Reckless Reads

There are several things in life that I really like: Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream. Video Games. Good Coffee. I also like to read and I really like to find good deals on good books. Below are a couple that are currently available cheap for the Kindle e-reader. Don’t have a Kindle? No problem! You can download the Kindle app for your computer or phone here for free: Download Kindle App

Please note, these prices may change at anytime so grab them while the gettin’ is good!

Gracenomics

For those those of you with short attention spans this is the book for you. It challenges the reader to use a different relational “currency”. Available for the Kindle right now for $0.99!

Jesus Creed

This is one of the best known books by one of my favorite authors, but I am ashamed to say I haven’t read it yet.  You can beat me to it and it’as available right now for only $2.99 on the Kindle.

Not cheaper right now, but a few other great reads are:

Unconditional: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness

If you have ever struggled with the idea of forgiveness this is the book for you.

Abba’s Child

One of my all time favorites. If you haven’t read it, you need to!

Blessings,

Cheryl

Cheryl

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?

Blessings,

Worth the wax?

Worth the Wax

“Is it worth the wax?”

In the days before electricity, avid readers would ask each other this peculiar question. “Is it worth the wax?” Anyone who has ever been caught up in a good book well into the time most people are asleep will relate. Before there were beside lamps and lights built into e-reader covers there were candles and lamps. If someone was going to read at night it was going to cost them the wax in their candle, hence the question, “Is it worth the wax?” If the book was good, it was worth the wax. If it was bad, save the wax for something more worthy.

A few years ago I was at a writers conference where Leonard Sweet was speaking. He told us this bit of historical trivia. And then he said something this struck me. He said that he believes that every book is worth the wax. He said no matter how poorly written, everyone has something to say that is worth hearing. You may need to plow through pages of pedantry, but the payoff is always there.

This week this phrase has been stuck in my mind, but not as it relates to books. I believe the same is true of people.

Everyone is worth the wax.

When is the last time you truly sat in a room with someone? I don’t mean you shared the same air, but that you shared the same conversations. Not just the same physical space, but the same mental space as well. When was the last time you intentionally expended wax on another person?

Let me take the question one-step further: when was the last time you had a conversation with someone you didn’t yet know? When was the last time you intentionally forged a new relationship?

A few years ago my wife and I were at a Valentines banquet. There was only one other couple there who were not card-carrying members of AARP. In fact, they looked to be about our age. We made a few comments to each other over the course of the evening and ended up sitting at their table for a while. It turned out they lived in our neighborhood, just a few houses down. It was the beginning of a long-term friendship that we still have to this day even though they have moved out of the neighborhood.

New relationships aren’t as easy as old ones. They take more wax to get going. But they are worth it.

Let me ask one more question, when was the last time you intentionally had a conversation with someone you didn’t like that well?

A strange thing happens when you get to know those people in your life that you don’t like that much. You tend to not like them less. I read a quote once that stuck with me (for the life of me I can’t find it): “The moment you discover where your enemy bleeds is the moment they cease to be your enemy.” Often I’ve found that the people who are most difficult in my life are facing extraordinary obstacles or pain that have shaped them into the person they are. Engaging with another persons struggle tends to melt frustration into a puddle of understanding.

Are there relationships in your life that you are intentionally expending wax on? Maybe there are relationships that you decided weren’t worth the wax. Maybe it’s time to stop ducking those calls or avoiding them in Walmart and have coffee.

Everyone is worth the wax.

Blessings,

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.

Blessings,

Spread Love, but not the Fruitcake!

A big thank you to my friend Stevan Sheets and his BLOG: stevensheets.com for pointing this video out:

Blessings,

Falling On My Butt

Football

You’ve seen the Peanuts cartoon. Lucy coaxes Charlie Brown to try to kick a football. Charlie Brown steps back, lines up, and ends up on his backside.

This gag first appeared in a Peanuts cartoon in 1952, and nearly 60 years later the gag still makes us giggle.

This mental picture is how I often feel about my relationship with the Detroit Lions. Every fall I try to temper my expectations, but somehow they get away from me. Maybe it will be a good preseason game, or a new player who seems to be making a difference. Maybe our star quarterback is finally healthy. Whatever the reason every fall I find myself in Charlie Brown’s shoes, backing up to kick a football that I know has a good chance of not being there when I need it.

When asked why I’m a Lions fan the easy answer is that it’s my parent’s fault. They gave birth to me and raised me in Michigan. I have always has a sense of home state solidarity. I have a friend whose mother was Canadian. She drove across the border to the US to have her baby here so her child would be a US citizen. The least my parents could have done for me was drive me to a state with a good football team to give birth to me.  Apparently they were too short sighted for this. And so, every year just when I get up the gumption to get excited about my football team again, the ball is pulled away and I land on my butt.
Continue reading →

Blessings,

Normal is Boring

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So much of life is aimed at maintaing status quo. We have to have certain jobs to make certain amounts of money. We go to great lengths to maintain equilibrium in our relationships and lives.

What happens if we begin living life differently? What if we begin living life Recklessly? This BLOG will be for stories of the Reckless, both those who are living Reckless lives and my thoughts on how to live Recklessly. Full disclosure, this is in advance of my next book, Completely Reckless that will be released in February of 2012. But this is a conversation I want to start, and a challenge that needs to be leveled. We as American Christians are living too safely. Mark Batterson, one of my favorite authors said this: “Quit living as if the purpose of life was to arrive safely at death.”

You may have followed my previous attempt at blogging at jacksonopolis.com. I have sold that domain name but am still involved with it. I can’t tell you much yet other than to say there is sweet stuff a comin’.

I would love to hear from you. Do you know people who are living Reckless lives for Christ? Send me their stories! Wonder what I mean by Reckless? Stay tuned….

Blessings,