the conference i’ve been speaking and counseling at is over. we’ll be packing up and beginning our journey back home today. last sunday, we made it out here to california in a non-stop marathon in less than 23 hours. no fun. gotta take more time enjoying the west texas scenery on the way back…
here are some random thoughts from this week:
i have deep, profound friendships with people who span over four decades…the kind of friendships that pick up right where they leave off, even when there are months or years that pass in between seeing each other. these are not shallow, surface relationships, but the kind that represent years of building strong foundations of investment. it is a great thing to receive the reward that comes from reuniting.
i see so many people these days who have no “real” friendship with people, because they are unwilling to be bothered with the mess of another’s life…or fully expose the mess of their own. they have grown content to have acquaintances, but no brotherhood. i wish that were different. there is so much more to life for people who dare to live deeper.
current events are popular. even out here on the west coast! i’m sure seeing a lot of hatred and judgment by people claiming to be followers of christ these days. it breaks my heart. it comes from both sides of every issue and the divide of disunity grows wider by the moment.
how i wish people would pause before every thought…every word…every action…every post…every reaction…and run it through the “would-jesus-say-or-do-this” filter. we claim to follow the prince of peace. he has called each of us to a life of peace-making. our lives and speech and demeanor…no matter what the issue or how passionate our values…is to be consistently filled with kindness, grace, forgiveness, and hope.
i feel like i want to preach through the sermon on the mount again. we need to read those words every day.
what do i miss about living in san diego? the night and morning marine layer on the coast, crowds, the melting pot of culture, taco shops on every corner, hills.
i drive faster in california. people accuse southern californians of being “laid back”. however true that may be, that is not reality on the freeways.
i had a moment one evening on the campus of the youth conference ,when i told wanda i no longer had the desire to be a youth minister. she was surprised. so was i. i thought i was going to, at least, turn sixty before that desire was gone.
on the other hand, people ask me what it’s like being an “adult minister” now. my answer? i just do youth ministry with older kids… who move slower, are more opinionated, are just as unruly, and pursue fun with far more creativity.
the greatest thing we can say to a kid is “i believe in you”. for many, they need to hear it again and again and again…until they can hear the voice of god say to them “well done”, with their own ears. the words of people can never replace the words of god, but sometimes they are the only words that can penetrate broken hearts and make a way for the true words of life to take up residence.
this may be even more true for adults.
i am grateful for my past. for the home and parents i had. for the city i grew up in. for the simple, traditional church that helped shaped the foundation of my faith as a child and young man. for the diversity of people and examples that breathed life into my shallow understanding of being a christian. for the wealth of friends we shared life with in our younger adult years. for the hundreds of kids who challenged me to live my faith with integrity.
i am sill overwhelmed to have found a church family where i can merge all that i have come to know…all that i believe…and everything that i have grown to be…into one comfortable, messy, hilarious, honest, gracious, complicated, fun, and purposeful expression of the bride of christ.
see you in a few days, friends.