top3 for April 21, 2023

Before you head out for the weekend, here are three things that I have read and been thinking about this week. Hope they challenge you as much as they have me. Have a great weekend!


We live stitch by stitch, when we’re lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching.

Stitches by Anne Lamott

The present, you have heard me say it and read it as well, is the raw material God uses. In the same way, the details and particulars are the raw materials of the present. As a big picture person, I need to be reminded that details matter and that particulars are important. For I am much more comfortable and natural at the 30,000 foot level than the 3 foot level.

I found out the hard way in college! I would think that I had a good grasp on finance concepts. I mean…I could read the Wall Street Journal with the best of them! But, I struggled mightily on the tests when I was asked to take the 30,000 foot concept and solve a finance problem with it. The real understanding must be applied for it to be impactful.

As a person who regularly speaks, I have to continually remind myself to be more precise, more clear, more detailed in my speaking. It is easy to get lazy and use sweeping statements and generalizations that really don’t say much of anything even though they sound like they do. The more precise and particular the words, the more useful for application. It is not of much help to tell me to go north to get to the gas station…but rather tell me to go left for 2 blocks and and then turn right.


Our discernment does not lead to absolute, infallible and irrefutable answers, but only to an assurance that we are living and working in response to God. Yet this is the very confidence we seek. We move in peace because we are dancing with God.

Listening to God in Times of Choice by Gordon T. Smith

What if, rather than seeking answers through times of discernment, we sought to see God’s face. Discernement then becomes developing trust in God that the answer, whatever it may be, will be wrapped up in our deepening relationship with God and not our ability to read the tea leaves?

I have a quote in my office that says, “It is often not the decision but how we act after the decision that makes the difference.”

My guess is that we make decision making too difficult? Go right? Go left? Often God says…just go with me and leave the specifics to me.


Rather than seeing apologetics as tacked on to discipleship, apologetics becomes the natural outcome of discipleship.

Telling a Better Story by Joshua D. Chatraw

I will go a step farther and say not only apologetics but evangelism, missions, and all other aspects of church life must flow from discipleship or they will be short-lived and lead to burnout. Back to Chatraw’s quote, the further into our following of Jesus the better prepared we are to explain the faith we have and witness to the outcomes we have seen.