When I was 18 I worked for a summer camp as a lifeguard. Halfway through the summer, I was brought in as a counselor because one of the counselors had to leave because of a family emergency.

Fast forward 12 years to a young family walking through my front door last week. I'd been following their story for a few weeks and when I heard they were making their way through Dallas, well, of course I wanted them to come for dinner! Their smiles are contagious. Their children are well-behaved, smart, and charming. The parental units are writers. They love Jesus and they're from southeastern Pennsylvania, near where I grew up. What's not to love?

Halfway through our evening we realized that the counselor I replaced that summer was none other than Maile Smucker herself who now sat across from me on my back porch with her legs tucked up into a chair. What are the chances?

Shawn Smucker, her husband and the penner of beautiful words over here, wrote a book called Building a Life Out of Words and you should read it. Okay? Not just because meeting them felt like meeting family, but because he's doing daring and beautiful things with his own family and with his words.

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A few weeks ago I signed up for an online writing class and then a week later, for the first time in my life, had to drop out of a class. I hated to do so, but I just had too much on my plate and couldn't make it work. But, let me tell you, if you're dabbling in writing or want to sharpen your skills, Andi Cumbo has made it affordable and fun. She's interactive, she's kind, she's sharp, and she's talented. Take the class.

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My pastor just wrote a book with Jared Wilson (one of my favorite authors on the subject of the gospel) called The Explicit Gospel. A friend asked me why they didn’t include Dallas in the seven city Explicit Gospel book tour. To which I replied, “Isn’t that just like normal church for us where every weekend is the explicit gospel?”

Just got me thinking though: you literally cannot sit through a sermon or teaching or service at my church without hearing the gospel clearly. It comes through like this: you’re broken, you cannot do this life (any part of it) without His broken body, sacrificial love, and far-reaching grace. By His grace His children are not under the law any longer (including the evangelical codes of moralism so prevalent in the Church today), so live like sons and daughters, chosen, loved, redeemed. I love that.

I love that.

Because I need that. I need it every week. And I need it every day. There's never a time when I don't need it.