Today, we have much to celebrate. We celebrate today because Alex and Austin share a birthday… or maybe I should say… a “re-birthday.” On this day, three years ago, PR31 had the privilege of leading both boys in prayer as they accepted Jesus Christ as the Forgiver of their sins and the Master of their lives.

In Scripture, we find that Jesus called it being “born again,” and the idea stuck with His followers. Being made right with God and adopted into His family is a lot like having a whole new birthday.

So this day is written on our “Remember” board in sharpie. This day pops up in our photo memories on the phone. This day is for celebrating.

You see, that day in 2016 marked the change of their eternal destiny. Now, they are children of God, not just children of Allen and Angela. Now, they have a future full of joy and hope spent with their loving Creator. Now, they do not have to worry if they are not perfect, because they have a Savior who is, and He is sharing His perfection with them… just because they asked.

If you’re not right with God today, don’t let another moment go by. Do what Alex and Austin did on this day three years ago…

1) Admit you blow it and do wrong things sometimes.

2) Accept that Jesus was punished and executed in your place for those crimes you commit against God when you do wrong.

3) Ask God to forgive you for past wrongs and help prevent you from future wrongs.

4) Invite Him to be in charge of your life, guiding you… leading you… directing you.

Do that today, and guess what? You’ll share a re-birthday with Alex and Austin! And that, my friend, is something to celebrate!

P. S. – If you make that choice today, would you let me know so that I can tell Alex and Austin their choice helped someone else? It would mean a lot to all of us!


The Unseen New

This week, Alex has been learning about the moon in his science studies. He’s been learning about the moon’s atmosphere (or lack thereof), lunar eclipses, phases of the moon and so forth.

One interesting little piece of information which emerged as he learned is that we cannot see a new moon. Each month, the moon goes through phases, and we can see most of them. We can see the crescent moon and the full moon, but we cannot see the new moon. It’s not that the moon has gone away or ceased to exist. It’s just that we can’t see it at the moment.

The same is true in our lives. God lovingly leads us through different phases. In a lot of those phases, we can see what God is up to. Others around us can tell what God is doing in us and through us. But sometimes when God is starting something new in us, through us and for us, we cannot see what He’s doing.

In fact, you may look at your life right now and think that God isn’t working at all. But the truth of the matter is that He is there–working behind the scenes– bringing about something new in your life. You may not be able to see it yet. You may wonder what happened to that bright, full, glorious life and work that everyone could see so clearly. Maybe your life, your purpose, your destiny, your next step, your connections, your provision seems hidden or lost. Right now, you may wonder what God is up to.

I’ll tell you what He’s up to… something new. Soon, a sliver will show up. Then a crescent will appear. Before you know it, the light will be spilling over the darkness of what was hidden in its newness, and life will start making sense again. And at some point, what God is doing will be in full view, reflecting His shining power at work in you and through you.

So, if you look up at the night sky of your life right now and don’t see anything, remember that the God Who set the moon to govern the night sky regularly hides it from view because something new is on its way!

You Are Such A Seed

I love that we homeschool our kids.  Wow, even as I typed that, I realized it was worded incorrectly.  Technically, PR31 homeschool’s our boys, and I am a very limited teacher’s aide.

Recently we began a new year-round model that seems to be working for us, and I’ve had some time to be at home during the day while they are doing their schooling.  Occasionally, on a break from writing, I’ll sit in on a lesson or be the sub for a class if PR31 needs to tackle something else.

Well, the other day, we were studying science and I read something in Alex’s textbook which caught my attention.  It read…

The size of the seed is not determined by the size of the plant…  Every seed contains a new living plant.

I learned in some of these lessons that there is a certain palm tree which produces a seed that can weigh as much as fifty pounds!  That’s more than our six-year old, Austin, weighs!!!  Yet, even though the giant redwood tree is much larger than this palm tree, it produces a significantly smaller seed.

Then it hit me that not only does the size of the plant not determine the size of the seed, but the size of the seed does not determine the size of the plant.  As I’ve mulled this over,  I have found myself reminded of Jesus’ words in Mark 4…

Jesus said, ‘How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.’” (Mark 4:30-32)

You see, it doesn’t matter how big or small we think we are.  We are each just such a seed.  You may view yourself as insignificant.  Someone else may seem to have so much more potential.  But the truth is that, inside of you, there is everything needed to produce something else great.  That something may be much larger than you appear to be as a seed.

You have life in you.  You have potential stored up in you.  You have greatness in you just waiting to be released.  Just like that mustard seed, you have the ability to grow into more and be a blessing to a lot of others who need what you have to offer.  You are just such a seed as that mustard seed.

So forget the fifty-pound palm seed, you wonderful giant redwood seed!  Just let yourself be planted by the Master Gardener… then sprout… and grow… and bloom… and produce.  Be the seed this world needs!  A lot of people around you will be glad you did.

The Unknown

Christopher Columbus lived an adventurous, astounding, amazing life… but he probably didn’t realize it.  Oh, he wanted to attempt fantastic feats of exploration.  He desired to discover.  But at the end of his life, I’m not sure Columbus fully realized the significance of his life.

For example, Columbus’ life ended with him mostly a lonely and forgotten man.  Many discredited his efforts. And in the end, few wanted to be his friend.  Most people failed to recognize his significance during during his lifetime.  Yet he had inspired and emboldened countless new explorers.

At the end of his life, Columbus thought he had accomplished one amazing thing, when in reality he had accomplished something far different… far greater.  He died thinking he had found a way by sea to Asia.  But he had really discovered trade winds which led to an area of the world which was on the verge of discovery and development.  His trip inspired and informed others, making future explorations possible.

Columbus died not knowing what a significant impact he had made on this world… on those people who would sail in his wake.  He may not have been the first to sail westward… He may not have discovered America… He may not have have discovered a westward passage to India… He may not have found great riches… But he made an impact the likes of which few ever accomplish.

Or do they?

In Matthew 26, the account is recorded of a woman crashes a dinner party where Jesus is and pours expensive perfume… probably the most expensive and precious object she owned… on His head. Some people complained that it was a waste of money. Some people misunderstood her. Most did not realize her significance. But Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” 

I’m sure that woman Matthew wrote about didn’t realize what a big deal she was at the time… kind of like Columbus… kind of like you.

I’m guessing that, even as you read this, you truly do not comprehend the significance of your life.  You probably do not realize that you are impacting the lives of so many people in such a big way.  You most likely have no clue about what your real accomplishments are.

People may not recognize your contribution right now.  Sail on anyway!  You may not be as popular as someone else.  Be adventurous and make discoveries anyway.  You may not get everything right, but choose to live your life to the fullest for the Lord.  And there will come a day down the road… perhaps when you are old or have passed on… when people will tell the stories of your greatness and you will be remembered for all that you achieved.

And for those who have poured the perfume on the head of our Savior, there will be a day when we are rewarded as well as remembered.

You’re Joking… Right?

One of my favorite movies of all time is… Rocketman.  In it Harland Williams plays the bumbling and yet brilliant Fred Z. Randall who, through a series of ridiculous events, ends up on the first manned mission to Mars.

Once clear of earth’s orbit, Fred accidentally ends up on a world-wide broadcast of a video call between the President of the United States and the astronauts.  The President asks Fred what it’s like up in space, and Fred replies, “From up here, the earth looks like a giant blueberry.”  The call ends with Fred leading people across the world in the song, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.”

What Fred portrayed in that scene is a known fact for all of us alive today… the earth is round.

But when Columbus lived, many people did not believe that now well-known fact.  In fact, most people believed the world was flat… even though brilliant minds had been suggesting for hundreds of years that it was round.

Yet Columbus believed.  He had faith. Oh, I’m not suggesting he was a Christian or that he was as perfect as some of our history books would portray.  Truth be told, he was wrong about much of what he thought.

But he was right about believing the earth is round.  He believed.  He believed so strongly that, though it took him many attempts to gain the financial backing and actually find a crew who didn’t think they would fall off the edge of the earth if they sailed too far, he persisted.

That’s what faith does. Faith motivates us in the face of doubt. C. S. Lewis wrote, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who runs in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  And just five verses later, the writer of that letter tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.

So ignore the naysayers today. Run the opposite direction when you know in your heart God has promised you that you are running the right way.  Just as Columbus was willing to put his faith in a round earth to the test, be willing to test that of which God has assured you. And one day we will be celebrating your accomplishments!


“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue… and… and…”. Oh, let’s face it… I either never really learned that little rhyme, or I’ve slept since then and forgotten it.

All I remembered about Christopher Columbus (until last week) was that he is credited with discovering North America… although he wasn’t really the first person to do so… and it really wasn’t what he was trying to accomplish.  But I learned more than ever before about this intriguing man’s life as we taught our boys about him last week.

We homeschool our boys currently.  Let me be more accurate… PR31 home educates our boys, and I pitch in to help in minutely small ways on occasion.  And she does a fabulous job teaching them.  (I wish I had had teachers that pretty and helpful.)  So it should be no surprise that I learned some new revelations about Christopher Columbus last week as she taught us… uh, I mean them.

One of the craziest facts I learned was that his crew almost mutinied on him, determined to turn back from their quest.   They had been at sea… with no land at all in sight… for two months.  This bunch of sailors had had enough.  It was tough enough to believe Columbus to begin with. But then to go this far and find nothing?  They thought Columbus had lost either his mind or his way.  Neither option was great. Afraid for their lives and tired of believing in something that did not seem to be real, they wanted to turn back.

Columbus worked his persuasive magic on them and convinced them to give him three more days.  Then, if they had not found land, he agreed to turn back with them.

It’s almost as if Columbus knew exactly what he was doing because on the evening of the second day, land was sighted!  And the rest is history.

But think about this… Those men had traveled two months to do something others could Barry even imagine, and yet they were prepared to give up… to turn back… to quit… when they were only two days away from achieving one of the greatest accomplishments of their time.

They had completed 97% of the journey when they were ready to give up.  They had done the hard part… the two months.  All they had to do was a little more… two days.  But because they couldn’t see their goal even through a spyglass  yet, their hearts were weary.

Perhaps today you are weary.  You’ve been trying to do the right thing… eat right and exercise… finish college… complete a project at work… remain pure in your relationships as you look for the love of a lifetime…find God’s will and plan for your life.  And you’re tired.  Tired of trying. Tired of not seeing the end result… the goal of your quest.

The Apostle Paul wrote to some people who felt like giving up and told them what Columbus told his crew and what I’m telling you today… Don’t give up!  You’re almost there.  The hardest part is behind you. Just a little more.  Stay on the journey, and you will soon find that you will be glad you did because your continued persistence… and commitment… and faithfulness  is going to pay off.  You’ll look back and say that you are sure glad you didn’t give up when you had 97% behind you and only 3% to go.

Don’t mutiny. Don’t turn back. Hoist the sails a few more times. Keep the spyglass to your eye.  I have a sense that land is not as far away as you might think!

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