Take it Back!

Words spoken in anger…

We get frustrated. We say stuff we regret. Harsh words spoken with painful spite, the net effect… a wounded heart. 

Pain from the accusation. Pain from the separation of friends and lovers. Pain from the truth and its bitter sting… pain from a well placed lie and the venom of being misunderstood.

Such little things… words.

Add a mix of social media and instant technology, and the toxic can become catastrophic for relationships.

The Coaching Room

As parents and pastors the field of life is strewn with the corpses of past friends, fellow soldiers for the King and old comrades in arms now fallen.  We see the gross and festering wounds of bitter disappointment and resentment seeping across the hearts of those we minister to… and with.

The culture is sucking us dry. We’re being trained to cut loose our baggage… to move on when things get messy. No relationship is worth our sacrifice and struggle, we exhaust and offend easily, fragile in our self-absorption and pride. 

The gospel of Christ forces us to look beyond self-interest. It re-aligns our hearts to something greater than affirmation and glory. The gospel received awakens something super-natural in us… and true love awakes.

We crave to serve and sacrifice, an unexpected contentment and growing satisfaction in our heart. Our relationships begin to bring us strength, fulfilment, and peace, not the old familiar creep of bitterness and jealous resentent.

Brings to mind an inspired poem that sparked a revival of sorts; “…Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs,…” (The Vision Poem

Guys… we must lay down the offenses, forgive the offenders, and take back our words. There’s no other way to reconcile.

Andrea Lystrup Therapy

If you’re struggling with a relationship. If you find yourself distant and isolated, nursing a grudge… it’s time to take it back. Yep… those words of anger and hurt need to be recalled.

Pick up your mobile phone… arrange for some coffee talk and take a risk. Share your regrets and your pain… swallow your pride and fight on dear one. The relationships of life are our only true treasures to keep. 

Peace out- Pastor B.


Forgiveness…the Evidence of Love

For the Christian… the life and death of Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of love.

The ultimate ‘take-away’ truth of Christ’s life as lived out in front of his disciples… ‘Forgiveness’ 

For most, we would readily agree. Without forgiveness we have no possible way to pray or spend time with our Creator. No option to pursue greater intimacy with the lover of our souls… it takes the foundational truth of being forgiven to start this Christian pilgrimage.

We surround it with words like….Grace, Mercy, Long-suffering, Patience, Humility… but in the end it’s all about ‘forgiving’ sin. From the ‘Lord’s Prayer” to almost every gospel and epistle in the New Testament, we are constantly reminded and commanded to forgive one another.

Forgiveness is the practical and often painful part of redemption. 

Our pop culture senses the power of forgiveness… it stands in wonder at its strength and courage…

Don Henley (of the Iconic band the Eagles) says it like this…

“I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness” (The Heart of the Matter – Released1989) 

We are ‘redeemed‘ is the liturgical response for many… it means we are the forgiven and restored ones. True. Yes and thank God!  But Christ’s work on Calvary is more than a theological event for all mankind… it’s also our personal moment of salvation.

This reality crowds out the ‘other‘ offenses in our life. When we remember our conversion to Christ… we instantly return to the realization of our own broken state.

It only takes a sobering second of our time to recall  just how messed up we were/are when we were ‘forgiven’.  We remember in vivid detail… the intense and painful brokenness we felt. The anguish at seeing the devastating effect of our sin. The shame at our wilfulness in disobeying our loving father. The despair of  how selfish we were in thinking only of ourselves.

That is the moment of our transformation, when our despair and darkness was pushed aside by the blazing glory of Christ and His offer of forgiveness. An offer of freedom. 

Yet it’s this reality that often eludes us when we encounter the brokenness of others in our lives. Our spouses, kids, bosses, and mothers… all fail. All of them leave us torn up and wounded by their sin and shortcomings. Yet… we struggle to forgive. 

It’s only when we ‘forget’ the sorrow and grief of our own sin… that we delay offering the grace and gift of forgiveness to others.

source – Money Matters

St. Paul said it like this in his letter to the Colossians (chapter 3).1Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

It’s all about the “tone” – confessions of a dumb dad

First up, my wife is a saint.

Second little detail… I’m a doofus.

Let me set the scene… family dinner of dad’s spaghetti surprise, everyone’s had a long day, sharing a meager late dinner. Bleary and fatigued, I heedlessly jump into a delicate and complicated relational issue with one of our kids.



Ever do that ?

Of course you have… we all have, “bad timing” would be the ‘only positive spin we could make on such a poor approach.

In my genuine concern, I jumped the gun and dove into a deep problem armed only with my logic and need to resolve the issue before bedtime. Completely missing my wife’s gentle warnings to ease up, I pressed in…. made my point and wounded everyone.


The painful truth hovering an inch over the table and squeezing the life out of what I had hoped to be a ‘healing’ conversation, I slowly realized how soundly I had screwed this up. My wife raising her voice deliberately in check (holding back her right to kick my shin in half under the table) as her eyes burned twin holes through my chest.

So it turns out… I needed to be reminded, you can say the right things the wrong way and be completely in the wrong.

After an extra thirty minutes of damage control from my wife, the issue was soothed and smoothed over.

An hour afterwards, I came back to my wife and my kid to apologize. Not just the “I’m sorry’ I said things the wrong way apology…but the I was wrong for speaking to you that way, I am truly sorry for being insensitive and harsh when you needed me to be gentle, patient and kind apology.

Grace was extended, grace was received and in the mess, somewhere and somehow… God’s Kingdom came to my home. 



Parents, we’re not going to get it “right’ , but we can ‘make it right’.

Let’s focus on living our faith in ‘front’ of our families and be careful to allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide our every conversation… and guys, please say an extra prayer of thanks for our gracious spouses who offset us knuckleheads!

Pastor B.

Fatherhood Resource for dad’s to check out – by John and Sam Eldridge,

Killing Lions – from Thomas Nelson publishers.

Rush to judgement

As a pastor I deal with lots of diverse personalities, backgrounds and perspectives on Christian life. I hear various and widely polarized views of God, politics and the role of the church in our modern culture. I’ve seen painful issues blow up from minor misunderstandings to a church split, based on a single personal offense.

It’s tragic when we allow ourselves to be manipulated, nudged into fueling turmoil and rumors without all the facts.

We forget of our mortal enemy and his mastery of getting us to think the worst of the other. Subtle demonic encouragement that urges us to assume ill intent from a fellow brother or sister.

We can easily get caught in a ‘knee-jerk’ rush to judgement and say things that we regret.

Let’s be careful to recognize the unrestrained flood of emotion that can ‘mysteriously’ show up in our days.

It clouds minds and hearts and overshadows all the good and true things of our Christian communities. In those dark moments, very few of us have all of our facts sorted out and lined up before we throw down on our fellow Christian. Let’s pull back to Christ before we give in to the temptation to spew whatever we’re feeling all over every one else.

Let’s be careful to not presume the worst, but to have the courage to ask for the facts.

Let’s choose to trust the Christ in each other and not to use each other to simply “affirm” our views. Let’s give up on the option we can hold in reserve, the plan B to simply walk away if our views are ever rejected. We have to deny the lies that whisper….”we’re not wanted” and re- focus on the redemption of God in our hearts,  trusting He does the same in others. We can’t keep simply leaving communities of faith when we get hurt, grinding our teeth and nursing grudges, simmering with bitter resentment that can slow boil for decades.

The problem is… what we ‘feel’ isn’t usually true and if other people are involved in our lives…. we will get hurt eventually. An unavoidable reality of a fallen world. 

The truth is we are all already wounded, scared and angry. We cautiously visit churches, convinced we’ll be rejected before we ever enter the doors… self-sabotaging and primed for defensive measures. Please understand….I get it. I’ve done it. I know how to live frustrated and wary, cynical in my mental isolation.

We need to learn to take a moment to slow things down and really-truly ask our God to show us where HE wants us to belong. Where are we called to plug- into a community of faith? Not where we feel the most ‘fed’ or  the most ‘comfortable’ or  where people all agree with me.

Ask Him to reveal the things in your life that are uniquely ‘yours’ to resolve. Ask Jesus to come. Invite Him to touch your heart and heal the broken spaces, the old issues and fears, frustrations and pains that need to be brought to His healing cross.



Wouldn’t it be great if we moved from a Co-Dependent faith that seeks to find only those who agree with us… to a genuine relationship with God in a community of faith that’s bound by covenant of love and shared mission ?

Saints, parents and friends, we must push forward through the turbulence of community life, we have to choose to forgive and grow up together  into Christ, mature and stable, able to discern between good and evil.

Paul says it so much better…

Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV (Biblegateway)

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Love you all, Pastor B.

Tired of talking?

I’ve been traveling since the recent tensions in Ferguson Missouri erupted, which gave me a ton of drive time to tune it all in and listen as dramatically different versions of what happened droned on. Polar opposite opinions escalate like the volatile emotions on the ground, as pundits and politicians, activists and angry American’s vented their wrath and frustrations all over the airwaves.

I couldn’t help but feel the bitter sting of the Millions of lives impacted by the actions of just a few. 

I listened as generations of anger and hatred, fear and frustration all came bubbling up and boiling over as each side aggressively took their stands,  prepared to defend the sanctity of their actions to the bitter end.

Forming ranks against any who would dare debate or discount them, people from every walk of life spewing toxic opinions all over twitter and Facebook as the Media machine blew on the smoldering agitation to heat their ratings white-hot, as they ride this tragedy straight to the proverbial bank.

As a pastor, as a man…my heart is seriously grieved.

I have deep friendships with people who are taking up positions on both sides of this tired debate. Each one emotionally sharing their “opinions” to me, needing me to agree with their “take” on exactly what should be done and by who…

Social media blowing up with angry accusations and judgments from one group to other. What should a ‘good’ Christian do or think ? How should churches really respond etc. Good people standing stubbornly on opposite sides of this cultural divide, re-creating in our small groups, schools and homes the same seething emotions that are being acted upon in the streets of Ferguson MO.

What is all this really ?

Why are we so enraged to ‘defend” and debate before we have the facts? Even if we did know what happened, what will that do but confirm to people what they already believe to be true.

 Wrongs  passed down and repeated, injustice and suffering expected, predicted and allowed. A state of mind and life that stems from a broken heart, a condition no doctor, educator, social worker or psychologist can fix? 

It’s hard to take responsibility for our actions. Good or bad, right or wrong… we dislike the shame and humiliation of admitting we are in the wrong. Like a marriage relationship gone really bad, both sides refuse to forgive the other. Each spouse absolutely convinced of their being in the “right” and seek only to “prove” to their point to everyone around.

With humility and some perspective, I am suggesting to each of these polarized camps….the truth might actually be smack-dab-in-the- middle. That each of us has a significant part to play in this social tragedy.



As Christians… God calls us to lead the way in reconciliation, in forgiveness and in patience with our fellow broken and imperfect man.

Living in Ferguson MO this is nearly impossible to hope for, and God’s grace will need to flow like a literal river for this mess to be resolved. But what about the ‘rest’ of us?

Are we gonna keep sparking it up or give this over to our God in prayer ?

Guys…If we don’t let God in on this stuff, we’re missing out on another fantastic opportunity to show supernatural love to a broken and bitter world.

I believe Prayer is where the things that matter the most can be changed… the state of the  human heart.

Parents, your kids are watching and listening… be thoughtful in your words, just in your action and compassionate in your opinions, it’s the only way we can go forward with our Faith intact. 

Pastor B.

Parenting with Presumption…

Sometimes I presume too much, I think I know what’s going on when I don’t have a clue.

Ever have a moment of clarity when you realize you just totally and completely blew it with your kid ? 

I recently returned from a long weekend trip with my wife to find the house and in particular the kitchen a mess. (The dishes were stacked higher than the countertop and we could see random pieces of food floating in the murky water stagnating in the sink hole)

My wife and I were exhausted from a particularly draining weekend on the road and found ourselves blasting into our sixteen year old for failing to do the dishes when we got back. Pent up anger and inner frustration spewing out onto the closest scapegoat around.



We jumped to some presumptive conclusions about what we assumed to be his lack of responsibility and concern for our family, believing he ignored the needs of our home so that he could enjoy himself freely during our absence. Explained in passionate detail and multiple angles for crystal clarity for a solid fifteen minutes of parental interrogation. (You know what I mean 🙂

With the evidence so clearly observed in the sink….We accused him of being lazy and self-centered, immature and apathetic… etc. His response…silence. He closed himself up emotionally, took his verbal lumps and went angrily to bed, not saying a word.

Later as I felt something about our parental tirade wasn’t totally “right” and asked God about the issue with the dishes the night before… my spirit was uneasy. Could we have missed some vital detail? I decided to ask our son about it the next day.

He refused to talk about it. So I began to push a little bit for him to tell me what he was “feeling” about all the drama we had experienced the other night and if we (his mother and me) might have over-reacted or missed something in our discussion with him… ?

After a prolonged silence…his faced clouded up and his eyes filled with tears…I watched as his shoulders slumped and his body began to shake, knowing my son, I realized with certainty…we had misjudged him… and badly.

As we listened and he quietly talked, it was very clear, we – his parents;  were totally wrong about what we thought had happened!  In our frustration and haste to correct, we had wounded our son’s heart and unjustly accused and presumed to know of his intent and character. It was worse than being an idiot, we were now officially parenting jerks! With each of his slow, quiet tear drops, I felt the shame of regret flood my own face.

After asking for his forgiveness, (which took some time) he shared with us how much stress he really was struggling to live under. The pressure of high school academics combined with a deep desire to please us (his parents) was squeezing him.  He had stayed in his room for an entire weekend to study for the upcoming college entrance exams. On deeper inspection, we could see hadn’t been watching TV and slacking off… he had been working.



His one highlight he had hoped to share on our return..,  a special effects photo project he had carefully arranged, ready for us to see when we got home… yep you guessed it, he had set it carefully out for us to see in our KITCHEN!


Oh man, I realized suddenly… not only did we NOT see his hard work and effort on-display in the kitchen, we had only focused on the dish mess and what we perceived he did wrong, instead of celebrating what was so obviously done so right!


We missed more than that though… we didn’t see or feel a fraction of the immense stress he had been carrying around our home – hidden behind his teen mask of alternating moods and hormone melancholy. We mis-judged his motives, faulted his personal integrity and questioned his maturity ! All done in the space of a heart-beat and all of it dead wrong.

How many families out there know what that feels like ? How many of us have lived out a similar experience of pain and rejection between parents and kids, some lasting for a lifetime, all because of a moment of presumption?

We went critical instead of supportive in our parenting perspective! We didn’t honor and encourage him, building his confidence as the young man he was and needs to become. Instead, in our haste and pride we smashed him and his wounded heart to pieces all over our kitchen floor…and if God wasn’t so merciful, we wouldn’t have even known our error.

source -totstoteensmagazine.com

source -totstoteensmagazine.com

Sometimes we  just need to “own” our messes as parents, asking forgiveness of our kids. No excuses, no explanations…no justifications allowed, just humbly accepting and admitting our mistake and trusting our heavenly Father to make up for all the mis-steps we make as parents.

Pastor B.

Single minded

As I age… I find myself chucking the un-necessary stuff in my life. The value of simplicity growing larger than my compulsions to “have” or acquire. My garage has less junk in it than ever, my attic has only the seasonal Christmas trinkets and my closet, only the clothes I still wear.

My heart is less cluttered too… I don’t hang onto all the emotional baggage like I used to. Past offenses, fears and hurts are still occasionally on the edges of my mind and soul, but they no longer claim me as a place of residence.

christophergiglio.blogspot.com -

christophergiglio.blogspot.com –

It’s more important to slow down, to really understand the reasons behind the reactions… both within myself and in the lives of others. When I make the effort, I find it’s a significant and effective place to parent or pastor from.

The hardest question I can ask myself centers around my relationship with Jesus. Not the cliché’ marketing slang of WWJD, but deeper than that… what does Jesus “say” for me personally to do about this facet of my life?  What is it He’s specifically urging me to consider about the situation I find myself struggling to understand, respond to or help with.

The moment I take the time to really ask and really listen to God… I find myself quickly decompressing and even relaxing. The pressure for “me” to handle this, to have a wise response or a Godly attitude suddenly evaporates as I realize I can’t be Jesus to anyone, I can only be Brad. BUT, I can let JESUS act through me, I can give permission for Him to speak with my mouth and use my hands and feet to accomplish what He would have done in the same situation.

The challenge is consciously moving beyond the circumstances of each life challenge. IF Jesus gets to call the shots in our lives, He ignores our plaintive, insistent objections that we believe in so strongly.


-our “right” to be offended,  or…

-our stubborn insistence to be “vindicated

– or our personal protestations of “injustice” when treated wrongly.

All of the above considerations, although well founded in our minds are singularly irrelevant to the heart of Jesus. He chooses to love and forgive every time, and so If we allow Him to be in charge… we are giving Him permission to do the same in and through us to others.

He moves past the particulars to the heart of each and every situation… my heart, their heart… and His heart. That is difficult to stomach when our powerful emotions and deepest feelings intrude on His divine direction. It means that I have to “trust” in his perspective more than my own.



But no matter how difficult the decision to “Trust” Him… I find that when I totally surrender my option to respond how I want to… and accept what He wants (before I know the answer) instead… I am completely at peace.

The singleness of mind that going to God first brings… is amazingly clarifying.

Our truest self rotates intently around the genuine relationship we have (or don’t have) with Jesus. When that issue stays before me and above any other, I live and work and play and love with clarity and freedom and happiness. When I allow other things to distract or cloud that… I lose my simplicity and get complicated very fast.

Nothing Jesus did or taught or lived was ever complicated. It may have been eternally profound and un-fathomable…but not complicated. When we find life getting very complicated, it’s a clue that somewhere we’ve drifted a bit from our center and need to re-align ourselves spiritually before we can un-clutter ourselves emotionally – physically or materially.

Peace out family… Pastor B.