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

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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.

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Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 2 – You Did What?

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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.

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

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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.

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Reckless Pursuit: Part 4 – How The Father Wins

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Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love is in its final stages of production and will be made available early this Fall. As we move toward announcing its arrival, I will be posting regular teasers straight from the content of the book. Today’s snapshot look at Reckless Pursuit comes from Part 4: How The Father Wins.

For the past few years, I had been a part of a small group of men who we affectionately referred to as “The Pirate Monks.” We were an unusual gathering of men from all kinds of backgrounds but with one thing in common — we were radical Jesus followers.

All of these men knew, very personally, what it meant to be broken. Each one of us had struggled with life and had experienced the nasty sting of defeat. Broken relationships, addiction, denial, failure, self-medication and guilt were part of all our lives on varying levels. But we refused to be defined by these things. As real as these struggles had been in our lives, our freedom was more present, more tangible.

And so we would gather to rehearse and celebrate the freedom we had found. We would tell our stories both past and current and we would remind each other of Yahweh’s story. Of his love. Of his pursuit. Of his dedication to us, his children. We would look each other in the eye, ask the hard questions and demand for life to be lived the Father’s way. The way that results in blessing and freedom.

There is tremendous blessing available, even when it’s unimaginable. There is freedom offered, even when it is not seen. His love is indescribable and his pursuit is incredible.

Keep coming back for more from Reckless Pursuit.

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Reckless Pursuit: Part 3 – How We Define Normal

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Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love is in its final stages of production and will be made available early this Fall. As we move toward announcing its arrival, I will be posting regular teasers straight from the content of the book. Today’s snapshot look at Reckless Pursuit comes from Part 3: How We Define Normal.

Then, it was time. Time to begin moving. Time to cast vision and start building teams. Time to implement a new ministry structure. Time for change. This change was met with both anticipation and caution. Some couldn’t wait to jump in and partner with us. Others were openly afraid of where this would lead. And then it happened.

Resistance. Refusal. Rejection. Those who were previously hesitant became openly defiant. As a result, half of our ministry team became relationally distant. Within a couple of months, several families were disconnected from the ministry and a few had completely separated from the church.

For the next year and a half, struggle became a way of life. I fought to bring people together. I questioned my leadership ability and I battled with my emotions toward leaders who were pushing against our ministry. I was consumed with this conflict and fought to not allow it to overcome me emotionally. At times I felt myself check out, becoming distant and removed, even from Kristen. I felt persecuted and alone. I often felt sorry for myself, thinking “Here I am, giving my life to do the work of God, fighting for his glory and for the good of the people I am serving, while being met with nothing but pain and conflict. It’s not fair! This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go!”

Struggle! So much of our world is defined by it. So many of our plans, our dreams are changed by it. Does it have to be this way? Is this all there is?

Keep coming back for more from Reckless Pursuit.

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Reckless Pursuit: Part 2 – How We Ended Up Here

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Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love is in its final stages of production and will be made available early this Fall. As we move toward announcing its arrival, I will be posting regular teasers straight from the content of the book. Today’s snapshot look at Reckless Pursuit comes from Part 2: How We Ended Up Here.

Panic! Fear! Dread! Unbelievable anxiety began mounting as a young mother began imagining the worst. It had now been hours since anyone had seen her four year old little boy. The father had been called home from work, the neighbors had been notified and rallied, the police were on hand and the regular baby-sitter was even brought in to help look. Still, nothing.

Some time earlier, the four year old boy and his six year old brother had been playing hide-and-go-seek as their mother picked up the house. After several rounds of their game, the oldest called a timeout for a potty break. Seeing his opportunity, the four year old snuck off to hide as his older brother went into the bathroom. When he came out, the little boy was gone.

He called and called but there was no answer. He looked in all his brother’s favorite hiding places with no success. Then he told his mom. She looked and called, as her anxiety grew with each passing moment. They retraced every step and looked in every possible hiding spot but her little boy was nowhere to be found.

The search now had to be expanded and fearful questions began to emerge. “Did he go outside? If so, where? Why? Who could have come into contact with him? Had anyone seen him? Was he OK? Did someone take him?”

Sometimes nothing is as it should be. Sometimes the world spirals off into our worst nightmare. What then? Where do we go from here?

Keep checking back for more from Reckless Pursuit.

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Reckless Pursuit: Part 1 – How It Could Have Been

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Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love is in its final stages of production and will be made available early this Fall. As we move toward announcing its arrival, I will be posting regular teasers straight from the content of the book. Today’s snapshot look at Reckless Pursuit comes from Part 1: How It Could Have Been.

                The phone rang. Without hesitation, I ran to pick it up, hoping I was quick enough to keep it from waking our baby boy. “Hello,” I answered in a hushed tone. On the other end was a voice I recognized. It was a mom of one of the girls in our ministry and there was a noticeable sense of desperation in her voice.

                  “Landon! I’m sorry to be calling you so late but I need your help. It’s Candice…she’s really struggling and I don’t know what to do. I hate to ask this but can you come over and talk with her right now?”

                  I glanced at Kristen and she gave me that understanding look. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the clock; it was a quarter past ten. I turned back to the phone, told the mom I’d be right there and hung up.

                  In the five minutes it took me to get to their house, my mind went a thousand different directions. The past year or so was a tremendously difficult time for our community. Our town had been hit over and over by teenage suicide and I had watched our people move from shock to despair to anger and finally to a strange and uncomfortable apathy. I came back to focus on Candice and the questions kept flying. “What could be going on with her? Why didn’t I ask more questions? Does it have anything to do with the suicides? Is she struggling herself or is she hurting for someone else? Will I have a clue what to do?” And again, “Why didn’t I ask more questions?” I found myself in the all too familiar place of the unknown and the out of control. In response, I did the only thing I knew to do…I prayed.

                  When I arrived at the house, Candice’s mom met me on the sidewalk, thanked me for coming and began to fill me in on the situation. “Landon, I just don’t know what to do. Nothing I say seems to matter. I can’t get through to her.”

                  “What’s the problem?” I replied. “What is she struggling with so much?”

                  As she was forming the answer, I could see tears begin to surface in her eyes. “Candice doesn’t know if she believes there is a God!”

Does this sound familiar? Is this how life is supposed to be? Does faith have to be so hard? Do our experiences have to be defined in struggle? Keep checking back for more from Reckless Pursuit.

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Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love

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OK. It is finally time! After a year and a half of writing, speaking, revising and listening to feedback – it’s time to begin getting the word out about the book. Yes, I’ve written a book and if all goes well, it will be made available early this Fall!

It’s entitled, Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love.

Here’s some initial feedback:

In Reckless Pursuit, Landon Collard expresses with down-to-earth eloquence the ongoing story of God and His constant, faithful quest for our hearts. Using solid biblical foundations, occasional heart wrenching narrative, and humorous insights, Collard offers hope for those of us who wrestle with life and loss, faith and the God relationship. Reckless Pursuit spoke to my heart and my intellect. It’s not an emotionally-manipulative book, as so many are today, but an honest and encouraging look at God’s relentless love of his creation. I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about, and from, Landon Collard. God willing. – Caron Guillo, An Uncommon Crusade

I really enjoyed reading the book, and it touched me in a lot of ways… (it had) me laughing and crying at various times.  – Paul Millsaps

Just read the text you sent me. Heart stopping is my first reaction! – Ginger McBride

I read it ALL YESTERDAY!!! COULD NOT put it down!!!! Seriously, the Love you poured into this book, the Love of our Heavenly Father who inspired you through the Holy Spirit in writing this is such an AMAZING LOVE!! I was pulled into it, it really pulls you into the heart of God, I love how you use your own family examples, your personal intimate God/family relationship. I could not PUT IT DOWN. AND THATS GOOD!!! I WAS DRAWN!! What an awesome way you  have portrayed the relentless love of our HEAVENLY FATHER!! – Roni Byrd

First thoughts, love the intro, like the chapters titles.  Intro is wonderful, if this was a book that I picked up in the store, I would buy it just from reading the intro, it gives me the idea of where the book is headed, and from reading it I will begin to see my relationship with Father in a different way. I definitely want to purchase a copy of the book! – Sue Wells

I can’t wait to share Reckless Pursuit with you! And I couldn’t be more excited about telling this story – the story of our Father’s relentless love of us! It is a love that changes everything. It has changed me to the core. And I know it will change you as well.

Keep coming back here for more info…

Reblog: Don’t Mix Colors (or Words)

Is there a difference between transparency and brutal honesty? I love the simplicity at which children approach the world. Don’t always love the sting that it brings and want to coach the pursuit of love over everything but honest, transparent living is SO GOOD!

May you live free today!

Stuff Kids Write

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Melanie asked her 5th grade students to “be honest” with their assessments.

This artist received an A+ in Not Mixing Words.

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Hug the Tree

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“Be the Tree” is so much more than a cool logo. For the youth ministry at Journey, it is their mission! Our Youth Pastor, Jeff Bradburn, uses the image of the inverted tree, along with this phrase to constantly remind the students of the opportunity in front of them. You remember the story of Zacchaeus and the childhood song that so many of us grew up singing, don’t you? Sing along with me:

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man

And a wee little man was he.

He climbed up in a sycamore tree

For the Lord he wanted to see…”

And what happened? Because he climbed the tree, he encountered Jesus, received the love of the Lord and his life was forever changed. And so we come to the battle cry for The Passage Youth Ministry, “Be The Tree!” What if every student in this ministry became the tree for those around them? How many Zacchaeuses would the Father bring home? What if every follower of Jesus lived for this? To became the tree…a tool that God uses for people to see and encounter Jesus!

In an effort for our youth ministry to continue growing in their mission, we are heading toward the final stages of completing a youth facility to house them. It’s been a tremendous thrill to see this building go up, knowing how it will be used by our students and made available to the community around us. This building will definitely help our students continue to “Be The Tree!”

Well, early this morning, I headed up to this new facility so I could get a check to one of the sub-contractors that is completing a project today. It’s my day off, so Brycen (my 4-year-old little boy) and I had just started our “Daddy Day.” I pulled up to the parking lot, got Brycen out of the car, went inside, signed a check and then headed over to The Passage building. As we walked in, Brycen stopped to take a long look at The Passage logo that is stamped into the stained floor. I paid the contractor, then Brycen and I headed back to the car. As I was getting him settled in the car, he looked at me and said, “Daddy…does The Passage sign say, ‘Hug the Tree’?”

HUG the Tree? Really?

Well…guess I still have some work to do to get my little man on mission with us!

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