Christmas

29 12 2008

We have had a nice christmas this year in our home.  The highlights to me have been the simple things my kids have enjoyed:

  • My oldest was in his first school program, and he sang out and did the motions with all the other kids.  In the past, when he has been in a program at church, he has just stood there with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.
  • My younger son sang in front of the church for the first time this Christmas.  He decided to get down on all fours (for no reason at all) and jump like a frog
  • I loved watching my kids open their simple little gifts and seeing their eyes light up.  We didn’t give them anything extravagant, but their simple happiness was so much fun to be a part of.
  • My wife put one of the gifts inside an old diaper box and wrapped it up for my younger son.  He unwrapped it and said “DIAPERS!!!”.  My wife said, did you want diapers for Christmas? and he said “YEAHHHH!!!”.  Of course he was even more excited to find what was actually inside.
  • My daughter has enjoyed the newness of everything; this being her first Christmas.  She got a stuffed panda and seems to really like it.  She giggles a little when I play with it with her.  She is just gotten so alert lately too and loves to smile and interact with people she knows.
  • My boys played with their cousin in the leaves out at my aunt and uncle’s house.  Talk about enjoying life’s simple pleasures!
  • And, of course, I can’t forget the Jubilee Kids Club Christmas party and seeing all the smiling kids faces there.  I posted about that here.

The simpleness of Christmas was the highlight for me this year.  Of course the greatest gift of all entered the world in the most simplest of ways so many years ago.
Here’s a gallery of the best shots from Christmas day.  Click on the thumbnails to see larger versions.





Evangelism

1 12 2008

My wife and I are in an evangelism study group at church.  This week, as a class, our task was to, in 3 sentences or less, explain to someone what we believe.  In other words, when an unchurched person asks us what we believe, what is a short, concise response that will perhaps open the door to further witnessing.  Here is what we come up with.  I welcome your feedback.

“I believe that God loves us and created us for a relationship with Him which is a free gift available to all who chose to accept it.  We were all born sinners, but God sent His only son, Jesus, to pay the price.  He overcame death on the cross so that the relationship with Him can be restored forever”.





prayers of a 4 year old

29 09 2008

My 4 year old is starting to get quite creative with his bedtime prayers, which is awesome.  Here are a couple of nuggets from the last week or so:

  1. Thank you for our mouths so we can eat.
  2. Thank you for our shoes so that our feet don’t get burned on the sidewalk.

Everyday it becomes more and more obvious to me why Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me”!





Jury Duty on earth

24 09 2008

Yesterday I participated in my civic duty as a Collin County resident in the state of Texas.  I had to show up to the local court house and wait to see if my name got called for one of the 2 jury panels needed for the day.  It wasn’t.  They took the first panel of 25 right away.  Then we all sat there while one woman worked with 8 or 9 different people to either postpone their service or cancel it altogether due to some affliction or another (I didn’t really understand the ones that were allowed to leave without rescheduling because the summons I received in the mail clearly spelled out every acceptable reason to get out of jury duty – all they had to do was mark the appropriate box, send it in and then just not show up).  Anyway, she finally got around to calling the second panel of potential jurors and then let everyone else go home.

So, what did I do while I sat there waiting?  I read a few pages in the book “Jesus for President” by Shane Claiborn and Chris Haw.

Consider the irony of these words that I read as I sat in a courtroom waiting to see if I would be selected on a jury to decide the fate of an accused criminal:

Some might read the popular phrase, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and mistakenly think that Jesus

meant, “My kingdom is not in this world.”  But Jesus was speaking more about essence than location.  In other words, he was talking about the “real world.”

Jesus said this while on trial for insurrection.  His kingdom had finally collided with the kingdoms of Herod and Pilate, and they wanted answers.  Since Jesus’ birth, he had been at odds with the establishment.  They wanted him dead ever since the rumors about the other King of the Jews.  Because of this Jesus had, for the most part, stayed on the fringes of public life, insisting that the kingdom he preached and represented be undetectable to the powers.  But now he had paraded into the center of power, flipped over its tables, and hosted a public and critical teach-in, creating the conditions for his arrest.  Now under government control he is questioned:

Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?”  Pilate replied.  “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me.  What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.  But now my kingdom is from a different place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.  In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate…

From then on Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.  Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out … “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews…

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

John 18:33-38; 19:12-15.

…His Kingdom is not of this world because it refuses power, pledges a different allegiance, and lives love. In a world where truth had become smothered and rulers don’t even know what it is anymore, Jesus embodies a truth that will set us free – even Pilate.

That’s the kingdom I want to be a part of.  Reading those words while sitting in a Collin County courthouse just drove home the point.





Jesus for President

18 07 2008
Jesus 4 Prez tourbus

Jesus 4 Prez tourbus

Last night my buddy Kyle from Retread and I went to see Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw on their “Jesus for President” book tour.  It was a very unique experience.  I really enjoyed it.  They have unique political ideas that are refreshing to me.  I bought their book and started reading it when I got home.  Can’t wait to really get into it.  Here is a more complete review by my friend.

The evening was definitely something different than I have ever experienced before.  Two guys basically standing up together going through the entire human story.  All throughout, there were musical interludes by the Psalters, a very unique musical talent which is very hard for me to describe – kind of celtic or chanty and middle eastern or indian.  It was pretty special.

Check out www.jesusforpresident.org/tour to see if you can catch these guys coming to your town.





Boys bedtime

29 05 2008

On the nights I put my boys to bed, I pray this prayer with them:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you for this day.  Thank you so much for all your many many blessings.  Thank you so much for little (4yrold) and little (2yrold) and little (babydueinaugust).  We love our kids soooo much…help them to know how much we love them, Lord.  Help them to know how much you love them, Lord.  Help them to grow and meet their milestones, Lord, on time.  I pray that they would remain happy, healthy, and strong.  And, Lord, above everything else, I pray that they would learn to love you and follow you and know you as their personal Lord and Savior.  And help them to show others around them your love.  Lord, I pray that they would have a good night’s sleep tonight.  Help us to all get the rest that our bodies need.  Help our boys to know that they are safe in their beds tonight.  Amen

At some point during the prayer my 4 yr old always reminds me to pray for his uncle and for whoever else may be on his mind that day and I do that or I pause while he does it himself.  And, my 2 year old usually bows his head and prays “Jesus….food….Amen”.

When I tuck my 4 yr old in bed, I always ask him the following three questions:

Do you know I love you?

Are you going to sleep tight tonight?

Are you going to have sweet dreams?

When I tuck my 2 yr old in, I always say, “You know you got a daddy who loves you?….and, I mean, I love you biiiig time, dude”.

I don’t know why this has become our routine.  But, it has, and I think we all like it.  I know I do.





Levi’s help

25 05 2008

At lunch we were quizzing our 4 year old on what his Bible verse was in Sunday School today.  It was John 15:12 where Jesus said:

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Levi\'s Help

After lunch, we had a great chance to live out that verse in front of our 4 year old.  We noticed a man straggling along the road side in the hot sun near the hospital today.  It was hard to tell what he needed, but it wasn’t hard to tell that he needed something.  He looked like he may have just been discharged from the hospital because he had a hospital bracelet around his wrist.  It was possible he was drunk or high or both.  He walked with a noticable limp and seemed to be drifting aimlessly.

 

We stopped and asked him if he needed anything.  He mumbled that he was fine.  I offered to get him some lunch and he agreed.  I was a little nervous about taking him the car with us, so I asked him where he was going to be for the next few minutes while I went to get him lunch.  He said he would be right there.  So, we ran to McDonald’s and got him a chicken sandwich, a coke, and a large ice water.  We took it back over to him, and by this time I had decided he was harmless (or more accurately, that it was worth the risk to help this man), so I asked him if I could give him a lift somewhere.  He said no.  I asked him what else he needed.  He said he was just waiting it out for 5 days until he got his next check.  I wished him well and we were on our way.

As we pulled away, our 4 year old said, “That was weird.”  My wife and I immediately used this situation as a lesson.  We told him there were countless people that had passed him by just today that could have stopped to help.   We told him that we did what we did because it was the right thing to do and because it is what Jesus would have done.  We told him that Jesus would have already known exactly what that man needed.  We don’t always have that luxury but we can pray and give it our best shot…which is exactly what we had done.  We told him that it may have felt a little weird, but each time we do it, it will feel less weird. And of course, we reminded him of his Bible verse today and showed him how we were living that verse out.

We decided going forward, we would continue to pray for the man.  Though we didn’t know his name, we decided to call him Levi because that was the word written on his shirt.  And we told our son that Jesus would know who we meant when we prayed for Levi.

Looking back now, I realize this is a situation where someone needed help and God placed just the right person in the just the right place at the just the right time to provide that help.

I just pray that we were able to help Levi as much as he helped us.  God knew that our son needed that lesson today and Levi was there to help deliver the message.  God knew that we needed that lesson today, too.