A manger at night with bright glowing lights.

Whew, what a year! We couldn’t wait to get past the election and all of its stress and strife. Maybe the holidays will be better, we thought. Maybe people will be nicer, we hoped. Then came Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Surely another helping of pumpkin pie will cure all that ails us. Now as Black Friday turns into another Monday and the calendar and the world turn the page to December complete with headlines blaring about school violence, election recounts, and dictator passings, one has to wonder, should we bother to pull out the tinsel and garland or just fast-forward … Read More


Let’s make a list. The advantages of anxiety. We have so many opportunities to practice. Just look at the front page of any newspaper. It’s voting day, for goodness sake. Within a few short hours a new leader of the free world will be chosen. This is a perfect day to be anxious, right? This is a perfect opportunity for us to rehearse the many wonders of worry. Here’s the first entry: worry helps our health. Lose sleep and you’ll live longer. A nervous stomach is a happy stomach, isn’t it? Actually, no. Worry has been cited for a swarm … Read More


Today is the 98th birthday of Billy Graham. He is, for millions of us, a hero of faith and hope. He certainly is for me. My office has limited wall space, yet I made certain to find a spot for a personal note I received from Dr. Graham many years ago. I often tell about the time I served on a prayer team for Dr. Graham. He was in San Antonio to speak at a Graham Crusade. We members of the prayer team were invited to meet with him prior to the event. We were led down the hallways of … Read More


On the last night of his life Jesus prayed a prayer that stands as a citadel for all Christians: “I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me” (John 17:20–21 NCV). How precious are these words. Jesus, knowing the end is near, prays one final time for his followers. Striking, isn’t … Read More


We are really ready for this presidential election to be over. We’re ready for an end to the rancor and tackiness. Voters on both sides feel frustrated, even embarrassed by it all. There is a visceral fear, an angst about the result. What if so and so wins? When we wake up to November 9, post-election, when the confetti is swept away and the election is finally over, what will we see? I have a prediction. I know exactly what November 9 will bring. Another day of God’s perfect sovereignty. He will still be in charge. His throne will still … Read More


There is an edginess out there. A trepidation. A fear. Society seems like straw near a burning match. Combustible. Anger marches in our city streets. Anger marks the cable news. Some folks don’t like the government. Others don’t like the candidates. It’s as if we’re crammed onto a subway train with an unclear destination. Sigh. Maybe we need an early Christmas. It’s only October, I know. Too soon for lights, trees, and sales. They’ll be here soon enough. But it is not too soon for the message of the manger. It’s been on my mind over the last few days. … Read More


I played the position of catcher in Little League baseball. I played catcher in Pony League baseball. I was a catcher in high school baseball. In college I played catcher on an intramural softball team. I spent a lot of time hunkered down behind home plate; hundreds of hours, thousands of innings, thousands upon thousands of pitches. During all of those games and practices, I noticed something. The width of home plate never changed. It was always seventeen inches wide. Its dimensions were never up for discussion. We players could choose our uniforms, hats, shoes, and bats. But when it … Read More

IMG_0340 The old city at moonlight

I’m fresh off of an all-night flight from Israel to the US. Actually, fresh isn’t a good word choice. I slept little on the plane so my eyes burn and I have a hunch that my next step is toward the bed. But it was a wonderful five days in Jerusalem. This trip came at the invitation of Matt and Laurie Crouch from the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The idea was to capture Christmas and Easter messages. We filmed over twenty pieces in locations like the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of the Nativity and the Garden Tomb. TBN has recently completed … Read More


Before the memories of Rio and the Olympics fade, can I take you there one more time? Two of our three daughters were born in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We lived in the North Zone, separated from our doctor’s office and hospital by a tunnel-pierced mountain range. During Denalyn’s many months of pregnancy, we made the drive often. We never begrudged the South Zone forays. But they sure did bewilder me. I kept getting lost. I’m directionally challenged anyway, prone to take a wrong turn between the bedroom and bathroom. Complicate my disorientation with randomly mapped … Read More

Young man holding lemons in his hands. (Photo by Cali Godley)

One of the toughest days of my life found me in a diner in Dalton, Georgia. I was nineteen years old and one week into my first summer of college. I was a thousand miles from home. I was sleeping at the Salvation Army shelter where, the night before, an inebriated guy on the bunk above mine rolled over and puked. If homesickness was water, I was soaked to the bone. On the promise of fast cash and new sights, I’d joined up with two friends and signed on to sell books door to door. My friends went home during … Read More