A Short, Annoying Dweeb

ZacchaeusI have always perceived Zacchaeus as a short, annoying dweeb – an image that emerged from my Sunday school experience as a child. Luke, however, communicates a very different picture. Though short, Zacchaeus possessed great wealth, influence, humility, leadership, and a whatever it takes attitude. More importantly, he is pursued by Jesus to be restored to God.

Now that I better understand the true nature of Zacchaeus, I’m curious. Why did Jesus pursue him? Yes, I know the no-brain-er Sunday school answer – to bring him to right relationship with God. But why Zacchaeus? Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd of relationally, emotionally, financially, and physically needy people who like Zacchaeus were spiritual confused. So, why did he choose Zacchaeus? I’m not giving the answer to this one. Instead, I invite you to personally wrestle with the question and determine how Jesus wants to modify your approach to living His mission.

As for me, I’m praying that God introduces me to a modern day Zacchaeus – a wealthy, influential, humble, community leader with a whatever takes attitude, who in his own process of being restored to God, will lavishly offer his wealth and influence to tangibly meet the needs of others.

I believe this relationship is an important part of fulfilling Jesus’ mission as we start a new church and community based organization that exist to restore people to God and others.

“Daddy, I like you now.”

business-man-holding-globe.jpgFor fifteen years, Mike’s been riding the escalator of upward mobility – starting new companies and trading on the exchange. During this time, he married and had three children. By definition, he became a husband and father, but failed to become a family man. Instead, he continued to be a business man. Perhaps we should call him what he really was … a busyness man.

All seemed good, until the FBI stormed his office, arrested the company president, and interrogated he and the rest of the office staff. By God’s grace, Mike passed through this experience without being arrested but emerged out the other side a unemployed.

Mike spent the next three months looking for a new job and caring for his youngest children while his wife went off to work. One day, as he was playing with his two-year-old daughter, she looked deep into his eyes and spoke five words that have forever changed Mike’s life, “Daddy, I like you now.” In that moment, Mike realized the escalator of upward mobility is actually a high-speed treadmill to no-where.

Within weeks, Mike landed the job of his dreams. But he is no longer a business man. He is a family man with a respectable career. Mike has re-oriented his life to those who matter most. He has learned to invest his life in what lasts forever – relationships with people.

“Do not gather together for yourself riches of this earth. They will be eaten by bugs and become rusted. Men can break in and steal them. Gather together riches in heaven where they will not be eaten by bugs or become rusted. Men cannot break in and steal them.” (Matthew 6:19-20 – NLV)

Robert Egger – DC Central Kitchen

I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend a private dinner with Robert Egger – the founder and president of the DC Central Kitchen. What an amazing opportunity to personally learn from a top leader in the non-profit sector as I’m at the front end of starting a non-profit organization that births a new church that lives God’s irresistible love.

Robert’s opening line captured my attention. “Good non-profits are about freedom”. How True. Good non-profits provide more than charity, they provide freedom. They partner charity with training to set people free to live responsible. To live for the good of others. To contribute to the needs of others. To live lives of love.

This statement isn’t unique to Robert. The New Testament says that “it is for freedom that Jesus has set us free.” In the words of Jesus, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus came to set humanity free. Free from sin. Free to experience the fullness of life. Free to love.

In the American context, many non-profits need to transition from simply meeting people’s needs to resourcing and equipping people to live free. Free from poverty. Free from hunger. Free from destructive choices. Freedom is the key to people experiencing the fullness of life.

I Don’t Suck!

toothbrush dogThis conversation is a nightly routine. “Daddy, can I brush my teeth first.” No. I will brush your teeth for you first, and then you can brush. “Why can’t I brush my teeth first?” Because you don’t brush, you suck the toothpaste off the tooth brush and that doesn’t clean your teeth.

Every night for months the same conversation until last night. “Daddy, can I brush my teeth first tonight? I don’t suck. I really don’t suck!”

My son is right. He doesn’t suck. But he does suck toothpaste. And I still brush his teeth first.