Archives For Love

Birthday 2016

Steve —  9.21.2016 — Leave a comment

To say that I feel overwhelmed by the love I feel from friends and family, when I get a chance to sit and think about it is a huge understatement. And I’m especially reminded about it on my birthday. From the many Facebook wishes (thanks FB for making it easy) to the thoughtful gifts to the smile on my kids faces as they wish me Happy Birthday. So, thank you all for thinking of me on my birthday – I hope a smile crossed your face as you did so.

At the same time, I can get pretty lonely. Owning a business where you are the only employee is quite a shift from being part of team or company that has thousands of people. That can get pretty weird on a day like a birthday – a push and a pull that left me working hard to stay present.

Birthdays, like other “anniversaries” seem to be a time where I do a lot of reflecting – a natural time to stop and take stock and evaluate what’s working; what’s not and what’s stuck. This year, I feel like there’s a lot of each.

Needless to say that I’m trying to sort it all out as I have time and opportunity. I’m pretty busy working the opportunities God has placed in front of me – day and night – so time is at a premium these days. I’m thankful for a wise wife that helps me get out of the ditches I find myself in from time to time. Her love and support make me go.

To close, I hope you have as special of a birthday as I had this year. Thank you for your love – it means the world to me.

 

dadEvery year on Father’s Day, there’s a mixed bag of emotions running through me. On the one hand, I am the dad to three amazing kids – a role I have longed for since I was their age. One I also take very seriously, which speaks to the other hand.

My dad died when I was six, but even if that hadn’t happened, my parents were separated heading for divorce. So, the hole his death left was inevitable – albeit absolute. My step-dad came into my life a bit later, but he went to work one day just before my eighth grade year and didn’t come home. And from there, I have been without a man in m life that is required to love me.

I am creating a father’s legacy…literally from scratch.

God has blessed me with incredible men that have taught me very important lessons on how to be a man and provided countless Godly examples of how to be a father, but as I reflect today…there’s still something missing.

If I had a third hand, it would be pointing to my Heavenly Father. He has not filled in the gap, but rather added another dimension or character to the person of father in my life.

We learn when we grieve and grow when we must work around those holes in our lives. The people around us need us to succeed, which is why I write about this stuff. It helps to put into words what is in my head and heart at times.

Father’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate dads everywhere…just know that there are people out there that hide on this day because the pain is too great.

Remember to pray for His peace to invade their hearts.
Remember to be sensitive to those you know are hurting.
Remember to hug them; look them in the eye; and tell them how much they mean to you.

Love. That’s it…just love.

Today was one of the best Father’s Day ever for me as a dad, but still hard as a son -> loved as a dad; lonely as a son.

Energy Levels

Steve —  3.19.2015 — Leave a comment

Vision ObscuredLooking for a job is hard work. Like really hard – mentally keeping track of every lead; spiritually finding new reserves of faith as each day passes; physically resisting the urge to over-work and focus on staying rested – it’s just a lot…and frankly more than I expected.

There’s also something about not knowing where the path leads. Each step requires more focus; more awareness and before you know it, the fog threatens to envelope you completely.

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The Problem with Truth

Steve —  4.10.2014 — 1 Comment

Perception – it’s everything. No really.

How we perceive the world around us is based on our beliefs and if you’ve read anything by Stephen Covey, you know that beliefs drive behavior that produce results that either reinforce or challenge beliefs.

Ponder that for a minute…

Go ahead…I’ll wait.

Truth is like data – meaningless without context. It just sits there – still true – but isolated, waiting for experience to validate.

The context of our lives (summation of our experiences) provides the vehicle of acceptance and internalization of truth. The good times and (especially) the valleys we go through give us something to test the truth – to see if it holds up under the weight of reality. If it does, then a new belief is formed and another dies.

Back to perception. If we hear a truth, even one that cognitively makes sense, and don’t have the contextual experience to validate it, we typically reject or at least table our opinion of it. Our perception is based on belief and belief on experience.

But what about Truth – God’s Truth?

I suggest the same logic holds. When we call Jesus’ name (as a response to Him calling ours) and are saved, that crisis of belief about ourselves and the world around us, cement basic Truth into new beliefs. And from that point forward, the world is trying to kill them.

And most often it works.

We are hounded by achievement-based worth and shaped by shame and condemnation. We strive to be accepted and question everything through stressed and anxiety-ridden days. Asking, “Am I worthy of love? Am I good enough? What if they really knew me – would they accept me?” – scary stuff.

Luckily, God has the vision capable of creating experiences that resurrect, bit by bit those initial Truths until one day, we wake up and feel free and accepted and humbled by His great gift of Grace. That the Creator of the universe loved and loves me – at my worst – and has accepted me just as I am.

No performance needed. No striving. No hamster wheel.

Just love. Period.

And everything seems new and different – like a veil has been lifted or you step out of the shadows and into the warm sun.

MercyMe has a song called, “Flawless” that sums all of this up in just 4 minutes. I hope you’ll ponder the Truths that saved you and step into the sun.


Two Truths

Steve —  5.20.2011 — Leave a comment

My friend Matt and I, from time to time, engage in friendly chatter regarding the core truths of the Christian faith. I love it because he is very grounded in his faith and seems to be able to filter out the noise pretty well. Also, he’s pretty much the only one who will actively comment on anything I say online, which wins him an extra cookie in my book.

The last go around was between two topics and it was a very short serve and volley:

THE SERVE [Matt]
Justification = just as if we never sinned & just as if we had always obeyed

Read it again because you might miss the profundity in the brevity. Now read it one more time. Isn’t that wonderful and so absolutely true!

Whenever I see the term “Justification,” I immediately hear the word “Sanctification” in my mind. It’s like when I hear the name “Marsha”, I hear, “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha…” from the Brady Bunch. So, I replied with:

THE VOLLEY [Me]
Sanctification = Proof positive that there’s always room for improvement

Now I sometimes say things to gauge the reaction of someone – especially in church circles these days, but this isn’t one of them. I truly believe that our justified lives are one big work in progress that has no ending point this side of heaven.

The point is that everyone around you is some sort of work in progress. And your Christian friends are being worked by the Creator of the Universe, who can be trusted to finish that work. May the Grace and Love of Jesus abound in how we engage those around us.

I desire a fundamental and wholesale change in approach to how we care for the needy. When we ask the question, “How are you caring for the needy?”, it is being interpreted by most people to be, “Give me your list of activities so I can determine whether or not you measure up.” It’s a loaded question because of how the church reacts when people don’t have an answer. So, I will make sure I can rattle off 3-5 ways that I’m caring for others just so I won’t be judged by the people I want to impress. Do you see the dysfunction in all of that?

That’s not love and that’s not what Scripture teaches us that Christ wants from us. Instead, let’s start digging into and teaching people about how to love God, which begins with a deep understanding of how God loves us and goes all the way back to Genesis 1 and the chasm that Jesus bridged to bring us back into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.

It’s harder and takes much longer, but the sustainability for real-world impact is far greater than maintaining a list of activities that can be recited at the drop of a hat.

Hear me on this – I absolutely believe that caring for our neighbor is the best and most effective form of expressing the love of Christ, but if we do it in order to check a box on some list rather than out of love, we have become noisy gongs and our efforts honor nobody. If we are going to hold people accountable to something, let it be love.