When We Can’t Stand, Love Stands By Us

Woman from John8 with JesusI was just reflecting on a well-known bible story. You probably know it, its the one about a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and dragged before a mob and Jesus by the religious leaders.  It was their obvious attempt to expose Jesus as a fraud while at the same time ensuring they looked good as the enforcers of morality and godliness.  (That happens too often, people doing deadly things to others while taking a moral high-ground to protect themselves.)  John 8:3-11

You know the story — they drag this unsuspecting woman Continue reading “When We Can’t Stand, Love Stands By Us”

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What does it mean to “Rescue The Beauty”?

titanic_jack_and_roseMy friends and I recently returned from hosting our 4th LIFEQUESTweekend event. (I’ve posted previously about these events.) We love doing these events and hope they change lives, mine included!  As any person who takes on the role of a “guide” or “teacher” or “public speaker” will tell you, what we’re really offering is our lives. So, it’s not just about mastering the material, it’s about living it, letting it have it’s affect on you.

It’s one of the things I’ve come to enjoy about these events, with all the preparation and planning, etc., it’s the impact “the message” has on my own life. This time was no exception. I don’t want to just learn the words, I want to learn how to really live.

So, this year I did something really risky — I asked my wife to “give it to me straight” about one of the main topics we cover in our weekend event. I asked my wife to tell me, “What does it mean to ‘Rescue The Beauty’?”   And more specifically, what does it look like, feel like, sound like for me to rescue YOU?

I had no idea what she might write.  I didn’t want it to just be something Continue reading “What does it mean to “Rescue The Beauty”?”

What does Love look like?

Man Looking thru BinocularsWhat does “love” look like?  I was talking to God the other day and He asked me that question.

. . .

Well… it looks like spending time with someone.

— then spend time with someone.

And, it looks like research.

— then get to know someone. Really learn about them, their heart, their desires, what matters to them.

And, it looks like sacrifice.

— then, give up that thing that is standing in your way [from doing the above]

It seems so hard. I mean to really love. If feels beyond my ability.

— It is a marathon, not a sprint.  Learning to really love takes time. It is a journey that requires healing and compassion and trust.  It doesn’t happen all at once.  Stop beating yourself up.  Make the decision to head down this path.  And remain open and mindful of “what love looks like” to you.

Maybe Love isn’t as far away as it seems.

What does love look like to you?  Would you be willing to have this conversation with God?

Try it and see where it leads.  I’d love to hear what he says to you.

Still learning,

Mark

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Waking up again to the point of it all

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I have to admit, I’ve really struggled lately to stay focused. It is easy to slide into a funk when the busyness and chaos of life edge their way in. And I don’t mean to imply “bad” things have happened. Actually, some really good things have been going on. In April, my small “band of brothers” and I hosted another LIFEQUESTweekend Retreat (a 3-day Retreat for men, a place for them to come and focus and replenish and recalibrate for the journey ahead). It was an amazing, truly amazing weekend. And, since then I’ve spent a lot of time around family and friends, rebuilding and strengthening bonds. These are really good things. But with these things it has come a whirlwind of activity. And, I’ve struggled to Continue reading “Waking up again to the point of it all”

Love… Again… and Again?!

I want to talk about it again… talk about… Love.

Ok… so what’s your first reaction to reading that?… your reaction to “Love”?  What did it raise in your heart?  Was it, “Oh, Good! I love to talk about love?”… or was it more like, “Ugh!  Again?!”… “Haven’t we read enough about Love?!”… “Love… love… love… everyone’s always talking about love…”… “Let’s get on to the meat… the deeper issues of our lives and faith…”… “Give me something practical!”

Our first reaction gives us a glimpse into where our heart is… how our heart is.

I’ll admit… when I began to consider what to write about today, this issue of “Love” came up…. and my first reaction was similar to what I wrote above. (Ugh…)  There is just something that feels… soft… about dwelling on Love.  There are pressing issues that need to be dealt with… questions screaming for answers… mountains waiting to be moved.  And then the thought of “Love” pops up… and it feels like I’ve slammed on the brakes… stopped cold…

Then, this simple thought begins to emerge — love is the point. Continue reading “Love… Again… and Again?!”

Living a Story that Matters (Part 1)

Living in a Story that Matters (pt 1)

You’ve probably had the casual thought that your life is a story. I’ve heard you say it… “Oh yea… that’s the story of my life, man.”  But, have you ever paused to really think of what it means?… paused to consider what it would mean if it were true that your life IS a story… or maybe part of another, larger story?  Sure, life has a beginning… a middle… and an end, but think beyond that… consider this —  your beginning really isn’t the beginning of your story… and your end really isn’t the end of the story.  We get dropped into a larger story… somewhere in the middle… and our fun begins as we try to sort out beginning from end and how to thrive in between. I know that sometimes our story feels a little like the life of Bear Grylls (Man-vs-Wild)!  You know… how he gets dumped out of a helicopter in the middle of some deserted place. Then he has to find a way to make it work, to succeed in the present moment. He experiences life at its most raw as he is blindly dropped into the middle of a story that began long before he got there.

So, here I am… dropped into the middle of my story… Continue reading “Living a Story that Matters (Part 1)”

The Power of Love (Part II)

On my last post, I submitted to you a blog entry from Donald Miller (found here).  As I sit here contemplating how to document my thoughts about the article, I have to admit that it feels awkward — I’m not sure how to post a blog about “Love”.  There are far, far too many nuances and complexities about “Love” to even begin to scratch the surface.  Still, there must be something we can learn… ways we can grow… must be some way we can draw on an experience we can share.  So, I hope you can take it to heart that I’m not trying to boil down love to a simple formula or idea or even a simple “Hug”.  What I want… what I hope to do… is to encourage you onward.
Continue reading “The Power of Love (Part II)”

The Power of Love (Part I)

My dear blog-friends,

I read the following blog entry recently and it really got me thinking. To be honest, it nailed me in a few areas of my heart and life.  I encourage you to read the entire article with as unhindered a mind as possible. (There will be time for criticism later.) For now, allow God to use it in whatever ways He sees fit.

I’m sharing it with you that it might inspire you toward your goals, of which, I hope LOVE is supreme.




“The Power of Love” — A blog entry by Donald Miller (Author of Blue Like Jazz and other books) posted Jun 28, 2010 4:01 AM . . .  Continue reading “The Power of Love (Part I)”

The importance of PROXIMITY

We have Facebook and MySpace and Email and the Internet and Downloaded Sermons and cell phones and laptops and Blackberries and……. in many ways we are more connected than any other generation. We have information coming out the wahzoo. But, there is something I think we’re missing… a way in which we are not as connected as we think.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

Say for example that my friend has a wedding and I’m invited. And, I decide not to go in person. I agree, instead, to listen in on a cell speakerphone. I watch the cellphone video. I make sure to read the tweats and the postings on Facebook and pictures on flicker. I know what went on, I got all the info. But, let me ask you…. what did I miss out on? What did they miss out on? Continue reading “The importance of PROXIMITY”

What if we could BE the Church like this… A Place of Community

What if we could be the church…. really BE the church… like this –> A PLACE OF COMMUNITY.

And I mean starting with me… then you… then one or two others…. and… well, you get the picture. I mean, living in real community is challenging. Like riding a BIG wave off the coast of Hawaii, challenging. Like riding a wild horse, challenging. Like getting to know your teenager, challenging. It requires something of us. It requires desire and heart and commitment and practice and forgiveness and hope. But… what if it were possible?! What if we could really live in community with a few others. Hard? Yes… but wouldn’t it be worth it? Couldn’t it change everything?!