Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now

Give it away. Give it away. Give it away now...

Sing it with me... I loved singing this song as I was growing up. It's written by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I honestly can't remember any other song that they wrote. But I remember this one. It's stuck with me through the years. And as I'm singing this song in my head right now, I can't help but think of a few things I need to give away today. So, with that said...

Here's a few things I need to give away...

  • The need to always be right
  • The feelings of anger at myself
  • The feelings of anger at others
  • The need to be in control
  • The feelings of inadequacy
  • The feelings of bitterness towards people who hurt people I love
  • The need to be liked
  • The need to appear to have it all together
  • The need to look religious
  • The fear of what others think about me
  • The fear of failing

Sometimes, the things I hold on to above get in the way of how I parent and they can affect my relationships. So, if I'm being honest, those are just a few things that I need to give away today.

What about you? What are some things you need to give away?

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7


Marked by Cheetos

When Morgan was little, she loved Cheetos.

And by love, I mean LOOOOVVVVEEEDDD Cheetos. When she ate them, she got the orange flavoring all over her hands. Anything she touched she left Cheeto hand prints everywhere… the fridge, the counter, table, walls…

She LOVED Cheetos. She loved them so much that she got them all over - all over her hands, all over her face, and all over anything she touched.

She loved them that much. She couldn’t help it. The Cheetos marked her, and in turn, whatever she touched she left their mark.

The same thing happens to each of us. Sure, I may not be covered in Cheetos, but there are things that I allow to mark me everyday. And the things I allow to mark me, in turn, leave their mark wherever I go and whoever I come in contact with…

My kids

My spouse

My friends

People I run into that I don’t even know

So the question is...

What am I allowing to mark my life?

It's easy to get wrapped up in the mess that's tossed at us...

The crap at work.

The anger we experience.

The families we see falling apart.

The hurt we encounter everyday.

But the question remains...

What am I allowing to mark my life?

You see, when my little MoMo ate her Cheetos, she dove in with both hands. And when she came out on the other side, she was marked. Whatever she had on her hands before was covered up by the cheesiness of the Cheetos.

I don't know what you've got going on in your life. But I know what I face each day. And I know I have a choice. Because more times than I care to admit, I allow things I hate to mark me. And in turn, they leave their mark on everything and everyone I come in contact with. So I have to ask myself daily...

What am I allowing to mark my life?

The answer I want to walk away with is...

Jesus.

He's the only One who can cover up the crap at work, the burden of witnessing families imploding, the anger I experience and give, and the hurt I encounter and see each day… in the news and real life. And when He makes His mark on me, in turn whatever I touch, His mark will be left wherever I go.

And so I dive in with both hands... Because I want to be marked by Jesus - and in turn, leave His mark everywhere I go.

So the question remains...

What are you allowing to mark your life?


Life Change: Trust vs. Authority

"Because I said so."

I love AND hate that tactic. I love it because it reminds me of my childhood and the many times it was said to me by my mom, dad, teachers, coaches and parents of friends. I hate it because, well, it's a lazy form of communication that adults use to exert their authority.

I've actually caught myself mid-sentence getting ready to say the exact same phrase to my kids. Then I stopped and thought, "Todd, you're an idiot." This tactic in authority may work to get a five year old to clean up his toys. It may work for a coach who's told his players to run laps. It may work for a moment... but that's it... for One. Short. Moment. The authoritative works in the short-term moments.

But, true life-change in an individual isn't inspired by someone's authority - for the most part. It's inspired by a person's trust they have in the other person trying to make their life better.

The question then becomes, why do pastors, parents, coaches - adults, use the authoritative approach to try to cause life-change in a person? We think, students need to change because of our position, age, experiences. We think students need to just take our word for it because of our authority. Why do we use this approach? Because it's easy. You see, it's not that our age, experiences or positions are bad or evil. Using our authority isn't necessarily a bad thing. But it becomes a bad thing - it becomes useless, if that is all we use. However, those things become tools if they are applied in a relationship of trust between us and the person we are trying to help. So, then, the next question becomes (and this is the coolest question), what the heck does this type of approach look like? Check this out:

"The Word became flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood." John 1v14

Jesus is the perfect example. He literally had all the authority in the world. He could have simply said, "Follow me because I said so." And everyone would have had to follow him. He had the position. He had the experiences. But he chose a different way of bringing about life change... he brought it in by developing a relationship of trust with those he came in contact with. Check this out:

1. Jesus met people where they are at... "Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, 'Come along with me.' Matthew stood up and followed him."Matthew 9v9 - In other words, I want to be where you are. I care enough about you to go to where you live, breathe and operate.

2. Jesus also connected with people through personal touch..."A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, 'Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.' Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man." Matthew 8v2, 3 -He's communicating that he cares enough to touch someone considered untouchable. He's stating, you're worth something. You matter.

3. Jesus also let people fail... "Then Jesus told them, 'Before the night's over, you're going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me...' Peter broke in, 'Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won't.' 'Don't be so sure,' Jesus said. 'This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.'" Matthew 26v31-34 - In other words, guys, you're going to fail. Not just a little. But a lot. Jesus could have stopped them from failing. But he didn't. He allowed them to experience failure. Not because he enjoyed watching them fail. No. I believe it's because he wanted to let them experience his love despite their failure.

4. Jesus also loved people through their failure... "After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Master, you know I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.' He then asked a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' 'Yes, Master, you know I love you.' Jesus said, 'Shepherd my sheep.' Then he said it a third time: 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, so he answered, 'Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you...' Then Jesus commanded, 'Follow me.'" John 21v15-19 - Despite Peter outright denying any connection to Jesus, probably Peter's biggest failure, Jesus loved him through it. What a huge trust-building gesture - saying, even though you've failed, I still love you. I still see value in you. You still matter.

Un-believ-able. Jesus, who had all authority in heaven and on earth, inspired people to life-change through trust-building relationships with a personal touch rather than relying on his authority only. Why? Because it was out of love.

Now it's our turn.


The Law of the Seat Belt

I had this habit years ago,

Ok, I've got more than one habit that I'm sure Jami and the kids would be happy to tell you about... but this habit has to do with me taking my seat belt off as soon as I turn onto our block. It's something I haven't done in years. And, I'm not even sure how it started. I just know that when I was in the middle of this habit, it just automatically happened... I didn't even think about it.

At the time, there was another person who knew I took my seat belt off - Carter, my then three year old little boy. In fact, he began taking his seat belt off early and standing up in the back seat riding and singing as loud as he could. We've told him over and over that he couldn't do that because it's not safe for him. But, still, he did it "because daddy did it." His own words... throwing me under the bus. Turned out that I had become a stumbling block for my three year old in the area of his seat belt life!

That got me thinking - I know, it's dangerous whenever that happens - but it got me thinking. One, my kids' eyes are always on me. Two, a lot of people's eyes are on me. Three, I don't want my freedom to do what I want to do to cause my children to stumble - even when it comes to wearing a seat belt. Four, I don't want my freedom to do what I want to do to cause others to stumble. I just don't want that to be on me.

Check this out:

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8v9

Even though it was perfectly ok for me to take off my seat belt (unless the PO-leece had seen me), we told little Carter he couldn't. But when he saw his daddy take his seat belt off, it became ok for him to disobey. It really has nothing to do with the actual seat belt (or insert something else), it has to do with my attitude of wanting the best for Carter and for others.

It's the Law of the Seat Belt. I've got a choice - to pick others up, or stick my foot out to trip others up. I choose to buckle my seat belt.