1. Repeat after me: “Dear God, Please give Matt another job. Amen.”
2. Nine years ago, we were in the children’s hospital in Jackson, MS with Knox. Our joy at his birth turned into pure fear and confusion when he would stop breathing while sleeping. I’m not sure we got any sleep that first week or over the months following.
3. Some guys wrecked #diet2015 this week, I don’t know their names but I do know for certain there were five of them.
4. The mistake is to assume the primary way you live out the Christian life is through the events of the 501c3 organization that is a church. It is part of it. And an important part. But your home and place of work are more important.
5. Think about how wonderful the invention of recorded music is. We are used to the stuff and it’s all so disposable now, it’s hard to catch the weight of what we hear. But then you hear some music, an album that has a physical quality about it and you realize this was not always the case. People were not always able to just listen to music whenever they wanted. Music was an event. Music had weight. And the music sat between the silence and more silence.
6. Time is a luxury when money is scarce.
7. When I was much younger, I could not understand why my dad loved the warm weather so much. I now understand. My bones ache a lot less during the warm weather months. I begin to miss the yard work and the sweat more. I’ll complain in August, sure. But I look forward to the heat now.
8. We are part of a Supper Club with 2 other couples and we eat together at least once a month. We also have a group text we’ve kept going for about 3 years. My wife said, “I need them like air.” I agree.
9. I started doing some pre-marital counseling this week for a soon-to-be married couple. My wife and I have gotten a lot of advice over the years. But none so good as what we received in our own pre-marital counseling. So that’s what I’ll be relaying to these two.
10. My wife’s cheese grits topped with slow-cooked roast beef and au jus is only surpassed by herself.
1. I just watched No Direction Home again. It’s probably my 5th time to watch Scorsese’s documentary on Bob Dylan. And this time I saw something new. Dylan didn’t want to be an insider of any movement. Everyone wanted to be an insider with him and his circle. But he didn’t want any such thing. That’s something. Seems almost holy, if only by it, we mean “set apart.”
2. After losing half my goal for #2015, I gained it all back in one meal of pizza.
3. Book two is called The God of All My Tomorrows: A Memoir of Worry.
4. I miss telling my parents good news about the kids. I miss my mom’s easy tears of joy. And my dad’s ready smile.
5. If you cannot follow the money, you will see something extraordinary.
6. My wife made homemade yogurt. Next thing ya know, we’ll be raising chickens next to the compost pile. If she starts talking like Ann Voskamp, we’re gonna need a counselor.
7. Last year I read a lot of Hemingway, Buechner, and Marilynne Robinson and they have ruined me.
8. It is so strange to be told your book is “life-giving” while looking for life in other’s words yourself because the work you get paid for is sapping you of life. It’s nice to hear, of course. But strange what it brings.
9. I am the most thankful for prayer when it seems to be only thing I have for a given situation.
10. This weekend we will have seven 3rd grade boys spend the night at our house. And it’s supposed to rain. Prayers appreciated.
1. We are on day 15 of #diet2015 and I can no longer even remember the last time I ate pizza.
2. I have applied for so many jobs over the past few years and gotten the standard rejection email so many times, I can feel a numbness setting in. That seems worse than the exhausted hope of disappointment I once felt. At least, that’s how I’d view it in someone else.
3. Giving away my book for free on Noisetrade is fun. We need the money. But honestly, that’s part of the fun and I cannot explain that at all.
4. There is no room in the message of the good news of what God has done in Jesus for preaching on our potential to do something special. It is crowded out by our sin and God’s grace.
5. Book two is coming.
6. Someone asked me if I still wanted to go back to pastoral ministry. That’s a complicated question. If I were approached, I would talk to a church. But I refuse to apply in the way I apply for other jobs outside of ministry.
7. The deeper I go into grace, the more I see how I forgive my own particular sins easier than I forgive the sins of others with which I do not struggle.
8. So far my New Years Resolution to enjoy my wife’s cooking is going well.
9. The more you see yourself as a sheep without a shepherd apart from the mercy of the Holy Spirit, the more likely you are to be kind to the discouraged and dying. You know the territory well.
10. The best investment we have made for 2015 has been The Mockingbird Devotional.
1. I don’t understand why people say they are humbled when they get an award. I’m always the opposite when I am complimented or recognized.
2. If you’re job description (self imposed or not) is to find something wrong, you will find something wrong.
3. You will be told you need to go see the movie Selma. The subject is important and so you will be encouraged to go for that reason. And you will be told by pastors and other Christian writers to do so. But here is the thing. Read about it before you go. Because if the historians are right, Selma got it wrong and has made LBJ the bad guy when it would have really been a Kennedy. The question that needs to be answered is, “Are truth and kindness important in telling history through film?” For the follower of Jesus, they are paramount.
4. Jesus prayed for those who shamed him in public. This is the difference between Christianity and other belief systems. He would not have us fight for his honor. We honor him when we love those who shame us and deride him and his way.
5. There is no one I’d rather be going through the fires of #diet2015 with than my wife.
6. A question to #the15 who are angry about the books being sold at Lifeway: Are you OK with C.S. Lewis?
7. I think there are two great problems in the Christian book publishing industry. The first is everyone wants to be on the NYT best seller list. So they (publisher, author, ghostwriter) will do whatever they can to get there. This is why ResultSource exists – to game the system and make it look like the book is selling well based on the quality of the book, itself. The second problem is the justification of bad writing and ghostwriting because the content is necessary and good. The ends justify the means. this strips the written of it’s inherent beauty and makes it merely a conduit of information. It’s like looking at a beautiful tree and only seeing baseball bats.
8. It is hard to live in the here and now when you pine for baseball season like I do.
9. This past Sunday I had a terrible scare with my truck. Thanks to God, I sustained no injuries and the truck was easily fixed. But it scared me in the moment. And then it scared me afterward the more I thought about what it would have been like if it had happened a moments earlier or later. That fear turned into something like worship.
10. I have not had pizza in at least a week because of #diet2015.