Not So Dirty Laundry

The clothes line.

It’s a picture that has been almost completely erased in our contemporary world. We live in a microwavable society and we don’t have time to wait for the wind to dry our clothes. We have instant access to nearly everything. If you want to know how tall Dirk Nowitzki is or even how to spell his name, just Google it (he’s 7′ tall by the way). If you want to know exactly how much longer before your kids get home, just text them. If you want to get the seven-day forecast or find out the latest breaking news in the world or sports, just hit the “News & Weather” app on your phone. I don’t need to go on. You know how small our world has gotten and how instantly everything comes to us. Even this blog is an example of this.

I love much of this new era we are in. Staying connected to so many more people. Not having to watch the news but knowing what’s going on in the world. Not getting lost everytime I go somewhere new. But is there a price that we pay for this?

Sometimes I long for the simple and less convenient. For moments of walking around with a cup of coffee in my hand, knowing that it will be another hour before my next task can be attempted, much less completed. Time to breathe. Time to think. Time to connect one on one with someone – not through a computer or in a text message but face to face. Where I can see the light in their eyes and the smirk on their face. But too many times, this is missed.

We have so much opportunity for relationship in front of us and so often we settle for less. We share a polite, “How’s it going?” in passing or send someone a “poke” on facebook or add them as a friend but still find ourselves isolated and unknown. It is too easy for us to hurry from one important event to the next, forgetting the people the event is really about. And we accept surface relationships as normal.

But…we were made for more! We were created to love and be loved deeply. To be known at every level and loved anyway – even in spite of the stuff we wish wasn’t there. We are shown a picture of this from the Father, as he takes our dirty laundry and incredibly makes it fresh again. And as he hangs it up dry, our shame of what once covered our stuff is now gone!

I can look you in the eye and tell you of the old stains in my life with a smile on my face, having no thought of embarrassment because it’s not there anymore. When this is done, authentic relationship is developed, love is shared and the Father is made known. And when we hit a bump in the road and the coffee flies all over us, we can draw from this relationship and point back at the clothes line. A reminder of the newness given by the Father in the past and the promise of what’s available to us now.

So bring on the coffee and the conversation. Let’s share this life together. Don’t worry about the spills, I know a good cleaner!

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 11 – That’s Incredible

IMG_1261

Have you ever considered just how much our world has changed because of these incredible devices? When I think about it, the word “phone” falls significantly short to what they really are. They function with more capacity than the laptop my wife bought me 13 years ago. And they don’t ever resemble those big, cumbersome cell phones we used to carry some 10 years ago. They are amazing little computers that keep us connected to our friends, keep us up to date on what’s happening in the world, keep us in the know about what our kids are doing, and of course – keep us entertained.

But sometimes, I question their role in our lives. Sometimes I wonder if they really make our lives easier…better. No, I’m not one of those over zealous anti-technology guys. I love seeing what the next thing will do (actually shared an idea with Kristen last night about a computer display that I’ve never seen before but except to see soon – I’m sure somebody much smarter than me has already thought of it). But for all the advancements, for all the apps and toys our phones have – are our lives really that much better? Are they less complicated? For all the extra connections we have, do we really have more authentic relationships? Are we personally engaged with people more?

Is it possible that all of this technology has actually lessened our intimacy? That it has multiplied the number of people we are exposed to while at the same time pushing us away from the most significant relationships? Is it possible that our phones have actually become a barrier to authentically connecting to people?

When was the last time you were heading into a deep conversation with someone and right as they begin to open up, you said, “Hang on. Let me take this for a minute.” and you answer your phone or check a text? Or have you found yourself finally on a date with your spouse, one that is long over due, and halfway through dinner you realize that you haven’t even been able to talk because of all the interruptions? Is this really better?

There’s a way to use this technology and not be controlled by it. To be plugged in but not distracted. To be connected but not constantly available. To embrace the tools available, while still being relational, authentic and intimately present.

That is a life that’s better. A life I want to grow more toward. A life I live in but need to protect more intentionally. But sometimes, the interruption is needed. Even ordained.

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 11: That’s Incredible

It was Christmas and we had driven ten hours south to Tomball, Texas (a suburb of Houston) to spend the holiday with Kristen’s family. It had been an exciting but hectic fall, completely immersed in ministry and Christmas was going to be a much needed break. As usual, Kristen’s entire family descended on her parents’ house. The joy of family was tangible. Laughter and food dominated the atmosphere.

At the time, Brady and Reagan were the only children in the family and we all enjoyed being entertained by them into the early evening. However, as the evening grew late, we put them to bed and the real fun began. We pulled out the dessert, gathered around the kitchen table for a card game and partied late into the night. The next morning was more of the same. Lots of family time in the kitchen, with little other agenda than moving from one meal to the next throughout the day.

Then, the phone call.

It was a call I never wanted to receive. One that I couldn’t have been prepared for. One that would change me and so many others is countless ways.

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

More than a phone call?

How many minutes do you spend a day talking, texting or posting on your phone? In our world of social media today, we interact at an amazing rate. We are highly available to each other and seem to keep this unending stream of communication constantly going.

Because of this, we are more in touch with friends from the past. We are more aware of our kids’ movements. We are more aware of the details of each other’s lives. And for all of this, I am grateful!

But it makes me wonder…is it possible to live this way with our God? Is it really possible to live in a constant conversation with him – minute by minute – like we do with our friends on our phones? Is there a way of connecting to him that tethers our hearts to his so deeply that we are never out of touch with him? Can our prayer life with him be more than a phone call? Can we really live in his presence, deeply dependent on him?

The answer to all of this is a resounding, “YES!” And it’s not just available to the “super-religious” – whatever that is. It is what our Father longs to have with us. A transforming intimacy that reaches into every moment of our lives.

A few months ago, we talked about living this kind of life with our God at Journey Christian Community. Click on the link below, take a look and re-imagine what could be!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDixQFiIOUc