Boy Meets World is still my all time favorite show. It reminds me of my childhood and well is just all around awesome. Here is a sweet poetry slam that Samuel L. Jackson did on Jimmy Fallon recently about the show. Enjoy!
“Your daughter was telling her class that she has a boyfriend” were the words that I heard from my daughter’s teacher. With those words I realized I have entered into another level of parenthood. Oh, and did I mention this was in Sunday school class and I am a pastor, yeah. I had known for a while that there was a boy in her class who liked her, who would come over to our house to ask if she could play. I knew that sooner or later this would come up, although I figured she would be 14 not 8 when it did. So what is a father to do? Here are a few things that I have, as her dad, thought about and learned from this.
I am sure there will be plenty more and some of these may be wrong, but I figured I am wanting to be more honest and vulnerable so here ya go.
Jokes are fun, and parenting is hard.
I was one who did the who “dad with a shotgun” type of jokes when she was younger. That was before there was a chance of her having a boyfriend, now that’s all changed. My first thought was not “I need a gun”, but was “How do I talk about this with her”. I could just slam down the law of “no boys”, for some reason that just seemed simplistic and would in the long run do more damage.
Words have meaning.
I realized that my little girl had feelings that she was trying to attach words to. Words like “boyfriend”, “crush” and “love”. In her declaring a boyfriend she was expressing new feelings. As I talked with her and worked through what she meant I understood that my little girl is entering a new part of growing up and working through what it all means.
Slow to dismiss.
Knowing that she was trying to describe all this new dynamics of boy/girl relationships I also knew that dismissing her feelings was unwise and unloving. My daughter had real feelings and talking to mom and dad about these feelings and letting us in is something that I need to encourage.
Make it safe to share.
The biggest concern I had was not that she had a boyfriend, or who this boy was but why she told her friends and not us, her parents. What was she worried about, what did she fear? She also knew that we had told her that she was not yet allowed to have a boyfriend so it could have been just disobedience, but I believe there is more under the surface. I strive to make our home a safe place for honest discussion and open-mindedness. In other words I never want my kids to fear coming to me with questions and doubts about life, faith or anything else. I am still working through this one and have been praying for wisdom in this too.
In the end we did have her tell this boy that we feel she is not ready to have a boyfriend yet, as in the actual title boyfriend. We did not ban him from the house or say she cannot hang with him, because again I want her to work through all this, not hide or be afraid of it. Other parents who are wiser would probably do something different but this is what we have decided to do and this is who we are, messy parents trying to figure this whole parenthood thing out.
3 years ago I attended a seminary-like program that took me to Seattle once a month where I would be in a cohort of several students. These students came from all over the world, places like, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada and various states in the USA. While the school was good, I can honestly say that it was the relationships that came from that that I carry with me today. It is what I have learned from those in my cohort that helped me as I planted Redemption Church here in Rio Rancho, NM.
One of these students is Jeremy Writebol. Jeremy currently serves in a church in Wichita, KS. He is also a author who has just released a book called “everPresent: How the Gospel Relocates Us in the Present ”. Jeremy asked me to read it and review it, I was happy to do it and was blessed by this book. My review is below.
One of the things I have had to deal with as a pastor is how to help people see their place as a Christian here in world. Many see what I do, working as a full time pastor, as the sacred job, while their jobs are mundane, boring and not exactly “kingdom work”. Many see worship and honoring God as something to be done on a Sunday in church. They see the gospel as something to be shared through a tract or an awkward presentation separated from “real life”. In “everPresent” by Jeremy Writebol a different picture is given, a fuller, more life-giving picture for a disciple in the everyday. Jeremy reminds us that place (location whether physical or spiritual) matters. Jeremy does this by first showing us how God is the only “ever present” one who is everywhere at once. He then shows how this omnipresent God came down, lived, died and was resurrected for our sins. Because we have sinned and we are by nature messed up, we also are dislocated on our own from God with no way to get back. Jesus redeemed us and gives us the purpose that our hearts have longed for, a purpose of being present with God, and for God where we are. Understanding this helps our view of worship and living for his glory in the everyday where God is there with us, not just on Sundays in “God’s house”. Jeremy gives a clear vision of how this “ever present” God sends us to specific locations, has us where we are for specific purposes, and that our spiritual and our physical both are sent and matter in our daily work as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.
In the 2nd part of this book Jeremy hits the practical side of this “ever present” Gospel. This is where I believe the book truly shines. Jeremy helps the reader see how the mundane, the everyday are not to be thought of as “secular” but rather as sacred, that all of life is sacred because we are always before God. Jeremy does this by giving a very handy way of looking at life as being about places. Whether it is the first place of the home and family, second place as work, third as social environments, or the fourth place of being in the city. They way this part is broken down into these places helps the reader have a clear vision of how the gospel is present in all of life. Jeremy also does this by sharing how he sees, lives and works to have the gospel present in his own life in each of these places.
I am very excited for the book to be released today because I want my people at Redemption Church to read and soak in these truths. I want them to see the gospel as “ever present” in their daily lives. I want them to see that God is there with them, that there is no special “sacred” jobs and then the rest, but that as Christians all is sacred because all is done for the glory of the “ever present” God.
You can order “everPresent” paperback on Amazon here.
You can also get the e-book version from GCD here.
Below are a few choice quotes from the book.
“Our perspective concerning our homes, workplaces, gyms, restaurants, parks, office buildings, theaters, and everywhere in between should be that this is God’s place and God is here.”
“The only way for God to undo the injury of our soul dislocation was to undo what had been done. The place of God had to be remade.”
“As long as we have life and breath and are awake to live out another day, the gospel still bears impact on our homes, whatever their state. The relocating, renovating work of Jesus is still active, forming the household of God.”
“The office, classroom, retail store, restaurant, factory, and laboratory are all places in which created humanity exercises dominion to cultivate and develop God’s initial creation. Work is essential to who we are. Work is right.”
“Like the false dichotomy of the material and spiritual, bad religion created another dichotomy with regard to our work; sacred and secular.”
“Even the most reclusive introvert still needs relationship with others. We were created for community.”
I have been recently collecting various books from different Christian faith traditions. I believe that there is a beauty in looking at how various Christians around the world pray to God, there is something beautiful in the diversity and tapestry of prayers that ascend to the throne room of our Lord.
One of those books is on Celtic Prayer and yesterday’s prayer was beautiful and has stuck with me. It is an amazing reminder that Christ is present in our lives and surrounds us. I pray that it benefits, affects and comforts you as much as it has me.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort me and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I have recently seen people take a word and make it theirs for the year. Instead of resolutions (which I did and am working on) they take one word to own, to exemplify in their life. Kelly Youngblood for instance has taken the word Alive and says “I am going to find and do those things that make me come alive, and stop doing what doesn’t.”, you can read the rest of her post here. This came from a movement called One Word 365, more can be read here, and is something I have been pondering recently.
I see vulnerable as opening up to allow the real me, the authentic person come out.
It is not so much that I feel that I have to choose a word. Rather it is that I believe God has given me a word that he wants me to own this year. That word is vulnerable. Vulnerable can be seen as weakness as something that opens you up to attack. However I see vulnerable as opening up to allow the real me, the authentic person come out. I have for so long closed myself off to almost everyone around me. I have been very controlled in what I let others know about me, or about the battles of my heart and mind.
I have come to realize that this is not healthy or wise. I also know that to be vulnerable is something that will grow me, that will allow me to process so much that is inside of me that I have pushed down over the years.
It is not “cool” for pastors, for church planters, to be vulnerable. We should be “real” but in a controlled situation. I don’t want to be that, I don’t see Paul, Jesus or anyone else in the Bible be that way. I do not want people to think I am something I am not, or that I am just so spiritual that I never deal with any issues of insecurity, doubt, sadness or pain. So I am stepping out, and owning “vulnerable” as my word for 2014, and yes I realize I am almost 2 months late to this, but better late than never right?
I cannot say what this will look like on a daily basis but I think being aware of the need to be open and vulnerable, to let others in, to let you in as you follow this blog, well, it’s a start.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. -John Wooden
I have been thinking about the parable of “The Good Samaritan” recently. I even gave a chapel talk to the UNM Basketball team about this parable. The more I think about it the more I love it and don’t like it all at once.
I love it because in this parable Jesus is going hard at the religious leaders of the day about who their “neighbor” is.
I dislike it because in the parable Jesus is going hard at me right where I am at about who my “neighbor” is.
Jesus tells the parable because one of the religious leaders was trying to test him about how to “inherit eternal life”. Jesus asks the guy about the law and what it says, and the leader responds by basically saying, “Love God and Love Neighbor”. Jesus affirms the answer and tells him to get to it. The man though wants more details, he wants an exact idea of who his neighbor is, in other words “give me a list of people I need to love and care for”.
It was after this question that Jesus shared this parable:
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ (Luke 10: 30-35, NIV)
In the parable Jesus places a jewish man as the victim of a robbery and beating, and a Samaritan as the caregiver and true neighbor. The religious ones, the ones who knew the “Love God and Neighbor” law saw the man and crossed the street to avoid touching him and defiling themselves.
What’s the big deal? Well, the Samaritans were hated, they were looked down on as nothing but half-breeds who stepped outside the faith because of their heritage and history of marrying non-israelites. In fact the leaders reaction when Jesus asks about the one who acted like a neighbor shows the disdain that he had for Samaritans, he just said “The one who had mercy”, not even mentioning his race.
The Samaritan knew that the Jewish man more than likely looked down on him, hated him and viewed him as unclean. Yet even knowing this he helped him, sacrificed time and money to care for him. He loved someone who hated him.
This is what being a neighbor is about. It is not about loving those that love you back. It is about those moments when you are called to love someone who doesn’t. It is the moments when you must love someone on the opposite side of the political aisle, theological issue or racial divide. Those are the moments we are truly called to be neighbors who love.
The law is bound up in loving God and loving neighbor. We suck at both. That is why Jesus is the true neighbor (yeah that is probably stolen from Tim Keller) because he loved us when we were enemies, when we were anything but lovable, and he loved us by sacrificing himself for us, to make us new, complete and capable of such love to others.
The law is bound up in loving God and loving neighbor. We suck at both.
I am now called in light of Jesus’ love to love like him and you know what, it sucks. It is hard, I do not want to love someone who I view (sometimes very wrongly) as racist, legalistic and arrogant. I do not want to love someone who will critique me, who will call me names, who will gossip about me. It is in those moments though I am to remember Jesus’ love and the story of the Samaritan and repent, be humbled and love my neighbor.
“Africa” by Toto is my favorite song. I have easily listened to it 3x as much as any other song in my iTunes library. Not only is it an amazing song it also reminds me of times as a kid with my mom which makes it even that much more special.
So please enjoy this amazing cover of “Africa” and thanks to Justin Edgar for making me aware of such an awesome video.