newfound freedom

we talk about freedom in America a lot. we are proud of it. we fight for it. we die for it. we long for it. we put hope in it. we want to share it with the rest of the world. at the risk of sounding conroversial, i am not convinced that we have really thought through what freedom is. 

people say, “i can’t wait to get out from under my parents’ control so i can have freedom.” what does that mean? what they’re really saying is, “i can’t wait to get out from under my parents’ control so i can do whatever the heck i want.” i am not sure that’s freedom.

when i read the Bible, it seems to suggest something else. it seems to link freedom to being released to live like we were originally made to live. released from the consequences that we bring upon ourselves. the cross broke the “reap what you sow” cycle. you see, doing whatever the heck i want brough shackles into my life. the cross set me free to live again connected to the life source, to live abundantly in a love relationship with Jesus Christ, as i was intended to live. Jesus taught that we are free indeed in Him, and only in Him. Paul said there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but there is freedom in His love and grace. 

maybe freedom is discovered, restored, learned all over again for the duration of our lives while we discover this generous and gracious God who restored our freedom and patiently allows us to learn the depth of what freedom is as we live this life out with abundance. maybe freedom isn’t doing whatever the heck we want, but rather learning that we are given the chance to live in the fullness of how we were made in spite of the trouble we get ourselves in while doing whatever the heck we want.

i saw an example of this tonight.

Caleb officially learned to ride his bike without trianing wheels. it was awesome!!!

his mommy and i watched him discover a gift. an ability to take a two wheel mechanism and ride like the wind. this is especially important to a kid who absolutely loves racing and pretends he is racing everytime we go for walks and rides around the lake. his speed potential just went up drastically. his crash potential did, too. that joy and risk are both elements of freedom. and he may not have said, “i am free!!!” but, he expressed it in this way when i was putting him to bed:

“i want to go around the whole block now!!! can i?”

newfound freedom. race in it to the fullest, Caleb. 

may we all be ever grateful for the costly privilege, not see it as a taken-for-granted right, and live in fear and trembling and joy and hope and excitement in this spacious openness called freedom.

check out the video of Caleb’s 1st bike ride…

the Coke Zero 400

It was 3:30am. Technically earlier today, 20 hours ago. An awesome day with my son, fast cars on an infamous track, and slow cars in monotonous traffic, and I was now beside my wife in bed. We got in bed at 3am, shortly after Caleb and I got dropped off my friend Chris and his son Cole (Caleb’s friend) and arrived home from the Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway. 30 minutes later, and we were talking about NASCAR. 

We were talking about a very exciting race that my wife, Jen, watched on TV while her boys were trackside about 90 miles away. Jeff Gordon, my son’s favorite, had raced well and led much of the latter part of the race only to spin off the track with a lap to go. The current NASCAR villain would roll on to win, again, for the 6th time this year. Gordon, who had raced an amazing race with a very fast car and had made very strategic choices (that’s right, more than just going fast there’s physics and mechanics and coaching involved in this very popular sport) came up oh so short. Caleb and I were disappointed. Jen and I were now talking about what made Gordon go high when he had stayed low all night, what he was trying to do when he spun out, how frustrated we were that the most-likely-one-day-to-be-legendary-in-NASCAR Kyle Busch who is currently a very I’m-good-and-I-know-it Kyle Busch won yet another race. 

We were talking about the race…the strategy…color commentary and all…at 3:30am…for 30 minutes in bed…like expert NASCAR fans. 

Great pillow talk. Jen and I passionately sharing our review. Both intensely involved. And we laughed. If you told us 2 years ago we would be fanatics for a sport that involves turning left constantly (except for 2 races per year), we would have laughed really, really, really, really, really hard. But here we are. That’s what loving your 6 year old son (who was 5 when he fell in love with the sport) and what falling in love with a very unique and fan-friendly sport will do. 

Needless to say, we have gotten swept away in the NASCAR bandwagon. You should, too.

In order to possibly convince you to give it a try AND to just share with you the joy Caleb and I and Chris and Cole and about 200,000 other fans had, here are some really cool pictures that I think you will like…

it was a great 4th of july

we celebrated the 4th with a lot of very special people today. some of them were our church family and some of them were neighbors and some of them were new friends. both the prep for the party (thanks to my amazing wife and to one of my great friends, Dan, and to my parents) and the party itself went off pretty much without a hitch. it was an awesome team effort with regard to the food, and man was it all yummy. we had two grills going and an eclectic selection of sides and desserts and drinks. someone even brought some IBC Cream Soda. i really like IBC Cream Soda. my wife made some texas crunch, and my mom made some mississippi mud pie. i really, really like texas crunch and mississippi mud pie. you should try it some time. it will change your life.

anyway, i learned something today, too, from a good Scottish friend who lives here in Orlando 15 weeks out of the year and does life with our church family. he and his family were very excited about actually celebrating the 4th of July with us Americans. he told me that this holiday is the result of the biggest economic blunder in history. all we wanted were a few votes in parliament and some freedom to go with it. the british king and his advisors didn’t have the foresight and vision to see the potential of the investment of this great land or the willingness for the people to fight for it. and, he told me that 4 of the signers of the Declaration were Scottish. the document was modeled after a similar declaration made by the Scots in the 1300s. pretty cool. i dig history. and i really dig my Scottish friends.

furthermore, the day was a great learning experience. my wife and i do really well when we work together. but, when i get focused on a plan and don’t communicate well, things can be tough. even so, the execution of today went well. i guess we recovered well. she’s a pretty special gal.

probably the coolest part of the whole day was getting to watch all the kids interact. there were a boatload of kids here. all of them had so much fun. the playground. basketball. riding bikes. racing little cars. dressing up. eating yummy food. eating yummier dessert. playing with sparklers (poor Katey got a little burned by one – she’s okay, though. mommy nurse to the rescue). going swimming. and heading over to watch the Disney fireworks from afar by the lake near our house that has a killer view of the Mouse’s captivating display.

maybe you can come over next year. so long for now. happy 4th of July!!!