Saturday, December 29, 2007

lindsay dunn

As I reflect on 2007, one event stands out above all others - the death of a special young lady, Lindsay Dunn. Lindsay passed away in the arms of Josiah, my middle son, shortly after the minivan she was riding in slammed into a tree on June 23rd.

During the year leading up to her death, Lindsay had become one of our dearest family friends. Her kindness, grace and sensitivity touched each one of us. She was like a daughter to me, and I cherish the memory of our driving lesson a few days before her death.

My heart aches and the tears flow as I continue to process Lindsay's death. I miss her warm smile and wonderful sense of humor, her bright eyes and zest for life. I am so grateful for the time I had with her - a precious gift from Father's loving heart.

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Saturday, September 01, 2007


My parents were always hosting missionaries in our home, and one very prominent missionary was staying with us when I was a boy. I was struggling with the idea of “praying right,” and I thought, if anyone would know how to pray, it would be this famous man. He was dozing in the hammock in [the] back of our house, and I simply asked him, “How do you pray?” Without even opening his eyes, he said, “Son, I haven’t prayed in 40 years.” This was very disconcerting! I was shocked! Here is this famous man of God, and he hasn’t prayed for 40 years? I was afraid to tell my mother. I didn’t want him lowered in her estimation.

Years later, when I was a pastor, I saw the wisdom in what he told me. I was looking for a “How do you do it?” I was thinking that prayer was something you do in order to create a relationship with God. It’s not.

Eugene Peterson, RELEVANT, May/June 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007

love letter

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad

Father's Love Letter used by permission
Father Heart Communications
Copyright 1999-2006

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

ever present

More excerpts from Divine Nobodies -

Jesus was always there. Through all those years when it seemed God was absent, he was actually present - seeing, listening, caring, and hurting with me and over me. Perhaps my feelings and five senses are not always a reliable guide to the facts of God. God can be intimately present even if it feels like he's nowhere to be found. Whenever I sank down into my black hole of depression, I often felt unbearably alone and abandoned by God, but now I was seeing this wasn't true.

God longs for my awareness that his divine love holds me, and that awareness brings healing and a sense of wholeness. God's love is there in the darkness of depression with me, there next to me in my little locked house, sharing my pain, holding me closely, and offering the light of his love.

- Jim Palmer, Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the unlikely people who help you), pp. 74-75

Click Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God to order

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Here's an excerpt from a book I'm reading -

God has been trying to free me from the burden of doing something spectacular for him. It has a way of distracting you from the opportunities to be salt and light right where you are. I'm starting to see that the "cup of cold water given in Jesus's name" sometimes means running the register by yourself during lunch so your heartbroken coworker can cry in the break room, or volunteering to reshelf all the returns in your area so a worn-out coworker twice your age won't have to. A kindness shown here, a listening ear offered there, a caring hug as you go might be the case for Christ a cynical waitress most needs. I'm starting to recognize that I am immersed in a sea of hurting people every day. If I simply pay attention and follow the promptings of the Spirit in all these little ways, my life is "ministry."

- Jim Palmer, Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the unlikely people who help you), p. 43

Click Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God to order

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

the shack

Tonight I finished one of the most incredible works of literature I have ever read. The Shack unveils the heart and nature of God like few books I’ve ever read. It elicits tears and laughter, wonder and worship. It faces the hard questions of life head-on, and challenges the reader to go beyond conventional religious thinking. It beautifully captures the tender, loving heart of God in the midst of tragedy and suffering. The sweet breath of God emanates from its pages. I came away from The Shack with a very real sense that I had been privy to some of the most intimate moments between Father, Son, and Spirit. If you are longing to know God in a deeper way, this book is a must!

Click The Shack to order

- Lindsay

Live free! Live in Daddy’s affection!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

an angel

One thing I love about Father is how He works in our lives in the most creative and unexpected ways. Several weeks ago my brother invited me to visit him in New York where he was directing a television pilot for ABC. I arrived in New York on Tuesday evening, March 20, and he took me to an underground Mexican restaurant for dinner with some of the cast and producers. One member of the cast, a young lady from Brooklyn, showered me with warmth and kindness throughout the evening. Father touched my heart through her sweetness and awakened me to the possibilities that lie ahead in Him. As winter turned to spring in that busy New York restaurant, Father began to melt away the rejection and doubt I've felt in seeing my marriage dissolve. If I didn't know better, I'd say I was touched by an angel.

- Lindsay

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Monday, April 30, 2007

who am I

One of Father's purposes in leading me through the pain of a broken marriage has been to show me my true identity. Who am I? What defines me? My physical appearance? My ethnicity and nationality? My family and friends? My religion and politics? My career? My balance sheet? People's opinions of me? Although all of the preceding categories can be used to describe me, there is one answer that supersedes them all in defining who I am - I am His! The song below illustrates this in a beautiful way -

Who Am I

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

Written by Mark Hall
Music by Casting Crowns
Song based on Psalms 52 and 139 and Ephesians 2

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

jackie robinson

This month marked the 60th anniversary of one of the most significant events in professional sports - Jackie Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. On that day, Jackie became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball, paving the way for people from all ethnic backgrounds to participate in professional sports at the highest level.

Some national publications have questioned Jackie's legacy due to the fact that the percentage of African-Americans in Major League Baseball this season (8.3%) is the lowest since the 1960's. Those who would question Jackie's legacy fail to appreciate the broader scope of his accomplishments and his impact on American culture as a whole. Jackie's courage and fortitude continue to serve as an inspiration for people of all races and walks of life.

A four-sport athlete at UCLA, Jackie carried the hopes and aspirations of an entire race of people on his shoulders in the face of unimaginable opposition. I would argue that his debut with the Dodgers in 1947, not Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her seat on a bus in 1955, was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement as we know it. Ironically, while Jackie was serving in the Army during World War II, he was court-martialed for refusing to move to the rear of a bus on his Army base. He was acquitted of the charges.

Reflecting on her husband in Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait, Rachel Robinson had this to say: "Like Mallie (Jackie's mother), Jack felt God's presence in the most personal way. ... I attribute the wonder he experienced as group after group saluted him to one of his least publicly recognized traits - his humility. I admired this characteristic when I first met him, and I watched it develop and deepen as he matured. I am convinced that this humility stemmed from both his religious faith and his sense of himself, for he often told me that he believed he had been endowed with talent to be of service to others."

I am moved to tears every time I watch the segment on Jackie Robinson in Ken Burns's PBS documentary, Baseball. Jackie is a true American hero - a man of conviction and integrity who laid down his life so that others might have the freedom to pursue their dreams.

- Lindsay

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Friday, January 26, 2007

super bowl

This week I read an excellent piece by Michael Smith of about the two head coaches who are leading their respective teams into Super Bowl XLI, Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts and Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears. Here's an excerpt -

"Dungy and Smith are role models, not just for coaches who look like them or men who look like them, but for all coaches and all men. They live their lives the right way, and as a result they do their jobs the same way. Their priorities are, in order: faith, their families and football. The outcome of the Super Bowl or any game does not define them. They personify words such as class, grace, dignity, honor and integrity. We all can draw inspiration from men such as these.

"Dungy and Smith haven't sold their souls in pursuit of the game's Holy Grail, and yet here they are, reminding us that good men can do great things, that nice guys can and do finish first. Dungy learned from Dennis Green and Chuck Noll and passed it on to assistants Smith, Mike Tomlin, Herman Edwards and Rod Marinelli (all head coaches now) that it's OK to enjoy life outside the facility. Dungy and Smith are family men. And they still win.

"You won't hear either utter a word of profanity. And they still win. They care about and foster relationships with their players. And they still win. They serve their communities. And still, somehow, they find time to do what it takes to prepare their teams.

"Dungy can -- imagine -- spend the Saturday evening before the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots at the mall with his family. Or Dungy, Smith, Edwards and each of their wives can gather for dinner at P.F. Chang's the night before Dungy's Colts and Edwards' Chiefs met in the first round of the playoffs. And yet it didn't halt the Bears' or Colts' journeys to Miami.

"Dungy and Smith are Christian men who serve the Lord first and spend nearly as much time serving their communities. Doesn't prevent them from winning. And often. In just three seasons Smith, last season's Coach of the Year, has helped build the Bears into a league power. Dungy has won more regular season games than any coach since 1999. Where does color factor into that?

"After they won their conference championships, you heard Smith talk about his "being blessed" and Dungy give thanks to God. That isn't just lip service with these guys. As Christians they believe it is their responsibility to let their light shine whenever they're in the spotlight. Just as they have a game plan for each other come Super Bowl Sunday, both plan to use the global platform that the Super Bowl provides to speak words that could make an impact beyond football. At his oldest son James' funeral last year, Dungy used the eulogy as an opportunity to teach lessons about manhood and fatherhood.

"Neither man gets caught up in, you know, being the head coach. Talk about humility: Smith was seated among the fans at the RCA Dome for the Colts-Chiefs playoff game (the Bears had a bye) when a fan approached him for an autograph. Smith, who had been signing for several minutes already, politely told her "not right now" and said he would like to turn his attention to the game. But he watched as she returned to her seat, and during the next break he went over and gave her the autograph.

"Regarding a coaching matchup between friends and former colleagues, these are the kinds of things we should be talking about exclusively leading up to the game, the class way in which Dungy and Smith lead their respective organizations. Not something as trivial as Dungy and Smith's skin color. It seems as if every day we hear about players getting arrested or being involved in some embarrassing incident -- and failing as role models. When Dungy walks away from coaching he likely will devote more of his time to the prison ministry about which he's so passionate. He and Smith are examples of what a strong man is. Never mind what they look like. They're the perfect people to represent not just the African-American community but the NFL community.

"On Jan. 15, the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We could honor his dream by celebrating Dungy's and Smith's achievements not because of the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

"There's a lot of talk about hoping for a day when black coaches in the Super Bowl won't be a big deal, when we won't find it necessary to refer to a coach as a "black coach" (or any person by their race, for that matter).

"What's wrong with that day being today? Dungy and Smith have made history, and we happily acknowledge it. As for our practice of categorizing NFL head coaches, let's make that history, too."

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

marathon memories

It's been ten weeks since I completed my first marathon, but I continue to get stoked as I reflect on the entire experience. From the first time I saw the OBX Marathon ad to the moment I crossed the finish line, I felt the Father's pleasure and encouragement every step of the way.

Coming off a yearlong case of plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and with little more than two months to train, a marathon seemed out of the question. But overriding all of my reasonable objections was the conviction that my Daddy was inviting me to run and that He would enable me to achieve my goal.

My training started well, but along the way little aches and pains crept up, challenging my belief that I could run a marathon. With less than a month to go, a right calf strain forced me to cut short a long training run and take a week off. Due to responsibilities at school, I was unable to train during the week leading up to the race. In spite of the setbacks, I had a sense that I was destined to run my first marathon.

The site of the race, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, holds a special significance for me because many of my ancestors were born there in the 1800's. My great-grandfather and namesake also built several cottages there in the early 1900's that are still standing. As I started the marathon along a country road lined with tall Carolina pines, I felt right at home.

The race itself was an incredible experience. I usually run alone, so starting a race with over one thousand fellow marathoners was a blast. There was a real sense of community - each runner encouraging the other in the pursuit of a common goal. Outer Banks residents lined the course to offer encouragement all along the way. One gentleman even offered cups of beer to passing runners.

After running several miles through a light drizzle, the clouds burst open at Mile 16 and I sloshed through a torrential downpour for a couple of miles. The rain was refreshing and I reveled in the challenge of pressing on through the driving storm. My previous longest run was twenty miles, so when I passed Mile 20 two thoughts hit me - "you're in uncharted territory now" and "you're going to make it!" I choked back tears and pushed ahead with renewed strength.

The most challenging part of the race was Mile 21 - the long bridge leading to Roanoke Island. The steep grade taxed every muscle in my legs and forced me to push through the pain. On the way up the bridge I pulled alongside an older runner who was maintaining a nice, steady pace. I decided to let him lead me across the bridge and we ran in perfect lockstep. Ironically, I spoke with him after the race and he remarked how I had helped him make it across the bridge.

Miles 22 and 23 were pretty tough. The nearness of the finish line inspired me to continue putting one foot in front of the other when every fiber of my body was screaming for rest. A couple of gulps of Gatorade and a packet of carbohydrate gel helped replenish my body for the final stretch. At Mile 24, something exploded inside and I felt a sudden burst of physical and emotional energy. I was so pumped that I broke into a full-bore sprint all the way to the finish line. This was my freedom run and with every stride I felt like I was being released into my destiny as a child of God.

The finish of the race was almost anticlimactic. There was a real sense of accomplishment, and my heart was filled with gratitude towards Father for enabling me to realize my dream of running a marathon.

- Lindsay

Live free! Live in Daddy’s affection!

Monday, January 01, 2007


As I embark on a new year, I am reminded of David's declaration in Psalm 23:6 -

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (KJV)

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life (NASB)

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life (NIV)

What a wonderful reality to begin the new year with - Father's goodness and love will follow me ALL the days of 2007!

- Lindsay

Live free! Live in Daddy's affection!