My Family

Hello, World

4 April 2013

“When awaking from a deep slumber, forces conspire in opposition.

It takes courage to wake up, fortitude to get out of the proverbial bed.

The bliss of the moments between sleep and awareness are seductive,

We want them to last, and when they must end, we want them to end with more sleep.

Those eager to wake up are motivated by one of two things: driven-ness, or life.

The former wake one up from a place of resigned, robotic desperation…

…desperate to succeed.

…desperate to not disappoint.

…desperate to maintain.

…desperate to impress.

But the latter, those who awake for life, full life, those are the pure in heart.

They see God.

…in all circumstances.

…in all people.

…in creation.

…in themselves.

May I see God? May I be pure in heart? Oh, how superior this sounds.

You have tasted life from the dead place of sleep walking. And you have tasted life from the living place of purity.

It was when you were young. You woke to each day saying hello to it, welcoming it, and offering yourself shamelessly, creatively, moment-by-moment, with eyes twinkling and wide open. I did not need to look or feel grand, it just was, and you knew it and embraced it as a child.

The Kingdom of Heaven can not be enjoyed, will not be yours to enjoy, unless you change and become like children.

- from the pen of Yours Truly, effortlessly, with wonder about what it means

 

I took my daughter to breakfast this morning, and we shared both roaring laughter and tender tears. She is the real deal, engaging in life, dealing with her surroundings, learning about her emotions and the hearts and wounds of others. And God.

Part of the roaring laughter (and somehow the catalyst for the above piece), was this video she spontaneously made yesterday. I still can’t stop laughing, watching the combination of her using her creative, story-telling mind and her mom’s creative, visual-altering software:

 

“Nikki” complaining about “Chlorine” stealing her boyfriend

Have a fully alive day.

The Life I Want Most for Myself

1 February 2012

Some friends of mine and I were given the powerful assignment of sitting down and writing a letter to God explaining to Him the life we want most for ourselves. In my humble opinion, it is an exercise that everyone should do often. Here is mine:

Dear God:

The life I want most for myself is Christ’s.

I want a life of peaceful intensity. Intense because of a missionary spirit that relentlessly takes me into difficult circumstances in the name of love. Peaceful because of an intimacy with you so stable and real that those difficult circumstances can’t shake it.

I want every decision of my life to be motivated and explained by love, healing, and freedom, and every action to help inspire those things in others. I want to be a man of harnessed passion, who walks gratefully and confidently with God and people, creating true transforming community wherever I go.

I want this life with Christ to be so authentic that those closest to me, Carrie, Shade, Callie, and Jakin know it to be real and weighty. And I want its abundance to be so obvious that they are effortlessly drawn to it, constantly challenged to believe it, emboldened to give it a try, and naturally disgusted by anything the world offers, with all of it’s glitter, that is less.

While living inwardly for an eternal Kingdom, I want to be a good steward of my body while I live for that Kingdom here, maintaining the health and fitness required to live this adventurous life over the long haul, using as my target and goal the physical and mental ability to keep up with grandkids, should I be so blessed.

I want what I love about Carrie to always dictate how I see and treat her. I love her fire and vulnerability, her commitment to godly and thoughtful motherhood, and her non-stop energy for God and people. I want a partnership with her that is alive, connected, fun, open, passionate, raw, real, and respectful. I want us to take and be mutually supportive of our adventurous and faith-testing experiments – and I want us to take them often, sometimes independent of each other, sometimes in partnership. I want us to be unafraid of what makes each of us unique and challenging to the other, eagerly receiving those things from each other for our own growth in Christ, gratefully and joyfully embracing the mess of it all. Above all, I want Carrie to experience that hers is simply and unquestionably the most important human relationship in my life because I act accordingly at all times.

I want to be an embracing, exalting, playful, teaching, and uplifting Dad for my kids. I love Shade’s passion and zeal, his inclination towards truth and people, and want to partner with him to channel his energy as he creates a life of meaning and purpose. I love Callie’s competence and strength, her sense of creativity and laughter, and I want to give her both her space and my presence, within which she can have both her freedom and my guidance, to be and become the force of beauty that God has created her to be. And I love Jakin’s depth and humor, his light playfulness and deep inquiries, and I want to listen closely for his soul as he continues to show up and coach me on how to best serve him as he grows into his greatness.

I want to be an invitation to family for my Dad, Mom, and brothers and their families, and allow them to be that invitation to me. I want us all to be thankful and proud from where we have come from, and with whom we have come, a family of true believers in forgiveness, redemption, and the intentional, designing hand of God.

I want my life to be a model of the God-centered, Christ-like, Spirit-enabled way of living. I want it to be counter-cultural enough to be both noticeable and tempting for anyone in the world who is hungry, hurting, burned, or just plain sick-and-tired of mediocrity. I want my words, my work, my relationships, my dreams, my plans, my commitments, my decisions, my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, my reactions, my demeanor, my devotions, my prayers, my spaces, my priorities, my travels – and anything else that can appropriately go after the word “my” – to live in perfect harmony with one another, never competing with each other because they all humbly serve and exalt the same irresistible master.

I want a life that finds happiness only in you and in the loving relationships that are from you. And I want a life that is an invitation to, an inspiration for, and a catalyst of this abundant way of life for anyone who volunteers into any little piece of mine.

I want Christ’s life.

Finally Headed Home

30 March 2011

You have GOT to watch this music video done by one of my best friends in the world.

 

After that go here and buy all his powerful and original music.

Living in the Moment

23 March 2011

Kids with Hawes 002

Teach me to number my days
And count every moment before it slips away
Taking all the colors before they fade to gray
I don’t want to miss even just a second more of this
It happens in a blink
It happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
The only thing that matters is how we have loved
I don’t want to miss even just a second more of this
     
– lyrics from the song “Blink” by Revive

I drop my kids off at school every day. It’s a spiritual experience for me, and I’m not joking.

There is something about that 2 minute ride from my garage to the curb of the school that lifts me up out of myself. Seriously, I seem to transcend up and out of my hurriedness or my laziness, depending on which one is assaulting me that morning.

Sometimes they are bickering, sometimes just staring out the window, sometimes they are silly. Sometimes they want to turn on some music, sometimes they tell a joke, and sometimes they tell how much they love me. Sometimes they are stressed about their day, sometimes they are laughing at the day, sometimes they are planning their day after school, and sometimes they are just wondering what day it is.

But whatever attitude, action, or atmosphere they jump into my car with, it doesn’t seem to matter. I ascend to some special place of deep awareness, immense gratitude, and fearful awe.

The deep awareness is of the seconds passing by.

The immense gratitude is for these 3 growing human beings that are occupying those seconds with me.

The fearful awe is from how much I value and enjoy each of these seconds with them and I can’t keep a one.

When my kids mobilize themselves, barely waiting for me to stop the car before their feet hit the ground running, I sit in my car and watch. I watch them run (usually) all the way to the door of the school.

At this point, you probably think it’s because I’m trying to be a good parent. They are my responsibility, after all. They are officially in my care until they disappear into the stewardship of that school.

But that’s not what motivates me. They would be just fine walking the 40 yards without me there. As a matter of fact, I’m more often sitting there feeling some pressure to get going. There are other cars behind me, things to do, places to go, and people to see.

But I don’t. I watch them all…the…way…in. Why, you might ask? What keeps me sitting there?

This thought: “Which second of their life do I want to miss witnessing?”

Not a one.

Kids with Hawes 019Kids with Hawes 023Kids with Hawes 021  

And it isn’t about my kids, really, as important as they are to me. They are just being used by God as powerful props to stir me up, grow me up, and wake me up.

There is something in everyone that really wants to matter. It’s a craving and driving force in every human being I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. As if we just know we are supposed to.

And when I live fully present with another human being, committing myself to letting them know that they do indeed matter, the need in me is mysteriously satisfied as well. And then a miracle often happens.

We both connect with God. Right there. Right then. Sometimes it’s acknowledged, sometimes not. But believed in or not, noticed or not, there He is.

Which may explain why Christ gives the commission to love the force of a command: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

What second of my life do I not want to be a part of that?

More Cool Old Books

4 February 2011

Check out http://shop.ebay.com/brianmash/m.html for 3 more cool old books I’m selling to finance my big trip with my son Shade this summer.

A lot of 7 books entitled “The World’s Famous Orations” printed in 1906.

An 1893 copy of “Wholly Sanctified” written by Reverend AB Simpson. Simpson was the founder of the Christian Missionary Alliance and a mentor of AW Tozer.

And a 1905 copy of a book called “Guidance from Robert Browning in Matters of Faith” by John A Hutton. This is one is signed by Hutton.

I hope to put some more on there this weekend…including an old Bible, an old Andrew Murray book, and an old copy of Brother Lawrence’s “Practicing the Presence of God”. I appreciate ya’ll forwarding this on to people who you think might be interested.

Parting with Old Stories

12 January 2011

I posted here about my next big adventure with my oldest son, so I won’t tell you again about that being the motivation for the sale of these cool books. For those new to my blog, I’m a way, way, way amateur collector of old books. I enjoy it, but I’m not so committed to these “old stories” that I don’t gladly give them up to finance the writing of some new stories with my kids.

These books for sale span 4 centuries of human history.

1669 Feast for Worms1

 

This one was published in the 1600s!

 

1767 The Spectator 001

 

This one in the 1700s.

 

1886 Hitchcocks Analysis of the Bible 001

 

This one was printed in the 1800s.

 

Bacons Essays Tozer Autograph 003

 

This one is quite special. Printed in the early 1900s, it is signed by Rev AW Tozer. (I re-listed this because it didn’t hit my obviously too optimistic reserve last time. I’ve lowered it to $200).

 

1964 The Holy Spirit 001

 

And this one is from the 1960s, another very cool piece of Church of Christ/Restoration Movement history. Like new.

 

Thanks to those of you who consistently bid (or forward these on to people who do) when I do this.

On another note of gratitude, the December invitation to give the Christmas gift of survival meals to hungry orphans and widows in Zimbabwe resulted in the provision of over 75,000 meals!

I can’t thank you all enough.

I love and appreciate you.

My Next Father/Son Trip

14 December 2010

About 6 years ago, I had an incredible experience in Maui, Hawaii.

I was there because my mother-in-law had cancer, and she had always dreamed of taking all her kids and grandkids to Hawaii. So she did. Incredible thing #1: My mother-in-law, who was told she had about a year to live, beat the cancer. We praise God for that to this day.

While I was there, I went on a little trek to the interior of the island by myself. It began with a hike through a giant bamboo forest. The gentle sound of these tall and looming stalks of bamboo in the wind made me wonder about what gods the ancient Hawaiians worshipped.

I ended up at a clear and beautiful stream, which I started following up. This led me to a picture perfect waterfall. It was about 20 feet high, falling into a perfect sized pool, good for swimming or just sitting beside, watching and listening to the falls.

I found a rope tied up the left side of the waterfall, so I climbed it and was able to keep going. This led me to a 30 foot high waterfall into a pool about 3x the size of the first! I was all alone on this trek, ahd the place to myself, and just gawked at it, spellbound.

Inspired by the promise of greater things, I climbed the rocks beside this waterfall and kept going again. I ended up at a spot where the stream could not be followed on foot any farther, as it disappeared between 2 winding walls of ancient solidified volcanic rock. I had been alone for this whole trek, but I still hid my backpack and hiking clothes in some distant brush, and swam up the river to see where it would go. I kid you not, I was in Eden as I swam through floating wild fruit through this watery corridor. After a couple of bends, it dead-ended at a small waterfall about 8 feet high. I swam to it’s base and the only way up was to grab the rocks behind the water and climb up the falls.

Then…glory.

I walked around another bed and what I saw was nothing short of awe inspiring. I was at a giant pool of water (more like a small lake) that was covered with mist caused by a 150+ tall waterfall that was falling from what looked like the top of a volcano! I now it wasn’t, but looking up, it felt like I had entered into the rounded shoot of a huge volcano.

I stayed for a long time…all alone…worshipping.

Ever since that day, I have wanted to go back and take my son, who was 4 at the time.

He’s 10 now, and I’m starting to save up.

So keep an eye out for some great books for sale on eBay.

For starters, I’ve got two Church of Christ treasures that some of you might be interested in here and here.

I’ve got a couple of cool and useful Bibles here and here.

And the crowning jewel (thus far) is this copy of Bacon’s Essays that was a gift from the Reverend AW Tozer to his friend the Rev. F. Bertram Russell (this is the only one with a reserve price…I’ve held on to this one for over a decade).

I’ll have many more, including some very interesting ones printed in the 1800s, 1700s, and even a couple from the 1600s.Close up

Do me a favor and spread the word to anyone you think might be interested!

Watch out Maui…here we come!

The Prayer of Jakin (not Jabez)

11 November 2010

“Dad, here. Take this paper and write down this prayer.” – my son Jakin, 6 years old, before I wrote what’s below, on a Sunday

Jakin's Book 003

 

Dear God:

I love you. I wanted to say, I liked church. And I thank you for letting us have this special day for us. And I thank you for making us to have this life. And I pray for Jesus and God to have fun up there in Heaven. And I pray that you get more powerful everyday. And I thank you for taking our sins away.

In Jesus name, Amen.

From: Jakin

 

 

I love ya, buddy! You are pretty much one of the best people I know, too!

Callie’s Picture Sermon

6 October 2010

“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” – St. Paul

During worship services this past Sunday, Callie finished up a couple of drawings and handed them to me.

Modesty1 Modesty4

As a youth minister for 14 years, I was often asked by concerned older members of our church family in Houston to address how our young ladies dressed.

It was not without reason.

So many of the styles that were “in” at the time were so exposing of a young woman’s body. I remember walking into an Old Navy store and the featured “item of the week” as you walked in was a pair of shorts with less than an inch of fabric in the crotch – barely enough to even have a seam. And the shirts being sold all over weren’t long enough to cover a young lady’s midsection (my friend Tod called this “biscuiting”), effectively forcing our girls to either be fashionably “in” but eye candy for males (and not just the teenage ones), or appropriately modest but fashionably “out”.

I always felt like there was a male conspiracy going on behind the fashion industry for women. Like there was an invisible agreement being offered to girls by men that said, “You dress in a way that tantalizes my sexuality, and I’ll look at you in a way that you can pretend means I think you are lovely.”

Occasionally, in our youth group, there were some brave, sincere, “I’m-my-own-woman” type of girls who would create a sub-culture of modesty and make it cool. My favorite was a group of 4 high school girls, beautiful girls, who started buying “boy shorts” because they were the only ones they could find that were modest. They were so humble and confident about it and made it look so normal and natural that it started a little mini-trend among their peers.

Powerful. They took Paul’s advice.

Callie has been thinking about this kind of stuff lately. While she loves playing with make-up and such, just last week she busted out with, “Dad, I think makeup is covering up beautiful girls.” You can see this thought reflected in her pictures, too. Seriously…just take a minute and look back and forth between the faces she drew and try to imagine what is going on inside each girl she’s representing…what each one believes about herself.

I think Callie is so beautiful exactly the way God made her and makeup just can’t improve on it. Please, God, help her believe it. Against all odds, help her believe it.Modesty6

So you can see why I was excited to see my 8-year-old daughter illustrating these things.  I credit my wife who discusses this stuff with her regularly and conscientiously. After I looked at her pics and then over at her approvingly and proud, she jotted this little note…

So there you go, Callie, your little sermon in pictures!

Callie’s Room Rules

10 June 2010

“The greatest among you should be like the youngest.” – Jesus Christ

My 8-year-old daughter Callie has learned to use the new printer on her mom’s computer. With it, she added this incredible piece to her already stunning room.

 Callie's Room 001 Callie's Room 002

I pulled a copy out (just 1, as instructed), and here’s what it says:

Welcome!

In order for you to come into Callie’s room you must: have fun, be sweet, love each other, share, say nice things to your friends, always have your smiley face on, always be welcomed into Callie’s room, care for others, if someone is hurt- help them, never hurt people’s feelings, be very sweet to Callie’s parents, don’t beg for anything- just ask nicely, clean up your messes at all times, be nice to strangers that are at Callie’s house, do what Callie’s parents ask you to, be sweet to Callie’s brothers, recycle things that are recyclable, and don’t mess with fragile things.

If you are here, that means you are very, very, very, very special to Callie!!!!

 

Callie's Room 005

At the bottom, by her already signed commitment, is a covenant of friendship from this sweet, sweet little girl.

You can bet I picked up the closest pen and put my name on it. Who in their right mind wouldn’t accept an invitation into a room that designs and protects that kind human-friendly atmosphere? Who wouldn’t pursue an offer of practicing a life like that?

There’s an old book that I have read called “How Children Raise Parents”.Callie's Room 004 I remember being very taken in by it’s message that children are sent to us as parents to grow us up.

I have been sent a most spectacular of teachers in this little girl. She seems to carry light around with her with the greatest of ease. I am blessed to get such a front row seat to behold it.

I love you, Callie Jakin. You have a beauty that God Himself has established.

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