FARGO — My greatest fears and life wounds are: the fear of rejection, abandonment, loneliness and failure. Growing up I felt "poor" so my entire life the spirit of money has whispered in my ear that money would protect me from my fears; money would insulate me from the pain of rejection, abandonment and loneliness, and as long as I had money I would never feel like a failure. Is that true? Of course not! Money makes promises it is unable to deliver with the goal of ruling our lives. This is exactly why Jesus said we cannot serve God and money.
FARGO — I did not grow up around men or women with military experience. As an adult I was thankful for and respectful of those who served our country in the military, but still had little exposure to those with military experience. That began to change when our son came home three months before high school graduation and told us he was meeting with an Army recruiter.
What a blessing it was to recently celebrate my wife's 50th birthday! As a pastor, perhaps in any profession and certainly in life, your spouse is your greatest attribute or your greatest anchor; your greatest blessing or your greatest barrier. I am thankful my wife is my greatest attribute and blessing. Prairie Heights Community Church has grown from a few people in our living room to weekly impacting over 2,500 people in Fargo and Bismarck.
When I think of what it takes to be a great dad, one of the key characteristics is a consistent commitment to connect with your children; to get into their world, their turf, their interests; to discover and discern their needs and hear their perspective; to be a great listener even when you are tired. As parents, it takes great self-leadership to connect with our children, but there is a powerful potential unleashed when we authentically connect with them.
FARGO — Our 4th-grade daughter Brooke started Taekwondo in January and she has learned several self-defense patterns. She will ask me at home, at the grocery store, anywhere the two of us are together, "Dad, can I show you my new pattern?" Children love to have their mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, watch them roller-blade, play T-ball, play a video game or jump on the trampoline.
FARGO — In the early 1990s I was working as an electrical engineer at Burns and McDonnell and attending seminary, studying to be a pastor. I will never forget a conversation I had on the phone with my mom as a frustrated student. As a math and science fan, seminary was brutal for me. I was required to read books and write papers. I was overwhelmed with school and the thought of perhaps, some day, being a pastor.
FARGO—Pain. Isolation. Internal struggles. Wounds. Unresolved hurt. Secret sins. Abuse. Where do you go to get help? In April, one of the finalists for a superintendent of schools opening in our community was accused of publicly exposing himself 16 times since November. He had a strong resume and a successful track record, including being voted Minnesota's top superintendent in 2010. His behavior seemed to come out of nowhere. He resigned his current superintendent position. I pray that he and his family find God's grace, truth and healing.
FARGO — A year ago Sean McVay was hired as the head football coach for the Los Angeles Rams. Previously, he was successful as the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. Based on his success as an offensive coordinator it wasn't surprising he was hired as a head coach. What made his hiring a total shock to most people was that he was only 30 years old.
FARGO — In 1794, Thomas Mead patented the first gas engine and Robert Street patented an internal combustion engine, which was the first to use gasoline. These engines were modified, improved and eventually used to transport people in boats, automobiles, trains and planes. The fuel for these engines has also been modified and improved over the years.
FARGO — Last week I read this quote from Jon Gordon, "We don't get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it. Purpose keeps you fresh!" The next day I received an email reminding me why I am a pastor and why I write this column. I don't do so to push my agenda or opinion, but to help people.