Reckless Pursuit

I have never enjoyed running, although I have done it in some form for most of my life. It is sort of required to play the sports I love. But I have never really understood running for the sake of running. My thought is, “Why go through the trouble if there is no greater reward waiting at the end?”

A year and a half ago, I led Journey Christian Community in Waco, TX through a teaching series entitled, “Yahweh’s Story.” It is an amazing story full of unbelievable love and indescribable heartache. It is the story that we all find ourselves in — but it is not our story. It’s the Father’s!

Since the very beginning of this story, our Father has been after us. He has been pursuing us with reckless abandon. And we run. We follow the pattern of so many who have come before us and we run. We run because we are afraid. We run because we are ashamed. We run because we believe that something out there will ease our hearts.

If only we would slow down long enough to take a look at the one chasing after us. We would see the face of a Father whose heart is breaking. We would hear the tenderness of his voice, pleading, “It’s OK! Come, let me hold you. You are my precious one.” You see, the Father is not in pursuit to accuse and destroy. In fact, quite the opposite! He pursues because he loves you radically and he will continue in his chase until the last chapter of his story is written.

I, like most of us, am a runner. But I have been caught by the Father and have been overcome by his love for me. I still run but most days it is toward him.

This blog and its posts are dedicated to discovering the Father’s pursuit of our hearts and the incredible life given to us as we live recklessly in his love.

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Reckless Pursuit Announcement and Ch. 12 Teaser

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It’s August and it’s finally here! No, I’m not talking about school – we’re still a couple of weeks away from that! And I’m sure that my kids and your students aren’t happy with me even bringing it up. So, what’s here? What’s the big news?

Reckless Pursuit is finally ready to be released! Today starts a week-long countdown to when it will be made available for purchase! I can’t wait to share this with you and can hardly believe it is time. If you’ve been reading these book teasers over the past couple months, I want to ask for your help. Share them with your friends and get the word out. My greatest desire is that you, your family and your friends discover the relentless love of God in a fresh, life-changing way and I hope that Reckless Pursuit can play a small role in leading you there.

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As we work toward the release, I’d like to share with you the final book teaser taken from Ch. 12 – “What’s Your Name?”

Kristen and I play a game with Brycen that we have played with all our kids. From the time he started interacting with us, we have taken turns asking him, “Whose boy are you?” And then we start pointing at ourselves and pleading our case in an effort to get him to pick one of us. If he picks Kristen, she cheers and I start complaining. I beg him to pick me and I re-ask the question, this time with more passion, “Whose boy are you?” Sometimes this works and he changes his answer, causing Kristen to start begging. Sometimes he stays firm with his choice, which immediately causes me to attack him, tickling him and asking him the question over and over again until he changes his mind. It is a ridiculous game but it’s a lot of fun. And in the end, Brycen knows that we are both madly in love with him and want his love in return. 

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 19, 2013!

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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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!”