30
Sep
2014
0

Wishing I Could Freeze This Little Boy In Time

This week is one of those weeks I wish I could freeze in time. As some of you already know, I almost lost my dad after a routine surgery a couple of years ago. Since then I have tried to take every opportunity to make moments with him. Last year this time I was planning a golf trip for his 70th birthday to Hilton Head to play some of his bucket list courses. However, as we got closer to the dates it was quickly determined that dad was going to need another surgery to fix some stuff from the previous surgery. That meant that we were going to have to put our trip on hold.

Fast forward to three days ago and we were both boarding planes from other parts of the country to converge in South Carolina to have a week of father and son time doing the one thing we have done together for years…golf. Since the time I can remember I have had a golf club in my hand with my dad not far behind. Some of my greatest childhood memories came from time on the golf course with my him. As an elementary aged kid, dad was the pro at a golf course in Florida. Summer and after school days were filled with time on the course or around it with my pops. One of my favorite things we did together as a kid was when he would get done for the day and take me out to play with him to finish the day.

There was something about the stillness of a late spring, summer, or fall evening that was perfect. No one else was out there. It was quiet. The wind was usually still, and there was no agenda to win, keep score, or be the best. The sole purpose was a dad instilling the love of a game that has served him well in this life and using it as an excuse to spend time with his little boy. In fact it is something I am now getting to share with my daughter. Every time her and I walk down a fairway together on a calm evening, I am taken back in time to that little boy walking with his dad around the quiet golf course.

Today we finished up a great day of golf, laughter, good food, and relaxing. After dinner we returned to the house to just hang out. The house we are staying in is on the second green of one of the courses we played this week. As the day started to give way to evening dad looked at me and said, “Why don’t we go out to the fairway and green and chip for awhile. It took me about five seconds to jump up grab my wedge and a couple of golf balls and head out the door. As we began to meander ourselves a hundred yards or so from the green I noticed how still and calm the evening was. Dad and I were simply soaking it in. Even though our lives have now given way to time and years, in that moment I was taken back. For a brief moment, I was that little boy again. I was the kid that was just hanging out with daddy after a long day. We were chipping and making up competitions from different spots. Each time we walked to a new location to up the game, I felt as if I was that eight year old, wide eyed, adolescent soaking in every single thing my daddy had to share with me.

It is so tough to explain the feelings I had in the moment. Even though we have played some great golf at some great courses this week, I would trade them all for that 20 minutes we had tonight. It was like I was frozen back in time as a little boy looking up to his incredible dad. In one regard I was sad that I will never be that little boy again. However, as long as my dad and I still have breath…I pray that we will still have moments that remind me that it is ok to still be my dads little man that soaks up moments with the man he has looked up to his entire life. I also pray that when I “grow up” I will be half the man that he is. I pray that I am the husband and father that he is. I pray that one day when my little girls are grown, married, and have kids of their own, that they too will be taken back in time and remember that no matter how old they get they will always be my little girls.

If you still have your mom and dad I pray that you still make moments with them. If you no longer have your mom and dad, I pray that you are making moments with someone in your life that reminds them to keep looking up to someone. Remember…at the end of the day you are still someone’s little boy or little girl.

28
Sep
2014
0

Prayer That Changes Lives

In just a few hours from now we will gather as the church. Here at CCM we are in a series called I’m A Church Member. Today we talk about what it means to be a praying church member. Trust me…you don’t want to miss this one. In fact below are some quotes to get you thinking about what we are going to be discussing today.

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”

-Mother Teresa-

 

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”

-Meister Eckhard-

 

“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ”

-John Bunyan-

 

27
Sep
2014
0

Falling Over Bases and Leading With A Limp

This morning as I was sifting through the good ole’ internets, I came across an incredible video. It is a minor league baseball game where the young man hits a game tying home run. As he is rounding first he steps awkwardly and tears his ACL (watch below…it is incredible). As I watched him get up, he had no other option but to finish rounding the bases. Was he in massive pain? You bet!!! Did he probably want to quit? I’m sure!!! However, he did what all good leaders I know have to do sometimes…you have to get up, hop around the bases, and lead with a limp. No one could come out and run for him. He had to be the one to complete the bases. His team had to look on as he would lead them to a tie with a hobble and a limp. To me, the greatest moment of the video is when he gets to home plate and his teammates pick him up and carry him to the dugout.

For leaders, sometimes you end up hitting a home run only to blow out your leadership knees rounding the proverbial bases. You didn’t see it coming and really did not expect it. Your team is watching, and they know that you are the only one that can get home. Leadership feels that way sometimes doesn’t it? In fact it comes with the territory of being a leader. Leadership seems lonely and like your limping sometimes, but the best moment is when the team picks you up at home and carries you to get healing.

How about you? What is the hardest thing you have experienced in leadership?

 

23
Sep
2014
0

3 Things Keeping Us From Seeing Jesus Clearly

It seems like for me the more I get entrenched in the world around me, the easier it is for my vision to get blurry in regard to my relationship with Jesus. I always know that my vision of Jesus is blurry when I begin to start worrying about my own desires rather than Jesus’ desires. I realize that my spiritual eyes have started to squint more and more when I put my wants over the needs of others around me. I tend to get spiritual cataracts when I take my eyes off of Jesus and put them on things that are not of him. Honestly though, at the end of the day, I really think there are three things that keep me from seeing Jesus clearly.

  1. SECURITY- Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart. If you really read the words of Jesus and are to take them seriously, being one of his followers is quite dangerous. Now Jesus gives us incredible security, but it is an eternal security. When we think of security we think of staying safe. As I was watching the news this morning, there were reports flooding in about airstrikes on ISIS in Syria last night. My first thought was that of the safety and security of my family. We have security systems in our homes and businesses. We have locks on our houses, offices, and doors. We wear helmets when biking. We wear pads when playing sports. We wear seat belts in vehicles. Why? All for the sake of being safe and secure. So why would we see our relationship with Jesus as anything other than safe and secure? While I do believe Jesus brings us a safety and security that none other can bring, it is not the way we in western culture would deem secure. In fact following Jesus is one of the most dangerous things you can do. What I am learning is that following Jesus means giving up my definition of security for his eternal definition of it. If we are to see Jesus clearly, then we must redefine what security really is.
  2. CIRCUMSTANCE- All too often my circumstance keeps me from seeing Jesus clearly. It seems that when things are good we want to take credit for it and forget that God is there, and when things are bad we want to blame God for not being there. A lot of times it is somewhere in between those two extremes. I am sure you have heard it said that someone’s perception is their reality. Even if their perception is wrong it is still the reality in which they are living. A lot of us let our perception of God, life, the church, other people, family members, job situations and health dictate our truth. However, no matter our circumstance, God is still the same. He even tells us in the Bible that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In other words our circumstance does not get to dictate our identity, Jesus does. For the record his identity is one of love, grace, and truth. That will never change. If we want to see Jesus clearly we cannot allow our circumstance to dictate who we are.
  3. SELF- This one may be the biggest reason in my life that I don’t see Jesus clearly. I let my own self get in the way. MY thoughts, MY desires, MY wants, my…my…my…my…my…!!! Or there is the other end of this. That place where I throw my eternal pity party. This is when I begin to say things like, “God could never love me.” “I have done too many bad things for him to love me.” “I am too broken for God to want me.” “I am damaged goods that will never be good enough for Jesus.” At points in my life I have said all of those things. In fact at points in my life I have sounded much like the seagulls in Finding Nemo too…“mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!!!” However, Jesus did not give his life for us to live for us, he gave his life for us to live for him. To bring him glory. If we grab that, then we understand that we are made in his image. If we are made in his image, then we are not junk that cannot be redeemed. If we are not junk, that means we are made whole through Jesus. If we are made whole, then it is not about us, but the one who makes us whole. So if we want to see Jesus more clearly, we have to get past ourselves and focus on the one who makes us whole and redeems us.

I am sure there are other reasons that cause us to blur our vision of Jesus that we could add to this list. What is it for you that keeps you from seeing Jesus clearly in your life?

22
Sep
2014
0

If You Are Going Through Hell…

Last week, I had a great friend of mine send me this famous Winston Churchill quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” The last two weeks in our community have been, for a lot of us, what seems to be hell on earth. In fact, that has been most of the reason for my silence here in this little space of the internet. Some of our community was hit hard with the loss of a high school student. He was in a single car accident that would eventually claim his life. The outpouring for him and his family has been enormous in our little corner of the world. But nonetheless, they are going through their literal hell on earth and so is a lot of our community here as we grieve the loss of this incredible young man.

In the midst of that, there was an older couple from our church who went missing. For four grueling days there were search parties, news reports, adult missing person alerts and prayers that went up from all corners of the country for this beautiful couple. A week ago Saturday the search was over as they were found not alive in their truck. There was no foul play involved, but this hit our community and our church hard once again. All involved felt the weight of what hell on earth feels like. There were questions asked, autopsy reports to be given and a double funeral to take place. It was a circumstance that none of us ever would want to be in, but here we were trying to find resolution.

Saturday, as we were sitting in the dual funeral of a husband and wife who died together, there were text messages blowing up my phone. People were asking each other about a supposed plane crash in a neighborhood just a few miles from our church. People were asking me if I knew who was in the crash. Then the news hit and I was notified that the two lives lost in the plane were two of our members. Immediately, the weight of hell on earth hit again. We were not even close to finding closure from the funeral we were currently sitting in, and we were nailed with the immediate realization that tragedy had struck yet again. This time with two men in their prime, with families and loved ones all around. Just a few short hours earlier, they had kissed wives and said “see ya later” and now it was hell on earth.

Sunday, I sat with that family as they were still in shock and my prayers were more like groans and mumbles instead of coherent thoughts. I seemed to be at a loss for words. In fact, I had to simply rely on the words from scripture where Paul reminds us that when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf. I have to tell you that in that moment…my groaning was going to have to be enough, because I had nothing else. It was again the reminder and confrontation of hell on earth.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill-

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