Solo…the legacy

17 11 2008

Deuteronomy 34:1-4

God let Moses see the promised land and yet, he wouldn’t let him enter. Being one who delves into fairness and doing the right thing, this royally raises the question, “Is that fair.” So Moses got angry and made some mistakes, but he did lead a complaining, whining group of people to the destination. Why should he be punished for all that he dealt with in a group of selfish people? He did his job.

It leads me to think about my legacy. Will I let it be determined by my job or by me as a person. I have enjoyed my job for 19 years. Being a pastor is really one of the craziest, most humbling jobs a person can have. You are on call 24/7, you intervene in spiritual, academic, life and death, family and even pet related situations. It is amazing as God gives you insights into what to say and do. Many times you are so humbled just to be a part of the situation and you see God bring results that blow you away. Sometimes it is hard. You will rarely meet everyone’s expectations and some situations you are totally dumbfounded. You have to put your trust in God for that person or situation and stand in the gap for all involved. Both ends of the spectrum are so cool because God is God in both situations and you are just part of His greater plan.

But…that is not the role I want to be remembered for when I am done. Mine is a simple mantra – Love God, Love people. If people don’t see that in me, then they missed the essence of what I live for each day. Granted, if you catch me on a bad day, I might be putting my life mission on the side for selfish desires or reasons. I try to minimize them but they still pop up way too many times. But if you want me to break it down, remember me this way:

He loved God, loved People
He was Kristin Bonham’s husband and fell more in love with her each day
He was Taylor, Abby and Casey’s dad and fell more in love with them each day
He had his biological family and then he had his “family”…you knew who you were
He cried, He laughed and thought life was the greatest ride ever.



15 11 2008

For only the second time in my life, I had to take one of my children to the Emergency room this week. The first was Casey when he was 4 and he had fallen, hitting his head. This one was a little different. I received a call from Taylor while at work complaining of stomach pain on her right side. I realized pretty quickly this wasn’t a normal pain. As she described her symptoms, I was pulling up WebMD. As she read them, I was reading them on the screen. She got Kristin on the phone and I left a very gracious lunch appt. to meet them in the ER. Long story short, she didn’t have appendicitis. She has a kidney stone. Yes, has. She has a 3mm stone that we are praying for her to pass. She is drinking plenty of fluids and even named the foreign object – Kid Rock. (Only my child would want to name something after an aging singer)

Helpless. That was the feeling that kept washing over me as I sat there in the hospital. Kristin was busy calling people and keeping them in the loop. I just wanted to stay there with her and reaffirm her that it was going to be all right. She was in a lot of pain and the nurse did a great job of getting her some IV pain solution. Taylor kind of settled in and I just looked at her a lot and realized how helpless I was to take away her pain, protect her from this foreign object even make the process go a little faster. If it sounds pathetic, it wasn’t. I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed. In fact, I was just feeling the opposite. I knew what I couldn’t do, God was able to do. I was so peaceful to be there with Taylor and just to watch her strength and resolve really blew me away. As bad as I wanted to take away her discomfort, I was just as happy to just be there when she was in need.

It was a cool helpless. Couldn’t do much than be a dad. I rubbed feet, smiled, joked, prayed and said “thank you God for Taylor” more than you will ever know.

Just Be – Solo

13 11 2008

In my devotion this morning, the focus was on living in His presence. It was based on Deuteronomy 10:12-21. It talked about living in His presence, obeying God, loving and serving Him. Here is the last sentence under the Live section – “Experiment with living in God’s presence while caring for the rest of the world. Relax. Just be.”

At the age of 28, I had the most amazing bout with mononucleuosis. Yep, good old mono. Not really sure how I got it and no, I wasn’t kissing anyone except for Kristin. I am told that getting it at that age, the effects are magnified and even dangerous. I can say it was amazing because I am not one who likes to sit still. I am a doer and feel like there is always something that can or needs to be done. I believe that God taught me one of the greatest lessons in my life through the mono. I learned the power of sitting and taking time to refresh myself. Before, I would feel guilty if I would just sit. Now, I take them with a full measure of satisfaction and enjoyment. I don’t want to go back to being in bed all day and feeling like I am lugging around tree trunks for arms and legs.

“Relax. Just be.” This is harder than just taking some time away from your busy schedule. This is learning to let it go and that is difficult. It requires a security in God and yourself that where you are right now is good enough for right now. I don’t know many people like that, including myself. There is always something to strive for – a mountain to conquer, so to speak. Well, even mountain climbers make camp on their way up the mountain and rest. The mountain will still be there after you have taken some time to relax.

Try the paint dry experiment. Go anywhere and just sit and watch. In a room, in a mall, at a park or beach and just sit and watch. The first 10 minutes are torture because you can think of so many things you could or should be doing. The next 10 minutes are guilt that you are wasting time. The next 10 minutes are resolve that you need to do this. Then, the quiet sets in and you start to get thoughts that are deep and express your inner self. Give it a whirl – you deserve this time. The benefits for you are huge! And those around you will be blessed. Oh wait – that fulfills the scripture in Deuteronomy. Go figure.

Chewing Steak

12 11 2008

I am not a big steak fan. I know it goes against the male stereotype, but I pretty happy eating other meats and enjoying them just as much. On the rare times that I do order a steak, I am pleasantly surprised when I get one that blows me away. When it does, it is truly a carnivore’s delight. All the juices flowing out. When you take the bite, you begin chewing and working it. Each chew brings more taste and flavor that is soaring. Finally, you give it your last chew and you swallow it satisfied and thinking “don’t eat this too fast – savor every bite.”

That is what God is putting me through right now. My life is a series of “bites” that I am chewing and working for all they are worth. Some are great experiences and some are quite challenging but all of them are meshed together to become the T-bone I call life. Ironically, I find both “bites” challenging and invigorating. For the blessings, I am constantly enthralled at what God is doing and how He allows me to be a part of it. I want to chew it and work it to see every aspect of what He wants to do in my life. The challenges are the same way. I am equally enthralled and challenged to see what God is going to do. Here is where it differs. When I train with my trainer,Jodi (best in my opinion), she lays out a plan and allows me to see only the next set of exercises. She pushes me to a point of exhaustion. But there is another set of exercises waiting for me. That is what God is doing in my life by challenging me. I am chewing and working the areas He is bringing growth in by continuing to lay out execises, thoughts, actions, forgiveness, surrender for me to work through. It is hard, painful and honestly, very vulnerable. BUT, if I can continue to hear his voice, obey his words and value people, then I have to believe that I will be satisfied with His results.

Like the piece of steak, when the chewing is done, the lasting memory isn’t the chewing but the taste and flavor. What flavor do you have in your life?

Solo – Don’t Forget

10 11 2008

When my children were little, I was like so many other fathers and had silly games we would play. It is funny how ridiculous they sound now but honestly, I loved them all. One of them is that I would say to one of them, “Hey, do you know what?” And they would ask, “What?” And I would say, “I love you!” I could always get them until Casey was about 10 and he would say, “I know you love me, Dad.” It was about that time that I had to travel to China on a missions trip. Not knowing what was going to happen on this trip, I wrote Kristin and all the kids a note. In each, I wrote this phrase, “In case I don’t return don’t ever forget how much I love you.” I returned (even though I did spend a couple of hours in a Chinese jail – another story) and picked up the phrase “don’t forget.” When one of us was leaving to go to work, school or out, I would say, “Don’t forget” and they knew it was another way of saying I love them.

Even writing it, it sounds so “corny.” So, bear with me as I share a couple of thoughts along these lines:

1. You can never say “I love you” too many times.
2. Variety is a good thing. If all you do is say it or show it the same way, it becomes a stale.
3. It’s nice to have a few ways that only you and the person know.
4. God shows us His love in so many ways of communication – His word, prayer, quiet solitude, worship, His creation, daily devotion, other people, symbols, etc.
5. For me to reflect God’s love, it would be good for me to grow in the ways I show His love.
6. I wonder how many times He says to me, “Don’t forget.”
7. I wonder how many times I take His love for granted.

Did I mention that you cannot say “I love you” too many times?