All Posts in Faith

December 21, 2017 - No Comments!

La Vie En Rose

If flowers had Instagram accounts, what kind of "colorful" personalities would they boast? Imagine them taking selfies. Would they balk at the imperfections of their own petals, or post pictures of themselves staring pensively into the horizon? I'd bet the carnation would have a massive following on Instagram. The prairie gentian would be the humble beauty with a creative spirit. None would be as self-absorbed as the red rose.

Botanists have identified over 400,000 different species of flowers ― each with its own, unique qualities and characteristics. A single bloom elicits adoration. In bouquet, they have the ability to color your heart with joy. Excuse my pining, but people actually make bouquets out of dead flowers.

Alive or not, it's interesting to note that they command your attention, yet they never demand it.

Consider a zinnia, known to be the longest-living flower. It could exist in a field for 24 days ― unseen, untouched, un-followed ― and it would blossom in unashamed delight of its own creation. That's because its beauty stems from the essence of its being, not being seen, liked or stalked.

Could you go 24 days, or even 24 hours, in the same unrequited conditions?

Not to make flowers sound pretentious (or to put them on petal-stools ...) but what's the secret to such carelessness and indifference? I learned the source of the flower's beauty from Maria, an Italian florist I met on an airplane back in 2015. This is what she told me:

Fundamentally, a flower needs three elements to survive: soil, water and sunlight. (Not likes, followers or affirmations.)

Suppose you lived similarly. What would be the soil, water and sunlight of your life?

To be honest, my chance encounter with Maria the Florist was more of a divine confirmation. Her insight came as providence to an idea seeded months before we sat together on our afternoon flight to North Carolina.

I had been studying the Bible for some time, and begun illustrating metaphors in my mind based on stories and themes within it. One of my earlier revelations came from a struggle I had with interdependent behaviors and insecurities in people (and myself), manifested via social media  and unhealthy relationships, as well as navigating the challenges of loving, or just getting along with people I found difficult to be around. All of these anxieties led me to a solution that is really the bedrock of love, according to Jesus.

"36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40

The line "love your neighbor as yourself" convicted me. It's what revealed the root of my issues with others: issues I hadn't understood within myself. If I can't love others, perhaps that's because I have trouble loving myself. And if I don't have a sense of self-love, then perhaps I'm not communing well with God, who is love.

So, what about flowers and what do they have to do with our self-image? Well, Jesus compares us to flowers in the following parable:

"28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’" - Matthew 6:28-31

Or "What shall they say about me?" How does God take care of us ― our social fears, anxieties and self-worth ― as he does the lilies of the field? He gives us the same resources:

Seed & Soil

"The seed is the word of God." - Luke 8:11

And we are the soil:

"15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience." - Luke 8:15


"37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." - John 7:37-39


"12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12

You too are God’s wonderful creation. No amount of likes or selfies could prove more clearly the quiet knowing of this simple fact. All you need is the right heart, life-giving water and light. Anoint yourself with these elements to discover true beauty and validation, #unfiltered.

Thank you for thinking.

December 30, 2015 - No Comments!

Resolve to Accept More Grace in 2016


Ahh, the new year is upon us. How refreshing. Look past the overcast horizon and chilly air you might say the future is [fill in prophetic word here]. New year, new goals, new desires, new workout plan, new dress, new tie: new you. Write those resolutions down, ladies and gents ... and then what?

Self-discipline: check. Willpower: you got more than you think. Commitment: scary, I know. These are virtuous faculties and all, but truth is the accumulation of years of practiced habits (good and bad) are not easily tackled in a one-night stand with your conscience.

There's no quick-fix formula for a "new you." If you really want to change your life, change your mind about how you approach change.

We assume it’s all on us. We strive for goals in order to become somebody we think we ought to be. Always chasing after future versions of ourselves. Always putting so much weight on our own actions. Like every decision leads to absolute victory or failure. It can be paralyzing.

Now, I'm all about about personal growth. What are you doing with your life if you're not stretching yourself with new challenges and experiences? What I'm speaking to are our expectations.

Do you have a brighter vision of what your life would look like if you stepped up in certain areas? Maybe you'd like to create more value for yourself at work or in your community? You know what you need to do because it’s already on your heart. Your dreams are your dreams. Go for them, but don’t get hung up on the outcome.

We paint glamorous pictures in our minds about how life should be, only to get frustrated with the childlike images we actually produce. Relax, kid. Give yourself a little grace. As you narrow your focus on the coming year, try not to be so narrow. Take joy in the process and you’ll be pleased with the product.

Who you become and who you inspire others to become in 2016 will be more meaningful than what you do.

A couple weeks ago the pastor of our church mentioned that we are all called to one of two missions throughout the seasons of our lives: you’re either called to be somebody, or to do something. For the past two years I’ve felt the need to perform.

I wonder if there was a transition I missed, or if this is it.

Life is good. Too good not to enjoy. God is good. Too good not to trust. My goal this year is to stop putting so much pressure on the works of my flesh. Stop being self-led and be more Spirit-led. Start believing that God has it all mapped out already. He’s the vision-caster. He's the captain of this ship and his course will be a fantastic voyage.

Go ahead, gain wisdom and insight. Acquire new skills. Take time for personal reflection. But most of all, trust Him.

When the ball drops, don’t think about how you might have dropped the ball in 2015. God’s bringing the celebration. He’s lighting the fireworks. All we have to do is show up and enjoy his marvelous display.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths."

Proverbs 3:5-6

- Updated on Jan. 7 -

Hungry for more? Listen to Kurt Parker's message on "keystone habits," from January 3. If you're not inspired, go eat something unhealthy. I'm sure it'll go away soon.