Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 11 – That’s Incredible

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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.

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I Hate That Guy!

I have known what it is to live for myself, to choose me over those I love and to pursue every desire of my heart. I hate that part of me. I can’t stand it when that voice emerges in my head and encourages me to grab at what I want or to defend my rights. Truly, I hate that guy. I know him so well but also feel like he is an alien and a stranger in my own body. He does not belong there. And he is not welcome.

I used to invite that guy in. Knowing that he would ultimately do me harm but thinking I would enjoy his gifts. However, I have come to the place that his gifts are torture. Even the thought of them causes a physical reaction in my body. My back gets tense, my legs feel heavy and tight and I can feel my freedom beginning to slip away. I can actually feel death creeping into my heart.

As a result, my eyes dim. I walk with my shoulders a little lower. The cadence of my speech is altered. Little moments that would normally make me smile and fill my heart with joy are now lost on me or even irritate me. In my submission to the voice of that old guy, I am defeated and broken. In my pursuit of selfishness, I am actually destroying everything that I love. Yeah, I hate that guy!

But this is not the way of my Jesus. He has taught me a different way to live. One that is free. A life that is defined by comfort, intimacy and joy. A life of overwhelming love.

This is the life that dominates my heart and my thoughts. When I am living in it, I hear the voice of Jesus reminding me, encouraging me and celebrating with me constantly. I find myself smiling at young children and laughing freely with friends. I see people’s eyes and respond to what seems to be an unmistakable need, whether it be a hug or a probing question or a high five.

What’s amazing is this is a life that is not about me. I am constantly led to consider the person in front of me. To offer care and concern and challenge and love. This new life seems to be an upside down way of living. The more I think about other people, the more my heart comes alive. The more I serve my wife and my kids and my friends and the guy at the grocery store, the more my heart leaps.

It has even led me to a new way of dealing with conflict and struggle. I am reminded that the person I am dealing with has a heart that matters and I cannot be the reason for the lack of freedom in their life. That if humility and submission can serve them – then I can offer it. And I am challenged to not allow that old guy to rise up and attack both of us. Freedom is too precious for that!

The attitude of Jesus…no, I don’t always live there. But I love the days that I do!

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