Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 1 – It’s Really Good

IMG_1039

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.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Reckless Pursuit: Part 3 – How We Define Normal

IMG_1034

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 3: How We Define Normal.

Then, it was time. Time to begin moving. Time to cast vision and start building teams. Time to implement a new ministry structure. Time for change. This change was met with both anticipation and caution. Some couldn’t wait to jump in and partner with us. Others were openly afraid of where this would lead. And then it happened.

Resistance. Refusal. Rejection. Those who were previously hesitant became openly defiant. As a result, half of our ministry team became relationally distant. Within a couple of months, several families were disconnected from the ministry and a few had completely separated from the church.

For the next year and a half, struggle became a way of life. I fought to bring people together. I questioned my leadership ability and I battled with my emotions toward leaders who were pushing against our ministry. I was consumed with this conflict and fought to not allow it to overcome me emotionally. At times I felt myself check out, becoming distant and removed, even from Kristen. I felt persecuted and alone. I often felt sorry for myself, thinking “Here I am, giving my life to do the work of God, fighting for his glory and for the good of the people I am serving, while being met with nothing but pain and conflict. It’s not fair! This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go!”

Struggle! So much of our world is defined by it. So many of our plans, our dreams are changed by it. Does it have to be this way? Is this all there is?

Keep coming back for more from Reckless Pursuit.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

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!