The Normalcy Of Greatness

Recently I was standing on the stage floor of the amphitheatre in the ancient city of Phillipi.

Within the 50 or so square feet where I was standing, Paul would have been one of many whose blood would have soaked the soil centuries eariler released by the ripping force of bone-laced whips.

I never identified much with Paul. He represents for me the bold, in-your-face, driver personality, love-him-or-hate-him type.

I’ve always tended to identify more with the classic portrait of the apostle John — head on Jesus’s chest and comfortable with the nickname “beloved.”

In that moment of standing where individual courage (nurtured in community) met systemic hatred (nurtured in culture), I found myself believing something that I think that Paul believed.

I believe that greatness is not a state of personal affairs meant solely for high-achievers and seed of royalty.

Rather, greatness is a normal state of affairs for the human being – living an expansive and generous life both in public and in private.

We are “indisputably bent” as Shaeffer put it, but greatness remains indigenous to the Image within.


Sheltering Mercy and Endless Grace help us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation. Sheltering Mercy helps the reader pray Psalms 1-75; Endless Grace leads in prayer through Psalms 76-150.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. Each book contains 75 prayers drawn from the Book of Psalms, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning there. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

These artful, poetic, and classic devotional books are a perfect gift, and feature compelling stunning illustrations and hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

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