You were created for a life of significance. It’s true.

In church world we talk a lot about this. We spend a lot of time celebrating “God’s plans” for our lives and encourage each other to do great things for God. As we tap into our creative purpose in the kingdom of God, we push each other to be people of big faith and bold dreams. This is not rooted in selfish ambition, but part of understanding that Jesus invited us to be a part of his restorative work on earth. We haven’t been sidelined, but are joyful participants in the story of God.

So what then are we to do with the mundane moments – the moments, days, weeks, and months where it doesn’t quite feel as exciting as the way we talk when we’re together?

Photo by Mikael Kristenson. Unsplash.

Photo by Mikael Kristenson. Unsplash.

For instance – today. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I stay home with my two boys who are 5 and 2 while my wife works. Today, I will change some diapers, make grilled cheese, shuttle the boys around on errands, and mow the lawn during nap time. Don’t get me wrong – these are all things I like doing. But maybe you’re like me. Sometimes its hard to know what to do with days that are average, slow, and ordinary. Especially coming off of Sunday where I’m usually encouraging hundreds of people to live a life of significance.

Often times, I see the super-creative, “dreaming with God” conversations cause just as much anxiety as it does hope. It’s easy for us to feel like our Mondays are inconsequential. I wonder if there’s something we need to re-think.

Continue Reading…

Andrea di Lione, “Adoration of the Golden Calf”

Andrea di Lione, “Adoration of the Golden Calf”

Some studies show that we spend 1 – 2 years of our lives waiting in line. Think traffic, grocery stores, on hold with Comcast, etc…

This doesn’t count the time we spend waiting for life to resolve, waiting for our leaders to “get with it”, and waiting for God to bring change to our lives.

Everyone would agree that waiting is necessary, but when waiting turns to impatience interesting things can happen.

I was reading the other day of what happened to the children of Israel as they were at Mt. Sinai waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. They had already been miraculously delivered from the Egyptians, sustained in their desert wanderings, and accompanied by clouds and fire tornados. You know…normal stuff. But when Moses didn’t come down soon enough from the mountain, bad things happened.

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. – Exodus 32:1

Yikes. It was when their waiting turned into impatience, they decided it would be best to fashion a golden calf who would be their new God to lead them forward. On one hand, it sounds ridiculous to think of creating and worshipping a cow made out of jewelry and such. However, I don’t think it was just the cow they were worshipping. Their real hero that day was being able to elevate something they could see, something they could touch, something that could keep them moving forward, something that could visibly produce results….NOW.

I can look at my own life and see the places where my waiting has turned to impatience.
Places where God hasn’t spoken loud enough or moved fast enough.
Places where I’ve grown discontent in waiting for my leaders to show up and tell me what to do.
Places where I’ve chosen to fashion a new future in my own hands.

May we become a people who are faithful in the delays and worshipful in the waiting.

What about you?  How do you handle moments of waiting?

 

Fatherly Blessings

March 5, 2015 — Leave a comment

This post was originally written for my friends at the ONE PROJECT.

On April 14th, 1983 my parents were at home in Ft. Wayne, IN singing and playing their guitars. As recently converted hippie rockers, this was not an unusual way for them to spend their downtime. Most nights they were exploring their relatively new-found faith in Christ together by making music and finding their lyrics in the Scriptures. On this particular night, my dad found inspiration from the prophet Isaiah – a great book to accompany any psychedelic inclinations.

As my mom went to bed, my dad found himself in Isaiah 40 and started writing a song about what we know as the coming of Jesus and the call of John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Messiah. He penned the words to a brand new song called “Clear the Way.”

“Clear the way for the Lord, clear the way
In the wilderness, clear the way
Make straight in the desert a highway for God
In the wilderness, clear the way”

While the ink was drying on his lyrics, my mom who had been sleeping, woke up in intense pain and notified my dad that the baby was coming. A few hours later, I was born.

“Hi, there.”

As I grew up, my parents would remind me of that story, and that in some way they believed that God wanted me to know that similar to John the Baptist, I was called to be a person that would make way for Jesus in this world. It’s a story I’ve always held close. While my dad had no way of knowing that I would enter the world on the same night he stumbled into a new song, my parents would very intentionally retell me this story so I would know this was a generational blessing from them to me. Continue Reading…

Image Courtesy of Lightstock.

Image Courtesy of Lightstock.

A recap from my breakfast musings with Jarrod. (Disclaimer: It didn’t sound this good when we were talking)

Too often we spend our days endlessly searching for “our true selves”. Always looking to express our unique voice and extract a deep sense of meaning from our labor and relationships. While the exploration of our deepest identity is a critical part of our lives, the Christ follower derives motivation from a different place. Rather than begining and ending every day with the act of searching and finding, we rest in the thought that we’ve already been sought out and found. If the King of the universe has already done the exploratory work and fully found me, then what am I still trying to find in myself?

The pursuit of ourselves leads to anxiety and restlessness.

Yet somehow, in the pursuit of Christ, we not only get the fullness of Him, but we are in a roundabout way re-introduced to our real selves because we are completely known in Him.

“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

– Charles Chaplin

We Need Humanity

2Questions

Last week during Christmas, my family spent a couple days down at Megan’s parents house in Castle Rock.  For the last few years, at some point during the post-gift exchange lull of the early afternoon, somebody suggests that we watch vintage home videos of Megan’s family.  After rummaging through a collection of VHS tapes marked with Sharpie scribbles, somebody pops in the featured film of the afternoon.  If you can remember, the early 80’s was the era when recording home videos required real work.  Carrying a microwave-sized box on your shoulder took a serious investment of time which means that you end up recording hours of one single shot in order for the moment to be worth it.

In this particular episode, we got to watch a snippet from an hour long episode of 3 year old Megan and her 5 year old brother playing on a swing set.  It was hysterical watching Megan try to figure why the teeter-totter doesn’t work with just one person.  More amazingly was how much my wife has changed in 30 years.  I didn’t know her back then.  I only know her has she is now.

But this is how we see growth…right? By looking back at how we used to be, how we used to think, how we used to behave and then looking at who we’ve become since then.  Looking at these videos, and even looking back at our last 8 years of marriage, I can see that the Megan I am married to today is more caring, thoughtful, hospitable, loving, generous, and beautiful.

As we reflect over this last year and turn our sights to next year, it’s normal at this time to be thinking about what we accomplished and what we want to accomplish. While there is nothing inherently spiritual about the start of a new calendar year, this is commonly a week where we evaluate and take inventory of our lives and start making resolutions.

But I want to challenge us in what questions we are asking. Instead of only thinking in terms of goals and accomplishments, let’s think in terms of growth and maturity. What if we all spent some time this week asking…

  1. This last year, who have I become?

  2. This next year, who is the Father inviting me to become?

Yep…. Those are BIG questions and maybe a little daunting. Where do we even start in answering questions like that?

The reason these questions are important is because Ephesians 4 tells us that God’s intention for us is to grow into the “fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ.” Meaning that God is most glorified in our maturity, not just our accomplishments.  The Father loves to grow us up – still preserving our “child-likeness” but leaving behind our “child-ishness”.

When we only look at our accomplishments and goals, we only leave room to celebrate our victories.

But when we are looking at who we are becoming, we have permission to look back to moments of pain, tragedy, and failure and ask God what he formed in us through those circumstances. This doesn’t mean that God purposefully makes bad things happen to us. But he uses every opportunity to reveal Himself in us. Our growth and maturity is defined when we can identify Jesus more fully in us.

Remember, setting goals is good and necessary, but the fullness of Christ is what we’re after.

In my opinion, that’s the best way to end and begin a new year.  Cheers!

Hey there!

Since 2014 is just about in the can, I thought I’d get at least one post up here for this calendar year!

Recently, as I’ve walked through a lot of personal transition, my creative energy has been focused more in the world of speaking and teaching in the Vinelife community.  I anticipate that this blog will become more of a hybrid space for me to share and expand on some of the same content and insights.

With that said, we recently jumped into a new Advent series called “Birthing the Miraculous.”  The idea was inspired by Heidi Baker’s memoir of the same title.  It’s not so much about childbirth, nor is it simply about miracles.  In short, it’s about the process by which God accomplishes great and supernatural things in us and through us.

As we explore the story of the virgin Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel detailed in Luke 1:28, there are so many important observations that we can be shaped by. Unfortunately, I don’t have the audio from Pt. 1, but you can listen to Pt. 2 here.

Also, here are 4 quotes from the last couple weeks.  Feel free to share!

Instagram_w1_1 Instagram_w1_2 Instagram_w2_1 Instagram_w2_2

Photo by Shannon Kaple Photography.

Several months ago, our dear friend Shannon Kaple blessed us with a newborn photography session.  She came to our house and took hundreds of photos with our family and newly adopted Asher.  Everything she captured was amazing, but in my opinion, this photo is in a category of its own.

I knew that having kids and raising a family would be an unbelievable experience.  But I didn’t realize how deeply I would be moved to see my boys love each other too.  When I saw this photo for the first time I cried.  I still cry. It’s almost as if my love for them is reciprocated in their love for each other.  I didn’t see that coming.  I’m guessing this is how the Father feels when we love each other the way He loves us.

No doubt, this photo will embarrass them when they are 12 and 15.  But for now, Megan and I enjoy in having a huge print of this blown up on canvas and mounted in our kitchen.

Again, I want to say a huge (overdue) thanks to Shannon.  If you’re in the market for newborn photography or a family lifestyle shoot, Shannon is the best.  Check her out her website and portfolio.

Below, are a few more from the shoot…

Family2Family3 Family4 Family5 Family6 Family8 Photos by Shannon Kaple Photography.

Catching My Breath

September 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

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Whoops. Looks like it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Didn’t mean to leave you hanging.  I’ve just needed some time to be fully present in my life.

To be candid, the last several months have been incredibly wonderful and challenging at the same time. One experience has been so wonderful, it has taken my breath away. The other situation has been so challenging, there have been times it has sucked the breath out of my lungs. Both require me to catch my breath.  Let me explain the difference.

This last Spring began a life changing season for Megan and I as we adopted little Asher into our family. He’s four and half months now and as happy as ever. He’s brought so much blessing into our home and it’s made my heart so proud to see my sons love each other like they do. The experience has been so beautiful, it has taken my breath away (and sleep too).

Also, this last Spring, I began a journey with a dear friend and brother through a very difficult process that is still unfolding. It’s been a season of lengthy conversations, hours of processing, tears and a lot of prayer. Our hearts have been so tender as our families walk this out together and cling to the goodness of God. There has been so much beautiful fruit in our community, yet there have been times I’ve felt like the wind got knocked out of me.

It’s amazing how life seems to happen all at once.  Rick Warren said it well…

“Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.” – Rick Warren

The beautiful moments don’t always wait for the pain to be processed.
The painful moments often come in the midst of celebration.
It all seems to come together in the same package.

This reality calls us to stare every moment in the eyes and embrace it for what it is.  If God’s Presence is with us in all things, then that means we get to be present as well.  We take it all in with joyous celebration, tender compassion, and immovable strength.

So, as I catch my breath, I’m thankful we have a God who supplies us with HIS breath. The Greek word for Holy Spirit is Pneuma which means wind and  breath. Just before Jesus sent out His disciples, the Scripture says ‘...He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…'” (John 20:22)

The Spirit of God gives us breath to enjoy the beauty and breath to be strong in battle.

Always remember that the people in your life who seem to always “have it together” are most likely experiencing pain in one form or another. And the ones in your life who are obviously discouraged are recipients of the unending goodness and mercy of God.

Either way, the invitation is the same – receive the breath of God.

Pray for Asher

May 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

IMG_1525Hey Friends,

Megan and I are requesting prayer for Asher right now.  Last night, we had to take Asher to the Emergency Room because of trouble breathing, low oxygen, and an excessive rate of respiration.  They transferred him to St. Luke’s Presbyterian hospital in Denver where we will be with him for several days.  He is in somewhat stable condition as they run extra tests and take necessary precautions. Most likely, he obtained a virus that has become a bronchial infection.  Because he is only 6 days old, his body has to work much harder to fight it off.  His lungs are stressed and are working tirelessly to get air in and out.  He could be taken to the ICU later in the day.

Again, the good news is he is stable, and in a safe place where they can monitor him.  No damage has been done, but it just takes time to for newborns to recover from such a virus.

We ask that you join us in praying to Jesus for complete and miraculous healing.  Pray for strength in his lungs and that this virus it flushed out quickly.  Also, we had a restless night with little sleep and we’ll need strength for the rest of the week.

Thanks for all of the love and support you all have shown us in the last week as we welcomed Asher into the world.  Now, please join us as we pray for a full recovery.  Please feel free to post prayers or Scriptures here for extra encouragement.

UPDATE: May 14th, 9:13 a.m.

Hey Friends,

Following up on my post yesterday, Asher is doing much better today. His breathing has normalized, and they are now trying to lower his oxygen intake to see how well he responds. The doctors were happy to see how well he’s been improving. Yesterday, the X-ray showed a couple small pockets of his lungs had collapsed, but they can give him treatments to open him back up. The doctors are saying his virus has reached it’s “peak” and he will start getting better from here. Again, it just takes time.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. We feel so loved and supported.

Megan and I camped out in the room on a queen sized air mattress that our awesome neighbors loaned to us. Last night was a surprisingly good night of sleep!

Continue to keep us in prayers.