Well, yesterday marked the occasion of my birth. It was one of the big ones. You can do whatever math you’d like if you want to figure out which one.

I wrote down some random reflections.

•    Keep coming hard after God. This is where slippage can occur. It is easy to live off old stuff.  It’s easy to not re-think, re-process, re-engage.
•    Nothing takes care of itself – maybe not nothing, but stuff you don’t deal with by way of ungodliness doesn’t just go away, you just get to eat its fruit. For me, I need to decisively deal with the issue of anger for example.
•    Avoid religious BS like the plague. This IS the leaven of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:6) that Jesus warned me about. It’s disturbing how pervasive this is in all kinds of churches. [Side note: I believe this is the single biggest factor of kids rejecting or rebelling from their parents faith – there are 10 zillion other variables, but this is the one I’ve seen repeated over & over]
•    “Power over” solutions simply don’t bring about the kingdom of God. In the midst of this political season, it’s easy to get all jacked up & to confuse civil religion with real life dynamic relationship with God.
•    People have overlooked many, MANY, MANY stupid things I have done & offenses that I have committed.
•    Taking glory from God is absurd. I am pretty much the product of countless people who have contributed to my life. Many selflessly & sacrificially. Many without even knowing it. What do I have that I did not receive? (1 Cor 4:7)
•    I’m grateful to be able to play. I have a pretty healthy body at least on the outside. According to Kaiser, my health age is about a decade below my real age.
•    The parenting little kid phase feels like it’s going to last forever. In our evangelical world we seem to think that & program that way. The reality is that it goes by like a FLASH. This is the single fastest blur phase of my life.  My advice, the only thing I can think of that I definitively got right (again credit a book by Ross Campbell – How to Really Love Your Child – must reading for parents. I mean MUST) is spending weekly individual time with each kid every week. Closely related to this one: having family devos about 4-5 nights a week (credit Bob & Ruthie Thune, Don & Judy Shoff who modeled it, told us how to do it & were real enough so that we didn’t get discouraged when half the devos ended with… “JUST GO TO BED!”).
•    There is a weird tension in ministry between hanging in there & not wasting time. I know a lot of guys are at Churches without Craig Groeschel’s “IT”. I have at times been there. It seems like a waste to spend precious years in a place that will never be what God has called it to be… ON THE OTHER HAND: The best part of ministry comes after you’ve been there 3-4 years. Flopping around from place to place causes us to miss the best part & the most kingdom advancing part.
•    The Bible looks different than it did 20 years ago. It looks less manageable yet more real. Less consistent but more true. I used to marshal arguments for the inspiration of Scripture (they were good ones too!) and I still do. But lately it seems like the story itself is so self-authenticating that this feels redundant. It’s like convincing people that the sun is hot as we are sweating outside on an August day.
•    Speaking of the Bible, which I do all the time, I love the gospels more than I ever have in the past. Part of this was letting go of a theology that had the effect of shielding us from much of the teaching of Jesus. But part of it is also that I think & hope that I love the person of Jesus more.
•    Unmet longings, missing people who’ve died, groans about injustice are all a part of this life with which I will die. The older I get the more I see that my life only makes sense in light of it’s connection to Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior of the World who will bring these “Echoes of Eternity” to fruition. THY KINGDOM COME!

Well that’s all that’s fit to print. I’m off to bingo.