I Do!

ring

An outdoor celebration of love and commitment was unfolding before my very eyes.  The groom and the wedding party had already worked their way to the front of the outdoor amphitheater.  Now the bride, in all of her radiant beauty, was walking with her proud father to the front of the assembled guests.  Something wonderful and magical was about to happen.  Two were in the process of becoming one.  Lord willing, a union was forming that would last a life time.  A union that would bring great joy to all.

At the end of this marriage ceremony the bride and the groom signed a marriage certificate/license….a contract? This was also signed by the best man & the maid of honor.  I too signed the certificate. This marriage contract is recognized by the state of Colorado.  It certifies that this marital union is  official.

This certificate is a  legal document.  Therefore, it implies conditionality:  I will love you as long as you love me.  But once you stop loving me than I do not need to continue to love you.  It implies the essence of quid pro quo.

The marriage certificate invites us to weigh and measure what the other person is doing compared to what we are doing.  It measures behavior….it does not measure the heart.  It does not transform the heart.

God does not talk about marriage in terms of contract. He talks about it in terms of covenant.  The marriage covenant is about loving unconditionally.  Yet, unconditional love is outside our natural ability.  So why talk about it?  God’s design is that the bride and the groom are each uniquely and profoundly connected to Him.  That unique, profound and individual connection allows them to love one another in selfless and heroic ways.  It allows them to embody servant leadership.  God is in the business of transforming the heart so that we can love the other, unconditionally.

Ephesians talks about loving our spouse as Christ loved the church.  How did Christ love the church?  He gave everything He had that the church might flourish.  That sort of love is only possible as one is connected to the source of infinite love….God, himself.

My covenant commitment is about loving God and allowing Him to love me.  Out of that relationship I am called and I am empowered to love my beautiful bride, no matter what.  Ultimately, she is called into that same empowering relationship. She is called to love me unconditionally.  Yet, if she does not do that,  I am still called & empowered to love her unconditionally.  That is the adventure!

The couple that is signing their marriage contract today is embarking on an adventure.  They are beginning the journey of loving in extravagant, unconditional ways. This journey is possible because they are extravagantly loved.

How is His extravagant love transforming your heart and changing your journey this day?

Amp The Joy!

Dick

Gusteaux

imageThis is the newest member of the family.  His name is Gusteaux (Gusto).  He is a nine week old,  cane corso (More info HERE), also known as an Italian Mastiff.  He might be the best dog we have ever enjoyed.  Time will tell.  He has only been a part of the family for four days.

As I reflect upon my journey through life, it seems that there has always been a unique canine present and for that I am thankful.  And so, as we start another leg of that journey, I find myself asking….what is it about dogs?

Joy is the first response that settles into my conscience.  Every dog that has been a part of the family has brought great joy to our family.  What is it about a dog that brings such joy?  In part, I think it is because a dog does a great job of being a dog.  They never try to be anything but who they are.  Therefore, a dog embodies  authenticity.  I am convinced that when we dare to be authentic we experience and we embody great joy!

Also, a dog does a wonderful job of embodying unconditional love.  It seems like dogs are always excited to see me.  They do not seem to care what I am wearing or what I am doing…they just always want to be with me.  Even if I am late in getting them their meal or I am grumpy about what went on at work or I am not considerate of their presence, they always seem to be excited to see me. This is different from most of my other relationships.  Oh, others might talk about unconditional love, but I can sense when they are upset with me and I can tell you how I have let them down.  I have learned, in most relationships there are conditions (rarely spoken, often implied) and things go well when I live up to those conditions.

This is interesting because the Bible talks about unconditional love.  I am a fan of the concept of unconditional love….I am an advocate for unconditional love in a hurting world.  Yet, when I look around and try to identify present day examples of this love….I do not see very many genuine examples.

I am also aware that I am not very good at this thing called unconditional love. Unfortunately, I also love conditionally. It is easier for me to love, when I have received love.

Maybe there is a critical formula which exists in the canine model.  Maybe, I am uniquely called to be me. In being authentically me, maybe I can reflect the joy of who it is that God designed me to be.  Out of that place of authentic certainty & security, I might discover the ability to love unconditionally.  I might be able to embody the fact that I love because He has profoundly loved me.  My prayer for you and for me….that we might live life with empowered authenticity.  That we might love with unconditionality.  That we might experience and give with great Gusteaux!

The Tag Line

Wingsuit-Flying-2011

As I sit here banging away at my key board, I am wearing a Nike t-shirt.  It reads…”Just do it.” This tag line might be one of the most recognized tag lines in the western world.  It summarizes a life style that the Nike corporation promotes and seems to embrace.  If nothing else, it is recognized around the world and it helps them sell action oriented products.  But, most importantly, it is a tag line that resonates with the core of who I am and it helps me get up off the couch.  The interesting question might be….what do I do when I get off the couch?

 Just do it!  Ok…..what should I do?  Why am I doing it?  Those questions seem to grab me and give me pause for reflection.  Those questions have, at times, brought all of my  doing to a complete stand still.  They have haunted me and motivated me to look for an adequate answer.  The questions,  what am I doing and why am I doing it, bring me back to my reason for being……. the reason for my existence.  Those questions drive  me to wrestle with me.

Theologians have said that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.  I am convinced that that is exactly what I must do.  How do I do that….in part, I commit to being the best me that I can possible be.  What does that look like?  I must be radically committed to being fully alive and fully engaged with Life.  As I embrace the life I have been given, when I live it with energy, intensity and focus….then I am glorifying Him.

Howard Thurman said this: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  So the question might be, what makes you come alive?  What gives you a sense of God’s joy & favor.  Eric Liddell said: “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”  I have to believe that as we discover that which makes us come alive, then we will understand how we can uniquely Glorify Him. Then we will live into our unique calling, and our lives will have meaning and purpose and we will sense His pleasure.

What is the critical task? Discover that which makes you come alive.  Then, go and do that.  “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

What is  the tag line for your life?  Write it out!  Paste it on the mirror in your bathroom.   Allow your personal tag line to help you get up off the couch and live into the day.  Your tag line must help you define the doing that flows from your core being.  Live your tag line!

My tag line: Live Life-Choose Adventure!

Recently, I have added another tag line: Amp the Joy!

What is the tag line for your life?  Please share it with us!

Please live your tag line with great energy, that He might be glorified this Day!

-D