This is Amazing Grace

This is Amazing Grace

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

Today we had the chance to change someone’s story forever. It’s one of the best stories I’ve ever been a part of personally. But here’s the thing about stories like this: there are many stories behind the stories. Today we celebrated the official arrival of Aiden Berra Jernigan into our family. C’mon, you knew he was going to get his own Yankee name. But equally as moving was looking around us at the amazing friends and family who have walked this journey with us. More than that, they have held us up in numerous different ways to allow us to play the part we did.

Our heart opened to make the orphan Aiden our son because Jesus Christ has made us His sons and daughters. We love because He first loved us. But living the Gospel like this takes a community of equally faithful people. To them, we want to say thanks.

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Waiting for the Fairytale

Waiting for the Fairytale

Today I dwell in gratitude. Yeah I know, Thanksgiving is over. But today marks 10 years of marriage to my beautiful bride Michelle. We’ve sort of been celebrating for a few months now between two different trips we took this year so even now I feel like I’ve been milking this anniversary (the picture above is from one of them to DC). But today, I realize how fortunate I am with this woman. We don’t have the perfect marriage. We disagree (on a number of things actually). We communicate our disagreements passionately at times (read: argue). We are totally different people. She shines in social situations that cause me to clam up. But she’s not perfect. And here’s the real shocker… she doesn’t complete me.

I get that from Jesus, so I don’t expect her to fill a role which another human is incapable of filling anyway. Our marriage isn’t without it’s issues. We have four young kids who stress us out daily. We lose our tempers. We get snippy in the way we talk to one another at times. We’ve had to work through complicated situations that have caused us to feel disconnected. We say sorry.

Is this sounding like the most unromantic way to celebrate your spouse? It’s not, and I have a previous Valentine’s Day card to Michelle to prove it.

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The Energy of Exodus

I preached last weekend at Central and got to kick off our Potential series. In the video above I look at the story of Moses and the burning bush and explore how your position with God determines your potential.

The Refugee Crisis Shows Faith in God Makes No Sense

The Refugee Crisis Shows Faith in God Makes No Sense

I’ve been stewing all last week on whether or not to write about the refugee crisis. There’s already plenty of voices in the conversation. As I considered what I might say, it’s changed depending on which day of the week I considered writing it. At the risk of being just another voice, here’s what I would like to encourage you as you make up your mind on this discussion.

It’s all about fear.

Too simple? Fear of others, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of what any of this might cost us. And I get it. I’m afraid too. In fact, as I write these words I’m sitting in Washington DC. You know, the place ISIS said they would target this week. I’m just a few blocks away from the White House, their prime target. I received more than a few looks and comments when we told people where we were going this week. As I walk around these streets and notice all the police with their guns, it’s easy to dwell on how much there is to fear.

But as a Christian, I’m not called to live in fear.

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The Surprising Sexiness of Moderation

The Surprising Sexiness of Moderation

I’ve loved the chance to talk about my book Redeeming Pleasure with all sorts of people in a variety of settings. Many of them have already read the book in full and have specific questions about points I make in the book. But as would be expected, many of them haven’t read the book yet and see a conversation with me as a chance to hear my arguments in a Cliff’s Notes version. Some of the questions go like this:

“Is it okay for a Christian to drink alcohol?”

“What’s the deal with tobacco?”

“Are R-rated movies a guilty pleasure or am I okay watching them?”

“Am I supposed to only listen to Christian music?”

“Why do desserts taste so good if they aren’t good for me?”

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Top 20 Quotes from Blessing Ranch (Fall 2015)

Top 20 Quotes from Blessing Ranch (Fall 2015)

This is part of a series of posts on 20 quotes. Click here to see others.

I had the incredible chance to spend the week in Florida at a place called Blessing Ranch. It’s a ministry for pastors, and lately they’ve been gathering groups of people from across the states to join up in mentoring groups. That meant I had the opportunity to dive deep into rich conversations with three other guys in ministry along with an incredible mentor named Dr. John Walker. While these conversations weren’t planned out, they were absolutely profound in what ended up being discussed. Normally I save my “20 quotes” posts for conferences, but this week brought so much for me to think about that I’m adding it in.

Below you’ll see my 20 favorite ideas shared throughout our time together. All of these are typed into my paraphrase of what was said and some of them are just my personal thoughts in response to something another guy said. Many of these are probably quotes from famous authors and leaders but which may not have been attributed as such in our discussion (although I’ve attributed the source if it was mentioned). They also include a few ideas from Perry Noble, the Senior Pastor of Newspring Church and the author of a number of books. We had a chance to FaceTime with Perry and allow him to speak into our conversation as well. All that to say this list is my best attempt at capturing some of the incredible insights I received from this week in hopes it can be a blessing to you as well.

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