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The Most Important Lesson I’ve Learned From a 3-Year Old

Welcome. This is part 2 of a series entitled: “Why Not?” To read part 1, click here.
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batmanmaskI have two sons. The older one thinks he’s Yu Darvish. The younger one thinks he’s Batman. No seriously. Batman.

Not two weeks ago, we hosted a party at our house. A friend of mine introduced himself to my 3-year old:

“Hi little man. I’m Steve.”

His response? “Hey, I’m Batman.”

batmancostumesHe has two costumes: one imitating more of a 1960s TV show Batman, and the other imitating Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight. Not a day goes by that I’m walking across the living room or down the hall in our home, and Batman comes darting through from behind a couch, door, or underneath a table. In fact, our homeschool room has two half-walls each with two columns extending from the top of the half-wall to the ceiling. Anyway, it is not uncommon for “Batman” to be found scaling and jumping from the top of a half-wall in order to rescue Gotham from imminent destruction.

Did I mention that I have a 16-month old girl, too, and the first three words she spoke were: “Daddy,” “Momma,” and “Batman?” Not. Even. Making that one up.

2012-07-08 16.57.27My 3-year old boy does most things with a scowl, too. Maybe it’s the Batman in him; but oftentimes, he has this edgy, tough-guy look to him. To me, it’s a look of determination. He strives for independence, and does not wait around expecting stuff to be done for him. In fact, just this morning, I caught him at the kitchen table eating peanut butter out of the jar with his fingers for breakfast. He’d climbed up on the counter, opened the appropriate cabinet, and proceeded to sit at the kitchen table and chow down. At least he was at the table and not on the living room floor!

I tell you all of this as background to this afternoon’s BIG event. Yesterday, with a scowl of course, the kid fiercely purported quite an ostensible declaration: “Mom…Dad…I want to ride my bike without training wheels.”

“Are you sure, Buddy?” we gently responded.

“Yes. I’m ready.” he retorted matter-of-factly.

And this afternoon, he did it. He took off across my wife’s grandparents backyard without training wheels. He peddled, leaned into a fence, fell, steered, braced himself before colliding with a storage shed, fell again, avoided a sideswipe attempt from his big brother, and fell again. But he did it. With that scowl of determination, he kept getting off the ground, kept putting himself back on the bike, and kept charting a course into a new adventure.
Why not? What’s he gonna do: fall? Scrape a knee? Kiss a fence? Twist an ankle? Eat dirt? Yup…count on it. But he’s also going to learn how to apply the brakes, how to maneuver a corner, when to speed up, how to maintain balance, and when to keep peddling even though he feels like he’s about to fall.

So again, I ask: why not?

Why not act on tremendous Spirit-initated, Kingdom-advancing, life-altering ideas? Why not join God in his mission through risky endeavors that are going to cost you something for sure?

Take this important lesson shared by a 3-year old and…

You and your community just start, act, launch, go, jump, begin, commence, create, inaugurate, originate, establish, break ground, initiate, embark on, get after it, plunge into, move, pursue, and go get em!

Why not?

Still learning,

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Missional

 

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Wrestling with the Gospel of Luke (Part 3)

Thank you for clicking on my blog. 2 reasons you should keep reading: 1) I am personally committed to writing more consistently and your gracious feedback on this article in the form of a comment would be appreciated, and 2) Perhaps you would like to wrestle with the Gospel of Luke, too.

EVERYTHING CHANGED
Once Jesus stepped inside the boat, everything changed. Let me specify. Once Jesus stepped inside Simon Peter’s boat, everything changed. After concluding his sermon, Jesus turns to Simon Peter with a challenge: “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” At this point in the story, I wonder what images were racing through Simon Peter’s mind.

On one hand, Jesus had healed his mother-in-law. Simply stated, she had a high fever. They asked Jesus to help her. He told the fever to get out of town. She got out of bed and started cooking. On the other hand, Jesus is no fisherman. He seems to know wood, stone, and rocks. He seems to know preaching, healing, and how to avoid an angry mob. However, suggesting the usage of nets in deep water would disqualify him from offering counsel on any early Saturday morning ESPN fishing show (more on this below). Therefore, what clout and/or credentials authorize Jesus’ command?

NEW NORMAL
We miss the ironies here, because most of us are not fishermen either. First, Simon Peter, the Sons of Thunder, and the rest of the boys fished in shallow water…thus, the nets. They were experts, indeed. Fishing was the family business, and they were no slouches. However, fishing outside their “comfort zone” severely limited dependable, success-producing expertise. Second, “deep water” was mysterious, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable. There were abysmal (pun intended) connotations connected to “deep water.” Would rowing into the unknown would leave them susceptible to a cataclysmic storm? Would rowing into the unknown open trap doors into the underworld? Either way, Simon Peter and his homies were not keen on finding out. Third, fishing with nets in deep water seems futile. Would net-catching fish hang out in deep water? Seems highly unlikely. In summary, Jesus asks fishermen to forsake expertise, fish in unfamiliar, unpredictable waters, and render their equipment useless.

SO…YOU COMIN’?
With his head swimming in images of Mommy-In-Law’s disappearing fever, his eyes roll outward staring into the darkness…the deep. Will he push back or push out? Will he risk or rest? Is the Spirit still hovering over the waters of the deep? The unclean, unconventional rabbi wants to go fishing. Are you coming along, Simon Peter?

Simon Peter answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. Nevertheless, at Your word, (But because you say so), I will let down the nets.”

HOW THIS PASSAGE SPEAKS TO ME
This summer, the Wind has forcefully and frequently blown this passage across my path. With each step and in increasing intensity, the challenge and invitation contained within this encounter swirl around.

I resonate with Simon Peter’s fatigue and frustration. When my church planting journey concluded in May 2011, I felt like I had fished “all night” (6 years) and “caught nothing.” As I mentioned in “Dark Night Before the Dawn,” I entered a wilderness season of doubt, bitterness, and exasperation. Did we endure 6 years of sacrifice in order to row back to the shoreline empty-handed in the shadows of darkness?

However, beginning in late February/early March, the Lord began lifting my heavy clouds. This summer, he began necessary rejuvenating transformation that included this very command: “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” We are still discerning and processing what Jesus’ request means for us, but today, we echo, share, and challenge you to participate with us in Simon Peter’s response, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. Nevertheless, at Your word, (But because you say so), I [we] will let down the nets.”

Next time, I will describe their “catch.” Until then, let me bless and encourage you to consider fishing with the Master. Perhaps, He would make an adequate ESPN fishing analyst after all.

Thank you again for stopping by. “Wrestling with the Gospel of Luke (Part 4)” will post soon. Would you click here to offer your answer to the following question: “What’s missing in missional?” Mike Breen, Charles Kiser, and others are producing and encouraging reflective dialogue on this topic, and I would enjoy hearing from you.

Still learning,

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Bible

 

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