Monday, December 2, 2013

Rights of Passage

I have been thinking recently about the power that certain moments and times of our lives have to shape our future.  In short, I have been thinking about the power of rights of passage.  These are moments that for many of us define the direction of our lives for many years to come.  They inform us about our sexuality, our power or lack of it, freedom, self-control, and our worldviews. 

The thing that has interested me more recently is that our American culture is greatly lacking rights of passage and our youth are hurting because of it.  Perhaps it is not that we have no rights of passage, but rather that we have poor rights of passage.  In the lack of positive rights of passage which anchor our lives in positive things such identity, character, or values we have allowed the lack of well thought out rights of passage to take charge.

Think about this for just a moment.  Because we have failed to shape our young people through significant rights of passage our culture has taken the driver seat in our absence.  Driving, smoking, and Sex have become the rights of passage.  Meaning that when you drive, smoke or have sex your now a mature adult.  But as we know the ability to perform certain things is a far cry from maturity and usually causes damage when our character cannot back the choices that we make.  Sex without restraint, faithfulness, and commitment is destructive.  Smoking or drinking in excess without self-control is harmful to ourselves and often others. 

It seems to me that we have an opportunity here to begin to think differently about our students and children as they are growing up.  What areas could we be taking an active interest in their lives shaping them to have character and values?  What impact could we have as responsible, caring adults if we were to actually look our kids in the eyes and speak worth and value into them?  What lives would be changed if a father took his role seriously to teach his daughter how a real man treats a woman with respect?  What if he took his daughter on a date and told her she was beautiful and that she deserved respect?  How many girls lives would be changed by that moment?  How many young men lives would be changed if their fathers took an active interest in their sons?  What if we did more than just show up to the games...what if we took our boys camping just so that we could spend time with them and share the stories of our lives and what we have learned?  How many boys lives would be changed by that moment?

I used to be a teacher and I was always shocked when I would hear the kids talk about who had impacted their lives.  Most often it was an old grandpa or grandma or everyday average person who would simply take the risk to talk and open up with a kid.   You don't have to be a superhero, you just have to be honest about you and your story and what you have learned.  They are listening and watching for something better...we just have to give it to them.  What could happen if you realized you have the ability to change some kids life because you took an interest in them.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Reflection on the Heart of the Father

A week ago today I shared part of my testimony at my church the Stirring.  It was much more emotional, vulnerable, and raw than I expected, but it was good.  I'm still reeling from feeling that vulnerable and out there in front of everyone.  I fearfully snuck into church today through the side entrance hoping to ease into the place I call my church.  Being vulnerable can leave you wondering what people will think of you or how they will treat you now that blood is in the water.  But the truth is I have been met with nothing but kindness.  A few people have looked at me awkwardly like I might spontaneously combust  before their eyes, or worse that I might make them cry.  I promise I will do neither one intentionally.  Scouts honor.  Although, I've never been a boy scout so you will just have to trust me.

On another note with everything I have been processing I have had a weird sense that I am ok.  Its ok for me to not be ok.  I am still able to love and pastor others and I have not lost my mind.  I am the same person but im also a little bit of an ogre.  I'm like shrek because im like an onion, I have layers.  Each layer is a little deeper than the previous and with each layer that the Father heals and takes me deeper I trust him more.  I'm ok because he peeled back a layer of me in front many of you, but he was the one who did it so I am safe.  I trust him and I am ok.

Here are some of the insights I've been coming to in this season of healing for me:

I have deep wells of hurt but he has deeper wells of compassion and joy and he wants to fill those places where I have been wounded with His Spirit as opposed to letting me sit in my hurt.  (which I by the way didn't know existed until recently)

Unprocessed hurts and wounds become strongholds for the enemy.  There it is.  You can run, you can hide, but He loves us too much to let us sit in toxic places without inviting us to trust him to lead us out.  Plain and simple our destiny is wrapped in our healing and trusting the goodness of the Father.  We can do all kinds of great things for him and those are good.  But, I think there is a level of trust that I am coming to experience that is coming because I am learning to let him love me and actually receive it.  He really does love me.

When he is loving me, he is the one in control and I get to choose whether or not to receive it or reject it.

Anyhow, I have other thoughts but that's enough for now.  Some will not understand, some will be inspired, some will judge, some will react in fear.  Others will lean in, ask questions, seek further, and look into their own hearts.  None of these are areas of control for me.  I just get to be obedient and say yes.  I trust He will do what He needs to do in you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Last night my wife and I celebrated 11 years of marriage and we have the picture to prove it.  But as everyone who is married knows, marriage is not all sunshine and rainbows.  It is often hard work highlighted by moments of beauty, sacrifice, and love.  But more often than not it is just hard work.  I don't know who said it but I think it must be true that anything worth having will cost you something.  In the case of a good marriage I am convinced it will cost you a LOVE that is beyond your capability.

Reflect with me for a moment on this:

Our love for each other is not enough to get us through. 

Don't misunderstand me, I love my wife.  She is my highschool sweetheart and we have officially been together in our lives for longer than we have been apart. We started dating when she was 13 and I knew the first time we kissed in the movie "Fools Rush In" that  I love Sarah.  But our love is not enough.  Each of us have come to points where we were below zero and without hope.  The moments when we have been ready to throw in the towel stand out to me as monuments to the fact that our love has consistently fallen short.

Love falls short when we base our loving each other on how we feel, or weather or not our needs are being met.  There are lots of reasons why our love will fall short.  Sometimes we love based on the good deeds of our spouse and then when the deeds are not present we withdrawal the love. 

7 years ago Sarah and I were climbing our way out of a dark hole in our marriage.  To summarize the high points of the previous years it would be fair to say that our trust in each other had been shaken, our intimacy was lacking, and we had little to no community in our lives.  As we survived day to day I remained consistently difficult to love.  I would like to say that it is a testament to Sarah that we stayed together during those years but it is more of a testament to God's hand in our marriage that we did not divorce.  When our love for each other was no longer enough, it was God's love for us that got us through.  Sarah must have been on empty for months on end but she also had started to do something crazy.  She started to pray for me.  As she would pray I would get upset and hate her more.  My actions and attitude did not deserve love.  But, Sarah's love for me was not her own.   Her love and her actions were being shaped and changed by God's love for me.  Her love was not her own.  Her love falls short.  His love never ends. 

This is my whole point.  I am convinced that love that keeps people together must be a love that is beyond our capability.  It must be a love that comes from God.  Because God knows that I have been unlovable and untrustworthy.  But isnt that the beauty of love that flows from God?  That His love is unmerited, unearned, and most of the time unrequited. 

The good news of Jesus seems to show every where to me these days.  After 11 years of marriage, the love that we needed to get us through didn't even come to us from each other.  It came from the true love story that is bigger than us all.  The unrequited love of Jesus extended to us in the brokenness of our marriage to heal us and set us back on our feet.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Synonyms of Perspective

Sometimes the thing we need more than anything is to get a new perspective.

That thing in front of you feels so big and devastating you want to run.  Or perhaps its that marriage, broken relationship, death, family drama, those out of control kids that make you feel like jumping out the nearest window.   Maybe your not ready to jump out the window but you are beginning to feel like the room your standing in is getting smaller and smaller each time that person walks in to it with you.  All the air gets sucked out and you feel like your drowning.  

 What you need to get is another perspective.

Recently I got out of town with my family to visit a family member and stared at the ocean and green hills and valleys of Marin county.  As I stared at the green hills covered in cows and tall grass as far as the eye could see I began to feel small.  The smaller I felt in relationship to the hills and many cows the smaller my problems seemed in comparison to the beauty of the landscape.  I'm not saying that staring at hills and cows will solve all your problems but perhaps getting out of your situation long enough to look at something different might shift your thinking about that thing your in and bring you that fresh breath that keeps you going.  




  1. outlook, attitude, context, angle, overview, way of looking, frame of reference, broad view • The death of my mother gave me a new perspective on life.
  2. objectivity, proportion, relation, relativity, relative importance • helping her to get her problems into perspective
  3. view, scene, prospect, outlook, panorama, vista • stretching away along the perspective of a tree-lined, wide avenue

Sunday, March 31, 2013

It cost us all

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Easter before the day is done.  A thought that has consistently been on my mind is that
I guess what I want to get at is the idea that no ones story will come without conflict
good choices
poor choices
epic failures and
epic successes.
At the end of the day we each are uniquely human in our failures weather it is our addictions, moral failures, or inability to forgive.  NONE OF US MAKE IT THROUGH LIFE UNSCATHED.

In a very clear way......
this fact that we will not make it through life without the implications of our choices,

which are present and heavy on our hearts                                                                        

is the reason why EASTER is such a big deal.  

Jesus came.  Jesus lived.  Jesus made a conscious decision to live a fully human and fully God like existence in which no one comes out unscathed.  Easter means that Jesus assumed the implications of all of our choices.  It cost Jesus the implications of our choices. No one comes out unscathed, not even Jesus.

He carried all implications of our choices to the grave and back for loves sake.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Living in the Tension

Regularly I come to moments where I want what I don't need and need what I don't want.  What I want is to be out of the tension of not knowing where the path I'm on is leading.  What I need is the courage to walk down the path with open hands and an open heart.  What I want to do is run.  What I need to do is stay the path.  Isn't life interesting and uniquely better because of the tension?  No story worth reading happens without a good dose of tension. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Seldom do I have an afternoon free to sit and reflect.  Usually, before I know it my moments are filled with meetings, emails, and phone calls.  

But, today is unique.  

It is unique precisely because none of the normal things that would fill my time and space have appeared and my old friend rest is calling my name.  

Rest beckons me to slow down and enjoy the afternoon with my children.  Rest reminds me that the most important moments happen face to face, not face to phone or face to computer.  

My body is tired in the best way.  Without fail rest opens her inviting arms to embrace me with a gentle warmth and comfort.  

As my shoulders relax, my body eases into the swing on my back porch the happy voices of my children ring in the air.  They still spend much of their time with rest on their side.  Perhaps I should as well.