In school, we learned about facts:

We memorized math facts.

We contemplated laws of nature in science class.

We considered the facts of history.

Our parents taught us what was reasonable and sensible when it came to living.

Yet…

As much as we base our everyday lives on facts, on evidence, on good sense, we know that when it comes to the greatest things in life, facts and good sense have very little bearing.

The audacity of a great inventor is that he believes he can build something which up to this point is impossible to create.  The audacity of great writers is that they believe they can write an original idea (something that the more sensible among us would say is impossible, for there is nothing new under the sun.)  The audacity of every great love story is that the couple can make their love work even against impossible odds.

Yes, even our faith, for all of the evidence and logic and reasonableness underneath it, at it’s very core, is quite impossible.  Are not miracles by their very nature, impossible?  

When things are impossible, there is no amount of good sense, logic or evidence that makes them possible, except for the audacious belief that the impossible can be made into the possible.

All great things that we create start with impossible.

impossible

Yes, most people will say that believing the impossible will make you quite “mad.”  But maybe the best place to start today would be to believe something impossible,

to contradict some logic,

to dispose of some good sense.

And make the impossible possible.

It’s been a good week for me.

I worked hard at school, which was good.

I got revenge on a cocky high schooler.  Apparently, everyone thinks my reaction was appropriate, judging by the responses to this Facebook post.

And this photo here, one of my shots from Africa got liked a whole bunch.loveworld

Like, seven-thousand times.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a personal best for me…by about 6,910.

I don’t even remember if it’s actually my photo, since my shots got all mixed up with our real photographer’s shots.  But I added the words to it and posted it a few weeks ago.

And this week it got reposted. It always helps when you get a repost from an Instagram account with a couple hundred-thousand more followers than you.

And sure, the little surge of instant internet gratification felt good.

But I’ll tell you something…

I got another photo in the mail yesterday afternoon that blows that one away.

I sat down at my dining table, having tossed out all the junk mail.  I get a lot of junk and very little that is of value. I have to look carefully between the advertisements and the coupons to make sure I don’t toss anything important. And among all the trash, inside one precious envelope was this picture.

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This is Mugisha.  He is nine years old. He lives in Rwanda.  My wife and I just started sponsoring him through World Help.

I visited his school in January.  I have seen where he lives, where he collects his drinking water.

He likes playing games.  And playing songs.  He has talent for music.  And he doesn’t know about silly things like “Likes” and “Retweets” and getting a bunch of people to tap on a photo so a little heart pops up and makes you feel good.  Mugisha knows about important things, like Jesus.

Getting his photo in the mail blows away any little drip of instant gratification I may want.

Have a happy weekend, friends.

What is wrong with this picture?enhanced-6798-1394548095-1

It’s been floating all over the internet the last couple of days.  It doesn’t take a Where’s Waldo expert to notice that something has gone horribly awry in the process of photoshopping the model to make her more…er…”appealing.”

I wasn’t sure exactly what Target was going for with this photo hack job at first.

Are girls supposed to be aspiring to have no crotch?  Because that is a standard no one can reach.

Are they supposed to be emulating Stretch Armstrong?  Because I’m not sure if we are looking at a young lady or a shaved orangutan.  I’m almost as gangly as guys get, with my measurements being 15.5 / 34-35 (yes, you can applaud my bravery for posting my real measurements), and I can tell you that there’s no way that girl is ever going to find sleeves long enough.

It turns out that the object of the ad was to give the girl a “thigh gap” a term that heretofore I was not aware even existed.  Trust me ladies, no gentleman suitor is going to be using his measuring tape on the space between your thighs to determine if you are an acceptable mate.

So it turns out that despite all we talk about positive self-image, there is still a lot that needs to be done to help ladies (and gentlemen) accept themselves.  And I think there is an especially large amount the church can do.

Because I happen to think that this problem (and a myriad of others) stem from how the church of past dropped the ball when it comes to our bodies.

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A week ago, I was stuck at home.  An early March snow day, which happened to also be my birthday.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a sunny afternoon with my dogs, walking around the neighborhood.

Along the way, we saw seemingly every dog in the neighborhood going for a walk.

Children were trying out the bikes they got for Christmas in the school parking lot.

Girls practiced their softball pitches and boys knocked the rust off their batting arms.

Seasons are an amazing thing.  Living in Missouri, my wife and I find the seasons to be one of the attractions of living here.  We get all the seasons, in proportion.

The thing with me is that I have let too many seasons pass me by.  A season comes, and I am glad to see it, but I fail to seize it.  Or another season comes, and I hunker down and stay under a blanket for a few months, convinced that this season won’t be very eventful.

But the reality is that every season, whether in nature or in life, has its purpose.  Whether the season is sunny or cloudy, warm or cold, God has designed all of them for something.  I have spent great seasons of my life just waiting for the next season, failing to see the potential of this season, this day, this hour.

God designs all seasons, even the painful, bitter, cold ones in order that we might be fruitful.  We are not held back by our circumstances.  We are held back only by our own willingness to grow no matter what the “weather” is.

I took this photo last December, just as the last signs of life were disappearing from the trees.  But the trees have not wasted these last few months.  And now, they are ready to spring forth again.

seasons

Today, I resolve to stop waiting for what’s next.  I make a resolution to stop promising that tomorrow I will do something great, when my circumstances are more favorable.

I promise to use this season for all it is worth.

Happy Friday, friends.

I don’t know about you, but I have had a completely crammed week, and this weekend is looking no different.  I’ll be a keynote speaker at my school’s celebration of the arts and I’m officiating a wedding.  So, yeah.

But somehow, in between preparation for all of that, I found lots of good stuff to refresh my mind.  Here’s a bit of the best.

One More Thing31S+5W5ft7L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

I am a sucker for short stories.  In fact, teaching high schoolers about short fiction is one of my favorite weekly classes.  So I was pretty excited to get my hands on a new compilation of stories from BJ Novak (Ryan from The Office). The first story opens up by imagining that the hare who lost the race finally rematches against the tortoise.  If you don’t mind a little language, it’s a funny, dryly humored fable and I can’t wait to dig further into One More Thing.

The Journey Ends

For the second time in a month, I’m mourning the loss of a blog in my reader.  I’ve been a longtime fan of Wes Molebash and his work on Insert Image.  I’m sad to see the webcomic go, but I’m sure whatever he does next will be superb.

Feeling Stretched

On my blog reader, there was lots of good stuff.  My buddy, Jeremy Statton had a trip to the hospital this week (which isn’t good), but we all know that quite often experiencing discomfort and being stretched leads to living better stories.

Buying Success

We all know this happens, but it is extremely disheartening as an author to see more evidence that if you have enough tithe money sitting in your church’s bank account, you can apparently buy a spot on the bestseller lists.

Lord, Let Him Be Funny

But on the lighter side, and by far the most entertaining thing on the internet this week was the family feuding happening between Jamie the Very Worst Missionary and her teenage son.  Seriously, if I ever have kids, I hope my family turns out like this.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, everyone.  Those are a few things that fueled me through my week.  What about you?

As bloggers, we make a hobby of telling people what we think.56 WH

It’s really a natural extension of my everyday life, I suppose. In school, we learned how to think about math or biology. In college, I learned how to think about design. In seminary, I learned how to think about the Bible.

And now I spend my days teaching my own students how to think. And you probably tell your own children what you think of their behavior or their grades or the mess they’ve made at least once a day. And if we run into a rude cashier at the store or an incompetent driver, we will probably tell them what we think of them, through words or gestures.

Yes, we believe that it is what we think that gives us identity. It is what we believe that gives us unity. It is a very “Descartes-ian” idea, that we think, and therefore we are.

Is it not funny that I had to go all the way to Africa to meet some other Americans who would prove to me that everything I have thought about thinking would be entirely wrong?

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