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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Off to the park

We’ve recently moved across town and happen to live closer to nieces and nephews. You know what that means. We’ve been added to the speed-dial sitter list.

Last weekend was our maiden voyage.  A full day with the 3-year old twins. As you might imagine, we had no trouble sleeping that night. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the girls, but they certainly kept us going all day.  To any of you who have children or nieces/nephews, this will come as no surprise, but we came away from the day having been reminded of some important things. These are lessons I gained from a day with three-year olds:

1: SLOW DOWN. Normally, it takes Brent and I about four minutes to get to the park on our bikes. Not so with three-year-olds. No, it was a 45-minute walk each way. The trip to the park wasn’t my brightest idea on a 95-degree day. But they were troopers and never complained. Yet it was a slow, deliberate pace the entire way. There was no rush, no sense of needing to get to our destination quickly. No wonder it’s only adults who deal with things like high blood pressure. We’d all do well to slow down our pace a notch or two!

Stop & Smell the Flowers

2: STOP & SMELL THE FLOWERS: One of the highlights on the trail was to stop and smell the flowers. If we’d been in a hurry, the beauty of the landscape and wildflowers would have been missed. It was sweet to see one sister want to share her flower experience with the other. What a great lesson. Stop, take a look around. Be present in the moment, enjoy what God puts in your path and share it with those around you.

Quack Quack!

3. INJECT FUN INTO ORDINARY THINGS. The girls knew we’d be having a cold treat when we got home, but we kept the fact that it was smoothies a surprise. Unwilling to allow an unnamed treat, the twins decided to refer to the surprise as “Quack Quack.” Silly as it was, it brought us all lots of laughter for the rest of the night.

4: KINDLE THE JOY OF READING (no pun intended!). I’ve always loved books. Most of my life I’ve been a voracious reader. But, for some reason, recent years have drew my attention elsewhere. Watching the girls bring me book after book after book to read was contagious. I think we put away about 20 books before the night was over.

5. REMEMBER THE SNEETCHES. One of the many stories we read was Dr. Seuss’ “Sneetches.” It’s a book I’ve had since I was a child and it shows by its well-worn corners. It made an impact on me as a child and I often recall its lessons even as an adult. The basic message is not to get caught up in the latest trends or judge others just because they’re not caught up in them. I think about how our society is so influenced by the latest

Sneetches

hot gadget, fashion or topic. Too often we’re judged by what toys we have or what we wear or how informed we are about the current trending Twitter feed. Yet, being on top of those things has nothing to do with strong character, kindness and living a godly life.

Isn’t it amazing what God shows us through children? What lessons have you learned lately?

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John Eldredge is the author and leader of Ransomed Heart Ministries. I have read all of John’s books and attended 2 of his conferences in Colorado. Here is a quick review of his latest book, Beautiful Outlaw.

Beautiful Outlaw inspires me to relate to Jesus in new ways, like many of John’s other books. Beautiful Outlaw focuses on the “man” in the personality of the God-man, namely Jesus. John describes how the humanity of Jesus is God’s beautiful solution that enables us to relate to him personally. He argues that the humanity of Christ is as important as his sovereignty, and experiencing Christ’s full personality is paramount to knowing him. He faults too many churches for letting the Deceiver distort Christ by being “highly invested in doing religion right.” In other words, their focus is on our performance versus what Christ has done for us and how he has made himself available to us to experience real life.

Biblically speaking, experiencing is the subtle and very Hebrew way of “knowing” someone or something. God leads the Hebrews into Sinai for 40 years in order to teach and test their hearts by experiencing what it means to be totally dependent on him for everything. This is God teaching them and us how to begin to “know” God.

John unpacks Jesus’ character one chapter at a time providing a channel to experience Jesus’ playfulness, fierceness, generosity, honesty, freedom, cunning, humility, trueness, beauty and loving.

By the middle of the book [pg 124], John really closes in on the crux of the barrier of experiencing God’s full character. Specifically he writes, “Consider the natural human longing to be loved and admired”. I would go further and say Jesus made each of us with a God sized hole in our heart that only he can fill. John’s point is that we all desire to be loved unconditionally for who we are. So when Jesus relates to us with his humanity, we hide [see Adam & Eve]. We don’t believe him because we don’t think of ourselves as worthy enough to receive the promises of these personal characteristics. We don’t believe we’re worthy because our experience focuses on our performance, what we think and what others think. The solution is to focus on Jesus’ performance, and on what Jesus says about us. John says, “Love Jesus. Let him be himself with you. Allow his life to fill yours. Everyday give him your life to be filled with his.”

John likes to quote George MacDonald. This quote isn’t in the book, but it seems to sum up the barrier that John is trying to help tear down, “Man finds it hard to get what he wants because he does not want the best. God finds it hard to give because he would give us the best, and man will not take it.”

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