Settling Into Love…

We romanticize with the idea & experience of ‘falling in love’. We’re captivated by those moments when eyes meet, hearts are intertwined, and emotions are like rays of sunshine running through our veins. 

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We’re swept away by a indie film-esque narrative of boy-meets-girl in the midst of a coffeeshop backdrop that quickly evolves to long car rides on country roads with the windows rolled down as the cadence of her laughter becomes an infectious virus that consumes your heart, body, and mind continually.

Good times indeed.

That which we fear is the fleeting thoughts of ‘falling out of love’. Too often, that’s the verbiage that precedes divorce and/or infidelity. And more times than not, the thought of ‘settling down’ seems to carry a tinge of negative connotation. Relationships begin to dissolve as we long for that nostalgic experience attached to ‘falling in love’ again. 

Contrary to culture’s infatuation with ‘falling’, I’ve grown to appreciate & desire ‘settling into love’.

Continue reading “Settling Into Love…”

3 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY DAUGHTERS ABOUT PRAYER

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“Thank you Jesus for giving us a home to protect us from the storm. And God, give everyone a home. Amen.” — Emerson, age 5

As we continue to endure the cold season, I’m reminded of this prayer my daughter conveyed to God last winter. I love the simplicity to her thankfulness & faith. My oldest daughter has one of the largest hearts of anyone I know.

Whether its holding the hand of a scared teammate during one of her soccer games, pleading with me to give her a dollar so she can bless the guy holding a cardboard sign outside of In-n-Out, or continually praying for the homeless — my daughter’s tenacity to make a positive impact in her world is inspiring.

It can also be a little discouraging at times…

I find myself more conflicted with logistics to an issue than I do willing to trust God to provide. My convictions are swayed by overwhelming circumstances that seem impossible to tackle. My aspirations are quickly dismayed because of my unwillingness to believe in positive possibilities.

Despite the tinge of discouragement, though, I’ve learned a few things about prayer from my daughters…

BE THANKFUL.

Everytime my daughters [Emerson & Reese] pray, they spend the majority of the time thanking God for various things like food, family, and friends. [Frankie is still a lil’ babe, so she can’t talk/pray.] Giving thanks provides perspective. When we’re grateful, we avoid taking things for granted. Front load prayer with gobs of gratitude.

BE STRAIGHT-FORWARD.

I have the tendency to sometimes craft my prayers like a sales pitch. I’m more concerned with the eloquence displayed in the words I communicate, rather than the relationship I have with Whom I’m communicating to in prayer. My girls don’t beat around the bush. They get to the heart of the matter & focus in on what it is exactly that they want. It’s ok to just spit it out & make your request clear to God.

BE PERSISTENT.

My girls pray for the same stuff over & over again. Whether its for healthy parents, shelter for the homeless, or a good night’s rest… my girls don’t find it tedious to continually ask God for unaltered inquires. It’s possible to be consistent in the things you pray for without being repetitious & vain — like praying for a spouse or child to come to faith in Christ. Though we might not see immediate results, that shouldn’t deter us from sharing the desires of our heart to God on a regular basis.

It always amazes me how my children bring to life a passage of Scripture…

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. — Colossians 4:2 NLT

So what are your thoughts and/or tips when it comes to prayer?

Jesus: A Theography

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Who is Jesus? Who is He as a person? Who is He as God? Who is He within the confines of time? Who is He outside the realm of time? Is He like that guy “Q” from that Star Trek show???

Well, aside from the Star Trek inspired inquiry, Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola attack those questions with great ferocity in their new collaboration Jesus: A Theography. Instead of speculating on the various claims concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Leo & Frank gather a boatload of historical data from various credible sources. Their focus stems from the Bible, but their scope is vast.

They certainly do their homework & give light to the reader that God is ‘found in the details’. The bible narrative isn’t just a compilation of stories that support the Christian faith & eventually arrive at Jesus’ crib in a manger. On the contrary, Sweet & Viola bring the reader to conclusion that all of Scripture is pointing to Jesus & revealing His narrative as the layers are peeled back verse by verse.

I found the book interesting. I’m confident that I’ll continue to use the book as a reference/resource. I read Sweet’s book Viral a few months back & enjoyed Jesus more that Viral — if that’s of any help to you. 🙂

***Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Dreams DO come true… kinda.

Following our dreams [both figuratively & literally] is a bold decision that all of us face at one time or another. The outcome of those dreams can leave us living “happily ever after” or can quickly turn into a nightmare that results in failure.

March of 2003 was a crazy time in my life. I had a stretch of a 5 days where I got absolutely NO sleep & was convinced that I was having a quarter-life crisis. Looking back, I probably was. I wasn’t on drugs or anything at that time — I was just having a bit of a mental meltdown.

I had this weird vision where I was in a church service at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa [at the time, I wasn’t even that familiar with Calvary Chapel & had no idea where Costa Mesa really was located in context of Southern California] standing in-between Mel Gibson & Bono. I took that as a sign that I needed to hit the road & journey down Interstate 5 to Orange County. I ended up borrowing $50 from one of my best friend’s dad, met my mom at her work to convey my plans to take-off for SoCal (she made me take her cell phone with me), and departed from Eugene, OR in pursuit of what I thought was my destiny…

It’s amazing how we can have something stuck in our heads – completely set on a particular outcome – and somehow God unpacks that crazy idea & translates it into real life. As audacious as that first thought may be – or its possible that the initial idea is utterly nonchalant – God has a way of using the craziest circumstances to bring to fruition all what we had originally dreamt might occur in our lives. We see that evident in the bible via the life of Paul the Apostle, who once was named Saul & hunted down early-adopters of the Christian faith.

Towards the beginning of Paul’s ministry — after his mind-blowing/life-altering/grace-filled encounter with Jesus & he proceeds to discontinue his pursuit of hunting down Christians and actually join them — he proclaims his desire to one day visit Italy & minister to those residing in Rome. As time would tell & the book of Acts declares, Paul encountered a diverse range of circumstances that would eventually land him in Rome as he had always hoped. The last six chapters of Acts describe a 5 year period that would start with Paul sharing his story of faith & conversion to a mob of people that were previous beating the tar out of him. He would go on to face false charges brought against him, jumping from one court to the next, before arriving in Rome to eventually face the ruler of the Roman Empire. Throughout this time, Paul was under house arrest & penned much of the New Testament as he wrote the various letters to the churches of that day.

Overall, we find that life with Jesus is a grand adventure. Dreams come true in ways we had never imagined. Our life, and the lives around us, are impacted by the love of Christ working in & thru us. Our hope cannot be dismayed when we continue to keep our eyes on Jesus. Though we might face trials that seem to leave us stranded, God is faithful to keep His word & fulfill His promises.

…on my way to Orange County in March of 2003, I made it 3/4 of the way before running out of gas on the side of the freeway. I ended up having to turn around & head back to Oregon with the help of my parents paying for gas over the phone with a credit card at various truck stops. I returned home feeling more lost than ever. Little did I know that God’s faithfulness would overcome my stupidity. Four months later, at the end of July, I would finally make it to Orange County. I was part of my buddy’s wedding party… and he got married at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. It was there where I would meet a girl on a park bench & wind up marrying her just 1 year later.

I have yet to stand in any church service between the likes of Mel Gibson & Bono — and I’m completely cool with that. Haha… God sure does have a sense of humor though, huh. 🙂