Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 10 – Are You Still There?

images

Do you remember the last time you sat in your grandfather’s lap? Do you remember the comfort of it? The joy of being engulfed in his arms?

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 10: Are You Still There?

                   Buddy is my grandfather. I have strong childhood memories of him because of our holiday vacations at my grandparent’s home each year. The unmistakable smell of his pipe as we entered their house. The recliner he was almost always found in, sitting as a king on his throne, watching sports. His flattop hair cut. His infectious laugh that shook his whole body, much like the image I had of Santa Claus. But my most enduring memory of Buddy is his gentle, loving spirit. This is what drew me to him the most. He completely enjoyed just about any interaction he could have with the grandkids. He would turn his hands into a pretend man named “Tom Walker” and walk his forefinger and middle finger after us – which would send us, for some unexplainable reason, running into the next room. He would take turns asking one of us, “Do you know how Josh eats corn?” And then proceed to clamp his powerful hand down on a leg, just above the knee and squeeze; resulting in uncontrollable laughing and squealing. While we were still small enough, he would grab us up, put both of our ankles in one of his hands, turn us upside-down and tickle us with the other hand. This would instantly cause us to flop around like a trout dangling from the end of a fishing pole.

                   And then, there was the awe and wonder of his magic hands. He could make money appear from behind my ear! And more than that, he could put his hands together, pull on his finger and make the first knuckle completely separate. There would be a full inch of air in the middle of his finger. Then he would put it back and it would be normal again! 

Oh, the magic of childhood! Could there be a life available that is constantly that alive? That free? That exciting?

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 9 – You Won’t Believe This

IMG_1237

Can you identify with this? Sitting at a broken desk top, trying to create but feeling as fragmented as the surface you’re working on.

When was the last time you sat down to write but the words just wouldn’t come. You crumple up your paper, clear your head and start again. But this time it’s even worse. You pick up your pen and there’s nothing. No words, no thoughts, no ideas, nothing but frustration. What do you do?

Do you get up and go for a walk? Do you quit for the day, knowing it’s just not going to happen? Do you let it get the best of you. Does the tension begin to rise, starting in your hamstrings and climbing ever so slowly up your back and into your neck?

This is a choice, right? We have the ability to step away, don’t we? Whether we’re frustrated because of writers block or because that home project that was supposed to take twenty minutes has now moved into its third hour – we still have a choice, right? We don’t have to allow it to overcome us, do we?

But what about those times when we don’t have a choice? When life suddenly spins out of control – and not by our doing! What about when our dreams are crushed and there’s absolutely no way to reclaim them? What then?

Where do we go in our hearts? Do we rage? Do we retreat? Do we look to self-medicate? Where do we turn for relief?

And what about God? What do we do with him?

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 9: You Won’t Believe This

How difficult it is for the people of God to objectively view the story when we find ourselves in the midst of it. We sit in our lives, surrounded by the love and blessing of the Father, asking, “Where are you? Why don’t you…? You said you would…” We echo the ancient forerunner of our faith, Abram,  and cry out saying, “What good are your blessings when this is where I find myself?” Whether we say the actual words or not, we find ourselves in the position of putting the Father’s love on trial. His character is questioned and for so many of us, he becomes unsafe.

What a tragedy in view of Yahweh’s story! Especially in view of his reckless pursuit of us. Yahweh understands the struggle in our hearts. He understands our hurts, steps into our pain and responds with unbelievable dedication.

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 8 – Would You Like To Choose?

June 2012 075

Is there anything better than birthday cake when you’re a toddler? Even though you have fork in hand, you can’t resist grabbing a handful and shoveling it as fast as you can into your mouth. And before it’s even possible to chew, there you are, reloading for the next bite.

When was the last time you attacked food with this much reckless abandon? For many of us, if we are honest, it was probably yesterday! Go ahead, admit it! We are a people of passion and often submit when no one is looking.

Question: How are these passions impacted by the people around us? When they are looking? When they join in? Whey they stand back and wait? When they give us a real opportunity to choose?

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 8: Would You Like To Choose?

                  After all, who among us, if given the honest choice, would not take the best for ourselves? If your family is raiding the refrigerator for dinner and you are given the choice between cooking the last New York Strip or reheating the Hamburger Helper, what would you pick? Many of us would defer at first, giving up our desire for the other person but if given the ability to really choose, of course, we would choose the best. New York Strip, here I come!

                  But what if the meat was rotten? What if, on the outside it looked like the most delicious steak you ever tasted but when cut into, it was ruined…full of maggots? Wouldn’t your stomach turn? Wouldn’t your desire to sink your teeth deep into that beef immediately turn to disgust? Wouldn’t the Hamburger Helper become instantly attractive?

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 7 – I’ve Got A Surprise For You

552497_100927980069453_322965092_n

Meet Kristen! Beautiful isn’t she!

She’s the amazing woman I’ve had the privilege to be married to for 16 1/2 years. Every day with her is a new adventure. Sometimes, it’s the new project she’s dreaming up. Sometimes, it’s the challenge of parenting alongside her. Sometimes, the joy of date night.

I love this woman and I love being married to her. There is never a dull moment with her. There is always something new and exciting. Another adventure.

Every once in a while, I intentionally change our routine in order to show her what she means to me. I lead her into an adventure of my creation. Shower her with little surprises. Little gifts that communicate my love.

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 7: I’ve Got A Surprise For You

                  I wish I could tell you that my overwhelming love for Kristen just naturally led me to want to shower her with gifts. But I can’t. Instead, I gave to her because that’s what you do to show people you love them. She found a red dress hanging in the bathroom of our honeymoon suite because I heard about some brides getting wedding gifts from their husbands and I thought it was a good idea. I wrote a poem, had it framed and wrapped it up for her to open at Christmas, just five days later. I gave her gifts and wanted to express my love and then simply moved on to the next thing.

                  But Kristen doesn’t function that way. Gift-giving is an art form for her. She studies people, noticing what they like. Learning their style and their interests. She listens for clues in their speech, in their clothing and even in their home décor. When the time comes to give them a gift, she nails it. She seems to know exactly what they need, often when they haven’t even thought of it yet (I have benefited from this many times myself).

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 6 – Can I Ask You A Question?

IMG_1128

When you hear the words, “best friend,” who comes to mind? What emotions instantly invade your heart? What memories rush in, taking back to a different time?

There are not many things in this world that are better than true, deep, meaningful friendships. They fill our lives with love and laughter. They fill our schedules with unending activities. They dominate our time on the web through Facebook, twitter, etc. They rank high on our priority list and we value their thoughts and opinions.

But there are some times when well-meaning friends aren’t that helpful. There are some times when “that kind word” is better left unsaid.

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 6: Can I Ask You A Question?

                  So many times, well-meaning friends say things to people in the midst of their struggles that simply don’t help! They say things like, “Just let go and let God.” Or, “You know, God works all things for the good for those who love him.” Or even, “What do you think God is trying to teach you through this trial?” They think they are pointing the suffering person back to God but often they end up raising accusations, both against God and against their hurting friend.

                  Sometimes, there is nothing left to let go of. Sometimes, it isn’t God who is working in their situation and there is no apparent good to be found. Sometimes, we suffer at the hands of the Accuser. Sometimes, the only lesson to be taught is that we live in a broken and fallen world, where things are not as the Father desires for us.

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 5 – I’m Confused

IMG_1087

Do you ever feel like there are multiple versions of you and some of them just aren’t that good? You ever wish you could push the reset button and try that last interaction again?

I know for me, this feeling happens way more often than I’d like. If you are like me and find yourself here more than you’d like, take some solace in the fact that we are in good company. God’s people throughout the biblical narrative find themselves in this spot over and over. Yes, even our heroes. Even the spiritual giants. Even people like Noah reacted thoughtlessly out of anger and I can’t but read his story and wonder how things could have turned out differently had he been more controlled. More in tune with God’s heart.

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 5: I’m Confused

       Unfortunately, too often I find traces of Noah’s face on my own. My eyes narrow in. My teeth clench. And my cheeks get flushed. I lash out at my children in a moment of weakness and frustration, immediately regretting my actions.

       But other times, I am the complete opposite. I am inappropriately passive. I excuse behavior that should be immediately addressed. I dismiss actions of selfishness and disrespect instead of naming them and diverting them from being planted into the long-term character of my children.

       When I step back and gain some perspective, I long to model myself after our Father, not our ancestors. I want to parent with his boldness, conviction and his passionate pursuit of the hearts of his children. Yahweh loves his children so much that he is willing to do whatever is necessary to get their attention, even if that means intentionally creating utter confusion among them.

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 4 – How ‘Bout A Do Over?

June 2012 140

There’s my little girl, doing what she does best – entering her world of make-believe. Sometimes she’s a princess. Sometimes a tomboy. Sometimes she’s several characters at once, all having conversations with each other. She can transform herself into anything she dreams up and enter a world far from here.

This time she’s the damsel in distress. I love her imagination, creativity and the drama she brings to her environment. She’s our “Anne of Green Gables” (a movie character who seemed to continually initiate drama because of her emotional reaction to her world).

As fun as it is to watch Reagan live out life like this – sometimes we don’t need the extra drama. Sometimes, life has plenty of it on its own.

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 4: How ‘Bout A Do Over?

Immediately, my entire world was altered. What meant everything just a couple moments before now had absolutely no value at all. There are no words to describe the fear that consumed my heart. Nor, the horror of watching this scene play out in complete disbelief and yet fully knowing what the end result would be.

Have you ever been here? In the midst of your worst nightmare with no way to stop it. It’s not a dream you can wake up from. It’s not a childhood game of make-believe that can be instantly restarted with the call for a “do over.” No, this is real and terrible. It can’t be escaped no matter how much we run or hide or self-medicate.

What do we do then? Where do we turn? What options do we have? And what do we do with God?

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 3 – Don’t Ask Me

IMG_0943

Ever feel like getting your kids to do what you want is an almost impossible task? Like it would be easier to learn to read and write Hebrew than it is to control your children? Frustrating, isn’t it, how little control we really have!

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 3: Don’t Ask Me.

                  I have come to realize that this issue is the same whether I am parenting my children or counseling and mentoring adults. I truly have no control over other people. I can tell them what to do. I can give them warnings. I can guide them in the way they should go. But I can’t choose for them. I will never have that level of power over them. I have also come to realize that I would not want to. They are not robots to be programmed. They are people! Each, with their fiercely independent personalities. Each, with an amazingly unique spirit, just like my children are each radically distinct. Brady is my compassionate, quiet leader. Reagan is my spirited, fairytale princess. And Brycen is my rambunctious, little athlete. To control them, to force them into a predetermined mold, would be to rob them of their life. I cannot dictate their decisions anymore than I can make them love me. It is their choice.

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 2 – You Did What?

IMG_0394

So, what do you do with this?

Could anything be more adorable? You want to laugh and drink the moment in but what if you are this little guy’s parent. You are responsible for not only what he does but who he is becoming. If you laugh, what happens? Does it cement this behavior? If you get on to him for sticking his tongue out do you turn something playful into unnecessary punishment? Where is that User’s Manual for these little guys? Wow, the task of parenting!

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 2: You Did What?

…there is very little in this world that disturbs my heart more than going to bed at night after an unsettling conflict with my kids. I lie there running the scene through my head over and over, wondering if there was anything that could have been different. Did I handle myself correctly? Did I care for their hearts? Did I respond out of anger? Do they know how deeply I love them? Why do they seem to invite these interactions at times? What can I do to steer their hearts in a different direction? And if my heart is turned this way because of simple disconnects between me and my kids, what does the ache in the Father’s heart look like when I willingly defy him?

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 1 – It’s Really Good

IMG_1039

Do you remember the joy of sweets from your childhood? The smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven and the anticipation you had as you waited for that first bite? How waiting for your mom to finish icing them was almost torture? And then, as you bite and experienced the first rush of flavor hit your tongue – fulfillment! Complete satisfaction!

Now, as an adult, I don’t experience cinnamon rolls with quite that amount of passion. No, this is emotion that is saved for greater things, one of which is my kids. I’ll never forget the overwhelming experience of watching each one of them come into this world.

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 1: It’s Really Good.

…recalling these experiences, I am overcome with the thought that God’s initial moment of becoming a father was similar to mine but yet so different. His moment was complete and utter joy. There was no struggle. No concern of sickness, disease or death. No fear of the worst. No heartache of watching the one you love in pain. It was the purest moment of love the world has ever known. It was the God of the universe becoming a daddy.

Oh, how I would love to have seen Yahweh’s face during these moments of creation! How incredible it would be to see his escalating joy as he moves from completing one masterpiece to the next. The wonders of a universe filled with stars and galaxies beyond our imagination – joy. The beauty of the sunset – more joy. The fresh fragrance coming out of a newly formed meadow – overflowing joy. On and on it goes, from one remarkable design to the next. Dolphins – joy! Eagles – joy! Camels, dogs, chimpanzees – indescribable joy! And then…can you imagine how he could hardly contain himself as he unveiled his final masterpiece? 

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover