Forever My Girl

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I am old. At least, I feel like I am old when it comes to the idea of courtship in this modern culture. To give a fair assessment, I am only thirty-one; however, I have been with Leighann (my wife of eight years) for nearly fourteen of those thirty-one. To say that I am out of touch with the dating scene would be an understatement, but I do think I have some wisdom to share. In fact, I am going to take a few minutes and do just that. So, sit back and listen to me ramble from my proverbial rocker.

Social media has made a courtship (or dating if you prefer the term) relationship much more complex than it ought to be. The relationship I have with Leighann has a foundation laid before the rise of social media and has managed to thrive through it all. I still remember chatting with her on my dial-up internet during the days of MSN Messenger (I am not going to be offended if you have to Google that). In fact, I had a Facebook account before she did as I was able to establish one when it was opened to my college in my freshman year. Yes, I am one of the ones that still remember it as “The Facebook” and when it was actually practical and allowed you to see other classmates so you could connect for actual educational purposes. There is one takeaway I cannot stress enough when it comes to navigating the courting waters in the days of constant social media:

Establish Boundaries

That’s it. Establish boundaries prior to accepting someone’s friend request. Establish boundaries for what is acceptable for your significant other to tag you in on their feed. (Do you really need another animated, glittering rose to express your undying love for someone you started dating earlier this week?) Establish boundaries of how much of your story you will share on social media.

There will be times that you do not need to share how this person has made you feel because, honestly, it stinks right now. There are things that are better communicated outside of your last Facebook post where your entire friends list can read your life like a newspaper. There are hilarious photos that do not need to be uploaded and your significant other tagged in! (I learned that the hard way with a photo of Leighann stuffing a muffin in her mouth in a hotel room in Manhattan before we were to head out for the day. I did not do myself any favors by adding the caption “Doing what she does best.” Yes, it stayed up for all of fifteen minutes before I was required to take it down. What was done in jest turned into a life lesson that I will never repeat.)

If you are going to be in a relationship (any at this point, but dating specifically) you need to establish boundaries on social media. It is a good habit to start and you may as well start early. In some ways, the cultivating of true, deep relationships can be missed by constantly focusing on social media. Instead of enjoying the presence of the other we can be consumed with making sure we take the right photos to make our dessert on date look great. We can lose site of the fact that relationships change and people change by trying to groom the other into becoming a picturesque version of the thing we saw on our favorite sitcom last week. We must fight against the desire to overshare and over glamorize our lives. We do this by establishing boundaries prior to entering into this relationship. I want a life that will outlive Instagram and Snapchat. I want to be known deeply by one who accepts me, flaws and all. I want someone that is willing to sacrifice the perfect for the pursuit of presence.

Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances. It releases in theaters on January 19.


No Hate Here


I struggled with whether or not to write anything. I often feel that my words would do no good because somehow I would jumble my thoughts and would not be able to produce a coherent statement. I have since moved past that and have learned that silence speaks. I would rather speak and have a few misplaced words than to not speak at all and appear to be supportive of a movement. What happened yesterday in Charlottesville has no place in the Kingdom of God. Hate has no place in the Kingdom of God.

I am vehemently against any person perverting Scripture to justify their hate-filled actions. This is not what the Gospel is. In fact, if anything, a movement that seeks to produce harm and tries to justify it on Scripture is a form of an Antichrist. There cannot be any mistaking it. The spirit behind the movement is evil, regardless of what the supporters may tell you.

Thankfully, Scripture is not silent when it comes to living with our neighbors. The Apostle John wrote a portion of the New Testament and was not silent on this topic. The fourth chapter of 1st John speaks to love quite extensively. While this is a short read and one I encourage you to pursue on your own time, I want to focus specifically on verse twenty of this chapter. John tells us that if someone claims to love God, but hates their brother, they are a liar.

Love is the only option for a Christian. It does not mean that I have to endorse the sin in their life, but I am called to love them. The way we treat those that we can see standing right in front of us is an example of how deep our love of God is. If you want to love God more, start by loving your brother more.

You can try and justify your actions and personally, I do not care. I am choosing love. I would rather love and be wrong.

Called To Help – Red Nose Day

As we near the start of summer and think about vacations and time off with families there are others who are not nearly as fortunate to enjoy those luxuries. On May 25th NBC television will air Red Nose Day, a live telecast aimed at ending child poverty.

Red Nose Day is unique in that multiple charitable organizations will benefit from the three hour live program that night. The event is all about coming together, to have fun, and make a difference for kids in need.  The goal is to end child poverty, here in the U.S. and around the world — one nose at a time.

The fundraiser began in 1988 by U.K. director, Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and recently started in the U.S. Red Nose Day raised over $36 million in 2016, and over $23 million the previous year, totaling over $60 million in its first two years in the US.

The two charities among many others that will benefit from Red Nose Day are Covenant House and charity: water.  These are just one of many organizations that everyday work tirelessly to make a difference here at home in the U.S. and around the world. What’s staggering with the statistics is that this is happening right here in the U.S.

We’ve learned from Red Nose Day charities that:

  • 1 out of 5 young people live in poverty.
  • Every Year, More Than 2 Million Kids in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness.
  • 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.

It’s heartbreaking with regards to the homeless kids and youth as it puts them in such danger of human traffickers – something I know so many of our churches and organizations fight against.  We have an opportunity to make a difference and keep some of these kids away from the streets.

We hope you will consider taking the time to help those in need and checking out both ministries and finding a way however big or small to support them. We’re called to help those in need and we often forget that although we are fortunate to live in a country that provides us with a lot – there are many children right in front of us who struggle to even get a meal a day. We hope you’ll think about ways you can help our youth and even join in on the fun and put on a Red Nose and post to your social channels with the hashtag: #rednoseday

Red Noses are available at all Walgreen locations.  For those wanting to do something fun and get involved, stop by Walgreens and buy a red nose.

We do believe that if we can all raise awareness about this issue – we can all end child poverty one nose at a time!

Check out the videos below highlighting this movement:


Stages of Life


They (insert your own definition of they) say becoming a parent changes you. I suppose that is true, for most folks. The problem that I have is that I also turned thirty shortly after becoming a parent. I suppose both of those things connected have influenced my thoughts. To be frank, I cannot determine which one has changed me more.

There is no doubt in my mind that when a person enters into this thing called parenthood that they really did not know what to expect. You can prepare for it as best you can. You can read all the books, listen to the podcasts, and hear from your coworkers, but you cannot know the actual feeling until it happens. When it happens it seems like you look at the brevity of life more. You see decisions that you make through a new lens. You are more aware of the impact your life is having on the world.

Turning thirty is one of those weird milestones for society. Prior to that it seems like society still treats you as a child. You can serve in the military, risk your life enforcing the law, and wire millions of dollars around the nation to keep the economy flowing, but you have not reached the age that makes you an adult. Having made it half way to thirty-one I have seen a shift in my perspective. For me, I do not think the shift happened last October, but rather it occurred a couple of years before. I do believe it was more of a gradual thing. It is not something that you wake up one morning and feel different. Things gradually slide in the direction of having a different perspective to where when it happens you cannot pinpoint an exact time of change.

I am confident that there are other stages that change a person. I know I will continue to change each and every day I am alive. This is only the beginning of my thoughts on the subject.

Have you noticed a change of perspective of your life? When did it happen? Do you agree that the changes listed above influence your outlook on life? If you haven’t experienced either of these, can you think of another time when your outlook on life has changed?

To Seek Justice Is Admirable

I have been involved with my town government for a few years now. It is something that is rewarding, but also has its share of challenges. There are times where you feel your efforts are not worth the effort or even where you know someone is being taken advantage of in order to benefit someone else. It may happen all the time, but it does not mean it is right.

Throughout my time I have been introduced to many people and one that stands out to me is an older, retired lady who has lived in the town for about fifty years. Despite this fact, many people still consider her an outsider. That has not stopped her for standing up in the face of opposition for the good of every citizen of the town. I have learned a lot by observing her and understanding what it means to persist even in the face of all odds.

She is one member of the town that I admire because she has been given a multitude of reasons to quit and simply pass her remaining days in peace; however, she has made it a point to keep seeking justice. While I would have likely said when I retire that I would not want to be bothered with such issues, she has shown me that my thoughts were not appropriate. I should seek the justice of others at all times in my life, even when I may not feel like pursuing it. In the end I have to ask myself if I would be willing to die for this person since I admire her? I would like to take the Christian way out and say yes since that is what the love of Christ compels us to do, but I cannot make that statement because in the heat of the moment anything is possible.

The Promise is a new movie releasing next Friday (April 21) starring Christian Bale. It is a story of sacrifice and love. It centers on two characters who model sacrifice and justice in their own way. I for one cannot wait to see it when it comes out and I hope that you will go see it as well. The movie trailer and poster are below.


An Unwanted Child

I do not have to look far for a courageous woman in my life. I wake up to her decision every morning. You see, my wife was a child conceived out of wedlock. While this may be more socially acceptable now, during the late 1980s in the rural Appalachian region, this was something to be shunned. This truth is not one that we promote, but it is one that we do not consider a secret.

It would have been easier for my mother-in-law to have cast her child off and left her forever, but instead she chose to overcome the obstacles in front of her. She wound up marrying the father of my wife and the two remain married to this day. In the early years of my wife’s life this meant her mom was the sole provider of the home as her dad had some vices he had to work through.

Through getting to know her through the past decade, she has encouraged me to take risks that I didn’t know would actually materialize. Instead of sitting back and wondering what might have been, she has instilled in me a desire to make the best of my situations. If things do not always work out exactly the way I had planned, then call an audible and do the work to make it happen.

Is there a woman in your life that has taught you to overcome obstacles? If so, I would love to hear about her in the comments.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is a new film coming out that will inspire you to stand tall in the face of your opposition, whatever that may be. You can find the synopsis and a trailer below:


In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh, a European Film Award nominee for the Academy Award-nominated The Broken Circle Breakdown), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Golden Globe Award nominee Daniel Brühl of Captain America: Civil War). To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.


Zookeeper’s Wife Trailer

I Am Thomas

Doubts come and go. There are times in life where everything is going great and then something tragic happens that somehow manages to pull the proverbial rug right out from underneath us. I have had my fair share of trying situations in the past where I struggled with my faith. I had to wrestle with the doubts of my own whether I was committed to the cause of Christ or if I should throw off the teachings.

I have learned to lean on it because during those trying times it is the only place to go. Although we would like to lean on friends, the most troubling times are often when our friends end up forsaking us. Rather than getting bitter, those times have managed to drive me to a deeper faith in Christ and his teachings.

The story of Thomas is applicable in modern times like this because we can see a man who has invested years of his life following a teacher that he hoped would be around longer than just three years. Thomas had spent time following Jesus and had expected him to produce some other outcome than a death on the cross. He had his hopes and dreams shattered after this leader died.

We will sacrifice years of our lives for friendships, corporations, and marriages and ultimately some will fail. There will be a friendship that is ruined because someone walks away. There will be a job that is suddenly gone after the boss sells the company. There will be marriages that are ruined because a spouse decides that you are no longer enough. However deep this wound may cut, this should not be the end of our faith.

When Thomas was least expecting it, Jesus appeared and comforted him. When we least expect it Jesus will walk right into our life and comfort us. It may not be when we wanted it and we would have preferred to avoided the situation entirely, but Jesus will always shop up when the time is right. We simply have to hold hope and wait on him to arrive.

Season 2 of Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact Forgery premieres Sunday, March 5 at 9 PM ET/PT on CNN. I encourage you to tune in as we search for Jesus. I have linked the trailer below for your viewing pleasure.