Did anyone ever tell you that you were an accident? They lied. Oh you may be the result of an unplanned pregnancy, your conception may have been in less than ideal circumstances, or you may have just been made to feel unwanted, but you’re no accident. You are here on purpose and you need to know that. I’m not a fan of the theory of evolution for that very reason. It’s not so much the science versus faith thing (that could be a whole book in itself and many people smarter than me have written them) as it is the fact that it makes life seem so random and accidental and as a result so many people live wandering aimlessly through this life as if there is no real reason to be here. I’m also not a fan of the teaching of survival of the fittest that seems to account for so much of the violence and anarchy in our world, but I digress. There is a better way to think about your existence. You are enough because you were made to be enough.

You’re no more accidental than the watch on your wrist or the car in your driveway. If I told you that one day your old Chevy just mutated out of the ooze, you would think I was out of my ever loving mind, yet so many people are apt to believe the exact same thing about their own existence. You need to know, you’re too complex to be random. You have to be created and if you’re created, then there is a Creator, and if there is a creator and you are His creation, then wouldn’t you say there’s a fairly good chance that there was a purpose for your creation?


My confession is that today is actually November 13 but I am time traveling back to November 8 to post this, because I have gotten way behind on my posting. The good news is I am writing furiously right now as part of NaNoWriMo the national novel writing month. The goal is to complete a 50,000 word book in the 30 days of November. The bad news is, I have been a little lax in posting. My book is called Enough. It’s not exactly a novel, it’s more of a non-fiction book with healthy quantities of storytelling incorporated in it. My plan was to post an excerpt every day this month, and while I got behind, I am playing catchup now. Enjoy!

“While I thought I was trying to prove something to people who long ago gave up any interest in me at all, my loving family was missing me. Oh I thought I was doing all this for them. That while I was chasing the impossible dream, I would have said that I was doing it so that I could give them everything they ever wanted, but what they really wanted were things that I already had the capacity to give them. They wanted a husband and father in a stable home. If any of this is ringing true with you, you need to know there is a better way.

So let’s go back to the original question, “Are you enough?” The answer is yes and the answer is no, and both of those are very good news. Let’s start with the yes. As a man of faith, I have come to believe that God has provided us with everything we need to accomplish the plans and purposes He has for our lives. Now please note the word “need.” I wanted a million dollars and here we are decades later and I am still nowhere close.  I wanted it, but I didn’t need it and when I gave up pursuing what I wanted, I found I already had what I needed. I had work and a home and a family who loved me. I didn’t need more so much as I learned I needed to learn to appreciate what God had already given and I had to learn how to be faithful with it. I had to learn I had enough and I was enough. I read a saying on  church sign once that said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Okay it was my church sign, but I didn’t put it there, My friend Lucy, who does our sign put it there. As I crested the hill to go to my office on a Wednesday morning, there it was and as I read it, I realized that’s the key to contentment and having and being a month.

The quest for enough was brutal on my life. It’s part of the reason I’m sitting in a Sheetz convenience store banging away on my iMac right now. I want every person to read these stories and take a different path. I want you dear reader to be encouraged. I want you to realize that you are in many ways enough, right where you are, right now today. I want you to know that you are loved by God and you can be everything that God has created you to be, no exceptions. “

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul speaks of the church being the body of Christ and in the process he touches on my primary point here, one of the two reasons we should all be grateful that we are not enough. You see Paul relates the church to a literal body and in that body, each part has a special, by design function. He speaks of eyes that want to be ears and hands that want to be feet. and asks where the head would be without the feet. which gives me this humorous image of a whole bunch of sentient disembodied heads rolling around aimlessly wishing for a pair of feet to get them where they know they need to be. It’s humorous, but it’s precisely the point. The head might do all the thinking, but the head needs the feet, and the arms and the legs and without them his life is more difficult.

You see here in the 21st century, at least in the west, we are taught from an extremely early age to call independence. In some ways that is a great thing, but it’s not God’s ultimate design. No, God’s ultimate design for us is not independence, it’s interdependence. He designed us with strengths and weaknesses precisely to this cause. No man, over woman, is an island and this too is by design. We were created to depend on each other and in this sense we are not enough on our own. I have a great example of this in my wife Dawn. I’m a natural born artist/creative. This means my imagination is usually fully engaged. I am right brained to the extreme and it seems to malfunction around things like numbers and money. So you know what God did for me? He gave me a wife who is great a crunching numbers and He gave me the wisdom to let her handle the finances. As a result we have stupid things like the aforementioned roof over our heads, I am not a starving artist because of the goodness of my God and the wisdom of my wife. She helps to ground me a bit and I help her to free up her inborn creativity. It’s a win-win situation. She is strong where I am weak and I am strong in her areas of weakness and together it works. I get a little nauseous when I hear someone in one of those chick flicks look someone in the eye and say “You complete me!” but to some degree it’s true and it is God’s design.

And by the way, it’s not just in marriages. The same principle works in families and companies and communities and even nations. If we were all to accept the idea that we are not in and of ourselves “enough” and learn to bring our best to the table in our strengths in cooperation with those who are strong in our weaknesses, the world would be a much better, more efficient place. We need to love others, work in our strengths and cooperate with others to until we are all, together, enough.

Of course there is an area where independence will not work and where even interdependence falls show and that is in our relationship with God. You see, He wants us to be totally dependent on Him and we are. I had an awakening on this one day. I had written a message where I said “God takes care of us in everything from the air we breathe on up.” But then I really thought about it, “Without air here are we?” Air isn’t just a need, it’s our primary need and God provides it and everything else in abundance. There is nothing in our world that, when brought down to it’s lowest common denominator is not totally and completely dependent on God. If this is the case, and it is then when it comes to God, none of us is enough. We are totally and completely dependent on Him and that is incredibly good news because He is forever unchanging and totally dependable to us. He is totally and completely enough and all we will ever need.

Am I important enough? (Do I matter?)

Hopefully as you read this book you will become increasingly aware that I am not a person under any illusions that I have it all together. I don’t. If you want a book written by someone perfect, read the Bible. You should be reading that anyway! That being said, this is one of the areas where I have always struggled most and my guess is I’m not the only one. This pursuit was especially bad back in the proving myself days, but they can still manifest even in this fairly contented phase of life. I can still find myself asking questions of significance. Does what I’m doing matter? Could I be doing more or gaining more or even having more of a kingdom impact? Am I important? Does any of this even matter? Can I tell you those are the wrong questions? I would like to illustrate this by telling you a story.

I was heading to a Promise Keepers event in Philadelphia and I was exhausted. Driving down the Schuylkill Expressway (Locals call it the “Sure kill” because it just might be the worst road in the U.S.) and I was fading fast. I still had a two to three hour event and then what could be two to three hour drive depending on how bad the traffic was on the aforementioned “Sure kill.” A thought was running through my mind as I hoped the caffeine from my Mountain Dew would kick in. “The first speaker better ‘bring it’ or I am going to fall asleep.” Well the first speaker that night was a man named E.V. Hill. He stepped up to the microphone and began to speak. He started off speaking very slowly and deliberately and I was beginning to think, “Oh no I am in trouble.” Well I should have known better, because he kept building and building until by the end, he was all but screaming and I was on the edge of my seat. I didn’t want it to end. He was probably among the best preachers I have ever heard. I was excited. So excited, that I told everyone I could that they had to hear this amazing preacher.

Well the next year, Promise Keepers came to town again and when they came they brought E.V. Hill with them. I had a car load of friends going with me and i could not wait for them to hear Him bring God’s Word. I couldn’t believe what happened next.  He started boasting. Boasting about this accomplishment and that accomplishment and this great thing he did, and that great place he went and the literal millions of people He had spoken to, and the more he boasted, the more I sunk down in my chair. I could almost feel my friends staring me down and thinking “What’s so great about this guy?” I should have known better. You see round about the middle of the message, Hill began to speak about the pastor at his first church, the first church he attended, the one where he met the Lord. And then he told us, that man never preached to more than 70 people in his life, but if he had not been faithful to his call all the great things God used E.V. Hill to do might never have happened. The point is simple. “Big enough” and it’s sister “important enough” aren’t up to us, faithfulness is.  The question is not the importance of our actions the question is how faithful will we be with the opportunities God gives us.

Suppose I gave you a billion dollars. For the record, I don’t have a billion dollars, but imagine I do and I give it to you, unconditionally. It was mine and now it’s yours, free and clear. It would radically change your life, right? (If a billion dollars would not radically change your life, please contact me, I have some really worthy projects I would love for you to support.) But seriously, if I benefitted you to that degree, and then one day you heard I wanted you to do something, I’m guessing you would do what I asked, right? I mean as long as that thing was moral, ethical and good, there should be very few things you wouldn’t do for the one who so radically changed your life.

Well everything Jesus has asked of us is good and ethical and moral, and He has given us something worth so much more than a billion dollars. He has given every believer a billion years and beyond in a perfect place of no more sickness and no more pain and no more disease, and no more death, and no Satan and no evil, just perfect joy and happiness forever and what he asks in return is that we live these few measly decades that we get on this planet in a way that brings Him honor and glory, so that others might see this gift in us and want it for themselves and receive eternity. That’s what our attempts at lives of holiness and righteousness is really all about. Jesus came to rescue us and then put us on the rescue mission. We don’t try to be good enough to earn something, we live to please Him so that others might receive Him and be saved.

I’m now about 8500 words in. Of course this is rough “wordage” completely unedited.

This is a small excerpt from a chapter on the sufficiency of God’s grace.

“As I began to consider Paul’s thorn that day, I began to wonder about my own thorn. Could it be that depression is my thorn? Could this be a weakness that God could turn into a strength? I think it can. As a matter of fact, I think it has. Believe me when I tell you, He can still take it away any time He wants, but in the mean time, His grace is enough. It is that grace that has made me compassionate to the suffering and struggling. This is vital in the work God has called me to. It is God’s grace that makes me able to see what’s happening in the midst of a trial and to look forward in hope, rather than wallowing in despair. His grace seems to constantly remind me of Romans 8:28. “In ALL thing (emphasis mine) God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” This much I know, I love God and He loves me. Despite the way I felt on that day, I know I am called according to His purpose, and if that’s the case, then I can look at every trial and seek out the way that it can work to my good. His grace is for me and it is enough. My thorn will not overcome me, because God has given me the grace to endure.

There was one ofter thing that came to me on that day in the midst of all this thought on thorns. In my mind’s eye, I began to see Jesus, as he was being led to Golgotha. On His head was a brutal crown of thorns—long sharp thorns goring His flesh and causing even more indescribable pain. Since I have been a believer, I have known that Jesus bore my sins as He went to the cross, but this image begged a question. Did he also bear my thorns?

His grace is enough. Is it enough for you?

Rock bottom was my holy place too. I looked up and was radically transformed forever. It was after that day at bottom that most of the best things in my life happened, my marriage, my kids, my grandson and this adventure called ministry that has taken me to amazing places and allowed me to do extraordinary things. I almost missed it all, it’s for that reason I call this season my bonus life. In that moment of crying out to God from the bottom of a deep pit, it was as if I said “enough’s enough.”

Have you been there? To a place where you know you’ve hit bottom and you have no choice but to look up. It’s okay if you haven’t. You don’t need to go there and there is no honor in the plunge. You can call out to God long before you hit bottom. Smart people don’t have to fall that far, they see a need and they go to God. They see the trajectory of the path they are on and they make a turn. By the way that turn is called repentance and it is available to us all at any time.

I have to laugh sometimes because it seems there are two schools of though on this whole rock bottom thing. Not long after I got my call to ministry and began my training, there was at least one person who commented, “And to think, they’re going to let him be a minister after all he has done.” The thing is if past sin disqualifies someone from ministry, only one was ever qualified and we nailed Him to a cross for His troubles. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” If we disqualify the repentant, there is no one left, except the unrepentant and they really are disqualified.

The other side of this coin is the disdain some people seem to have for people who haven’t even been to rock bottom. Some people see a bloody testimony as the only real qualification for ministry. They see people who have grown up in the church as something less than those of us who have bottomed out. God forbid. I have a bloody, messy testimony, but I raised my kids to have a safe “bottom free” testimony. I raised them to love God without all the stupid choices it took me to get there. They are no less saved than I am and I think this is a huge point. I looked at my cycle of sin and thought enough’s enough. As much as I am able to determine it, this ends here in my generation. Let my sons start a new, blessed generation as children of a man who loves God. The thing we need to remember is, everyone has been rescued.  Some have to be pulled from a pit, while others are rescued by being raised to know Christ from their earliest days. Both groups need Jesus, and when they come to Jesus, both groups are saved.