the blog


If you’re following along…


If you’ve been following along on my web guide, connected to my Ordinary Time book, SORRY! I know the that last week or so has been a bit spotty when it comes to timely posts. I think i’m all caught up, that’s the good news. Also, this is the last week! If you’ve tracked along this far, awesome! You should let me know, I’ll figure out a prize to send you!!! (seriously!)

But things have been crazy for the last couple weeks because my family has been on the move!

If you’re interested in hearing more about that go over to our family website and check it out!

But no fear! We’re back on track and almost to the finish line!

Thanks for following along! I would love to hear how the book has helped your life with God over these 9 weeks of Ordinary Time!

Grace and peace



REAL :: A life of transfiguration


Icon_of_transfiguration_(Spaso-Preobrazhensky_Monastery,_Yaroslavl)Every once in awhile I will share a bit form my book Ordinary Time. This week the big idea was REAL, talking about the reality of the kingdom that sometime we can’t see but is always and already there. It is this reality that should shape and guide our lives, even in the face of the dark and negative realities that scream for our attention and smack around with fear and despair.

We also experience the feast of the Transfiguration this week. One of my favorites! The Transfiguration is a guiding story in this conversation. I wanted to share this Saturdays meditation and couple quote from this week to help you engage this story and to encourage you to begin to live a life of transfiguration.

DAY 70 // Luke 9:28-36

Transfiguration always seems to be followed by difficulty and darkness. It’s as if the higher we climb on the mountaintop, the further into darkness we descend on the other side. For a moment, we have glimpsed or tasted the beauty of the Kingdom, but we are soon reminded of our broken and bent world.

Maybe this is not such a bad thing. Instead of feeling disillusioned when we encounter darkness in or around us, one of the best things we can do is to take some simple steps to live as Kingdom people. To live as people who participate in the Kingdom of God breaking into our present age in big and small ways. We see, experience and participate in the in-breaking of the Kingdom every time we care for the sick, sit with the lonely, lift up the poor and broker peace.

Don’t make the highs what you live for. Don’t numb or distract yourself from the problems around you. Instead, let’s become a people who help answer the prayer “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” in all our ordinary moments. This requires living a new kind of reality, one we caught a glimpse of on the mountain and now bring crashing into our everyday lives.

What is your response to the darkness and difficulty you face in your ordinary life? Do you shrink back and look for distraction, or do you figure out how to help the Kingdom break in?

A few meditations

“The world around us tells us that life is about money, security, power, success. Yet the Gospels tell us that life is about something completely other. Real life, the Gospels tell us, is about doing the will of God, speaking for the poor, changing the lives of widows and orphans, exalting the status of women, refusing to make war, laying down our lives for the other, the invisible, and the enemy. It is about taking everyone in instead of leaving anyone out.”

— from The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life by Joan Chittister

“The Transfiguration reveals and outlines the whole mystery of salvation. And his transfiguration invites us to transfigure with him.”

— Andreas Andreopoulos: This is My Beloved Son

“[The Transfiguration] stands as a gateway to the saving events of the gospel, and is as a mirror in which the Christian mystery is seen in its unity. Here we receive that the living and the dead are one in Christ, that the old covenant and the new are inseparable, that the Cross and the glory are of one, that the age to come is already here, that our human nature has a destiny of glory, that in Christ the final word is uttered and in him alone the Father is well pleased. Here the diverse elements in the theology of the New Testament meet.”

— Arthur Michael Ramsey: The Glory of God and the Transfiguration of Christ





The Prayer of Examen


One of the greatest tools I’ve encountered for my ordinary life is St. Ignatius’ Prayer of Examen.
Here is a version I created, pulling from a handful of places.


BEGIN :: Become aware of God’s love and presence. Remind yourself

that God is with you. There is nothing to fear; you are safe and loved.

THANK :: Bring to mind the good things that God has brought into your life, and let gratitude begin to bubble up. What gifts, big or small, has God given you today? Thank him for every good and perfect gift.

REVIEW :: Ask God to show you where you have failed, fallen or sinned in the past day. We’re talking about sins both known and unknown. Ask God to bring to mind any and every time you turned from his leading.

NOTICE :: Look back on your day again, each and every thing you did. Relive what you thought about, wanted and felt and desired during those moments. Begin to sense God’s activity. When were you cooperating most fully with God, and when were you not?

FORGIVE :: With confidence ask God, the one whose loving presence has been with you and is always with you, to forgive you for all the moments you went your own way. Remember the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

RESPOND :: Ask yourself, “Going forward, how can I receive and participate in God’s grace, resolving to live as a cooperative partner with God for his glory and the good of my neighbor?

END :: Saint Ignatius recommends you end with The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13.


This week in the Ordinary Time devo is on EXAMEN. And of course, The Examen of St. Ignatius is a big part of that. We need to examen our lives on a regular basis and do the work of daily discipleship in the way Jesus!
I also post this examen here for the student I’m hanging out with in Texas! I hope it helpful!!!



Here are the questions for South Texas Small Group Leaders…

Day #2 :: EXAMEN

Do you ever look at your inner life, your life with God and ask “how’s it going?”
Read Psalm 139 – now make it your prayer.

Have you opened the deepest parts of your life to God?
Do you let the Spirit of God love and lead you on a daily basis?

Do you believe that you are loved by God?
Examen your life and action, now ask that question again.

What are you ambitions and desire about?
How could you turn your ambitions and desire toward God and for God?



iPhones & Early Adopters…


If  you’re reading this you probably know about my book Ordinary Time that is out. (You can buy your copy here if you’d like).

But connected to the Ordinary Time book and all the books I have out so far is a web guide. The web guides are essentially just blogs (Tumblr pages) that host extra supplemental content connected to the books. So if you have the book and at the bottom of the page you are reading you see a little icon, that means there is content on the web guide that is connected to that days reflection / devotion.

You can read the book without ever clicking on the web guide.
And you can even check out the web guide without having the book. Although that might be a bit harder or disjointed. Yea, you might need some context but some times it won’t matter.

Anyway. Today’s web guide is full of stuff and I put this little extra ditty up that I thought was pretty cool.
It’s my proof of early adopter status. Check it out…

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 12.19.39 PM

Just as a way of proving myself and having a little fun… I found this picture of all the iPhones. This is every generation of iPhones that has ever existed (I added the iPhone 6 myself).

I’ve had them all!!!!

I’ve waited in lines, stayed up till odd hours of the night to order 1st thing, and have haggled with many a craigslist companion in order to sell my old phone to pay for the new one.

I’ve actually only paid for the very first iPhone. Since then I have always been able to sell the old and get the new. AT&T is making that harder with the 6 and i’m sure they will with the 6S as well but i’ve got a system, it’s fun and feeds my Apple addiction yearly.

No really spiritual value here but as I mentioned in todays reflection, i’m an early adopter. PROOF!

And in case you are interested here is today devotion from the Ordinary Time book.
If you like it, you should buy a copy today!


.:: From Ordinary Time: A Journey of Counting, Conforming and Embracing God’s Presence in Everyday Life. ::.

Daily Scripture Reading :: Luke 14:25-35

I’m an early adopter. That means I get the new gadget or sign up for the new website when everybody else is still weighing the pros and cons. I’ve waited in line for the better part of a day for a first generation iPhone and have beta-tested several social media websites. I only know one person who signed up for Twitter before I did. (You can give me a high five later.)

Not only am I an early adopter, but I am also an evangelist—that person who loves what they’ve got and has to tell everybody about it. Did you know that Apple actually has a job title “Chief Evangelist”? Sign me up; I’m in!

But one thing that comes with being an early adopter and gadget evangelist is that I am also a fickle friend. I have the capacity to jump from one love to the next at the drop of a hat. I love something one minute and the next have forgotten about it.

Love, by its nature, calls for a certain type of exclusivity. For example, you can’t really love an iPhone and an Android at the same time. Matthew 6:24 says it all, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

Our Scripture reading today is a hard one. People go round and round about what Jesus really meant when he said you must hate your father, mother, wife, children. Beneath the multiple layers of this passage, one thing it definitely gets at is the exclusive nature of love.

I believe the love I have for my wife, my kids and my friends and enemies is somehow enabled by the love I have been given. Only because I have been given it, am I now able to give it. And maybe the exclusive love from a person is a beacon, a sign post of the love God has for us in Jesus, inviting us to participate in it through the Spirit and calling us to share it in community.

What is competing for your exclusive, action-evoking love for God?

Check out the web guide as I mentioned above for some supplemental content

Grace and peace



Trinity Sunday / Music Monday


The journey of Ordinary Time has kicked off!

The 1st Sunday after Pentecost / The 1st Sunday of Ordinary Time is Trinity Sunday!
Maybe you spent some time talking about that in your church on Sunday, maybe not. We’ll be spending the week in the Ordinary Time book pondering the Trinity and you can also follow along on the Ordinary Time Web Guide with a bit of that conversation.

But as I do from time to time on this blog, I shared some tunes today over on the web guide.
Thought I would share them here as well.

trinity_sessionsWell today is a music Monday!
And to make it even more awesome, the music is FREE!

If you aren’t familiar with Noisetrade, now you are and you’re welcome! It’s a site of legally free music! You can tip the band for their tunes (which is always nice to do) but really all they ask is that you spread the word. Pretty easy!

The Verses Project has a few pretty good albums out and one of them happens to be devoted to verses (Bible verses that is) that are Trinitarian in nature.

The Trinity Sessions


So enjoy!



The Ordinary Time Journey has begun…


The Ordinary Time Journey has begun.

The posts over on the web guide ( have started rolling. And hopefully you have picked up your copy of the book and are reading along!

This book is created with 2 tracks in mind…

#1. Start today! Following along with the liturgical calendar and Sunday lectionary readings. Ordinary Time is pretty free flow but there are a few days that commemorate certain folks and some special days. But those things are super minimalistic and lend to a bit more liturgical freedom for this season of the year.

#2. Go with it! For those that are like, “liturgical calendar what?” or “lectionary readings who?” – YES! This book is for you! You can really jump in at any time and following along. I’m setting up the web guide so you you’ll know which posts go with which days.

This book is 13 weeks worth of devotions. Start at any time and track along! Learn the rhythms of abundant life and the ordinary ways of Jesus and his followers.



Pentecost Sunday | We’re close


Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, which marks the culmination of the Easter season. It’s a pretty big Sunday on the church calendar because it’s the day that marks the birth of the church. That’s a pretty big Sunday! Here are a couple images and prayers to help you think about Pentecost and what God has done through His Holy Spirit. (And click the link above to read a bit more about Pentecost. CRI is a great resource.)

Holy Spirit DoveOfPeace pentecost-icon-coptic-6

It is also the Sunday before Trinity Sunday, which is the first Sunday of Ordinary Time! 

So we’re getting close. Our journey is about to begin.  


Ordinary Time, as you will learn if you haven’t already, is simply a counting of Sunday. We get the ordinary of Ordinary Time, not from the ordinary, boring, mundane nature of this time of year but we get it from the word ordinal. Which is a particular way of counting (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). Ordinary Time is the way we count the Sundays from Pentecost to Advent. They are ordinary Sundays, not much special goes on during this time of year but the focus is really on growth and the learning of what it means to follow Jesus each and every day. If you’ve read the intro of the book you’ve picked this up already. If you haven’t, get a copy today and join the journey, you’ll probably even get it in time for the first Sunday of Ordinary Time.


And here are a couple prayers or Collects for your Pentecost week…

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

or this

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Good Friday & Black Saturday


The Harrowing of HadesSome people call it Holy Saturday, I prefer Black Saturday. And for the record, one of my least favorite things that churches do these days is to have an Easter service on Saturday night. I get it, I get it. I know why you do it but that doesn’t make it any better.

As I was sitting in my churches Good Friday requiem (which might have been the most amazing music I have ever heard in a church building) I was reflecting on the weekend, I even wrote a few things down in my journal. By Friday night Jesus would have been crucified, dead and buried. His words, “it is finished” would have been said and his last breath would have been breathed. Personally I want to sit there, in the darkness. I want to take in the forsakenness of it all. I want t know that darkness, the quite, that stirring chaos. I want to sit in and become familiar with this space, to become aware of the void and the despair.

Most times we want to jump to Sunday, to resurrection. I hate even speaking the word today. It’s still Saturday. Jesus is still dead. Doing his thing in hell while I sit in my own hell. I don’t want to jump ahead I want to take in this fierce silence.

There are many time in my life and in my struggles where I wondering where God is. I wondering if he has abandoned me. I read the early parts of many of the Psalms and want to stop just before the poet gets to the “but I remember” or “but I will praise you” parts. I can relate to the nagging questions “why have you forsaken me” but in those moments I have a hard time with the remembrance and the praise parts.

You see, I want to sit in the dark silence of Good Friday evening & Black Saturday because it’s here, as I remember this story, as I reenact this narrative that I experience true abandonment. Where with Jesus I can honestly cry out, “Why have you forsaken me.”

I want to be so aware and attuned to this absence so that in all the other moments of life that feel so dry and dark I can sense God’s presence even then. And I can sense it because I know what Black Saturday is like and in all of those other moments I will be able to say, “this isn’t that.”



These thoughts are inspired by Ignatian meditation that encourages us to really live into the text and put ourselves, imaginatively into the stories. This type of thoughtful, imaginative scripture engagement had greatly deepened my life. Try it!



Maundy Thursday — Reflection


holythursday_15c_rusToday is Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday. A lot goes on here but the primary scripture i’ve been thinking about is John 13:1-15, the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet. Many churches will have a eucharist / communion service that will include a foot washing ceremony. When I was living in Nashville and attending Church of the Redeemer I was able to participate in a few Maundy Thursday service that included foot washing. It was uncomfortable! It was awkward! It was thought provoking. And when all was said and done it was beautiful and deeply moving.

We don’t wash peoples feet. We often don’t love people well. In our culture these things aren’t related but for Jesus he tied these 2 together. Wanting to profoundly love and serve his friends and show them how important it was going to be for them to receive that love and then go and do the same.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 11.45.29 AMPray As You Go engages this passage in John today and asked a few poignant questions…

“have ever known that kind of love?”

“Is there someone whose love you find difficult to accept at the moment?”

(image yourself in this story…)
“What do you want to say to Jesus, and what does he want to say to you?”

They close with these two pieces…

“‘I have set you an example’ says Jesus, ‘that you also should do as I have done.’  Speak to Jesus about what this invitation means to you, and how it might become a reality in your life?”

“We adore you o’ Christ and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”

The medition today from Pray As You Go struck me and I wanted to share it. Take 12 minutes today, listen and engage, you won’t regret.

I hope you’re abel to find a good Maundy Thursday service today. Let it prepare you tomorrow, Good Friday and the darkness that follows and the light that is right around the corner!

Grace and epace