Good News for Zoey

Many of you were touched by the blog yesterday, and have written to express your love and prayers for us and for Zoey. Thank you. (That’s her above a few days before she tore her ACL.) I hate posting another blog so soon, but so many of you did not see the update I added yesterday after it was sent out, so I thought I’d take a brief moment to update.

Two hours after this posted, we got word from Zoey’s surgeon. Her surgery lasted four hours to repair her ACL and to take a biopsy on the other leg. The surgeon was very surprised when she went to do the biopsy. She did not see any signs of cancer on her bone. It was hard as it should be, so is all but certain that her right leg is NOT cancerous. The day before she was upwards of 80% certain she had cancer and we were just hoping it wasn’t the aggressive kind. She said it didn’t present that way and she is very hopeful that we would get a negative result on the biopsy.

We just heard from the vet while I was finishing this. Zoey had a good night and is doing well on the pain meds. They are going to switch her from IV to oral today and we hope to be able to get her back tomorrow. Both her back legs will be in some pain, so we’ll have to be very careful with her. But we can’t wait to see her again.

We couldn’t be more grateful, and staying in the Pensacola area has opened the door to connect with some dear family friends we have not seen in 25 years who “just happen” to be visiting in the area here. Also, we have had more time to spend with a couple we met here last week and whose friendship we have come to enjoy.

Shortly into our prognosis meeting with the veterinarian on the day before her surgery, she paused mid-sentence and her eyes looked at our dog. “Zoey is a really good dog.”  She was preaching to the choir.

We’ve had seven dogs before Zoey, but this dog is unique among them.  She is a huge dog with a tender heart and an empathetic soul. She has been the perfect dog to get Sara through the unveiling of her trauma and the healing for it. Sara often just lays beside Zoey and follows her breathing pattern, which is deep and soothing, a valuable space for healing. Many people who’ve never had a dog, after meeting Zoey,  tell us they would have had one if it as like her. For Sara, this dog is a treasure and it will be joy to have her back again, even if a bit battered by surgery.

All has worked out well, except for those in South Georgia we were going to visit next week.  We do feel bad for them. We’ll be going straight from Atlanta to Charlotte, then heading north into Virginia. You can see our projected schedule here. 

We are humbled a bit by all of this. We know dozens of families going through really intense physical needs with spouses or families, including cancer. Every time we hold Zoey, we think of all those others and pray for what you’re going through as well. Ours is just a dog—beloved though she is. Our hearts really go out to those who are facing uncertain or disheartening medical conditions yourselves and pray that God will hold you close to his heart and show you the way forward through whatever you’re facing.

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Stranded in Pensacola (*Updated)

And yes, I realize there are worse places to be stranded.

One of the dangers of an RV trip is the number of things that can go wrong that can alter the best-laid plans. Unfortunately our big, lovely dog, Zoey, tore her ACL romping on the beach with our new puppy last weekend here in Pensacola. She has to have it surgically repaired and in testing her they also discovered a suspicious spot that may indicate bone cancer.

So, we are pausing our trip here an extra week in Pensacola to sort all this out as Zoey has surgery today on her ACL and a biopsy to see what we’re dealing with on her other leg. We feel so bad for her.

Next week, we will continue our trip to Anniston, AL and to Atlanta, GA one week later than we had planned. Unfortunately, this means we have to cancel our plans to go south after Atlanta to visit Jekyll Island, Savannah, GA and Columbia, SC.  I’m so sorry that we will not be able to see that part of the country and visit the people with whom we made arrangements in that area.

We are still planning on tagging back into our itinerary at Fort Mill, SC on Tuesday night May 7 and continuing as planned from there.  However, this all depends on how Zoey handles surgery, what kind of treatment we need if she has cancer, and how well she travels while she recovers, but we are hopeful to get back on track. And last week we added stops in Fort Mill, SC, Roanoke, VA, Charlottesville, VA, York, PA, and Louisville, KY, Lord willing.

None of this is easy. Our heart aches for our beloved dog and sad to miss some connections we had planned. In the old days, this would have derailed me, and I would have complained at God for days for not watching over us, or blaming myself for missing something. To be so far from home, doing what we felt Jesus asked us to do and having a freak accident involving our dog messes everything up.

But those feelings are no where to be found now. Over the last twenty-five years, I’ve learned that life is a struggle. Learn to appreciate the seasons of rest and joy when they come, but also embrace God’s working when your plans get wrecked and suffering intrudes on our otherwise peaceful life. Living in this world is hard and we can be so easily blindsided by the unexpected and left fuming with anxiety instead of leaning back into Jesus and how he can make use of any unexpected circumstance.

I suspect there’s more God wants to do while we’re here, or at least he knows how to make good use of it. As his love has taught me to live in the moment without having to control it. I see now what a great gift that is. When you realize you’re not in control of what happens to you, and don’t have to be, then you’re ready to embrace what God is doing.

Each day, look at the situations that confront you, consider the information you have, and make the best decision with him instead of begging him to make everything fit with your own plans and desires. If you don’t have enough information, wait until you do. We are often so impatient to erase uncertainty from our lives that we make decisions before their time. Yesterday, Sara and I could have spent all afternoon anxious over “what if” scenarios, and I can’t say we weren’t tempted to. But we didn’t have enough information yet and it would have been a waste of time.

As we talked to the vet this morning, there were no clear-cut options. But there was one course of action we felt best about and now we’ll entrust it all to God with the outcome for Zoey and our trip.

When I discovered that it wasn’t God’s purpose in this age to protect me  from discomfort and pain, everything shifted for me. Instead of blaming God through difficult times, I could look for what God was doing in those times. Is there something he wants to do to relieve it? Is there something he wanted to do to change my heart?

It reminds me of a dream Luis had in the days when Sara was gone and I wasn’t sure I’d ever see her again. He sat with me in some of my deepest pain. In a dream one night he asked Jesus if he would take my pain away. “I could,” Jesus responded, but to do that I’d have to take his love away.” I’m glad he didn’t. Those who love deeply will also hurt deeply; it’s the fullness of love. You can’t just claim the good side of it and not also embrace him in the painful bits as well.

Last week in the final gathering of the He Loves Me Book Club, we talked about learning to pray that God be glorified in whatever we deal with, rather than the “save me” prayers that come so easily. There’s nothing happening in us that his glory won’t shine through.

When you can follow God, knowing he has more options than you can contrive, you can be at rest when all around you is falling apart. And being at rest in him will allow you to see things anxiety just won’t let you see.



Two hours after this posted, we got word from Zoey’s surgeon. She is out of surgery, which took 4 hours. She repaired her ACL and took a biopsy on the other leg. The doctor is all but certain that her right leg is NOT cancerous. She said it didn’t present that way and she is very hopeful.  We get her back on Friday and for that we are so grateful. She will be hurting on both legs for a while so it will be a tough recovery, but at least she’s made it this far.

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An Update from the Road

This weekend we finish up in Austin, TX before heading to a two-day stop in College Station, TX. Then, we are off to further points east, as we stay on I-10 through Louisiana and Mississippi before a ten-day stay in Alabama.

We’ll stop first along the beach near Pensacola, FL and then go upstate to Anniston for a weekend with some good friends, and an open gathering on Saturday, April 27. You can get details here or from my Travel Page.

Also, I want to let you know that Sara is my guest on this week’s podcast at The God Journey, as Kyle is still on hiatus due to some family needs. Sara talks about the tools she has gained over the last two years to help her unrelenting passion to find the truth about what happened to her, why she reacts to circumstances the way she does, and how God’s truth is transforming her to let her become all that Jesus created her to be.

I love this story so much. I’ve had a front row seat to miracle after miracle as Jesus’s light has found its way into the nooks and crannies of Sara’s heart and mind. And I’m incredibly proud of the courage Sara has demonstrated not to shy away from this process at all even though it has been deeply painful at times.

From the darkness into the light is what salvation really means. It’s not about heaven and hell; it’s about Jesus saving her from the cruelties of a dark and broken world.

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On Our Way

We took advantage of Easter Sunday to get a head start on our transcontinental trip.  We celebrated Jesus’ resurrection yesterday with our family and then struck out on a rainy Sunday morning ahead of the Easter traffic and are now on the outskirts of Phoenix.

This morning we are going to walk with some friends and our two dogs in Phoenix, and then head to Wilcox, AZ where we have a dinner planned. The pre-planned events giving direction and timing to this trip, Lord willing, include:

  • Austin, TX – April 5-15  (With some gatherings the weekend of April 13-15)
  • Loxley, AL – April 22-25
  • Anniston, AL – April 26-28
  • Richmond, VA – May 14-19
  • Sykesville, MD – May 20-23
  • Lexington, KY – May 31 – June 4
  • Denver, CO – June 14-20

There are obviously some gaps in there for Sara and I to take some quiet time, perhaps along the gulf coast or in South Georgia on the Atlantic. We are also connecting with a lot of people in smaller conversations between most of the stops listed above.

If you’re along that route somewhere, or want to join us at any of these gatherings, please let me know and we’ll see what we can do about connecting on our way by. We do morning walks with the dogs, lunch or dinner meetings, or even picnics hanging out by the fire at whatever RV Park in which we’re parked.

We’re so honored in this season of our lives to have more casual and thus deeper conversations with people on this incredible journey of living loved.

Our projected route continues to be:



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The Conversations that Matter

Years ago, I heard a mission statement someone had crafted: “I want to have conversations that matter with people who care.”

When I heard it, I knew instantly that this was the part of my life I treasured most. Above any recreational pursuit, athletic competition, or entertainment option, what I enjoy most is having a conversation that makes a difference in my life or someone else’s because we care about finding our way into Jesus’s fullness. Of course, that is most meaningful when it happens with Sara, my children or grandchildren, other family, and close friends.

But Jesus has also allowed us to have thousands of conversations like this with people worldwide. Many of those have become close friends with repeated opportunities to grow our friendship. That’s why I enjoy doing the podcast and interacting with those who listen, helping them further the conversation with their friends and family. Rich conversations are the treasures that transmit the kingdom.

I read something the other day that helped me see some ingredients that help conversations matter. A psychologist writing about emotionally abusive people said they are incapable of engaging in “mutually respectful relationships that require consideration, empathy, compassion, and kindness.” I find that so incredibly sad because the relationships that allow God’s grace to unfold require those exact things—mutual respect (especially where people don’t see things the same way) as well as consideration, empathy, compassion, and kindness. Those attributes open the kind of dialogue that sets us at ease even in our struggles, helps unravel pain, and allows his truth access to our hearts.

I’ve always got my eye out for conversations that open doors in people’s hearts. I find them everywhere—in our neighborhood, with a worker at our home, phone calls, and gatherings. I pursue them with people God connects me with and intentionally take to time to let relationships grow.

Sara and I will leave California on our second RV trip in two weeks. We’ll go first to Denver to visit our son and then head east, though not so nearly as far as last time. Our itinerary is still flexible, though we are headed to some planned events near Little Rock, Arkansas, and Austin, TX. There’s plenty of room to add other conversations around that as we travel.

We’re doing it pretty much like last time—going where the Spirit seems to lead and staying as long as we need to. Here’s a rough framework, however, of what that could look like:

  • Denver, CO – September 7-13
  • Wichita, KS – September 15-17
  • Kansas City – September 18-20
  • Belleville, IL – September 21-24
  • Little Rock, AR – September 29 – October 1
  • Austin, TX – October 6-8
  • San Antonio, TX – October 11-14

Then, we head home, possibly back up to I-40 through Dallas or Lubbock. We’re not sure yet. But we will go through Albuquerque and Flagstaff on the way home.

So, if you’re along this route and have some people who would like to connect with us, please contact me through email. Then, let’s trust that if God wants us to be together on this trip, he will arrange our schedules accordingly. What will we talk about? Whatever you want to. We no longer set the agenda but wait to see what will most help their journey. Themes from my books and podcasts almost always come up, but that’s a wide range of subject matter:

  • Living loved
  • Dealing with trauma
  • God’s view of sin
  • Finding community
  • The Jesus Lens (a freeing and meaningful engagement with Scripture)
  • Recognizing the Spirit’s nudges
  • Growing trust, and
  • Compassionate and humble engagement with the world

Sometimes, we’ll cover a bunch of those in the same conversation.

And we meet almost anywhere—in homes, parks, restaurants, or by the campfire next to our RV.

Please don’t hesitate to email me if something is on your heart. We may not be able to work everything in, but we will see how the Spirit leads. As a fun aside for this trip, we plan to visit some of the Presidential Libraries along our route. Let us know if you want to join us for one of those. And, yes, we will have plenty of alone time for God’s work to continue unfolding in our journey.

After finishing the Jake Colsen Fan Club, several people asked if we could do one through He Loves Me. Now would be an excellent time to begin, so beginning next Sunday, August 27, we’re going to initiate the He Loves Me Book Club for those who want to go through a chapter-by-chapter focus on the themes in that book. It’s always tricky with an audience as spread out around the world as this one to find a time that will work for everyone. We are going to start at 1:30 pm PDT and work from there. I know it is late in Europe and early in Asia and Australia, but if we have enough interest from both, we may have two different sessions, so one will be in the evening in Europe and late morning in the East.

We will coordinate this book club through a Facebook Group that you are welcome to join. We will continue the discussion there as well as post the Zoom links. If you’re not part of Facebook and want me to send you the link, please email me here.

As I said, there is nothing more compelling than conversations that matter with people who care. Here are some ways to connect with us, but I hope you’re finding meaningful conversations in your own relationships.


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Insights for Your Journey

Happy New Year, everyone. I know people make plans and resolutions, but you never know what a year might bring. For Sara and me, last year completely took us by surprise—–both in the depth of pain, an incredible process of healing, and the fruit of joy and peace that came from all of it.

On August 22, Sara and I took off on what turned out to be a three-month road trip across the U.S. and back. Our little RV proved to be a wonderful cocoon for us to continue sorting out Sara’s trauma and what our marriage would look like beyond it. Along the way, I recorded a series of short videos (most are about a minute, some a minute and a half) about the things we were thinking about in our life with God and how they might encourage others.

For those who missed them on Instagram or want to relive them, I’m posting them in order below. If you only listen to one of them, try Day 82 – White River, AR.

(For those who subscribe by email, the videos may not play from the email, but you can access this email online, or view them on my blog at

Our last night home – With a sketch of a plan, Sara and I are off to places still unknown.


Day 2 from Flagstaff, AZ – God has a path for you, too, and following him is the way to find it.


Day 6 from Westcliffe, CO – It’s not what happens to us that defines our life, but what Jesus can do in us.

Day 9 from Denver, CO – Suffering does not have to shake your faith when it opens doors to a greater knowing of God.

Day 11 from Golden, CO – God’s life unfolds where love intersects with truth, and we are able to view our lives and circumstances with God’s eyes.

Day 16 from Torrington, WY – Learning to live loved means we get to give up the illusion of control.

Day 22 from Duluth, MN – What do we do when God doesn’t come through like we think love demands?

Day 23 from Minocqua, WI – “Prayer isn’t giving God information to act upon but giving us intimacy to rest in.”

Day 27: Near Escanaba, MI – Rather than wait for God’s timing it would be best for us to learn to participate in his ways.

Day 30: Mackinaw, MI – Presence is everything. We don’t have to know what’s coming our way; we only have to know Who is with us.

Day 40: Arriving in Ohio – What the enemy sets himself to destroy, Jesus comes to redeem.

Day 43: Buckeye Lake, Ohio – Avoid justifying yourself at God’s expense and you’ll be better positioned to recognize God’s ways unfolding for you.

Day 56: Arriving in Virginia – An update as Wayne and Sara prepare to head home.

Day 59 Waynesboro, VA

Day 62: Appomattox Court House, VA – The lies you believe about God and yourself will detract you from a greater journey.

Day 64: Lynchburg, VA – What does God mean by salvation? Was it to perfect our destiny or to save us from our broken selves?

Day 72: Damascus, VA – When you are attuned to the ways in which God works, then you’ll know how to do your work.

Day 75: Chattanooga, TN – We miss his love when it comes to us because we’re too focused on what we want instead of what is true.

Day 82: White River, AR – How sin can interpret the way God loves us, and instead of feeling comforted by him, we feel threatened and push him away.

Day 92: Dallas, TX – God can bring us light and life even in the midst of other people’s attempts to destroy us.

I learned more in the last year than in any other year of my life, and I am grateful for the great things God has done for us. This year, we hope to continue to encourage others to embrace God’s work in them, even if it means passing through some very difficult places. He is the Redeemer, after all, of all that the enemy and other people have done to try to steal his life in us.

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The Seven Best Thoughts So Far

A few more days in Virginia—Lynchburg, to be exact—and then we turn westward for the long drive home. We have been traveling through autumn colors since early September in Duluth and have immersed ourselves in its beauty. I want to be like that in the autumn of my life, letting God’s beauty shine through me rather than approaching death angry and bitter.

So, we’ve completed the front nine and are ready to play the holes that take you home. If you have not listened to Wayne’s Happiest Day Ever, you might want to give it a listen. It will tell you much about what God has been doing this season.

And I suspect that the first half of this journey was for Sara and me to process our 46 years of marriage and how the trauma had affected our relationship and embrace the further healing and insight he gave us.

Though that healing will continue for many years to come, the trip home seems to be set up to help us discover new patterns for our life after we return home. I can’t even begin to convey how exciting, fresh, and joyful this stretch of the journey is for both of us.

So here are a few of our notes from the first half of the journey.

  1. There are so many incredible Christ-followers in the world. We’ve had deep fellowship wherever we’ve been and heard some beautiful stories about the ways in which God works. We have been with many of those friends that were instrumental in carrying Sara and me through our days of separation and pain and stood with us as God opened up the fantastic doors of revelation, healing, and more profound love. Jesus’ church in the world is alive and well, a community that spans the whole world with a wealth of wisdom, insight, and compassion.
  2. A return to innocence is possible even beyond trauma. I see it every day in Sara’s growing freedom. The childhood she missed is being recaptured in the present. The loss of shame, the looks of wonder at the world around her, and the spontaneous laughter all attest to this growing freedom, and we want others to know it is there for them too. That’s why Jesus died to restore the innocence of the Garden, from which we can explore a new attunement with God. We know Sara’s transformation has been ridiculously quick, but the foundation was laid for it thirty years ago when we began to learn how to live in the affection of the Father.
  3. Attunement is quickly becoming one of our favorite words, both with Sara and me and with God and us. Attunement is more than good communication with another; it means we are tuning to another’s mind and heart and letting that impact our own. (Colossians 1:9-12) Dr. Dan Siegel defines it this way, “When we attune with others, we allow our own internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of another. This resonance is at the heart of the important sense of “feeling felt” that emerges in close relationships. Children need attunement to feel secure and to develop well, and throughout our lives, we need attunement to feel close and connected.” Extended time together and really listening to the other is key to strengthening the bonds of attunement. When I live my day attuned to God, I can see his way forward even through great pain.
  4. There is so much unresolved pain in the world. You can be both an incredible Christ-follower and also be journeying through some dark places in your heart—whether that is caused by unreconciled trauma or by painful circumstances of betrayal or family dysfunction. 
  5. Unfortunately, many people try to pray away the symptoms of their pain rather than probe the source of it. Be it fear, anger, loneliness, or shame, those are often responses to believing something about yourself or God that isn’t true. You may have no idea what it is, but he does, and he can be the Way to lead you to his freedom and fullness.
  6.  There is a rhythm of joy flowing from the heart of Jesus every day despite the depth of pain we may carry. Look for him in the beauty around you, the stillness of your heart, and the tears running down your cheeks. He is there, and his heartbeat can show you ways forward you have yet to consider.
  7. Finding the best cinnamon rolls in each state is a worthy and highly satisfying objective. Enough said.

So, where do we go from here? It’s a fluid schedule, but we are considering this route home:

  • Damascus, VA
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Atlanta day trip from Chattanooga
  • Nashville, TN
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Dallas, TX
  • Abilene, TX
  • Lubbock, TX
  • Carlsbad, NM
  • Las Cruces, NM
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Camarillo, CA

It is a flexible routing since we really don’t know where the wind of the Spirit might blow us on this journey home. We expect things to unfold like they did coming out, but we do hope to be home in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.

And, no, we don’t have dates yet or locations where we might be at larger gatherings. But this trip is more about conversations than meetings, so if you’re somewhere along that route and want to connect with us as we move through, please don’t be bashful. Could you write me and let me know? We’ll do what we can but can’t promise to meet all requests.


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The Decision Is In

We are nearing peak leaf color here in NW Ohio, and it is fabulous. Sitting out in the backyard with a group of people yesterday with a cascade of leaves occasionally spilling out of the trees around us was nearly magical. The conversations were even better as we shared God’s life together, struggled with issues of trauma, legalism, and abuse, and looked for ways to live deeply in Father’s affection. We were also able to renew dear and deep friendships.

However, it is time to move on from here and continue our journey. Where to next has not been an easy decision to make.  Originally, we thought we might turn home from here, but the beauty of fall is too compelling, and though we’ve had lots of invites east of here, it seems good to us and the Holy Spirit to head toward the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge while the leaves are moving toward peak there.

It just isn’t time to go home yet. Sara and I are enjoying this journey with our two dogs (you can see them resting in the conversation yesterday in the above photo), and all that Father is revealing to us and healing in our hearts. So, we’re going to move on a bit further and see where this all leads.

So, today we leave Ohio and push eastward.  First, to West Virginia for one night and then on to The Shenandoah Valley for the rest of the week. This is what our schedule looks like:

•  October 10:  Collinsville, PA

•  October 11-13: Shenandoah Valley, PA (Har

•  October 14-18: Charlottesville, VA

•  October 18-22: Lynchburg, VA

There will likely be open meetings in Harrisonburg, Charlottesville and I hope in Lynchburg, VA. We are keeping meetings to a minimum, but we also want to encourage others as we continue this journey. Details will be announced here when we have them.

From there it looks like we’ll begin to work our way west, perhaps through North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and home.  But all of that is subject to change.


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So Sweet to Be Home

When you travel as I do, you don’t always get to choose your ride!  I found this old truck on a Christmas Tree farm, just out the front door from the home I was staying in near Orlando. No, we didn’t take a ride in it; we just had some fun with it.

I got home early this morning from ten days in Florida after a long flight home, from Miami to Chicago to LA and then a car ride home to Thousand Oaks.  What a long day it was too! I started that morning with the folks at Hope4Life in a delightful breakfast that was part communion service, part debriefing my time there, part question/answer session, and part dance-a-thon. I got to the airport around 2:00, and it was a long flight home—delayed flights, misplaced luggage, mega-traffic congestion of cars at LAX. It just kept going until I hit the pillow after midnight here, which was 3:00 am on Florida time.  So, I am recovering today.

But I’m also reflecting. This trip began a week ago Thursday with a dinner in an artisan pizza place with two dear brothers. It unfolded the next day at a men’s Bible study that Zooms out to India and Kenya as well. Then it was off to a late breakfast with some of those men, and finally, a group of couples got together that night to talk about living loved. Saturday was a chance to take a small group through Transformational Love, that new framework I’ve been playing with, and then to lunch with some of those folks, including a family I know well from Maine who just happened to be in the area on vacation, and their twenty-four-year-old daughter heard on the podcast that I was there.

From there, I went north to New Port Richey and hung out with a family I could only spend a few hours with two years before.  The next day I shared with their congregation about Transformational Love.  Tuesday was off to Clermont and a whole new set of people, many of whom deeply engaged in helping the poor and downtrodden find help and hope. We carried on conversations around a campfire in the woods, on my four-mile walks in the morning, and finished at an Italian restaurant where we’re talking through that framework again.  On Thursday, I found myself with an old friend as he drove me north to St. Augustine for another fire-pit conversation and then the next day down to Miami for a weekend with those at Hope4Life, a ministry helping people discover the power of love to heal the broken places in our souls.

My life is so rich because of the people I know and the opportunities I have to come alongside part of their journey and see if there are ways I might be able to encourage them or help them process God’s work in them. In that, I am always encouraged as well and receive wisdom from others. I can’t believe I get to do this, that so many people will go to such trouble to prepare places for me to come and open the door for others to gather with us, and that people open their hearts so widely to me and God’s work in their hearts. I am grateful to all of you who made this trip through Florida such a blessed time.

The hard part, however, is in the departing. It seems I’m constantly leaving people God connects my heart to, even if only for a few days or an evening. Looking back over this trip, I smile at the old friendships I got to jump into again and the new friendships that took root. It’s never easy to leave, except in knowing that each day I’m getting closer to going home to Sara.

For sixteen months of this pandemic, Sara and I got to be together every day. She gives up a lot in my going, and it is always good to get back home to Sara’s presence and some much-needed rest and refreshing this week.  We got some grandkids coming to overnight with us tomorrow, and, of course, there will be Thanksgiving later in the week.  My life is rich and full in so many ways, even though it is not without its tragedies and challenges.

“Set your mind on things above,” Paul wrote in Ephesians. There is always much to complain and be frustrated about, but there’s even more to be grateful for when you see his hand guiding you through life, and you savor the people he’s put in your life with whom you can share in his love.  I hope all of you have a week filled with opportunities for thanksgiving, whether or not it’s a holiday in your country this week.  It is good for our hearts to focus on those things that bring us joy, not those that seek to pull us down.

So Sweet to Be Home Read More »

Life at the Speed of Relationships

No, that isn’t the new Lifestream plane, nor am I asking you to buy it for me. I got back last week from a delightful trip to the south. Spent the first weekend with a delightful family south of Atlanta. The whole family (seven kids and spouses) read He Loves Me and So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore one summer and all got together to discuss them and their implications on their own spiritual journeys. It was fascinating because they are all in different stages of working out what their engagement with the body of Christ looks like. We were also joined by a number of couples who had been in missions for a significant portion of their lives—in Israel, Thailand, and Honduras.

In addition, some of us played a round of golf. Then, the husband of the home I was staying in flew me up to Clemson in his small twin-engine plane for a week of writing out on Lake Jocassee. He even let me fly it for a big chunk of the way. It has been forty years since I’ve flown as pilot-in-command of an aircraft, though I’ve bummed a ride now and then since. My pilot on this trip is a senior Delta pilot as well as a general aviation enthusiast. As we made our final approach to the airport, he told me I was a natural and handled the plane so beautifully. I dreamed of flying even as a little child, got my pilot’s license when I was seventeen, but I just couldn’t afford to continue doing it avocationally. Though I don’t know what decisions I could have made, not finding a way to fly more is one of the regrets of my life. I love being above the earth in a small plane and bringing it down for a landing.

Then, we got to work on the third part of the Civil War-era novel a friend of mine has been writing for twenty years. I’ve been on it with him for about six. I talk to the author about it on this week’s podcast, as well as contemplating our own mortality. I’m hopeful you’ll get to read that book in the next year or so. But last week we had to cut the third section down significantly. It came in at 120,000 words, and we got it down to 47,000 without sacrificing the story. And in between we got in a bit of water skiing and jet ski tour of a waterfall on the lake. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

Then, I ended up in Damascus, VA – population 814. Seven trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains converge on this town, so it is a hiker’s paradise. What beautiful surroundings, and I got to spend some time with a wonderful couple who are friends with close friends of mine. We were also joined by people from other places in Virginia and North Carolina. We sat out on a large deck and talked the days and nights away. I love the mix of big conversations and then more personal ones with individuals who want some further insight.

One sentence came up in one discussion that I have reveled in since. “Life moves at the speed of relationships.” It immediately resonated with me, so I asked the person saying it, where he had gotten it. He said he thought it had been from a Philippine pastor. When I was talking to my hosts about it as they drove me to Charlotte I found out that my host, John Coleman, had come up with it. Since then, I’ve web-searched it to discover that others have said it as well.  Think about it for a moment. Most people I know don’t live by relationships. They live by achievement or survival, often ignoring or sabotaging relationships they do have. But real life moves at the speed of relationships.

What matters most are the friends you have, not the accolades on your wall. Relationships move slowly. You have to take the time to understand someone else’s story and they, your story. That has to spark a care and concern for each other that goes beyond just using them for something you want, and then you find your way to enjoyment, laughter, and tears together. Jesus lived that way. That’s why he didn’t lay out curricula or institutional plans. The world would not be saved by books or programs, but by loving relationships that allow transformation to happen.  I look back at my life and see that where I’ve lived by the speed of relationships, my life has been marked by joy and fulfillment. Achievement never leads to the same reality.  I’m going to think on that statement for a long time, and rest in that reality. True life does move at the speed of relationships. The Kingdom of God grows in the world at the speed of relationships. If we think there are short-cuts that violate the relationships in our life, we’ll be sorely disappointed at life’s end.  Too many people end up alone because they’ve never learned how to invest in relationships and reap the rewards of doing so.

My daughter, Julie, and I talk more about this on this week’s podcast at

I came back to a crazy week as we finalized all the files to get A Language of Healing to press. It has all come together so well and I’m thrilled for my two coauthors on it—Bob Prater and Arnita Taylor. It will be available on November 19 and you can pre-order at, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and most other places books are sold. The e-book will also be available at the same time and we haven’t made a decision about an audio book yet.

Finally, I leave this week for Florida where I will be conducting a seminar on The Freedom to Live Loved in Miami next weekend. We are going to talk about how differently we would live if we were completely at rest in the Father’s love. We’ll be focusing on (1) Recognizing How Father is Loving You, (2) Letting Him Win Your Heart, and  (3) Living Freely as a Beloved Child. If you’re nearby come and join us. And if you’re not, these will be taped and I will make them available afterwards through After that, I’ll be near Lake Worth, then over in the Sarasota and Tampa area. I still have some open time if you’re interested in connecting along the way.

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