Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Boys

I have two sons, Jonathan and Max. Jonathan will be 4 in a couple of weeks and Max was just born 3 short months ago. Being a Dad is the most awesome and humbling thing I have ever done. I love my boys more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone.
This past year has been the greatest and hardest of my life. Being a pastor has shown me that this is what God wants me to be doing, but in one year, so much has happened, that my head is still pressing against the brake pads in hopes of stopping it's spinning motion. But then I look at my boys. Jonathan, with the unmistakable pieces of pictures that were taken during my childhood and recreated in his small hands and face. From his smile to his exuberant outbursts, I lament and rejoice all at once at who he is and who he is becoming... and yet another birthday party happened today (a couple of weeks before his real birthday) and I want the world to stop for just a while so that I can take in all that is happening... but it never does. I just put Max to bed. He ate an 8 ounce bottle. I changed his very heavy diaper and wrapped him tightly in a kidopotomus swaddler and he smiled and gurgled and I swore to him, as I did to Jonathan just four years ago, that I would do my best. I told him that I knew that I would screw up a lot, but that I would give all I had to be a good Dad.
Other than the screwing up part, is that God's role in our lives? Watching from birth to death and swearing to care for us and guide and direct us even when it burns his heart and makes us cry out? If this is really the picture that the New Testament gives us in recognition of the Father's love for us, I want to cry out for joy right now, right at my kitchen table as I write these words, realizing just how much he must care for us. I'll bet that when we get to heaven, He's waiting right there with his arms wide and we will get a hug like we never have before. We are made in His image after all, and though we only see through cracked glass, my love for my boys has to be a shadow box picture of His love for us, and if that love that I know is real when I look into Max and Jonathan's eyes is even a paltry part of what His love is for us, then I am all IN.
God. I need you, and I am in awe of your Love for me... I am yours.

Cliff Anderson

I have never attended a funeral via live video stream... until today. He was my friend, my boss and my mentor for just over a year and I will never forget him. He taught me how to talk to people, how to rally others to a cause, and how to be all about the kingdom of God and those who are part of it and not yet part of it. It was his life.
I cried last night while singing the old song "When The Music Fades". The words say "I'll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself is not what you have required... though I'm weak and poor, all I have is yours, every single breath." That was his life. Every single breath.
How will I be remembered? Sometimes I wonder if the time I spend with others is just in the ranks of the average - if our hours could have just as well been spent talking about the weather or why we disagree with a certain government official. Not that these are bad things to talk about, they just aren't eternal. When I come to die, will people remember me as someone who gave all I have, every single breath to the cause of Christ? It's people like Cliff who show us what that looks like. Jesus is a perfect picture of God and people like Cliff are a broken picture of Jesus, beautiful in their imperfection.
To give every single breath means that your heart hurts for those who don't know that there is a God who loves them so much that he would voluntarily suffer not only the pain of losing a child, but the actual pain of death, just so that he could talk to me, know me, and be with me. The crazy part about this is that it's not just some flawed God like you read about in mythology, but the actual God that made the universe, the oceans, and my toes.
I haven't written in a while - and I think when that happens, it is because I am getting really caught up in myself, my business and my narrow little world. The only thing that is eternally significant is that others know about the truth that the Gospel of Christ provides, and yet when my truck breaks down, it seems like a little death has just happened. It is then when I know just how messed up my heart is, and how badly I need a savior.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


It's been a while since I've written last. In that time, my father went in for his second open heart surgery as a result of a bacteria that ate his heart valve as a result of him being on immune suppressants as a result of him having a donated kidney as a result of kidney failure that was complicated with cancer, a bad heart valve and two strokes...
Thus has been the journey for him in the last seven years. As for me, my wife will be giving birth to our second son this April as a result of a discussion we had about our family being incomplete and us needing to have another child even though our finances were not in good shape as a result of buying too much house as a result of a bad market as a result of moving across the country to be with family as a result of illness and a desire for our kids to know at least one set of grandparents...
Yesterday I was pushing a broken down motorcycle that I borrowed from my dad during his recovery to save gas. I called to check on how he was doing after the recent death of his dog and to let him know that I was stranded. I found out that their fairly new car had an oil leak, and we both sighed together as he said "I hope the first part of 2012 is no indication of how the rest will go..."
So today I wonder about miracles. I have prayed earnestly for them in the past seven years and feel like the answers have all come in the form of half-fixes that other people have enacted, not God. This has been nagging at me for quite some time now, but this morning as I was praying, a thought came to mind.

Let's look at some miracles in the Bible. Elijah ran faster than chariots and had fire come from heaven to consume a water-soaked sacrifice. Jonah's life was spared because he was swallowed by a whale. Jesus brought sight to the blind, healed the lame, cured the sick and brought people back from the dead, and Jesus himself cheated death. Though the list is much longer than that, all of the miracles seem to be done in ways in which people could not do. What if the same situations happened today? Elijah could have jumped on a Harley and gone faster than a chariot, and Jonah could have worn SCUBA gear. The people Jesus healed could have taken pills or had surgeries to heal them and the ones brought back from the dead may have been saved with a defibrillator... I am not discounting these miracles, only suggesting something about the passage of time and the miracles therein.
This morning I wonder if one of the biggest miracles ever was placed in the human brain at the beginning of creation. I wonder if God, in his omniscient wisdom and unlimited power, smiled as he formed the human brain. I wonder if he said to himself "It will take a million years for them to find even half of the miracles I am putting in here..."
So here's my question. Are prayers answered through the God given wisdom of people lesser miracles, or are they in fact miracles so big, that they display His power to many more people than simply the one who is effected? Could it be that the act of gaining wisdom and knowledge is in and of itself a miracle that is ongoing, to constantly remind us of how much He loves us? Is this why man has a never-ending hunger to learn, and is the act of learning itself a miracle?
This month, let's open our eyes. Let's live in the miracles that have been created through us by the miracle giver. Let's remember to be grateful when we climb into our cars, have a cell phone conversation with a loved one,  use a microwave (miracle invention), or swallow the handful of pills that would normally cause us to grimace with distain. Let's live the month of March in continual gratitude for the miracles we take for granted and for the miracle of a Savior who died for the love of us. It's Easter season - - let's stop being greedy, ungrateful children and start celebrating a love, a miracle, a God, who loves us and wants us to have more than we can ever ask or imagine.