Archives For Love

As my daughters are getting older and memorizing more and more things, Brooke and I thought it would be good to help them learn some Bible verses.This week our verse was Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (NIV 1984). I try to read many Bible translations, but the NIV was the one I memorized.
Galatians 5:22 was one of the first verses I learned when I became a Christian. It always reminds me about what pleases God, and I expected it would do the same for my daughters.
What I didn’t expect was how they began reciting it to Brooke and me. When we became openly frustrated, or when I instructed them to do things, they’d quote the verse. Their zeal gave a whole new meaning to wielding the Bible as a sword of the spirit. They are correct in one sense–that the holy living described in this verse is difficult to follow. But in treating the verse this way, I think they’ve substituted measuring tape for fruit, and robbed the whole of its sweetness. As I grow older, I realize more and more how valuable the Bible is on a daily basis, and this is especially true in the workplace–even when you work, like I do, in Christian publishing.
Here are some ways that Galatians 5:22 applies in a work environment.
  • Love: Love can easily get lost when you are looking at financial numbers or trying to get something done. Galatians 5:22 is Jesus’s reminder to us about what is most important—to love God and to love others. The spirit of any situation changes when love is the motivation. Think about how you can love first in the way you do business and in all of life before you do anything.
  • Joy: No day is perfect in terms of what goes right or wrong. But when there are tough days, Galatians 5:22 reminds me of the big perspective. We are put on this earth to do work and to take joy in it. Our work matters! So the next time things get hard, think about how God has blessed you and others overall and how you are not alone. Joy can then emerge.
  • Peace: In business, especially the business I am in, it is difficult to have peace. The market is complicated and ever-changing, and it is easy to get stressed out and become overwhelmed. Our lives need peace, a calm during a storm. Most especially, Galatians 5:22 reminds me to spend time resting and in prayer before making big decisions.
  • Patience: When it comes to my kids, I need patience. And patience is valuable at work as well. Most people I admire in the workplace are ones who are patient do not rush into making decisions. Galatians 5:22 is a reminder to be patient with others as they develop into better leaders.
  • Kindness: I see so little kindness in today’s work environment. People act as if the ends truly justify the means, and they get hurt emotionally. Galatians 5:22 is a reminder that most people around me could be having a tough time at home or with something at work so why not be kind to them? And in the wise words of Bill S. Preston in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1986), “Be excellent to one another.” See, you never thought God could work through Bill and Ted, right?
  • Goodness: When I create or do something at work, I need to ask myself, “Would God think of this as good?” Is it purely for profit? Is it something that actually helps others and make a difference? I believe Paul put goodness in there to force us to ask these questions of ourselves.
  • Faithfulness: Good work requires hard work. Galatians 5:22 reminds me that to finish well is a great virtue. It shows that you are willing to stick with something through the thick and thin to ensure it gets done. At the end of a project, I have learned that knowing that you left it all on the field gives you so much more satisfaction. God smiles too.
  • Gentleness: We are asked to communicate with people each day. There is always news to share, meetings to schedule, and issues to resolve. Galatians 5:22 is a reminder to always be gentle in the way we talk with each other, especially when things are wrong. The blame-game does nothing to get you toward an outcome. To solve problems, choose words that are encouraging, yet direct.
  • Self-Control: As a marketer, it is so easy to do the most flashy or newest technological thing to get attention. I’ve often had to ask myself, “Will this technology realistically help us reach our outcome?” As Steve Green—Max Lucado’s great friend and literary agent—once told me, “Dave, just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should do it.” Steve, that wisdom comes right from the self-control encouraged in this verse. So thank you.

I am so thankful for the word of God and how it heals our spirits and guides us in our everyday actions. Galatians 5:22 is one particular part of it that gets me through my personal and professional life. I hope it blesses you too.

What other Bible verse most guides you through your work day?

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I believe that each moment in life requires a unique and inspirational movie. Other things can be inspirational. I find inspiration in life’s story, in my wife and kids, the Bible, hiking, traveling, or a great book. But nothing quite beats the perfect movie for life’s important moments. Movie heroes overcome great odds, and their stories inspire us to get up on our feet and do something spectacular!

Below is a list of my top ten inspirational films. I drew it up by narrowing down all the ones I could think of by category and then asking myself, “When I feel like (fill in blank), which movie will help?” The result is my arsenal of cinematic emotional motivators.

I hope it will also be helpful to you in your journey.

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Top 10 Most Inspirational Movies

Big Fish (2003) (Living the dream, Pursuing the love of your life)

I first saw Big Fish when I was trying to compile a bucket list. It challenged me to keep thinking well beyond what is ordinary and to strive to always go deeper into the dreams I have inside of me. This life is a grand adventure, and God wants us to think big! And so, like Edward Bloom, I am learning to think bigger than my small pond.

Edward Bloom: There’s a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost… the ship has sailed and only a fool would continue. Truth is… I’ve always been a fool.

Roman Holiday (1953) (Becoming yourself/Adventure)

Roman Holiday is the perfect antidote for when I feel most constrained by everyday life. It is the story of a love affair between two strangers, a princess and a reporter. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are some of my favorite classic actors, and the film is an ode to beautiful Rome, one of my favorite cities in the world. Watching this movie makes me smile at the thought of how I can live a better adventure.

Dr. Bonnachoven: The best thing I know is to do exactly what you wish for a while.

Braveheart (1995) (Freedom/Adventure)

Although Braveheart is far from being historically accurate, it was spot on for inspiration. To watch it is to understand what it means to fight for someone or something you believe in. Braveheart had a big effect on me. I went on to learn more about Scotland and eventually moved there six years later.

William Wallace: Every man dies, not every man really lives.

We Bought a Zoo (2011) (Risk/Adventure)

I have shown some parts of the movie to my daughters so they could get a beautiful glimpse of what courage looks like. This quote captures the essence of not only the movie for most of Cameron Crowe’s films.

Benjamin Mee: You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.

Dead Poet’s Society (1989) (Risk-taking and the value of teaching)

I wrote about Dead Poet’s Society in an earlier post called Raising the Dead Poet’s Society. This movie reminds me that I should be a student of life. The students it portrays are young and eager for life. They are reminders that though I am now in my thirties, I should not lose their spirit. Similarly, the young men of Welton Academy fear failure in the face of their parents sometimes overwhelming expectations. And though today I do not fear the rejection of my parents, I still have fears of failure and often find myself timid and needing a talk from Professor Keating.

Professor John Keating to his students looking at alums from decades ago: They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

October Sky (1999) (Belief in yourself/Friendship/Father-son relationship)

I wrote about this movie in an earlier post called Being There as a Father in the October Sky. It is one of the best American stories set in the 1950s, and it reminds me that I should never stop dreaming and setting goals.ver stop dreaming and setting goals.

Homer (to his dad): Dad, I may not be the best, but I come to believe that I got it in me to be somebody in this world. And it’s not because I’m so different from you either, it’s because I’m the same. I mean, I can be just as hard-headed, and just as tough. I only hope I can be as good a man as you. Sure, Wernher von Braun is a great scientist? but he isn’t my hero.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) (Sacrifice)

I have a deep appreciation for our military and the sacrifice they make for ordinary Americans like you and me. Saving Private Ryan captures the service of our American military during World War II. It is an inspiration and a reminder to thank any soldier who has served or is currently serving in our military.

Sergeant Horvath: I don’t know. Part of me thinks the kid’s right. He asks what he’s done to deserve this. He wants to stay here, fine. Let’s leave him and go home. But then another part of me thinks, what if by some miracle we stay, then actually make it out of here. Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful, shitty mess. Like you said, Captain, maybe we do that, we all earn the right to go home.

Chariots of Fire (1981) (Strengthening Faith)

This is another movie that captures the beauty of Scotland. I was a young Christian when I first saw Chariots of Fire, and it helped me understand what deep conviction looks like. It is a beautiful portrait of a man Eric Liddel loving his God first; thanking him for the ability to run; and rejoicing in the service of his country, Great Britain, and of his true and eternal King.

Eric Liddel: You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape – especially if you’ve got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe you’re dinner’s burnt. Maybe you haven’t got a job. So who am I to say, “Believe, have faith,” in the face of life’s realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.” If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.

Moneyball (2011) (Overcoming “the way it’s always been done”/business as usual)

As a businessman, I am in a daily battle analyzing what should and should not be done to achieve results. In an ever-changing business world, it is easy to sit in a corner and rely on a comfortable strategy. Anytime I feel stuck in what I am doing in business, I use this movie as a lesson to reject business as usual and take time to strategically think what really needs to happen. On top of that, I am a huge baseball fan, which makes the movie even more enjoyable.

Scout to Billy: We’re all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children’s game, we just don’t… don’t know when that’s gonna be. Some of us are told at eighteen, some of us are told at forty, but we’re all told.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) (Fatherhood/Honor)

Atticus Finch is a man of action eager to do what is just in the eyes of God. What man doesn’t want to be like Atticus Finch? As a father of two daughters, I think often about what it means to stand up for what is right. My children pay close attention to not only my words but, more important, my actions. Therefore, I am thankful to Harper Lee for creating such a wonderful character and to Gregory Peck for bringing that on-screen character to life.

Rev. Sykes: Miss Jean Louise. Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passing.

Honorable mention: 

Rudy, Good Will Hunting, The Pursuit of Happyness, Invictus, Finding Forrester, Rocky, Jerry Maguire, The Way, and Say Anything. I am sure there are many more but these are the ones that stand out.

What are your top 10 most inspirational movies and why? 

Which ones stir your soul and make you want to act?

This week, I had the privilege of working with a team on a video for a wonderful new kids Bible releasing this fall by a client of ours. The most fun part was spending time interviewing kids to learn about what they liked about the Bible, which characters made them feel special, and anything else that would be amusing.  After hearing some of their humorous responses, I felt like calling Bill Cosby or resurrecting Art Linkletter from his grave to re-launch “Kids Say The Darndest Things”.

There were kids running around most of the morning laughing and playing while posing for picture. We even interviewed a five-year old who could memorize each book title of the New Testament and could recite John 1:1-7. I know that most kids haven’t read or been taught every part of the Bible but their experience dictates how they approach their own faith. I was floored by what was happening in front of me.

Here is what I observed from the kids:

  • There was joy in talking about the Bible
  • There was simplicity in the stories of the Bible
  • There were smiles about being in church
  • The kids played so well together when interacting with the Bible
  • The parents smiled and laughed with them

When we grow up, why do we lose this?

Why don’t I act this way about my faith?

Why do I try to complicate the Bible so much?

Why don’t I just stop the everyday madness in life and ask more kids about life?  Some days, I think they have it figure out better than I do. Today we as Christians are always looking for the better sermon or preacher who has more research and insight into what some dead theologian said 400 years ago. There is nothing wrong with that but it becomes our priority over what Jesus calls us to do first.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says,

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

This verse hits me like a 2 X 4 every time.

Heading back to the 1990s, one of my favorite Jars of Clay songs was Like a Child. 

They say that love can heal the broken
They say that hope can make you see
They say that faith can find a Savior
If you would follow and believe
with faith like a child

Let this week be my reminder and your reminder to always approach life with simplicity, filled with a sense of joy, wonder and child-like faith.

Recently, Brooke and I were finally able to sit down and watch The Descendants (2011) starring George Clooney.  Alexander Payne directed this authentic portrayal of a family dealing with loss and betrayal in the setting of beautiful Hawaii. I have always been a fan of Payne’s earlier films, About Schmidt and Sideways. His films are far from plastic Christian family films and are R-rated, full of characters who are busy, frustrated, but also have had a taste of what joy could look like in life by their ambitions.  These three movies are representative of a fallen world yet a world full of real people with real flaws we all can relate to.  Any movie willing to remove the mask I can appreciate. I’ve written about this before but in all of art, I try to look at where Christ can teach us about how to live, even through a movie like The Descendants.

Years ago I asked an older friend of mine how he was doing with his kids.  He said something like “You know, I have been spending a lot of time with my kids but the hardest part isn’t that, it is how to best engage with them.” I wasn’t a father then but it stuck. I thought of my own parents and the times we bonded best and it was almost always when there was true engagement through conversation, experience, and genuine discussion.

The Descendants reminds me of how I am supposed to be engaging with my kids. As I write, my girls are only 2 and 4 but it seems evident that if I don’t start doing this now, it will be more and more difficult to do like what we see in George Clooney’s character.

As a parent, I am learning these 5 things about what I need to do to be a good parent:

  1. Be present. You can’t be a parent without first establishing that you are there for them. Your job may be important and incredibly busy but there is no more important job than being there for your little ones.
  2. Listen. The more I ask the girls questions, the more I discover about their hearts through what they like and don’t like, etc.  Sometimes this requires me to be extra attentive when they start talking about the most trivial things but they want our full attention.
  3. Be patient. There are days that my kids won’t want much to do with me. Sometimes they just want their mom more (like what The Descendants implies).  Never feel like what you are doing is a waste of time because by being there for them, there will be the right time when they come to you.
  4. Pursue. Don’t be too frustrated if they push you away. Continue trying to engage. Whether kids admit it or not, they want us as parents to show continual interest and keep that hand extended no matter how bad things get.  You may have a broken relationship with your child and I can’t imagine how hard that would be. Give healing some time and never stop your pursuit.
  5. Join them. Go on adventures together. I read a great story in Meg Meeker’s book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters about a father who despite not having a good relationship with his daughter, he did what he knew best and took her camping. Even the trip it didn’t solve everything, the shared experience broke barriers and opened up the relationship to grow again.
Sometimes there will be smiles.
Sometimes there will be pain.
But it is all in the joy of parenting and a reminder that we never should give up.
God has never given up on us. 

This past week I’ve watched two fantastic films: The Social Network and The King’s Speech. Both are tremendous works of cinematic art.  Both were successful at the Golden Globes and most likely will do well at the Oscars.  Most importantly, they tackle some key issues that make the movies relatable and by all means fit in the “great” category.

The themes of these films are classic Shakespearian: Friendship, trust/betrayal, duty, love, insecurity, and courage.

As a man these themes came right out from the screen and hit me in the heart.

The Social Network is a breakdown of the things that can make men great.

The King’s Speech is a build up to those things that do.

They are equally important to learn from.

In life I’ve learned that every person is flawed.  It’s what one does to overcome it that matters.


Here is what I learned from these core themes:

Friendship. Find your Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush’s character).  He is the guy we all want to turn to in life.

Duty. Sometimes whether we don’t feel like we deserve to be in a certain position (or don’t want it), we must rise up to honor those before us.

Courage. Know that you can overcome anything with the help of others and the willingness to risk.  Stand up for what you believe in.  It’s not supposed to be easy.

Trust/Betrayal. Be aware of those around you.  We’ve all been betrayed.  It is human nature to a degree.  I’ve betrayed friends before unfortunately.  Ask forgiveness and forgive but learn. Trust can be earned back over time.

Insecurity. We don’t have it all together. No one does.  Be open about that and trust in God, in others who love you, and remember that you’re not alone.

Love. Need I say more.

If you haven’t seen these movies, please do.

I’m challenged by the deeper themes here.  What about you?

I’ve double-bag caddied for 36 holes on 100 degree days.

I’ve worked 70 hour weeks in the office.

I’ve mowed a dozen lawns in one day.

But, there is nothing that could have prepared me enough for the toughest job in the world…

Parenting.

These past few days my wife Brooke has been out of town thus entrusting our two and a half year old and 11 month old to my so called capable hands.  I’ll admit that I have had help as my mother is a saint for coming in town to help.  In these past two days we have looked at each other and said “How does Brooke do it?”

There have been moments I have been proud of this weekend.  There has also been times that I’ve had to ask forgiveness of my mother by stressing out and taking things out on her.  I have to do that often to my wife as well so my poor mom is taking it for the team.  Hey even Clark Griswold got to lose it here and there in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

I can only come up with one conclusion.

It is time to lighten up and enjoy this process.

I thoroughly love my kids and the being a dad no matter how hard it can be sometimes.  This weekend we’ve gone to the pool twice, taken fun walks with our dog Winston, ran around the yard, made up a small inflated pool on our deck, created art, listened to music, ran around the mall, and yes I confess we even watched a little of the PGA Championships and a St. Louis Cardinals game.  This is just part of the dad life I suppose and I’m still getting used to it.

I’d propose an end to trying to do this parenting thing alone.  Even if you are divorced raising children, you are still not alone. The earlier we admit that we can’t do it all and all of it perfectly, the better off we will be.  The more we rely on friends, family, and God to take care of us and give us patience, creativity, and forgiveness, the more fun we will have. I am ready.

If you are single reading this or are married without kids just watch and observe the parents out there.  Learn from their mistakes, learn from their successes. Parents can’t imagine life without kids, it’s an adventure.

Both kids are taking naps as I write this by the way.  Why am I not napping?  Yep, because there is always something to do.

I’d love to hear some of your parenting stories and lessons.  How do you get through the hardest days?

PS  If you need a good piece of entertainment as a married couple with kids, watch Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Last but not least if you didn’t catch the “The Dad Life” video, you’ll love this.