Rite of Passage

There are certain rites of passage that every boy must go through on his journey into adulthood. My eldest son, Christopher, went through one of those rites of passage on Monday night. And, for me, it was pure delight to walk throught it with him. Chris learned how to mow the lawn.

It began with a lesson on clearing the lawn of hazards before you begin mowing. Lesson two was taking the lawnmower out of the garage without injuring yourself on anything that is found in the destructive path between where the mower is stored and the end of the garage. We created a path through the six bicycles, snow blower, basketballs, baseball bats, and other items that were in the way, and without injury or damage to our van, got the mower out. That was a major accomplishment in and of itself. Lesson number three invovled checking the oil and gasoline levels in the mower. We filled the mower up, and then the real fun started.

“Can I start it, Dad?”

“Sure, give it a shot.”

Pull, Pull, Pull — Nothing.

The mower wouldn’t start.

“See that button in the front of the mower? The one that says, ‘Primer?’ Press it three times and try again.”


He presses the primer and then moves back into location. PULL, PULL, PULL — Nothing.

“Should I try pressing the primer button again?”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

He presses the primer and then moves back into location. His face now showing the frustration I’ve seen on dozens of other young men in my life.


The eyes now fill with delight. Boy turns into young man as he now controls the powerful machine.

“Dad, what do I do now?”

“I’ll mow the first row, you can mow the second. For now, can you pull the weeds by the flower planters?”


I’ve never seen him so excited about pulling weeds. I take my turn behind the mower and begin to mow the first row. I realize that for the next several years my opportunities to do this are going to be less than they’ve been in the past. For Chris is motivated by the lucrative $5 prize that awaits him at the end of this task.

“Okay, Dad, I finished the weeds. Can I mow now?”

“Sure, Buddy.”

I hand over the controls to my son. And, I watch him grow up before my eyes. A big smile comes across his face. He could try to hold it in, but it would be futile. He’s proud. Proud to be in control of the machine. Proud of the fact that his parents trust him with such a big task.

Truth be told, I worry every time he comes to the part of the yard where he has to push the mower up hill. What if he can’t do it? He does just fine. What if he gets hurt? He doesn’t. What if he gets so good that he doesn’t need me?

The mulch bag on the mower fills up.

“Dad, what do I do now?”

He still needs me. I show him how to empty the bag. It’s too heavy for him to pour it into our yard waste bucket.

“Dad, can you help?”

My son still needs me. And, he needs me for much more than lawn mowing lessons. He needs me to teach him how to live a godly life. To be a man of character in a world that is pushing against him. He needs me to tell him that I love him, that I believe in him, that nothing in the world could ever make me stop loving him.

Lord, help me to be the kind of Dad who radiates You; the kind of Dad who helps my kids to see that no matter how old they get, how mature they are, how confident they are, how much they know — that they will always need You. Help me to live a life of total reliance upon my Heavenly Father. And thank you for trusting me with the mower, and being there for me even when I think I don’t need you. Thank you for loving me, God.

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge is a book that I recommend to so many mom’s and wive’s to help them understand the men in their lives. I’m told that this book does the same thing for men in regard to women.

So, I’m just starting to read it too. My sister loves this book and I can’t wait to see what I learn about the women in my life through the reading of it. If you’re reading it, I’d love to know what you think about it, and if you agree or disagree with what John and Stasi Eldredge say.

The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus

Students in our ministry know that I love this book. I gave away 20+ copies of it in the spring. I’m rereading this book, and challenged again by the call to live faith, the barbarian way.

Erwin McManus pastors, Mosaic, in Los Angeles, California. This church is reaching young adults like few churches do. 80% of the 5,000 attendees of Mosaic are in their 20s or below. McManus’ message resonates with them, and it resonates with me. Check it out.

It’s published by Nelson Books.

Faith of My Fathers by Chris Seay

Chris Seay has been one of the pastors at the forefront of the emerging church movment for some time. His new book Faith of My Fathers is a fascinating look into the way three generations of pastors think about church, ministry and culture.

Chris’ grandfather served as a pastor for years. His father is still a pastor. His two brothers are also involved in ministry. The book is basically a transcript of the conversations that these men had on the following issues:

The Inner Life
Jerks in Ministry
Government and Politics
Social Issues
Racial Issues
Being Yourself

The book is supposed to be released September 1, but our bookstore already had them in stock. I had a hard time putting it down when I picked it up. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you read.

The book is published by Zondervan.

i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio

I’m only through the first four chapters, but WOW! I love this book. What a great reminder to me that I am a part of God’s story, and that life doesn’t revolve around me. Chapter three has some great insights into God’s call on Moses’ life. I love these words from that chapter:

“God was telling Moses: I AM the center of everything. I AM running the show. I AM the same every day, forever. I AM the owner of everything. I AM the Lord. I AM the Creator and Sustainer of life. I AM the Savior. I AM more than enough. I AM inexhaustible and immeasurable. I AM God. In a heartbeat, Moses knoew God’s name – and something more. He finally knew his. For if God’s name is I AM, Moses’ name must be I am not. I am not the center of everything. I am not in control. I am not the solution. I am not all-powerful. I am not calling the shots. I am not the owner of anythying. I am not the Lord.”

The book is published by Multnomah. Buy it. It’s worth the cost.


Inspired writing. Literally.

The second book of the Torah is challenging me in new ways.

Last week I reread the story of Moses and the burning bush. After reading the story in my personal devotions, I read what two authors thought about the account in their books. What amazing insight into our God. Check it out.

Velvet Elvis

To say that Rob Bell’s first book Velvet Elvis is creating quite the controversy would be the understatement of the year. Some are calling him a heretic, some are calling him refreshing. What do you think? The book is definitely worth a read. It has created some strong feelings in me. I’ll be writing a comprehensive review about the book later this month. For now, if you’ve read it, or are starting to read it, please leave your thoughts in the comment section of this post.