Category Archives: family
For the past four years it has been very natural for me to relate to Jesus’ story of “The Prodigal Father” and his two sons. It has been a story that has shaped my life from my growing up, my turning toward Jesus, my journey toward pastoral ministry and into marriage. I am an oldest son of two boys. Amy and I have two sons. My younger brother and his wife have two sons. As I reflect on the past 18 years since I responded to Jesus’ call to follow, I can clearly recognize moments where I have been the youngest son and the oldest son in relationship with God (and others) and how God has also invited me to be the Dad who is always longing for his sons to come home and join the party. To say the least, this has been a story that has been life shaping.
If all goes as planned, tomorrow morning between 7 and 8 am I will no longer be Dad of two and Amy will have brought our third son into the world. At this point, I don’t know what will life will be like on the other side of two sons. I have a sense, God wants to continue to shape me through the story of “The Prodigal Father” yet it may a bit more complicated as we keep our eyes and ears aware of 3 rather than 2. As I keep hearing from other dads, we move from “man-to-man” defense to “a box and 1” for a season.
Here’s to life in an unknown season where God continues to invite me into his party. May we all be open to new invitations, new seasons, and new relationships.
This is what I wrote in my comments on the SCL site:
“First, this video is hilarious and the opinions are all over the map.
Rooted within the video is an interesting belief about how we practice and understand church. The question that Jon asks is a small look (microcosm) of how the church in North America has come to practice – the larger the church, the more likely the church is segmented by age and stage of life. If we are asking this question about children (or teenagers) and using terminology like “big church” and/or “adult worship” we might be missing the point of the church and our role in discipling all ages and stages.
If you are interested, take a look at this article by Kara Powell in Leadership magazine from a few months back: Is the Era of Age Segmentation Over? It is worth the read as we think about segmenting or segregating kids (or others) from the body of Christ.”
What do you think, could we be missing the point of church?
Last night I was reflecting with a good friend and my wife on the dynamics of how we grow in the context of community.
On Saturday, my oldest son Brighton and I were at a school riding bikes with a friend of his. When we arrived I noticed that the other boy was already on the playground riding his bike without training wheels. I knew the boy was only a month older than my son and (maybe selfishly) I wanted Brighton to try to ride his bike without his training wheels. But I regretted not bringing a wrench so I could take them off.
Brighton started to ride and was watching his friend ride. After 5 minutes he rode over and asked if he could take his training wheels off and I told him we could but it would have to wait until next time. I admit I was a bit bummed inside.
After a few more minutes, another Dad came down to the playground with his daughter and her bike. In his hand he was carrying a wrench. After he was finished, I asked if I could use it. I removed the training wheels, lowered the seat and had Brighton measure to see if he could reach the ground with both feet. Brighton sat up on his seat, I made sure we had enough room, I put my hand on the back of his seat and after 10 seconds he was off on his own. It was one of those significant moments I had thought about…teaching my boy to ride a bike. Sure he had some bumps and bruises that day, but he was ready and he was willing to risk because his friend had gone before him.
I was so proud to be present as he rode around proudly on that playground. Here is a video of Brighton riding last week (and me encouraging him):
Are you more likely to take risks and grow when others around you are doing what you haven’t done before?
Last night a group of 13 of us ate a Passover Seder meal together at our house; it was a very unique time of looking forward to Easter and the fulfillment of this meal. One of the most unique elements of the meal is Maror (bitter herbs) as represented by horseradish.
Have you ever eaten raw horseradish? We all picked up a small piece at the same time and ate it together. As we took our first bite together, everyone was gasping for air, looking for something to drink and choking back tears. It was honestly five minutes of hilarity as I was nearly dying and looking around at everyone else’s reaction.
One of the participants last night shared this article with me this morning so we can grown our own horseradish for next year. Anyone interested?
As I was about to go to bed on Friday night at 10:30 I received a call from my uncle who was with 37 other people stranded at the U.S.-Mexico border on a broken down bus. These 38 Oregonians had been trying to get out of San Ysidro since 4:00 pm without any other viable options.
After a few minutes of thought and a few phone calls to coordinate. I drove 300 miles between 10:45 pm and 4:45 am in order to get them up to Anaheim so they could meet their replacement bus the next day. (By the way, I heard the next day that their replacement bus broke down in Sacramento on the way to rescue them…I might not rent from that company again.)
On Saturday morning, I woke up after a 4 hour nap, packed and got ready for the day, dropped off the boys, married a couple and then drove from San Diego up to Porterville, California for another wedding. On Sunday morning, Amy and I did the return trip to San Diego. When all was said and done, I had driven over 850 miles in less than 41 hours. I am finally catching up on sleep after 2 days.
In the midst of other things today, I started a book that I hope to finish in the coming days called A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix by Edwin Friedman.
In it, he writes, “Living with crisis is is a major part of leaders’ lives. The crises come in two major varieties: (1) those that are not of their own making but are imposed on them from outside or within the system; and (2) those that are actually triggered by the leaders through doing precisely what they should be doing.”
My series of road trips in less than 2 days encompassed both of these varieties of crises as he describes. If there is anything I have learned in leadership in the church it is this.
How about you, is crises a part of your life and work?
Tonight I found myself talking with my oldest son in our kitchen about the reality of the Kingdom of God. I want him to understand at an early age how big God’s Kingdom is and how he gets to participate in God’s work wherever God is present. So here I was talking with a little boy about this huge idea that many brillant theologians, let alone me, have a difficult time explaining in a clear and brief explanation. In fact, Jesus only tells stories about the Kingdom because it is so hard to explain and understand. Stories help illustrate the beautiful mess that the Kingdom is.
I tried to explain how big God’s Kingdom is by raising my arms as high as I could and said, “The Kingdom of God is bigger than Daddy.” I didn’t see it click in his eyes, so I pointed at our house (or the walls of our kitchen) and raised my voice (slightly) and said, “It’s bigger than our house!” Again, I didn’t see it click so I stretched my arms out as far as I could stretch, raised my voice again and said, “It’s bigger than Legoland!!” By the way, he had just gone to his favorite place on earth (atleast for the moment). His eyes got real big and he had a huge smile on his face like he understood.
May we be people that learn to communicate the Kingdom of God through story…our story, God’s story and even stories that little boys can understand.
There are times in life when I must chuckle about the circumstances that I choose to live in. It is 5 am in the morning on a beautifully dark day and I am sitting with 5 other perfectly quiet people on a sidewalk.
See, after a long, long day of work, I set my alarm for 3:30 am, which by the way didn’t go off because I rolled over 3 minutes before to see that it was time to get up from my short nap. I needed to get up and sit on this sidewalk before 7 am so that our 2 year old son can go to preschool next year…I am in line to turn in his application. By the time I arrived this morning, there were 4 others already in front of me – reading or sleeping. One guy looks as is he slept here all night as he has his whole camping gear set up.
I wonder at times why we do this to ourselves. Why we are willing to camp out for our kids so they can go to preschool. Isn’t this bizarre?
So I haven’t blogged in awhile and it is time that I try on this silent night…my wife is gone to a high school retreat and my son is fast asleep.
About a month ago, I heard a story about an acquaintance who got up out of bed in the morning to do what he always did in the morning…go to the bathroom. As he was sitting there minding his own business, his daughter, who is a little older than my son, barged through the door with a facial expression that I can only imagine. He soon realized that he had been barfed on by his daughter and there was nothing he could do. When I heard this story, I was chuckling like a middle schooler about any barf story and then thought to myself, “I hope that never happens to me.”
In the last week, I have experienced my greatest fear…my son was sick and I experienced again and again the process of laundry. Now, I share this story because I am a Dad before many of my other roles in life. It is one of the roles that is precious for me like being a husband and loving my wife. This is a picture of my as a Dad and to be truthful, I wouldn’t trade this role for any other. It is a priceless role.
These are the stories of my life that I get to share with others. I hope you get a pubescent chuckle out of this story.
Blogging has become a unique way for me to express thoughts and (I hope) coherently write about certain topics that I face on a regular basis. Especially topics that relate to God, culture and the Church.
I have a friend, Wes, that seems to have more time and energy than me because he ends up blogging much more frequently than I can imagine; he’s also been at it a lot longer than I have. I realize its not a competition to blog more than your closest friends but I want to try this blog thing on for awhile and see how it fits. So, I will try to blog on a regular basis but I am a husband and a dad and these roles take significant time and energy.
So when I have the chance, I will catch up by writing about current events and how I see God interacting in this incredible world of ours.
Until the next time I blog,