Never Leave


I could be here all night, just praying it wouldn’t end

Pretending that it was alright, that this is more than just pretend

More than a game of make believe

Where all my hopes aren’t here to deceive

My heart into further disappointment

Your touch the gentlest ointment

For a lifetime of sorrow

A lifetime I’ll return to tomorrow

Just please let me sit one more night with you

And pretend that this mirage is somehow true

Or true enough to transcend

This fairytale land

And infiltrate the world that I call real

I’m too desperate to allow myself to feel

That reality knocking on my conscious door

“Please, please just one minute more”

I say, drowning out the knocking

And the satanic voices mocking

The deep internal fire

Growing quickly to desire

Daring bravely to believe

That you might hold me once and never leave.


Legal Part 1: Sharon’s Bar and Brothel



“You’re not as strong as I have made you to be.”

I had just finished watching the last Harry Potter movie. The epic battle between good and evil came to a smashing close and the bravery of its characters were left to ponder over and it was then that the quiet words formed in my heart.

“You’re not as strong as I have made you to be.”

My heart was impressed immediately with how I had settled for who I was while who God made me to be was left unfulfilled. Dear God I’m sorry. The juxtaposition of who God had made me to be and who I had chosen to be is still strong in my mind. It wasn’t shame or the sense of failure which broke my heart. It was the sorrow of lost potential. “Of all sad words in tongue or pen, the saddest of those are it might have been.” I strive to avoid regret. Regret is worse than failure in my book. There is nothing worse than living your life until its end only to finally realize that you could have been so much better if you had just stopped compromising.

I sat at a table in Denny’s somewhere in Nevada. Three women sat across from me while I ate dinner. They are giants of their faith and as they speak I realized most acutely that I am a baby Christian. The same impression would come over me again the following night while I walked Freemont Street with Chris Chapel, the pastor of a local church.
“The devil’s trying to get at me…” the guy replied. Chris had stopped him while he was walking the street to see if he needed prayer. “Yeah I know,” Chris replied “I can see him all around you…”
It was a bold statement. I usually approach such clichéd statements about warfare with cynicism. That night, however, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Chris really did see the Devil around this individual. I couldn’t see any demons or Satan, but I didn’t doubt for a second that Chris could.
Chris is a giant as well.
It’s so easy for me to feel like I’m mature in my faith, that somehow I am strong enough for this kind of battle. And it isn’t that I now feel particularly inadequate because God called me here for a reason, he’s going to have to equip me enough. He’s going to have to be strong enough for me. But meeting these women and Chris I can say that they are adults and however old I thought I was in my faith was taken away in just this one realization: All of them go obediently towards what Christ is asking them because they are full of God’s love for the lost.
They go because they love. I go because I want to take a stand. I want to be strong. I want to be able to fight. I want to fight the powers of darkness and bondage. I want to see people set free. I realize this isn’t entirely loveless, but it is immature. It’s immature because it is God’s love which is the ultimate weapon for the battle that I want to fight. Their heart for God and his people lead them into the fight prepared. My over confidence leaves love behind. It’s as if I were going to the battlefield with my sword left at home. What good am I to the battle then?
So I find that I’m investing all of this energy in trying to be intense when, really, if I just love well and serve well I will be fighting this battle well. I will be able to see the Kingdom of God break into this city. I find myself reflecting once more on the night when God told me that I wasn’t as strong as he had made me to be, recognizing in hindsight that my idea of strength and God’s is very different. He doesn’t want someone with fire and brimstone, someone with force. He wants someone who is strong enough to be humble and serve, who is bold enough to love unconditionally.
The catch is that this kind of living, this kind of strength requires absolute commitment. Love, transformational love, requires blood, sweat, and tears. It requires a lifetime. And I think this is the difference between substance and shadows–whether we love ourselves or other people more. That’s the hard part, that’s the part that costs. It costs our lives. It cost Jesus his life. We shouldn’t be surprised that it costs us ours–living or dead.
Maybe we all want to fight for the kingdom of God. Maybe we are trying to take a stand for something important. But let’s not forget the reason why we are fighting, the reason why we are standing. It must be because we love much and out of this love we can’t help but act. It can’t be to fulfill some self image, or unbridled anger, but simply because our hearts are so in love with Jesus and other people that they are drawn in and transformed by it. I talk so much about the power of the Holy Spirit, but I forget that it’s love which brings down the strongholds of the powers of darkness. It was love which conquered sin and defeated death. Love is our strongest weapon against evil. Love is what transforms our hearts. This week I want to love more, to be transformed more. I am convicted that is the only way I will ever see Christ on the streets of Vegas and in my own heart.