A Daughter’s Love

“I love being your daddy!”

This is what I whisper to Brylie every night that I get to put her to bed. The past month has been a whirlwind of long days, nights out, and days away. Two weeks ago I spent four days at Hume Lake Christian Camp with 25 other kids and adults from our high school ministry. The night after I got back I had to miss bed time because of a meeting. After being away for four days then having leave for a meeting the next evening made me desperate for time with Brylie. I missed reading books, praying, singing, and yes, telling her how much I love being her daddy. So before I left I chased after my dancing two-year-old, stooped down with my hands on her shoulders, and told her, “BK, I love being your daddy.” Then, she stopped her wiggling, put her hands on my shoulders, looked me in my eyes, and replied, “I love being your daughter!”

I had never heard her say the word “daughter” before or had any clue that she knew what a daughter was! I still get weak as I remember and write about this because Christina and I do so much for Brylie to show her how much we love her. Often times we feel like we do all this so that one day she will hopefully understand our love. So I was caught off guard knowing that she very much knows our love for her and loves being our daughter as much as we love being her parents! I will never forget that moment.

As I was driving to my meeting I couldn’t help but think about how faithful God, my perfect Father, has been to my over the past 29 years. He has done SO MUCH to show and tell me of his great love! Often times my response is, “Show me your love! Give me more of your love! I need more of your love!” Yet for the first time I got to feel and see a glimpse of the heart of God when we truly engage in true selfless worship. To take time to tell him, “God, I love being your son simply because I know you love being my daddy.”

I want to live not only my whole life but in my day-to-day in a manner that continually tells my Father how much I love being his son because I know how much delight that brings him. I know that because he has allowed me to know that through my daughter. Amen. Amen! ImageImageImageImageImageImage


Complaining About My Gold Medals

Imagine this: Michael Phelps wins his 18th gold medal. He stands on the podium, gets his medal, watches our flag be raised, but has is noticeably frustrated or annoyed. Then in the press conference the reporters ask him how he feels about winning yet another gold medal to which he responds in an outburst, “The whole race was unfair! The swimmer in the lanes next to me kept splashing me and running into my lane! Not to mention I’m pretty sure my touch pad was broken because I swear I got a faster time than it recorded. And another thing, was that water colder than usual? Seriously, I have goosebumps, how do they expect us to swim in these conditions!”

Ludicrous right? Who wants to hear the most decorated winner in the history of the Olympics complain about a race in which no one else in the world could finish before him. Take your medal. Wave to the camera. Move on. You don’t get to complain about being a victim when you keep coming out the winner.

In the past 30 minutes I’ve taken two significant blows to my near social and financial future. A new friend just found out him and his family are going to be moving to San Diego and the tire repair man said he can fix the problem I called about no problem, but he saw a problem I hadn’t called about that he can’t fix. Awesome. So stoked. Is today a Monday?! Why is this all happening to me?!?!

In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus calls us to something greater than just being nice to people who are mean to us. He calls us to love them. Not just in our minds but in our actions. When we are in a position to actually and literally love those who make life most difficult for us something amazing happens, we reject idea that I’m a powerless victim and respond with empowered love and grace.

A few thoughts: Often times we believe we are victimized by people as well as circumstances. Both can be our enemies. I can think of people who I would consider enemies because at my worst I feel like life would be easier without them. The same goes with circumstances. Also, there is a difference between acknowledging and processing the pain of being on the receiving end of hurt and living in the place where we feel hopeless or helpless to be a part of any fruitful life after that experience.

Let’s remember a few things. What was it that Jesus told his disciples about the hatred and hardships that are to face us in this world? “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Also, as children of God we are co-heirs with Christ. What then is our inheritance? Eternal life as sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God!

God has written a new story for those who have placed all their belief, faith, and lives in him. That story ends with Victory. Redemption. So next time I feel like I’m due a little pity party or feel like I am a helpless and hopeless victim of life, I’m going to picture Michael Phelps complaining about all his gold medals. How embarrassing he would feel at the end of his career looking back on that moment. I’m thankful that what I have in Christ is greater than 18 gold medals, and I really don’t want to be the guy who complains when I already have everything.

Symptoms of a Broken Heart

Westboro Baptist.

Still reading? If you are you might be surprised to see that by the end of this post you’ll see why I have decided to not disassociate myself with them or disown them from the body of Christ.

Still reading? Okay…here we go.

After reading this passage in Mark 7:1-23 with a group of college students something crazy happened. My judgement turned to compassion. Funny how that happens while reading scripture humbly in community. Also, by the way, it is often times very disorienting how that happens when reading scripture humbly in community.

In this passage the Pharisees are livid with Jesus because he allows his disciples to break the traditions of their elders by not washing their hands before they eat. They says, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”

Jesus responds by saying, “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you?…It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

My question to the college kids I was with was was this: What would be a modern day equivalence of this story?

We wrestled with this question a lot, not really being able to think of anything when one of the kids asked, “What about Westboro Baptist?” He explained saying, “We feel like all their hate signs, protesting, and hurting of people has given us the right to disassociate with them. You know, think of them as “unclean” in the body of believers. According to Jesus, it’s not the signs that are the problem, it’s their hearts right?”


In my opinion, our Family’s (the family of God) biggest black eye, was just humanized by a 20 year old trying to authentically apply the teachings of Jesus into our modern worldviews. How annoying. But I couldn’t argue. I believe he’s mostly right.

Does Jesus hate when we hurt others? Unquestionably yes. Did Jesus come to propagate an views and practices of peace, love, reconciliation, and justice that are inline with the realities of Heaven? Absolutely. Does he stand idly by while people are persecuted, marginalized, and belittled? NEVER! But Jesus is also not about the business of revenge or abandonment.

Since that Monday I’ve combed through the Gospels and have yet to find a single encounter when people brought problems to Jesus that focused on external problems where Jesus did not refocus their attention on internal heart problems. The woman at the well thought because of who she was, what she was, she couldn’t speak to Jesus only to have Jesus chose to revealed his great plan and identity to her before anyone else. Pharisees condemn the act of working on the Sabbath then he calls into question their compassion? A paralyzed man is brought by friends to be healed; then Jesus heals hearts and legs. Saul imprisons and murders followers of Jesus; then Jesus murders the hatred in Saul’s heart.

As followers of Jesus we accept a unimaginable history of radical compassion and grace. We are to have eyes like Christ who sees our broken outward actions as symptoms of broken hearts. This is good news to all men, women, and children because we can never “out-hate” or “out-hurt” a person or group. But when we choose to allow ourselves to be moved with such compassion that we call upon the God to heal hearts through his Son, regardless of their outward labels or actions, we put out ourselves in great company. The company of the saints before us who changed lives and worlds through Jesus. Yet even greater company than this, we put ourselves in the company of men and women who stood at the foot of the cross watching Jesus pay the greatest price in the wildest act of compassion and grace for the most undeserving people of all time, you and me.

Do I condone what Westboro Baptist does? No. But I also recognize that my own church has great brokenness in our outward expressions of faith and that these are no more or less fundamental symptoms of our misunderstanding of God’s love for us and the world around us. On a more personal level, what about the transgender guy who I always see at my coffee shop or the neighbor who relentlessly makes my life more difficult. I definitely have preconceived reasons as to why they should be kept at a distance. But are their outward expressions any more or less of a reason for heart level compassion than the ways my brokenness manifests itself publicly?

This week my prayer is that when my default worldview sees the outward labels of people or hurtful actions of those around me, I will be moved toward pray and care for them on a heart level and forgo my assumed right to hurt or dismiss them.

Evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. These are symptoms of a broken heart. I’m so thankful how Jesus has compassion on us and transforms our hearts so that we may have right actions because we could never have grace and compassion like Jesus on our own.

Closer Than It May Appear

It finds you when you’re not looking. It creeps up on your blindside. It will also storm your beach and ambush your stronghold. Your defenses don’t stand a chance against it because it has a man on the inside working against you. It has your soul in its crosshairs, call it a heart attack. You have heard stories about it. You may even call it your ally but truth is when you signed that treaty, your fingers were crossed. You know what it feels like because it is a repeat offender and terribly contagious. Who or what is this that threatens us all to our very core?

I am a GRACE refuge. The life that I have so often worked, slaved, and prided myself in creating was over thrown by GRACE. I now live in a land quite unfamiliar to me ever since GRACE ambushed me over 13 years ago. See, when I said that my defense is useless against GRACE because he has a man on the inside working against me, that man is Jesus. He is a saboteur who took up residency, called me friend, lover, and co-heir. Then one day he did something unthinkable, something I’ve never known a man to be able to do confidently, authentically, and without oppression. He revealed his true identity. He is actually the Son of God, and he and his Father are one. Then I realized my greatest fear which then became my greatest desire: He unveiled the truth behind the facade of my life. My true identity to me.

Once I was fully exposed and standing in the reality of the man I’ve created and the cost of the life I’ve created for myself I knew my fight was over. Before such stark truth, nakedness, and light, what could I say? What excuse could I offer, what defense could I pose, and with what strength could I fight? He knew all my passwords, secrets, plans, strengths, and weaknesses. Knowing that surrender was inevitable, defeat surely before me, and a lifetime of work, accomplishment, and pride rightly judged with a verdict of death I caught a glimpse of my future. My eyes see how GRACE is actually the result of, not the condemnation of, the loving sacrifice and power of Jesus, His Father, and the Spirit of Holiness. I see that judgement has passed me over because the sabatuer of my prideful and selfish life was actually positioning himself so close to my heart that when death came to strike my heart, it first had to go through the man standing before it. Jesus, he wasn’t trying to steal my life, no he had just saved it! He had just displaced me from a land dictated by death and ruled by the delusion of pride. Suddenly I found myself living in the land of the living, a land called GRACE. The great beauty about this kingdom called GRACE, as it turns out is that…

…it is always much closer than it appears.