A Great Read

Do you have a Bible? If so, how many? Do you have a favorite? Is it a thin-line Bible? A daily devotional Bible? A chronological Bible? A study Bible? A pocket Bible? Or possibly an on-line Bible?

What version do you prefer? Do you like the NIV? The New Living Translation? The Message? Or do you lean more toward the New King James? The New American Standard? The New Revised Standard?

It’s amazing how endless the possibilities are for us to access scripture. We have it on our phones. We have readings sent to our e-mail accounts. We have them in our cars, in our bedrooms, in our living rooms and even in our hotel rooms when we travel. We have literally come to the place where we could have constant access to the word of God.

And so I ask, “What’s your relationship with the Word?”

Early on, I knew the Bible to be God’s book. That he inspired over 40 different men to write his words down for us. That it is divided into two major sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. That it has 66 books, 39 in the Old and 27 in the New. That the Old Testament has stories about God and his people – Israel. And the New Testament has stories about Jesus and the church. I was a student of the word. I took notes in church and worked to connect all the dots. I was definitely in pursuit of more information. I wanted to know more about God, more about the church and more about what this meant for me.

Then, there was a time when I stopped reading the Bible altogether. I struggled with what appeared to be inconsistencies in scripture. And with inconsistencies in my personal experience. I stopped my pursuit of God and did my best to numb my heart.

But still he spoke to me. In the midst of my struggle, he reminded me of his love and his desire for me to be free. I heard is voice through the gentle challenges of other believers. And finally, he broke through with a word spoken deep into my heart, saying, “You have no life without me!”

When I came back home to him, I entered with a new desire. I wanted to know this God who would not give up on me. I longed to discover his heart. I wanted a real relationship with him, not predetermined religious answers. And so I searched, I questioned, I discovered and I let go.

In my pursuit of God through his word, I found Jesus. I was introduced to the Word who was God and has been with God from the beginning. Who participated in creating us for relationship with himself. Who ached as we continually choose to love ourselves more than him. Who has relentlessly chased humanity from the beginning of time. Who established the nation of Israel to represent God to the world. Who refused to give up on people. Who punished and rebuked but always followed it up with hope and provision. Who willingly gave up his place to become like us. Who came to once and for all rescue us from the enemy, from this world and from ourselves. Who stood in our place, taking our penalty…dying so we could live! Who promised that his presence will always be with us, leading us and reminding us of his way. Who will one day take us home!

When you look at your Bible, do you see him? Do you encounter his heart? Do you invite him to break through and have his way with you?

What’s your relationship with the Word?

 

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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.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

A Great Read

Do you have a Bible? If so, how many? Do you have a favorite? Is it a thin-line Bible? A daily devotional Bible? A chronological Bible? A study Bible? A pocket Bible? Or possibly an on-line Bible?

What version do you prefer? Do you like the NIV? The New Living Translation? The Message? Or do you lean more toward the New King James? The New American Standard? The New Revised Standard?

It’s amazing how endless the possibilities are for us to access scripture. We have it on our phones. We have readings sent to our e-mail accounts. We have them in our cars, in our bedrooms, in our living rooms and even in our hotel rooms when we travel. We have literally come to the place where we could have constant access to the word of God.

And so I ask, “What’s your relationship with the Word?”

Early on, I knew the Bible to be God’s book. That he inspired over 40 different men to write his words down for us. That it is divided into two major sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. That it has 66 books, 39 in the Old and 27 in the New. That the Old Testament has stories about God and his people – Israel. And the New Testament has stories about Jesus and the church. I was a student of the word. I took notes in church and worked to connect all the dots. I was definitely in pursuit of more information. I wanted to know more about God, more about the church and more about what this meant for me.

Then, there was a time when I stopped reading the Bible altogether. I struggled with what appeared to be inconsistencies in scripture. And with inconsistencies in my personal experience. I stopped my pursuit of God and did my best to numb my heart.

But still he spoke to me. In the midst of my struggle, he reminded me of his love and his desire for me to be free. I heard is voice through the gentle challenges of other believers. And finally, he broke through with a word spoken deep into my heart, saying, “You have no life without me!”

When I came back home to him, I entered with a new desire. I wanted to know this God who would not give up on me. I longed to discover his heart. I wanted a real relationship with him, not predetermined religious answers. And so I searched, I questioned, I discovered and I let go.

In my pursuit of God through his word, I found Jesus. I was introduced to the Word who was God and has been with God from the beginning. Who participated in creating us for relationship with himself. Who ached as we continually choose to love ourselves more than him. Who has relentlessly chased humanity from the beginning of time. Who established the nation of Israel to represent God to the world. Who refused to give up on people. Who punished and rebuked but always followed it up with hope and provision. Who willingly gave up his place to become like us. Who came to once and for all rescue us from the enemy, from this world and from ourselves. Who stood in our place, taking our penalty…dying so we could live! Who promised that his presence will always be with us, leading us and reminding us of his way. Who will one day take us home!

When you look at your Bible, do you see him? Do you encounter his heart? Do you invite him to break through and have his way with you?

What’s your relationship with the Word?

The Big Catch

Last month my family took a trip to Creede, CO for a relaxing week in one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. It was a terrific week. Lot’s of sleeping in, playing games, long walks and of course…fishing. For me, fishing is much like golf. I am constantly amazed at people who seem to master the sport. At the same time, I constantly try not to get frustrated with my consistent lack of ability. This scenario is only magnified when I am out with my dad. He regularly out performs all other fishermen in our cabin combined. On this trip, I believe the count was something like: Dad: 20 and Landon: 0!

Although he does like to tell his stories of victory, Dad is a good sport about it. He doesn’t rub it in  or make me feel like a bigger loser than I am. However, there are those rare moments that have to be shared. Moments of sheer excitement and joy.

I had the pleasure of experiencing one of those moments with my Dad on my last day of the trip. We had driven out to a remote lake where it was obvious that few fishermen had been lately. We unloaded and I ventured off with my kids to see if I might be able to help the two younger ones actually catch something. As usual, my dad took his time picking out the right lure and watching the lake for signs of life. He picked a spot and moved in.

About 5 minutes later it happened! The usual calm, collected fishermen became extremely animated. He yelled, “Fish on!” At first, I was a little surprised. He is rarely verbal when catching a fish – I’m guessing because he doesn’t want to scare the next one off. But this one was different. This one was special and he didn’t care about the future impact of his excitement. As he landed the fish, he continued yelling, telling us to come take a look.

I hurriedly rushed my kids over to him and saw him holding a 16″ trout. At first glance, it appeared to be a nice fish. Nobody is going to scoff at a 16″ trout but it’s not that uncommon. In fact, about 15 years ago, I saw him catch a rainbow trout that was almost twice this size. But that’s what made this fish so special…it wasn’t a rainbow, it was a brookie!

Brook trout are usually about 7-8 inches long and this one was 16″! Although it’s not going to set any world records, it is truly a special moment for a trout fisherman. And so we celebrated. We oohed and aahed. We took pictures. And all the kids took turns holding the treasure. The big catch!

As I retell this story and consider my dad’s joy, I can’t help but think about my God (click here to be taken to http://www.recklesspursuitbook.com). That he gave us these experiences. These emotions. These gifts.

But there is more here than my gratitude to the Father for these things. There is a glimpse into his heart. A heart that longs for celebration and joy. A heart that will not rest until it is fully experienced.

The drive that the most avid fisherman has to land that big catch is nothing compared to our Father’s pursuit of us. He is constantly chasing us. Watching for signs of life. Luring us with his love. Inviting us to take the bait, to allow ourselves to be caught by him and to be completely transformed. There is truly nothing else that matters to him. Nothing!

We are his prize, his conquest and his joy! We are the love of his life and he can’t get enough. He wants to empty the lake with us. A few great catches are not enough. He wants us all!

For those of us who would join him in this amazing pursuit, a word of warning: he is not after trophies to be displayed. It’s not about showing off or winning some imaginary contest. People are not projects to finish for our God. He simply loves us desperately and he will not rest until he has us. And oh, the party that erupts with every catch!