When All Else Fails...

Sometimes you just need to sit on the porch with a good friend, watching the North Carolina sunrise. And sometimes the conversations need to be vulnerable, with a hint of exhaustion and a visible frustration. And as Chris Night sings about the back roads that lead to his mother's house, we both know you can't go back.
I would give anything to do it all over again...
Sometimes when I can't sleep, I imagine that I am 18 and I have my whole life in front of me. I would have gone to Cornerstone and Mars Hill and North Park or maybe Fuller but in the end, I would have been a prodigy. I would have learned from all of the best, and become even better. I would have been the catalyst for a revolution in a city of spiritual pollution, I would have been the voice of a generation, seeking the Way, Truth, and Life.
But the personal pronouns have hijacked the glory of the One I have tried so hard to hide behind. And the illumination of the stage lights have demanded an exit, stage-right. And the curtain can't hide the shame and the internal bleeding is one octave too high for the oppositional defiant disorder that refuses to conclude a run-on sentence like a train without breaks and a fist in the dark swinging at the voices of damn and erasers against flesh and we both know this won't end well but you said you'd never leave me and yet this basement is hollow and I can't bring myself to pick up the pieces of the church planters' tool kit complete with twelve cassette tapes and a thousand pages hurled violently against the brick wall and my knuckles bleeding and then he asked, are you having any thoughts about self-harm?
I wish I could go back to Byron Road and standing in the driveway, the first time I kissed Jamie. It was October of '99, and in those days the Oak Trees used to shimmer like the sun melting into Lake Michigan. I would have told her to wait for me, I'll catch up to the man she needs me to become. And then maybe I would tell her to run away because I'm only capable of bringing pain to those who love me. Or maybe I would just hold her in a Kairos moment, and surrender to the freeze of a photograph in front of the Bible Baptist Temple when all we knew was true and there was no ceiling, only the expanse of an open sky - blue to her, grey to me. I wish I could go back to the hope and wonder and the optimism and the glass have full.
Sometimes you just need to exit the highway, and pull into an abandoned parking lot. Sit in the drivers seat hovering over weeds beneath the shade tree on Highway 40 - and put on some Bon Iver and crack the windows while you fall asleep. The exhaustion has finally caught up, and I can not go any further...
"Come on skinny love just last the year,
Pour a little salt - we were never here...
Who will love you?
Who will fight?
And who will fall far behind?"


DePoy Family [Home Team]

I love my family. Jamie Jo. Mariah Grace. Ambria Faith. Ashlyn Hope.

- Jay DePoy

the libration project

"...Or it will continue on as the undeniable chain reaction that was born in the basement of a farmhouse in Mars Hill, under a shimmering sky that still makes me ache for home, wherever that might be."


Ashlyn's Brain Surgery (Recovery and Hope)

It is a helpless feeling to see your daughter crying in pain. I would have given anything to trade places with her, and all I could do was cry. Jamie and I have been through the hard times, but the laughter of our girls has given us all of the strength we need to endure, and share God's unconditional love with everyone we meet!

Thanks to the medical community at Duke Children's Hospital, Ashlyn's Chiari Malformation has been addressed, and reversed! We celebrate every waking moment with this little princess!

Under Construction

The more I learn, the less I know. After the education and culmination of degrees earned, books read, and sermons given, what remains is the mystery of amazing grace.

I am not as certain as I once was. I do not talk as loud, or walk as proud as I once did. There was a time that I had the answers to questions that weren't even being asked.

But all that remains is the love of my wife, and our three little girls. They know that I'm far from perfect, and I never claimed to have been...  But with each new day, I care more deeply for their joy, and the safety of their hearts. I can hear their laughter, and their innocence - and I am resolved to pursue a deeper level of sacrificial love than ever before.


letters unsent, and promises unkept

remind me to tell you about the time i suffocated
beneath the purple sky and still you waited
for the trembling to stop as the tears dried midway down my face
somehow we both knew, this would be your last embrace

and all the promises broken between yesterday and tomorrow
have jaded the glass half empty in celebration of sorrow
your words remain bleeding like a wound unbound
the audible implosion of snow covering the ground

frozen, your footprints linger in the photograph, a voice
unreasonable in the river of your whispering voice
a familiar chorus rewritten for us, and a bridge
connecting the hope from the balancing ledge

remind me to feel sorry, for the times i ignored you
and the unconquerable anger directed toward you
creating holes in your story unholy
fragments melting truly, slowly

whatever happened to the promise of january
and new beginnings and fading february
into a spring of regret and resurrection
inching forward with no sense of direction

remind me to tell you that i loved you
less than words and more than i meant to
but the heart reaches for the inevitable
lines in a song that are now forgettable


"Willing the One Thing"

"Distracted people get distracted by people who don't get distracted."

Exodus Church

Jay DePoy


Blessed Are the Spiritually Bankrupt

        Daylight was fading, and the rural highway seemed to be mocking me at every mile marker. My fuel was registering fumes, with no relief in sight. Each exit seemed to present the same absent hospitality that a traveling motorist searches for. And then, all hell broke loose…
From beneath the hood of my Volkswagen Jetta, glorious smoke began to interrupt the broadcast, invading my personal space. Without clear visibility, I put the car in neutral and drifted to the shoulder of the road until the car rolled to a complete stop. Opening the hood released the floodgates of hopelessness, a blown engine! In the middle of nowhere, as the October sun began to fade into the South Carolina west. I was frozen in the epiphany of helplessness.
No signal on my cell phone, and nothing but a lonely road surrounded by swamplands; have you ever been there? If you listen closely, you can hear banjo music and squealing pigs… What was meant to be a simple road trip from our new home in Asheville to the Atlantic coast had turned out to be a nightmare. My route home had been compromised, and my ideal surf trip would turn out to cost a fortune…a fortune that I did not have.
Bubba Gump stopped and gave me a lift to the nearest exit, where I set out on foot to the nearest gas station. Of course, they were closed! I found a payphone and dialed my wife… “Umm Jamie, I’m in a bad place. I hear banjo music. Have you ever seen Deliverance?”
Having recently transplanted from Michigan, we did not have very many contacts in our new hometown. So she buckled our two daughters into the minivan, and set out for the four-hour drive to rescue me. And after what seemed like forever, I called her back from the payphone. As it turns out, while she was in route to my rescue, the transmission on her van was blown. She was now the one stranded on the side of the highway with two little girls crying…

            “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”

If you have ever found yourself to be stranded on the side of the road, with daylight fading – you know the feeling of helplessness. If you have ever had your car repossessed for lack of payments, or your checks bounced for insufficient funds…If you have ever been forgiven 70 x 7 but then fallen off the wagon again, or completed twelve steps only to reach the top of the stairs for an epic crash all over again…If you have ever looked in the rear-view and saw the billows of smoke from bridges burned and relationships destroyed… If you have ever sat in the back of the church with arms crossed and fists clenched and tears of anger washing blood-stained hands… Jesus says, “You are blessed!” Perhaps a better translation of the original language is “happy” or “satisfied”. Because it is only in the posture of brokenness that grace is revealed to be all-sufficient.
Jesus talks about the poverty of spirit. He’s talking spiritual bankruptcy. The problem with the word “bankruptcy” and the concept of bankruptcy is that you’re not really broke at all. Currently, American Airlines is losing money, but the reason they talk about filing for bankruptcy is to protect their assets. That’s not spiritual bankruptcy. When we declare spiritual bankruptcy, there is nothing left in the bank.

Bend Your Knees

The opening lines of the Kingdom Manifesto do not begin with a call to arms, or a declaration of war. Jesus does not rally Israel to an emphatic battle cry against the Roman Empire. There is no Zealot flag waiving or palm branch parade… Instead Jesus interrupts the broadcast with a pregnant pause, followed by a description of what the Kingdom of Heaven on earth looks like. And it is NOT what they were taught to believe in Sunday school, with flannel-graph depictions of a white Jesus surrounded by the vineyard grapes of Zion. It is not a political delivery of God’s Fury on the Roman Empire.
Instead it is a hyper-exaggeration of the least of these; A characature description of a homeless, powerless, vulnerable beggar. Quite literally, the words chosen by Jesus to visually illustrate the coming of the Kingdom included “P’tochos” which means “to crouch or bend low, to beg.”
Happy and satisfied is the man who is broken so low that he has to crawl his way to the communion table. Because it is only the hungry that can enjoy the euphoria of the Body broken, and the Wine poured out… Content is the man who is spiritually bankrupt, for in his crawling in the dirt he has stumbled into a lottery ticket. And his subsequent inheritance is the immanent explosion of grace.
Jesus would exemplify this reality throughout his life and ministry. To the shock and awe of the professional religious establishment, it would be the self-righteous Pharisees who were often left standing outside the Kingdom Party, while ‘the least of these’ were embraced at the epic feast. On one particular occasion an unnamed woman ‘who had lived a sinful life’ had crashed the dinner party of a select audience. Her uphill clawing through the gatekeepers, past the hospitality team, around the host, and directly to the Guest of Honor – would provide the delicate platform from which Jesus would visually illustrate: This is what grace looks like - A woman of ill-repute clutching the dusty feet of a homeless, itinerant Rabbi, and finding the scandalous embrace of a God who crouches low to sit in the dirt with those who crouch low.
On another occasion, Jesus tells the story of two men who sat side-by-side in the front pew of the Temple Baptist Church. One of them lifted his King James Bible from the interior pocket of his three-piece suit, and waived it in the air as he praised himself for not being a dirty, filthy, sinner -> winking toward the alcoholic sitting beside him. Simultaneously, the spiritually bankrupt heathen had crashed on the altar during the last stanza of “Just As I Am”, and knocked with bloody knuckles on the door of heaven, for God’s mercy to expunge a criminal record that had made the front page of the Muskegon Chronicle.
Every chapter of the New Testament is drenched in the bloody blanket of God’s forgiveness toward the unforgivable. Blind men crying out against the insistence of the liturgical police, contaminated lepers reaching in faith for the Holy Touch of the Great Physician. Jesus had come to illustrate the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven by signing His Name next to those who have dismal credit history! He stoops to write in the sand beside a spiritually-bankrupt prostitute, the finger of God carving out a New Covenant!
This is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, foreshadowed through the window of Rahab (the prostitute of ancient Jericho), as she was rescued from the immanent destruction. Her scarlet red cord was the fleshing out of her faith in the God of Israel who had come to set the captives free. So she imitated the exodus pattern: a sign of blood redemption over the doorway of her house… Blessed is the prostitute who is hanging on by a thread, to the hope of deliverance! Rahab would be rescued and redeemed by the God of Israel, and brought back to join the Royal Family. She had been lost, but now she was found.
            One day, Rahab caught the eye of Salmon the Prince of Judah. He saw through the shame of her previous occupation and found her to be gloriously redeemed! He got down on one knee and wrote in the sand, “Marry Me?” History records that a prostitute would marry a prince. And Rahab would give birth to Boaz, who married Ruth. And Ruth gave birth to Obed, the father of Jesse. And Jesse would be the father of David, the King of Israel… And the ancestry of Jesus begins with a lineage traced back to a prostitute.
            Unless you have ever been hanging on by a scarlet thread to the hope of a rescue, you would never fully appreciate the coming of the Mercy King. It’s not until you have considered robbing a bank to feed your children that you learn to appreciate the desperate times that call for desperate measures. And the journey from the cradle to the cross would paint a portrait of the scandalous grace that inaugurated the heavenly Kingdom.
Grace. Scandalous grace. Mysterious grace. Amazing grace. Bang my head against the wall grace. Knock me off my feet grace. Incomprehensible grace. Violent grace. Furious grace. Bloody grace. Terrible grace. Awful grace. Inexplicable grace. Stand up and sing grace. Sit down and cry grace. Gospel grace. New World Disorder grace. Upside down grace. Inside out grace. Crucified grace. Resurrected grace. The last chapter is still being written about grace. Redeeming grace. Whore-turned-virgin grace. Prostitute-turned-Princess grace. Body broken, blood poured out grace. Welcome to the Table of grace. Pull up a chair grace. Light a candle grace. Burn down your religious castle grace. Beautiful ashes of grace.

Incomprehensible Grace

A friend of a friend heard from a friend who knew a guy who had a flatbed trailer. After what seemed like an eternity on the side of a barren road in South Carolina, my rescue had come. As the morning daylight was chasing the darkness, I could not lift a finger to save myself. Instead the rescue mission interrupted the noise of distant banjos and squealing pigs; I emerged from the bushes with self-inflicted camoflage and a mild case of night tremors.
I stood helpless beside the pick-up truck, as the Rescuer lifted my lifeless vehicle from the grave of hopelessness. I climbed into the passenger seat and began to take an inventory of the mileage on the dashboard. I started to calculate the cost of my rescue, and made mental notes as we began to drive away. Thank you is not sufficient! In a moment of clarity, I realize the ginormity of this occasion, and the visible picture of the heavenly invasion to a broken world.
The Rescuer was a man of few words. We did not speak for most of the ride home. He enquired about the safety of my wife, whom as it turned out, had made it home safely. He had come for one reason, to bring me home. He was committed to the mission, and I was strapped in as a passenger on a tour from a distant land; a prodigal who had filed for spiritual bankruptcy and had holy jeans, dirty hands, and a bit of a temper.
We stopped to pick up a meal at a fast food restaurant, and at the drive through I reached in my pocket for what was left of quarters and dimes and… he ordered a full meal for both of us. At that moment, I felt so unworthy, so helpless! After my first bite, I reminded him about my insistence to retain all receipts for gasoline and meals. After all, I explained, this was all going to be repaid! The Rescuer turned his face toward mine with a Southern grin, as if to say, “Bless your heart.” But instead of agreeing, he interrupted my insistence with an abruption; “You don’t understand grace, do you?”
And the truth is, I do not.
Grace is an unsolved mystery that has taunted me in the midnight hours. I don’t understand the reverse psychology that lovingly responds to hate, and turns the other cheek. I can’t comprehend praying for my enemies or giving my jacket to a thief. I can’t wrap my mind around offering to lay down my life for those who would relish the opportunity to take it. No, I do not understand grace.

Blood On Your Khakis

A few years ago my friends and I started a church. Downtown Asheville, North Carolina is a bubble in the bathtub of the Southern Baptist Bible Belt. This vacation destination in the center of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a home to an eclectic community of train kids, neo-hippies, trustafarians (suburban kids that are living off the grid, but frequent the ATM to access their Trust Fund), and one of the largest populations of the Gay and Lesbian community in the Southern United States. The ideal climate is an invitation for countless homeless individuals who are looking for a place to belong, and southern hospitality will bless your little heart…
One day I met a homeless man named Chris. He had once been a scholarship student at a private college, where he thrived as an athlete on campus. But Chris had an injury that led him to painkillers, and alcohol followed. Within a year he had lost his scholarship, dropped out of school, and was a homeless, drug addict. He burned bridges in nearly every relationship he had, and found himself in jail. The day I met him, Chris had been recently released from incarceration, and had hopes for a new beginning.
I began to meet with Chris for weekly bible studies and discipleship. He was learning to follow the Way of Jesus, and he seemed hungry to learn more about the Path of Descent and the journey of the cross. After a few months of intentional devotion, I baptized Chris in the Swannanoa River, behind one of the shelters that housed homeless veterans in our community.
      Two weeks later, Chris disappeared. He had all but vanished from the grid, and no one had seen him in weeks. On the night before Halloween, I finally found him. He was standing behind a tree in a park, hiding. His hat was pulled down over his face, and he was literally trembling in fear… When I approached him he immediately confessed, “I relapsed, man. I need help!” As it turned out, Chris had gone on a crack-cocaine binge, and ran up a debt to a local dealer. “This guy is going to kill me if I don’t pay him immediately; Jay can you cover me?” Chris was looking over his shoulders and fearing that at any moment he was going to be physically attacked.
      After a quick inventory of my seminary notes, I couldn’t find anything about how to deal with this situation… The answer might not be as obvious as one would imagine. Is the Church in the habit of paying off drug dealers to secure the release of a homeless addict? And after all, isn’t that kind of like the Ransom Theory of the Atonement - That Christ paid a debt to purchase our freedom? I labored over this question, but the answer came inevitably through practicum, no. Because we don’t have the money anyway!
            Two days later, the Exodus Lovelution gathered for our weekly Church Service “Family Reunion” inside the Community Theatre. As the call of the tribe was swelling, the smell of coffee filled the auditorium. The drums began to pound, and the natives assembled together to sing and celebrate and explore the Love Letter… Hands were lifted in the air in adoration to the Mercy King, “and heaven meets earth like a sloppy, wet kiss…”
            And then it happened. Through the back door, a shadow emerged… stumbling down the isle came the prodigal. During the third song of our worship set, Chris crashed down to the front of the church. As he neared the stage, the lights captured a profusely bleeding forehead. His fingers had been literally ripped from his hands, dangling by a thread to the hope of redemption. The Worship Leader looked at me, and I looked at the bulletin: “This isn’t calculated in our order of worship!”
            The music stopped, and the hush of the Family allowed for the audible evidence of a broken heart. I approached Chris, as he wept. He just kept repeating, “I’m so sorry God! I am so sorry… I abandoned you, Jesus have mercy on me!” The blood pouring from his head, mixed with his tears. His snot spread down his shirt, and he clutched my khaki pants at the foot of the stage, just sobbing. What a mess… blood, sweat, tears, snot, and a strung-out addict who was desperate for a pill to kill the pain.
            P’tochos. Blessed are the spiritually bankrupted, homeless drug addicts, for they shall receive the sloppy, wet kiss of heaven – crashing into earth!


Tell Us A Story, Daddy

Every night as the girls are settling into bed, the routine is familiar. Mariah climbs to the top bunk, and Ambria claims the bottom bed, while Ashlyn sits on my lap. We turn down the lights, turn on the fan, and of course, the night light. And from the shadows they ask, "Will you tell us a story?"

The stories have varied from bed-time readings through the Children's bible, or impromptu-makebelieveonthespot stories about Billy the Bear and his ninja sidekick, Timmy the Turtle.

But lately they insist on a story from my own childhood experiences… The sit up in their beds and lean in to hear the hilarious details of my unfortunate adolescence. How awkward and humiliating were those middle-school years? The legend of my Great Aunt Hazel - whom lived with us when I was in high school, and at 96 years of age she enjoyed dementia, requiring a re-introduction every morning.

I could tell them stories of getting lost in the woods, and the panic attacks when I could not find my way home… The setting sun, and the wonder if I would ever see my eighth birthday. I avoid the painful memories of my grandfather calling my dad a failure as we all sat at the kitchen table. I dare not explain to them the wretched tales of getting beat up physically and spiritually in the basement of the Bible Baptist Temple, about how the Fehler boys used to beat me up after Sunday school, and my teacher used to psychological torture me with heretical notions of a God who hates me.

Instead I tell them stories about a mother's love, and how she endlessly served the full house. I can't remember a time she was able to enjoy a hot meal, because by the time she sat down to eat her food was cold, and we were finished. And nobody seemed to notice her exhaustion… until now. I tell them stories about my dad who used to take us camping in the winter blizzards, and our home-schooling allowed for the freedom of schedule to go sledding down the Sugar Bowl hills behind Lake Harbor Park. I choose to tell them stories of hilarity and sentimentality, of the time a burglar broke into our home on Christmas Eve and stole all of the gifts under the tree… And the time the neighbors came together to make sure we had plenty of toys to unwrap.

And we have a tradition. If ever in a crowded room, to mouth the words "Olive Juice" to each other, and from a distance the lips read - "I love you". And in the morning as they walk out to the long school bus waiting at the edge of the driveway, Jamie has taught them to repeat the phrase: "CHOOSE JOY!"

Because at the end of the day, it's a choice. You can choose to live in the darkness of the past, or the light of the future sunlight. You can dwell on the negative stories that shape your life, or you can focus on the ones that make you laugh, as you reminisce on good friends, and the love of family. You can choose pessimism, that's easy. Or you can choose joy.

Choose joy.


Impact Church, Lowell, Michigan (A Reunion)

I had the privilege of preaching at Impact Church in Lowell, Michigan last week. Returning home to Michigan is always bittersweet, and in this message I share from the pain of personal hope…

Click here to watch the video.

In All Honesty

I am choosing to rest in the presence of God's unfailing mercy.
The Hebrew Psalms speak of "Khe-sed" which is the everlasting love of Yahweh.

There are no limits to His love. There is not category where His love for me is absent. There is nothing I can ever do, or ever not do that could dismantle this covenant.

And God's punishment is that I will be forced to accept the violence of His love. Every morning, his mercy greets me with the sun rise. Every breath is a forceful invasion of His grace. I am beloved of the Abba Father, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Thank you God, for creating within me a clean heart. Wash me thoroughly in the everlasting Khe-sed of your everlasting love. Cover me with the blood of Christ, and protect me from the lies that I had chosen to believe. Break the chains that have held me captive for thirty years. Crush the serpent under the heal of the Resurrected One. Smash the enemy with the power of your Chebod.

I am nothing. You are everything.


Thoughts on Life and Death

Lately I've been thinking about my own funeral.

No, I don't have plans to end my life, and I do not have a death wish. Whatever discouraging thoughts of depression or self-harm I may have wrestled with are usually chased away by the morning sunrise. I used to dwell on the fatalism of death by exposure, or I had this fantasy of going out to Montana and handcuffing myself to a tree at the top of a lonely mountain and throwing the key just outside of reach… and waiting to die.

But these days, I have a life wish. I want to experience all of the voltage of breathing and laughter and music and chasing my dreams! I want to feel the blood in my veins pumping adrenaline as I clap with the Exodus Family in the Rock of Ages. I want to melt with my daughters as we sip hot cocoa on a wintry day, and reminisce on the sledding hill behind the house. I want to lean into the laughter of their innocence, and remember…

Remember the time my cousin Daniel Cook and I were sledding in the Michigan snow. We were both young boys finding our way...There was a collision with a tree and knot on his forehead; and we sat together in the snow and cried until my mom came out to see what was wrong.

Remember the time I almost drowned in Lake Michigan, after an autumn storm. Waves crashed into the pier and I tried to rescue my puppy, a purebred Black Labrador who had been swept off into the waves. I thought I was going to die, but I could not watch my puppy drown without a doing something to help! We both eventually collapsed on the beach, exhausted. But it was the best. feeling. ever.

Remember sitting with my dad at a coffee shop in North Carolina, and hearing him share about the mistakes he's made along his journey. To see how time has humbled him, and after reconstructive knee surgery he hobbles around in a slower pace… reflective of things he would have done differently if he had the opportunity. He would have worked harder to develop a culture of grace, not law. He would have been more aggressive to help, and slower to judge. He would have leaned into the mercy of the cross, and less on the legalism of man.

Remember the time I laid behind the curtain at the Asheville Community Theatre, as the auditorium was filling up with Exodus Revolutionaries, and I took off my shoes and socks before the holy ground. I cried uncontrollably in recognition of the sacredness of the moment: restoration and redemption has reached into the brokenness of my heart. So when I stand to preach about hope and forgiveness and the God of 2nd Chances - it's coming from a place of personal experience.

I can't help but to wonder what my funeral will be like. How will I be remembered? The truth is, funerals have a way of immortalizing the man in the casket. Our culture tends to deify the dead. I hope that doesn't happen at my funeral. I want honesty to prevail in the eulogy. I want those who know me the best to say, "He was a very broken and flawed man, who clawed his way toward the cross. He was more likely to let his ego get in the way of relationships, and he carried bitterness in his heart. But that is why he was so desperate for Jesus, and so passionate about preaching this gospel! He was often lonely and discouraged, but he was also the first to reach out to help his friends, and he would have taken a bullet for his family."

I want to be remembered as a loving daddy to my girls, and a flawed but faithful husband to Jamie. I want to leave a legacy of gospel proclamation and a life of sacrificial love. At the end of the day, nothing else matters…


there are few things i don't like to talk about

there are few things i don't like to talk about
like the transition from being the happy child
who knew no strangers
to the jaded prophet
who assumes the worst

and the way the roads turn from north to south
like a subversive smile on a familiar mouth
leading me away from trees lining byron road
with leaves falling from the immanent cold

there are few things i don't like to talk about
like the tiny casket of my infant brother
and the day the clock stopped short of another day
hands circling the oak tree in the lakeside cemetery

and the weight of the whispers in a crowded room
her hand in a fist shaking immanent doom
the collapse of innocence and the candle burns
eighty-nine more days to live and learn

there are a few things i don't like to talk about
like the ever present absence of Immanuel
and the assumption of grace in a world lacking
delicate winter weather advisories
and the wonder of forgiveness, when i feel none

and the laughter of three little girls
who will always believe in their daddy
no matter the speculation and circulation
unashamed affection without hesitation
this is true, of this i'm sure…
i love you.


An Open Letter To My Younger Self

Forgive me, please. I've been meaning to connect with you for quite some time. Days became months, and months became years... I got busy, and distant. The space created was intentional and forced and in our best interest, trust me.

The truth is, I have harbored hatred in my heart toward you. On many occasions I wanted to cut you to pieces, and shatter the mirror that reminded me of your depravity! I have had dreams of killing you, and pushing you off a towering ledge ~ and I imagined what your funeral would be like. I have torn apart your pictures, and mocked your crooked teethe and poor posture.

I know you! I know the way you habitually pick at your fingers when you're lost in thought. I know your secrets and your shame. I know you've said too much. Yes, I know about that closet addiction and the bible verse you quote to tell yourself that it will be okay. I know you blame everyone else for the ecclesiastical trauma you limped away from. But the truth is, you were never more true than the moment you plead guilty.

And in your confession, things have begun to change internally.
Now therefore, there is no condemnation.

If I could have your complete attention, I would put you in a choke hold until you are ready to surrender to my counsel... There are a few things I want to tell you:

1. Guard Your Heart

Be careful. In your desire to love and be loved, you will be tempted to trust the wrong people with the most sacred of your possessions. Your heart is a vessel that pumps royally-transfused blood into veins that run fervently toward mercy. You stay awake at night dreaming of changing the world and making a difference and zeal for the Father's House will consume you.

Don't trust the applause of men. They will hail you in one breath, and crucify you in the next. Don't trust the shallow nature of momentum and the ever-illusive amens. Don't trust the pinches on the cheek or the words of affirmation from fair-weather friends. Don't give your heart away to the lethal drug of the stage. The addiction is a virus that will eat your soul, and rape your innocence.

After you've had your heart torn asunder, you will find yourself more likely to random overreactions of sudden panic and noisy retreat. You'll see the worst in people. You'll avoid conflict because you will be afraid of being abandoned. You will prefer to hide under the covers and pray that the clouds roll away.

And it will take years to heal from the destructive lies that you've believed; Years to uproot the weeds from the garden you've planted... the garden of regret.

2. Love Your Wife

After the smoke clears and the haters leave anonymous comments, she will be the anchor of hope that wakes up beside you every morning. Her quiet strength roars in a decibel one octave too high for cognitive evaluation, but her faith in action will restore your confidence that all will be well.

She is the shy freshmen in a canoe that left you speechless. She wore the fire out of those birkenstocks, and met you everyday at the clock tower on campus. She will bring you three adorable daughters, and you will find in her a resilience that silences the enemy. She can rock a hoola-hoop like a Puerto-Rican diva, and her maternal instincts know no boundaries.

At the end of your life, she will be there until the last breath is taken. Every decision you make will be an investment in your covenant, and the outpouring of grace will be the remedy to the moody blues. Waking up next to her is evidence that the Lord's mercies are new every morning...

3. Have Faith in Grace

All of those elementary Sunday School lessons are true.
"Jesus loves you, this you know... For the Bible tells you so. Little ones to him belong, we are weak but He is strong." From your infancy, you have been raised to believe in the promises of Scripture; God is good and Jesus died on the cross for your sins and his blood covers your guilty plea.

Don't ever stop believing in the beautiful Story of Amazing Grace! Place your confidence in the promise that God's grace is enough to sustain you. One day, you will be tempted to dismiss it all as unknowable and uncertain... In that moment, remember the time you were baptized in a river in Montana, beside the waterfall. Remember the feeling of resurrection when you came up from out of the water. Remember breathing in the abundance of scandalous grace, and never forget the freedom you embraced.

Grace is a dance that you will learn to embrace. Your first attempts will be awkward and out of sync with the rest of the world. You will be tempted to retreat to the corner and sulk in your loneliness. But the magnetism of the Dance will woo you back to the movement of yes and wait and surrender. And your natural inclination will collide with the spiritual insistence that the song is familiar.

Grace will squeeze the hate from your mirror,
and wipe the tears from your eyes.

She will seduce you with her relentless invitation.

Her violence is an incoming Tide, washing away your castles of sand.

You will learn to inhale the surrender, and drown in her mystery.


let me be found in You

as a drop of water is lost in the ocean
so is the flight of the alone to the Alone

take from me these november thoughts
of never enough and endless thirst
replace these tears with the solace of Your Presence

if it was all over tomorrow
i've been nothing without You
if these lungs inhaled the sudden conclusion
the rapture from this world to the next is a mystery
resolved in the paradox of justice and mercy

let me be found in You.


Isn't She Beautiful?

The other day I was driving around downtown Asheville, and I had a pain in my side. The gut-wrenching reality is that God was initiating a movement of mercy that is only now beginning to make sense. I felt the flames of a burning bush, and the invitation to remove my shoes... I was entering into a holy moment. In overwhelming clarity, the inaudible Voice of the Divine insisted, "turn left."

I pulled my car into the parking lot of Mission Hospital. What now? Where was this Voice leading me?The magnetic pull of the gravitational Force led me to into through the emergency waiting room. I kept walking and waiting and walking until God revealed what He was doing in this moment. I had this overwhelming ache; a burden to share His love with someone in need. I did not know who needed to hear this, or where this mystery would lead me...

I walked the seven floors, up and down each hallway. I glanced in waiting rooms and halted for further leading. "Turn left." - The Voice pulled me toward the hurt.

In the waiting room of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was a lonely widow. She was sitting in the corner and staring at the clock when I entered the room. I sat down across from her and after a brief enquiry, she opened up to the reason for her waiting:

A few short moments before I had arrived, the Child Protective Services had come to investigate the newborn, premature infant that had been born to her daughter, a drug addict. The baby was 2.7 lbs, and  the test results revealed signs of crack-cocaine in her bloodstream.

I sat across from this crying grandmother, and I said, "God sent me here to tell you that He loves you, and you are not alone." That is all know. That is all I have to say.

This ache of this situation has haunted me, and my heart has been abruptly dismantled in the wake of an infant baby who is threatened to become a 'Ward of the State of North Carolina'. Social Services have created an action plan to intervene - and this delicate baby is struggling to breathe. Into a broken world, she was born. She did not ask for this, and if she lives, she will have been launched into a cosmic struggle of love and hate, darkness and light, heaven and earth at war over her soul.

And I am committed to the struggle beside her, in prayer. I have returned to the hospital to visit, and this afternoon I got to hold "Haley" for such a time as this. I just prayed blessings over her, a hedge of protection to guard her heart and mind. I prayed the blood of Jesus Christ to cover her, and Spirit of the Sovereign Lord to breathe the Pneuma of Life into her lungs.

And then I told her that I can't help but to love her.
Isn't she beautiful? Beautiful.


True Story

After years of injustice being inflicted upon him, Joseph was finally in a position to render revenge in a calculated act of violent retribution. He had endured slavery, false accusations, wrongful imprisonment, and the abandonment of his family. And now it had come full circle; he was sitting on the throne of Egypt - and his wicked brothers were at his mercy.
Fearing for their lives, they trembled before him. But Joseph simply said, "Am I in the place of God?"
In other words, their terrible sin had offended a Holy God. They had violently assaulted the Covenant, and had shed innocent blood in the dismantling of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. And yet, in Joseph's heart, it was against God (and God only) that they had sinned. It was as if to say, "Make your peace with God, and then you will find our reconciliation to be an easy matter."
The forgiveness extended by Joseph to his brothers was directly related to his theology of God's Sovereignty. He follows the question of judgment by saying, "For what was meant for evil, God meant for good." In the rear-view mirror, Joseph insisted that God was playing the base guitar in a cosmic symphony, with every note intricately woven into the fabric of their redemption!
What you meant for a tragedy, God meant as a comedy. What you meant for destruction, God meant for deliverance. What you meant as the end, God meant as a new chapter...
When I look back over the course of my spiritual journey, I see the fingerprints of God's Sovereignty of every page. From the sting of betrayal grow the roots of loyalty. The basement of despair is the birthplace of humility. And in the release of resentment fuels the freedom of forgiveness.
God has been good to me. From the excess of man's lethal praise, to the abandonment of close friends. God has been my One Constant. From the letters from local pastors to a carnal judge... God knows I am guilty, and in my confession - He covers my shame. In the basement of the Muskegon County Jail, my bunkmate was a man named "Immanuel".
True Story. 
Jay DePoy


Beautiful Ashes of Grace

Grace. Scandalous grace. 
Mysterious grace. Amazing grace. 
Bang my head against the wall grace. 
Knock me off my feet grace. 
Incomprehensible grace. Violent grace.
Furious grace. Bloody grace. 
Terrible grace. Awful grace.
Inexplicable grace. 
Stand up and sing grace.
Sit down and cry grace. 
Gospel grace. New World Disorder grace.
Upside down grace. Inside out grace. 
Crucified grace. Resurrected grace.
The last chapter is still being written about grace. 
Redeeming grace. Whore-turned-virgin grace. 
Body broken, blood poured out grace. 
Welcome to the Table of grace. 
Pull up a chair grace. Light a candle grace. 
Burn down your religious castle grace. 
Beautiful ashes of grace.


Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?

A few days ago I took a road trip from our home in Asheville to the city of Atlanta. I had one agenda: To search and find Pastor Johnny Hunt.

Clearly I remember that evening when, as a 23 year-old college student at Liberty University, I heard the gospel preaching of a fiery southern baptist. He had come to our campus during a week of spiritual emphasis, and I was a hard-hearted student with a lot of skepticism and anger. But somewhere during the middle of his message on 'Forgiveness From the Heart', the real Jesus began to dismantle the blue prints of my previous existence. I fell to pieces during the invitation, and I walked to the front of an old-fashioned altar. I gave my heart to the resurrected Christ, and I've never been the same.

I remember the days that immediately followed. I remember how worship in community, and new friends helped to shape my theology. I remember how my eyes seemed to be suddenly opened to the awareness of Divine Presence, and the love of God would recapitulate my broken heart.

My heart burned within me.

Two thousand years ago, two confused disciples were confronted by the reality of the Resurrected Christ. While walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, the revelation of a whole new world order was lit inside them. Later they exclaimed, "Did not our hearts burn within us?"

In the Greek New Testament the language is loaded.
"Did not our kardias kaio?"

Kardias [Heart - think, "Cardiac Arrest"] and Kaio ["to set on fire, to consume']
and interestingly enough, Kaio is the root word for "Kairos" as previously mentioned - the Greek word for time that stands still.

Literally: Our hearts were consumed with the fire of a frozen moment. When the gospel burns down the castle of temporary existence, and a Kingdom is born from the ashes of despair!


So when I finally found Johnny Hunt, I stood in a moment of silence before him. "My name is Jay DePoy", I said, "and I have come all this way to say thank you." Then I told him my whole.messy.humiliating. story of redemption. And I thanked him for sharing the greatest gift that anyone has ever given me.

The good news is, today my heart is more consumed with the concentrated energy of the gospel than it was fifteen years ago. It's saturday night now. And I can't sleep. Sunday's coming... and I'm gonna put a cap in Satan's face in the Name of Jesus tomorrow. This fire is burning hotter than ever!

- Jay DePoy


Grateful for Friends

Thank you God for Jason Spencer, Asheville's resident Ninja! He is a close friend in a time of need.

Tsunami of Grace

I can feel it coming... the ground is trembling, the earth is groaning, and my heart is reaching for the overflow of God's Presence. I need His grace to cover me, and the darkness of my sin that suffocates the creative energy inside me. I am unworthy to sing, but His grace is sufficient to heal and hold.

- Jay DePoy
(Lead Pastor, Exodus Church)


Days Like These

These days I am finding myself more content to sit with the questions, instead of offering a logical solution based on a presupposition that is more comfortable to swallow.

These days I am more likely to cry tears of gratitude than sorrow, streams of wonder and grace flooding the banks of certain fatality. I am unworthy, yet I am welcome. I am loved, yet I've not accepted it.

These days my ears are selective in capturing the whispers of a groaning earth, restless for the redemption of a new creation. Still standing, standing, standing on the promises of God.

These days I would rather hear an off-key organ chiming sacred melodies of yesteryear. I can still hear the 'y'all come choir' as they shout about the some glad morning. Will the circle be unbroken?

These days I miss friends who have gone before me, leaving a legacy of hope and longing: Gina Carlin, Chris Ort, Bill Centapani, Gene Ward, Mandy Daunt, Bill Corley, Ray Ericson, Ruth Gustafson, Mary Wagenmaker, and Joshua DePoy.

These days I am more certain of less, but a few things remain: Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

When I was a little boy I had an undiagnosed obsessive compulsion to go back the way I came. Quite literally, I had to return through the same doorway I entered. If I used the automatic electric doors at the entrance of Meijers, I absolutely must exit through the same route. If I took the back roads to a destination, then I had to take the same back roads home.

- and now I've come full circle, entering the exit with a childlike wonder. I miss the Bible Baptist Temple, and the King James Bible worn thin. I miss my father's instruction, and my mother's immanence. I miss sitting in the back row and wondering if God could ever use me to stir the waters of revival. I miss the youthful naivety of ignorant bliss. I miss thinking anything was possible. I miss the chorus: "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty - there's nothing my God can not do!" I miss the four squared colored carpet in the basement, and the nostalgic sacredness of Sunday School. I miss the altar calls and the salty tears. I miss Jack Hyles and Johnny Hunt and Rob Bell and Art Shady.

These days I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving for a journey of scars and stories and three daughters of my own, to shape their faith in the light of the everlasting awe...

Exodus Church (Asheville)

Continuing the Jesus Lovelution...

Watch This Video!


Michigan Homecoming

Here is the video link of my return to Michigan...


Jay DePoy
(Exodus Church, Asheville)


Kairos - When Time Stands Still

Have you ever had a moment that seemed to freeze, framed in your memory for eternity? It's as if your whole world is on pause, and everything else fades away. These momentary glimpses of eternity burn into our subconscious presence, and we remain in a temporary state of disassociation...

The ancient greeks divided time into two dimensions. They looked at the natural movement of the world through a sequential order, and developed an assumed chronology. "Chronos" is the natural progression of hours, days, and seasons. We live in a chronos understanding of time; our hours are calculated for pay regulation, our holidays fall into rhythm with the seasons, and our years become measured by time spent and time remaining. We have developed phrases such as, 'a window of time', or we worry that we are 'wasting time' ~ all of which speaks to chronos, which is measured by quantity.

But then, there are moments that seem to transcend the three dimensions of past/present/future. These are moments of human awareness of divine presence. The ancient greeks referred to these life-shaping moments that define us as "Kairos", when time stands still.

Unlike chronos (measured by quantity), kairos is measured by quality.

The problem is that we are a generation that is suffocating in the trenches of technology. We are drowning in the anxiety of chronos, and we are being consumed by the subsequent anxiety thereof. Chronos has infected our soul, as we pledge allegiance to the kingdom of accumulation. Our children are taught to play three sports, extra-curricular activities, and to keep up with the competition. We feed them red-bull energy drinks through an iv, as we sip our coffee and chain-smoke in the worry that maybe they will turn out just like us.

And God speaks through burning bushes and gentle whispers.

All the while, my hurry and worry has become white noise to the delicate whisper of the Divine Presence. I have an earbud in one ear, a phone in the other, while I surf the internet and worry about why nobody has "liked" my facebook status. I don't have time for burning bushes or the still, small voice of God.

This conviction has erupted within me in recent months.

Through much counsel, it has been revealed that I have been suffering from memory loss (almost two years) since a metaphorical bomb detonated in my brain. The aftermath of our exodus from Muskegon has left a lot of carnage, primarily in the absence from my three daughters. Daddy has no memory of their formative moments, and he is pissed off about it.

Last year I was taking a walk with my middle daughter, Ambria. She was five years old, and struggling to keep up with me as I hiked to the top of a hill overlooking our property. I could hear her huffing and whimpering, wanting me to slow down and walk with her. When I finally stopped and turned around, I was caught paralyzed in the moment: Who is this little girl? She isn't a baby anymore... her little jeans were caught on the tip of her pink rubber boots. Her hiking stick was bigger than me, and her hair was a mess. Tears were coming down her eyes as she caught up to me.    K a i r o s.

In that moment, I fell in love with her. In that moment, I burned the image into my heart, and I vowed that I would not be in such a hurry. In that moment, I stopped to listen and look and feel and hold her.

Kairos moments can melt your heart and take your breath away: The february wind over the Grand Canyon as you glance at your wife, while she clutches your arm. The time Mariah came over to me on the side-line in the middle of her soccer game, just to give me a dandelion (the only difference between a weed and flower is an opinion!). The last time I was with Matt Fulk, Harvey Wagenmaker, and Jason Sorn... diving off the bridge over Pete's Bayou. The time I walked away from a terrible car accident that should have taken my life, leaving me barefoot on the side of the road.  K a i r o s.

I want to be the kind of man that wakes up after a deep sleep and says, like Jacob,
"Surely, God was in this place and I was not aware of it!".
I want to be the kind of daddy that teaches his daughters to watch the sunset and say,"Yahweh Shammah: The Lord is Here!"
I want to be the kind of husband who is madly in love and fully present with his wife as she tells me about her day.
I want to be the kind of friend who sit in the ashes of pain and despair or joy and celebration at life given and life taken, all the while saying: "Yahweh Shammah!"

The mountains are a refuge
where the audible voice of the divine whispers.
The trees are applauding the glory of God.
The bush is still burning.
And I am fully present.


ambria faith (at her birth)

heaven has crashed into earth, this first day of spring
and my heart pounds with yours
[welcome to this new beginning]
a world painted in full volume at the hands of the creator
waiting at your doorstep
merry go rounds and barking dogs
carnivals and fireworks
a sky ablaze in song
'this land is your land, this land is my land'

heaven has crashed into earth
this first day of spring
and my eyes are fixed on yours
if this picture paints a thousand words
the opening chapters are being written
and the characters introduced
you my leading lady, take my hand
and we'll dance across each page

heaven has crashed into earth
this first day of spring
and there's a song in the air
the universal melody of all creation:
clapping trees and crying rocks
changing seasons and the hanging moon
(that ever-faithful witness in the sky)
to the covenant established between you and i

outside the window
rain howling wind
clouds hidden sun
a double rainbow
one for you
one for me
welcome to this new beginning...


Spring Rain

Last night I held Ashlyn as we watched the immanent storm approaching the tree line across the ridge. She froze, paralyzed in uncertainty. First the thunder... then a flash of light across the sky! After a few minutes, scattered rain drops fell. And suddenly, a torrential downpour! All of this is a sensory overload on on the mind and heart of a two year-old toddler.

After we tucked her in to bed, Jamie retreated to sleep in our room. I remained standing by the front door, peering out at the panoramic cinematography outside. The early spring grass is beginning to fade into a thicker green. The buds on the trees are nearing an explosion of resurrection, and the song birds greet the morning.

It is in this stillness, that I am grateful.

Thanksgiving has come early this year.


The God Who Waits (At the Edge of the Driveway)

The other day I was driving home from Florida, through South Carolina. As I pulled off the exit and into the parking lot of the nearest gas station, a scene unfolded in front of me that caused me to question whether or not I was actually dreaming, or awake.

In the middle of the parking lot a woman was swinging violently at her little daughter with a belt, whacking her multiple times as the girl fell to the pavement.

Voltage shot through my veins like a pitbull on crack! I put the car in park, and bolted across the parking lot to interrupt the abuse. [There is a difference between discipline and demolition]. As I neared the woman, I attempted to grab the belt from her in mid-swing. She then turned her aggression toward me, and told me to mind my own business.

"This is my business!" I said.
As she cussed me out in the parking lot, the little girl climbed back in to the car. I kept asking her if she was okay, and she nodded through tears...

After a candid conversation with this woman, she got back into her car and sped away.


There is a beautiful story in the New Testament about a rebellious son who had chosen to disrespect his father, and chose a path of self-destruction. The parable of the Prodigal Son builds tension as the tragedy unfolds; how many times have we seen this movie? The path of violence, greed, and lust that leaves a trail of broken hearts along the way.

As the prodigal son wrestles his way through reconciliation [step 8 of recovery], he humbles himself and returns to the expectation of the discipline he deserves. He practices his speech: "Father, I have sinned agains heaven and against you, and I am no longer worthy to be in the family. But if you'll offer me a job as a slave, I will serve you for the rest of my life."

"But while he was still a long way off..." the Father saw him and ran to him, and embraced him.

This. Is. My. Favorite. Sentence. In. The. Bible.

Aristotle once wrote, "A proud man makes slow steps." In the ancient world, the way a man walks shows his character of reverence and honor. This was obscene behavior for a dignified man; To see an elderly father running at full sprint, with a pair of binoculars in hand - to embrace his humiliated son!

How do you view God? Do you see Him with a weapon with which he is poised to strike you in the parking lot in front of a chorus of witnesses? Do you anticipate lightening to strike you in your brokenness and rebellion?

Over and over and over again, Jesus illustrates through the use of Story - the heart of a daddy, who will go to any lengths to rescue and embrace his child. God is waiting at the edge of the driveway, wiping away tears of joy at the return of his wayward child.


To Be Loved Anyway

The other day I was sitting on the couch in my counselor's office, articulating a deep depression that has engulfed me in recent weeks. The highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows, all in a day's journey from the stage... to the basement.

It was revealed to me (through vulnerable conversation) that I have a propensity to feel isolated and alone, despite being surrounded by hundreds of friends. The truth is, I feel like a plastic impostor, allowing people to love a projected image of who they think I am. In reality, they don't know me... I am  enveloped by assumptions that I've allowed to exist. And at the end of the day, I hate the fictional character that others have created. I do not have it all together. I have serious doubts. I am under re-construction. I am less certain and have no control.

I am, however, hopeful.

I do get lost in the wonder of what if and maybe. I still find a refuge in the cross, and the embrace of the Abba Father, and He alone knows the depths of my brokenness. And He alone loves me anyway. He alone loves me anyway. He alone loves me anyway. He alone loves me anyway.


The Art of the Rescue

Last night I watched a documentary about the various reasons behind suicide. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has been the chosen site for countless launching pads into the next world, and the social commentary behind this video, along with graphic images, captures the hopelessness of so many who have come to the end.

There was one particular scene that caught me unprepared, and continues to stir my emotions... A young woman had climbed over the railing of the bridge, balancing herself on the beams while contemplating her jump into the raging waters below. A pedestrian happened to see the event unfolding, and ran to reach for her. He snatched her by the collar of her jacket and managed to pull her back over to the safe side. She fought violently against his insistence; she resisted his efforts to save her life. He held her down until help arrived.

And I found myself crying, as I watched the scene over and over and over again.

This is where I live. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My strengths are also my weaknesses. My heart is steadily pounding to rescue and protect the vulnerable. I love people with such a ferocious abandonment, that it begins to take a toll. I see people jumping to their death, and I want to catch them and pull them back to safety. Is it possible that I care too much? I become overly involved in the rescue, and become intimately concerned for the liberation of the captives. My life is so intricately connected to the well-being of others, that somehow their story becomes my own.

The intensity of the rescue mission triggers something psychological in my brain. The euphoria of a thousand amens and a growing congregation can be like a drug, and the monday-morning crash is like hitting rock bottom. The roller-coaster of success and relapse can begin to create doubt in my heart, and the limp returns... now I find myself peering over the ledge.

I thought I was on a rescue mission.
Now I realize, I am the one in need of the rescue.



Because God Needs More German Shepherds

I know this guy who seems to have a lot of time on his hands. He posts something on Facebook, literally fifteen times a day. He has read lots of books, and he is culturally engaged. He is a blogger, plotter, and theologian. His most passionate posts are warnings about invading heresies in the Church. And by heresies, I mean - anyone who has expressed thoughts or opinions that are left of his position. And by Church, I mean - the only Holy Catholic Church of Young Calvinists.

He literally believes that it is his role to serve as God's personal German Shepherd on the proverbial watchtower of social networks. (Because that is what God needs - more attack dogs!)

The interesting thing is that I have never seen this guy in public. Whenever there are community activities or opportunities to reach out to the lost with the gospel, he is nowhere to found. He "likes" these outreach events, but he does not come. He writes about evangelism and gospel proclamation, but he is absent from the conversation with those outside the Church.

He is mad about all the wrong things. As a matter of fact, the outrage of Jesus is to the professional bloggers who are obsessed with talk at the neglect of action.

And this is my message to him... Step away from the computer, put your iphone away, and stop overly concerning yourself with everybody else's theological questions. Please, for the love of God, take a walk downtown and join us in our efforts to share the good news of the cross with a dying world.  If you're going to write... post things about the glory of redemption. Tell stories about the fruit of the gospel and the testimonies of transformation. Celebrate the witness of the Jesus Revolution!

That is all I have to say about that.


Loving the Hell out of Asheville

We are continuing to establish a reputation for loving the hell out Asheville, by sharing our possessions and feeding the poor in our community. There are many homeless people who are living under bridges or sleeping in tents... the brutal cold can be dangerous and destructive.

Every friday afternoon, we meet at Pritchard Park - downtown. We are there to show them that Jesus loves us, and the tomb is empty. Last friday the local news cameras captured this story...

Check out this link: WLOS News 13

Love wins.


Immanuel [God With Us]

If I were to be really honest, for much of my life, the concept of God's immanent presence has seemed anything but accurate. Yesterday a crazed gunman slaughtered 28 innocent people, most of whom were in kindergarten. Kindergarten!! I have a daughter in Kindergarten right now, and if she were riddled with bullets, my ability to speak of God in these terms would be suspended (or expelled).

Much of the language permeating social network revolves around the mysterious work of God in the orchestration of evil. Quoting warm, fuzzy verses seems to numb the pain and the conscience ~ because we have no ownership of such atrocity. "Let's blame this on God!"

Christmas is the intersection of hurt and hope, a collision of transcendence and immanence. The unknowable cosmic clock-maker has now "taken on flesh, and moved into the neighborhood"
Before there was ever reality television shows like "Undercover Boss" or "Secret Millionaire", there was a baby in a manger struggling to operate never before used lungs...

We lost 20 + kids yesterday. Another 20+ were stabbed with a knife in China on the same day (but we don't feel as much rage about that. After all, their government murders their own daughters when it is determined to be a female in the womb, what can we expect?) In Portland, Oregon a few days ago a psychotic killer snapped and went on a killing spree at the mall, as people were Christmas shopping. In Aurora, Colorado an angst-filled teen opened fire in a movie theater...

But in Judea, two thousand years ago, King Herod ordered the calculated slaughter of every male child under the age of two years old. And Immanuel was born into a furnace of murder, (contrary to our cute Christmas nativity scenes with congregations singing, "But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes..."

Really? No crying? 

The heart of God rages and weeps as he watches project X erupt into an inferno of anarchy. He left behind a beautiful creation, and the party got out of control. He returns to find all hell exploding in His garden of Shalom... but Immanuel has come home, now. 

The very name given to this Messiah Hope is "Immanuel" which literally translates: God is here with us. A broken-hearted God has sent His Son on a rescue mission to recapitulate the Story that is still being written. The last chapter is a further proclamation of immanent grace. "And now, the dwelling place of God is with man." And He will wipe away every tear. No more crying. No more death. No more divorce. No more abortions. No more school shootings. No more blaming God for His absence...

___________ He says:_____________

I will be with you when you take your first breaths and your first steps and your first communion.

I will be with you when you learn to ride a bicycle for the first time without training wheels. And when you fall, I will be with you when you scrape your knees.

I will be with you when you submit your application and get rejected (yes I know the feeling!).

I will be with you when love breaks your heart and walks away.

I will be with you when your mom dies unexpectedly and your world caves in.

I will be with you on the day you give birth to your children, 
and I will be with you when you see them leave for college.
I will be with you in the good times and the bad. 

I will be with you on the mountain and in the valley. I will be with you in the hottest of summers and the coldest of winters. 

I will be with you in an otherwise lonely bed, to comfort you in the midnight hour. 

I will be with you when the world is cruel, and the rocks are thrown and you find yourself in the basement of the Muskegon County Jail, I will be with you at three o'clock in the morning as the rest of the world is sleeping and you’re contemplating suicide. I will be the eraser to the plans you’ve written in pencil.

I will be with you when your car breaks down in South Carolina and you have nobody to call and no money and no cell phone service and you hear banjo music.

I will be with you in the laughter of your children and the howling of autumn wind. I will be with you in the silence of September and the violence of December.

I will be with you when you feel a thousand miles lonely and you wonder if you’ll ever find or be found, in love.

Pull up a chair, and welcome to the Table. You’ll never be alone again.