Category: Full Life

Who will be at your funeral?


Take a minute to think about your funeral.  Morbid, I know.  But close your eyes and imagine what it would be like.  Who will be there?  What will they say?  If you passed away tonight, how would you be remembered?  Would people be sad?  Would people be indifferent?  Who would be there saying you made an impact on them?  Have you made a difference in this world?

Unsettling, isn’t it?  Sobering?  Because we all think we are going to live forever.  But there is bad news:  The death rate is holding steady at 1 per person.  You will die.  It’s just a matter of when…and how.  Dead people can’t enjoy their stuff.  Or their money.  Naked you come, naked you go.  So that means we are temporary stewards of everything in our life.  This is bad news in one sense but good news in another.  It is freeing.  No possessions last forever, nor are they meant to.  So if we figure out what matters we can have a life well-lived.

Stephen Covey says that we should begin with the end result in mind.  He lists this principle as one of the 7 habits of highly successful people.  Have you ever applied this to life in general?  Most people vaguely want to have a very meaningful life.  Most people have no idea what they are after.  And if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.  Who do you want to be?  A meaningful life and a life well-lived do not “just happen.”  You don’t get to have significance by binge watching Netflix every night.  (from time to time is OK though)  No one ever drifts into greatness.  No one ever drifts into making a difference.  You need intentionality.  You have to do this on purpose.

Find out what’s important, and give yourself to it.

What is important to you?  If you don’t quite know yet, that’s OK.  Most of you reading this are in a discovery stage of life.  You are exploring, finding out what matters. This is a wild truth:  Lots of things will try and coax you away from investing yourself in the important things.  Some of them will even be “good” things.  Some of them will seem urgent but not really matter in the grand scheme of life.  You need to pick the “best” thing.

You may have experienced a sense of loss, sadness, or disappointment when you graduated college.  That transition is really difficult, maybe the most confusing and disorienting one in our whole life.  You always hear people talking about college as the “good old days”, the best four years of your life.  If this is true, we are all in big trouble.  That means the rest of your life is a slow, depressing, downward spiral.  You peaked when you were 21?  Baloney.  I can assure you that every season of life brings the opportunity for more satisfaction and fulfillment and joy.  Imagine if you get married and have children.  Those stages of life are not going to be better times than college?  College is an incredible time of life, and a special time, but the truth is your best years are yet to come. Will you begin with the end result in mind?  Will you visualize what and who you want to be?  Will you give your life to what’s important?

Next week:  Your deathbed regrets



How to make beauty out of trash

shadow art -- dirty white trash bigger

Have you ever turned trash into gold?  OK me neither.  Have you ever seen someone take something bad in their life and turn it around for good?  Yes, me too.  What someone meant for evil, someone turns for good.

A couple weeks ago my friend Romesh sent me the picture shown above.  He said “the light reveals beauty in what at first appears to be a pile of waste.”  He went on to say “this is the story of my life!”  Can you relate?  This incredible project called “Dirty white trash” is by the 2 provocative artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster.  They took their own trash for 6 months (how long it took to make the piece) and transformed it.  Noble and Webster have also used dead animals for their art (189 to be exact):

shadow art -- dark stuff 188 mummified animals

trash from the Thames, ordinary household items:

shadow art -- real life is rubbish

and even aluminum cans shot with pellet guns.  QUITE EXTRAORDINARY!

shadow art -- manhattan skyline

In the right hands, chaos, confusion, and brokenness become beauty.  What was someone else’s careless abandon became a treasure.  This is a lot like real life.

Everyone has greatness inside.

Everyone has potential inside.

But often it’s hidden or covered by a rough exterior.  Shine the light in the right place and this potential is unlocked.  God does extraordinary things through ordinary people.  Broken people.  Confused people.  God loves to take a scar and make it a beauty mark.  He loves to take things that were meant for evil and turn them for good.  But it takes some time.  And it takes some work.  Some of those sculptures took months and even years.  How to make beauty out of trash?  Find the desired parts.  Wait if necessary.  Move the light around into all kinds of new places.  Have a vision for the way things could be.  Look for the beauty within.  This is the same with us.  It takes a while to make brokenness and confusion beautiful.  But God is in the business of making beauty out of broken.  Beauty takes time.

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. … Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. … The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.” – Michelangelo

This is the potential that each of us have inside.  Greatness waiting to be discovered and unleashed.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” –Michelangelo

Some questions to end on:

  1. Where do you get your self-worth from?  Do you believe you have potential and beauty inside?
  2. Do you have eyes to see greatness in other people?  Are you helping to unlock and unleash it?
  3. Is there a situation in your life that looks like trash?  Are you willing to take the time it needs to turn it for good?

What other lessons do you see in this art?


10 Ways to become someone’s soulmate (Part 2)

Bachelor soulmate towels

Thanks so much for all the feedback.  I really appreciate the conversation and dialogue.  I’ve gotten so many emails and texts back with ideas, articles, thoughts, opinions, disagreements, etc. and I LOVE it.  Keep them coming.  Check out Part 1 The first 5 ways to become someone’s soulmate. 

Here is one of my favorite thoughts from one of my favorite people.  Shari Gaffney writes about The Bachelor:

“The one (and maybe only) redeeming quality [of the show] is the ability to see how a person you’re interested in relates in a group. Often dating takes place in isolation ~ But how does that person interact with others?…Have I shared my idea?  Scrap the swanky Fantasy Suite and replace it with the Reality House.  This is where a mini-van littered with cheerios (rather than a limo or helicopter) picks up the couple and takes them to a house full of kids with the flu. They need to care for the kids, make dinner (and there’s no ABC stocked pantry) there’s a checkbook on the counter with very little money for groceries and a pet is running wildly around the house. Let’s see if they are still soulmates and can envision a lifetime together 🙂  That’s more like real life ~ haha!” 

I watched a little bit this past Monday and it was painful.  Caila was blindsided after she put herself out there and was vulnerable.  Onward.  The second 5 ways to become someone’s soulmate:

6. Be vulnerable. Be transparent.  Take risks.  (maybe not like Caila though.  I’m no expert but pretty sure it’s not good to tell someone you love them if they are dating 2 other people at that time).

7. Serve God. Give your lives away together.  Soulmate = soul alignment.   “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  It is in giving that we receive.

8. Serve each other. Put a serving towel over your arm and follow Jesus’ example.  Learn their love languages—how do they give and receive love? Gary Chapman has a great book about this.

9.  Be grateful for them. Have a posture of gratitude.  Work hard to see and recognize the incredible blessing that a partner/companion is.  See the best in them.

10. Encourage them. Dream for them.  Have a vision for who they could become. Not just complimenting or flattery but look for the greatness and help to draw it out.

OK next week back to the Bachelor.  Why is it so scintillating?

In coming weeks:  Can you fall in love with the wrong person?  Can you be in love with 2 people at the same time?





Bachelor soulmate on a different dating site 2

“…humans are scouring the globe for someone with whom a relationship will require absolutely no work or compromise…Many adult humans who have long ago dismissed Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as myths somehow persist in believing this person to exist.” –Eric Metaxas

Perspective has the ability to change everything.  Two ways exist to see potential marriage relationships: romantic destiny or romantic growth.  Romantic destiny says there is one person I’m designed to be with and it will be seamless, effortless, and unmistakably true.  I’ll know it when I meet them.  I just have to find them. The Romantic Growth model says any relationship worth having will require sacrifice, hard work, and love.  But it will be worth it.  Romantic growth holds to the belief that we can do things to make our relationship better.  There is not that one person out there because love is a choice, not without feelings but bigger than any feeling.

I don’t think we have that one person.  But I think the person that we choose can become our soulmate if we both work towards it.  It is not about romantic destiny but about romantic growth.


  1. Love Jesus first. HE is meant to complete us.  If we put Him first and our spouse second, we can grow into their soulmate.  We must be secure in our own individual self-worth and satisfied with our single journey before we join someone else.  As our Creator develops us and makes us more caring, responsive, sacrificial, and secure, we can love our spouse better and better.
  2. Listen.  Be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
  3. Learn.  Be interested in them.  Find out what they like and don’t like.  Anticipate their needs.  Get to know them deeply.  We can never reach the bottom of who another person is.
  4. Love unconditionally. No strings attached.  We change to the degree that we know we are loved.
  5. Let it go. (just like Anna and Elsa) Forgive and ask forgiveness.  Keep short accounts.  Don’t go to bed angry. Choose to assume the best and give the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve never been married so what do I know?  Most of these are much easier said than done.  What do the married peeps have to say?

Next week numbers 6-10.  (5 more ways we can become someone’s soulmate.)




Reflections from the East

  • beautiful little girl
  • China student retreat pic
    Student retreat that just ended in China
  • teachers at Lang Fang
    Josh, Jamie, and Christina (teachers) and Jim
  • guy at rib place 2
  • scorpion fest group pic
    This is us eating scorpions on a stick. When in Rome...
  • scorpion fest on a stick
    They also had seahorses but I thought they were endangered so we didn't eat them...
beautiful little girl

One of the most beautiful little girls in the world

















I’ve been home for about 5 days but I have only just begun to mine the treasures from my time in China. Here are some reflections and some pics from my trip.

1. I take freedom of faith for granted everyday of my life.  Being able to openly worship, read, gather, and talk about Jesus is something that not everyone is allowed to do openly.

2. Sometimes I value comfort and imagined security over people hearing the Great Love Story.  The teachers (YL staff) over in China have sacrificed so much so that college students could be introduced to the God who created them.

Josh, Jamie, and Christina (teachers) and Jim

Josh, Jamie, and Christina (teachers) and Jim

3. The Chinese are a precious people and their university students are like none other.

Student retreat that just ended in China

Student retreat that just ended in China

4. Jim Cunningham and Mike Gaffney are great men.  It was a blast to be with them and learn from them for 10 days.

guy at rib place 2

This is us eating scorpions on a stick.  When in Rome...

This is us eating scorpions on a stick. When in Rome…

They also had seahorses but I thought they were endangered so we didn't eat them...

They also had seahorses but I thought they were endangered so we didn’t eat them…

5. God is on the move and His Kingdom is bigger than I can fathom.  Thanks for praying for my trip over to China.