Peace Out 2014

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2014 Is Over. The last year of our lives has been a roller coaster of awesome. As we get ready to ring in the New Year with family and friends I thought I’d jump on the ol’ blog to share a brief summary of some of what stuck out for the Kings over the last 12 months.

1. Life will always be crazy. Just when you think you have a handle on the wild ride and adjust to the new normal, it all changes again.

2. Enjoy the crazy life. If you don’t enjoy your crazy life, we’ll be honest with yourself, it’s the only one you have, and are ever going to have. Make the most of it. Cherish the awesome. Learn from the not-so-awesome.

3. Money is just money. Make it. Spend it. Save it. Give it. But certainly try not to love it, or even like it.

4. We are just one breath away from heaven’s gate. It’s been a long time since I was reminded of this truth in such a personal way. Make all of your breaths between this one and that one mean something special to those around you.

5. Nothing worth doing comes without work. That doesn’t mean it always has to be hard work, but chances are, if something is actually worth the attempt it will require effort, time, and maybe even a little personal sacrifice.

6. Better not bigger. You don’t necessarily need to make something bigger to feel fulfilled. Start by making it better.

7. Hard things are better with friends. Whether you’re camping out on a sidewalk at midnight outside of a Guatemalan hospital or talking the loss of a loved one through with your mentor, hard things are softened by the company of people who love you.

So long 2014. You were pretty good to us, but we are really excited about 2015.

Where Your Heart Is: A Christmas Blog

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Where is your heart? No, I don’t mean nestled beneath your sternum somewhere between your lungs and whatever is over on the other side. Not that heart. You know! Your heart. The metaphysical linchpin of your soul that drives your desires, captains your cares, and pushes your passions.

Where is it? Where does it lay? Where does it stop? Where does it rest? Where does it ache for, hurt for, beat for?

Stop and think about the answer for just a moment. Now check out what Jesus had to say in Matthew chapter six.

It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭21‬ MSG)

So, does where you initially thought that your heart was actually line up with where you are—with where you spend your time. If not then maybe it’s time to give that discrepancy some careful examination. Perhaps there is an absolutely legitimate reason (you know, like a time consuming career) why the two would be different. Or, it could be that where you think your heart is, and where it actually is, is not quite in line. But that’s an easy fix. Knowing really is half the battle. And if there is a difference there that you’re not crazy about ask God to help.

Jesus was the answer to where God’s heart is. He treasures us—and so he came to be with us.

Merry Christmas.

To Claus?

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I was one of those guys that swore off Santa Claus before I was a dad. Wasn’t gonna happen. My kids won’t believe in that stuff. Now I’m a dad. Our first son is nearly 3 and the second one will be here in April. Where do we stand? How do we handle it?

We tell the truth.

Santa Claus is like Batman, Captain America, or Buzz Lightyear . He has a lot of movies. Everyone knows who he is. But he isn’t real. He is pretend.

But what about when he isn’t pretend? What about when you can see him or talk to him? What about when he’s at the mall? That is a fat guy with a beard. Kids sit in his lap and talk to him, kind of like grandpa. He is pretending. Like when my son says he wants to fly like Buzz Lightyear and I pick him up and run across the house while he extends his arms and shouts “To Infinity and Beyond!” We are pretending.

Where do presents come from? People who love you, work hard for the money they use to buy them, and don’t cheat with pretend magic powers. You don’t have to earn your presents. It has nothing to do with being bad or good. It has everything to do with being cherished and probably a little spoiled. There’s nothing pretend about overtime, deadlines, and income taxes.

We pretend a lot in our house. We have bear hunts, and super hero adventures. We build snake guns out of Legos and block towers for the Ethan monster to destroy. And we have a blast.

Why?

I made a pledge never to lie to my kids. Not even “white lies.” I don’t tell him the super heroes we love are real. I don’t tell him Santa Claus is real. I don’t tell him eating his vegetables will make him big and strong like Hulk.

I never want to limit my ability to speak truth into his young and sponge-like mind and heart in a way that could undermine the BIG truths we already discuss on a regular basis. Things like love, generosity, kindness, (we recently had to tackle the notion of death and afterlife) and truth.

What about Jesus? We tell the truth. Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus. We have nativity scenes (at least 6 because my wife is Christmas-crazy). It’s important, we talk about it. But we don’t have to overcompensate. We don’t have to cram it down his throat in a half-guilty bid to outshine Santa Claus because Santa is never really part of the equation.

We might do it different than you. If you want to do the Santa thing go for it. Your house. Your rules. But we won’t. We don’t. And if I judge you a little bit for it, well—I’m only telling the truth.