The last two years of my life has schooled me. I believe education is good, even though the cost can be tremendous. This schooling has caused me to change my ministry position and even my family’s physical location. I naively assumed that my spiritual influence, on the people I influenced in my previous ministry position and physical location, would end as my position and location changed. I was wrong, and so many wonderful people in AZ and FL, this past weekend, demonstrated to me that spiritual leadership does not center around what state I live in or what happens to be the name of the Church we all attend or what position I hold. Earned spiritual leadership is portable and eternal. I am deeply grateful for those who have entrusted to me the function of friend, leader, teacher, pastor, mentor, encourager or any other function of influence that you might have allowed me to earn from you. I am humbled and grateful to be given the chance to continue that influence, wherever I live or whatever position I assume. I certainly am learning from all of you, and I do not see that ever ending. I was reminded this weekend that God has placed the entire world in our hands to influence and inspire. We are the body of influence that is holding the whole world. God has given us the huge responsibility of influencing each other and the whole world. I am looking forward to our continued spiritual journey together through this side of life that will ultimately land us in the presence of our King where we will spend eternity in community with one another on the other side of this life. We are family and location or position will never sever that. Until we gather in Heaven, we must keep our spiritual influence on one another portable. That is Church! I look forward to our continued influence upon one another’s lives. This past weekend was healing and revealing for me and I pray it was for you too. So, as we break out of the huddle and head off to our individual ministry positions and physical locations, let’s keep influencing each other, leading one another, loving one another and taking on the world together. We’ll have plenty of time together when our King is told to return and do His thing. Until then…let’s spread out and influence this world in the mightiest way we can with the short time we have left.
Jesus’s teachings, life and death are common. Many others have taught, lived and died. These common things didn’t motivate the apostles to begin The Church. It is Jesus’s resurrection that charged His followers to boldly give everything for Him.
The resurrection is what set Christianity apart. The resurrection is what makes Christianity right. The resurrection, not your personal preferences, is what should cause deep passion in you. THE RESURRECTION OVERRULES your need to be right, your music preference, what you wear, your leadership style, your insecurity, your ignorance, your sin, your attitude, your control, your dominance, your flesh, and your last breath. They all have been overruled! What else could it mean to be titled, “Lord of Lords and King of Kings?!”
I have four children. I am honored to have been entrusted by God to raise them. I learn from each of them on a regular basis. I learn my weaknesses and strengths through them. They aid me in viewing life through their filters and not just my own. Just a few moments ago, while going through my nightly ritual of tucking my 10 year old daughter Mia to bed…God spoke to me.
On a side note, I’ve said recently that I’ve never heard the voice of God audibly. Tonight Mia taught me that God’s audible voice isn’t as I expect it….sounding like thunder or at least sounding like Dennis Haysbert…the man with the great voice in the Allstate commercials. I learned tonight that God’s audible voice can come in any form. Its easy to test if it was actually the voice of God. Whatever was spoken must be parallel with the Written Word of God in the Bible. If what I heard, or you hear, does not line up with the Written Word of God, then it wasn’t God’s voice we heard.
We always have this ritual we go through at night. First she stands up on her bed. It wasn’t that long ago when she stood up on her bed and she would still have to reach up and squeeze hug me and then kiss me on the cheek. (When Mia hugs me…you can tell she means it…I love her hugs.) Tonight, when she stood up on her bed, she had to reach down to give me that hug and kiss on the cheek. My baby girl is not a baby anymore. After she gives me the hug and kiss on the cheek, I return by giving her a hug, but my hug is intended to squeeze her hard enough that I pop her back…she’s gotten strong now, and as she giggles, she tenses up and its a rare thing to actually get her back to pop anymore! When we are done laughing…I turn and walk to the door, and turn off her light. She then jumps down from her bed, runs to me and hugs me one more great time and then I close the door. Every time the door closes she speaks from her bed to me through the door… “Dad.” I always answer, “Yes?”. Then she says, “I love you, dad.” I always smile and say, “I love you more.” She’s a little competitor and she always tops my reply by saying back to me, “I love you most.”
Tonight…I, don’t know why I said what I said, but I replied back to her by saying, “Mia…I believe you.” And I just stood outside her door as she was obviously thinking. It was a long pause. Normally I would just walk off and get ready for bed, but I stood there longer than normal. Then she spoke.
She said, “Dad.”
I replied, “Yes?” Only a thin door between the two of us.
And then God spoke through her. She said, “Dad…I love you more than the word love.”
I didn’t know what to say. I just stayed silent. But my heart melted. I know she didn’t expect a reply. She just wanted to say what she felt. I don’t know if you have experienced the feeling or not, but God spoke and I heard Him audibly…His voice just came tonight in the form of a loving child. Pure. True. Real. Love.
“I love you more than the word love.” My 10 year old understands the theology of love better than most tenured doctorate degreed professors, theologians, preachers and seasoned christians. Love is so much more than a word…a greek study…or an acronym in a four point sermon.
“I love you more than the word love.”
Maybe this story has touched your heart in a way tonight that would cause you to have the perseverance to read through 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Mia…if you read this someday…“I love you more than the word Love, too.”
Thank you Mia…for loving me more than the word love.
Thank you God for loving me more than the word love, too.
I don’t deserve it, but I accept it.
By the way, reader…God loves you more than the word love, too.
This post is simply a copy from the book called “A Dog’s Purpose written by W. Bruce Cameron. Thought I’d take a break from the heavy hitting material and share a cool perspective from a 6 year old boy about his dog. Learning from a dog and a 6 year old demonstrates to us sophisticated adults that we have a long ways to go. (Something Jesus said about having “Faith Like a Child” rings a bell when I read this great story. Enjoy it and let it convict you.
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
the Six-year-old continued …
”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Puppy games are for big dogs too
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.