Time to get still and take a break from ministry

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my friend Aaron and shared something I’d been considering but hadn’t even mentioned to my wife: “I think I want to stop writing, at least publicly.” Aaron, a fellow author, was floored — and with good reason. For almost 12 years, I’ve spent thousands of hours writing a book, over 600 blog posts, hundreds of guest pieces for online outlets, and thousands of status updates. The pros will tell you that sustaining an audience requires maintenance. You’ve got to stay visible and keep putting out new content: another book, another blog post,…

Held hostage in the Middle East: the Maurice Graham story

At 4:45 a.m. in Kuwait City the sounds of gunfire began rattling through the streets outside the apartment where Maurice Graham and his family lived. It was August 2, 1990, and Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq, had ordered an invasion of Kuwait. The Grahams had moved to Kuwait that summer so that Maurice could serve as a pastor at a large Christian church in the capital. Their apartment was located on the church grounds; and unfortunately for them, the church was across the street from the parliament building, which was a central target during the attack. There was nothing…

Finding Jesus in the shame we try so hard to avoid

I still cringe when I think about that fateful moment in seventh-grade English class when Mrs. Silkman asked the question, “If you were stuck on a deserted island, what’s the one thing you’d want to have, other than food?” I don’t remember what the other kids said — probably normal stuff like video games, a house, or a fan. Not me. In my innocence, I said two words I would regret for years to come: “My kittens.” I truly did love my kittens — those puffy little offspring of Smokey, our beloved (and promiscuous) charcoal-gray momma cat. But within two…

What God showed me when my son thought he was going to drown

My two-year-old son clung tightly to my neck as I tried to lower him onto the wet sand where the ocean waves were gently rolling. “You’re going to be fine,” I said, trying to pry him off my neck, but he wouldn’t let go. Instead, he started screaming. No matter how much I tried to convince him, he obviously had it in his head that the ocean was going to swallow him up if his feet even touched the wet sand. So, I finally gave in and walked away from the water and onto the dry sand with my son’s…

My family finally went back to church — here’s what it was like

“Joshua, we need to go to a church this Sunday,” my wife said four weeks ago. We had moved to a new town right before the coronavirus hit and we hadn’t gotten much of a chance to visit churches; so for the most part, we had informal Sunday services with our kids in the living room. It was special in its own way but it wasn’t the same as gathering with other believers in person — not to say we didn’t try. After the Covid restrictions eased up and churches started meeting again, we visited one church that met in…

The number one post of 2020 (by far)

I don’t regularly check the number of clicks on my posts during the year. It’s for my own sanity, really. I don’t want my creativity to be dictated by what people are clicking on. At the end of the year, however, I make an exception and share the five most-read posts. The top-read post was about my wife, who is constantly teaching me about a deeper life with Jesus — and she’s not even trying. To her credit, in 2020, she survived me taking a new job, her starting seminary, COVID-19 drama, and us moving twice in ten months.(I dedicate this…

Get this one last gift for anyone you love, like, or hardly know

It’s the one-year anniversary of my book, Confessions of a Happily Married Man: Finding God in the Messiness of Marriage, and it’s still the perfect gift for anyone you know — well, except for kids; it’s not at all appropriate for them (but it will be one day, so go ahead and get them a copy in advance). The book is an invitation for readers to walk through the ups and downs of marriage, take a second look at their own stories, and pay attention to the ways God may be at work. I set the example by vulnerably talking about how God…

Desperately trying to save my daughter’s Lego house (and her innocence)

“Daddy, please don’t make us take our Lego houses apart,” pleaded my ten-year-old daughter. Her little sister joined in. “We worked so hard on them, Daddy.” Their pleas were understandable. These were no ordinary Lego houses. They were three-story, multi-room mansions — custom built homes made of hundreds of stray pieces from Lego sets they’d collected over the years. But we were moving and there was no way to pack the Lego houses without them being crushed. While the thought of making the girls tear down their mansions made sense to my head, my heart was torn. They had combed…

What happens if you don’t buy books (or Big Macs)

Do you want to know what makes me *REALLY* uncomfortable as an author? It’s selling my book. I’m talking about the book I poured countless hours into — the book I’m so proud of — the five-star book on Amazon! Here’s the problem though … Readers like free writing that they can get online. But spending $12 on a book? That’s a couple of trips to McDonalds! Gotta save that money! Here’s why authors have to sell books: If readers don’t buy books, publishers don’t ask authors to write more of them. (Imagine authors were McDonald’s but people would only…

50 wonderful Christian quotes

I’ve been collecting quotes over the years, many of which I’ve shared in blog posts or via social media over the years. At different points of my life, God has used these quotes to inspire, correct, and challenge me. I figured I would share 50 of them here so you can benefit from them too. Enjoy! God never made a promise that was too good to be true. — Dwight L. Moody The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the…

Thank God for that Awful Lady in the Lexus

The other day, I was just minding my own business, trying to get to work, when a woman in a black Lexus brought out the worst in me. I was trying to park in a garage in downtown Washington, D.C., which is a challenge. I have little time to get to the garage after dropping off my daughter at school, and if I’m a minute late, the price goes up from $14 to $21. Time is of the essence.

Check out these podcasts featuring interviews with Raquel and me

If you have enjoyed reading what Raquel and I have written, here’s a chance to hear us share our thoughts and interviews. Enjoy! [And I also need to apologize: Something happened to the original post that was linked here (“My appearance on a morning show horrified my wife”) and I can’t get it back. It has been so frustrating! But you should definitely check our our podcast interviews below.]