"I used to shake You like an 8-ball
I used to shoot You like a gun
I used to hold You like a hammer
Try to nail down everyone
I used to keep You in a steeple
Used to bind You in a Book
I used to take You like prescription
Without knowing what I took

But now I just don't buy it anymore
No, I've tried and I've tried to know everything for sure
But I find I know less as I come to know You more
You're not who I thought You were
Praise the Lord" 

David Crowder

I got to spend some time with some young men over the holiday.  Guys who are beginning new marriages and like all young marrieds, are still trying to figure it all out.  But the conversations we are having don’t look anything like the ones I had with my dad.  While he was one of the kindest people I ever knew and operated with extraordinary integrity, he came from a completely different planet in terms of worldview.

With these young guys, we talked…

less about bringing home the bacon and much more about bringing the culture of the Kingdom to their homes

Like Crowder talks about in his recent song, “Praise the Lord,” my initial attempts at leading my family from a faith perspective was clumsy at best and even wounding at worst.  Faith was a set of tips and techniques, rules and prohibitions.  I was self appointed…

  • scorekeeper for everybody else
  • the jury, judge, and executioner
  • fruit inspector, carefully identifying what others weren’t and not so concerned about who I was

But I am finding that God isn’t who I thought he was.  He is way more.  Because the thing many of us think we’ve got figured out is no longer God.  We can understand a religion about him or a carefully crafted basket of some of his nature, but he is impossible to completely know or figure out.  He is more than I could ever know and the mystery of all that is what makes Him so compelling.

My hope is being renewed through these young men.  They are neither misusing their faith as I did or merging into the cultural stream like many of their contemporaries.  They are instead trying to paddle in the opposite direction.  And while they may not be examining their faith and exploring new understandings of the reality of God like I did through guys like David Crowder or Oswald Chambers, they’re finding the same in the words of Tim Keller and Chance the Rapper:

“I don't make songs for free, I make 'em for freedom
Don't believe in kings, believe in the Kingdom…

Said you the man of the house now, look out for your family
He has ordered my steps, gave me a sword with a crest”

Chance the Rapper

To sum up my conversations with them:

  • It is really hard, but worth it
  • Not completely knowable, but better than anything else you can know
  • The culture is lying to us about what really matters
  • There is so much more than any of us have hoped or dreamed

I am no longer trying to keep the young people around me from learning the hard way…it is often the only way.  But I have an increasing amount of energy to spend on those desiring to learn the right things.  There is a way things work in the Kingdom of God and understanding that is the key to everything.

When the student is truly ready, the teacher will appear.  (Or at least they should.)

  • Have you been clumsy in the way you’ve led your family or your team at work?
  • Have you grown and matured, learned a few things?
  • What in your professional or personal life do you need to acknowledge and own up to?  
  • Who is right in front of you that you need to more abundantly offer the things you’ve learned?