Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

When We Remember

April 21, 2007

Here I am, sitting comfortably with my lovely laptop…in a cushioned chair at ole Starbucks. I’m in Fort Lauderdale, my favorite getaway. I’m not here to get away – I’m here to focus on all that’s in front of me. Mostly writing stuff.

I hardly ever reveal some of my writing pieces before they’re crisp crossed. But I came across a piece I wrote a while back that’s knee deep in dust by now. It’s been tucked away for years, unused…and quite lonely:) In sure need of a rewrite, but I thought it was a good reminder…you know, that we are in a war fighting for souls of the people we love and care for. That’s everyone, right? It’s unfortunate when we/I let the little, minute things of life, you know, like this darn measly digestive problem or a fainting fatigue slow us/me down from what’s a stake.

When We Remember…

Dirty. Angry. Sick. Cold.

The soldiers felt through a myriad of complex emotions as a long, brute war took a turn and, at last, the Germans fell in defeat.

The American soldiers who lived to tell, from the now famous film Band of Brothers speak of the voices inside their heads—the rage the fueled within them as they finally arrived in Germany after months of treacherous fighting. They became despisers of the German people. With their small window of freedom they were allowed – they drank, found women to sleep with, and the rage was set on fire. Some stole things. Some slept and some wept. But all mourned in their own way.

It was a sad scene to see. Only the few held up to this test of honor, the ones who kept their focus even though the world around them was so distracted. The poor attitudes. The downward depression. It was all there. What do you expect? They had been in the worst war of the twentieth century. They had an up close and personal encounter with death. They had front row seats as their friends lost arms, legs, and lives. It was a cold and rigid war for these men. Now they had to let it all out. They had to vent. Their emotions weren’t made for this. With their guns by their sides, they dealt with it in their own way. What became important was “who got what” as one guy put it. Now they were more concerned about their own property, their own well-being than anything else.

(more…)

How far away is your God?

May 9, 2006

Here’s an article I’ve been working on. I’m calling it “Binoculars, please!”

How far away is your God?

I think a relationship with God is a lot like a romance or a love story. If only more people caught on to that kind of thinking. It’s sad when people see God like themselves – self-centered, self-sufficient, in-charge kind of God. Just because we see ourselves that way has no effect on who God is. A.W. Tozer has a lot to say about knowing God. He said the most important thing about you is what you think about when you think about God. What do you think about when you think about God? Is your God far away or close by? Is your God someone who keeps score – who watches you like a hawk and comes down and strikes you when you do the wrong thing? Do you see God like your parent or grandparent – a quiet, proper, old, traditional, forever kind of God? Is your God someone whose so busy running the world he doesn’t have time for you – he’s far away from you has no relevance to your life? There are some who have chosen to be the “I don’t believe in God” people. There are others who are mad about the God thing because of their parents or those who go to college and enjoy buying in to a professor’s views. All of us have constructed a view of God. We carry this view with us through life.

The reality is how you see God is the litmus test that’s going to affect everything single aspect of how you will pursue him. If you haven’t nailed down a God whose love for you as his son or daughter, is more affectionate than you could ever truly understand. If your view of God is wrong then you are going to have difficulty with everything. We read in Daniel that people who know their God will be much stronger.

But you can know how to view God. Did you know God made you for himself – to enjoy, to love, to cherish, hold? When you capture that kind of reality sharing him with others will become your affection too.

This is something that’s dear to my heart because I too never developed a real sense of who God is until Amber and I married and we moved to Atlanta. I started spending time with some people who clearly saw God and life in a different viewpoint than I did. I was captivated by that; confused at first, but intrigued. So I went on this little journey of rediscovering God. It took longer than I anticipated it would because I had to shatter my old view of God. At the Christian university I attended I developed a view of God that was dutiful, rigid, political, rude if needed, always do the right thing over anything else even if it meant to run over people. I don’t want to point fingers at my school. I would never blame them for a view I had of God, but it was there that I developed it and I needed some clarification in my life of who He was. In Atlanta I found it. Two men who really affected me were Louie Giglio and my pastor Andy Stanley. Louie taught a gathering on Tuesday nights and preached at my church some. They were close friends from grade school and grew up in the kind of environment I was used to and where I developed my view of God. And I’m grateful to sit under their preaching especially when I needed to see God in a different light. They know how to speak the language of the culture.

God made you for his pleasure. You were made for God. “All things have been created by God and for God.” You were not only created in God’s image but for his pleasure as well. Inside our hearts are these evidences – these homing devices that intensely crave after God. More is never enough when were after God because we were created to live in deep, passionate communion with Him all the time. When were not, something’s wrong – a gap is created and we thirst for him. We go our searching and while there are these offbeat cultural textures that are after our minds as well, we will stay thirsty until we find God. Some people stay thirsty for a long time. Every human being craves intimacy – a kind that only God can give. Yet some of us aren’t aware of this. This is what happens – we respond to all of this by the way we see Him. If we see him like a God who keeps score then we will try to do things that might make him happy. If we see him as far away then we’ll respond to him like he is far away. If you think he is old or out of touch with us then you will just do what you want because being cool is important to some of us. Some of us think God doesn’t understand us at all.

What’s amazing about God is that right now as you try to understand more about God, God is saying, “I understand what you’re going through. I get the deal.” That means a lot when you enter a stage of confusion and clarification like that. One of his characteristics is patience and He’s committed to patiently wait on you as you go through this process. That’s encouraging! God knows what’s going on, on TV. He knows whose going to win the Amazing Race. God isn’t out to judge us He’s out to capture us with attention, love, and understanding. Who wouldn’t want that?

Here’s an important catch: God has told us about Himself so we could know about who He is. God is not what we choose to think of Him, what our parents or family thinks of Him. God is who He is…period. We have to get in our heads that we can’t decide that, He does. He’s God.

First, we need to unveil his character, what makes God to be God. He’s displayed his amazing traits. God is revealed in his son, Jesus. God established a relationship with us through his son, Jesus. Jesus taught that God is the: Perfect Father. Creator. Savior. Redeemer. Majesty. Ruler. He is: Love. Joy. Patience. Kindness. Faithfulness. Jesus taught you are the: Son. Daughter. He is the Father. This is a love relationship. The greatest romantic story ever told. He sent Jesus for you, his blood filled the gap sin built, the crave we endure. The enemy is out to derail your relationship with God.

He is a knowable and relatable God. He is the tender mercy to a crying heart. He desires to be intimate with me. That’s one that I continue to wallow in.

So now what? We have to say, “I get it and I trust you.” We have to decide that he knows best and put our entire trust in his ways. Tell God, “I trust you.” He loves me more than I love myself. That’s the first step to knowing God and beginning spiritual conversations. He’s in control of every conversation you will have. He’s the one that holds everything together. When we get that – our lives become fluid, something God can fill up and overflow on to others. Conversations are nothing more than an overflow of what God is doing inside of us. The intimacy spreads through others and we get the privilege of enjoying community like it was meant to be. Then there’s connectiveness in our lives.

Once we understand how God sees us, it should free us up to pursue him.

Converse with him.

We don’t have all the answers, but Jesus surely does. He encourages us to experience him, to bring him into the conversation we so desire to have. We are limited in what we offer, but Jesus is limitless. No boundaries with him.

So, go for it!

Talk to him. Love on him. Then go love on others. And leave the rest of the story to the storyteller. You’re immersed in something that’s far more beautiful that you’re most amazing mindscapes can comprehend. Something compelling.

You’ll never tire of hearing about God when it’s truly representing who he is. That makes life so exciting and liberating doesn’t it? The story never ends.

When you spend time with him it’s not like going online, it’s more like sitting down on the couch and together having an intimate talk. The difference is that God sends his spirit to interact through the conversation. The spirit makes it a lot more intimate. In the spirit you feel his love and his pride in you. Your outlook of the world all of sudden turns small. You realize that the world is so minute compared to the Creator of the Universe. The only downsize, if there is one to those who experience this amazing connection, is that it takes more time with him, to really grasp the reality that he won’t be able to fill your spirit like that all the time unless you keep seeking him. You crave for it. You search for it. You try all kinds of ways to fill that vacuum that you’ve had before. You learn over time that he can’t do it for you unless you allow him to. It’s called freedom of choice. Through time, if we’re willing to endure and keep searching, we’ll learn how to discipline ourselves to hear his voice and obey. We’ll learn how to talk to him and get results. It is a discipline and a language. People don’t master it they just trust him and go with it. A person who is godly isn’t someone who knows a lot about God; it’s someone who knows God and maintains a vibrant relationship with him.

Conversations with God / Conversoulogy

I’ve heard some people say that life is one big conversation. The life you live is a conversation with God.

In the Spring of 1997—it was in the middle of February, as I recall.

I heard someone say one time a lot of us are sure as hell about things, but do you want to be as sure as heaven?

It was a timely moment for me. I cried out for a connection with God. I was stung. My pain had to go away—I knew I needed to be healed. I was almost completely certain that only God could heal me. I believed it for a moment—just a moment—a divine moment it was. Immediately everything changed.

So what healed me? God did. How did he heal me? -Through my heart’s cry for him. He wants to be sought. Now I wanted to play my role as the seeker. He’s God. I’m man. He’s to be sought while I’m to seek Him. It truly makes sense.

That day I began to have conversations with God. It’s called prayer. A guy named Charles Spurgeon said it best: “prayer is the slender nerve that touches the omnipotence of God.” Ever since that day I’ve been in this magnificent dialogue with the Creator…aka CEO himself.

Before then I couldn’t talk to him, nor thought I really wanted to. The reason I didn’t want to was because God cannot hear us until we thoroughly introduce ourselves. I had introduces myself the way people told me to, but I didn’t really want it that badly. It wasn’t until that day that I really wanted it and when I did, he came and I’ve spent every day since wishing the world could experience what I’ve experienced.

I told a guy the other day “you’ll meet God when you figure out that he works. Am I right?” His reply was, “I think you’re right.” I said, well hang with me a little while and you find out that he works. He said, “Great.” Well, this young intellectual had told me just weeks before that conversation that he didn’t believe in one God. Yet, he’s admitting openly and honestly now that if there is one God and he discovers a piece of him, he’ll believe it. That’s the way a lot of people are. They don’t believe it because they haven’t met Him. Until you meet him you won’t understand.

Generalization is the death of art. It’s in the details where God resides.
ARTHUR MILLER

Six Viewpoints

January 6, 2006

I just did an article on evangelism for a magazine. I thought I’d post some of the viewpoints I propose (a modern magazine needs points).

1) Transformation is a life-long process, not just a one-time event.

2) Unless we put more emphasis on authentic, connective relationships we will lose this generation.

3) The most effective evangelism strategy is to cultivate genuine friendships with people who are non-believers and engage them in thoughtful, respectful conversation about what’s important to them.

4) Those with the foresight and strength to speak the truth in love will have the most impact.

5) Genuine humility and love will win over anyone anytime!

6) Centralize everything with Jesus. They like Jesus but they don’t like the church.

Why Lost People Won’t Listen to Christians

November 23, 2005

I’m writing an article for On Mission Magazine about Why Lost People Won’t Listen to Christians and I need your help. The article is about the current culture and how as Christians we must understand where non-Christians are coming from.

Two questions: Why won’t lost people listen to Christians? How can Christians tell God’s story in a way that will make the most impact in today’s culture?

Thank You Donald Miller

November 9, 2005

Words began to flow when I read ole Donald Miller. I am inspired. I am lifted. I feel more whole.

Sure, there’s a bit of envy in the way he writes. He’s darn good. But I remember to remember that there are always people who go before us to inspire. The more people there are who can write like this man, the better off we are. It just means there will be better writers and more people inspired, a better planet, indeed. Because of him, I am a freer thinker and a better writer.

He’s books are one of the very few that I actually read every word and thirst for more. Just picked up his latest, Through Painted Deserts, and I am truly amazed, once again. .

Letter to My In-Law’s

September 24, 2005

It’s easy to take things for granted – especially your in-laws. I have great in-law’s and recently ago I wrote them a letter, pouring my heart out about the journey God is taking me on. Both have an insatiable hunger for learning and are making a huge difference in the world we live in. I’ve learned that there are some things it might be hard to share verbally that I could say on paper.

Here’s the letter: (w/permission share it here, of course)

Dear Allen and Leslee,

All the believers were one in heart.
—Luke the Physician (Acts 4:32)

The following is a piece of my interior makeup. I decided to park for a little while, late yesterday afternoon and write. In fact, this is the way I always begin my day. I write letters to friends, strangers and mostly God in my journal, most of which never see them (except God). Today, I feel the nudging of the Lord to show you what I’m writing on this night. For me, it’s always been easier to express my heart on paper than in person. So, it is my joy to write to you (probably more for me than you). I hope you’ll discover through these words the similar heart and understanding I think I have with you. Nothing here is written to you, every word is written with you. As usual, when I write, I write a lot, so bear with me. Allen – you definitely get my drift and Leslee – you can empathize from over 30 years with a writing husband. Like Amber, you ladies are very patient in giving us the best sounding board we have. You play the role well of humbling us – a much needed piece, so thanks.

Trust me, my motives here don’t allude you are going through trials. It just happens, I am thinking a lot about the gift of pain and suffering. About how to grapple with shattered dreams and how the bigger story God is telling builds an oak of depth for getting through the tough times of life. I ask God a lot of questions and He so kindly answers the ones He wants. I’m intrigued with His way of turning the broken into whole people. But before we dive into that, I’d like to share from my heart.

I think we are becoming the kind of camaraderie only God can weave together. What I like to call ONE. We are one family under one God. I love that! Think about what life would be like alone. His miraculous touch sizzles through everything trusted and obeyed. My gratefulness, in heart and depth is to you. Your visit is appreciated from the bottom of my heart.

I suppose trust will only deepen through tested time. I came into your family in a season of testing…more like an assault on His heart in you. That is Satan’s purpose, part of the reality we have to endure. I am extremely grateful that you did what couldn’t be better: got through it! Pain is inevitable and mysterious. God is inconsistent when it comes to suffering, but He’s the author so I guess He can get away with all His perplexities. Personally, it’s a little bit maddening to me, but I think I’m beginning to see the bigger picture. A place I never really understood until recently. Hope. Shattered dreams – is a tool He uses, isn’t it? But hope stands higher, and wider than that doesn’t it? I’m learning the solid kind of hope, which is the kind I like most, the hope of a better NOW is only guaranteed in heaven. What seems better may not be best…His plan is best. That’s a tough grapple for me.

God has a dream for us as a family. His purpose is perfect and unbreakable. That lifts me up! This family thing is His doing. Sure, we’re a tiny boat in a big storm. But no matter what assault or stabs are thrust upon us, its okay – just a part of the spilled blood. Don’t ever forget – you can lean on us, as at times we will lean on you. We’re a family and that’s what they’re for. Cool stuff.

“When we step into the family, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”
G.K. CHESTERTON

I share all of this with you for two reasons: 1) to just tell ya of my desire to become the kind of journeyers Luke writes about above and 2) for you to know how much I love you and pray for you. Mixing families has never been easy. Suddenly, you’re stuck with these stranger(s) who bring their lifestyle, even problems into your family circle. So I say a big thank you for making me feel at home, especially in the vague moments sometimes thrown on you.

Also, I want you to know that my heart’s desire is to lavish your daughter with all the love I can give. There is no one living on this planet more in love than I. There is so much pleasure in marriage to be enjoyed and we are squeezing out all we can. Together we want to walk with Him no matter the cost…and we know there will be a cost. As you know, Jesus said there would. We are striving to put “eternity on our hearts” in a much deeper place. We seek to always protect our hearts in a dangerous and beautiful world. The only way we do that is to open our hearts to God who is zealously pursuing so much more.

I really do appreciate your passion and love for the Lord. I am fortunate that He placed me in a family that puts Him on the throne. Again, thank you for coming to see us! It was a real pleasure to be with you and I’m anticipating a fantastic time with you in two weeks.

And there is so much more ahead. More fellowship. More tears. More joys. So much more to uncover together as one family. We’ve just scratched the surface! The journey has amazing discoveries ahead and I can’t wait.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet
And whither then? I cannot say.
— J. R. R. Tolkien

Okay. That was my first set of thoughts, now I’d like to share with you about the pain and suffering gleanings I’m drinking up. It’s changing the way I view suffering and pain, even life!

Becoming broken isn’t all that bad of a thing because it means we need transformation. God can turn our brokenness into wholeness. All of us have been broken pieces turned into whole people. Some of us are broken pieces and partly whole. All in all, life is all about the transforming power of Jesus Christ. There may even be scars left over from things but one thing I know and appreciate so much is that we (Unruh/Davidson Clan) don’t give up. In actuality, everyone has them. People have developed an American craft of hiding what they don’t want others to see. I heard our good buddy John Maxwell say the other day that there is nothing more demeaning to your self than secrets. He said never, ever keep secrets because 1) they’ll kill you and 2) God will eventually uncover them. For me, I’d rather be the CEO than an apprentice any day, but Jesus calls to be mere slaves – to be an apprentice is actually a step up.

It’s not hard to look into someone’s eyes and see hurt. In fact, Leslee, it’s not a coincidence that you have the God-given ability to see people in a special way. Some may call it a gift to look straight through people, but God has chosen to call it discernment. Your swift of intuitiveness is as powerful as I’ve ever seen. Did God entrust you with a gift or what? I think your pathway to see people’s pain reveals a lot about you.

Every day, I ask God as many questions as I can. I figure that if James is for real, in that, God will answer you if you ask then I better take as much advantage of that promise as I can. Yet God’s uncovering truth’s for me I didn’t expect. I didn’t think the only comfort I’d receive for desiring so much understanding was in knowing 100% that my perspective for the last six years was so far off the radar. He did not promise comfort exteriorly, only interiorly. He didn’t promise heaven on earth, only in the afterlife. I journaled the following lesson he was teaching me last week:

Oswald Chambers once said, “It is much easier to do something than to trust God.” The only way to know the living glorious God is to walk with him. Chambers alludes that we would rather work for him than believe him. The challenge arises to believe in him which intersects with believing him. The true litmus test for a community of followers of Jesus is to find out if they are living what they claim to believe. It’s sad when ministers water down truth and accept the condition of these confused folk. They accept it because they too don’t truly believe it. If I want to find out how much someone believes in this truth then all I need to do is find out what they care about. Do there beliefs give a slab to what they care about?

Simply put: we live for ourselves, yet we convince ourselves otherwise by listening to others over God. This year it hit me that Christianity is not that complicated when you listen to just Jesus. Here’s what I mean.

I feel truly fortunate because God has called me to write. Sometimes I wonder why more people wouldn’t do what I do but then I realize the only reason I do what I do is because He’s called me to it. Simply put. No other way around it. Our cause is obedience in faith. Writing is my obedience in faith. Tomorrow – maybe not, but today it’s the way I walk with Him.

Graham Greene in his book The Third Man he writes about how in “it Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they have brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Hmm. Don’t you think we are living in the same kind of era as Switzerland? Think about how deep and wise our founding fathers were in the midst of war, sickness and fragility.

Is pleasure the opposite of pain? The Oxford English Dictionary thinks so. Leonardo da Vinci didn’t see like that. Pain and pleasure were one, to him. For most all of my life, I have thought like the Oxford English Dictionary, that pleasure is the opposite of pain. To me, a person who is in pain was someone who lacked happiness, who had it bad. I never knew why. I just hoped I wouldn’t ever be that person. That’s the hope I had. I’ve really missed the boat. Pleasure and pain are Siamese twins according to Philip Yancey and Paul Brand. Pain is not the enemy, rather it’s an opportunity to glorify God – it even protects us. Soren Kierkegaard says it for me, “With the help of the thorn in my foot, I spring higher than anyone with sound feet.”

I think all of us are becoming a beautiful mosaic. ALL OF US. If we’re His we’re always forming in that world. Just a mosaic: broken pieces turned whole for the glory of God. Jesus hurt. Jesus died. He took up His cross, now we take up ours all for the glory of the Heavenly Father. His name. His fame.

Thank you for steering your wheel towards others instead of sitting idle in a bath of tears. You’ve experienced difficulties. And you’ve stuck it out. I’ve learned buckets of lessons simply as a bystander. Not to say I haven’t experienced pain myself. I do and will, as long as He has me here. All for His glory in His story unfolding.

Yoda in counseling his protégé Anakin Skywalker says, “The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.”

Young Skywalker responds in hurt and anguish, “I won’t let these visions come true, Master Yoda.”

The wise Yoda says, “Death is a natural part of life.”

And Young Skywalker asks, “What must I do, Master Yoda?”

Yoda, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

What did young Skywalker do? The opposite! And he was taken over in the process.

I love that! There’s so much spiritual depth in those words.

Erwin McManus is one of the leaders God has used to shape my thinking. He shares how the post-modern culture is taking us into new textures. At the same time he said the modern church sees discipleship as primarily doctrinal training. “A mature Christian was someone who knew his Bible. Good citizenship was expected of everyone. This was not an unreasonable paradigm, but it was a dangerous one. Before post-modernism, the church enjoyed the positive influence of a culture shaped by the Christian faith. Life change became a lost art because most people appeared “together,” says McManus.
He says as things evolved we are becoming powerless to help those who are hurting and have fallen into a grip in the power of sin. Now we don’t know how to make disciples any more. The church just can’t handle the culture.

“Restoring broken lives requires conviction, commitment, and community. Unfortunately, even when the church wants to help, often it assumes it doesn’t have the power to heal. We profess that Jesus changes lives, but with broken people we tend to rely on psychotherapy. We’ll entrust Jesus with the small stuff, but we refer out the really big problems to Freud,” says McManus.

So the questions arises:

“How do we begin to reclaim the power of making fully functioning disciples out of seriously flawed people?”

Erwin says it begins with a culture of expectancy.

At the ministry I have the privilege of serving with, Bread of Life, I had to quickly learn that what these people need is someone to tell them often they CAN do it. They can change. They need belief! And they need to see before their eyes because words don’t mean anything any more. When you lose your ability to provide for your family, everything changes, just like what Jim Braddick experienced in Cinderella Man. The kind of culture’s the church needs to create all over this country are healing places because our brokenness is back at all time low. As you saw yesterday, when Pastor Andy speaks, he speaks with belief, no matter where you are in life. That connects with a huge audience!

I don’t want to be the referee in our family, just a cheerleader. To cheer you on, Leslee, as you campaign all over the world for a vital cause. To cheer you, the person God made you into, as you are. To cheer you on, Allen, as you restore thousands of people to health and convictions. To cheer you on, as you articulate to the world the power of freedom and values. You have a gift to communicate and you use it like tomorrow’s opportunity is uncertain.

You can only serve Jesus when you are losing yourself in serving others. Hurting people tend to demand more from you. Whole people have more to give. That’s the way it’s meant to be. If whole people ran from the hurting ones, then they all miss out. That’s a struggle for me. I tend to run from those who make me feel uncomfortable, but I’m learning now how far that is from the directions of Jesus. “The mind is its own place, and it itself can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n,” says John Milton in Paradise Lost. I conclude this letter with two things I must continually work on:
The best thing I can do for you, as a family is to continually develop gratitude.

This is learned when I keep the perspective that I am a criminal, who needed a savior and got one. And never forget it!
I believe that the root reason why we lack compassion for others is because we haven’t received any compassion ourselves. Then too, we’ve never walked with Jesus, because a walk alongside of him showers you with big drops of compassion. Everywhere I turn I need compassion, understanding and patience from God. And he gives it. If I were God I’d shoot balls of lightning at myself, but he daily listens to me, waits on me and believes in me. As I fail, give in and give up he looks at me and says, “I’ll wait as long as I need to because you’re well-being is important to me.” Now, the one who walks with God understands the kind of well-being I’m referring to. Sure, it is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual but underlined with glory and purpose. If you walk with God you’re the first to admit that you’re completely criminalized in every way possible. That’ll change the way you see the world. And you will naturally leak compassion and understanding which is the only way Jesus preached truth (Psalms 26:3).

In this process of developing gratitude, bitterness will have to be removed. This is where the forgiveness process has to begin. Releasing the past and forging into the future is key too. George Allen once asked, “How badly do you want it?” I find myself asking the same question, “Well, how badly do I want it?” My answer is, “Real badly!” Why? Because when God gives you a revelation of truth, you can’t help but act. Stephen Leacock said, “It may be that those who do most, dream most.” I’ve discovered that in God’s presence dreams are unleashed, and that’s what I’ve been pursuing. Incredibly, it gets more exciting every day!

Today is unlike any day that I’ve been a part of. It’s a day where the challenges are greater, but the potential is huge. The only way to live the future is to find the present. The things I’ve shared have really sounded an alarm in me so maybe I am better prepared before tragedy strikes. Alarms are not meant to cause fear in us, but to infuse us with an unwavering boldness to make a difference. Every day I’m in the Word it seems, I’m turning blindness into boldness. Turning fear into faith. Desiring to turn our churches into communities of faith, hope, and love. Turning hurt to the God kind of hope. Hope is a treasure; it’s a part of our mission – to lend a voice of hope to a hopeless world.

Forward thinking people are full of joyful anticipation. In contrast, regretful thinking people spiral downward into depression. God sees the end from the beginning. He is always looking ahead and that’s how we have to model our lives. Thinking hope. Thinking promise. Trusting God for the outcome.

The other thing I must do is to develop the spirit of a servant, which will only be trusted in time.
The good thing about people who hurt is that they see value in serving. It makes them feel like they’re doing something that matters. That’s good but they have to be channeled through a healing process or they’ll never get over their issue.

I’ve got to remember that my struggles just reveal my brokenness. That will never leave me. It’s something I must embrace, simply a part of the journey. So, I put my heart in your hands, not to run from potential hurt and pain but to embrace the chance to trust and grow. And that means so much more with you.

Ahhh…time to take a breath. Now, you can feel quite sorry for Amber, Mom and Dad who have to read all my ramblings very frequently. Love you guys so much!

One more thing I have to add for Allen. I just read your letter after I had written this. I have to tell you how astounded I was by your gift for words. It seems when people do read in this super-paced culture rarely do they unless there are word pictures and stories. Actually, I’m amazed you said that much in seven pages. Just Powerful! Read every word! You have so much to teach a young writer. I guess these are my thoughts about something important, just like you encouraged us to do. At 25 I’m beginning to think so philosophical too, already. You should seriously consider hiring someone to make your thoughts into books. Not me – I’ve discovered I’m not a great ghostwriter. I’m a creative writer like your self, not a word crafter. We’re the kind of people who come up with the creative ideas and rantings – but need editors!

Your Son-in-Law and Friend,

Bryan

Marriage Books

August 25, 2005

I feel like I’m in writing boot camp. These past couple months I have been revising a book for the guy I work for the most – Josh McDowell. In the 80’s he wrote “Secret of Loving” and sold a slew of books. He’s kept me really busy for over a year but this baby hasn’t been the most rewarding. I am surely grateful, but bored to death – as well. It’s a book full of quotes, excerpts and statistics from journals, magazines and other books. All of which I am responsible to replace with something similar and new. The problem for me is that this is not my niche subject. Maybe it will be one day.

Yesterday, I counted over 400 articles and journals I have combed through. I’ve yet to count how many marriage, love and relationship books there are in my huge wooden basket in the living room. To be honest, I’d rather not think about marriage for a while. If you wonder why, it’s because 1) I have other subjects burning I’d ready to write about & 2) I’m unimpressed with the books we’re putting out there on relationships, marriage, sex and love. They lack something – maybe it’s depth (I’ll go into that at another time) yet they have plenty of fluff and reference the same people over and over.

The only way I’d love to write about marriage is to add some philosophical juice to it. Make people think. Yancey does what he does so well because he makes you think. He works really hard to be fresh and creative. These books are simple and clear but not original. Maybe, I’m too into it right now to be objective. What do you think about marriage books?

I have one week for FINISH – and I’d appreciate your prayers. I’m reminded tonight that learning is living, and that is because growing yourself grows people. True love is underscored in giving, never in recieving. A way of thinking I learned today is: You are changed most by the love you give.

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