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Monthly Archives: July 2006

We’re in the middle of a 20 year class reunion for Round Rock High School and last night we had dinner with a group and I listened to their stories as they played back and forth between life 20 years ago and today as wives and mothers. It was a joy to sit and listen as they interacted with each other as though 20 years and thousands of miles apart had never happened.


Ready for School
One story was about the evolution of the relationship between mother and daughter and the irony of how the roles were basically being reversed as the mother grew older. As I was listening to this story, I had this glimpse into Allyson’s future and the realization that she would one day be 40 sitting at a table with her friends talking about her parents.

The first thought was joy in thinking about the friends she will make and the family she will have and the beauty of life that she’ll experience…

The second thought was that I hope the relationship we’re developing with her as a 3 year old will blossom into a relationship of love and mutual respect and joy that time and life and experience can never taint.

May your life with children be filled with love, and joy, and laughter. May your life with them grow in love despite the challenges that we will all face. May you build those relationships with them in ways that will sustain both of you for a lifetime despite the passage of time and the distance apart.

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Anticipation…

Rob Bell was coming to Dallas and we were so excited. We’d been trying to get tickets for weeks and still had no guarantee that we would be able to get in the door, but we left Austin for Dallas in the church bus.

Sometimes we get so excited at the thought of what lies ahead, a birthday, a party, the birth of a child, etc that we lose all perspective on what is going on in the world around us. We put those blinders on and see nothing but that event and we anticipate the joy of that impending moment.

But, life continues with or without us. The world does not share our anticipation. The world keeps turning…

When the time comes, many times we are disappointed or letdown because the event didn’t live up to our expectations. The blockbuster movie was a stinker or the party was lame. You get the idea.

As we came over a hill on the north side of Hillsboro, a traffic jam forced us to slame on the brakes and the bus wouldn’t restart. So, we were stuck in the left hand land on IH 35 during rush hour traffic and as the reality of the situation settled in the humidity and heat of a dead bus the anticipation quickly soured into dread.

We spent the next several hours on the side of the road, at the Ford dealer, at the restaurant, on the road, in the Baylor Starbucks, and on the road back to Austin. A group of six including 2 preachers, a seminarian, a football athletic trainer, and a husband and wife. We’d never spent 9 hours together and now God had given us an opportunity to talk to listen to dream to bond.

If the bus had not broken down, we would have gone to a great show and returned home with a good memory.

But, as we returned home late at night someone said, “We might have missed something that Rob Bell said that would change our church for the better.” Kester replied, “I think something somebody in this van said today will change your church for the better.”

Now we can anticipate that God will enable us to make Austin a better place to live because of that failed road trip.

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We attended the championship for central Texas tee-ball All Star teams a couple of weeks ago in Georgetown. This isn’t the Little League you and I played in, it’s more like the College World Series. Lots of beautiful colors, fancy uniforms, sophisticated bat bags, world-class helmets, banners on the fences, tee shirts and rally towels. These people are serious…

The parents were all hyped and excited for their kids and perhaps themselves, but mostly they were excited for their kids and all the hard work and practice that had gone into this moment. You can tell they love this kids, would do anything for them, including spending lots of money on tee-ball.

But, I was standing there with a friend I’ve known for many years that’s a college baseball coach talking about the environment and the competitive energy that you could just feel and he was concerned. I used to be a high school and college baseball coach and it worries me that we may be teaching our kids to be a little too much like us. So, there you had two baseball professionals, well one really. And, we both agreed we could stand about 1 game a year. There are solutions, practical solutions like making the parents sit beyond the outfield fences, although I guess they would just scream louder. But, my problem is really not with the parents…

We are a product of our culture. We are taught to win, to compete, to conquer from our parents and they from theirs…it is the American way and is part of what makes this such an incredible, powerful nation. Like I’ve said before, I believe in capitalism and the American way, just not to the degree that we’ve achieved. My problem is with our warped sense of what it means to teach our children what it is like to live in community with each other.

In other words, teaching them about team concepts and sacrifice for others are some of the most important lessons we can teach our kids. I just wish we could learn to teach them these concepts with a kind heart and with wisdom that understands we are better, stronger, more capable when we work together as a community seeking the good of the body even at the expense of our own desires.

I read an article in Fortune magazine the other day and a story about a Marine who compared his experiences in business school with his life as a soldier. The most valuable difference between the two worlds was learning that as a Marine cooperation was a matter of life and death. It became instinctive to help his friends to accomplish a task. In the business world we learn to look out for number 1 before others and that I believe translates into how we interact with our children and within our communities. That is my problem.

If we can teach Marines to love each other and be willing to sacrifice themselves even unto death, why can’t we understand that our children must be taught these lessons?

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. —Hebrews 10:23-25

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