What I Hear When I Press My Ear Against Jesus’ Chest

Like a child holding onto a bundle of cherry-red helium balloons, I celebrated whenever joy was in my grasp, but also recognized the speed with which it could slip away, deflate, or disappear altogether.

I knew better than to outright refuse joy, yet all too often I was making choices that tugged joy away, settling into a life where joy only made an occasional cameo.

That’s when it occurred to me that how we go about laying hold of joy matters.

Our pursuit of joy doesn’t just affect us, but those closest to us, those we love most.

Such were the beginnings of studying, pursuing, and learning to fight back with joy over the last three years.

In Day 37 reading of the #LentChallenge, anchors us in the holy calling to be joy warriors. (Download your free Gospel reading guide, here).

In John 15-16, we eavesdrop on a most mysterious conversation, Jesus’ choice, final syllables before his arrest. This is where he blows on the embers of their faith. Moments later the lights go out for all the disciples. The world becomes as dark as night. But Jesus’ words on this fateful eve aren’t just for them, they’re for us.

Today. Here. Now. Continue Reading...

The Two Words That Will Revolutionize Your Life Today

Just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending some time with my friend Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., who shared about his latest book, The Grave Robber.

Batterson’s imagery raced through my mind as I read John 11-12 in Day 35 of the #LentChallenge and discovered a pair of words that make all the difference. Continue Reading...

Why You’re Not Experiencing More Joy

Do you ever feel like joy is just out of reach?

Me, too.

That’s why I spent more than a year diving into the more than 400 references to joy, happiness, merriment, delight, pleasure, dancing, rejoicing and more throughout the Scripture. I discovered joy is so much more than anyone taught me. Joy is a spectrum of emotions, responses, and reactions. Sometimes you feel like a joy; sometimes you don’t. But you can always act in joy even when your emotions shout otherwise.

In Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, I explore how more than whimsy joy is the weapon we use to fight life’s battles. In the reading for Day 31 of the #LentChallenge, (download the free reading guide here), we discover Jesus poking holes in the darkness as He fights back with joy in the most unsuspecting ways.  Continue Reading...

The Toughest Question You’ll Ever Have to Answer

Throughout the Bible, humans inundate God with questions.

Why? Why? Why?

How long?

How much longer?

Where have you gone?

Yet God also has tough questions of His own.

Who told you that you were naked?

Who do you say I am?

Who touched me?

Perhaps the toughest of all the questions God ever asks is… Continue Reading...

Have You Been Visited By Angels?

Have you ever had an experience that makes you wonder:

Did I just encounter an angel?

One spring during college I studied abroad in Spain. My flight was delayed more than a dozen hours. The person who gave me directions sent me to the wrong train station. I walked through Madrid with all my bags, boots cutting into my heels, exhausted. My efforts at Spanish failed at every turn.

I sat on the edge of a fountain spent and confused. Tugging off a boot, I looked at my blood stained sock.

God, I prayed, I need help.

At that moment, a woman sat next to me on the fountain’s edge and spoke near perfect English. She took me to her home, fed me lunch, drove me to the proper station, and sent me on my way.

Her name was Maria.

Sometimes I secretly wonder if she was an angel. Continue Reading...