We Need You

What are we doing? I mean, what are we REALLY doing to impact the world around us? Chances are, unless we live in a cave of apathy and indifference (as many do), we are making a difference. But what kind of difference are we making?
Is it an intentional difference? Do we have a presence about us that is measurable by our absence? For good, or ill?

Life matters. People matter. Your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and enemies. Those you like and dislike. Those with whom you do and do not agree. 

The truth is, we need you.

The world needs the selfish, entitled, pansy, lazy, overly sensitive, easily offended wonderful, productive, engaging, understanding, and actually tolerant and compassionate you that is far too easily hidden, marginalized, and/or forgotten. 

Step up. Do something. C’mon already! We need you!
What will you do that world needs? Let us know below.

Advertisements

Easy & Light

  

I was thinking about this passage today during my time alone with God.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)

A yoke is still a yoke. A yoke is used for something. It has purpose. It’s for accomplishing an
end. Jesus never said it would for real be easy. It is necessary. It’s work. Doing stuff takes stuff.
The yoke was made for doing stuff. 

We read Matt 11:30 and think that means it should be a walk in the park but then we forget that all of his disciples were martyred. Even John had multiple attempts made on his life. The kind of easy Jesus was speaking of was altogether different than the connotation of the word we drag up in our comfortable 21st century minds.

Paul talked about being a slave to Christ. It’s hard sometimes. And ministry life can be really
hard at times—but it beats the hell (literally) out of the alternative.

To live is Christ, to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21) 

Paul said that too. 

A burden is still a burden. There’s a big difference in the burden that Jesus brings and the one
sin brings. Jesus brings a burden of peace, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, love,
understanding, consideration, and justice—all wrapped in grace. Sin brings a burden of
brokenness, wretchedness, insecurity, deception, blindness, stubbornness, and fear—all
wrapped in death.

The burden Jesus brings is a burden. But it’s light.

It is easy to carry in respect to the death that is the alternative. The yoke is light but it is a
yoke. It is quite simply a great relief to your soul in regards to the death that is available should you choose to shackle yourself to a yoke of your own making.

Jesus is better. Believe it. 




The Apologetic Muslim

  

Something both wonderful and sad took place earlier this week. I was hanging out with a large crowd of students in the minutes before a midweek worship gathering at our church when I began a conversation with a wonderful young man that I will call Tahm.

We engaged in several minutes of very interesting conversation about travelling and our common interest in helping others. As the conversation continued and the service drew near this delightful guy shifted gears. It was then, with apologetic tones, he felt the need to inform me that he was a practicing Muslim—and the look he gave me that followed was one I will never forget. It said, “how will you treat me now?”

In September 2001 I was wrapping up my first collegiate tour of duty, finishing up a degree in communications, journalism, & public relations. I was surrounded on a daily basis by international students at a time in my life when, overnight, our nation turned hostile toward almost anyone of middle eastern ancestry. I remember how ugly it was. How afraid everyone was. I remember my Pakistani friend Zishon was whisked away to a safe place off campus in a storm of confusion. Zishon was a Muslim too. He didn’t identify with the hateful acts of violence perpetrated by those who claimed to share his faith.

That’s what I remembered this week when Tahm shared his faith with me. He was afraid of my response. It broke my heart. He wanted to know if he was in a safe place. 

Do I have strong opinions about Islam? Absolutely. Should I allow that to influence my treatment of Muslims? Absolutely not.

Many, many, many, times in life I completely blow it. I let Jesus down. I fail to respond as he may have in a given situation. But I think I got it right with Tahm. I invited him to lunch. I expressed my genuine desire to get to know him. And then I walked him to the sanctuary myself as the service started.

Jesus said that he came to “seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) That my friends includes anyone and everyone. But how often, I wonder, do our responses to people’s lives get in the way? How we respond to the vulnerability of those who walk into our lives says more about us than any sermon we can preach, book we can write, or song we can sing.

Thanks for reading. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

WALKING WITH GRANDPA

  

Today my parents came to visit us. It was a really good day. We didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary but it still stands to serve as a day that will mark a special place in my memories.

One of the best moments of the day came after lunch. The fellas in the family; my oldest son Ethan, my brother Brian, my father, and myself all went for a stroll outside—in the woods. It was great. Perhaps the best part of the whole affair was the simplicity of it. We just went outside, for a walk, together.

At one point I looked up to see my dad, who has never been an overly affectionate man, holding my three-year-old son’s hand. It was touching. Why? Because it was a perfect picture of rare and raw masculinity at work.

My dad is a man’s man. He loves the outdoors. He would rather be outdoors than anywhere else you can imagine. He likes all of the kinds of things that the men of his generation enjoy about the outdoors, but mostly he just enjoys experiencing God’s creation.

Back to the walk in the woods…

This picture perfect masculine moment came when my dad, a hard working outdoorsman of the rarest kind, used his strength in a way that offered my son protection. It was the simplest of gestures. But it carried so much meaning for me. It was more than my dad holding my son’s hand.

It was a multigenerational extension of strength, identity, and initiation—all wrapped up in the protecting hand of a grandfather. Something that is becoming rare in our society today.

.

We are no longer at a crossroads in our civilization. No, the crossroads has long since passed, and may indeed no longer even be visible from our rear view mirrors. We missed the turning point. Men stopped being men. Fathers stopped being fathers. A generation grew up with dad’s in their homes that were not dad’s in any other capacity that mattered—and having lived that way they have believed that fatherhood is optional. My sons’ world is a world where the numbers of kids who know their dads is fewer than it has ever been, and the number who know their grandpas is fewer still.

I will be there for my boys. As much as I can be. My dad has always been there for me—and will be a grandpa to my sons. But what will the continuing repercussions be for a society that finds itself lacking grandpas who want to hold their grandsons’ hands?

What will the implications be for boys, of all ages, who don’t have someone to model strength for them? To tell them who they are? And give them a loving push into manhood?

The answer is all around us. It’s in our prisons. It’s in our broken sense of honor, justice, and morality. It’s found in the depravity that permeates our culture like a dirty poisonous fog. It’s death.

Without the guiding embrace of a man, on some level, a boy cannot become a man—and a man cannot truly live.

God walked with Adam in the Garden. He showed him strength, purpose, and identity. He showed him fatherhood. And ever since the Fall we’ve been fighting to get it back.

Thanks for reading. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Welcome: A Letter to My Son on His First Day in This World

  

Welcome to the world son. It’s a lot different out here, huh?

It’s big. And cold. And wonderful.

Sometimes it can be scary. Sometimes it can be miserable. But it is also beautiful.

Everything is new. Not as new as you. And not as cool as you, but it’s all new to you. And you’re new to everything.

There are quite a few people who have been waiting to meet you. Some of them are pretty awesome. They have already been in love with you for a while.

Your mom, brother, and I are crazy about you. We’ve been talking about you and getting ready for you for months. We’ve prayed for you every day together.

You’re a little brother now. And big brother has been really excited about you!

You’re a grandson, nephew, and cousin too—and those are all names that come attached with more awesome people who love you a whole lot.

The one mommy and I are most excited about though is the name son. We welcome you into this world because you’re our’s. We both get to love you, teach you, and help you.

You don’t know it yet but you’re a minority now. Not every sweet little boy or girl has a mommy and a daddy. And while we’re not anything that special we are yours. And you are ours. And we promise to do everything we can, the best that we can, as often as we can. It’ll have to do because you’re stuck with us.

So welcome to this world. It’s crazy (I think I already mentioned that but it is worth repeating). I can already tell how awesome you are. My little gift from God.

You’re going to grow up to do some pretty amazing things. Just try not to grow up too fast ok?