Monday, April 30, 2012

Conversation with a teenager

One of my favorite things, EVER, happened just a little while ago. After a wonderful day off where I spent time listening and talking to God, interacting with students in the community, and being with my family, my oldest daughter (16.5 yrs old) asked me a question.

I won't tell you the question, but I will tell you what it led to. It all started this morning, when that same daughter pointed out a verse she memorized that I happened to be reading to the family during breakfast: Psalm 138:8 says, "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." We ended up talking, tonight, about how God never calls any Christian to a "good enough" life. Think about that verse . . . we have our perfect Creator of the universe who has a purpose for each of us. His love will never leave us and it will never fade away.

 From these two truths we know that a perfect Creator would never leave the work of His hands (us) high and dry? The only way that His purpose for us does not come about is when we go our own way (Isaiah 53:6) and reject the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:36). Therefore, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, never SETTLE, but pursue Him passionately. Obey God and trust Him with the results. I love teenagers.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday with my son

I love spending time with my only son. He's 11, he's funny, and he loves many of the same things I do. After spending much of the last 7 days without him, we had a blast playing Wii and watching hockey, basketball, AND baseball. Is it a waste of time to do this for hours on a Sunday afternoon? Well, obviously, you could get arguments from all over the board, but I'm only concerned with two arguments - one from God's Word and one from my son. What does the Bible have to say about how to spend Sunday afternoons? Well, directly, nothing much, but it does give us plenty of help: Whatever I do, it should be done with thanksgiving to God and in the name of Jesus (Colossians 3:17). Whatever I do that is not done by faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Whatever I do ought to be done as an ambassador of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). As a follower of Jesus Christ, I need to simply be with my son and love on him - it may not be the way other father/sons spend their time together, but it's what we do. May I send my son away to college (or leave this earth before that time) knowing that we spent LOTS of time together being Jesus to each other and that he was trained to do the same with others. I won't leave anything to chance.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


My second oldest is 14 today. Life is going way too fast. I know that she will be driving before I know it. What to do, what to do, what to do? "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1). My daughter, while she is still with me, is my responsibility. God has given me this life, and new life in Jesus Christ, in order to NOT use it for myself. My prayer this day is that my 14-year old will know that my life is pleasing to God when I give it away to others, especially my family. As I aim to spend my life wisely, my family must receive the main investment. Birthdays - a celebration of God's unique creation as well as a looking ahead to all that He has for us to do and enjoy.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Leaving it all on the field

“And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (Mark 14:9) The woman in Simon’s home broke open an expensive bottle of perfume, anointed Jesus with it, and was ridiculed by all around her . . . except Jesus. Instead He honors her and we hear of her faith to this very day. What might people do to me or think of me as I follow Jesus the way He tells me to? As a lifelong people-pleaser, it pains me to know that there are people that have, are, and will be bothered by what I do and say. As I begin this intentional journey of dying to self and trusting my God with honor, I have chosen an analogy that will help me walk down this road.

The goal of any athlete who wants to give it his or her all is to “leave it all on the field.” Once the game or event is over, they should be able to look themselves in the mirror and say that there was really nothing left for them to give. Then, and only then, whether in blowout victory, a close result, or humiliating loss, can a person say, with integrity, “I gave it my all.” What, after all, is more rewarding than knowing that you did what you could to win, or help your team win?

Once God chooses that my time on this earth is over, I want to be able to say to His face, “Lord, I really don’t know what else I could have done . . . I gave You my all!” If God were to take me today, just having turned 44, I could not say that. This saddens me, but it doesn’t sadden me enough. My prayer is that this journey will not only shape what I do with my life, but will shape my heart as His heart is shaped.

As Harold Crick, in “Stranger than Fiction,” willingly faces his death after finding out how noble of a death it was, I want to live out my days the way God prescribes because I know that it will be a noble death in the way He defines it. He knows what He’s doing. Just as Jesus said of that woman, may He say of us, that we did all that we could (Mark 14:8a).