Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm Glad You Called

I work with about 400 people in my office building. On any given day, you can usually hear the chatter among co-workers in hallways, break rooms and conference rooms.

But, not today.

Today, there was an eerie silence throughout the office. A guy that I worked with took his own life this past weekend. I really didn’t know him or his story, but I can remember the first time I met him. He wasn’t someone you would easily forget. I’m 6’2” and I had to physically look up to greet him. He was a tall man with a moustache, deep voice and always seemed to garnish a smile.

As I sat at my desk today, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us hide behind a smile during the day, but we’re silently hurting. I wonder how many of us just need a phone call, even if it’s just a simple “Hi, how are you?”

Because, the truth is, you never really know the power of a smile, a few kind words or picking up the phone to say, “hello”. Never underestimate how important you are to the lives of those around you.

So, if someone is on your mind, a few simple words might change everything.

They might be glad you called.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Battle on the Highway of Life

Every day I drive 120 miles to my office roundtrip.

Every day during my drive I see thousands of people that I will never see again.

Every day I see faces of people fighting a battle on their own highway of life.

A single mom who is driving to a job she hates just to put food on the table at night for her kids.

A wife who knows that her husband is cheating on her with his secretary because she found the text messages last night. But, he doesn’t know that she knows.

An executive that is hiding his alcoholism from his office staff because he will hide behind his smile and 3-piece suit today.

A man who is sitting in traffic knowing that his paycheck this Friday will not be enough to pay all his bills.

A woman who lost a dear friend or loved one a year ago today.

The truth is, we’re all fighting our own battle on life’s highway. So, today, make a vow to show kindness to someone…even if you’ll never see them again.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What Every Woman Needs to Know

-A guy might ruin your mascara from time to time, but no one has the right to ruin your life.

-Yes, the bible says for a wife to submit to their husband. But, it also says a husband is to love his wife like Christ loved the church. Guys – that means to love your wives a lot. Not just when the lights are off.

-There are still some good guys out there. Stop putting them in the friend zone. That other guy you’re chasing isn’t going to be there to tuck the kids into bed every night.

-A good man realizes that a good woman becomes a hot woman. Not vice versa.

-A good man also realizes that it’s better to have one woman than 1,000,000 hot dates.

-Men are full of testosterone. Yes, even the good, Christian ones. We have six times that which surges through your veins. But, lust is the opposite of love. There is no grey area.

-Real men know that there is something inherently beautiful about stretch marks regardless of how ugly you think they are. It’s a mark for every breath your child took, every blink of their eyes, every time they had the hiccups, every kick and every night of sleeping in the most perfect darkness.

-If a woman says “No”, then it’s “No”. Man up.  

-No one can get away with excessively smoking, drinking or not flossing for too long. At some point, it’s just not cool anymore.

-One study found that the first thing a man notices about a woman is her eyes. A follow-up study found that the first thing women notice about men is that they’re a bunch of liars. Please forgive us.

-I heard there was a book in circulation called, “What Men Know About Women”. The pages are blank. I have an extra copy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

Instagram. Instant coffee. Instant downloads.

Instant gratification.

Fast food. Fast lanes.

As humanity progresses, we seem to want things in an instant.

Even our relationships have changed. They are so much harder now because conversations have become text messages, arguments have become phone calls and feelings have become status updates.

I can still remember the days where people actually talked to one another. We live in a time where people would rather send an email than get up and walk three cubicles down from where they sit to talk to a co-worker.

I’m guilty of wanting things now. Right now. Gone are the days where we have the patience of Job.

But, God’s time is not our time. I have to stop and remind myself of this quite often. God’s will is not our will. Two of the hardest things I know of are:

-To pray for God’s will.

-To wait for God’s will.

The first is hard because to utter that prayer means that you are saying, “Hey God, here I am. Do with me whatever you want.” But, it’s necessary. We pretend like we can somehow talk Him into doing something for us. Like we can sway Him to agree with our opinion of how our lives are supposed to go. But we can’t. It’s His will, not ours.

The second is just as hard, if not more so, because it means that you have to wait. It doesn’t mean you have to wait passively; it means that you have to wait actively. There’s a big difference.

But, although both of these can be difficult…..

They are beautiful.

They’re beautiful because His plan will always be better than the plan we have for our lives, even if it isn’t on our timeline.

As much as we want things right now; as much as we want to plan our life, it has a way of surprising us with unexpected things that will make us happier than we originally planned.

That’s what you call God’s will.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Is There a Real Doctor In the House?

Rewind to April 2009. My parents were living in a little town called Wentzville, MO.

Yep, the 'show me' state. The only thing I 'showed' them during my brief visits was what a thick southern-accent sounded like.

A few years ago my grandfather had become very ill. Around Christmas of 2008, he began having a pain in his leg. My grandmother kept ice on it and ensured he was getting plenty of rest, but the pain just wouldn't go away. That's when the doctor came back with the chilling news. Cancer. It began to spread and left him bound to a hospital bed in the months to follow.

My grandfather had been a Baptist preacher since I was born and I admired him. I looked to him on many occasions for advice; not only in everyday life, but in my spiritual life. He had studied the bible for so many years, preached in the pulpit and baptized people of all ages in muddy creeks. If I was going to ask anyone about God, it was going to be him. I can remember asking him questions like, "how will I know when I'm saved?"...or "how do you think God feels about 'X'". From someone that had preached  & pastored churches most all of his life, one would expect an in depth, complex, theological answer, but more often than not, he would reply that I would just "feel it"...that I would "just know in my heart". Those were powerful statements, but I didn't realize it at the time. You see, God speaks to our hearts; not our minds. Sometimes, His voice rings out as loud as a church bell; but often times, it's nothing more than a whisper and we have to listen very closely to hear it.

The doctors that had been caring for my grandfather told some of the family that his time was limited. My grandmother began making phone calls to family telling them that they needed to come see him. There wouldn't be many days left. I can remember the last few days of his life. I took my son to see his great-grandfather, but as I approached the hospital bed, I quickly made my son go back outside of the room. I didn't want him to see his great-grandfather in this condition. I didn't want that to be his last memory of him.

My parents had thrown some things into a suitcase and were rushing to get to Atlanta. It was an eight hour drive. They were driving down the interstate, when my dad was briefly distracted. He was traveling between 70-80 MPH. Seconds later, he was startled by my mom's screams. As he looked up, there was a car. At a dead stop. You can guess what happened next. They crashed. Shrieking brakes, shattered glass and screams that turned to dead silence. My parents were transported to the local hospital for their injuries. Luckily, there were no fatalities.

My dad never got to see his father. My mom never got to see her father-in-law. My grandfather passed away before they were able to get to Atlanta. Maybe God didn't want my dad to see his dad in that condition. I'm not sure exactly what God's reasons were. Perhaps, we'll know one day.

 In those final moments, it didn't matter how many doctors or nurses were in the room. It didn't matter how much morphine was being pumped into his veins. It didn't matter how many family members were standing by the bedside. It didn't matter how many machines were attached. What matters is what he preached about his whole life - God. He was the one in the room. He was the one standing by his bedside. He was the one feeding the real medicine into his blood. He was the real doctor.

This past Wednesday I received a text from my mom stating that my dad was in an ambulance on his way to the emergency room. I was at my office and had no idea what had happened. I didn't know if this was a life or death situation. I panicked. I jumped in my car and was speeding down the interstate. I recalled what had happened to my parents in 2009. I hit my brakes and slowed down. "God's got this", I told myself. What was I going to do when I got there anyway? I'm not the doctor and I certainly wouldn't be able to 'fix' anything. So, I finally made it to the hospital. It wasn't life-threatening, thank goodness. I spent about 4 hours Wednesday night in the E.R. I was surrounded by people with all types of ailments; some life-threatening. Some of those same people I saw may have taken their final breath that night or the next morning. There were people from all walks of life. There were people from different countries, different races, and different backgrounds. I heard doctors and nurses consoling people and their families. I watched as they hooked up I.V.'s, monitored each person's vital signs and provided medicines. One of the nurses even told my dad that he could press the "little red button" if he needed someone and they would be there.

In all of these situations, God has been there. He was there when all of these emergencies occurred. He was there in the E.R. He was there beside each hospital bed. No matter the race or the creed, he knew everyone. He knew every name. He knew every face. Though not all knew Him. Some may have met him for the first time in the E.R. and in their hospital bed. Some, undoubtedly, sought him with their last breath. Some didn't hear him because they didn't listen to what their heart had been telling them throughout their lives. Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Him. But, He was there.

 If you've read this far, you're obviously still on your journey (well, unless I've bored you to death). But, someday your journey will end. It won't matter how many doctors and nurses are by your bedside. It won't matter how many family members are standing beside you. It won't matter how much morphine they pump into your veins. It won't matter how many times you frantically press that "little red button". There will only be one person that can help you.

My grandfather spent his whole life begging people to be ready to meet Him. I'm glad that I listened to his advice and "followed my heart" 18 years ago when I was saved.  No matter how many times I screw up in this life, I won't have to worry in that final moment. Whether I leave here at 33 or 83, it won't matter.
What you see around you is only temporary. This isn't our home.

Seek Him now while He may be found. Then, in your final moment, you can rest assured that the real doctor is in the house.


Isaiah 55:6 - "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Second Chances

Have you ever felt like you needed a second chance at something?

There have been times that I've just wanted a do-over.

Times when I just wanted to go back a few months and start all over again. Times when I wanted to start my month, my week or my day over. There are even some people out there that wish they could start their life over. But, we can't.

The good news is that no matter who you are, what you've done, what kind of messes you've made...God allows second chances.

There are no do-overs. But, there ARE start-overs.

Sometimes when we are down to nothing, God is up to something. When we are tired...heartbroken...helpless...that's when He shows up...right in the center of it. It's in these times where we find ourselves finally throwing our hands up and giving it to God. Sometimes He meets us in the darkest places and the scariest alleys.

In many cases, what we want and what we need are two different things. It can be a painful transition between the two as he detours us to where we need to be. But, where He's taking us is *so* much better than where we originally planned.

And that, my friends, is what we call God's Will.


If you've never heard the testimony of Jim Monroe, I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to the video below from iamsecond.com.

And, check out this unbelievable video of Carlos Whittaker's song, "God of Second Chances". During the filming, a homeless man ventures up and joins him. Check it out here:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Do You Mind If I Place You On Hold?

Customer service sucks these days. I hate the automated phone systems. I genuinely dislike calling large companies when I have an issue. Specifically, for these reasons:

1. You can’t understand me because English is your 3rd language, your name is not really Andy and you don’t live in Tampa, FL. I’ve learned that speaking louder into the phone does not resolve any of the aforementioned issues.

2. Why did I press 15 buttons, verify my address, and punch in my account number, only to get an automated system telling me my bill is $237.55? I know what my bill is and it’s wrong. That’s why I’m calling you.

3. Why did I go through 7 departments to figure out that the 2nd department is the one I should be speaking to about my issue? Dude, they just transferred me to YOU.

4. Some of these companies are getting smarter. Pressing zero does NOT take you to a live person anymore. It tells me that I have ‘pressed an incorrect key’. Thanks, Comcast. Let me hang up and start all over again.

5. I love when the automated system tells me that they are experiencing “high call volumes” and I should consider calling back later. I’ve been on the phone for 20 minutes pressing buttons and verifying my information. Yes, I think I’ll continue holding. Thanks.

6. I finally get a real person on the phone and I’m ‘accidentally’ disconnected. Epic fail.

7. That awkward moment when you’re driving to the business that you are on ‘hold’ with. You get there, walk inside (still on phone)…and the person who put you on hold walks up and says, “Can I help you?” Sure. Would you like to finish your phone call first?

8. I like when I’m placed on hold for 10 minutes and they come back and ask me what my name is again. What were you doing while I was on hold, anyway?

9. I’ve been on hold for 30 minutes, but heaven forbid I need to make you wait just a second so I can grab the invoice to give you the little three digit code you need so you can look up my account information. Sometimes I like to say, “Can you hold, please?”, just to see what their reaction is.

10. Sometimes when I’m feeling dumb, I like to talk to some of these customer service representatives. I hang up feeling like a freaking genius.

Before the customer service representatives get all upset, let me just say that I’ve been one before. I got yelled at for 8 hours a day, 5 days per week about a cell phone bill and they know for a fact that little Johnny did NOT call his grandmother…who lives in Pennsylvania…on July 10, 2012…at 2:15pm..and talk for 30 minutes. So, I feel ya.

Have you ever thought about the fact that God is always on the other line, waiting for our call? He never disconnects us; even on ‘accident’. Whenever we have an issue, He’s always ‘live’ and we never have to settle with a recording. No matter how high the call volume is, He doesn’t put us on hold or tell us to call back later. He doesn’t answer our call in the ‘order it was received’. He doesn’t transfer us somewhere else. We can be assured that no matter how many requests He has had today, He answers our individual call with love and not irritability. He also speaks all languages. We don’t have to tell Him our name, where we live, or verify our identity. And, even more importantly, he already knows why we’re calling.

Usually when we’re calling customer service it’s because we need something. Have you ever thought about calling just to say “thank you”? Thanks for everything you’ve given me…everything you’ve done for me?

Sometimes He just wants us to pick up the phone and call Him. I promise you won’t get a busy signal.