Crisis, Comfort, Community & Crutches

I grew up in an environment of faith-based music.  (Note:  At great personal risk, I managed to “supplement” my parent-approved diet with some much less faith-oriented 60s & 70s rock’n’roll. 😬🤷‍♂️)

That’s not to say that I had no appreciation for church, and quartet-style Gospel music.  We had a family quartet that sang at gospel concerts, as well as at church.  I loved singing.  I loved being on stage. 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️  I can still watch a Gaither video, and sing practically every song, word-for-word, by memory.  It’s part of my DNA. (If you don’t know what a Gaither video is… Don’t worry about it. 😜)

One of the OLD gospel songs that recently leaped out of my past, and into my consciousness was “Where Could I Go”.  It won’t leave, constantly reverberating around inside my head.

(Chorus) “Where could I go,

Oh, where could I go?

Seeking a refuge for my soul…

Needing a friend

To help me in the end

Where could I go but to the Lord?”

Recently I wrote a piece concerning the struggle of my niece’s newborn baby boy. Short version:  it looked like Copeland wouldn’t survive, then there was evidence of brain damage, then…that evidence wasn’t there anymore.

Copeland is doing great.  Really.

This all transpired over the first five days of his life.  For his mommy and daddy, and extended family, it was an emotional roller coaster…high “highs”, really low “lows”, and then REALLY high “highs”.

Through it all, one of the unmistakable, unforgettable parts of the unfolding story was the awareness of an amazing community of support for Copeland, Brittainy (Mommy), and Freddie (Daddy).  Prayers, messages of support & encouragement, offers to help with whatever was needed.  Even while it seemed that our hearts were literally breaking, it was heartwarming to know that there were so many, willing to do whatever they could.

Without going into detail…I’ve been there.  And, I can tell you, knowing that you’re not alone, and that you’re truly loved, is something that you can’t put a price tag on.  That kind of community really is PRICELESS.

But… there are limits to what our friends and community can do.

And, when I’m one of the friends — part of someone’s community when they are in crisis — I’m painfully aware of my limitations to help.  I can “be there” for them.  I can pray with them, and for them. I can try to provide tangible assistance.  And, all of those things are valuable.  But, I wish I could do more.  We all do, don’t we?

There’s only One Who can.

You can call my faith a “crutch” if you like.  I guess it is, really.  HE is.

Sometimes, a crutch can be useful, providing assistance to get from one place to the next.  Sometimes, a crutch is the difference-maker.

Sometimes, a crutch is the only thing that enables you to go on.

However, sometimes a “crutch” isn’t enough.  Copeland needed more than community… and more than a crutch.  Neither crutches or community can take a damaged human brain and make it normal and undamaged.

Copeland needed a miracle.  “Where could I go, oh, where could I go, but to the Lord?”

I realize that not all of you share my faith. I think — I hope  — that you know that I don’t think less of you because of that.  And, I understand that — because of things you’ve seen… things that you’ve experienced, sometimes at the hands of “Christians” — you have reasons for not believing.  And, I’m sorry.

And, I’m not trying to convert you, or convince you to make a public confession, while you read this.  Really.

Here’s what I’m trying to do, full disclosure:  When you need Him… when a crutch, or community, isn’t enough… when you’re in a really dark place, and you can’t find the light switch… I hope you’ll remember Doug McGarity writing about an old, old song that asked the rhetorical question:  Where could I go but to the Lord?  And, I hope you’ll have just enough faith… or guts, or something… to just say, “God, if you’re there, please… Help!”   

I can’t guarantee you that He’ll do a “Copeland-type” miracle.  I can’t come close to understanding the how’s and why’s of His moving.  But, I really believe that He’ll hear you. And, somehow, He will help.  He loves you.

So do I.  ❤️🙏


I think it was probably January 19, 1986…the day that Dee and Brock came home from the hospital…that I saw a young girl, probably in her early 20s, as a nurse pushed her in a wheelchair from the hospital entrance to the car that was waiting curbside. She was trying desperately not to cry. Gamely, bravely, she tried…unsuccessfully.

Then, I saw the second nurse, pushing a small cart behind her. The cart was loaded with flowers, cards, and small stuffed animals…the kind of stuff you see in the maternity ward.

And, then, I knew. What was missing was the baby.

I will never forget the sight of her, trying to stifle her sobs.

For context, we were in the middle of our own crisis. We were going home with one baby, but we were leaving another one behind…one that would never make that trip to our home.

In the early morning hours of January 14, 1986, while my young bride was still under anesthetic, I stood in the hospital hallway – between my mother-in-law and father-in-law – while a very nice, brilliant doctor explained to me in her most professional and compassionate manner that our newborn twins had two very different prognoses. He (Brock Samuel McGarity) was “just fine,” I heard her say, as I sensed a dark cloud beginning to descend.

She “has major problems”, the doctor said, and then went on to explain that her condition was “not compatible with life”. (Thanatophoric dysplasia; look it up.)

This was completely unexpected, and I’m sure that I probably had some kind of a dazed look on my face, so (I guess) to make sure that I wasn’t going to misunderstand, she added, emphatically, “She can not live.”

Sometimes, I go to the grocery store, and I find it impossible to remember the one thing that Dee told me to pick up, and, yet, thirty-two years later, I can remember EXACTLY what words that doctor used to drag me into a new level of awareness about how things don’t always go according to our plans.

A lot of stuff happened over the next month. Some of it was in a blur, and none of it was on my agenda. First, I was forced to make the transition from happy-go-lucky, cocky, clueless, all-about-me, American male…to being the person responsible for trying to find the right words to explain this new reality to my young wife when she began to come out from under the effects of the drugs that were supposed to protect her senses from the pain of surgery.

There are no “right” words. They don’t exist.

Then, we made the decision to name her Destiny Joy McGarity. It just seemed appropriate to us.

The people in our “faith community” – our church family – rallied to us. It was actually pretty amazing. Food, money for parking and meals (because we were having to go to the hospital in downtown Houston everyday), and a network of willing baby-sitters for our two oldest boys (ages 5 and 3 at the time) were just some of the expressions of kindness and support that helped in ways that are impossible to place a value on, and that I will always be grateful for.

I can’t really explain how this happened, but my faith…didn’t go away. Not then, anyway. Since then, I’ve had other experiences that were more of a threat to my relationship with God, but, somehow, during our “Destiny” journey, I had a very real sense of God’s strength in my life; it was a strength that I KNEW didn’t come from me. (I also discovered the cathartic benefits of writing about my experiences.)

But, I could never forget the sight of that young girl…going home without the baby that she expected. I have always wondered what happened, and hoped she was okay, somehow.

I know she didn’t mean to, but she helped me to see beyond my own problems a little bit. I was more grateful for the new, healthy boy we were taking home. And, I was able to appreciate the life that we were able to have with Destiny.

They told us she wouldn’t live through the first day…then the first week…. At the two-week mark, they told us she had set some kind of record for someone with her condition. She would live for 29 days, all of them spent in the ICU Nursery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. We got to hold her, and tell her that we loved her. We got to sing to her. (Music always seemed to soothe her.) We got to see her smile. During those 29 days, she was an inspiration, not only to us, but to a lot of other people, as well, including the students in my junior high classroom at Sweetwater Christian School, their families, and the staff. I had the incredible privilege of holding her in my arms as she skipped from this planet to the shores of Heaven.

Those 29 days changed us. Not all of the changes were good…but some of them were. We survived. We saw the goodness in a lot of people. We saw reasons to be grateful. We learned to lean on each other more, and appreciate each other more.

And, eventually, we saw (like King David) the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

It’s only taken me 32 years to write this, but…if you’re wondering if the sun will ever shine on you again, please don’t give up. You can recover, and see the sunrise again, no matter how dark your night might currently be. You can experience joy again. That’s my prayer for you today.

I love you all. ❤️🙏


The class was Theology IV or V, I think, and the discussion was about “divine healing”: what the Bible says about it, how The Omnipotent God responds to sickness and our physical needs, how we can and/or should pray for healing, on and on…. 🙄 It was a pretty lively debate among a rather opinionated group of young Bible “scholars”. 🤦‍♂️

Then, Dr. Raymond K. Levang — our professor, and a “seasoned veteran” of biblical research and ministry — pointed his shaking finger at the class, and said, “I can tell you how divine healing works.”
We were all ears… well, and pencils, poised to write. “Is this going to be on the exam??” 🙄 Then, he executed the 1979 version of a mic drop:

“God heals EVERY disease…except the last one.” 🤯

Okay, whatever. Sure, you can quibble and come up with rebuttals, but he was really just trying to make a point about the omnipotence, omniscience, and sovereignty of The Almighty: God can do anything, including heal sick people, in a variety of ways.

Most of the time, our bodies heal themselves, because He created them with that ability. I think that’s a pretty cool trick. I consider that to be a miracle.

And, millions of people are healed through the exercise of medical science, which again, I believe He created us with the ability AND the desire to practice. I would call that miraculous, as well. I am thankful for both God, and doctors. No, Cindy, “God” and “doctors” are not one-and-the-same! (Sorry; couldn’t resist. 😜)

But, then, sometimes things go wrong; the body DOESN’T heal itself… medical science hasn’t found a cure yet, or somebody makes a mistake… or, maybe we just run out of time. Hebrews 9:27 says “Everyone has to die once….” (The Message) When that happens, from an earthly perspective, whether it’s at 25, or 95… it was The Last One. God didn’t perform a healing miracle. I haven’t figured out how to tell when The Last One is.

Having danced all the way around it, let me now state, for the record, that I do believe in one more option. Sometimes, God steps in, and through another method than the ones above…

Supernaturally. Unexplainably.

I think that’s what happened with my little grand-nephew, Copeland David Reed, this week. (Remember that name.)

Believe it or not, if you’re looking for the guy with the most, strongest, greatest, BIGLIEST faith in the room to pray for you when you need a miracle, I would suggest that you not stop with me. Unless it’s an emergency. Otherwise, keep on searching the crowd for someone with giant-killing, Red Sea-parting, cancer-curing, “Lazarus-come-forth”-type faith. I’m just being honest. I’ll be happy to be on the “prayer team”, but….

On the other hand, Jesus said, “…if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. ” (Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭NLT)‬‬. So, maybe I have “mustard seed faith”, or something similar to that. I don’t know.

I think Jesus was saying you can have LITTLE faith, and get BIG results. I have trouble wrapping my head around that.

In Mark 9:24 (NKJV), the father of a very sick, and “damaged” boy appealed to Jesus with these words, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” He received the miracle he was so desperate for. Sometimes, I feel like I identify with that dad. That story always gives me hope.

When baby Copeland (5 lb 15 oz) made his appearance last Saturday, he wasn’t breathing. And, there were other problems. The medical team almost immediately had him transferred to a larger children’s hospital in the Denver area. Hours later, when someone suggested that they transfer his mommy to the same hospital the next day so that she could hold him, the reply was, “Not tomorrow. If she’s going to get to hold him, transfer her now.” They didn’t expect Copeland to make it. But he did.

Then, on Monday, Copeland’s parents were told that the EEG showed “moderate brain damage”. He was unresponsive. This was devastating news. On Tuesday, they were told that an MRI of his brain would reveal the extent of the brain damage. And, it did.

On Wednesday, the MRI revealed… NO brain damage.

Zero. None. Not “moderate” brain damage. The MRI revealed a “normal” brain. The same doctor who told them that Copeland had moderate brain damage told them — two days later — that his brain was not damaged at all.

I don’t know how long it will be before I can think about this without my eyes getting blurry. Happy tears.

I can’t explain it. I don’t know what the “secret formula” is. I don’t think there is one. Yes, lots of people were praying. Thousands, around the world. I was praying….

I was praying…that people who had more faith than me…would be praying. And, they were. And, I’m beyond grateful.

But, still, I think it was more than that.

I think there is a God.
I believe that He can heal…
No matter what.

Sometimes — for reasons known only to the Eternally Existent God — He does.

Maybe He has big plans for Copeland David Reed.

Maybe we need to tell the world, “Copeland’s coming. I wouldn’t try to stop him, if I were you.”

I can’t wait to hold that kid.

Thanks for putting up with me. I love you all. ❤️🙏


For My Destiny

Today is Infant Loss Awareness Day. So, I remember.

I remember what it’s like to lose… Someone who was part of you.

Someone you had hoped for… waited for… longed for… prayed for… loved.

As a believer in Jesus Christ… and a Good Father God… there are still some things — okay, a lot of things — that I don’t understand. This may just top the list.

It doesn’t quite fit in some popular theologies, but sometimes bad things — painful things — happen. Even when you believe.

Can I just tell you… that, in a way I can’t even explain… even in that darkest of valleys, I “sensed” that God was helping me?

I realize your experience may have been different. I’m sorry.

That doesn’t mean that my faith is better than yours… or, that God loves you any less… or, that your pain and grief is any less significant or profound.

Many of you have lost infants through miscarriage, or premature birth. Dee and I never experienced that, but I have talked to many who have, and I know that it has left it’s mark on your heart. Again, I’m so sorry.

What I do believe about God… is that He sees you in your grief… and He cares, and He loves you, and the baby that you lost.

And, so, I believe that today… and everyday… He holds my Destiny in His loving hands. And, she is safe with Him.

Jesus loves the little children….

My nephew, Robert Bradley McGarity, 5/8/84-5/14/84

My daughter, Destiny Joy McGarity, 1/14/86-2/12/86

My grandson, Alex Nolan McGarity, 2/19/15-2/19/15


Go Into All The World, And….

In the church that I grew up in, “Missions” was a very high priority. My dad was an Assembly of God pastor; we were about as fundamental as you can get…plus, we were Pentecostal, so we could be fundamentalist in more than one language. 🤷‍♂️ (Sorry; couldn’t resist. I LOVE my heritage, as you will shortly see.)

Anyhow… We had missionaries come to our church on a fairly regular basis, we talked about missions ALL the time, and we had a very energetic children’s missions program, called BGMC, which stood for “Boys & Girls Missionary Crusade”. The “mascot” for BGMC was “Buddy Barrel”. Buddy Barrel was actually a little miniature piggy bank that kids (like me) would put coins in, and then, on a designated date, turn all of our Buddy Barrels in to see who had “won” (given the most to missions), and how much money had been raised to help the missionaries.

Missions has always been the passion of the Assemblies of God. We sent missionaries all over the world… to places like Africa… and Syria… and the missionaries would come back to our churches, and tell us the stories of how they shared the Good News of the love of Jesus… and people would come to faith, trusting Jesus… grateful for the visitors from America who came around the world to tell them about Jesus.

Because of missions programs like that (from lots of churches, denominations, and missions organizations), today there are tens of thousands of Christians in the Muslim-dominant Kurdish section of Syria.

And, today, mere days after President Trump made a deal with Turkey’s dictator Erdogan, and “America” pulled our military protection out of this area…Turkey invaded.

They will kill thousands of Kurds, including Christians, in their operation to destroy the Kurdish freedom fighters, who have been our greatest ally in fighting ISIS. We have, indeed, abandoned our ally to the regime of a brutal, bloody dictator.

And when they’re done, ISIS will have it’s opening to return. And, if they do, they will slaughter every Christian they can find.

And, everyone who bows at the shrine of this President as “God’s appointed leader”… will have their blood on your hands.

Exodus 20:2

So… I’m getting these messages, sometimes with an accompanying video appeal, imploring me to pray for our beleaguered — and heroic — President, because he is “under attack”.

Okay. 🤷‍♂️ Yes. I think we should pray. For him.

And, for our elected leaders in Congress. Right?

And, for our justices on the Supreme Court. Right?

I’m assuming that we need to pray for all of our leaders, elected officials, and “all those in authority”. (1Timothy 2:2) Right?

Because some of them might be under attack…

And, some of them might be charged with the responsibility of how to protect us (our country) from an out-of-control, power-mad, morally corrupt President.

You say “po-tay-to”, I say “po-tah-to”.

Let me implore you, at this critical moment, to look back to three, or four, years ago…when you first decided to support this man — probably because of who he was running against. Remember?

Remember…when you said that you were voting for him ONLY because he was the lesser of two evils? Because the rest of us do. I do.

Do you see how far you’ve come, from where you were then?

Back then — and before — you would never have imagined yourself defending… condoning… excusing the things that you find yourself endorsing now. Lying (non-stop, about EVERYTHING)… bullying… taking sides with Vladimir Putin against ALL of our intelligence agencies… colluding with a foreign government to help win an election (the 2020 election)… equating the vulgar, obscene words of an immoral, faithless, godless man with Christianity… excusing EVERY SINGLE THING he says, does, and tweets.

You can keep blaming it on Hillary Clinton, or abortion, or the Democratic Party, in general. You can keep saying that he is “ God’s man”, and telling me — and everyone else — that we should pray for him. But, the truth is…you are now attached to the most corrupt President in our history. Nixon? Andrew Johnson? Bill Clinton? Not even close. And, those were all flawed men. Deeply flawed. But, this???

I agree that we should pray for him. I’ve said that from the beginning. But, the real question has to do with you: What would it take for you to say that he has disqualified himself, and needs to be removed from office?

What if — hypothetically — there were voice recordings of him accepting bribes, or admitting that he’s being blackmailed by Vladimir Putin? What if there was proof of him committing the same immoral acts in office that you wanted Bill Clinton removed from office for? What if his tax returns revealed that he’s repeatedly committed tax fraud, hasn’t paid his taxes, and has embezzled millions of dollars for his own personal use? Let me stress that these are hypothetical scenarios, but the answer is important, because…

If there is nothing that could cause you to lose your allegiance to him, then he’s not your President. He’s your GOD. And, I wonder… How do you think Jesus would feel about that? 😢

The Devil, Democrats, and Donald Trump

Okay, okay…OKAY!! I admit it: I came up with that title just to get your attention. 😂 I could have added lots of names (including my own, probably) to make some of you feel better: Hillary, Obama, “W”, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon…. But, on the other hand, I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that I will never be able to make some of you happy, so I decided to keep the list short. 😜

Anyhow, lately I’ve been receiving some negative feedback on my criticism of the current President, from some of my ministerial friends, no less. I’ll try to stick to the short list of complaints. To summarize, it goes something like this:

1) Donald Trump may not be perfect, but he’s God’s man. God is obviously using him to save America, from…
2) The evil Democrats (and ALL of them are, because of the Democratic Party platform, and it’s position on abortion), who want to destroy America. They are all radical leftists, baby-killers, and pro-socialism. Also, they don’t believe in the Second Amendment, they want to take ALL of our guns away, and remove our religious freedom. We know this because they are already allowing Sharia law to take over in parts of the country. This is also part of the conspiracy to turn our nation into a Muslim nation. ANYONE who votes for a Democrat (at any level of government), or supports them, or criticizes Donald Trump (that’s where I come in, I think) is part of this conspiracy, and in rebellion against God. (Obviously, DUH!!)
3) The Devil? Well, uh, anything bad that happens is, of course, his fault. As opposed to…anything bad that happens could, possibly, be the result of our own poor choices.

Hold on to your Cheetos! I know that was just a bit over the top…but, if you were to take a look at some of the comments and responses to some of my posts over the last few weeks, you’d know that I’m not stretching too much from what some of MY friends have been saying. Reluctantly — VERY reluctantly — I’m starting to be convinced that they actually believe all of that.

Folks, I KNOW some Democrats…personally! I’m actually friends with a half-dozen or so, and I honestly LIKE at least four of them. I haven’t had the opportunity to tie them down, and water-board the truth out of them (yet), but I’m pretty sure that they don’t fit in Category #2, listed above. In fact, if you were to look at them on the street, I’m betting that you couldn’t tell them from, well, a Republican! (Probably that “wolves in sheep’s clothing” thing.) In all of my conversations with them, none of them have started foaming at the mouth, or chanting satanic mantras. A few of them have had their eyes roll way back in their head, but, honestly, I think it may have been something to do with one of my VERY funny and clever puns, or when I say, “Did I ever tell you about….” 🤦‍♂️ It’s never been about when ever I talk about my faith. You know, in Jesus. Not once have I had a Democrat fall on the ground in convulsions when I’m talking about Jesus, or my faith, or where I go to church.

Speaking of church, DID YOU KNOW…that Democrats go to church??? I mean, SOME Democrats; not all of them, of course. That would be REALLY bizarre! And, it would make it nearly impossible for Republicans to go to church. I’m pretty sure that would upset some of you more than others, but, I digress. Back to the point:

I’m just not sure why so many of us (Republicans) have come to the conclusion that the way to fix all of our country’s problems is to vote all of the Democrats out of office. Or (to be perfectly fair), why so many of us (Democrats) believe that we need to vote all of the Republicans out of office.

Listen, there’s a lot (a LOT!) that I don’t know about politics. I’m not smart enough to figure out the perfect immigration policy; it’s really a very complicated issue. (And, if you don’t think it is…and you think it’s a simple problem…I definitely don’t want to hear your thoughts on it.) I don’t have a clue about how to manage our nation’s economy. I probably shouldn’t be trusted to come up with the perfect solution to our epidemic of mass shootings, and gun violence, and what guns should be banned, and how to accomplish that. Or, how to supply pacifiers to anyone out there who thinks they might lose one of their favorite play things/killing machines. The list of things that I don’t know how to fix is, really, pretty long.

Treasure this moment: This is me, confessing that there are a lot of things I don’t know. In the words of Seals & Croft’s, “We may never pass this way again.” 🤪🤷‍♂️

BUT…I know this: Letting the Republicans have their way, unrestrained by any Democratic pushback or control, would be THE END of our great nation. And, allowing the Democrats to push through any legislation they wanted without the resistance of any Republicans, would be just as bad. If you have a serious disagreement with me on this point, then your opinion is invalid, and not to be taken seriously.

We need more GOOD Republicans…and more GOOD Democrats…working together, to make our nation great. Greater than it is right now. And, yes, I believe that there are lots of good people on both sides of the political divide. Most of the time, they disagree with each other on the best way to run the country. But, that’s okay; it’s been that way for a long time. The Republican Party didn’t exist until the mid-1800s, but our country was founded on the concept of working out the things we disagree upon.

Donald Trump is the exception. We’ve NEVER had someone in the White House like him. EVER. And, he’s neither a Republican, or a Democrat. Technically, he’s hijacked the Republican Party — and many Republicans have embraced him — but, it’s clear that the only agenda he REALLY cares about is his own. I’ll address that more fully in a future post, probably, but for those of you still awake (🙄), that’s probably more than enough for now. Thanks for tagging along.

I love you all. ❤️🙏

9/11, Eighteen Years Later

It’s been 18 years since we watched the towers come down. Never forget? Yes, but I don’t think I could if I wanted to, anyhow. It really was unforgettable.

A lot’s happened since the original 9/11. I thought our immediate response to the 9/11 attacks was pretty remarkable, and mostly appropriate. Yes, we made some mistakes, but we mostly came together for awhile, united for a common purpose. I’m glad that bin Laden received what I think was a measure of justice. I’m thankful that we haven’t had a similar attack on American soil.

Other than that, I’m afraid we may not have made much progress. It’s hard to go forward when we’re so focused on fighting each other.

Republicans and Democrats.
Conservatives and Liberals.
Americans and nationalists. 😠
Christians and…well, Christians. 😢🙏
Racism and retaliation.

Remember that phrase, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us”? (Pogo, comic strip, 1970). It’s hitting awfully close to home these days, I’m afraid.

Our leaders – on both sides of the aisle, and in our classrooms, churches, synagogues, mosques, boardrooms and living rooms- need to teach us (by example, of course) that we need to work together.

We HAVE to work together. Or else.

Benjamin Franklin is credited with warning his fellow signers of the Declaration of Independence, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Mother England was the one holding the noose then. While she isn’t a danger to us now — she has problems of her own, these days — we have very real, and very dangerous, enemies who are actively working to destroy our country. Their greatest weapon is to use us against each other.

We MUST figure out ways to accommodate those amongst us who we have disagreements with, while holding to the principles of liberty and justice for all.

Disagree. Argue. Negotiate, in good faith. Compromise, when necessary. Be passionate about what you believe in. But, work together. Don’t stop until you come to an agreement.

So, how can we make this work? I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but… Maybe we need to go back to kindergarten, for starters. 🤔

*Don’t lie.
Even if you believe in your cause, and lying might help you win the debate/argument/election/case/negotiation. Tell the truth. Don’t. Lie.

*Be kind.
Don’t be mean. Ever. If they hurt you, be kind. Even if they deserve it, don’t be mean. Be kind…to everyone.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice this.

The way to make this a better world is to start by being a better person. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort.

I love you all. ❤️🙏

A Place For Healing

So, an interesting thing happened today at this local church I’m a part of. Here’s the story:

About three years ago (not long before McFamily became part of Lifebridge), a young couple, Bill & Susan (not their real names), showed up at Lifebridge. They came here because they had effectively been given the “left foot of fellowship” at their previous church.

Officially unloved. Removed. Talked about. Fired. Hurt. Wounded.

To say that they had trust issues with the church – any church – would be an understatement. Only because some friends who had also been “damaged” at the same church told them about Lifebridge, and that it was a “safe” place, they decided to come.


They sat in the back. It was a brave, and difficult, decision. The wounds were fresh, and raw….

Lifebridge isn’t a perfect church; it has people in it. It has me in it.

It’s designed to be a church that people who don’t normally like or attend church…like. It focuses on loving God, and loving people, and building community. It teaches that Jesus predicted his own death & resurrection, and then pulled it off. It also teaches that Jesus loves us, even when/if nobody else does.

Today (3 years later), Bill & Susan (and their family) said good-bye to Lifebridge…because they are moving to another city to be on staff at another church similar to Lifebridge. It was emotional, with tears and stuff. But…

They are healed, and whole, and loved. And ready to help other people who have hurts.

I’m glad I get to be part of a church where stuff like that can happen.

Well played, Jesus.

This Isn’t Where Jesus Is Making His Last Stand

My dad grew up in a poor, rural area of southeast Missouri during the depression. His family attended an Assembly of God church, and that is where he felt God’s call on his life to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

On my mom’s side of the family, her dad (my grandfather) was a circuit-riding Baptist preacher…until he got caught right smack-dab in the middle of a giant wave of Pentecostalism when Mom was just a young girl. When he started preaching about speaking in tongues, his long-time friends in the Baptist hierarchy extended to him the “left foot of fellowship”. 🙄 It wasn’t long before he was embraced by the fledgling Assemblies of God movement. So, both of my parents grew up, got married, and spent all of their lives, basically, in the A/G. Sooo…

I grew up in a holy-roller church. I heard the sermons. I sang the songs. I survived Sunday School, Christian Cadets, Royal Rangers (think Boy Scouts), C.A.s (“Christ’s Ambassadors” — youth group), Wednesday night church, and revival meetings that often lasted well past 10PM on school nights. 😳 I survived kids camp every summer, until it was youth camp every summer.

It was loud, emotional, embarrassing…and awesome. I absolutely LOVE, and am eternally grateful for, my heritage as an A/G preacher’s kid. Oh, there were definitely cons, along with the pros, but on balance, I had a great childhood. And, I learned a lot.

I learned about the Bible, of course, and what was at the foundation of my parent’s faith. I learned about people, and “church people”, and that one wasn’t necessarily “better” than the other. My dad loved people, regardless of whether they attended “his” church, or not. Regardless of if he thought they were going to Heaven…or if he was concerned that they might be headed in a totally different direction.

And — important distinction here — if he did think that their eternal destiny (and “destination”) was, uh, Hell…that wasn’t something to take pride in. It wasn’t a way of measuring if he was better than them…or smarter, or more holy. It wasn’t even a “there but for the grace of God go I” thing.

It was an avoidable tragedy. 😢

My dad believed in preaching the gospel, including warning people to prepare for eternity. But, he also believed in trying to love people into faith. ❤️

Pardon me for saying so, but I think he got that model from, well, Jesus.

I might be wrong, but I don’t think there’s a single example in the Gospels of Jesus brow-beating anyone into following Him. Or, threatening them into faith. Or, insulting them until they wanted to be like Him.

On the other hand, there ARE examples of Jesus rebuking religious leaders — even His own disciples — when they got a little self-righteous. Or, a LOT self-righteous. Or, when they tried to impose extra “rules” on people in the name of religion. Or, when they tried to keep certain types of “sinful” people away from Him. Or, when they tried to keep children from “bothering” him.

If Jesus was here — today, in the USA — I think He might want to perform a “course-correction” on some of us as individuals, and on what we commonly refer to as His Church.

I think He would have a BIG problem with “His Church” (and His name) being used as leverage for political power. Jesus doesn’t love Washington, DC…or the USA. But, He loves the people who live there enough to die for them.

And, we need to quit acting like — and thinking — that He’s going to ride in on a white horse and make His final stand to save our great country. He didn’t die for our country. He died for people. All people. Around the world. Across the street. Including the ones we don’t like, and don’t approve of.

I think He would exhort/implore/demand that anyone claiming to be His follower love… everyone.

Love. Everyone.

Democrats. Republicans. Atheists. Muslims. Jews. Baptist’s. Pentecostals. Catholics. Dallas Cowboys fans. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. Immigrants. Illegal immigrants. Rich. Poor. LGBTQ. The undecided. The unconvinced. The unlovely. The unlovable. Black. Brown. Red. White. Off-White. Not sure. EVERYONE.

And, me. Because He does. 😢❤️

The magnitude of THAT love overwhelms me. Humiliates me. Inspires me. Propels me. Compels me.

I think that those of us — me included — who are going to use His name to identity ourselves need to try harder…to love.

Disagree with…but love.
Vote against…but love.

It’s REALLY hard for me to love certain types of….

Okay. It’s hard for me to love Donald Trump. When my righteous anger (and, yes, I think it IS righteous anger) is stirred by something that he says or does, and I voice — or type — my disapproval, almost everything inside of me wants to do anything EXCEPT love him. I don’t want to pray for him. I don’t want to limit my vocabulary to “Christian” words. I don’t want to think about Jesus loving him. I don’t want to acknowledge that Jesus DIED. For him. But, it’s true.

Maybe you have someone in your life like that. Maybe it’s me. Probably not, but….🤷🏻‍♂️

I don’t have a magic formula to “fix” all of this. And, I know that whenever we have a different president, that won’t fix my “love” problem. And, I know that he doesn’t answer to me. And, believe it or not, I know that none of you has to answer to me, either. Honest. 😬🤥 (Just kidding with the Pinocchio nose. 😜)

We can, and will, disagree about…”stuff”. Politics is part of that stuff. You may even disagree with me about Jesus. But, we still need to love each other. Because it’s the better way. Because it’s the only way we’ll come out on the other side…healthy, and whole…the way we were created to be.

And, for me, because Jesus said so. And, that’s enough.

I love you all. ❤️🙏