All posts in Reckless People

How Big is Your God?

Hot Water Bottle

I have only cried like a baby in front of our church a few times. Yesterday was one of those times. We have been doing a series called The Circle Maker, based off of a book of the same title by Mark Batterson. It focuses on prayer and has been thoroughly challenging to me as we have walked through it.

In preparation for this week’s message I came across the following story. Before I share the story I want to preface it with this: I am pretty careful about the stories that I share with the people of our church. I have heard too many pastors pass on stories they said were true only to bump into them later online and find out that they were elaborate fabrications. I have no problem with fiction, just let me know it is fiction.

I’ve done some digging and to the best of my knowledge, this is true. The narrator is Helen Roseveare, formerly a missionary in Central Africa.
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Twisted Ankles


Have you ever been mad at yourself?

I mean really mad?

Last week, for the second year in a row I went on a four day backpacking trip with a group of guys.

These aren’t your “lets take the camper to the lake for Memorial Day weekend” campouts. These are your “take everything on your back or you don’t have it with you in the woods, no bathrooms, filter your water out of the nearest stream” campouts.  Each year we explore somewhere new and this year we headed for Red River Gorge Kentucky (about an hour Southeast of Lexington).

A lot of personal preparation goes into a trip like this. Because you have to carry everything on your back (your house, your bed, your kitchen, your food, your clothes…) you are very careful about what you take. I spent a lot of time getting ready. I also spent time training, walking area trails with a full pack to get my body used to the idea of carrying an extra 40 pounds.

After all of the preparation and a six hour drive I was excited to get started when we finally set out. We had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to hike and the things we wanted to see when we got there. The first day was great. We arrived in late afternoon, hiked about a mile and a half in and set up our first camp. The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast, struck camp and set out.

Sky Bridge rock formation in the Red River Gorge

We were hoping to cover around ten miles that day. The Red River Gorge area is beautiful, with huge rock formations, large stone arches, and beautiful streams. It is also amazingly hilly. Hilly doesn’t do the terrain justice. These are the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. The valley floors are several hundred feet below the ridge lines. Trails descend down one side of a gorge to the floor, and then ascend brutally up the other side.

The first trail of the day was a descent into one of those valleys. The trail was downhill and steep. After only ten minutes of hiking I made a mistake. I planted my foot in the wrong place and when I shifted my weight the weight of my backpack swung me around, but my foot stayed still. I twisted my ankle badly and skidded ten feet down the hill on my back.
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Happy Mother’s Day!

If there were ever a group of people on this planet who embody Reckless Living it is Moms! They give of themselves inspite of the consequences. They go without sleep, personal space, and snot free shirts for us. We showed this video in church this morning in appretiation of Moms everywhere. It was created by The Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. Enjoy!


Did Reckless Living Sink the Titanic?


When I was in middle school I was fascinated by shipwrecks. For some reason there tends to be a latent morbid curiosity within most human beings that draws us to stories of the macabre. We run from the idea of death but are also intrigued by it. Shipwrecks are spooky and romantic and tragic all in one package.

I remember going to a book sale one day and coming home with two coffee table size books on the subject. Both were filled with pictures and stories of the doomed ships, and tales of how they met their fate. I still have both books somewhere.

One was a general book on shipwrecks from the 20th century. It told the stories of chips like the Andrea Doria, the Empress of Ireland, and the General Slocum.

The other book focused on what is arguably the most famous shipwreck of all times: RMS Titanic.

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. There were TV specials and commemorative ceremonies. One company offered a memorial cruise that replicated the voyage of the Titanic, stopping over the wreck site for memorials at the exact time of the ships tragic encounter with an iceberg and subsequent plunge to the depths of the North Atlantic two hours later.

As someone who is intrigued by the Titanic I have watched several of the shows and read articles and pondered myself the events that took place 100 years ago. I’ve had several thoughts and so this will the first of two posts here at Reckless Living that focus on the Titanic disaster.

The first is this: Did Reckless Living sink the Titanic?
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The Reckless Cross

This post contains excerpts from chapters 2 and 3 of my book Completely Reckless. Like it? Buy the book here!

Because we know that God is complete in and of himself, we can know that the cross is not the act of a spurned lover making one last dramatic gesture to capture their beloved’s attention. But this is often the way that it is perceived. The thought goes something like this: the sacrificial system of Judaism wasn’t working and so God stepped in with a new system, a new “covenant.” This idea implies that God was making things up as he went along, like a quarterback calling an audible because he saw that the defense was expecting his pass play. God tried Judaism, and it didn’t work, so he decided to go to plan B.

What if the cross was part of the plan from the beginning?  What if the Bible, the story of God’s interaction with humankind, the story of redemption and renewal was a narrative that was planned before it was begun? Any good author knows where they are going with a story before they begin to write the text. Should we assume that God is any different? The cross is a planned part of this redemptive narrative.

In his book The Original Jesus, Tom Wright makes the case for this kind of narrative view of scripture: “When we read the gospels, then, we are reading the books which tell the story of Jesus as the story of how the long drama between Israel and the covenant-God came to fulfillment and fruition. They only make sense as the completion, the final chapter, of a great drama that had been running for two millennia.”  Jesus coming to this earth was part of the plan before God said “let there be light.”

The Apostle Paul wrote it this way: “God decided in advance to adopt us into his family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5)

God created man in his image, not for companionship, but out of love. He knew full well that all of us at some time in our lives would reject that image within us and choose to go our own way. And he knew that Jesus would eventually come to this earth and be crucified. When we begin to understand this, the cross is now a planned act of love rather than an act of desperation. The depth and beauty of God voluntarily dying for humanity when he did not need to is staggering. God did not need the cross.  We did.
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The Reckless St. Patrick


St Patrick’s Day! It is the day for green beer, Leprechauns, and wearing a shade of green somewhere on your body to avoid getting ridiculed — also the one day a year when wearing a green bowler hat is socially acceptable.

I think one of the reasons St. Patrick’s Day has become so popular is because it is the ultimate no pressure holiday. Think about it. It is one of the few holidays where there is no expectation. There is no expectation of a family gathering or a romantic date. You don’t have to buy a present for anyone and if you happen to forget that it’s St. Patrick’s Day no worries, the worst that will happen is getting pinched by that annoying person in your office.

St. Patrick’s day is also the celebration of the life of one of the most Reckless people who have ever lived.
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Five Guys


There is a story in Mark’s gospel that I read a little differently this past week. It’s found at the beginning or Mark chapter two:

 “When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7“What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man[a] has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11“Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

As I was preparing my message for Sunday I kept imagining what the conversation must have been like when the men arrived that day and saw the massive crowd. My guess is that each person reacted slightly differently and I began to imagine what those reactions would have been.

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Cheryl was always quiet. At least that’s how I remember her. It’s been over ten years since I was in college and my memories of my classmates are starting to get fuzzy around the edges. We weren’t close friends, but on the campus of the small Christian college where I attended you tended to know everyone.

Last year Cheryl, along with nine others were killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. She was not a soldier. She had been there for six years, helping people through community development, helping teach mothers how to care for children. At the time of her death she was traveling with a team who were helping people heal from eye disease.

Cheryl could have gone anywhere and done anything. She chose to minister to the people of Afghanistan. She knew it would be dangerous. She went anyway. She knew the risks and she went anyway. That is the life of someone who is Reckless.

The following was printed in the Alumni magazine of Indiana Wesleyan (the Triangle). It was shared by Jim Lo, the dean of the chapel who had been a professor of mine and Cheryl’s:

 Cheryl Beckett’s brother, Michael, told of a running joke that he shared growing up with Cheryl and a cousin of theirs. The three teased one another about which one of them would be the first to make his or her mark in the world and show up in the pages of The New York Times. In death, it was Cheryl.

At a memorial service, Michael shared, “Cheryl, you made The New York Times. You made the front page and you did it by loving people just the way that you wanted to be loved.”

My question for you, is how do you want to make the front page of the New York Times?


Buy Your Mugger Dinner

Julio Diaz

What would you do if you got mugged? Grab your cell phone (if it hadn’t been taken) and report the crime? Find a police officer and give the most accurate description of your attacker that you could?

How about giving him your coat, even though he didn’t ask for it and then taking him to dinner?

That’s exactly what Julio Diaz, a 31 year old Social Worker from the Bronx, did a few years ago. Read his whole story and even listen to him tell it at NPR’s website.

Now that’s Living Recklessly.