Creative Love in Action

The book of Hebrews has some interesting encouragement for all of us. The writer says this: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT) Or, as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message:“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out.” And, I think this is a beautiful thing, not just to read, but to actually experience. I know this, because a few weeks ago, I experienced some inventive and encouraging practical love.

As some of you might know, being handy is not a skill that I have. I mean, my tool set is mostly from Ikea and used to put together Ikea furniture. So, handy isn’t something I “really do.” Some guys from Bethany wanted to encourage and welcome us into this family here. So, they did it in an amazingly creative way. They talked with us, showed up and built us this amazing sandbox. They wanted to be as inventive as they could in encouraging love and helping out. They found a way to use their gifts (and they are totally handy) to encourage us.


I can tell you this left a huge impact on our family’s life. Not only do our kids now have a place to play and get totally dirty, they also have a daily reminder that we are loved by our new church in our backyard. It’s something Krista and I look at daily, and feel appreciated and loved.

So, I mention this because I believe in making heroes out of the right people. And, the true heroes in our lives are people who take these verses seriously and live them; who find creative and inventive ways to encourage people, and show love in practical and real ways.

So what about you? What gift do you have today that you could use to encourage someone? Maybe it’s not with a sandbox, but what about surprising someone with a coffee, a conversation, a new book or a date night by watching their kids? How can you put love into action in creative ways? Because I can tell you personally that when you do, it changes lives. Because when some guys from our church did that for me, it changed our life.

Creativity, Leadership, and Learning to Launch

1439539_30967932I want to begin by talking a little bit about creativity. Creativity is this weird thing. It’s something that we all have, but something most of us don’t capitalize on. And here is why: creativity always begins with unfinished, unpolished, and imperfect creations.

The truth is if you want to create, the first draft, step, or program will not be great. It will not be perfect, or flawless. Most likely it will be full of holes, and faults, and failures. And we hate that. We don’t like creating something that isn’t perfect, that isn’t a guaranteed success.

But here is the thing then: our fear is more controlling our destiny.

If you resist creating that book, that song, that new idea, that event, whatever it is – because it might not be perfect – you will never end up creating anything.

Tony Bronsink writes,

“Sometimes the first step of creating is the most awkward one. It’s an unfinished product, embarrassingly short of what we dreamed it would be, yet something more than we had before.”

And that is true and that is necessary. The first step in creating something is never perfect, but it is the first step that can lead to something life-giving and successful. If you wait to create that piece of art, that business, that new thing you want – until it’s perfect and guaranteed you’ll be waiting forever.

And here is the tie-in to leadership too. When we lead we love to lead to successes, and that should be the goal. But if the first step is often imperfect, embarrassingly short of what we dreamed, yet necessary, here’s the point: we should be okay with imperfection when we are striving forward. Imperfection shouldn’t stop us from taking the first step, and we shouldn’t just stop with a first step either, but we need to step out and try.

That’s my main point with this post. All of us have these things I think that we’d love to start. Maybe it’s a blog, a book, a neighborhood group, a Bible study, a new business, a piece of art, a new hobby – or whatever. But often what stops is isn’t a lack of ability or creativity – it’s a lack of courage in the face of fear that our first step won’t be perfect or a guaranteed success. Well here is the liberating truth: the first step is never perfect or a guaranteed success…so what’s stopping you from taking it?

Outburst of Love and Encouragement

Sunrise on Fields

Want to know why I love our church? Because of this:

Quite a few weeks ago, I was trying to think of how I could show my care for a family in our church. They had an important doctors meeting, so I thought I’d go leave flowers with a note of my prayer while they were away at the meeting, to get when they got home. I thought it would be a good way to surprise and encourage.

And as I’m placing the flowers, I saw a car drive into the driveway and I thought my little surprise might be ruined. Except it wasn’t them. It was someone else from our church with the same idea. They had brought homemade muffins, and food (which made me wish I’d thought of that).We both smiled as we both placed our little gifts and left.

Here is the thing – I hear of stories like this all the time. Of people dropping by with groceries for people who are in difficulty, I see people bring flowers to bless a friend on Sunday, I hear stories of people showing up to fix things, to give away money, time, and love.

I love our church because they seek to creatively care. Because they take Galatians 5:6 seriously, “What is important is faith expressing itself in love”. What is important is our faith moving us to loving actions. What is improtant is us showing our care for others.

Our church is far from perfect, I am far from perfect. We mess up and miss things. But we continue to try to put that verse into practice. To have our faith express itself in love, and this is why I so love this place.

So this week why not try to express your faith in love? Why not try to come up with a creative way to show you care? Hebrews talks about us encouraging one another in outbursts of love and encouragement (Heb 10:24). So why not do that today – leave a note, drop off a meal, send a card, offer to babysit, bring by a coffee to a friend at work. Today let your faith express itself in love and let the stories of life and love spread.