In the Shadows Album Overview

The album is now available on iTunes and Amazon.  To hear the back story of this project, watch this short video.

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Keeping Sane

Possibilities. Endless they are.

If you allowed yourself, you could drive yourself nuts thinking about them. All the “what could/should have beens,” “if onlys,” or “just supposes” are quite mind blowing. For instance:

  • What if Cain hadn’t killed his brother?
  • If only Moses hadn’t struck the rock.
  • What could have been Samson’s legacy?
  • What if Ruth didn’t follow Naomi?
  • Just suppose Israel never selected king #1.
  • If only David hadn’t stayed home.
  • Just suppose Esther wasn’t successful.

Those are just a few before Jesus decided to make his earthly appearance-before he showed us that overthinking the possibilities is unnecessary when he’s in the picture.

As we consider the past, live out the present, and look into the future, in order to keep our sanity we must keep Jesus in the picture. He helps us make sense of it all. For those wanting perfect peace, keep your mind stayed on Jesus.

You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Watch “No Other King” on YouTube

This song is one of ten originals on my soon-to-be released album “In the Shadows.”

Question: if the video weren’t shot at Christmas and you only heard the lyrics, would you think Easter or Christmas?

If you leave your answer, I will reply with my original inspiration for writing “No Other King.”

“The Angriest…”

When a fan of “Big Bang Theory” comes across a YouTube video of Chuck Lorre talking about its heartbreaking end, you watch it.


In the interview by CBS Sunday Morning, Lorre’s past as being labeled as “the angriest man in television” surfaced. Lorre had this to say:

I’m trying…I’m trying to have more perspective…but fear for me exhibits as anger because I’m not going to show you fear; I’m going to show you anger because that’s just how I grew up and that’s what you present in the world and that maybe is what becomes your reputation.

Thanks for your transparency and helpful insight, Lorre.

Is it possible that you aren’t angry as much as you are afraid? Is it possible your boss isn’t really mad at your feedback but fearful of something completely unrelated to your conversation? Is it possible that all anger is mostly a smokescreen for fear?

Before you let the sun go down on your or someone else’s anger, consider what role fear has. That attempt at more perspective could change your label and improve your reputation. 

Repentance Defined

I’ve been thinking about repentance this week. Read a @youversion plan. Heard a sermon.

I can’t say I’ve ever really considered how I would define it personally. I’ve always leaned on others’ definitions, such as this one from the @youversion plan:

Repentance isn’t doing something about our sin; it is admitting that we can’t do anything about our sin.

I like that one. Certainly puts my mind in the right direction. Less about my ability and more about my need.

Here are a few definitions I’ve written this week:

  • A repentant heart is a softened heart.
  • A repentant heart has turned away from the dark and turned toward the light (Jesus said he was the light).
  • Repentance is when I stop disagreeing with the truth (Jesus said he was the truth).
  • Repentance is possible when the light finally comes on.
  • Repentance begins when I accept my self-given excuses are lies. 

This is a good exercise-defining repentance. Give it a try and see what it does to your heart and to your relational status with the truth and the light.

Shortening the Lows 

Today is another big day in the life of Tom Brady. Just so happens, I came across an interview of him from last June on demand this afternoon. Seemed appropriate to check it out.

Regarding the outcomes of championships, he was asked two interesting questions: how high are the highs and how low are the lows. About the highs, he didn’t make any distinction from his different experiences of highs; they last the same. However, he answered differently about the lows. For example, when they lost the Super Bowl in 2007 he said his low lasted about a month. But when they lost last year to the Eagles, it was half the time, about two weeks. His explanation-stage of life. Last year he had his children to pay attention to, to help them understand what failure is and how to deal with it. Eleven years of personal development had shortened his low time (my paraphrase).

Trying to avoid the lows is like trying to avoid raindrops. Impossible. Failure happens. Disappointments come, some expected, some not. The opportunity we have is to choose how we respond to them.

I’ve noticed this myself. My lows have gotten shorter. The low in my 30s was almost twice as long as a low in my 40s. After that one, I determined to be more proactive in addressing my lows. I leaned into the verse about the sun not going down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26) and looked at how that could apply to my lows. Interestingly, the lows continue to be shortened.

So what changed? What did I stop doing? What did I start doing? Here are a few things:

  • I stopped being too concerned about what people wanted from me or could do for me..I started being more concerned about what God wanted for me and what I could do for people.
  • I stopped allowing the decisions of others to determine my steps…I started listening more to the Holy Spirit to determine my steps.
  • I stopped giving self talk free reign…I started admonishing myself based on what truth God had for me.

And my lows continue to shorten. 

Want to shorten yours? Take some time and answer these two questions: 1)What do you need to stop? 2)What do you need to start? 

Make It Count

Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
John 12:3

Mary’s family had much to thank Jesus for. He had made it clear that he was the giver of life. She decided to do something extraordinary to show her love and worship.

  • Her choice was to anoint him.
  • Her choice was to give up something she’d being saving for herself.
  • Her choice was extravagant.
  • Her choice was a declaration.
  • Her choice was sacrificial.
  • Her choice was to have a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
  • Her choice was to make it count.

What do you have to thank Jesus for?
What choice would make it count?

Adversity: The Integrity Test

Adversity. No one wants it, but when we get it we gain so much. Sometimes that gain feels immediate. Other times it may seem decades before we realize it. I believe the latter was Joseph’s experience (for a refresher, read Genesis 37-50). However long it took him, here’s how he let us know his gain:

You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result-the survival of many people. (Genesis 50:20)

A mindset toward gain from adversity is found in Joseph’s statement. The mindset is vertical (about God), not horizontal (about man). Rather than looking at what man or circumstances have planned, he had learned to look at what God had planned. Easier said than done in the face of adversity, right?

I want to suggest that one preparation we can make before adversity knocks on the door is to make a commitment to integrity.

A commitment to integrity in the face of adversity will…

  • …guard against fear invasion (horizontal).
  • …ward off impulsive reaction (horizontal) giving foundation for calm decisions (vertical).
  • …raise the banner for complete transparency (vertical).
  • …remove selfish ambition (horizontal) to bring in a kingdom mindset (vertical).

Maybe you haven’t considered that integrity is what’s being tested in your adversity. There’s no way around the reality that adversity peels back the layers and shows everyone who we really are. How are you preparing for that revelation? How can you study for the integrity test?