Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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Preachy Keen

September 1, 2010

I’ve been writing this blog for almost two years and I’ve always been honest and genuine regarding how I feel … albeit usually about culture, the church, books or other people.  And, on occasion, I suppose I’ve been at least somewhat transparent  about what’s going on in my own life, too.

But, my main squeeze recently brought it to my attention that, over the last several months,  it’s been more and more of the former … and less and less of the latter.

And after going back through the archives, she’s right.  I’ve gotten away from what I’m passionate about, what I know to be enormously important, what I harp on and poke and prod others about – transparency … honesty … sharing.

I’ve gotten, it seems … a little preachy.

What I’ve been writing is commentary, for the most part.  On, as I said earlier, the church, other people or culture in general.

And, I’ve gotta change that.  It’s just such an easy trap to fall into … keeping the conversation/attention on other things or people and away from myself.  And, it keeps me from having to be too introspective.  From having to examine my own life and maybe sometimes be a bit critical or call for change.

The other trap I’ve fallen into is – in those instances when I have been observant and present and honest with myself  – in feeling as though every post has to be some sort of earth-shattering moral platitude.   Clever.  Well-written.  Linked, tagged, proselytized and search-engine optimized.  Perfect.   Something I’d be really proud of (hey, look … shocker, right? Pride, getting in the way?).  I’m too proud alot of the time to post something that’s not my best work … that doesn’t prove how smart I am … how insightful or sensitive or creative.  So, alot of times – and especially if there’s no “so, the moral of the story is…” to wrap it up with – I just don’t write.

And that’s wrong.

This blog was never meant to be a place others came to be “taught” anything.  How arrogant is that, anyway? To assume that every time you post something, you’re going to “enlighten” someone?

The Jones boys

It was meant to be a collection of observations and insights into my OWN life.  Something that some day, our boys could read … something that may help ’em understand their old man a little bit … illuminate their paths, if you will.  Something that would require me to be more observant … more present in my own life.  More honest with myself, my friends and my family. Something that would require me to stay engaged.

And, like I said … I’ve gotten away from that.

Funny thing is, I’ve never had a problem sharing my troubles or my past over a cup of coffee.  I’ve just never written about them here.   So, maybe it’s time to get into some of that.  It’s messy and it’s complicated, sure.   Whose life/past isn’t?  But, it’s my story.  And, it’ll help you (and ME) understand why I am who I am … how God has used babies and layoffs and depression and bankruptcy and foreclosure and cancer and prison cells  to shape me into who I am.

So, if you’ll oblige me … I think it’s about time I get started telling a little

Road_map_to_truth

more personal story.

That I start asking more questions.

That I get to know more of you.

That this blog becomes what it was created to be: a place to reflect … to spend time with other men who share similar interests and struggles … to lift each other up … to hold each other accountable …  to fish – for fellowship and resources and answers and truth.

So … fishin’ trip.  Next week.

Who’s in?

NOTE:  new site goes active on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

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Can Santa Claus Come to Town … Every Day?

December 26, 2009

Santa: "I hope this isn't that dreaded 'New' Coke"

I love Christmas morning (which, if you know me, is really saying something …  I’m not a morning person … never have been.  In fact, you have to practically stick your foot in my back and kick me out of the bed.  But on Christmas morning, no matter the time, I never give getting up a second thought.  In fact, I look forward to it … maybe as much as my kids).

This morning, my oldest boy, Jack (6), came around the corner and the smile on his face, the tone of his voice, the excitement and the happiness …. absolute joy in its purest form.  “He came!  He came! Oh my gosh! He came!” There wasn’t an ounce of his 50 pounds that wasn’t blissful.  Which, of course, caused me to ponder a couple of really important things.

1) It reminded me what real, true joy looks, feels and sounds like. And made me question the joy I feel in my relationship with Christ.  Am I THAT joyous? And, if not, why? Shouldn’t I be? Was His gift not the equivalent of a set of $12.00 walkie-talkies?

2)  It made me fall even further in love with my boys – which I didn’t know was possible.  Making them this happy should be my objective more often than once or twice a year.

3) It reminded me, perhaps for the first time since last Christmas, how immensely gratifying and fulfilling it is to make someone else really, really happy.

It made me so happy and fulfilled me in such a way, in fact, that I sat several hours later, missing it already … wishing things didn’t have to go back to normal, to hum-drum, to enduring … wishing I could do it all again (well, all of it except the getting up before sunrise and the gift-wrapping).

Then, I realized … I could.  That there was nothing stopping me. I could be Santa every day, if I wanted to.  And, I should.  It wouldn’t have to cost me an arm and a leg, require the in-laws to sleep over or that I provide a receipt.

I could give.  Every day.  To someone.

Whether that requires me going a mile out of my way, or just a cup of coffee, a hot meal, an encouraging word or a few minutes of my time, I could give more than I do.

So, that said, I’m gonna try to recapture that Christmas morning feeling more often this year.

I’m gonna resolve myself to give more than ever.

Much, I know, has been given to me.

(After all He came!  He came! …. right?)

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How big are YOUR stones?

May 5, 2009

david-and-goliath-2Still trying to re-engage after my latest withdrawal into myself (despite my own best advice … you remember it, right? Talk? Engage? Share? Do as I say, not as I do, eh?),  I was about 50 pages into another good book from Gordon Dalbey (No Small Snakes – A Journey Into Spiritual Warfare) when I ran across something pretty powerful.  And, I wanted to share it, as it relates to the combat (spiritual warfare) that we, as believers, are called to engage in every day.

But, let me preface it with this – I agree with alot of what John Eldredge says about men.  Particularly, that we all desperately need to believe that we have what it takes (and that most of us don’t believe that).  That we are, indeed, men, in the strongest sense of the word.  That we (and pardon the connotation) have, you know … stones.

And, this passage has got to be as powerful an example of that as exists.

Reading from 1 Samuel 17:45-47:   “You are coming against me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defiled.  This very day the Lord will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head.  And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat.  Then, the whole world will know that Israel has a God – and everyone here will see that the Lord does not need swords or spears to save His people.  He is victorious in battle, and He will put all of you in our power.”

This rather, well, bold proclamation – i.e. “you’re twice my size, three times as strong, have a spear, a sword, a javelin and an enormous army at your side … but, I’m not only gonna whip you right here in front of God and everybody (despite what many across the South may believe, this HAS to be the most appropriate use of that saying of all time, no?), I’m gonna take your head off.  And then, I’m gonna feed your army to the birds” – was made by  a young shepherd boy to Goliath – a giant of a Philistine soldier … a man of enormous size and strength and unparalleled combat skill.  A killing machine.

david-goliathIt’s nearly incomprehensible to most of us … to stand in front of such a seemingly impossible challenge.  Much less, to do it with such bravado.  But, then again, David had those stones … and, more importantly, an immovable faith in his God.  There was absolutely nothing that could stand in his way with God at his side.

So, imagine if you can, standing there, as David.

And then, tell me, why we can’t stand up to an envelope that comes in the mail.  To our boss.  To our circumstances.   Tell me why, when we have the same God at our side that David had on that day, we can’t swallow our pride?  Save our marriages? Reclaim our hearts? Defeat our giants?

But, you know what? That David strode into battle proclaiming victory wasn’t what hit me between the eyes.  It was what came next.  What came after David told Goliath just how far he was about to fall.

Continuing in 1 Samuel 17:48:   So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet him.

He ran toward the army to meet him.  He didn’t play 18 holes, go fishing, or turn on the game.  He didn’t ignore his wife. He didn’t toss the bill on the counter or in the trash.

He ran.

Towards an army.

Towards a giant.

He had what it takes.

… He had GOD.

Big lesson to be learned in that … no?

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