A Publix Hug

This weekend has had some pretty cool moments:

  • Friday: A couple of hours at an elementary school celebrating the first quarter results of student’s and teacher’s hard work
  • Yesterday: A couple of hours celebrating the 86-year life of a church member
  • Today: A couple of hours praying with, singing alongside of, and listening to the body of Christ

As good as those hours were, the coolest moment lasted probably less than a minute. And of all places, in a Publix parking lot.

As I walked to my car, I thought I recognized the boy getting out of the car parked beside mine. I was pretty sure he was one of the students from the celebration I attended at the school on Friday where he was recognized for making the Principal’s list and also won a drawing for a new bike and helmet.

I decided not to just wonder and move on, so I said to his dad,Excuse me. Does your son go to Ballard Elementary?”


“Did he make the Principal’s list and win a bike on Friday and had on a yellow outfit?”


“I thought that was you.”

“Yeah, what a shock to see him come out of school with a bike.”

To this point his son hadn’t said a word. In fact, he never did. He did something better. When he recognized me, he walked straight to me and gave me a hug.

This isn’t the first time this school year that a Ballad student has spontaneously given me a hug. These Ballard kids get it. They don’t make big scenes. They respond genuinely, with no fear, showing all their thankful, grateful, and humble heart.

I’m working on being more like them. A Publix hug certainly jolts the motivation and inspiration.


Introducing Fruity Fridays

One of the best passages of the Gospels is John 14-17. Some of Jesus’ most memorable statements and promises are included in these chapters. 

Some of those statements probably didn’t register with his audience right away, but certainly within a few decades they did. One thing he wanted them to know was that he would soon be leaving but that they wouldn’t be alone. He promised to send them the Helper, the Spirit of Truth; he promised that the Helper would come from the Father just like he did. That truth alone would take on greater significance after he would show them his power over death and the grave.

One of the main reasons the Helper was coming was to continue and expand the work Jesus had begun. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” His followers were to be part of this work, bearing fruit in the physical absence of the Vine. That’s where the Helper comes in. And that’s why Paul writes about walking in the Spirit in Galatians 5. 

Without the Holy Spirit, we are on our own to fight off sinful temptations. Jesus said he would send the Holy Spirit to guide us. When we allow him to guide us, we can then live supernaturally because we have given him control of our minds and actions. That’s what Paul is describing in Galatians 5 – Christians who go beyond buying fire insurance. Fruit-producing Christians do things that make others stand in awe, not in awe of them but in the God they say they follow.

By choosing to follow the Holy Spirit rather than yourself, you can supernaturally…

  • …love that unneighborly neighbor
  • …exude joy during chemo treatments
  • …bring peace to the family Christmas table
  • …be longsuffering with your addicted child
  • …offer kindness to your overbearing boss
  • …model goodness to your child’s bully
  • …exhibit faithfulness as you move toward retirement
  • …gift gentleness to your aging parent
  • …control yourself selecting your items in Publix

Starting this Friday, you’ll see postings called Fruity Friday. I’ve invited some guest bloggers to join me in writing about all nine of the fruits of the Spirit Paul mentions in Galatians 5. We hope you are encouraged in your walk, in your fruit producing. Welcome to Fruity Fridays.