Chalk lines…

Posted: September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’m drawing a chalk line around the person I used to be.
The only way to live deep is to die to my shallow self.
I refuse to rinse and repeat, I will not live a copy and paste life.
I want to leave the shadowlands and go further up and further in.
I’m finding that I belong nowhere and absolutely everywhere at the same time.
And so I rise up.
I want to sing throaty new songs and drink new wine from a crazy straw.
I want to follow the holy wildness to the place where freedom lives.
I’m drawing with chalk on the sidewalk of my soul. It’s a colorful picture of the person I’m becoming…


Image  —  Posted: September 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

lean into the kiss.

Posted: September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized


This is my granddaughter.
I’m quite fond of her.
She is an object of great affection for me.
I love her ridiculously.
Look at the face!
I would safely estimate that this face has been kissed at least 4,374 times.
During her short time on this planet, between parents, two sets of grands, and assorted family and friends, the Moonpie has been slathered in smooches.
I might be biased, but she is just so darn kissable.
Her reaction to all of this affection is pretty sweet.
She has learned to lean into the kiss.
When I kiss her, she falls into my face.
That, by the way, is the proper reaction to affection from someone you trust.
Lean into the love.
But, trust seems to be the key.

Let me get personal for a moment, the lover of your soul wants to show his great affection toward you.
If you would honestly look at your life you will likely discover thousands of kisses from Jesus.
It’s nothing weird or religious.
They are sweet little moments when you experienced hope and beauty, life and laughter.
Sometimes we don’t recognize them because it’s hard to trust.
We are afraid to lean, we think we will fall on our face.
But there are sweet little trustable moments that show up in the unlikeliest places…kisses from Jesus.
Some of the Jesus kisses I have received:
My wife.
An amazing bunch of family and friends.
A cool breeze on my bald head.
An encouraging word.
An unexpected gift.
Puppy breath.
My Mom’s chicken and dumplings.
Carolina sunsets.
80s musical.
Salt water taffy.
Finding a PEZ dispenser that I didn’t have.
Good books.
The beach.
A good day in the middle of a not so good week.
A sweet little granddaughter that leans into my kisses.

Kisses from my Creator…
they all serve to remind me that I am loved.
I choose to lean into that love.

I hope that you realize that YOU are the object of a great affection.
Your Creator is quite fond of you.
YOU are loved ridiculously.
It is an affection that can be trusted.
When you lean on it, you won’t fall on your face, you will fall into HIS face.
That’s a good place to be.
Learn to trust Him.
Fall into His face.
Lean into the kiss.


Posted: September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

Awhile back, we bought a new car. Now, let me start by saying I know that there are completely decent car lots and totally reputable salespeople out there…
But…to me buying a car is like a sad, sweaty dance.
I’m not mechanical and I don’t know a lot about engines and that makes me feel really vulnerable at a car dealership. (MAN! Both of those things were hard to admit!)
But, I needed transportation so we stepped on the dance floor.
It was on a Saturday afternoon, we were just starting to “look around” we weren’t in a hurry, we weren’t really planning on spending 6 hours in a car lot and leaving with a sweet new ride.
Unsuspecting, we parked Diana’s car and walked up to the big glass building. We were immediately and aggressively greeted by a true sales force. It was like a greyhound race and we were the little mechanical rabbit.
One out of breath guy made it to us first. He looked a lot like an early Matlock Andy Griffith, so I immediately trusted him. He shook our hands and proceeded to become the best friend that we never knew we had, and who we haven’t seen since. He was a really nice man who smelled like Stetson cologne and cigarettes.
BUT, wait…here’s a total shocker…Some salesmen tell you what you want to hear.
There is an art to the deal.
They pay attention and they tailor the pitch to your person.
Im easily deceived.
I’m quick to get snookered.
Anytime I have made a major purchase, the tone and talk totally change once they find out that I work at a church. They suddenly become very religious. They tell me about their church attendance or confirmation. They start using christianese words like “blessed”.
I get it, They are simply trying to communicate “See, I’m just like you!! You can trust me!”
Some salespeople play to your base wants and desires, a sketchy salesman can figure out quickly what and who you like and what and who you don’t like and they pluck those prejudices like a well tuned banjo.
But I digress…
Once we took the car for a test drive around the well lit parking lot and admitted our interest, THAT is when the dance REALLY started…
“Let me check with my manager and see what we can do for you.”
We dance around a bit, We are not willing to commit.
He runs his fingers through his heavily gelled hair and says…
“Let me check with our finance guy and see what we can do for you.”
We dance around more and We just don’t know.
He wipes the sweat off his upper lip and says…
“Let me check with the person who restocks the vending machine and see what we can do for you.”
We eventually get lulled into paying more than the original ticket price…
I have never been accused of being a shrewd businessman.
Then we get led into the drab finance office to work out the details. It is a very impersonal little office space, I think it is shared by 27 people. There is a plastic trophy in the corner for “highest volume of customer satisfaction per capita in district 8”, that is pretty impressive…makes me want to trust them.
The finance guy walks in, he looks like an old school televangelist. He has a slow southern drawl, “wellll, Mister and Missus Lang, let’s get yeewww the best possible payment plan…” this will prove to be an unkept campaign promise.
We end up signing and initialing 437 pieces of paper. We learn that additional services and fees (like windshield wipers) can cause your payment to inflate like a hot air balloon…awesome…wow.
I left the room feeling like I’d been repeatedly kicked in the groin, I looked at my wife, she had a look on her face like she had just ate some bad Chinese food.
We consoled ourselves with the fact that along with our sweet new ride, we did get a free TV AND a turkey (yup, an actual frozen 18 pound turkey).

THEN…after owning my car for a while I got to deal with the service department. I have to schedule the first oil change, which is supposed to be free. I go in early in the morning and I’m confronted by a small army of shiny people. They carry clipboards and evidently drink lots of strong coffee. They promise to get me out in about 15 minutes…another unkept campaign promise.
2 hours later, a smiling man saunters up and the conversation goes like this:
Smiley service guy: “Okay Mr. Lang, that oil change today will only be $42.97 and we throw in our mediocre car wash for free!”
Me: “but, I thought I got 5 free oil changes?!”
Smiley service guy: “Sure you do, but those are only good on Tuesdays from 8:46 am until 8:53 during a solar equinox…and just a heads up, the next time you will definitely need to replace SOMETHING!”
Me: “But, the car is brand new…”
Smiley service guy: “Mmptgh….” (mumbles something then walks off without ever losing the huge smile.)
Another disturbing thing: after going to the service department the first time, I turned on the AC on and the car suspiciously smelled like cat pee. It still lingers. I got a Carolina Panthers air freshener to hang from my rear view mirror, but now the car just smells like a cat peed on a gardenia bush.

All that said, it REALLY is a sweet ride, I love my new car. I can reach the pedals and it has great windshield wipers.


Let he who is without hurl first.

Posted: September 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

They are out there…
Waiting to get you.
You are living life, minding your own business, and…
You feel the sick, stinging thud.
It’s the sting of the stoners.
The stoners…
It’s…ummm…not what you think.
The stoners are the self appointed throwers of the stones.
They pick up rocks and watch and wait.
They lurk in the dark places ready to throw rocks at you.
If they catch you being-saying-doing something that they don’t approve of they chunk a rock.
The stoners.
They are selective in their stoning. They throw rocks at the things they either personally wrestle with the least or the most.
Sometimes the stone is a smokescreen.
The stoners make a lot of smoke, but very little fire.
They prove the old adage the chicken that squawks the loudest is gonna lay a big egg…or rock.
There is another ancient adage that is so much more helpful to humanity…
“let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone”
We all have a few stones to hurl.
We all have our own bag of rocks.
We need to decide what to do with them.
We can throw ’em or turn ’em.
You see, there are so many other uses for a good rock.
You can skip it and create some beautiful ripples.
You can use it as a paperweight to hold your lofty thoughts, or as a door stop to let others know that they are welcome.
You can paint a rock and totally change it’s colors.
The heaviest stones can become the most beautiful stories.
Here’s an unbelievably cool idea…
instead of using a stone to bust, you can build!
You can use stones to create houses and fireplaces and…bridges.
Pick up the rocks that have been hurled at you and build a bridge!
THAT will show the stoners.


Image  —  Posted: September 1, 2017 in Uncategorized


Image  —  Posted: September 1, 2017 in Uncategorized