Christianity

A Letter To My Kids: I am thankful for the adventurous journey we've been living.

Photo Credit: Chris Brignola via Unsplash  

Dear Angelica, Thomas, and Elle,

I'm writing this to you so you know that I am thankful for the life I've been able to live with all of you. I know my life isn't over yet. Well at least not at this moment. And when I do pass on from this world, I trust the real adventurous journey will begin. When you say yes to God you have no idea the adventure you're in for.

My life has been an adventure.

I've been able to live in some of the most beautiful places on earth. I've been able to form friendships and community with people from all over the world—relationships that will last an eternity. We have friends or I should say family all over the world, and we are fortunate to have these people in our lives. Never take your relationships for granted.

And that's another thing. I've been able to travel on this adventurous journey with the people I love most—you guys, your mom, and the three of you! There is no one I'd rather be on this roadtrip with than with you.

Adventures are always better with friends and people you love.

Photo Credit: Greg Shield via Unsplash

Sure on this journey we have seen storms, disasters, flat tires, stranger-dangers, and our own self-imposed mishaps all of which help define a successful roadtrip—both literally and figuratively. It hasn't always been easy and there have been times I wanted to throw in the towel.

But I wouldn't trade any of it in for anything. We've been able to taste new foods like white sausage gravy and biscuits, sweet tea, deep-fried pickles, Cheba Hut sandwiches, Marion Berry pie, and all the amazing craft beers from Colorado and Oregon. We have experienced the diverse cultures, geographical landscapes of the U.S., and all their cultural idioms and quirks—is it soda, coke, or pop...

We have had the precious gift of seeing Christianity lived out in unique expressions throughout the U.S. and from people of other countries.

My kids, I hope you continue to live a life full of adventure with your families, and teach your kids to do the same. Whether it's planting roots and staying in one place or traveling the world, I hope you choose an adventurous life.

I want to share with you Thomas' poem about our family's journey. You can read the whole blog post here: "Adventure Beckons: My son’s thoughts on our big move."

 

“Adventure Beckons.” by Thomas Puentes

Moving here or there is a treat rarely savored by everybody involved.

For those left behind they long for the piece gone, and those gone wish to be made whole again.

However something beckons us, calling us.

It is adventure.

Explore the unknown and when you return, you shall share riches to those who waited.

 

Photo Credit: Mullermarc, Unsplash

I am thankful for the life I've been able to live up to this point. I trust the adventure will continue.

Three Recommendations From a Former Archbishop

pope selfie_2658134b  

There is so much chatter on the line (another way of saying on the internet--you can thank the movie The Internship) about gay marriage, progressive vs conservative Christianity, women elder/pastor, should women be allowed to preach, and etc...

I'm sure these topics need to be discussed and the conversations need to be had.

But much like the WorldVision incident, the ones who get lost in the shuffle in these debates are the least, the hurting, and the lost.

I am reading a book about Pope Francis, by Michel Cool called, "Francis: New a World Pope." It's a quick read, only about 80 pages or so—it's a short biography about, well, the new Pope. (All Evangelical people can gasp now)

Cool mentions three things Pope Francis would say to parish priests when he would make pastoral visits to them, when he was Archbishop of Argentina:

"His three recommendations: practice mercy, have apostolic courage, and make yourself available to all."

 

Photo Credit: Telegraph.uk

 

These are good and wise words for all Christians to hear and practice—practice mercy, have apostolic courage, and make yourself available to all.

No matter what side of the issue(s) you rest your feet on, it would be good for all of us to undertake these three recommendations of Pope Francis, and demonstrate them to our neighbors.

When we do this, we bear authentic witness of Jesus to those who oppose us, to the least, the hurting, and the lost.

Like I said earlier, I am sure the topics I mentioned need to be discussed and debated, but may it never be at the expense of our Christian witness of the exalted Jesus and His work of forgiveness and reconciliation, and those who need to hear the message.

Restoring human dignity is more important than proving someone is wrong.

When our main objective is to prove who is right and who is wrong, we in fact create a kind of Pharisaic system that neglects the people underneath the issues. We can inadvertently drive people away from the message of the gospel and ultimately Jesus. Yes, both progressives and conservatives can become Pharisaic and cause people to stumble and fall.

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Three Recommendations From a Former Archbishop

pope selfie_2658134b  

There is so much chatter on the line (another way of saying on the internet--you can thank the movie The Internship) about gay marriage, progressive vs conservative Christianity, women elder/pastor, should women be allowed to preach, and etc...

I'm sure these topics need to be discussed and the conversations need to be had.

But much like the WorldVision incident, the ones who get lost in the shuffle in these debates are the least, the hurting, and the lost.

I am reading a book about Pope Francis, by Michel Cool called, "Francis: New a World Pope." It's a quick read, only about 80 pages or so—it's a short biography about, well, the new Pope. (All Evangelical people can gasp now)

Cool mentions three things Pope Francis would say to parish priests when he would make pastoral visits to them, when he was Archbishop of Argentina:

"His three recommendations: practice mercy, have apostolic courage, and make yourself available to all."

 

Photo Credit: Telegraph.uk

 

These are good and wise words for all Christians to hear and practice—practice mercy, have apostolic courage, and make yourself available to all.

No matter what side of the issue(s) you rest your feet on, it would be good for all of us to undertake these three recommendations of Pope Francis, and demonstrate them to our neighbors.

When we do this, we bear authentic witness of Jesus to those who oppose us, to the least, the hurting, and the lost.

Like I said earlier, I am sure the topics I mentioned need to be discussed and debated, but may it never be at the expense of our Christian witness of the exalted Jesus and His work of forgiveness and reconciliation, and those who need to hear the message.

Restoring human dignity is more important than proving someone is wrong.

When our main objective is to prove who is right and who is wrong, we in fact create a kind of Pharisaic system that neglects the people underneath the issues. We can inadvertently drive people away from the message of the gospel and ultimately Jesus. Yes, both progressives and conservatives can become Pharisaic and cause people to stumble and fall.

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Look Beyond The Surface

Photo Credit: Nicholas Swanson, Unsplash Today when you interact with someone, whether its new person or an old acquaintance; look beyond the surface. Don't make snap judgements on what use they can be to you or you to them.

Be the person that isn't looking to use someone. Take the time to get to know them, look beyond the surface.

For many of us our struggles and triumphs are internal rather that external. Get to know their inner life, whats deepest within them. If you recognize an inner tribulation or inner tranquility, don't exploit them, but give them words of encouragement and confirm them.

Be a friend.

In doing so you might help them to continue on or persevere.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

In John 15:13-16, Jesus empowers his followers by giving them words encouragement and confirmation. He no longer calls his followers servants, but friends.

He encourages and confirms their inner life by uniting with them to the covenant of friendship which moves them to the deeper covenant purposes of God.

Jesus gives his friends purpose, dignity, and meaning to the glory of God.

Eugene Peterson in his book "Leap Over A Wall" states,

"Evil doesn't stand a chance against goodness... Hostility is picayune compared to friendship."

When we take the time to look beyond the surface of a person, we demonstrate God's goodness, love, and friendship to them—and in so doing it renders evil powerless and incapable.

Look beyond the surface and be a friend.

Serious Rant...

LoveGodLovePeopleDoSomething1I read this quote yesterday regarding a message someone heard this past weekend..." a great way to show your love for Jesus; is to spend time with him."

Really? Is this what we've come to in our Christianity?!? The best we can do to show we love the person who sacrificed everything for our filth is to spend some time with him throughout the day. Of course when it is convenient for us.... Is this just an American church issue or does the Church worldwide struggle with "spending time" with Jesus?

PLEASE hear me... I am not belittling the need to walk with Jesus daily. We are called to do that, but it is not culmination of our Christianity it is the genesis. When I read the New Testament, I fail to see how this is one of the options we can show Jesus we love him. This isn't a great "way," it's assumed that we'd spend time with Jesus.

Why do we always have to remind ourselves to love Jesus? Are we not listening to the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us, because He tells us to do more than just spend time with Jesus? I get the need for reminders and instructions on how to love God and stuff. Life has a way of taking its toll on our priorities and such... Hey even the author of Hebrews (A book in the Bible) reminds us to not take our eyes off Jesus. I just feel that our commitment needs to be deeper and move us beyond the stagnation of "needing reminders" to spend time with Jesus.

thegospel

The gospel beckons us to permit God's radical and life-altering grace to transform us. If we fail allow it to happen then we have missed it. Jesus wants so much more for us than to just hangout. He wants us to live a vibrant and exciting life that challenges us and stretches us through seeing God's heart for humanity and all creation.

I just wonder if we are not realizing the depths of what Jesus has done for us. Maybe we aren't realizing the situation we are in because of the consequences of our rebellion and sin. We are in a desperate need to be rescued and God provided one for us in His Son Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection transforms us to be different and act differently. We become the healers, restorers, peacemakers, love-givers, and the truth revealers, empowered by Jesus to carry the redemptive qualities that come from the grace of God to a hurting and broken world (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Jesus gives us purpose, passion, authority, and dignity.

Homeless DinnerHere's the skinny - Jesus wants more from us than to just spend time with him; he wants us to live sacrificially by loving our enemies, serving the poor to the point that it costs us something personally. He wants us to forgo some special event or after work-hours activity and stay home and hangout with our neighbors. He might even ask us to die for him physically, and most definitely he wants us to die to ourselves daily...

The best way to show Jesus we love him is go find the person we least like or have nothing in common with and wash their fungus infected feet (literally and metaphorically) with love.

Do I sound too judgmental? Come on son! You know I was writing this to myself; I needed to here it. Thankfully we are a people of a second chance. Oh how I need grace daily in my life.