What the heart wants

Emily Dickinson first wrote the words ‘the heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.”   Since then, the phrase has been repurposed by people as varied as singer Selena Gomez and actor/producer Woody Allen.

For the most part, it’s been used as an excuse for an aberrant or a harmful attraction, but what does it mean when what the heart wants is good?  Or even better – redemptive?

In 2012 we were a family of seven.  We had three biological sons and three biological daughters.   Among the daughters were a set of three year old twins, Anna and Mercy.  Unexpectedly, we discovered our twins’ birth mom was expecting again, and once again, she was carrying wins.  I remember blurting out, “Surely not….”.

Within about 30 seconds, something shifted. I asked “What is their mother wanting to do? Would she allow us to adopt them?” 

How did I go from “Surely not” to “We’ll take them?” in 30 seconds?   

In that moment, I had a mental picture of my older twins, but rather than being 3 years old, in my mind they were 15.  Rather than little girls, I saw them as young women.  They were beautiful, poised, and lovely….and in my mental picture, they were just discovering that they had sibling.  One of the twins asked, “There were more like us and you didn’t want them?”

Of course I did.  In that moment, out of the love for the daughters I had, I wanted those unknown twins more than anything.  I didn’t know anything about the twins that were coming. I didn’t know their health status. I didn’t know their sex.  I didn’t know for sure when they were due….but I knew this – I would tear through a brick wall to have them in our home if the Lord would allow it. 

Why?  Initially, for the sake of these daughters that I already had.  If there were more, I wanted them so that they could be together.

Right now, God in heaven looks at Jesus and says, For the sake of my Son, I want the others

Because He loves Jesus, His own Son – God also wants you, and He wants you in an family relationship with Him because he knows you were made to be together. 

Just the fact that you exist – that you’re out there, and He has a son He loves so he understands fatherhood –  is reason enough for Him to say “because I love Jesus, I love you.”

When it’s God’s heart, what the heart wants is more than just what the heart wants.  What God’s heart wants is redemption for His children.

These thoughts were adapted from a teaching shared on the heart of an adoptive father.  Find the full audio here.

The Third Cup of Coffee Podcast

3rdCup

I’m back on the podcast mic.  In this season, it’s a 15-20 minute format as I share a few stories and unpack a passage of scripture, starting with Jonah chapter 3.

Remember, nothing really happens until the third cup of coffee.

If you’d like to locate the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Anchor –  find those links here.

The Millennials’ Kingdom

A recent article in ABC News’ Five Thirty Eight makes what appears to be an obvious claim – that Millinnials are leaving religion and not coming back.  The article makes some valid points and supports them with examples.

Four in ten millennials call themselves religiously unaffiliated, and a shifting perspective of the role of religion related to morality contributes to the idea that people can be good without a religious compass.

It’s not an unfair or unimportant article, but I think it fails to account for a few things I strongly believe in.

Current trajectories are a poor indicator of final destinations.   

That’s a multi-syllabic way of saying that things don’t always go the way they’re pointed.  Unexpected things happen.  Circumstances change. Hearts change.  Minds change. 

The article indicates that 23-38 year olds are headed away from organized religion, but I can’t help but think how much my thinking has changed since I was 38.  If I were to meet my 38 year old self, I’d whisper in my own ear, “Maybe don’t say much for another ten years.  I’m not as sure about some things are I was….and I’m sure about things I doubted back in the day.”

God can accomplish a lifetime of work in a very short span.

Our nation has gone through several religious awakenings that affected huge numbers of people.  The first and second great awakening, the Jesus movement, none of these were well-predicted.  They were sovereign moves of God.

What if the ‘no’ in the heart of 23-38 year olds comes up against the ‘yes’ in the heart of God?  I’m not talking about a few Christian celebrities, although it could certainly include celebrities.  I’m thinking about a broad base of people having a spiritual awakening on their own, drawn by God.  I’m envisioning dreams in the night for a generation who are free of religious spirits but open to the supernatural.  

God has a call on every generation.

I grew up in a church culture that said things like “Revival always starts with the young people” and “We’ve got to reach the next generation”.   While I’m suspicious of anything including both of the words “revival” and “always”, there was an element of truth in that the church needs to be focused on reaching young people.  Not because they’re most important, but because there’s a generation after them.

Millennials have a destiny in God because whatever we will call post Millennials will also have a destiny in God, and even though Gen Xrs gave them everything from MTV to the iPad (Do not mock….we did), what we cannot give to a generation that we will not see is the gospel.

God so loves the world – even the not-yet-conceived  – that they will receive a presentation of His glory.  There will remain a witness of the Gospel on the earth long after my generation is in the earth.    Millennials, that’s on you.

I don’t believe the trajectory.  The encounter of your generation is on it’s way.

A Fresh Start

I used to be a prolific blogger back when that was a thing.

It started with very short, random posts (think twitter with a 500 character limit) and then longer stuff.  From 2001 to 2010 or so, when we started adding children so quickly that it just got hard, and of course social media was taking off, giving precedent to half baked thoughts rather than paragraphs.

This morning, I deleted every post – about 11,000 of them – because I wanted a fresh start. 

I’m in an unusual spot right now, having resigned a pastorate and not quite sure what is next.  We’re praying about it.   Well, alternately praying, prophesying, declaring and panicking.  But we don’t know what’s next and it seems like that’s okay with the Lord, even if a little rattling to the rest of us.

I need to write a little because it’s what I do, and I’m not preaching right now. 

Preaching meant a lot of writing.  Every week I’d produce about 5,000 words on something and I loved the discipline of it.  I miss it.

It dawned on me last night that I haven’t really created anything more than a short email since November 8th. In the words of Common Sense 3:16, “Use it or lose it.”

I’m going to use it, and if it matters to you, that’s awesome.  I need things to matter, even if only to me.