The Honor Dare – Day 3

(part 3 of 14 of the “Honor Dare“)

Dare: Pray for your parents with a sibling or friend
Verse: Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 18:19)

This is a rather simple day.  And here’s the kicker – if you start with this dare each day for the rest of the “Dare” it’s bound to be “easier” for you.  Somehow in our small Christian worldview, the practice of prayer is often to daunting, to boring, or to misunderstood.  No matter how much we talk about it, hear about it and… well, pray about it… it often seems to always end up as our magic little bullet… the lifeline.  I’m finding, albeit slowly, that everything I’ve been told for all of these years (as a kid before I was a Christian and for the last 12 years as a Christian) – really is true.  Let me explain.

I’ve been a Christian for 12 years now and I’m finally starting to (by pure “will” sometimes) approaching my day in prayer.  And God has honestly been showing me that He is there, He is listening and He is doing His work within and through me.  Who knew!  Specifically in relation to my family.  As I’ve come before Him most mornings, I can tell you that I’ve seen a direct relation between what God is doing around me and what He’s directing me to be faithful in prayer about.  Whether it’s been for Laura and the girls or for my extended family, I can actually see days later that things were moving in those areas.  Not exactly as I had wanted every time, but moving non-the-less.  It’s been a very exciting thing to be honest.

Which brings me to your parents and family.  Prayer is the simplest and most powerful thing you can do for them.  It may seem cliche to say it – but at some point you realize that if enough people say it, it’s probably true (like “kids grow up so fast…” – true!).  Humbling yourself for five minutes of your day to simply ask that those around you would experience God’s love, would be open to Him throughout their day and that your relationship with them would be more loving and kind (Oooo, kind, that was yesterday’s challange!) isn’t a big chunk of your day.

Take five minutes right now… give it a try.

The Honor Dare – Day 2

(part 2 of 14 of the “Honor Dare“)

Dare: Do something kind for your parents.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32)

Kindness can be a hard thing, especially in relationships where there is a structure in place that says, “you do what I tell you to”.  Our natural tendency to sin in our attitude, the one that says, “whatever, I’m old enough to make my own choices now.”  When those feelings creep in and start to grow deeper, we can easily start forgetting about kindness – because if we did, we’d have to worry about serving someone else.

I remember a profound thing that Laura’s mom used to say to her whenever Laura would call home from college upset, depressed or angry about something.  After listening for a while, Laura’s mom would end the conversation with, “Tell you what, how about you go do something for someone – go serve someone else for a little while, and then call me back.”  Inevitably, when Laura would do that (help a friend, go work in a soup kitchen, etc.) – there wasn’t much of a need to call her mom back to complain or grip again.  Serving others does that – puts our current agenda, wants, desires and general “me first”-ishness into perspective – makes them all seem pretty small.

And so, what better way to serve someone then those that have quite literally sacrificed a lot for you to exist and survive.  Cut them a little slack for once and do a good turn their way.  And remember, this isn’t a dare where you check something off the list and then forget about it, it’s a dare where you build each day upon the next.  So, today, as you set the table, clean your room, restock the wood pile or cook everyone’s favorite dessert for dinner – all without being asked – make sure you do it with a spirit that says “Yes, mom” and “Yes, dad” through the whole thing.

Just remember, if they look at you a little weird – if means you’re probably doing the right thing.  🙂

The Honor Dare – Day 1

(part 1 of 14 of the “Honor Dare“)

Dare: Respond, “Yes, Mom” and “Yes, Dad” all day.  No questioning or ignoring.
Verse: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:2)

At 33 years old, I’ve had more then my fair share of anger, frustration and total annoyance at my parents.  Three years ago, however, because of what God did in my life, I’d like to think that my relationship with them has transformed as I’ve become more of the man that God has always desired I be.  Although it was my marriage that was near destruction, my parents once again showed the amazing kind of love and sacrifice that you have to stand back and be amazed at – even if you don’t see it in the moment.

When I finally started to “get it” at age 30, it was difficult sometimes to look back and realize how often I’d totally taken my parents for granted… how often I’d set my own desires and wants above theirs – and then expected them to serve me in getting what I wanted!  Trust me when I say, it will matter to you one day how you treated your parents and the amazing sacrifice they’ve made for you… even if it’s hard to see right now.

Today, you’re to practice the “first commandment with a promise” – a promise that deals with you directly.  The first step to honoring your father and mother is to learn how to submit to them humbly.  There is no simpler act of humility then to simply say “Yes, Mom” or “Yes, Dad” and not question or argue.  We’re sinners, we’re not wired to submit naturally.  But if you don’t learn to do this with your mom and dad, you will NOT learn to do it with the Creator of the Universe.  It’s impossible to say “I’m a follower of Christ” and yet not obey the first commandment dealing with your relationship to those around you… specifically mom and dad.

You have nothing to loose – except maybe a little bit of that selfish, me-first greediness that we’ve all grown accustomed to.  You do, however, have EVERYTHING to gain if you try it… really.  Imagine a home that’s peaceful simply because sons and daughters decided to say “Yes” without first saying “Why do I have to?” What do you have to loose?

Back again…

Surprise!  I’m back.  :-)  Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted – but there are only a few people that would ever consider checking this blog anyway – so I don’t think anyone is terribly let down.  But, a lot has been going on in our lives and I’ve had this big itch to try and start posting again.  Events of this past weekend put me in a spot to start again – maybe it can become a regular thing – maybe not.

Laura and I had the privilege to speaking at our churches youth retreat.  The theme was “God’s Surprising Love” – shown through gifts, words and family.  The weekend was unique because the students had no idea what they would be doing – it was billed as a “Mystery Retreat” – only the parents knew what was happening.  The students didn’t know that when they showed up, they would be split into two vans, guys and girls, and head opposite directions.

Friday night didn’t go exactly as planned because half of the students were taking part in a school dance and so the other students took part in a video scavenger hunt, ending at the school dance to “crash it” (they had the schools permission) and pick up the other students.  Laura waited at one local camp for the girls and I waited at another camp at the other end of the county for the guys.  Although it was a late night and weekend of little sleep – the students didn’t arrive until about 12:45AM – we both enjoyed preparing for the weekend and working together on the message for Saturday night.

My heart, when it came to the young men was to talk about one of the most overlooked gifts of the Christian: God’s Word.  I tried to demonstrate through the weekend that we’ve been fed a diet lacking in Christian Worldview and God’s given us the very tool we need to form it’s foundation.  We focused specifically on the Ten Commandments as the foundation of our Worldview and then talked on Saturday morning about what the world has to say about/to us (their worldview) and how we can respond.

We culminated the weekend last night giving the students a dare in the spirit of the “Love Dare” from the movie Fireproof.  We called ours the “Honor Dare” and encouraged the students to honor their parents – putting their hearts and passion where God intends it to be at this stage of their life… their homes.

With that in mind, I’m going to attempt to augment the slightly-larger-then-a-bookmark size 14-day dare card with a brief story/encouragement dealing with the challenge of that day.  Who knows if this will get me in the posting habit or not, but hopefully for the next 14 days (at least), I’ll have a few things to say.

Six Years

On Sunday, Laura and I celebrated our six year anniversary. The time pales in comparison many of the couples we know – but seems long in the face of this generation. This isn’t a pat on the back or anything – simply a sad truth. If you’ve had an opportunity to listen to my talk in church from April (Daily Victory) you’ll know that this was not a smooth ride for us. It occurred to me as I gave another announcement for Covenant Eyes this past Sunday that we almost didn’t make it much past three years. We deserve so little – yet He gives us so much.

The biggest treat of the day was attending the graduation ceremony for the local Christian high school that Laura was integral in starting. This is the fourth year of existence for Grace Prep so the inaugural 9th grade class graduated. Laura was asked to give the commencement address because of her impact on so many of these kids lives. She wouldn’t tell me leading up to Sunday what the address was about, only that she was scared it was to counter cultural and although she was sure this was what she was to speak on… she didn’t want to.

She ended up speaking about preparing for marriage – starting now. I’m still waiting to get audio from the ceremony so that others can be blessed by it, but she did nothing short of pitching a no hitter with speech. It was so anointed (and counter-cultrual!) that I can’t understand why every commencement speech isn’t on this topic – at least at Christian schools.

It was a great way to be reminded that the hard work we’ve gone through, continue to go through, and will always go through is good. It’s produced in us a marriage that endures and LOVES greatly – yet always leaves me plenty of opportunities to learn how to love even better. That’s my commandment… to love my wife. I couldn’t be happier for the challenge.

God’s goodness is overwhelming, His steadfast love enduring, and His faithfulness complete.

The Heart of the Battle

This is probably the most important post I’ll make in a long time.  I’ve added a new “page/tab” at the top you might notice called “Daily Victory“.  It’s the audio and slides from a talk I gave in church a few weeks ago (4/13/08) about my struggle with pornography addiction and how the battle to find victory nearly destroyed my marriage, family and life – but how His unrelenting pursuit of me just wouldn’t let go.  The end result is a marriage and family that is strong (not perfect mind you – we still have a lot of learning to do) and a strengthened passion for helping men find freedom from this junk and step into their calling as a man/husband/father.

With that in mind I approached the elders recently and asked if they would let me use some/all of the men’s ministry budget to help subsidize accountability software for anyone in the church that wanted to use it.  They were all for it and so I presented that to the church by sharing my story.  I pray that as men (and women) choose to become accountable for this one area, it will free them up to step into the calling God has placed on their lives in other areas.  But, for this generation, I believe that this is one of only a few major battles for our future and our growth in Christ as a whole.

Please let me know what you think.  It’s tough to take off the mask sometimes, but if Christ is glorified – then it’s all worth it.

Listen to the talk

Real Faith – Part 2

Watching the three people you love the most pull away at 5:45 in the morning for a trip to grandmom and grandpop’s house. I’ll be joining them on Thursday – but trusting my heavenly Father to go before them is something I have no trouble doing – and yet I can’t help but be in a continuous state of anxiety at the same time. Weird. The three best gifts I got as they prepared to leave were:

– A wonderful smile from 5 week old Lia
– “I really love you dad. I can’t wait to play with you…” from Vivienne
– A hug (and a kiss and a hug…) from Laura that just made me feel like the man I desire to be in her life (and the lives of our girls)

We have some great easter family pictures from yesterday – but they must be on the camera still. So, this is the next best one I could find of my three girls…

My girls…

Real Faith…

As with most everything I seem to get into, I’m honestly surprised that days and weeks will go by between posting here. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think, “man, I really should blog on that…” We’ve been challenged by a number of great messages and teachings on the Word lately and I’d like to work through those. I keep random thoughts on my phone as they pass by, probably 10-15 thoughts that I’d like to work through. And of course, I’d like to discuss more of what God challenging me to in each day.

But, while I don’t seem to get the time for those things, one thing I can do is point you to a great story of faith and love. My mother-in-law spent almost two weeks with us leading up to and after Lia’s birth. I can’t remember exactly how she knows about this couple and their story, but every day she was here she’d check in on this blog to see the progress of what was happening. The blog I’m about to point you to is kept by a husband who’s wife has Cystic Fibrosis and their amazing journey in just four short years of marriage. She is now awaiting a double-lung transplant and delivered their daughter at the beginning of January at barely 25 weeks old… 15+ weeks early!! Their story and his passion for sharing it is inspiring to say the least.

This post is fairly recent and it’s two videos he made to be shared at a banquet for what I assume is a local Christian Pregnancy Center. They had asked him to come speak but he declined to go onsite so that he could be with his wife and daughter. In leu of his appearance he recorded this videos.

Men, I’m pretty sure this is one of the best pictures of faith I’ve seen.

Lia Monet Booz

For those of you that haven’t heard – or aren’t reading the much better blog by my wife – Lia Monet Booz was born on Monday, February 18 @ 3:07PM. Lia means “bearer of good news” and Monet means “to be heard”. Booz means… well, depends on the country and generation…. 🙂 For you men that will have to report to your wives the “stats” – Lia was 21″ long and weighed 7lb. 6oz. Seriously, a real cuttie!

From start to finish, Laura’s labor was 12 hours and although there were a few brief “take a sigh” moments, it was tremendously different from Vivienne’s more spirited (and long) labor process. When it came time to actually push, Lia was delivered in about 10 minutes. CRAZY!!

As far as not knowing that we were having “Lia” until she was born – it did feel very traditional. However, to be honest, I’m not sure I’d do it again. I don’t regret it one bit (partially because it confirmed a word I believe the Lord spoke to me a few years ago), both Laura and I really appreciated the ability to form a relationship with Vivienne for weeks before she was born.

In all though – it doesn’t really matter. We have a tremendous gift from God that just blows our minds away. YAY!

Some initial pics at: