The key to your emotional health; or why you suck at relationships

Relationships are hard. Duh. Everyone knows that, right? More often than not we talk about communication when talking about relationships. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t be passive aggressive. Blah blah blah. All that is good. But what if there was an underlying element impacting every relationship you had? Your spouse. Your best friend. Your boss. Your coworkers. Your kids. Your parents. Every. Single. Relationship. So what is that element? Your expectations. You have expectations for everything you interact with. You expect your job to be a certain way. You expect your church to act a certain way. You even expect your neighbors to live a certain way. And when people or places or things don’t match those expectations? You get upset. Or angry. Or disappointed. And then, by no fault of that person or place or thing, you’re upset with them for something they don’t even know they did. A couple years ago…
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A few thoughts on my favorite four letter word

Everyone has a favorite four letter word. You may not say your word as often as other people say theirs, but deep down, you love your word. My word has changed over the years. When I was a kid, my favorite four letter word was definitely “wish.” Whenever I wanted something, especially from my grandma, I’d say, “Meemaw, I wish I had ______.” She saw right through it but she was an awesome grandma and would grant the wish more often than not. As I got older, my favorite four letter word switched to a different word. A more provocative word. A word I can’t say on the internet. In fact, I wouldn’t even allow myself to say my favorite word for years. Once I said it once, it seemed to pop up in every other sentence. It was that great of a word. Recently though, I found a new favorite…
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Maybe Tupac was right; or reactions to the Oregon shooting

Yesterday there was a mass shooting at a school in Oregon. It was the 994th mass shooting in America in the past three years. We’ve lost over 1200 people to these shootings in the same time frame. Those numbers sound gigantic – mainly because they are – but yet we don’t bat an eye to them. President Obama’s response to this latest shooting sums up what many of us feel: “Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it… We’ve become numb to this.” — I have a group text message with some guys I went to college with. We talk so often that my wife calls them my boyfriends. On Thursday morning I was listening to ESPN Radio. One of our favorite radio hosts was talking about violence in football. He mentioned…
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On faith, Facebook, and e-fights

Can I start this post out with a confession? I like discussing things on the internet. When I was in high school, the local bands I was friends with all had message boards on their band website. I would join the boards and talk with all sorts of people who were the same age as me and had similar interests. I met a lot of awesome people, some of who turned out to be great friends. I also learned how to argue on the internet. When you’re 16, you think you know it all. Now imagine you’re with a bunch of other 16 year olds on a computer talking about something you’re passionate about. Whether it was politics, religion, sports, or anything else, we’d have it out on the message boards. Most of the discussions started civil. Then we’d disagree. And then we’d start calling each other stupid. It’d go…
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Burnout, doubts, and ministry; or how I flipped Jerry Falwell’s four wheeler

I once flipped my college president’s four wheeler in his front yard. My friends and I had been invited to his house to hang out at the lake on his property. When we finished riding jet skis and jumping off the dock, I jumped on a four wheeler to ride up the half mile dirt road back to his house. Being a 21-year-old idiot, I thought it’d be fun to see if I could get the four wheeler in the air coming off a hill. I didn’t get the four wheeler in the air. But I did brake too hard when trying to stop. (You see where this is going…) When I braked, I flipped over the handlebars and into the grass. The four wheeler flipped too and somehow missed my head by about a foot. Luckily I was okay and able to jump back up. I laughed the whole thing off, went inside,…
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Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes; or why we’re holding onto decades of pain

I sometimes like to picture Taylor Swift as a screamo singer from 2003. She likely had her Myspace Top 8 filled with bands or other teenaged girls with overexposed profile pictures. Her favorite song started playing right when the page loaded and there were probably all sorts of bells and whistles added because, you know, Myspace. What made me start picturing this was her newest single, “Bad Blood.” The bridge of the song sounds like it should’ve been originally sang by Senses Fail or Finch. It says: Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes You say sorry just for show You live like that, you live with ghosts After the she premiered the video for “Bad Blood” at the Billboard Music Awards, that first line stuck in my head: Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes.
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Yesterday I totaled my car. Today I need your help.

Yesterday I totaled my car. Today I need your help. But first, let me tell you a story. As many of you know, I recently quit my full-time job to chase a dream of resourcing churches and ministries with web and graphic design. It was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. When I gave up a steady paycheck for the freelancer’s life, I remember God telling me he’d provide for me and my family. I didn’t know how he’d do it, but I trusted that he would. Over the past three months, while making less money than ever before, God provided enough for Nicole and I to be able to completely pay off her car. When we told some friends about this, they were happy for us but were also a little concerned. They asked a simple question: Do you think it’d be better to hold…
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Five Bible stories they didn’t teach at VBS

Hi. My name is Jonathan. I’m a Christian and I do my quiet time… at night. Yeah. Scandalous, right? The other night while reading the Bible before bed, I ran across a crazy story that I’d forgotten about. I screen shot it and put it on Instagram because I thought it was funny. That led me to another idea: What are the most interesting things people may not know are in the Bible? While this list is not exhaustive, and there are a ton of crazy things we never talk about, here’s my list of five Bible stories they didn’t teach at VBS.
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On happiness and marriage; or how Hilary Duff got it wrong

  Let me go ahead and get this out of the way: I watched Lizzy McGuire growing up. Sure, I blamed it on having a 12-year-old sister when it came out, but the real story was that there was a cute blonde girl who was my age on the TV. Of course I’m going to watch that show. That cute girl was Hilary Duff. She’s 11-months younger than me and came to fame when I was 14 years old. I’ve watched her grow up as I’ve grown up. The big difference is she’s had a ton of money and fame and I’ve had, um, not that.
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On righteous pride; or why you should stop being so dang humble

If you ask anyone who knew me before 2009, they would tell you that the word humility was nowhere in my vocabulary. I was an arrogant jerk who thought I knew everything better than everyone. In my own words, I was awesome. In an effort to grow up and not annoy 90% of the people I came in contact with, I set out to become a more humble person. The ultimate irony is that it’s six years later and I’m broadcasting to you a story about trying to be more humble. As I tried to become that humble person, I started looking at the things I did differently. When someone would tell me I did a great job on something, I’d play it off like it was no big deal. Or I would act surprised I could create something worth complimenting. I didn’t want to be arrogant, so I swung…
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