Welcome summer! I am glad you are here!

A few years ago I attended a seminar that taught us to ask Jesus questions. I admit, it seemed a little strange to expect Jesus to answer my questions. After all, wasn’t my mind just primed to hear an answer based on the information I knew about Jesus? So essentially, I would be answering my own questions, right?!

But I gave it a try anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. This morning as I was getting ready for the day, I pondered my blog posts from the last few days. I thought about Jesus and his choices that separated him from his family. I thought about what he might have struggled with in doing that. I wondered how it felt to him. So, I decided to ask him. “How did you feel not doing what your father expected?”

And before the thought was barely formed, I heard an answer. You can think I’m crazy – you might not be the first – but I heard an answer. I heard him say, “I did exactly what my Father wanted me to do.”

No where in my thinking was that idea even remotely present. I have been so blessed all day as I keep coming back to that simple statement. He did exactly what his father wanted. Along with this simple statement came an immediate understanding that Jesus’ eyes were on His Father in heaven, not his earthly family.

I encourage you to give it a try. What is the issue you are struggling with right now? Ask Jesus about it. Do you feel rejected or left out? Ask Jesus how he handled rejection. Are you feeling overwhelmed with ministry/job/personal responsibilities? Ask Jesus how he dealt with the stress and pressure of responsibility.

Psalm 62 begins with these words: “I wait quietly before God…” and verse 5 says, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God…” The Hebrew word translated “I” in these verses relates to the inner person but is also related to the physical, animate life including the seat of cravings and desires. In essence, the psalmist is saying “let all of me – spirit, body and mind – wait quietly before God….”

And therein lies the secret. Taking the time to ask the question and then confidently believing what you hear.

What have you got to lose? Maybe a few seconds of the day. No one is going to know, so no embarrassment if it “doesn’t work.” A little word of advice – often the first thing you hear is what the Lord wants you to know. Listen carefully and don’t over analyze. If it seems whacky, check it with a stable friend. And as always, I would love to hear your experiences. Don’t be afraid to use the Contact page to leave me a personal message.

Read: John 7:3-5

I wonder what the expectation for the oldest child was in a Jewish family. In one resource it said, “Sons, especially the firstborn, were the guarantee of lineage and the promise of maintaining family holdings.”* Jesus’ announcement to his family that he was leaving the business and going into ministry was likely met with a certain level of hostility. He had responsibilities as the oldest son.

I have many friends and acquaintances who work as families in business. Some children follow their parents and continue the business. Others decide to follow dreams that don’t include the family business. A tough decision, to be sure.

Read: Mark 10:29-31

Jesus had just encountered the rich young man who walked away sad when Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor. He admitted the decision to follow such drastic advice was indeed difficult, but not without its reward both here and in eternity.

What have you given up that feels really drastic? Jesus knows what it feels like to make an unpopular decision and to face hostility as a result. Sit with him a minute. Psalm 62 talks about waiting quietly before God, confessing that he alone is our rock and salvation, our fortress where we won’t be shaken. Allow these words to sink into the deep parts of your experiences and bring victory and honor.

*Dictionary of New Testament Background, Ed. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter, Intervarsity Press, 2000.

Jesus was the first child to Joseph and Mary. He wasn’t, of course, Joseph’s biological son. Having been conceived by the Holy Spirit, Joseph took Mary as his wife and raised Jesus as raised his own son. He was known in the neighborhood as a son of Joseph. After Jesus, Joseph and Mary had other sons and daughters together. Read: Mark 6:1-6

While attending the Passover Festival in Jerusalem at the age of 12, Jesus found his way to the temple to sit with the religious teachers. When his parents found him three days later, he went home and was submissive to them, honoring them as his parents. Read: Luke 2:41-52

We also know that Mary believed Jesus was different, that he had an extraordinary calling. When they attended the wedding in Cana at Galilee, Mary suggested that Jesus help the host when the wine was depleted. Read: John 2:1-5

But somewhere along the way, Jesus made choices that set him on a different trajectory then his siblings. We have very little information about Jesus from age 12 until age 30 when he begins public ministry.

Do you identify anything in your childhood that set you on the path you walk now? Did you feel called or nudged to be different? To make choices separate from your parents? How have you become your own person? In what ways do you still want to forge your own way? (These are questions for kids of all ages – not just someone below the age of 25!)

I can’t help but think about family right now. As I scroll through Facebook, I see the well wishes to fathers and grandfathers and significant men from mothers, wives and daughters. Gratefulness for healthy families, silence when relationships are strained.

We added a new granddaughter this week and I am so blessed watching my daughter and her husband parent their girls. It makes me wish I could do it again. Well, not really… just theoretically.

And I think about my own father. September will be the 10th anniversary of his passing. Somehow memories of him are frozen in time. There are times when I wish for one more conversation. One more time to choose to listen rather than argue, understand rather than convince. But in spite of that, I had an amazing father who cared for us, protected us, provided for us, respected us. My greatest joy when he passed suddenly is that there were no regrets. Nothing left unsaid, nothing that needed forgiving. Just sadness that he was gone so suddenly.

And I think about the father of my children. I could go on for pages about the way he cares for our children. He loves them ferociously, stays awake at night for them, checks in on them, cheers them on. He wonders how they are handling what life hands to them and is their best cheer leader.

And I muse about families. Yesterday our son invited our family to his home and we enjoyed filets mignons on the grill together. The food was great and the conversation lively. But what really meant so much to Dave and I was just being together. On the way home we commented how much we enjoy our family. Adult children and grandchildren are wonderful.

But they can be the worst too. I thought of families separated because of fighting. Fathers and sons estranged, mothers and daughters alienated, brothers and sisters on the outs.

I thought of families separated because of Jesus. Children choosing a faith different from their parents. Children choosing faith when their parents did not.

How do I explain to my parents, who also choose Jesus, that I am getting piercings, tattoos, hair cuts, clothing that they don’t like? That I worship in ways unfamiliar to them? That I am choosing a path different from the one they are on?

How do I explain to my family, who do not choose Jesus, why this is important to me? Why I choose a worship service over a day at the lake? Why I save money for a missions trip and forego a family vacation to Disney World? Why I sell something so I can give to a family in need?

I pondered all of that this today. And then I thought of Jesus. His family didn’t understand him. The gospels record that his mother and brothers came to get him because they thought he was a little crazy. His brothers mocked him, telling him he needed to go public with his miracles if he wanted a following.

Jesus redefined family which probably didn’t win any points for him with his biological family. Three of the gospels record Jesus’ mother and brothers coming to see him. When the people told him his mother and brothers were there, he said, “Who are my mothers and brothers? It is whoever hears God’s word and obeys it.”

Jesus also promised that whatever you lose when you follow him will be given back to you in this world and in the one to come many times over.

You might not have had a great father. Your mother may have neglected you. Your family might be rejecting you now because you choose Jesus or because you choose Jesus in a way different from them. I want you to know, Jesus gets it. He knows exactly what it feels like to be rejected, mocked and abandoned. His own earthly father, Joseph, is thought to have died while he was a child. So he knows fatherlessness.

It may seem a bit impractical to come to Jesus with your insecurities and doubts. I mean, is he really going to tell you how to overcome your fears? I think he will, so stick with me. I would like to walk you through a simple exercise this week.

A couple of years ago, I was teaching a class at church and we used music in different ways throughout class. One evening we listened to a song by Casting Crowns entitled Just be Held. After class, one of the ladies asked me how a person does that? Well, the short answer is, draw on the right side of the brain.

We will explore that this week, but for today, take a moment and read the following psalm. Highlight the part of it that resonates the most with you today.

Read: Psalm 62

Until next time…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

She’s here! And she is perfect! Born Friday evening, weighing 6 lbs. 11 oz. and 19 1/2 inches long.

Harper Kay with proud mommy, daddy and sister

The wait is over. We talked about her for so long, preparing her big sister for her arrival. And yet when she came, it was different than Finley expected. She didn’t know what to think that her mommy was in the hospital or in the bed. It took her a little time to be curious about her sister.

Sometimes in life, we long for change. We pray for change. We prepare for change. And then when it happens, it doesn’t look or feel exactly like we expected. An adjustment time is needed. Too often we berate ourselves for not embracing the change, after all, we wanted it.

There is one who is faithful through every change. He is in no hurry for us to adjust; we can take all the time we need to become familiar with the new routine. Soon enough it will become natural. Until then, be gracious with yourself.

Read: Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8

What change are you experiencing now? Is something new happening in your life? Know that it’s okay to have an adjustment time. Any change, even the kind we pray for and seek, can be difficult.

I invite you to join me online today as I preach at Maple City Chapel in Goshen, Indiana. We will continue our series on the Bible – how it came to us and how to read it for all it is worth.

Our topic today is “How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth!” I look forward to sharing the time with you.

Click here to join me! The service is Live Streamed at 9:00 and 10:45.

Read: Psalm 139:12-16

The fourth, and final pane, is the area we don’t know and others don’t know either. This is an exciting place! Here is all our untapped potential, skills, dreams, abilities, possibility!

I love the reading today because it reminds me that, although I don’t know, I have a Creator God who does know! He put me together with all kinds of potential and possibility. And he is willing to reveal that to me when I am ready.

We expect a new granddaughter any day. Her reality for the first few months of life will be to lay around, sleep, eat and mess her diaper. She doesn’t know what great potential she has. She doesn’t know that someday she will get up, run around, play with her sister, ride bike or chase birds. But there is something inside of her that will motivate her to pull herself up, take her first steps, say her first words. It is a beautiful thing!

You and I are the same. God has put creative ability, innovation and gifts inside each one of us. It is the spark that pushes us to try something new, step out with that wobbly uncertain first step into the great possibility.

What is sparking inside you? Is there potential you haven’t tapped into yet? Is there something you need to leave behind to step into the possibility of truly great adventures?

One more thought on blind spots. Yesterday I suggested one strategy to discovering our blind spots is asking someone we know and trust to help us. In this way, we become aware of those habits that do not serve us well.

But what if you are the one noticing a blind spot in another? What do you do? I suppose pointing it out in a straightforward way is an option. It won’t make any friends and might wreck a friendship, but it is an option. I think there is a better way.

As we share with one another the hard things of our lives, we inadvertently reveal our blind spots. For example, if I have strong expectations that others will keep everything I tell them in confidence, while at the same time sharing the secrets of others at my own discretion, that will stand out as being inconsistent. So what do you do? Overlook it…again? How does one bring that up?

It is definitely a tricky situation, but not one impossible to solve. The solution is learning to ask good questions so the individual can “see” the blind spot on their own. In this example, asking questions that reveal the expectation such as, “Is keeping confidences important to you?” How did it feel when Bob spilled the beans about …” will allow the individual to express their desires and expectations. Followed up with a question that helps illuminates the blind spot exposes the inconsistency and brings about an ah-ha moment. And all without blatantly saying, “You are being inconsistent.”

We are here to sharpen one another and keep each other moving forward. While not enjoyable to confront a friend, it can be the most helpful thing for them. I pray that you will be blessed with grace and tact for the sticky situations in your life.

The third pane of the Johari window is blind spots. Obviously, we can’t detect our own blinds spots simply because we are, well…blind to them.

There is something we can do to grow in this area. Recently, I presented an idea I had to my sister. She noticed at one point I got highly emotional. She lovingly asked me about it and then suggested I might rethink what I was considering. I was blind to the effect my emotions were having on my ability to plan carefully. She suggested I adjust and I did.

I haven’t always done well at seeking or listening to feedback. I considered it a personal attack and my defense mechanisms would go up. Working on wanting feedback and then listening to what others say is a process. It takes time and perseverance to develop.

Read: Psalm 139:7-12

Asking others to expose our blind spots is daunting and should not be done lightly. Choosing wisely makes all the difference. Once again, look for someone who is living courageously and who you know cares about you. Allow them to speak into your life. I find that most people who are living courageously don’t want to shoot a fellow soldier. But they do want to help you battle more effectively. I believe the words you hear will be loving and helpful.

Consider the Johari window I wrote about yesterday. The open area is the place we wear our best selves. Perhaps a bit like the mannequins in a window display. We put the best outfit there with the correct accessories and hope it attracts others.

The hidden area is the place we store the aspects of self that are less presentable. (I am not suggesting that everything about self should be made available to the general public. Somethings are better kept secret.) Here we keep secrets that we fear would cause others to reject us.

I might not want others to know how I spend my money, what I eat, what I watch or what I read. It might be the difficulty I experience communicating with my spouse or a journey with infertility. It might be balance of my credit cards, my debt load or any other number of secrets.

Obviously, these may not be appropriate to share with coworkers or book club friends. But there is One who knows all our secrets and still chooses us.

Read: Psalm 44:20-21; Psalm 139:1-6

Today I invite you to step into the light with your secrets, especially if there is shame attached. Find another individual who also displays courage, and share your secret there. Then watch the shame shrink away from the light and experience the joy of a shared burden!