Find God – Part Three

DFBB8154-D918-4573-961D-073E7413DE78If you’ve been following along, you know that we lost our dog last weekend and found her 30 plus hours later. And in part two of this series, I referenced a call from a friend of a friend on Facebook. I want to come back to that. But before I do, let’s look a BIG question that we’ve all asked. If God is so good and loving, why [fill in the blank]?

I’ve asked this question so many times in my life. More that I would care to admit in the past two months. You’ve asked this question. We all do. We doubt the Heart of God. We doubt if he is good. We doubt if he loves us.

Somtimes we even feel entitled. “God I’ve done all this stuff for you and this how you treat me.” No you’ve never asked that question, it’s just me that does. Wow, this is awkward.

But really. This is the NUMBER ONE hang up I am encountering amongst our students right now. If God is good and loving then why do I suffer? How about we step away from that question for a second. What if the question we’re supposed to be asking, is Lord, show me where you are in this?

I have a friend who lives in Texas, and she is one of the biggest prayer warriors I’ve ever met. She’s starting to get into my head with this stuff. She looks for the Lord everywhere and is always finding strangers to pray with.

So back to that call from the friend of a friend on Facebook. She was coming from Carencro and thought she spotted my dog (turns out it wasn’t her). She was apologetic for not stopping. “I’m running late to visit my mom in ICU.” Time out, no need to apologize here. Why’s your mom in ICU? She tells me. What a gift? There you are Lord, in the midst of my suffering, showing up. Inviting me to pray for this woman.

What if God’s heart isn’t bad? What if suffering just exists because we weren’t meant to be here in the first? What if in the midst of suffering we have an opportunity to find God?

In other words, while I was looking for my dog, I found my God giving me an opportunity to pray for one his children.

My friend from Texas would probably say something like, your missing dog was all about God giving you the opportunity to connect with this friend of a friend on Facebook cause she needed to experience Him.

Thank you Lord for being so good that you connect us in moments of life when we least expect it. You always provide. Help us to find you in the moments and not just focus on us.

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Found Dog – Part Two

23004861_10159421926995328_2326417799825839842_oAfter spending over 30 hours looking for my dog, chasing down every lead I would receive on Facebook or by text message, I would eventually find her. I got a call from a friend of a friend on Facebook saying she might’ve seen my dog walking down University Ave in Carencro. This seemed like it could be it. The spot was not far from my house, and I was heading that way anyways.

I drove up and down University, checking the side streets, handing out flyers and I even stopped a runner and a police officer. I couldn’t find her and no-one had seen her.

I looked at the time and realized it was around 2:00 pm, and animal control allowed walk throughs if you thought your dog was there. I had looked at the website that morning and identified two possible dogs that might be Sammie.

Arriving at animal control, they took my information and had a caretaker meet me. He walked me into the kennels and I immediately saw her. In fact, when I walked through the door, she leaped up and pounced on her gate. I looked at the guy and said, “hey man, that’s my dog.” We did the paper work and I took her home.

We got home, I bathed her and decided she could sleep in the house that night. She’s not an inside dog, and really only gets to sleep in when its cold out. After a couple of hours of her being inside – fleas. In 10 years, my dog has never had fleas. She runs away and comes home infested.

Reflecting on this, I wonder how many times I end up on death row (she was in a kill shelter), about to fulfill a sentence I deserve, when the Lord has to save me again. How many times to I have to run away and be saved to learn that the Father loves me? That he’s unwilling to let me die. How many times does he have to clean me up for me realize I have it good at home? I was made to be at home.

The Lord loves us. When we run away, he won’t stop looking for us. And when He finds us flirting with death, he saves us again and brings us home. And once we’re home, infested with fleas and all sorts of other things, he cleans us and cleans the house. Our Father loves us.

I wish I could just remember that.

Lost Dog – Part One

Many of you know that my dog went missing on Saturday. We’ve had her since July of 2008, a little over 9 years. In June of 2008, Jay was born, and the next month we added Sammie, our dog, to our family. You never realize, or should I say, I never realized, how much a dog means to you until they’re gone.

Sammie has cost me a lot of money. She was treated and treated for red mange. When we finally got her fixed, cause that would prevent her outbreaks, we found out she never had red mange to begin with. Instead, she had a skin allergy. Great! Special diets. Special medicines.

Nine years later a lot of that is behind us. Now her teeth are getting bad, they want to extract them and put in titanium inserts. Really? She’s a dog. And did I mention I work for the Church. I can’t afford titanium inserts. Fortunately we haven’t actually had to cross that bridge yet.

This past Saturday, when I went to feed her, I realized she wasn’t home. I went inside and asked the family if they had seen her that afternoon, we had been gone all day. No-one had. Jay and I would spend the next hour or so driving around looking for her; it was 8:30 at night and dark.

The next morning, at different times, Alesha and I rode around looking. That night I would begin chasing down leads from social media, even if they were for spotted dogs 13 miles from my house. Monday came, and again I am knocking on doors of strangers, handing out business cards and flyers. Frantically looking for my dog. Fighting back tears from time to time. Not only is she gone, but I don’t know if she’s even alive. And I need some closure if I’m going to move on.

In all of this, I begin to experience the heart of the Father, the heart of the Lord. Frantically looking for us cause we’re lost. And he refuses to stop. He refuses to give up. He chases down every lead. Every moment of hope. He fights back the tears. But he won’t stop; he won’t give up.

Our lives are worth more than titanium inserts and misdiagnosed allergies. And what I realized is that the Father, yours and mine, he’s not giving up on us. He’s not quitting. He’s going to continue chasing down leads and searching until he finds us waiting. Until he finds us ready.

There’s not a dog that is worth our love. But when we experience the love that the relationship can provide, there is an absence in our lives when our dogs aren’t part of them. Our Father experience that absence when we “go missing.” We aren’t worth his search, but he loves us. And he won’t stop until he finds us ready.

I pray that no matter how unworthy we feel, we may realize that the Father is searching for us right now. Not because of anything we’ve done or haven’t done, but because there’s an ache in his heart that can only be filled with us.

To be continued…

Why We March

This morning, while I was praying, I began to pray for the people in DC, who are marching for LIFE. I began to reflect on the world we live and the beliefs that have shaped and molded us, good and bad.

It dawned on me, really in a way that never dawned on me before, that I am alive. And if you’re reading this, so are you. Crazy right?

It hit me like a ton of bricks (I don’t know why we say that; I’ve never seen a ton of bricks much less gotten hit by one) that I had a 50/50 chance of never being born. Of never breathing my first breath. Of never meeting my parents, my wife, my kids or the many people who have shared in this journey of my life.

I was born, I guess more importantly – conceived, after Jan. 22, 1973 And because of this, my mom could’ve decided to end my life before giving birth to me and would’ve been legal. And no-one would’ve known the difference.

At least not anyone who I hadn’t met yet. Not anyone who my life hadn’t impacted. Like my friends who are who they are because I have been part of their life. Or the many teens, core members, parents, coworkers, colleagues, strangers who I pray that my life has blessed. And Alesha, who has blest me probably more than I will ever bless her, but none the less. And the world would’ve never known my kids- Jay, Cecilia and Noah. Or my grandkids, who we still haven’t met.

You see, if you were conceived after 1973, your chances of being born were just like mine – 50/50. And if you hadn’t been born, because of a court decision, the world would be very different today. There would be a void. Because we, you and I, are unique, and one of a kind and are here because God created us on purpose AND with a purpose.

So today, as thousands of our friends March in DC, thank your mom for saying YES. Cause your life HAS impacted the world you live in.

And this is WHY WE MARCH!

Come

“Lord if it is you; command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” {Matt. 14: 28-29}

Have you ever felt like your life just didn’t make sense? Has it ever seemed like you were learning to breath and walk and live all over again? Maybe it is just me, but lately I feel like my life is foolish. And that the way I am living makes no sense. But then I am reminder that is what it usually looks like to walk with the Lord. It’s what this Sunday’s Gospel is all about.

“Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.” {Matt 14:29} I know you’ve heard the story before. But read it again. “Peter GOT OUT of the boat and began to WALK ON THE WATER…” He wasn’t getting out the boat to swim or ski or anything like that. He got out of the boat with every intention to WALK on the water.

Now, I’ve never prided myself to be good at any of the sciences, but I’m pretty sure it is IMPOSSIBLE for people to walk on water. And I am also fairly confident that a man like Peter, who made his living as a fisherman would know that. Still he got out the boat to WALK on the water.

Why would he do it? Cause Jesus said “Come.”

And isn’t that enough?

Isn’t that the call he heard from Jesus on the shores of the Galilee (Matt. 4:9)? For Peter, all it took was Jesus to say “come.” It didn’t have to make sense. It didn’t have to look right. It didn’t have to feel right. The world didn’t have to understand.

It was enough.

My life doesn’t always make sense. I don’t always understand what the Lord is asking when He says “come.” And when I can’t see where He is or what it is He’s asking me to come to, staying in the boat makes more sense.

But I want to be like Peter. I desire to be like Peter. I want to get out of the boat. I want to stand on the water with Jesus. I don’t want to be afraid or get too comfortable in the boat. Cause life on the water is what we are made for. We are made for Jesus.

I pray that we, you and I, can all respond like Peter when the Lord says to us “Come.”

How is the Lord beckoning you to “Come?” And what are your fears in following? Invite him in to that.

Superpowers

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Last year in pre-K, Jay was given a test. Some of you may remember this. He was asked his name. To which he quickly exclaimed with confidence “J-A-Y Perkins, IV, Superhero, Ninja Turtle, Power Ranger, Transformer!” His teacher went back and forth with him. What’s your 1st name? “John.” What’s your last name? “Transformer.” He definitely knew who he was.

Every day I get to drop Jay off at school. And most days I get to pick him up from school. I love picking him up and finding out about his day. He always tells me about what they ate (food is very important in my family), who played with and what they played. Almost every day I ask if he learned anything. His response is usually always the same. “Yes, but I can’t remember.”

Yesterday, he looked a little sad when he climbed in my truck. He wasn’t his usual, bouncing-off-the-walls, full of joy and enthusiasm, self. I asked him what was bothering him? He put his head down and said, “I lost my superpowers today.” He wasn’t quite sure how. But he knew he had. “And if I don’t get them back tomorrow, I may never have them again.”

His words really stuck with me. I began to think of them in light of our Lord’s words in the Gospel of Matthew (18:2-4). What is we at one point were aware that we had lost our “superpowers?” But as we got older, we just accepted it and continued through life. What if we didn’t accept the current condition of our lives. What if we could regain our superpowers? What if we didn’t have to live without them?

Those of you who know me, know that my boyhood hero is Superman. There’s a moment in the movie “Superman 2” where Clark Kent returns to the Fortress of Solitude to confess to his father that he has failed. He gave up his superpowers and has to return to his father to regain them.

You and I don’t have to live in our own Fortress of Solitude. We don’t have to live without our “superpowers.” Our Father wants to restore our superpowers. All we have to do is ask him. He is a generous dad, always ready to give, to heal, to restore.

I called Alesha yesterday after she picked Jay up from school. She put Jay on the phone. I asked him if he got his superpowers back. “Yeah dad!”

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, 3 you will not enter the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 18:3

Are we there yet?

Have you ever spent a day with a 5 year old? Their minds are little sponges. They want to know about everything. It seems like they are constantly asking questions about how and why?

Yesterday I took Jay to our hunting camp. We left our house early that morning. The camp is about an hour drive. According to the little guy “It’s too long.” The whole way there, it seemed like he was constantly asking questions about everything. In fact, the whole day he never stopped asking questions. But on the way there the question that kept coming up was “are we almost there yet?”

Isn’t that the famous question of kids when driving? It doesn’t matter if you’re going 10 minutes down the road, an hour away or 6 hours for vacation – same question over and over – “when are we going to be there? It’s taking too long!”

We had a great day at the camp. When we got in my truck to head home, he was covered in dirt. From head to toe, there wasn’t a part of his body that didn’t have dirt on it or in it – the sign of a fun day at the camp in the life of a 5 year old boy.

When we got on the interstate (or freeway for all my friends living outside of South Louisiana) to head home, he said to me “Dad, can you leave me alone for a little minute? I need to rest.” And with that, he was fast asleep, confident that his dad could get him home.

As I reflected on our day, his question “Are we there yet? It’s taking too long” is what kept coming to the forefront of my mind. Is that not what we ask our Father when we are on our journey to Him? To be in relationship with him – in communion. To be the men or women He created us to be.

It is called holiness. When we become whole in whom our Father has created us to be. But in order to achieve that, we have to develop our relationship with Him. We have to overcome our own selfishness and sinfulness. I don’t know about you, but too often I get impatient with myself in this journey. I begin telling the Lord that “it’s taking too long.”

In the end, all we need to do is rest in the presence of our Father. He alone can reveal who we are. He alone will give us all that is needed to overcome the sinfulness and selfishness.

My prayer is that I can rest in the presence of my Father. Knowing with confidence He is going to get me home.