I don’t mind living a little bit “out there” so people can examine what is going on in my life spiritually and theologically. I don’t mind engaging in hard issues, like racism, immigration, etc.
It does get a bit tougher when it comes to very personal matters, but I also know there are people who have the same struggles I have and for whatever reason don’t voice them. If I share just a little bit more of my life, there is an opportunity for people to identify and think, “Maybe it’s time for me to try this.” Continue reading “Saving my life and my ministry”
We are in a season of change at this stage in my life. Continue reading “The heroes in our lives”
There’s a scene in the movie Field of Dreams… a movie that goes missed by so many as I teach college students these days… Continue reading “So there’s this scene…”
I’m so used to shoot quick pics of everything. I snap a picture and before you know it, it’s on Facebook. I’ve allowed it to be my journal substitute. Continue reading “The things that don’t get photographed”
Taking time to reflect on what is vital in life is important. We need to set aside time regularly to reflect on what drives us internally.
What brings passion to my life? What makes me want to get up and get at things in life every day?
Recently reflecting on what drives me right now, and rejoicing so deeply over what is going on in our church and ministry, I jotted down a couple of things that get me up every day.
- My family. Our boys are grown and gone. Two are married. We have one grandson. (Have I told you about him?) 🙂 And when I reflect on my family, on where my wife and I are in life, I am filled with joy. I watch young men do life and see what God is doing in them. I have wonderful conversations with my wife and enjoy much more time with her… and I am driven every day to pray for them. I am filled with joy every day seeing what is happening in their lives.
- My church. Our church has turned a major corner. We are in a new day that is magnificent. What is ahead is exciting and fun. It’s hard work. WOW! Is it hard work! But joy-filled work that will yield harvest for the Kingdom. We will see more churches planted. We will see the Spirit touch our city. I want my story to be “written” showing my deep love for the church where I get to pastor.
- My city. I love the Twin Cities. Winters drive me nuts (except for this last one), but it’s not all about the weather. It’s about the people. Where our church is… well, I really love that part of the city. I watch people do incredible things in that city. They work hard. They love people. They make the schools better. They make the city better.
I can wake up every day with a driving passion to help my family, my church, and my city thrive. The Lord has gifted me with these precious passions. Where I feel his presence and empowerment most is when I am doing something in those three areas. This is where I want my “story” to be known. This is where my passions lie.
When someone foolishly holds up a sign that says “I am Cecil” to protest the killing of a lion, or insanely puts on a placard “#catlivesmatter” like it is somehow linked to #blacklivesmatter, it’s time for someone to yell, “Let’s just back the crazy truck up a bit!”
We are truly a world gone crazy. A villager from Zimbabwe wrote a piece that made it to the New York Times that reveals our craziness as Americans. He talked about how shallow we were to care more for a lion than the villagers in Zimbabwe.
We’ve lost sight of HUMAN value. In a quest to protect species or save the planet, we have traded off HUMAN value. We’ve made it an either/or proposition instead of both/and.. and we look stupid doing it.
It also exposes our extreme laziness. It’s so much easier to put something dumb on a cardboard sign or build a hashtag movement than to GO to Africa. We feel better, then retreat into our comfortable lives again.
There is a deep call, a deep stirring in my spirit, for MORE. To go beyond the hashtags and fake protests. To value ALL life, but I will be honest… HUMAN life matters. And when #blacklivesmatter gets diminished by #catlivesmatter, I am REALLY angry. When #catlivesmatter overtakes the tragedy of abortion and only highlights our disdain for the truly voiceless in humanity, I am truly enraged. My youth pastor said it best, “I am Old Testament angry.”
Friends, let us wake up. Let us see what insanity was have brought on ourselves!
It’s a hashtag, but it’s also my constant prayer these days:
It’s always a good time for reflection and dreaming about what is ahead. There are a few things I want to see ahead in my own life, especially this year.
1. Reflect more. Spend more time reflecting on the day.
2. Dream more. We have a special silent retreat coming up, then our church has a missions trip. These are huge opportunities where God can do something spectacular. It is time to dream bigger.
3. Keep on laughing. This is a time of my life I thoroughly enjoy. Our youngest is a senior in high school and seeing God do great things in his life. Our other two sons are in college. We have a daughter-in-law. It’s just a very nice spot in our lives. I want to keep on laughing and enjoying the journey. There are tough times, without a doubt, but I want to keep my in perspective.
In all things, the most important thing is to keep our eyes glued to the Author and Finisher of our faith.
And for today… I enjoy one last day off, spend some special time with family, and get back into the swing of things tomorrow.