Daddy Watch Me!!!


Our daughter, Eden, is three years old, and amazing. I’m obviously biased, but I think she is beautiful, so bouncy with energy, and adorable.

Your kids are probably cute too. 🙂

Anyways, she has this habit of saying, as only a three-year-old can, at the top of her lungs, “Daddy, watch me, watch me, watch me!!!!” And then she will twirl, dance, try to jump, or do something ridiculous like push one of her brothers.

The point is that she wants my full attention.

In fact, what she will often do is stop what she’s doing and look back to make sure I’m still watching. She wants to know that I’m watching her, invested in her, and attending to her.

Because, when we give someone our attention, what we are actually doing is giving them a signal and a sign that we love them.

To truly love someone means giving them our attention. That’s what Eden is seeking from me, as I’m trying to make supper and she is twirling, wanting me to watch her go round and round.

So, if giving someone attention is a sign of love, maybe that’s why the Bible so often speaks about God always looking over us. We read verses like…

Psalm 32:8 (NIV) – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 33:18 (NLT) – “But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.”

Psalm 121:8 (NIV) – “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

And, I read these verses and realize that God is not like some silent watchmen up above. Instead, He is like an interested and invested parent, watching their son or daughter twirl, jump, or dance through life.

We have a God who is fully invested in our lives.

And, even when we, like Eden, are yelling, “Watch me, watch me, watch me!!!!”, God is always watching. His attention to us isn’t distracted or distant. He is fully engaged in our lives, which should give us hope.

Because, His attention is a reminder of His love for you, me, and all of us who say, “Watch me!”

Sharing Jesus

sharingjesus.pngThis past November, I had an odd experience that left me, well, wanting to be a bit more courageous.
I was driving in my neighbourhood, about a block from my house, and an elderly gentleman with a walker was raking leaves. I noticed him, so I stopped, got out and asked if he needed some help. I said I had a half-hour to help clean up his yard.
While it was difficult to understand him, he made it clear that he was fine. He said he had “lots of time.” So I said, “Okay” and went to wish him well, but, before I left, he gave me a small card and spoke to me about the importance of Jesus Christ. In essence, he sought to share Jesus with me. I graciously thanked him and then continued on my way.
I bring this all up because it really got me to thinking… Do I have that kind of courage to share Jesus like that?
Now, while I obviously think that the best way to share Jesus is in the context of relationship (in which people invite that discussion), and I also probably won’t adopt or promote his personal method of sharing Jesus, the point for me lingered… Do I have that kind of courage to share Jesus with my family, friends and neighbours? What might it look like for me to be a bit more courageous in sharing my faith or a bit more bold when the Holy Spirit leads me?
I’m not talking about bulldozing or manipulating people, or trying to insert Jesus into conversations in weird places. What I’m talking about is not listening to fear when opportunities come to share Jesus and to take a step instead. Because I think we stop sharing when there are clear opportunities to. We worry what someone will think, we worry what their response will be and we listen to fear. What if we simply tried to share in humble, simple and approachable ways?
So, all of this is just meant to be a simple encouragement. When you feel moved to share Jesus, why not try it? Why not step out?
I had stopped to see if this elderly man needed help and it turns out he helped me seek to be a bit more courageous. Because Jesus is worth sharing.

You Can’t Have Multiple Best Friends

freindsA week or so ago my little boy was up very early…like way too early. He runs into our room, and says “Daddy wake up, wake up!”

And just as I was about to tell him to go back to bed he said, “I have a secret for you”

Now we often do this and I whisper secrets like, “I love you, you’re special, you’re a good boy” to him.

So he leaned over and said to me, “Daddy you’re my best friend.”

Pretty hard to be upset with him early in the morning after that right? And, in fact, this was a new one because I don’t tell Hudson that because – well we have two kids. So I don’t say “you’re my favorite, or best son”. But I loved every minute of him snuggling up with me saying, “You’re my best friend”

Then later on that morning as we’re about to leave, Hudson leans over to my wife and says, “Mommy you’re my best friend”. We go to my mom’s and he says to my mom, “Grandma you’re my best friend”

Apparently my son doesn’t get the idea of “best” because he has multiple best friends. But I got to thinking about it and wondered if honestly this isn’t a good thing. Hudson doesn’t feel like his friends need to be ranked, that one person’s affection diminishes another person’s, or that his relationships are in competition. Instead he sees something special in all of them and calls them his “best friend”.

I actually wonder if this little truth isn’t a lot like God. I wonder if God wouldn’t call each and every one of us, his personal best friend being fully invested in each relationship?

And the beautiful thing about it is that I’m happy that Hudson calls me, his mom, grandma and so many other people his best friend. I want him to have those strong relationships, and it doesn’t take anything away from my relationship with my little boy.

I wonder if we all couldn’t learn something from that. Rather than competing in relationships why not be grateful for them? Rather than ranking relationships why not simply rest in the relationships you have? So I’m trying to learn a little something from Hudson. That I now have multiple best friends: Hudson, Asher, Krista, and many more. What about you?

Are You Doing a Great Work?

Two Sunday’s ago I preached on the verse, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down”. You can download it here.

The main point was that I encouraged the church to ask God what their great work was. I really believe that God has something for each of us, old or young. What you and I may be called to can be quite different, but whatever God calls us to is important and a “great work”. So I invited the church to write down on a small card what “My Great Work Is…” Then as a way of committing to it I gave the church a chance to bring their cards forward during the service. My promise to them was that anyone who brought a card forward, I would pray for them, for their calling, and believe in them. We believe that prayer changes lives. And I truly believe that through prayer we can help to change others’ lives and to support them in their “Great work”

What I didn’t realize would be how much my life would be changed by reading these short little cards. Over the last week and a bit as I’ve read dozens and dozens of them I’ve been overwhelmed by what God wants to do in this little place. People are committing to make their  marriages the best ever. People are committing to lead others to Jesus. People are committing to launching a new ministry, a new business, or launch their kids well. I thought I would be able to help change their lives by praying for them; but now I’ve realized that my life has been changed by reading these little cards. These cards represent just some of what God wants to do in and through us and for us. It’s exciting, it’s amazing, and it’s overwhelming in a wonderful way.

So I thought I’d give you the same invitation I gave to the church on that Sunday. To take a moment and think about what your great work is. If you had a card saying “My Great Work Is…” what would you write down?

I believe God wants us to do great things with him. The question is, “what is he asking you to do”? And if you know and want me to pray over your great work too, just let me know and I’ll pray.

So over the next few months I’ll be praying about God doing “great work” in and through us. I know that people will be changed because he’s already used these little cards to change me…

Where I Saw Jesus This Week…

A little while ago I was at a party and I discovered Jesus was already there.

One of the biggest guiding beliefs in my life is that Jesus is active in the world already. He is a person, he is risen, and he is already active in places before I get there. So my goal is to find out where Jesus is active and to partner with him there. I just want to join in with what he is doing and where he is.

This happened at a party I was at. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Jesus was already working there because some of his best work happens in parties in the New Testament. But as I mingled and listened, I realized how Jesus was working in people’s lives and I just sought to affirm what he was doing in their lives.

One conversation started with this, “I’m not really religious, and I don’t know if you believe in God or anything. But here is what God did in my life…” We went on to talk about how this person found a prayer answered. After a while of talking they stopped and said “enough about me, what do you do?”  I said “I’m a pastor.”  They responded with “So you probably do believe in God then eh?” Great stuff right. God was already active in their life, I just got to affirm Jesus’ part of their lives and encourage them to keep on seeking God.

A second conversation began with simple confession, that a few followers of Jesus restored this person’s hope in humanity. A few different Christians had given them grace through practical expressions of love. They shared with me that these small gifts restored their hope in humanity, and an opening to God. That’s Jesus actively working in their hearts.

So my challenge for you this week is simple. Watch for Jesus and expect that he is working in people’s lives already. And when you see him active, encourage, affirm, and bless. Partner with Jesus in the lives around you and my guess is that you’ll start seeing some beautiful change and transformation…

Where I Saw Jesus this Week…

This week at church we had an amazing Sunday. We celebrated the anniversary of our church, and celebrated the volunteers in our church. Really they aren’t volunteers in the church; they are the church – demonstrating it by how they give. And so as we took time to recognize and thank them I saw Jesus in the little things on Sunday…

  • We had so many people stand to be recognized by how they give in both small, and great ways here at church. They give through their time,and effort, and don’t ask for a reward in return. We gave them a Wunder bar because of how “wunderful” they are. They even laughed at our pun. This is Jesus.
  • We have an amazing administrator here who gave so much and took no credit for a great Sunday. She organized it, got it together, picked up supplies, called people, cleaned up and did it all with a smile. This is Jesus.
  • I was given a hug on Sunday by someone who said this is for you simply because you deserve it. This is Jesus.
  • I have a mom who on Sunday’s when I am busy, and seeking to connect with people comes to me and asks, “Andrew can I watch Hudson for you for a bit?” That’s Jesus.
  • There we people who stayed behind to wash dishes with me laughing and trying to figure out the dishwasher. They served, gave of their time, and their friendship. This is Jesus.

So where did I find Jesus this week? I found him in people, his church. I found him in you. This is a beautiful thing.

So this week if you’re looking for Jesus you don’t have to look far. Look to the people who are walking with you. Pay attention and I bet you’ll find him…Because he isn’t hiding…He’s just so close to you sometimes he’s hard to see…

Chasing Bubbles ~ Developing Wonder

I’m just going to state the obvious. My son has more fun than me at any given moment. Seriously. My life compared to his is dull, dreary, and lacks luster. Any parent knows immediately this truth: kids love to play with bubbles proportionally more than we really like to do anything. Bubbles bring out this amazing sense of play, awe and excitement in my son that happens so naturally and easily.

This is important to note because Jesus says in Luke 18:16, “The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” And as I ponder this verse in connection with my son I’ve realized something. He has more wonder than me.

I think this is part of what Jesus is saying in this verse and that if we are to become childlike I believe it means, in some sense, to regain our sense of wonder. Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “The whole earth is full of his glory, but we do not perceive it; it is within our reach but beyond our grasp”. He continued to write of the importance of wonder, awe, and astonishment. I believe children grasp what we do not perceive as adults: that there is wonder, awe, and God’s presence all around us. If we want to grow closer to God we need to allow a spirit of wonder to capture us. Heschel says, “The insights of wonder must be constantly kept alive. Since there is a need for daily wonder, there is a need for daily worship”.

This is what I am learning to do through Hudson. I now stand in awe of bubbles as they move, sway, and swirl through the sun. We stare at the stars in amazement as he yells “that one, that one, that one”, as he personally seeks to discover each star in the sky. We slow down and watch butterflies dance across the sky holding our breath in excitement.  And as I do this with him he is teaching me wonder, and teaching me to find God…

So today do something that is truly “wonder-full” and seek to discover God as a child would, with wonder, awe, innocence and joy. Then share where you found wonder or who it was with. For me obviously the best “wonder-hunter” in the world is Hudson. So today we’re going to explore this world together and find God in the midst of it…go have fun!

What Type of a “Place” are You?

Back in Jesus’ day you knew where God was. He was in the temple, he was in Jerusalem, he was surrounded by four walls. This was the place where God was found.

Jesus changed all of that. God was now fully found in a person. This was the place where God was found. The amazing thing about Jesus is that he walked around, talked, and connected with others. He became a place where God was found – all over the place.

I got to thinking about these things because today I am sitting in a coffee shop working on vision, planning, and the future I hope to see. While doing that I am surrounded by different people, values, and stories. It’s then that I read a tweet from Ian Morgan Cron who asked this, “Are you a place where God happens for somebody else?”

That is a beautiful question. It is a deep and important question. Are you a place where God happens? Are you a place where God is experienced? Are you a place where God is made real?

As I look into the future, and look around at the present, that’s what I hope to be. As I look forward a few years I hope that I will be a place where God is found. As I am sitting here typing away, I am still hoping that in my conversations, actions, and beliefs, I will be a place where God happens. In essence, I’m hoping to be like Jesus. He became the place where God was fully found, and experienced. So the question is:

What type of place are you? Are you a place where God happens for somebody else?

Because if we are truly following Jesus, living in and through him, God should happen in our places…

Where I Saw Jesus This Week…

This week I was sitting in my office writing a sermon.I heard a faint knock on my door and in walked a youth from our church. She had made this for me.

She gave it to me as a gift to say thank you for being her pastor. We chatted briefly and she left. As I was reflecting on this small and simple gift ~ it struck me how profound it was. Here was someone thanking me for being their pastor. But all  I could think of is how thankful I am that I get to be her pastor.

So this week I found Jesus in a small and simple act. But those are the acts that are often the most meaningful. Mother Theresa said famously “Do small things with great love”. And this is what this youth did. A small act, but an incredibly meaningful and encouraging act.

So this week don’t focus on doing something huge for someone. Do something small, meaningful, but make it full of great love and demonstrate Jesus to others.

This picture is now hanging in my office. Luckily I have a huge empty space on my wall where I could put it up. And this picture makes that space feel a bit fuller. And the amazing thing is that it did the same for me in my life. It made my life feel a lot fuller…

Giving from the Grave

This week I got a gift from my grandpa and grandma, who we call “Nanny and Poppy”. The odd thing is that both of them passed many years ago.

So how did they give me a gift? Well it happened in a round about way, but also because giving lasts.

Hudson came downstairs with my favorite book as a little boy. It’s “Little Squirt the Fire Engine”. This was a book that I loved growing up. Inside the book was a card given to me from my Nanny and Poppy for my 1st birthday. Inside of that card was a crisp $2 bill and a $5 bill that I had never seen before. We don’t know why it was there, but it was a fun surprise because what was a gift for me, became a gift for their great-grandson.

So even though they never met their great-grandson they did impact him. Krista and I used the money for something special that my Nanny and Poppy would have loved. We took our little boy skating for the very first time. We donated the $5, strapped on some bob skates, and took him out on the ice for an hour. He loved it, and I know in heaven Nanny and Poppy love it too. My Poppy loved hockey, loved skating, and even tied the skates for the leafs way back in the day. So here he was passing along his love to his great-grandson years after he had passed. Here was my Nanny passing along her love for me, to her grandson. They both somehow, 27 years ago, gave a simple gift of a book, a card, and $7 that lasted.

That’s the amazing thing about gifts – they have the potential to change not only people but generations. Gifts can last and linger long after they have been given. My Nanny and Poppy never thought their $7 gift would change a great-grandson, but it did. They had no idea how long their gift would last, or how far the impact would reach. But that is the beauty of giving ~ we never know how far or how long the impact will last.

So today why don’t you think of someone special and give to them. Who knows who it might impact, and how the gift might last and change someone. I surely didn’t expect this gift from my Nanny and Poppy. But aren’t those the best gifts? The unexpected ones that shape you. So do that for someone else today, give a meaningful gift that lasts.

And in case you’re wondering…we kept the $2 bill to give to Hudson when he’s older, so my Nanny and Poppy’s gift continues to last and linger just like them…