“These experiences I have cherished”


Poetry got me married. My sophomore year of college I was in a social club, which was essentially a fraternity without the beer, and even some of them disregarded even that stipulation. I was a member of the group called Novus Dux, and our greek letters were Alpha Upsilon Omega.  We were a group of guys dedicated to service and various other things.  We had a sister group entitled L’Amifidel. Their letters were Alpha Pi Epsilon. 


There were a lot of things we did together with L’Ami (as they were affectionately called).  The connection between Novus Dux and L’Amifidel was pretty strong.  As a result, we would periodically have days set aside in Novus Dux that would be dedicated to serving the L’Ami girls.  We’d ask that all of the girls would wear their T-shirts as there were more than 50 of them, and we didn’t know ALL of them.


The goal throughout the day, whenever you saw a L’Ami girl, was that you would do something to serve them in that moment.  Most of the guys would resort to the easy way out by doing things like opening the door for them or taking up their bright orange lunch tray.  I chose a more interesting path…more creative…more….???...tenacious.


I went to the library and checked out a few books of sonnets and various other poetry and went out to The Valley. The Valley was an area about the size of a football field with rolling hills and green green grass and converging sidewalk pathways that generally got you to anywhere on campus. I would sit in a patch grass with my books at hand, and whenever at first glance of a L’Amifidel T-shirt, even if it were the length of the valley, I would recite poetry from the books in my most dramatic fashion.


At one point, I looked up and saw a stunning blond girl walking toward me in a blue T-shirt with the yellow greek letters Alpha Pi Epsilon on it. I saw her from a distance, and I flipped quickly to “a good one”, and knelt down and screamed as loudly and dramatically as I could. I didn’t even know her name. She gave a wry smile and eventually a hearty laugh at my idiocy that was both ridiculous AND charming.


Years later, that stunning blond would be my best friend until my 5th year of college where we started a dating relationship for a year before getting engaged to be married. Our friendship and relationship in college was included candlelit taco bell dinners and driving until we were purposefully lost.  After I was married to her, we would be asked frequently the common question, “Where did you meet?” It wasn’t on a road trip with friends.  She would be sure to let you know it was on a day when he read me poetry loudly and inanely in The Valley at Anderson University.  Poetry got me married!

Another memory is sitting over coffee with my hero, Brennan Manning, and sitting over hotdogs a few years later. We can say we know someone by reading all their words, but there is something different that sets more concretely when you sit across a table from one another. Brennan would not have remembered our conversations, or me but those are two experiences I will not soon release. I can remember asking him what books he recommends, as I was accustomed to recommending his books to everyone. It was before I had a phone in my pocket to write down all the recommendations, which meant it was left to shitty memory, which means I’ll never know what he told me that day.

The most cherished moments in life are the ones, which set a person (or group of people) in your heart forever like drying concrete. My entire life has been so full of hard-drying moments like this I cannot help but leave very important moments and highly cherished people out of the list.

The Change of Congregation: for the pastor

congre Each year of ministry has come with its share of lessons learned. Currently, I am learning something with an impact for sustainable ministry into the future. Allow me to share this personal lesson in an address to other pastors and ministry leaders.

Never neglect the reality that you just might not be sent to this congregation to change them, but that perhaps God is using this congregation to change you.

Each leader has his inadequacies and weakness. Each ministry leader has her insecurities and doubts. Each pastor has his holes through which perfection leaks right out of grasp, and a congregation you engage with and truly shepherd will have an incredible knack for revealing those things.

This is not an attack, nor is it an especially intentional action of the congregation. This is the way of congregation. It is the way of koinonia. It is the way of the Holy Spirit doing his work in the life of a pastor  and ministry leader called to this very place.

If you will allow, God will change you, ministry leader. He will do so with and through the people you thought you were here to fix, save, and change.

People Aren't People

Today my friend, Justin Wallace, tweeted:

The thought that there is a unique story behind each set of eyes that I pass blows my mind. #walkingacrosscampus

What incredible potential awaits those who pay attention to people like this!

What could happen if we intentionally remembered each person we pass represents a story? What things would change if people were not just faces, stats, floating torsos but stories you should hear?