Friday, June 30, 2006

More hard objects falling...

Something happened this week that rocked my world...

As a father, my prayer, my hope, my dream is that my sons grow up to love and serve Jesus, my Lord. I certainly had something to do with them getting into this world and all I want is for them to love the Lord and follow Him.

My oldest son became Christian about 6 years ago and I was honored and brought to my knees when he asked me to baptize him.

This week, my youngest son called us from summer camp and gave us some great news...he wants to become a Christian. I can't wait to see him, I am absolutely thrilled about it. That is awesome news, however something else happened that I just want to talk about for a bit.

When he called us he told us on the phone that he had "accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior". First of all, that is quite a mouthfull for my 11-year just seemed surreal for that to be coming out of his mouth. Secondly...what did he just say?!?

Before we knew it (my wife and I were both on the phone) the youth minister was back on the line talking about "scheduling" his baptism.

I'm almost 43 and I know I have a good 3 decades or so of stigmatisms to get through, but after we hung up the phone I found myself wondering (for a few moments)...what have I done? My son just sounded of those people that you meet on the street that say they are a Christian and that they just "accepted Jesus into my heart". This wasn't supposed to happen this way...

For 40 years I have heard, understood and believed in 5 steps of salvation (hear, believe, confess, repent, be baptized). In my history the last 3 always come together because they are all (all 5) equally important and necessary for salvation. For about a half a day, I was slightly freaked out. My hope was that when my son got home from camp we could sit down and talk about how his understanding and study together.

It turns out that I was just being parnoid.

True...if my son had been at a "Church of Christ" camp the phone call would have been markedly different. More like..."your son wants to be baptized, do you want to come up to camp or have him wait until Sunday?" Ok, what's the difference?

The big difference is that they would not have taken his confession. Now, I still have not talked to my son face-to-face so I can't say for sure that's what happened, but it sure sounded that way. However, even if they did, it's not a big deal. My wife, my son and I will all get together and talk about this and if my son is ready this Sunday or next Sunday he will confess his sins, repent and be baptized.

On the other hand, I don't think my son would have talked about a personal relationship with the Lord...that's cool...that's really cool.

The moral of this story for me? I still have a lot to learn about my faith and that overcoming 40 years of doing things a specific way will not be accomplished overnight.

Anyway...praise the Lord, my son wants to be a Christian!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Look out for falling bricks

Every once in a while something hits me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes I'm amazed at how slowly I figure things out...

I think I figured out another key difference between the Church that I now call home and the one that I grew up in.

Personal Relationship with God. In my past, that has always been one of those phrases that could spark a conversation in a flash (not unlike, "Praise Team", "Visitor Friendly" or "Home Bible Study"). People threw it around for different reasons... Some would throw it out there to show that they really understood what was important, others would cringe at it knowing that...others...would feast on such words chewing them up and spitting them out as some perversion.

It now occurs to me that in my past, I was encouraged to learn about God and develop my relationship with His Church and THAT would lead me to a closer relationship with God. As I studied scripture and discussed it with my Christian brothers and sisters I might mature as a Christian. My goal was to be considered a "mature Christian".

Only those that were busy with Church-work were growing...if you wanted to become more mature in the faith, mow the grass at the building, speak your mind at the business meeting, hang out at the office, be visible. I mean, how else does everyone else gauge your level of Christian maturity?

Now I think there's a better way. I know it may sound radical, but hear me out. I've seen it in action...

I am now seeing people walk into the Church building that already have a personal relationship with God. Their relationship with God does not depend on who they know, how much time they spend at the building, how many potlucks they attend, how well they sing...

They come to "Church" to enhance the relationship they already have! To combine their praise and adoration to God with others so that it might be more powerful and effective. They are not using "Church" as a sole means to get to God, they are participating in it to enrich a relationship they already have.

For me, that explains why I see people with very different backgrounds worshipping together, some are quiet and contemplative, others are active...raising their hands, clapping and even shouting, still others are in between. You see their "Church" has not defined who they are, but God has and how they (we) participate in worship to Him is expressed differently because the source of our faith is in Him, not brick and mortar, not the preacher, not peer pressure or our friends...HIM.

I'll keep looking up for the next set of bricks...

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I've been distracted lately. I don't know if it's the old standard...stress or something else. I think it's something else...

Someday's it feels as if my mind and my heart are in a battle to determine where my energy is going to be spent. In the process, of course, they spend energy which is taken away from that which I finally decide to devote my time.

I know that part of it is the change in's officially spring here, but it feels much more like summer. I think there is something about each season that I really like and this one is no exception. There are so many things you can do in the summer...

But something else is going on inside of me. I mentioned this to a really good friend of mine a couple weeks ago and I basically said to him that more and more I am looking for a creative outlet. Now, I'm a pretty straight-forward kind of guy so this is a funny thing for me to say. I mean, in the past, I have left such things for others (you know, creative types - those that go to school and get..."Art" degrees) while I just got on with the real work - I mean, I AM the workhorse - the strong back.

In the past, I have always been the one everyone wanted around because I was "a strong back" and I just jumped in and started working and I worked and I worked and didn't make waves and just...well you know...worked. Lately, I find that I have a number of things to say from my heart and my heart is starting to sound like the little girl that keeps tugging at your shirt asking crazy questions.

"Why is the sky blue?", "Why did God give frogs green skin?" "What would happen if I ate 100 popsicles?", "Are you listening to me?", "Can we go to the park?", "I want to learn how to ride a bike, a really cool one with red handles and steamers.", "Are you listening to me?", "What would happen if flies blew up when you hit them?", "Hey, are you listening to me?", "Can I sing you a song?", "Hey, look at what I's an elephant with polka-dots", "ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!?"

My heart is making a lot of noise and the sound is deafening, I have to figure out how to work through each day, listen to my head, listen to my heart and keep both of them happy.

Any ideas?
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18