The Compass on My Back


Why would I get a cross tattooed on my back? For me, the cross is everything. I want to represent everything that it represents.

I chose this particular design because it’s a look I really enjoy. I have a necklace with the same design. I like the arrows on all sides. It shows that the cross is a compass I can use. No matter where I go, I want to encompass Christ.

Whether I turn north, south, east, or west, I want to represent Him.

Whether I am going up, down, right, or left, the cross is my guide.

No matter what direction I take in my life, I want to represent Jesus.

When you look closely at the tattoo, you’ll also notice that we made the cross look like a rock. That’s because Christ is my rock.

Whether I turn north, south, east, or west, He is my rock.

Whether I am going up, down, left, or right, He is my foundation.

Whenever I turn, I stand on that rock.

Whenever I move, I rest on that rock.

I want to represent everything that the cross represents: crucifixion and resurrection. Have you felt pain? Have you been humiliated or shamed? So has Jesus. He understands. Has someone hurt you? They hurt Jesus. He understands.

Think about it. The almighty and living God, creator of all that is, seen and unseen, knows exactly how you feel in your pain, loneliness, isolation, or shame. He knows because He felt it too. He came here and felt the worst pain that humans can feel, and why? Because He loves you. You. He did this for you.

Are you carrying secrets? Have you done things so bad that you thought you’d literally die? Jesus knows. He knows your secrets and He knows your fears. So He literally died for you. Now you’re forgiven! When He rose from the dead, that was the end of death. Now you can look forward to eternal life. That’s redemption! Think about it. That’s freedom.

The Bible says, “Take up your cross, and follow me.” Putting this cross on my back is my way of saying that I’m taking up my cross and following Him. I’m living for Him.

When I die, I’ll gain eternity. But as long as I’m here, I’m going to take up this cross. Jesus is my rock. He is my redeemer. And in Him, I know I will live.

See you Tuesday.

My First Tattoo

When people see my tattoo, they ask, “What is that?” And I say, “It’s one of the Five Solas of church history.” And then they say, “What’s that?”

We’ve forgotten the Five Solae! In fact, I think we’ve gotten away from church history. We’ve forgotten where things started and we don’t remember who we were originally supposed to be. God created the church. It was designed to be the mystery of God.

solus christusI’ve done several studies of church history. I haven’t done an in-depth study, but I think I get the gist of it. The Five Solae, which summarize the basic beliefs of the Protestant Reformation, have always stood out to me. There’s Sola Gratia, by grace alone, Sola Fide, through faith alone, Soli Deo Gloria, for God’s glory alone, and Sola Scriptura, according to scripture alone. And then there’s Solus Christus, in Christ alone.

“Solus” means “solely,” or “alone,” so the Five Solae say something about our own individual journeys. My journey is different than the journey of the person next to me.  My journey is different than your journey. When you look at the Five Solae, you think, all right, what is my journey? Maybe it’s Sola Gratia, or maybe it’s Sola Scriptura. Only you and God know.

I would love to have tattoos of all Five Solae, but I don’t necessarily want to put a tattoo on every part of my body! So the one I chose had to personally mean something. It had to signify the journey that God has made for me. And the Sola that jumps out and attacks me the most is Solus Christus. It sums up everything. Do I believe that Christ is the only way to God? Yes. I believe Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man sees the Father except through Him.

When I do something, I do it with the understanding that I do it in Christ. Suppose someone asks me, “What drives you to be who you are?” The answer is Christ. He’s the reason I do the things I do. I try to view things the way that He wants me to view things. I didn’t hang with the guy every day like His disciples got to do, but I have the Spirit inside of me, which now puts Christ in me. Solus Christus. It’s in Christ that I do the things I do.

I know I will stand before the throne of God one day and He will say, “Jeremy, sometimes you were wrong.” But I’m willing to accept that. It’s not like we get to go through life depending on an audible voice from God on every single topic. We read in Luke that Peter, John, and James went up on the mountain with Jesus to pray, and a cloud came down and out of the cloud God spoke and said, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” We don’t all get that opportunity. But because of who I am in Christ, I ask for wisdom, and in Christ, I do what seems right. I try to. I do things in the hope that I get it, that I understand how Christ would do it.

That’s what Solus Christus means to me, and it’s why it was my first tattoo.

See you Thursday.

2015 Fellowship Day

Matt Baquiran came out to Giants Fellowship Day this year, and shared an awesome recording of the event on YouTube.  Thanks to Matt, you can see and hear testimony from me and my wife Larisa, and Jeremy Camp! Check it out here:

Beacons of Love

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20

Why do people who aren’t Christians hate us? They look at us and say, “You’re just a bunch of Bible thumpers who are homophobic and you don’t love anybody.”

Family GuyWe’ve brought that on ourselves. I don’t think we’re showing the love of Jesus. Gay people are asking for equal rights under the law, and we’ve got Christians saying “God hates you.” I get so angry because that’s not true! God loves you! Jesus walks with the gay community! I think Jesus says, “I love you just as I love someone who is not gay. I love you as a human being. I just love you.”

I had homophobia. I know what that’s like. But I was wrong to fear like that. God reached deep within my heart and changed me. Now I have gay friends and colleagues. There is no difference between us. Gay people are human beings, and I’m going to love on them just as God told me to love all human beings. God told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Maybe if more of us did that, Christians wouldn’t be so hated everywhere we go.

Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? A buddy pointed out to me that we’ve built backyard fences, and we no longer build porches. Is it because we don’t want to love our neighbor as ourselves? Here’s what our fences say: We want to be in our own area. Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, don’t speak to me, leave me alone.

Where are the front porches, where people come over and have lemonade, hang out and talk, enjoy each other, and just be in community? We’ve gone so far away from that.

Churches need to quit going out fifteen miles from a city, buying a big chunk of land, building a humongous church, and then telling people, “Come to us.” What is that? That doesn’t make sense! The Church needs to go to where the people are, and then love on them.  We need to be with people wherever they are and wherever they hurt, because that’s where Jesus is.

Jesus said, “You call me a drunk and a glutton because I hang with sinners. I hang in the bars, I hang in the slums, and I eat with people that aren’t your people.” He told the religious leaders, “You guys think you’re so great. I don’t even want to hang out with you. I’d rather hang out with sinners.” Sinners loved Jesus! But do sinners love Christians?

As Christians and as a Church, we have to change. We have got to start loving our neighbors. We have got to start setting the captives free. We have got to start feeding the poor. We have got to start loving. We need to be helping and providing. We should be the leaders in our communities for the simple reason that we just straight-out, flat-out love our neighbors.

Just think: we could be beacons of love.

Because I’m Saved

What do children think when you hide alcohol in the house? Dad must be hiding it because he doesn’t want anybody to know it’s there. Why? Is it wrong? Maybe we should try it. You know that’s the thought process.

In my home, my sons will know where the beer is. I’ll tell them, “The beer is in the refrigerator. You can’t have it. You’re not old enough to drink. But it’s right there. In fact, I’ll tell you what, why don’t you go get me a beer. I’m old enough to drink, so go get me one, please.” I want them to be able to go get it, and hand it to me.

I’m not going to hide the fact that there’s alcohol in the house, because I want my sons to think, “Dad is being honest with us. Dad loves us and trusts us to know that there’s alcohol in the house. He’s not hiding anything.”

Sometimes kids have issues because their parents don’t want to address the reality of drinking. Some parents try to guilt their kids or scare their kids into not drinking. But that’s a problem, because then those kids only respect their parents out of fear or guilt, not love. That’s not how I want to raise my children.


I want my children to respect me. I’m hoping they will respect me enough to know that they’re not allowed to drink. If I do catch them drinking, there will be some disciplinary action. Will I have to take the alcohol out of my house? I hope not. I would, if they’re not making wise decisions. But I’m not going to start my relationship off with my sons by hiding things.

I don’t want my sons to look at me and say, “That’s my Dad who I respect because I’m scared of him.” I don’t want them to say, “That’s my Dad who I respect because I hate feeling guilty whenever I’m around him. I would rather obey him than feel guilty.”

I want my sons to say, “That’s my Daddy. I love and respect him because he loves and respects me. He’s honest with me. I know I can talk to him any time about anything. He won’t fly off the handle and yell at me. He won’t guilt me into doing what’s right. We’re going to talk things out and I’m going to feel so calm around him that I’ll want to do what’s right, because I respect him.”

It’s the same way with Jesus. Some people say they love and obey Jesus because He’s God, but that might be putting it backwards. It’s because He loved me and died for me that I obey. Put another way, I don’t obey in order to be saved. I obey because I’m saved. That’s the relationship Jesus wants to have with us.

I don’t want my sons to look at me and say, “I respect you because you’re the father figure of our home.” I want them to say, “Dad, because you’re the nurturing father figure of our home, I respect you and I love you. I’m not just obeying you because I’m afraid of you. I’m obeying you because I’m your son. You have done so much for me and you care for me, and I love you.”

That’s the reality that I want for my family.

I’m going to wrap up this short series on drinking with a few words for the churches. See you Monday.

Drinking to Drunkenness

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:6

Drinking is not a sin. The sin is drunkenness.

Drunkenness is the sin because through drunkenness, you eliminate self-control. And when you eliminate self-control, a lot of bad things happen.

If you drive drunk, you can kill another person, another human being. That’s murder. That’s not good.

Think about all the date rape scenarios. College kids drink and the girls get raped. The guys’ hormones are high and through drunkenness, they lose self-control. They don’t understand what “No” means and they rape a girl.

Then there are the angry drunks. They beat their wives, they beat their girlfriends, or they beat their kids, all because they can’t contain their anger when they’re drunk. They cause pain.

In these scenarios, you’ve not only sinned, you’ve also committed a crime. That’s going to put you in jail. So nothing good can come from it.

When you’re drunk, you don’t even have control over your own thoughts. You don’t have control over what you say. Think about it: when you’re drunk, you don’t control your own tongue! I’ve been around drunk people that literally say whatever is on their mind. Well, some things aren’t meant to be said. So when you get drunk, you can say something to another human being that can cause a lot of pain.

You can’t do good things without self-control. Name one good thing you can do when you don’t have control over your own body. You’re falling down. You can’t even walk straight! You can’t make clear decisions.

The fear of the Lord is wisdom. It brings wisdom. That’s what it does. So when you represent Christ, you represent wisdom. You represent peace. When you’re drunk, you’re causing chaos. You can’t make peace when you don’t have control.

When you represent Jesus Christ, you make wise decisions. Drunkenness is a sin because when you’re drunk, you can’t live a right life. You can’t live a righteous life. The Bible says that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. So when you want to live a life that’s right, you have to be sober.

Make a decision that’s wise. Don’t drink to drunkenness.

The government, the church, and parents all have to help young people understand these scenarios. I’ll pick that up next time. See you Monday.