Who are those who matter most to us?

I know I’ve often quoted Henri Nouwen in the past few months here on the blog, but the truth is he is worth quoting. So I’d like to do that again with a few questions at the end. He wrote this:

“When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”

I think this is so true. So here are a few questions that for me flow out of that quote:

  • Who means the most to you? Have you told them that lately? Have you shared with them why they matter to you so deeply?
  • When you encounter someone who is hurting, is your first reaction to share words of advice, or share a touch of comfort?
  • Who around you needs help today? How can you share in their pain and give them hope?

Worth reflecting on. Worth acting on.

“Daddy Watch Me! – I’m Going to Do Something Crazy!”

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I love my little boys. They are a wonderful part of my life. Asher saunters / stumbles to me everytime I walk in the door. Hudson runs at me full tilt and jumps when I walk in the door. Often it’s a 50/50 chance whether Hudson will hit Asher while they both walk to me. Being a dad is a really beautiful thing.

But I have noticed something about Hudson, especially recently. He often says this to me, “Dad watch me!”

  • Dad watch me as I jump off this couch
  • Dad watch me I’m doing something crazy
  • Dad watch me and see me write my name
  • Dad watch me as I jump over Asher…

The point is that Hudson loves having my attention. In fact, if he could have my attention all the time – that’s exactly what he would want. And I think wanting our parent’s caring, loving, and attentive gaze is important and natural. Hudson wants me to be part of his world. He wants to experience his world with me. It’s not enough for him to jump over Asher unless I’m watching, laughing, cheering him on, and entering into it.

And I think we want the same thing often as well. We want people to experience life with us, to enter into our worlds and join us there. We like knowing we matter.

But here is the beautiful thing, we have this with God.

The Father’s attention is always turned to you, you never have to say to him “Watch me”, “Pay attention” “This is important”. Because to God everything you do is important, because you are important.

God wants to enter our world and experience it with us.

The question is are we letting him? The question is are we truly deeply aware of how much we matter to our heavenly father.

As a father I’d love to give Hudson and Asher all of my attention all the time. But sometimes I forget what a gift it is to have God’s attention all the time. We never turn to him and find him turned away but ready to enter our world, our conversation, our experiences with him.

So this week as you live, remember you are living with a caring Father right there with you. Because he loves you.

Teaching My Son to Pray…

A few nights ago I had a really special moment with my son Hudson. I always pray over him every night before he goes to bed. In fact after I pray he often says, “again daddy”. And of course I pray again. What could be better for a parent?

Well I found “better” a few nights ago. As I was leaving his room he called out and said, “Wait Daddy”. So I came back and said “What’s up buddy?” He looked up at me and said, “Daddy I want to pray”. I was so happy and excited so I said, “of course you can pray. Why don’t you pray right now.” He looked down though and was kinda sad and said, “But I not know how…

And so I got the amazing privilege to teach my son how to pray because he wants to know how to pray. I told him how we pray to Jesus who is our friend. I told him how Jesus cares about all we care about and how he prays about those things. I told him how when we pray we give thanks for things too. And so he gave his first nighttime prayer a shot. Here is what he prayed,

“Dear Jesus, I pray for mommy and daddy, and thank you…them. I pray to not pee the bed. Amen”

Pretty great first nighttime prayer right?

But here is the point for us. Why is Hudson asking to learn to pray? Because he sees me do it every day with him. Because this is an action that has been modeled for him. This is why Jesus says, wise is the person who hears my words, and puts them into practice. This is why our faith is not about believing just the right things, but living a certain way. Because our practices show our beliefs. And so I got the amazing privilege of teaching my son to pray, because prayer has been a part of his life now for a while.

So the point is this: that if we want to pass along our faith, we need to start to practice it consistently. Because our friends, family, and neighbors notice. They see when you pray, when you bless someone, when you forgive and reach out. And as you do these things consistently they too might be like Hudson, saying, “Will you teach me” And trust me, there is nothing more beautiful than being able to teach your son how to connect with God.

So this week make sure you practice what you believe. Make sure you act and live out your faith with those around you. Who knows, maybe God will use your example and model to influence and change others. Because that’s what happened with me and Hudson.

Oh…and by the way…Jesus answered both our prayers that night and our little boy didn’t pee the bed…

You are Known: My Personal Idiosyncrasies and Oddities

Isn’t it a great feeling to be known?

My office knows me pretty well already. They already talk about my funny idiosyncrasies. Apparently I use the phrase “let’s create a space” about 10 times a day. They know I love coffee. They know that I’m introverted and awkward at times. They also know that at any given point if there is music in the background I might sing a line along with the music, for their musical enjoyment (whether they enjoy my singing has yet to be proven). And that if they mention anything close to the Bible they are in store for a 5-minute Andrew teaching on any given subject.

But why does this all matter?

because I think deep down we all want to be known. We want to be noticed, recognized, and valued. Deep down don’t you want someone to truly know who you are? And not just know some things about you but pick up on parts of about you that you never really realized? I never realized how often I use the word “space” until I started working here. But my friends here picked up on it and made me feel known.

And isn’t this what Jesus is really getting at when he says the Father even knows all the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7)? He’s not talking about the Father’s great counting skills. What he is getting at is that you are known. You are seen, noticed, and he takes a deep interest in you. The Father picks up on your traits, and quirks and actually appreciates them. He knows how you love coffee, bad day-time drama, smooth or chunky peanut butter, or any other quirk ~ because he knows you.

So you have a God who knows you. Not an impersonal someone up in the clouds, but a deeply invested and interested God truly sees the real you. And isn’t that a beautiful thing? To know that you known, cared for, and noticed.

So today as you go about your day, doing things in a way that’s all your own. Know that you’re not alone. But have a God who sees you, smiles, and says you know what I love about…its this ________….

Living in Light of Loss

This past week our church family experienced a loss. A friend, family member, and person who was a part of our community passed away and went home to be with Jesus.

Whenever loss happens to a community, it affects each person differently. Some are closely connected and deeply affected, others aren’t affected in the same way. But the point isn’t how we are affected but how we, as a community, respond. The point isn’t just how loss affects you or I, but how we, as a whole ,can act.

So what should a community do when loss occurs?

Well this is a time to support, share, and care. Andrew Root writes this  “God is present when death is shared, when suffering is joined”. This is so true. When you share in people’s grief, when you join their suffering, when you demonstrate you care, you make God real and tangible. God becomes present when we give food, write a note of encouragement, or ask someone for their favorite memory of their loved one. Because when we do that, we are no longer seeing them go through grief but entering it; we are no longer standing near them,but with them and that makes all the difference.

So today even if your community isn’t going through loss like ours is, remember this:  “God is present when death is shared, when suffering is joined”. Don’t shy away from people in need but join them. Church is a place where people journey together towards Jesus and in difficult times, it’s when this needs to be demonstrated most.

So today why not journey with someone. My guess is that you know someone who has experienced loss in the past few weeks, months, or years. Why not write them, call them, or text and let them know you are praying and thinking about them. Why not join them where they are at, and bring God with you.

Because that’s what a community does – joins together and find God in our midst, no matter what we are going through…

A Community of “One Another’s”

This week at church we are going to do something different. Different but deep.

Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about how the church is to make disciples. That we make disciples through blessing, which literally means to give life to someone. And we also learned that we are sent to those in our Jerusalem’s, Judea’s, and Samaria’s. This is all true. The church is to make disciples, is to bless, and is sent.

This Sunday though we want to focus in on one last aspect of “being the church”. That’s being a body that loves one another.

Each week we gather to be re-sent out into our next week. But we also gather to care for one another. And this week we are going to do that in a practical and meaningful way. We are going to gather around communion tables, share blessing, share life, and pray with one another. We are going to support one another, because this journey of faith is not meant to be lived alone. Life is better together. And the church is at its best when it is active, moving, making disciples, and blessing people together. So this week the focus is on being together, healing one another, supporting one another, and loving one another.

A church that doesn’t reach out, isn’t a church. Yet it is equally true that a church that doesn’t love one another, also isn’t a church.

We are called to gather and to go. So on this Sunday we are going to gather to care.

The question is what do you need, care and support in? How can we help you? What can we do to love and care for one another?

Important questions…so let us know…because we are all in this together…