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Showing posts from July, 2009

The Rock

I have this moniker, Mr. Woo. It comes from people saying my name and my answering with (wait for it)...woo. Mr. Woo is actually not too bad of a nickname. It beats the nicknames I was given as I was growing up. Skinny Boy and Four Eyes weren't horrible, but Cries-When-Wets-Pants left some scars. Needless to say, I have tried to leave these behind. I've never introduced myself by saying, 'My name is Rick, but you can call me Captain Pansy.'

Because of my not so successful past with nicknames, I am surprised when people with great nicknames choose not to use them. Case in point, I saw a movie poster for some has-to-be family friendly flick starring...Dwayne Johnson. Now there is nothing wrong with the name Dwayne. But I saw the picture and said, 'Isn't that The Rock?' If I had a choice between my name and The Rock, I'll be honest, I am going with The Rock.

It got me thinking about how we choose to be identified. Perhaps Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is…

God vs G.I. Joe

Summer is known for releasing blockbusters. And at the risk of affecting your image of how cool I am, I need to tell you I want to see one more. G.I. Joe. That’s right; the preferred toy of me and all my friends is being made into a movie. I can remember many, many days spent setting up and enacting battles between the Joes and their arch enemies, the Cobras. If I still have any sense of cool left, let me get rid of that now by telling you that I still have all my G.I. Joes from my childhood. I only kept them for my kids to play, really….seriously.

I recently pulled them all out from boxes that have been taped for more than twenty years. After cleaning off two decades worth of dust, I introduced my children to my old toys. All the effort I put into packing, shipping, storing, and cleaning was worth it to hear my son ask why their weapons do not fire automatically. What’s wrong with kids today?

I was playing with my children the other day and explaining which guys were good and…

Happy Birthday!

Disclaimer: This is my story, but it is not a story about me. This is about what God can do. Oh, one more thing (a disclaimer within a disclaimer). While I am prone to exaggeration in my stories, I am not prone to exaggeration in my life.

The very fact that I am hesitant to write about this says more about my lack of faith than about one answered prayer. Undoubtedly God has answered many of my prayers. But I am guessing there are many boxes of unanswered prayers waiting because I have simply not asked. Here's what happened.

My wife and I have been planning the gala event of the year; our son's 6th birthday party. It means a lot to us that it goes off well because he lives in a world largely dominated by estrogen. He has two sisters and a church full of girls his age. While this will might be deemed a good thing in his mind in about ten years, right now he lives to play with and wrestle boys.

So we set the date and plan for outside water games. We also buy some blow-up boxing g…

No Fair

"No fair!" she screamed.
"But you punched him," I reply.
"It wasn't that hard," she shouts.
"I don't think his ear is supposed to be that color," I reason.
"It's still no fair," she concludes.

With punishment taken care of, I walk away wondering why justice doesn't make sense to my children. Then again, God probably wonders the same things about me. Sure, I appreciate justice when it is being doled out to murderers and other 'really bad people', but I wince when it heads in my direction.

In my most mature moments, I can appreciate that justice comes because God loves me. It is the opposite that causes me bigger problems. How do I handle life when injustice comes my way? Those times when I am minding my own business and someone deems it necessary to ridicule or hurt are the times when I question, 'why me?'

Paul says it ‘has been granted…to suffer for [Christ]’ (Philippians 1:29). Some of us may at time su…

What We Say in Our Sleep

They say on average that women use twice as many words in a day as a man. Apparently that is not enough for the women in my life. My two-year old was napping as we came to a drive-thru window of a fast food chain. In her sleep she heard her brother ask for a cheeseburger and she mumbled that she wanted one as well. On several occasions, my seven-year old, who probably uses three times as many words in a day as I do, will come out sleepwalking and mumbling. My wife has also been known to sleep-talk, but due to the fact that I value life (my own!) I will withhold details.

All this non-stop talking has me thinking.

First of all, it seems that Christ followers tend to have answers that we give in our sleep. It would be difficult to convince non-believers that we aren't all handed a manual, upon entrance to our club, of how to answer tough questions. The single fact that our answers are similar would not be a bad thing, except that some of our sleepy answers don't actually answer t…

Complete Silence?

I am no expert when it comes to the book of Revelation or the end times. If you want that, go check out one of the 56 books by Tim LaHaye. But it's part of the Bible and so once every decade, I take a peek. I found something that left me wanting.

"When the Lamb ripped off the seventh seal, Heaven fell quiet— complete silence for about half an hour." (Revelation 8:1)

As a father of 3 young children, and a youth pastor by trade, I don't know what 5 minutes of silence would look like, much less 30. Actually, this is quite remarkable, even for Heaven. If you read the first 7 chapters, you have Elders and Angels all singing, all the time. And I have to believe it's loud. Plus it's probably loud. What reason is there to whisper in heaven?

But the silence is not to last. And it looks like the silence there is similar to the silence that occasionally comes to my house. It's the calm before the storm. It's only quiet because something bad is about to happen. In…

Twice as Expensive

Do you know why those stamps at fairs and parks are important? I'm talking about the ones that they put on your hand when you want to return on that same day. Obviously, we want to get back in. As a first-rate thrifty dad, I do not want to have to pay again to get in a theme park that I have already paid to get in to.

But what if? What if my family had been paid for and then exited the park for some reason? Most likely it would be to eat at our vehicle. As I said, I'm thrifty. And let us suppose that one of my children had somehow slipped out without having their hand stamped. It would be like them to squirm away and refuse. And because I was hungry for lunch, I did not notice.

As we head to go back in to the park, we might all be granted access except for this one wayward child who decided the stamp was not that important. And as long as we're supposing, let's say we got that one Type-A worker at the gate who refused to believe that I had already paid for my kid to ge…

3-year old Girl: 1 Dad: 0

I think way too highly of myself. Despite what the Apostle Paul said about not thinking too much of yourself, apparently I do. This is despite the fact that I have very little power and am in a position of very little respect. Most of the time I am ok with that. After all, I am a youth pastor.

But when I walk through the doors of my home, I expect things to change. For whatever odd reason, I expect blind obedience to my wise council and bold direction.

I'm an idiot.

Last night, I set the children down for bed. Mind you, this had been a good night. The kids played in the water in the back yard, took showers, we ate, and then celebrated life by having cake and ice cream. They should be putty in my hands, I thought. Like I said, I'm an idiot.

'Bedtime', I call out. The 7-year old goes down without a fuss. The 5-year old, though squirmy, goes down. It's just my wife and I and the 3-year old. 'Bedtime', I repeat. The swift reply is 'no'. I told this just-…

You need to leave room for dessert

My wife is a good cook. Seriously. But no matter how good a meal is, I always try to save room for dessert. I know the information out there about eating healthy and not snacking late in the evening. It doesn't matter. If I am too full for some cookies and milk, then the day feels like a loss. Yes, my name is Rick and I am a treat-a-holic.

The problem as I see it is that I have been programmed to think that dessert comes after the meal. But I think it should be seen as important to the whole meal as the vegetable, if not more so. See, we fill our bodies with stuff that we're not as interested in as dessert. It leaves us with no room.

This reminds me of something John Piper write in his book Hunger For God.
"If we don't feel strong desires for ... God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great."

Making room for Go…

But won't my arms get tired?

Small does not mean isignificant. Being insignificant means being isignificant. But perhaps that's besides the point. I came across this small verse in a small letter towards the back of the New Testament. It's Jude 20-21. All of it is good and I am thankful to Jude for writing it, but one thing in particular struck me this morning.

Jude encourages his readers to "keep your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ."

It seems to me that we keep ourselves very busy dooing things. This keeps our hands busy. Busy, busy, busy. We're busy like bees, but at least the bees make honey. I often wonder what we create with all our busyness.

Jude is telling us to keep our arms open and outstretched. I'm not sure about you, but I haven't often tried to get things done with my arms in the air. Unless, of course, I was holding something up for somebody. But except for those instances, I often have my arms full and doing stuff. Because d…