HOW I BOTCHED MY KIDS’ BAPTISM (and what I learned from it)

baptism 2I knew the moment was coming that Wednesday evening. My dad baptized me when I was little, and I was thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to do the same for all three of my children. I was moved to tears several times throughout the day as I thought about the upcoming moment. My children love Jesus, and this was a moment I knew I wouldn’t forget.

But when the opportunity finally presented itself, I was ill prepared. Although I had pictured it in my mind all day long, I had not planned out what I would say. And much to my wife’s chagrin (and my own), my default personality trait is wit and sarcasm.

So, because I had not thought through my words for the moment, I ended up being WAY more lighthearted than I had intended. I asked the kids questions like who their favorite parent was and how old Mommy was before getting to the more serious questions and, eventually, baptizing them.

After my first two children were baptized, the third walked into the pool. That’s when my mind began to whirl as I realized I had not said what I wanted to say. I quickly moved through the moment with my third child, and then stepped out of the pool in a dizzying fog of panic. I had taken it all too lightly and didn’t grasp the opportunity at hand.

I immediately realized it was a moment I’d never get back. My heart sank into my chest. I wanted to crawl under a rock.

My wife and friends did their very best to comfort me. But it’s something I’ll always regret. I had a prime spiritual moment to speak life over my children, and I replaced it instead with wit and sarcasm. As I’ve reflected on this botched opportunity, I’ve realized a few things.

1) My Wife Is Awesome

I already knew this, but she continually proves it to be true. She comforted me with gentle words of assurance. She said I was the Dad my kids knew, and by making them laugh, I likely made it more memorable for them. She helped me sleep that night.

2) I Can’t Live Up To Every Expectation

After working through my regret, I realized that one of the reasons I was immediately so stressed was because I was worried about what the people in the audience may have thought. I’m certain several probably didn’t approve of my lightheartedness during the baptism. I don’t blame them, but I can’t control everyone’s opinion. And if they choose to judge me based on one moment in the spotlight, I cannot control that, either. Not to mention the fact that it was all based on fear alone, since I never actually heard anything negative about the whole thing.

3) Friends Who Pray Are Friends You Should Keep

The day after the botching, I had to appear on two television shows in Atlanta. These on-the-spot interviews in front of a camera and a live television audience are daunting. They call for extreme mental concentration. And I woke up that morning unable to concentrate on anything, as I was filled with regret from the night before. I shared my struggle with a few praying friends, and they immediately chimed in with encouraging words. Over the next two hours, I felt the weight of my burden slowly lift. I know it was because they were praying. Although, on one of the shows that day, I admitted on camera that my Xbox gamertag is “wizardbeef,” so maybe they didn’t pray hard enough.

4) Cherish Every Opportunity

My son is 9, and my twin girls are 7. I can honestly say that up till this point, I haven’t had a major regret in parenting. But now I do. And this has made me appreciate more deeply the fact that I’ll only have these babies around once. They’ll soon grow up, and they’ll marry, and they’ll have kids of their own. But that hasn’t happened yet. So I’m going to more fully cherish every moment I have left with them. I’m going to hug them a little tighter tonight. I’m going to shut the TV and the phone and the computer off a little sooner. I’m going to linger at the foot of their beds a little longer when I tuck them in. I’m going to cut my meetings shorter and let the board games last longer. I may have missed one moment to speak into their lives, but I refuse to miss another.

5) One Botch Doesn’t Define You

I was reminded by many over the next couple days of the following truth: “Your kids won’t remember what you did once. They’ll remember what you did all the time.” I’m reminded of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Old Testament. Abraham lied twice about his wife being his sister out of fear. Isaac did the exact same thing. And Jacob stole his brother’s blessing and birthright. Yet, over and over and over again God is referred to as “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” These men had great moments of failure. They had flaws and shortcomings. They weren’t prefect, but they were FAITHFUL. One single act will never define us over the course of our lives. We’re not remembered for our one-time actions, but for our repeated actions. I won’t always get it right, but I’ll always try to get it right. In the end, I hope and pray this is what my kids will remember.

As Jim Henson once said, “The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them.  They don’t remember what you try to teach them.  They remember what you are.”

To be honest, I don’t really remember my baptism. I don’t know what my dad said or didn’t say, I just remember that he was there, and that’s all that mattered. I want my kids to remember me not as a good minister or writer or editor, I want them to remember me as a faithful dad. Thankfully I have a few more opportunities to successfully capture that title.

And no matter where you find yourself today, so do you.

Unless you’re a mom, in which case, you might not want the title “faithful dad.”


The Perfect Woman…

She’s not at all as she is so often portrayed
She is not plastic
She is not overly pulled and stretched by a surgeon’s hands
She is not airbrushed
She is not fake


She is beautiful in so many unappreciated ways
She is marked mentally, emotionally, and physically, by life
She carries marks on her belly that show she has born children in pain and in agony, but never without love
She has lines on her face that show she has cared for her children, and her husband, through sickness and restless nights
She bears marks that show she has experienced life to the fullest…lines of sorrow, born of tears, and lines of joy, born of endless laughter


She is temperamental at times
She can be high strung
She is bold
She is strong
She worries about little things
She gets stressed out about minor details and surroundings
Housework is her ultimate headache


Tells me when I’m wrong
She laughs at me when I’m dumb
She doesn’t hesitate to inform me, privately, of my flaws, and she makes me a better man
Yet, she also uplifts me
She supports me in every endeavor I take on
She makes me feel as if there’s nothing I cannot do well
She puts my cape on every morning and tells me to fly
She believes in me
She trusts me
She vocalizes her need for me, and her desire for me
She’s proud of me


Hurts and feels pain, but…
She comes to me when she’s hurting, and finds comfort in my voice
She finds strength in my arms
She finds excitement in my touch
She teases me
She flirts with me
She makes me desire her (and she knows what she’s doing)


Gets angry
She argues with me
She disagrees with me
She works with me to make decisions
She has fire in her eyes and passion in her heart
She finds strength from above to forgive me when I’m wrong
She has an inner strength that far outweighs all hurt and pain and sorrow
She amazes me every single day


Sit with me at future ball games and cheer on our children
She will yell at the referees louder than I will
She will make a scene when she feels her children are wrongly accused or scorned
She is sometimes quicker to act than think, and often does not regret it


Is life
She is breath
She is vibrance
She is beauty
She is strength
She is weakness
She is love
She is lust
She is wife
She is mother
She is marked
She is sexual
She is physical
She is emotional
She is fearless
She is fearful


is not perfect at all


is perfectly imperfect


is you.

THANKETH YOU! (in the King James Version)

Thank-you2You know when someone starts speaking in the King James Version, it’s gonna be full of sap. And today I feeleth full of sappeth.

My book, Dear God We Need To Talk, released last week, so it has recently felt as if all eyes are on me (which freaketh me outeth just a little). But I feel like these eyeballs should be fixated elsewhere. First and foremost, to God for opening these doors despite me, and also to all the people who made this happen, I need to say THANKETH YOU.

So many people have intervened to help make this a reality. My publicist, LeAnn Hamby, deserves a HUGE shouteth outeth. She was the first person I ever talked to about my book, in hopes of simply getting some insight into how I might go about finding a publisher. But she liked it so much, she acted as my book agent immediately and found me a publisher. Her faith in the book made all this a reality.

So many others have helped along the way. My boss, Gene Browning, has been a great help to me over the years. Many around our office have helped with things when needed, Kirk Rising even has a page he personally created in the book! And so many others have helped with websites and emails and reviews and all the things that go along with a book. DeWayne Hamby, Renee Rodriguez, Mike Luithle, Abigail Velazquez, Diann Stewart, John and Cathy Payne, Randy Howard, Shaun McKinley, Ed Stetzer, Paul Smith, Lance Colkmire, Richie Hughes, Jeremi and Amy Richardson, Warren Barfield, Nate and Dawniel King, Jeff and Kimmy Jones, the Fletcher family, and soooooo many others have helped in some way or another along the way. All of you and so many more have been a great blessing.

And of course my family members, Kristi, Jake, Abby, and Alli. My brothers Mike, Dustin, and David. Morgan, Mom and Fred, Rick and Martha, and all the extended family. Thanks for the wonderful support (and for being great sports about all my storytelling).

And all the folks at Charisma House who have worked so hard and been so fantastic to work with. I can’t begin to express my gratitude fully. Jevon Bolden, Althea Thompson, Woodley Auguste, Susan Simcox, Leigh Devore, and again, so, so many others! Charisma House has been a true Godsend.

And still there are so many more that I can’t even begin to write all your names, and I hear the band beginning to play over me, so I should stop here. But you definitely know who you are. You’re all very near and dear to our hearts.

All your names, and many others, may not appear in the book necessarily, but your influence is seen on every page.

And in the classic King James dialect:

Thou All Rocketh!

I thanketh all thee, and theneth some.


35 and Contemplative


Today I turn 35. And for the first time in my life, I’m taking inventory of all my years. It’s quite an experience.

We have an opportunity to pray in our chapel every morning. I often go and spend time there in the mornings. My prayer time is typically filled with the usual requests for guidance, help, and protection over my family, along with many other needs. But this morning’s prayer was quite different.

Today, realizing my life could easily be halfway over, I began a contemplative sort of prayer. I looked at the storyline of my life. The ups and downs, the failures and successes, the good choices and the bad, and the emotional ride of it all.

I’ve experienced many things I always hoped to experience. I graduated high school and college. I got married, went into ministry, had kids. I had a goal of having a published book by age 35, and that goal will soon be fulfilled. I’ve achieved a lot on my bucket list.

But I’ve also experienced many things that weren’t on my to-do list. Continue Reading →

When Faith Gets Messy

Some think I’m slightly insane. After reading the following, you may agree, and I’m perfectly okay with that.

Yesterday we spent some time with our nearest and dearest friends, Nate and Dawniel. They just lost their brother-in-law, a local police officer named Justin, while he was on duty. The entire town has quickly rallied to support his widow, Danielle, and their three young sons, all under age 6. We sat with our closest friends, and we talked, and we shared, and we cried. It was gut wrenching. Continue Reading →