December 2013

A young girl, I would guess junior high age, came up to me after my last workshop on God, what are you doing to me?. She said thank you and that she learned a lot and got a lot out of it. I asked her what did she get out of it. She responded that she lacks self-confidence and has felt defective for quite some time (how long is quite some time when you are in junior high). She liked that I spoke about God redefining her and stripping her of these broken inscriptions placed upon her. She liked that God wanted to bring beauty and power within her.

I was touched with how much she was paying attention and that she was moved by the stories I shared and by the activities I led them in. Each had started the first day with a piece of clay about the size of a one year old’s fist. I had them inscribe their broken names and told them God seeks to redefine us into a new name that comes out of the spirit of Belovedness. The next day I had them identify their compromised solutions they use in dealing with these inscribed cracks on their lives and in what ways do they wear masks to cover it. Then on the last day I had them remove the clay and find what is inside which was a little treasure chest with a white stone in it. On the stone I wrote ahead of time a specific name for each clump of clay (prayerfully I asked God to lead me in coming up with these names and that each specific clump would get to the right attendee).

So I asked her what was the name on her stone. She said “Adored”. I smiled and told her to pray that God would make that real in her life and to find confidence coming out of this reality rather than the false inscriptions that has marked her.

Walking away from that moment, my heart was so moved and reminded that God is involved in speaking into the lives of people I speak to. He goes way farther than what I can possibly do.

That is grace at work.


This email came the day before Christmas and touched me. It humbles me to think people are impacted. I thank God for the grace and privilege of writing Resisting Grace.


I just received an email from my aunt in California – the one that I sent a copy of your book to. She is a Christian…one of only a few on my dad’s side. I had to copy her thoughts of your book for you.

I’ve read the book and I love every chapter in it. I say it’s “thought-provoking” but what I find to be amazing is that, Jon’s thoughts on paper are beyond…oh, I don’t know the words to describe it…every page flows with ease from one “grace” to another. How does one begin to write on such an amazing subject?! My eyes have been opened by this book and I keep searching my mind who I could share it with…give as a gift. I believe all Christians should read it but then, again, many are not readers (so sad…sigh…). Better yet…it would be a great Bible Study.

So, note from my aunt: Get working on the companion Bible Study guide to go with the book!!!! (your next project)
Meanwhile, she will be busy thinking who she can share the book with!

Thanks so much for a thoughtful and thought-provoking book. I need to reread the entire book, as I was only able to read parts of it (had too much reading for my Masters program), when I first got it.

Merry Christmas to all! I’ll send Joelle a thank you – but I was so surprised to receive a copy of her book!!! Such a sweetie! That’s on my must read list too.


When I was first diagnosed with overlapping connective tissue disorder, I was at my worst physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was a deep time of lamenting with confusion and worry for both myself and my wife. We found an outlet to express ourselves by writing together a small storybook. It greatly helped us unpack a lot of baggage the illness brought to light.

This is taken from the book.
In writing of this children’s book, we sought to convey some profound elements of living in simple form. Loss, changes, doubts, faith and hope were parts of our own story as told through our dogs, Ume and Ototo. The dogs’ life journey, in particular Ume’s, reflects many of our family’s emotions in dealing with Jon’s illness during the first two years during and after diagnosis. In writing this story down on paper, it gave us the chance to solidify our experience and come to a greater understanding of life, of faith and of ourselves. Our hope is that the story touches some part of you – the part that knows about hard changes.
This is the second run of the book. When we first wrote this book, we were in the initial phase of living with Jon’s connective tissue disorder. We were told that life expectancy could be around five years. So much has happened. It has been over seventeen years of dealing with the struggle of chronic illness. The God of glory and grace has been with us through it all. Perhaps we will write some new stories to tell about it.
If you are interested you can get a copy on We are reprinting it for the Christmas season. Well, maybe I am reprinting it so to keep up with my daughter’s publishings. 🙂

The essence of grace is power and beauty.
That is enough for me.

all yours

My wife and I each lead separate women and men groups. (you can look at my old blog site to read some reflections from past groups I have done) This past forty days both have taken on the love challenge where members plan out actions of love for each day outside of group. During group time we discuss what we did and what it was like doing it. Many of the group members in both groups express how difficult it has been to keep on track each day with their plans.

The discussion regarding love actions is not the actions itself but what I identify as the Intentionality and attentionality of the love. Though anyone can take each day and just check off the task of love they set for themselves, most find it stretching them beyond a checklist. It is thinking with intentionality. I am going to do this out of love. It has helped the members remind themselves of the motives behind what they seek to do.

It is also forty days of attentionality. What I mean by that is whomever is the object for that day to pour love on, so not to merely make it a checklist activity, it requires giving full attention toward what the other desires, needs, thinks, feels and does. It is paying attention to the other, not just deciding this is what I will do to act in love toward you.

be intentional and pay attention

thats what I learned about love in these past forty days

tearing pages

I posted this comment on a blog site. You can read the post below. I wouldn’t have responded except for reading the line: “This is a verse which has been violently ripped out of context time and time again.” That got my goat. It didn’t encourage dialog but judgment I thought. Normally I would shake my head and move on but I chose to step in and give my two cents. Hopefully without being so disrespectful in my language.

I think our disagreement in regard to the interpretation of Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” could be productive. Much learning could have been out of a dialog to help explore interpreting a verse on both immediate context and the overall context of the Psalm. I think we could have disagreed without slander to the other’s interpretive action. Maybe I would have even changed my mind. That’s what dialog can do. But I do have confidence that I did due diligence in studying the whole text. (Did I violently rip out the verse from it’s context?)

Here is my comment and below is the post. What do you think?
Be still-a call to stop fighting or turning of attention away from the disturbing/threatening things we face and onto the living God. I am sorry but I don’t think it is as much of an obvious misinterpretation. The big context of the psalm is reassurance and focus on the Lord as “refuge and strength. Ever present in trouble time”. A call to be still can be a call to refocus on Him -stop looking at the natural disasters (vv 2-3) or the trouble that the great nations stirs (v.6-9). God’s place is one of joy (not fear) and secure (not uncertain) (vv4-5)
to me it makes more sense to say Stop the worry and refocus on Me (i.e. a more contemplative application) than the political application suggested.
Context of the whole Psalm for me gives more credence to the interpretation that you argue against.

The Post I responded to:
The Most Misused Verse in the Bible
We read it in devotional books. We sing it in church. We meditate on it in our quiet times. God’s command in Psalm 46:10–“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Unfortunately, the verse has nothing to do with what we usually think it does–being quiet before God, not being frantic and busy, or maybe getting ourselves ready to hear a sermon. No, it’s not about any of these things. This is a verse which has been violently ripped out of context time and time again. What does it really mean?
The answer is not hard to find. The prior verse clearly explains it. Here you go:

9 He [the LORD] makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

“Be still” means “Stop fighting wars.” It’s a verse about international politics, not personal piety. God stops warfare. He is above all nations. When he smashes armies, no one has a chance. So get with the program and realize God is in charge of history before it’s too late. As Derek Kidner so succinctly puts it, this is a vision of “tranquility on the far side of judgment.”
Yes, the Bible does encourage regular times of quiet and prayer (Mark 1:35), meditating on Scripture (Psalm 1:2) and enjoying the presence of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). Just not in Psalm 46.
One other legitimate use of Psalm 46:10 is possible, however. In Mark 4:35-41 we read of Jesus being asleep in a boat while the disciples fear for their lives in a storm. After being wakened by the disciples, Jesus says to the storm, “Quiet! Be still!” Immediately the wind stops and the waves cease.
The stunned disciples ask, “Who is this?” Yet Jesus has just implied an answer.
In echoing Psalm 46:10, Jesus expects the disciples (and Mark expects his readers) to complete the quotation, “and know that I am God.” Jesus equates his act of stopping a raging storm with God’s work of stopping raging armies. Now that is worth meditating on.

If I get a response back. I’ll let you know.
Here is the link if you want to go and look.