i love devotional time with my kids….

tonight, Karson read our bible story out of The Jesus Storybook Bible

this story struck me tonight.  i love the way that it’s told here.

Running Away-The story of the Lost Son from Luke 15

Jesus told this story about a boy who ran away:  Once upon a time, there was a boy and his dad.  Now, one day, the boy gets to thinking, Maybe if I didn’t have my dad around telling me what is good for me all the time, I’d be happier.  He’s spoiling my fun, he thinks.  Does my dad really want me to be happy? Does my dad really love me?  The son never thought of that before.  But suddenly he doesn’t know anymore.

So the son goes to the father and says, “Dad, I’m better off without you.  I can look after myself.  Just give me my share of your money.”  His father is sad but he won’t force his boy to stay.  So he gives his son what he wants.

The son takes the money and goes on a long, long journey to a far off country.  And everything is wonderful and perfect–for a while.  He can go wherever he wants, do whatever he wants, be whoever he wants.  He is the boss, he is free!

Sometimes he gets a strange, hungry, homesick feeling inside his heart, but then he just eats more, or drinks more, or buys more clothes, or goes to more parties until it goes away.

But soon his money runs out–and so do his friends.  He ends up getting the only job he can find: feeding pigs.  One day he is so hungry and so desperate he even tries some of the pig food–“What am I doing?” he says suddenly, as if he has woken from a nightmare.  He spits–YUCK!–all of it–ICK!–out of his mouth. “My father is rich, and here I am–in a pig sty, eating pig food!”  He wipes his mouth and dusts himself off. “I’m going home!”

As he starts for home though, he begins to worry. Dad won’t love me anymore.  I’ve been too bad.  He won’t want me for his son anymore.  So he practices his I’m-Sorry-Speech.  All this time, what he doesn’t know is that, day after day, his dad has been standing on his porch, straining his eyes, looking into the distance, waiting for his son to come home.  He just can’t stop loving him.  He longs for the sound of his boys voice.  He can’t be happy until he gets him back.

The son is still a long way off, but his dad sees him coming.  What will the dad do? Fold his arms and frown? Shout, “That’ll teach you!” And, “Just you wait young man!”


That’s not how this story goes.  The dad leaps off the porch, races down the hill, through the gap in the hedge, up the road.  Before his son can even begin his I’m-Sorry-Speech, his dad runs to him, throws his arms around him, and can’t stop kissing him.

“Let’s have a party!” his dad shouts. “My boy’s home.  He ran away.  I lost him–but now I have him back!”

Jesus told them, “God is like the dad who couldn’t stop loving his boy.  And people are like the son who said, ‘Does my dad really want me to be happy?’ ”  Jesus told the people this story to show them what God is like.  And to show people what they are like.  So they could know, however far they ran, however well they hid, however lost they were–it wouldn’t matter.  Because God’s children could never run too far, or be too lost, for God to find them.

and that is the amazing story that we read tonight. praying that God knits that story to my heart.

i think that same father’s heart permeates this video.  it’s the very first Nooma video I ever saw, and I told all of my kids tonight exactly what Rob tells his son in this video.  and i would tell it to you.  i want it to be true in my life.

benediction from whirlwind…

“So may you be released from always having to understand why everything happens the way that it does.  May this freedom open you up to all sorts of new perspectives.  And may you have the wisdom to know when to say, ‘I spoke once, but now I will say no more’ “

Rob Bell-Whirlwind

another Rob Bell benediction…

“So may you forgive as you’ve been forgiven, may you give to others what’s been given to you, may you set somebody free and find out that it was you, and may you do it today because you might not have the chance tomorrow”

from the Nooma video “Luggage”

i love benedictions…


some of my favorite moments of worship come from some benedictions.  it’s like challenge and a blessing rolled into one.  i posted one of my favorites a week or so ago. the benedictions that they do at Ecclesia church in Houston are beautiful, broken and amazing.  our pastor does great benedictions every Sunday.  i love to hear great, well thought out ones.

the benedictions that speak the most to me are the ones that Rob Bell does on the Nooma series of videos.  he really has studied some cool rabbinical and early church writings so that his benedictions come in that vibe.  they are beautiful and traditional in their structure, yet very modern in the language and content.  he always sets up the benediction (what he leaves you with) with a question earlier in the teaching.  for this particular one i want to share with you from the video “Today”, the question is, “When you think of your life, what was the best time?”

he ends the video with these words…

May you accept the past for what it is.  May you celebrate what needs to be celebrated and grieve what needs to be grieved and then, may you receive from God a new spirit, one for here, now, today.


….i love that thought.  rejoice and mourn, but then receive what is in store for you today.