Posted in Different Scriptures, Spoken Word

Genesis 24:1-27

Way before there was Tinder
There were camels and rings of pure gold
Abraham wanted Isaac to marry
Because he was finally called “old”

But he didn’t want just anyone for daughter
It was important to honor the Lord
And care to shape a particular people
Shaped by God’s provision, not the sword.

A promise that many young men
Wish that God would be so on their side
To send an angel ahead of them
To help select the obvious bride.

Now we can let go of the gender
Patriarchal systems being of old
We find a quality here for bride or husband
That’s worth more than its weight in gold

Rebekah offered to serve
And give Abraham’s servant a drink
Then she offered to serve even further
Watering camels without having to think

It was in her nature to serve
A beautiful quality for a lover
For both man and woman to offer each other
The covenant to serve the other

Just as Christ served His bride
And for the Church gave His life
Such is revealed in Christ-centered love
A beacon amidst our worlds’ strife.

Posted in Uncategorized

another confession.

There’s something I need to confess.  Both personally, and professionally.  It’s happened more than once.  I’m not proud of it.  In fact, one of the reasons I’m putting it into words is to remind myself and others that it’s happened.  It may be happening even now.  I’ll give you a quick story to illustrate:

Once a week, the pastors & staff of our church gather to pray for the needs of our church.  These are “requests” submitted on the “Friendship Folders” found in every pew of our sanctuary.  On Sunday morning, our members do much more than simply let us know they’re sitting in the pew that morning.  Many of them take a moment to ask for specific prayers, and we respond by reading those, and praying.  It’s a really neat thing to be a part of, and I’m usually in awe of the faithfulness of some prayers, and the candid “specificness” of others.  This is usually the longest portion of our Wednesday staff meetings.

After this, we go through an “absentee” report.  This report looks at the attendence records of all our regular attenders, and compiles a list of anyone who has missed 3 times in a row.  That’s usually a sign that something might be happening, and we want to make sure we’re making contact with those we’ve not seen in a while.  Not because “you gotta get in church!!!”  But because we’re a family…and if someone in your family doesn’t show up for a meal-time on a regular basis, love compels you start to ask questions.

thumbsupThat’s when it usually happens.  We’re all reading through the list of names together, and someone asks about a name aloud.  “Does anyone know how ______ is doing?”  More than once, I’ve responded in that moment.  Not out of relationship.  Not out of conversation that you and I had, during which you told me about something going on in your life.  From where, then?  Usually, something I saw posted on social media.  It’s made me realize a truth I need to confess, not only to the attenders of our church, but my own friends and family:

I make claims to “How you are doing” based on information I picked up second-hand.

This is probably not all that big of a deal.  Many of us actually post things online, so that people we’re connected to will know what’s happening in our lives.  It’s kinda the point.  The danger comes, when experiencing “relationship” by way of “information” becomes the default way we begin to relate to those we care about.  Far too many people in our lives want to be truly “known”, and not simply “known about”.  From the most important relationship I have with any human being, my wife…all the way out to someone on the edges of my relationships: we want to be known.  (see Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” to realize this is not a new need)

It’s something many of us realized about God at some point.  To know about Him is not the same thing as knowing Him.  Yet here we are, many of us settling for that same level of relationship with those we care about.  It’s understandable that it happens, really.  With the amount of data that streams into our lives on a daily basis, we are sometimes doing well to even notice the relevant information on those we care about.

Now, I’m not about to “give up” the ability I have to “know about” what’s happening in the lives of so many people….by dumping social media altogether.  But I do think it’s important to remember: information is not relation.

So that’s my challenge for myself:  To have more one-on-one conversations.  To call someone on the phone, and ask how they’re doing.  To look at my spouse across the table, letting go of the “information” I have about what’s happening in her life and genuinely ask as if I don’t know how to answer, “How are you today?”  To let go of the pictures I may have seen of my children posted/sent during the day, and curiously ask them with a smile on my face, “How was your day today??”

What does the challenge look like for you??

Posted in Uncategorized

say the (specific) words.

“The word ‘Love’, well it was once overused.  Back in the 70’s the word was abused. But I refuse to let love be diluted.  We can’t allow physical lust to intrude it.  Or pollute it cause their ain’t no excuse for the greatest gift of all to be abused.  So choose to lost the pride that may tug at you, don’t be afraid of the words ‘I love you’.”
– “Say the Words” by DC TALK

And so my teenage philosophy of being okay with the words “I love you” was formed.  Unfortunately, as with many young boys, I found it particularly effective in getting the attention of the opposite gender.  So many young people are afraid of “committing” to such a phrase, that for me to use it was effective in the few girls I was able to get the attention of growing up.  Until I met a woman who finally began to not be content with my version of love, but to teach me more about it.

As my wife and I dated, we’d have those sappy moments that young couples have.   We’d look deep into each others’ eyes over an well plated and overpriced en-tree (more realistically, over a plate of Strawberry Shortcake at Steak & Shake). Sometimes I wouldn’t know what to say that communicated my emotions well.  So I’d often opt for the old reliable…”I love you.”

This worked like magic the first few times, sure.  But then she did it.  She thwarted my plan for lifelong relational bliss forever.  She poked holes in my kite, and offered me a sailboat instead.  She did it all with a simple one-word question:


She wasn’t asking a self-deprecating question about how I could possibly have feelings for her.   She knew I loved her.  She knew I cared for her.  But she wanted our relationship to plunge beneath the surface of Hallmark cards and Disney movies.  What was it about her that, in that moment particularly, compelled me to voice my emotions?

Fast forward 14 years, to me wanting to love and bless my children, and  I’m so grateful for a wife who took the time and difficult conversations to teach me about love.   To teach me how to be a better father.  As I held my daughter this past Sunday afternoon, I began simply by hugging her close and saying, “I love you, Ruby.”  But the question of “Why?” was still echoing through the halls of my heart.  So I began a list… “I love when you hug me.  I love when you share your smiles.  I love when you pray for Phoebe.  I love when you do silly dances.  I love how big your heart is.  I love when you do somersaults.  I love to hear you make up songs……”

I wasn’t even done listing why I loved her, when my 4 year old began to snore on my chest.  She was still lightly rubbing my face with her hand.  I pulled the blanket over her shoulders, and took a deep satisfied breath.  This parenting thing is pretty spectacular.

Maybe it’s your spouse.  Maybe it’s your child.  Whoever it might be, there’s a big chance that someone you love could realllllly use a reminder of “Why” you love them.  Not because they question it, but because they long for a Love that dives deep into meaningful emotions in a world that confuses the definition of love on a regular basis.   Who will you love today?