to all kinds of machines working to keep me alive. Instead, I hobbled out of the ER with crutches and a dull headache (#blessing).

God was with me last night, as He is always. He placed His hedge of protection around me last night (#blessing), as He is want to do to those who worship Him. I am not deserving of His grace, yet He provides it anyway (#blessing). I praise His name for His is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever.

Fast and the Furious (Stomach)

Fast and the Furious (Stomach)

I believe firmly in the power of prayer. I’ve seen miracles happen and have personally been impacted by prayer. But one thing I’ve never done as part of my prayer life is fast.

…until now.

In preparation for Easter, CrossPointe Church invited its congregation to take part in a fast from 6:00 PM Thursday to 6:00 PM Friday. Having been in the service last Sunday when this was announced, Lee and I decided to join the members of CrossPointe and fast. We have much about which to pray, specifically our house for sale in Tampa, and we know this period of sacrifice will allow us to focus on our conversations with God.

I am sure many people are like me, not too familiar with fasting or the how’s and why’s of fasting with regards to our prayer life. What I do know is that it’s a conscious effort on my part to be intentional with prayer. When I would normally stop to eat, I will fill that time with prayer. When I am feeling hungry, I will ignore what my stomach is telling me and spend time with God. Jesus sacrificed Himself for me. Surely I can sacrifice food for 24 hours.

Fasting.jpg

Still, if you’re wanting to more information about how fasting improves your prayer life, visit the post below from Crosswalk.com.

5 Ways Fasting Can Change Your Life

Deep Dive

Deep Dive

Although I am technically unemployed, every day is a busy day. There is always something to do. Something that needs to get done. There are always items that need to be boxed, other items that need to be listed on eBay, and just tons of crap that needs to make its way to the trash.

But this morning, as I was going through my YouVersion reading plan, I felt compelled to do a little more with my Bible reading.

With YouVersion, I use the New Living Translation and have the app narrate to me as I read along. It helps me better retain the content (mostly because I don’t trip up over the pronunciation of Biblical names, etc.), and also, because I’ve been using this method for such a long time now, the narrator’s voice is comforting and familiar. My physical Bible, which is a note-taking Bible, is in the New American Standard translation. I use NASB because that is what was used at my Bible college.

In YouVersion, there are notes that show references to other parts of Scripture, and as I was reading through Galatians, it was impressive to see how many times the Apostle Paul referenced the Old Testament in his epistle. So I felt compelled to just go through each chapter of Galatians and use the digital notes from YouVersion’s NLT to create hand-written notes in my NASB Bible.

What resulted was a deep dive into the book of Galatians (six chapters) that took several hours to complete. It was interesting and eye-opening, and I was able to read the Word from a completely new perspective. It was such a positive experience I am thinking about doing the same for all of Paul’s epistles (there are thirteen).

With so much to do in preparing to sell the house and move, it’s true I could have used the time this morning for other tasks. However, there’s no disputing there’s no other task that would have been quite as valuable.


Mental Shuffle

Mental Shuffle

Yesterday I wrote about things I am going to miss once Lee and I move to the Dominican Republic. Tonight’s post is kinda’ the opposite, but not entirely.

To say my music family has changed my life is a dramatic understatement. When you follow the dominoes that have fallen, it’s very clear Lee and I would not be preparing for this move into full-time mission work if not for our music family. We ended up at Relevant Church as a result of being invited by our friend whom we met through our music family. Our introduction to Advocates of Love came as a result of my best friend whom – again – I met through our music family. Being introduced to that community of friends back in 2006 has been life-changing.

Part of this music family experience had been The Rock Boat, a floating music festival that is the best vacation you’ll barely remember. Lee and I have had the pleasure of taking part of seven TRB’s, and each one has been uniquely special. From our first in 2007 to our last in 2015 (we missed a couple of years here and there), thinking back on TRB memories makes my heart smile.

I say “last” one because we sailed on TRB XV a day after returning from our first ever mission trip in January 2015. Even though we had a good time, there was something off about that boat. For Lee and me, it was not the go-for-broke party atmosphere we’d enjoyed on previous cruises. Rather, there was an almost somber undercurrent, a whisper from God telling us TRB XV was our last hurrah.

He was preparing us for our next steps.

So here I am, on the sail away day for TRB XVIII, seeing the Facebook posts from literally hundreds of my friends who set sail for five excellent days of music, sun, fun, and killer hangovers. And it’s interesting how The Boat is no longer a priority in my life. Instead, I am filling my days with process steps I need to complete in order to move to a foreign country and serve God with the work my wife and I do.

Just like with old computers when you’d run a defrag command in order to re-order the hard drive, God performs a spiritual defrag in us according to His will. Things we once thought were important are moved out of the way in order to make more room for Him.

Would I like to be on a music cruise with my friends right now? Of course! Is it where I need to be right now? Not even close. Where I need to be is here, prepping my house so I can sell it, reaching out to other ministry organizations seeking partnership opportunities, and praying everything for which we’re hoping comes to fruition.

So instead of pining away about a ship that has already set sail (literally), I’ll close out with a nostalgic look back at what used to be. Enjoy.

It’s All About The Network

It’s All About The Network

No, not a data or cellular network.

I’m talking about your peeps. Your circle of friends. Your squad. Those with whom you partake.

For me, today has been a network-riffic kinda day. It started with a friend gifting me much needed moving boxes and containers. It was very serendipitous she posted to Facebook she had a surplus of the receptacles and needed to get rid of them.

From there I had a conversation with my attorney (it really is weird every time I say that out loud) whom I’ve known for over twenty years but is only in his first couple of years practicing law. It’s cool to have seen him and his wife go to law school and start their own practice, all while starting a family as well. To see the hard work they put in makes me that much more happy for their success.

I had good conversations with my BFF’s, catching up on life, snow in the Bible belt, doctor’s appointments, etc. My dudes help keep me grounded and focused, and I always take away something positive whenever I speak to them.

I wrapped up the day with some positive news regarding Lee’s and my future direction. There are still many details to be worked out, but the biggest hurdle has been cleared. Again, this is a new opportunity that is a direct result of my network of friends.


It’s been my experience that success follows when you surround yourself with good people; people who will encourage you, challenge you, support you, and pray with/for you. It will not always be smooth sailing, but more often than not, the rewards will far outweigh any setbacks. You will also find God uses your friends to open doors in your life, doors you didn’t even know existed. Conversely, you will find God uses you – your talents, knowledge, and experiences – to help steer others in new, positive directions.

We are not designed to go through life alone, so make the most of how God architected you and ‘do life’ with others. Fellowship is one of the ways God asks, “Can you hear me now?”

One Step At A Time

One Step At A Time

The first marathon commemorated the run of the soldier Pheidippides who, according to legend, ran approximately 25 miles from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians in 490 B.C.

I used to run. I used to love running. I hope to pick up running once again. However, getting into a routine of running takes discipline. Building up the necessary endurance to run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, etc. requires discipline and a plan. For many, it also requires a support structure.

As an example, for me to get back into shape for running a 5K will require an aerobic base building routine that includes a run/walk plan. An acceptable first week of training is 20 to 30 minutes total of jogging/running/walking three times a week. By contrast, ultra-marathoners (those who run 100-mile events), have insane training regiments. You don’t just wake up one morning and decide to be an ultra-marathoner (or regular marathoner for that matter). It takes time, it takes commitment, and it takes patience.

The same is true for being a Christ follower.

I admire those who’ve devoted a lifetime to serving God and sharing His glory with others. For me, the standard-bearer is John Piper. His site, Desiring God, is a fountain of learning and inspiration. I began my faith journey anew in the summer of 2009, and it’s such a blessing to be able to look back on the last eight and half years and recognize how much I’ve grown. I also look forward knowing I have a lifetime of growth yet to come.

I’ve also had conversations with others who are kicking the tires of faith or new to being in a relationship with Christ. I’ve been told they look at me as a model of what it means to be a Christian, and as flattering and humbling as that is, I remind them of how I still have a long way to go. Yet, I appreciate the comment, and I once again make the analogy to running. I am somewhere in the 5K to 10K stage of my spiritual activity, yet my eyes are set on the ultra-marathoning John Piper’s of the world, hoping I can one day come close to reaching those levels. By contrast, others find themselves on the couch, trepidatious about lacing up their Jesus shoes and starting a walk with Him.

What this all comes down to is that as we enter the season of resolutions and newfound resolve, I pray you give yourself the requisite patience and time to grow in your relationship with Christ. If you’re new to the faith, please know being a Christ follower is not easy. Accepting Jesus into your heart does not mean your life instantly becomes care-free. Instead, it means you can walk with confidence knowing God will provide.

The activation of the Holy Spirit within you is instant, but it will take years of spiritual and scriptural training to see the transformative change He provides. This means making reading the Word part of your plan. This means making service to others part of your plan. This means re-evaluating the priorities in your life. It’s a process – a sometimes grueling process – but one that yields rewards on both sides of eternity.

“He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 NLT


PostScript: I realized after having written this post I wrote basically the same post back in April of 2016. I try not to regurgitate material, and I apologize for the oversight.