Let Your Glory Shine

The song “Let Your Glory Shine,” by Lincoln Brewster came on my mp3 player today, and it gave me a second or two of pause. The song begins with a short but lightning fast burst of guitar that just melts your face. Then he gets into the verse, which is pretty much straightforward blues/rock with a nice groove. Of course, then Brewster and the band go absolutely nuts after the bridge, and there’s another face melting guitar solo.

In the following video, Brewster tells the story of the song:

He talks about when he came from the secular music world (he played for Steve Perry, the original Journey singer) into playing worship music in a church, he always felt restraint, so far as his playing went. But it seemed like God was telling him to just play with what he was given to play, and in this instance, that was crazy guitar skills.

But the chorus of the song really tells the story.

“Let your glory shine, let your glory shine, let your glory shine through me.”

I’ve heard both pastors and worship leaders over the years say things like “church isn’t the time to showboat,” and maybe it isn’t. Perhaps a song like this IS more suited to a concert setting. But to me, that doesn’t meant the song doesn’t carry a valid message.

Let your glory shine through me.

Brewster also says in the “making of” video above, that “If I don’t give Lord everything, both musically and spiritually, then I’m not being obedient.”

He’s letting the talent God gave him shine (worth mentioning is that he always gives God the glory for what he’s been given).

That sounds OK to me.

Certainly, I’m no pastor, no bible scholar. Can’t sing or play.

But if there was something I could do OK, I would do it, and honor God with what he’d given me.

What that is, I’m still doing my best to discover. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe telling people about the Good News.

Maybe it’s simply my work. I would guess that’s it for a lot of people. Steven Curtis Chapman has a song where he says something like “do everything you do for the glory of the one who made you.”

Can I write and edit documents to the Glory of God? I think so—I hope that’s what I’m doing today.

But maybe it isn’t something so glamorous as typing for you, or playing ridiculously awesome guitar solos.

Maybe you drive a cab, or wash dishes.

Maybe you scoop dog poop in a park.

Or you could be a stay-at-home parent who spends a great deal of their time following children around and vacuuming Legos out of the carpet (you can do that, right?)

Try to think that in that moment, you are where God meant you to be.

Handing homeless people a meal, or stacking chairs.

Flipping burgers.

Making bouquets.

God put you there.

You can glorify him wherever you are.

I wish I could sing all the time. I’m the only one in my nuclear family who can’t, including my 4 year-old.

But that isn’t me.

Instead, I am spending my lunch trying to think, and write, and eat something from the roadrunner without getting some meat-sickness.

Then I will go back to Word, and Publisher.

I will write, and I will edit. And I will drop the mic when I am done for the day.

“If I don’t give Lord everything, then I’m not being obedient.”

Basic Human Rights 101

These two paragraphs from a New York Times article upset me so much I hardly know what to think about it:

When asked about American military policy, the spokesman for the American command in Afghanistan, Col. Brian Tribus, wrote in an email: “Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.” He added that “there would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.” An exception, he said, is when rape is being used as a weapon of war.
The American policy of nonintervention is intended to maintain good relations with the Afghan police and militia units the United States has trained to fight the Taliban. It also reflects a reluctance to impose cultural values in a country where pederasty is rife, particularly among powerful men, for whom being surrounded by young teenagers can be a mark of social status.

The article was in reference to the struggles soldiers are having with looking the other way while these Afghan chicken hawks rape and abuse young boys (occasionally girls). Domestic Afghan Criminal law? Please. This is a country that seems to encourage (or at least condones) the perpetuation of child sexual abuse as policy.

Really? These are our allies?

Isn’t not being raped a basic human right?

And while I’m thinking about it, just because these…men have always been a rapin’, does that mean they always should?

Does it really take a doctorate and a radio telescope to see when something is wrong?

If placating our “allies” requires allowing them to violate children because they’ve always done so, then we need to rethink our own military’s policy.

I spent several years witnessing first hand the terrible cost perpetrators of this “policy” exact on the victims of it (meaning rapists and victims–though domestically rather than internationally), and the closest I can come to describing how it makes me feel is rage.

And I know that makes my own faith–my own Christianity–sound feeble and hypocritical, but I could not ignore something like that. And I have nothing but respect for the soldiers who acted, and are going to lose their careers because of it.

I will just say it. It’s difficult for me to see the wrong in putting a beat down on a sack of goat crap like this Afghan commander. He’s lucky they didn’t kill him.

My response to all of this is there are some things in life that should not be compromised–one of which is the right of children to experience life at their own speed, and to not be subject to things like what our soldiers are told to ignore in Afghanistan.

Ignoring the screams of children is wrong, and the message this…policy is perpetuating is also wrong.

No, it isn’t the United States.

Yes, they should police these men in Afghanistan, in accordance with Afghan law.

They aren’t going to.

In my opinion, ignoring this crap is going to backfire big-time.

There has to be something we can do?

At the very least, the people entrusted with command of these men–as well as our commander-in-chief, should create a dialogue with our “allies.”

Because eventually, someone is going to go all “Marcellus Wallace” on these Afgan commanders.

Think it can’t get any worse? Wait a while.

The Falling Man

Of all the 9/11 images readily available, the ones that twist my guts the most are not the extremely graphic ones, though there are many of those available with the click of a mouse.

It would be fair to describe it as one of the worst days in American history, if not the worst.

There are two photos of Father Mychal Judge that are very powerful. In one, he is praying over (maybe administering last rites) a firefighter killed by a falling body. In another–after being killed by either another body or falling debris–the Father’s dead body is seen as he is carried out of the building by a group of firefighters.

He did his job, fulfilled his calling.

And he died.

The worst for me, though, are the images of people jumping from the upper levels of the World Trade Center. From the Windows on the World restaurant. From Cantor Fitzgerald. In fact, there is one well-known image of a large group of Cantor Fitzgerald employees standing in the broken windows of their workplace, and it’s almost as if they were looking over a cliff. I guess they were, in a sense.

They didn’t jump in sequence, but there was a rhythm to it just the same. Some of them held hands. Some tried to parachute, until the wind from their fall ripped whatever they held from their hands.

Then there was the image of a person who came to be known as the “Falling Man.”

We’ve all seen it. He’s wearing a white coat–like a restaurant employee–and he’s head down. His leg is drawn up, knee neatly folded. He looks almost peaceful.

Of course, the image is one of a series, and the rest reveal the chaos of his descent. But for that one frame, he looks at peace with things.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file picture, a person falls headfirst from the north tower of New York's World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file picture, a person falls headfirst from the north tower of New York’s World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

There was nothing peaceful about it.

And when I think of 9/11, I think of that picture, and I agree with the “never again” statement.

And I remember.

The Esquire Magazine article “The Falling Man” surmises the Falling Man may have been food worker Jonathan Briley, though no one knows for sure. The article then says this:

“Is Jonathan Briley the Falling Man? He might be. But maybe he didn’t jump from the window as a betrayal of love or because he lost hope. Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family. Maybe he didn’t jump at all, because no one can jump into the arms of God.

Oh, no. You have to fall.”

The Lifeguard

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. Our country has some serious problems–both domestically and abroad. These are issues the executive branch is capable of handling, but for some reason has been choosing to act and/or negotiate from a position of weakness rather than strength, in both areas.

I think there are times when that sort of approach can be affective, but in this instance, it seems the greatest country on earth is approaching the head of the soup line with our palms up in supplication, asking if we can please have some more.

Do I think we should act like the playground bully and take more control?

Of course not.

I think our current USA CEO could even be a great president under better conditions–under peacetime conditions.

Except that in our current domestic and world situations,


There’s a war going on, and a pestilence made up of radical Islamic thugs and murderers spreading in the middle east.

Is the answer to keeping Iran out of the fray gently petting their back like a kitty?

Maybe not.

But letting them inspect themselves to determine if they are stockpiling nuclear weapons?

Have they proven themselves to be both truthful and trustworthy? Sane, even?


And what about the Islamic State?

What about our own country, for that matter? What is going on?

It seems as if life has no meaning beyond Webster’s definition.

People kill each other almost arbitrarily in places like Chicago, and really across America.

Young African-American men are killing cops, because black lives matter.

Cops are occasionally killing African-American men because they have been conditioned to fear them, and even expect the worst.

Stupidity, AND latent and active racism have a hand in both.

Here’s the thing, in my opinion.

Life is never easy, for most of us.

But it has value. Each life has value.

Black, white, blue, born or unborn.

How do we get people to realize that?

It’s there where I usually get myself into trouble.

It isn’t by preaching wrath.

I think it’s by preaching the love of Christ.

Not Allah, or Vishnu, or Baal, or anything like that.


It’s a shame so many people don’t know that.

It’s a shame it often seems the government is working toward criminalizing people for saying it, in one form or another.

It’s my belief that if people knew what value they had to their maker, maybe they would act, think, and feel differently.

Maybe I’m being optimistic and naïve, but I think there’s always hope. It may be that my saying that in the way I have offends you.

I’m sorry if you’re offended, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

There’s just one way to find real peace.

It may not be popular.

It may be difficult (of course it is. Morality seems more vice than virtue these days). And moral relativism is a lot easier to achieve and maintain than a relationship with Christ.

Man, I don’t know what to tell you. I only know my own pain. I only know my own hopes, dreams, and fears. I only know the sources of my own scars.

And I only know that it wasn’t until I began a relationship with Jesus that I began to find relief.

I know that with the same certainty I felt when I knew I wanted to marry my wife.

Listen, folks, you don’t have to believe me. You get to decide the route your life takes.

We are all different, in almost every way.

But we are also all the same.

We’re drowning in a deep, dark pool, and we need someone to throw us a rope. Lots of people will, but only one rope leads to rescue.


Cling to that one with all your might.


I’ve been up at the front exactly twice during an invitation at church, both times at my church in San Diego. They did it a little differently than some places I’d been. People would sort of hang out on the short steps leading to the stage, and if you wanted prayer, you’d come up and have a seat. Sometimes you’d do the same in the chairs. Seemed to work pretty well.

On the day in question, it was because I was a small group leader, and the pastor called us to the front to pray for or with people that wanted prayer. Typically, it was people involved in worship or ministry in some way that would be the prayers, but there was a retreat or something going on, and the pastor needed a little help.

Honestly, it wasn’t something I was terribly comfortable with at the time, because I didn’t feel…worthy, or qualified to lift anyone else up to God. I felt broken, and sort of…held together.

But the pastor called, so up I went.

I remember the first time, I sat nervously on the step, wondering if anyone would come to me—there were quite a few people sitting around the stage. I silently prayed that if someone did end up with me, that I would have the right words to say when the time came.

I felt like the kid in left field, asking God “Please don’t let anyone hit it to me.”

Shortly after that, I saw a pretty woman in her late thirties or early forties make her way down the aisle to where I was sitting. She was tall for a woman, and very slender. She had a bandanna tied around what looked to be a very bald head, and my first thought was cancer.

What I remember most is she looked very, very tired, and from what it looked like, had been sitting alone in the sanctuary.

She stopped right before me, and I slowly stood. She took both my hands in hers, and I could see the gentle sheen of tears in her eyes.

“Hi,” I said. “How can I…”

Before I could finish my sentence, she dropped her head toward her chest and the tears began to flow.

God, I prayed. What do I say? What do I do to help her?

You do nothing, was the sense I got. You say nothing.

So I didn’t. She was a little older than me at the time, but I just reached out my arms and I hugged her.

She cried on my chest for a good five minutes, and I just prayed silently in my head for her. Mainly that she could experience Jesus through her pain, and that I not ruin any experience that might happen. I never asked for healing. I don’t know why.

She lifted her head a minute or so later, and she just smiled a gentle smile at me, and said “thank you.”

“It was my pleasure,” I said.

She stepped back and said, “I guess I needed that.”

“Me, too.”

She looked at me for a moment, and then walked back down the aisle, and out of the sanctuary.

I stood there for a moment, and realized I didn’t feel nervous anymore. I actually felt peaceful. I could still feel the woman’s arms around me, and smell the faint scent of Sunflowers (I think that’s what it’s called) clinging to my t-shirt.

I didn’t remember anyone holding onto me like that since I was a kid. Not in a romantic way, but still loving. Comforting.

Like I was a brother.

I realized it was me who needed the prayer, and in that moment, needed her.

And it occurred to me that maybe she’d been praying for me the whole time I was praying for her. Maybe she was crying for me. I felt like I got the most of the blessing.

That was the only time I saw her.

I don’t know her name, but when I think about God meeting my needs (which he does every time I ask), I always think of her, and of Sunflowers perfume.

And I think one of the funny things about God is sometimes you just need to show up, and let him do the work.



I keep a sword behind my bed—two, actually. A pair of sheathed Roman-style gladiuses (or is it gladii?). Not much of an edge on either, but both have relatively heavy blades and nasty points. So while I may not shoot you, if you break into my house and try to hurt someone who lives there, you will either be killed and partially consumed by a Chihuahua and a dachshund, or stabbed in the head by an angry, middle-aged bald man.

Or that’s my plan.

The issue I run into is that I am not certain I could do it. I hope I never have to find out. That’s the thing about courage. I guess you never really know if you have it until you’re tested. I think these days, home invasion is the most likely situation in which that test would ever occur.

As I said a minute ago, I hope it never does.

When I think of courage, I think of people doing what has to be done in spite of potential danger to themselves—up to and including killing to protect those in their care.

I don’t think about senior-aged men deciding they were meant to be something other than what they already are, and then going on national television and suddenly becoming heroic for talking about their issues. Identity. Whatever.

Courage, of course, does not always have to be meant in a martial or violent sense, either. I think about people like Randy Pausch, maintaining his composure, and hope, and delivering his last lecture in the face of certain and eventual death.

I don’t mean hope of death passing him by, either. Randy had something he wanted to achieve before he passed, and he did, in spite of his illness.

That’s courage.

I think of my brother-in-law, John, climbing this…electrical tower thingy and bringing a potentially suicidal guy back down to earth.

That’s courage.

Or how about those Coptic Christians being marched down that beach earlier in the year, moments from literally dying for their faith?

Most definitely courage, and I can only hope to be as brave should something similar ever happen here.

Talking about how God gave you the wrong plumbing?

Not so much.

I guess in a sense, every boy wants to be courageous when the time comes. We all want to be heroes. What am I after with all this? I’m not sure. I guess I just hope that if and when it is necessary, I come through and do what needs to be done.

Until that day, I will just do my best to raise my boys to know that I am there for them, and will protect them and their mother to the best of all the abilities God has given me.

I never served, and never had the honor of protecting my country–I wish I had, now.

What I can do is support my country however I am able, and support those who do protect it with the best of all the abilities God has given me.

And I will hold all life as sacred, because God said to (and because I read Coleridge–the Ancient Mariner had some real problems) and because all life is sacred. All lives matter.

I think if I can do those two things, even when society tells me I don’t need to, or don’t have the right, then we will be OK.

Does that make me courageous? I don’t know.