Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


We’re in a new series in Encounter called “Say What?” where we are encouraging students to ask hard questions. Real questions that students and pretty much any thinking adult would ask about faith.

Today we asked, among other things, “If God’s will is good, and God is all powerful, then why does so much chaos and evil exist in this world?”  We wrestled with the dichotomy we find in the Scriptures.  We affirmed that God’s will is good and  that God is all powerful. However we also reminded ourselves that he permits individuals to rebel against that power.  This is crazy talk really.

We discussed the power of individuals to shape their own personal kingdom and to decide who will rule in their heart.  We talked about the domino effect we all have on one another in those choices and about the danger and ironic subtlety of evil.  We reminded one another that Jesus was right- there is a thief that comes to steal and kill and destroy the good things God wants for us.  That thief is evil.   There is no greater reminder of this in recent history than the events of Sept. 11.  Evil put up an international billboard that day saying, “here I am.”

On this tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, I’m reminded of a few things along this line. I remember very distinctly driving to work when my intern told me to turn on my radio.  I remember listening in my office and going home to watch the events of the day unfold on TV.  I remember wrestling as a church about how to respond and I remember being angry and confused.  I was angry that someone could do this. I was confused as to how this could be even remotely good.  I was not in a good place.  So, looking back on it, here’s 3 things I’ve concluded on this 10th anniversary.

LEADERSHIP IS MOST NEEDED IN CRISIS.  Leaders prove whether they are about leadership or just about position when crisis occurs.  When things are not going well, leadership shows it’s true colors.  The events of 9-11 caused those with a leadership calling to clearly rise to the top.  When my family or ministry and friendships are in crisis, my true leadership colors shine- for better or for worse.

GOD DOES NOT PROMISE ME A LONG LIFE.  This was the hardest piece for me to wrestle to the ground at 29.  A lot of people who died that day did so without achieving what I thought God should give to those who love him.  A lot of kids lost their parent. I was not prepared for that to be me.  Truth is, a lot of believers died 10 years ago today.  This fact messed me up for quite some time and forced me to re-examine my Bible and to go seeking for answers.  As I studied and prayed and wrestled, I was reminded then and am reminded again today, that while God may promise me eternal life, there is nothing saying that this side of eternity will grant me any number of days.  My days are not numbered by me and following Jesus with my life does not ever promise me I won’t be on a plane or in a building when a crisis like this occurs.

NORMAL IS OVERRATED.  Normal- quite frankly- sucks.  The sad reality is that on Sept 12, we were a better people in the United States that we were on Sept. 10.  We worked together.  We cared about one another. We were patient and gracious and loving.  We looked out for our kids together and created neighborhood watch programs.  We were a better people.  I’m not sure when, but somewhere along the way, we gradually warmed back up to normal again- probably back to Sept 10 relationships. Maybe the airport check in will never go back, but a lot of people have.  But I’d rather live in Sept 12 reality than a Sept 10 one.  I don’t want to live in normal.  I’m just praying it won’t take a crisis in my life to remind me of this truth.


  1. Hi Brian, Just a note not for publication. Loved Becky’s hair. X marks the spot?! Also, I think you left the “not” out of When things are (not) going well under “leadership is most needed in crisis”. Love, Dad

  2. glad you liked becky’s hair. fixed the typo. talk to you soon dad. -Brian

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