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

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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.

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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 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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Help, Help!

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I love “family night!”

It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like but we’re pretty good about scheduling it at least a couple of times a month. When the day comes (usually a Friday) we intentionally say, “No,” to everything else that is pressing around us so we can simply enjoy each other. It’s a night when we turn off the world (including our cell phones) and tune into each other. It’s a night of enjoying family and making memories. We talk, laugh, eat together, and most often, all 5 of us end up on the couch – with popcorn bowl in hand – to finish the evening with a movie.

One family night recently, we watched a 1962 Elvis movie entitled, “Follow That Dream.” In it, Elvis plays this over the top naive character named Toby and he plays it amazingly well. I have to admit, I wasn’t real thrilled about spending an evening with Elvis but I was definitely won over. All 5 of us laughed and laughed at the ridiculously simple way Toby saw the world. By the end of the movie, I began to wonder what it would be like to live that free, that pure. It made me think about the call for us to live free of the garbage of the world around us. To live fully in the Kingdom. And it made me think about the conversations we have on this blog about being fully sold out Jesus followers.

In one scene from the movie, Elvis’ character is being given a word association test in order to complete a psychological evaluation. In it, he is given a word and asked to say the first word that comes to mind. A series of words are given and each of his responses are more and more unusual. One of the words given was, “Help.” His response…”Help, Help!” Because no one ever just says help, it’s always followed with more cries for help. Naive but true!

So, in the spirit of Elvis’ “Follow That Dream” – I am coming to you with a great big, “Help, Help!”

I am currently in the final stages of completing a book that depicts the relentless love God has for us. I started this project about this time last year but pushed the pause button for several reasons. Now, however, I am ready to follow that dream but I need your help. I am looking for a handful of readers/partners to commit to read the manuscript over the next few weeks (between April 1-22, 2013) and offer me your feedback. The goal of this is for me to fine tune the book based off your thoughts and to gather a handful of helpful reviews.

If you are interested in this, please click on the link below. It will take you to the “Contact Us” page at Journey’s website. At the top of the page, click on “Lead Pastor e-mail” and send me a message telling me you’d like to help. I’ll get back to you quickly. We’ll discuss what I’m looking for in more detail and make all the arrangements needed. Thank you for walking with me in this and for following Jesus into the greatest life available!

Here’s the link to my email: “Yes, I’d like to help!”