When the road stretches longer than expected and delays and detours abound, we dare not deter from the right path. The high road, though often rough hewn, long, lonely, and costly, is worthy of staying the course. In the long run, the cost of abandoning our call is higher than the pursuit of it. Shortcuts out of God’s will shortchange us and all those our life impacts. Look at the turmoil caused by Sarah and Abraham’s attempt to help and hurry God’s promise by Abraham bearing a child with Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant. King Saul lost his destiny because he stepped out of his role and assumed the duty set aside for the high priest when he failed to wait for Samuel and instead made the burnt offering before battle.
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,” Samuel told Saul. Sometimes obedience means a season of waiting and work in preparation for the journey. It takes time to train a skilled soldier, it takes time to forge and temper a weapon. Sometimes it’s the lessons learned on an arduous journey that prepare us for our destination.
“It’s good for you to be out of your comfort zone,” my son-in-law Spencer texted me.
“Remind me again,” I said, “what is a comfort zone?”
I’m not able to pull off perfect, so I decided I’d be real instead. No matter our call, when we shake off the shackles of perfectionism, and with God’s help pursue excellence for His glory and the edification of others, we find ourselves on a much more peaceful and productive path. (Working on it, or rather, God’s working in me.)
Moonlight spilled across the page and streetlights twinkled below when I penned my first piece, a poem, at nine years old from the lofty perch of my 14th floor bedroom windowsill. The opening line read: “Tis the time when the north wind doth blow.”
My latest poetic endeavor is a rap song. Yes you read that right. I said I’m writing rap. And no, I’m not sharing it today. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are.
So, wide eyed and trembling, I showed up to present a poetry workshop with friend and award-winning poet and writer Patricia Tiffany Morris at the kind invitation of Writers Chat in honor of #PoetryMonth.
For those who claim they don’t like poetry—this post is for you too! You just may change your mind with this collection featuring several authors.
The battle to write is fierce. I’ve cried my way through writing articles, written under the weight of discouragement and doubt, thought I’d never finish some pieces, and almost didn’t submit others. But several of the hardest pieces to write opened doors, won awards, and people blessed me when they shared my writing ministered to them. —Don’t quit.
We must each obey our call and trust God to enable and use us as He wills. (Remind me of that tomorrow, please.)
Created in 1942, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also known as the Secret City and the Atomic City, was one of the three major sites set up as part of the U.S. government’s Manhattan Project. The scientists at the laboratory in the Secret City developed the materials to build the atomic bomb that ended WWII. But Oak Ridge has other stories. Twenty years after its inception, Black citizens, many of whom the government had brought in to build the laboratory and city, still lived under the oppressive culture and restrictions of Jim Crow segregation laws.
This article is the first in a series Mr. Smith invited me to write for his column. (Thank you.) 🙂 The articles and the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s were first inspired by the stories of my father-in-law and his best friend. They will feature the accounts of many valiant souls with a message for today.
He calls himself “a sinner saved by grace. A pastor who has fought against dragons and won. A sojourner going from here to there with a story to tell.” I call him the master of the one-line sermon. Once again, I’m honored to host Pastor Duncan, husband, father, preacher, speaker, poet, musician, US Air Force Veteran, and author of the newly released book, For King and Crown: Conversations on the Christian Life. Don’t miss this video interview—it’s gold.
A disciplined life is born of effort, not excuses. — Pastor and author Michael Duncan
Think not yourself a Christian if you hate the righteousness God loves and love the sin He hates.— Pastor and author Michael Duncan
Mountaintops, valleys, running with the wind and running in water, heartbreak and breakthrough, trials and triumph. — It’s been the best of years; it’s been the worst of years. I’ve braved the battleground. I’ve floundered and failed; I’ve pressed on and prevailed.
Sometimes life bulldozes. Stuff happens. Yes, “onward” is my word of the year, and no, the irony of getting stuck writing Onward did not escape me. It’s been awhile. Forgive me. Shame tried to hold me down, but God said, “Rise.”
It’s not enough to just be right if we want God to use us to reach people with the Gospel. Our rightness only serves ourselves if we alienate people by our attitude and choice of words. Failure to show interest in people as individuals comes across as an attempt to propagate one of a myriad of doctrines and treating people as another notch on our belt.
We live in a world where many are talking, but few listening, all while broken hearts cry out, “Does anyone hear me?”
I’m no trained apologist or theologian, just small fry in a sea full of big fish—but I couldn’t resist participating in this writing competion on apologetics with the topic of: Why is it so important to answer not only the question, but also the questioner?
This is a terrible way to introduce an article, Bryan! You’re supposed to grip the reader with a compelling opener, but since you’re the boss of this contest here goes: I am participating in the Writing Contest: You Are Enough, hosted by Positive Writer.
I really like you Bryan, because you’re real, an overcomer, and your is heart to encourage and equip others.
Did you miss the memo that anything worth doing is hard? Writing is hard work. For me it is mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. And exhilarating too—but that usually comes after the exhausting. It is time intensive and demanding. But it’s worth it. Your calling costs something too.
Life happens. Sometimes all you can handle is small steps and bite sized pieces, but they will get you where you’re going. Instead of overdrive on the Autobahn you might need to take the slow country road for awhile. Somewhere between doing nothing and doing everything, there is balance.
I was waiting for perfect, but it never showed up. So I decided I’d better start the journey without it. I thought I needed to be the perfect Christian, wife, mom, have the perfect family, and coin the perfect phrases. Then I’d have something to say. Then God could use my writing. I mean, who am I?