How to be One of the Strong …………… {and What Christian Sacrifice is Really}

That’s the thought that struck me standing there with all of them under the sky.

That collapsed all the clouds into this one loop of surprising wonder.

How could I have ever known he’d be a father like this and in Christ, is anything ever really a sacrifice?












On a weekend about fathers, we stand in a field at an airport and watch the swooping of wings.

I had blustered that we were going to be late. He had murmured that it really was going to be okay.

On the two hour trip to the airfield, I had dozed off and left him to the wild navigation of the darling, albeit uninformed, GPS woman who keeps recalculating and to the six kids playing the license plate game far too loud.

I do, however, remember to bring the suntan lotion and smile just a little bit competently. And in typical flailing fashion, I forget it in the van and we bake just a bit crimson, our noses cranked right up to the sky.

I don’t know why he puts up with me most days and grace never makes any sense at all.

We’d hauled one strap-stretched bag, 3 thermoses, six kids, and seven lawn chairs across the airfield.

We’re one lawn chair short.

The Farmer winks. “No problem.” He stands. He swings Shalom up on his shoulders so she can see over the crowd. How does a good man do that — let us all stand straight up on his shoulders?

Is this sacrifice?

Planes swoop and spin and sonic burst ear drums and the crowd murmurs awe and I stand behind, eyes on him, the quiet man, and watch how he lays a hand on a shoulder, how he pulls a son in closer, and life in Christ can be choreographed grace. The strong do this…

Plane wings tips fly in perfect space.

The crowds cheers.

Boys hoot and holler and clap and the father of our children flashes this smile.

I think my heart might explode with thanks, hands raised to the sky.

Saved and redeemed and sanctified, worship flows from all the thankfulness for this. Worship doesn’t breathe apart from thanksgiving — And the essence of worship is essentially eucharisteo.

And that is what takes off into the airspace: The authentic worship of a Christian is the surrendering of any notion of independence from God and an acceptance of everything as a gift from God. Planes free fall straight down.  And real men let go of self-sufficiency and know it’s all pure grace and pull it straight out into lifestyle, wholesale thanksgiving.

The CF-18 throttles wide open….

And I see how he does this — how one man loves. I see how one man loves us all. I see how one man sacrifices his life and what a life of all sacrifice is.

Christian sacrifice isn’t ever giving to God what He wouldn’t have without us.

Christian sacrifice is receiving from God what we’d never have without Him.

This is what collapses my lungs.

Being receptive to radical grace — this is the crux of radical sacrifice.

The strongest do this.

After Sunday services on Father’s Day, he and I carry our Bibles to our room, slip our shoes off, sit on the edge of our bed, fall back on the quilt in Sabbath relief and we lay there, staring up at the ceiling.

“You asked Caleb to grill the pork chops?” He asks it slow, his eyes closed. The man works tirelessly hard. I’d given Cale the BBQ sauce as he took the chops out to the grill on the porch.

That’s when I hear it in the surprising still of the house. Hear it there in our bedroom, the door opened wide.

“Hear them? I think they’re all out on the porch, all of them?” I whisper it over to him.

And we listen. And there’s this soaring and it’s so quiet, like a flying in perfect synchronicity.

Hymns?” He says it with this quiet smile. “They’re out there singing hymns?”

Half a dozen voices, all his children, they’ve spontaneously burst into worship on the porch and we can hear it in baritones and soprano, a sonic symphony — “A Mighty Fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

This is the gift.”

They’re singing “O the deep, deep love of Jesus” now. We can hear Joshua leading them on, loud and clear and low.

How did they all end up out on the porch around the BBQ in song, in unison, and who knew you could direct a hymn-sing with a stainless steel spatula and they don’t even know they have an audience, that their father’s listening, this smile large on his face.

He murmurs awe of his own. “They don’t even know it, but this is the gift right now.”

And I’m rooted right here, the airspace filling, this grateful worship all filling.

Thanksgiving is the gift back. 

And being receptive to sovereign grace, just as He gives it, is the life of Christian sacrifice. And how else do you bless your Father apart from gratitude for all these gifts bestowed?

And the Farmer, he lays there, his face turned heavenward.

His heart in this strongest free fall into grace, all his children’s voices rising in thanks to the skies…




:: :: ::

…. counting more of His endless, One Thousand Gifts … thanks be to God

sanding wooden floors… {#3693}

making him eggs early… {#3652}

his wink … {#3694}

happily staying at home to celebrate a little girl’s birthday instead of attending a gala where One Thousand Gifts won Best Canadian Inspirational Book for 2012in the Canadian Christian Writing Awards {#3697}

bubbling up of cooking pancakes… {#3696}

holding his hand on the way home from church {#3698}

a long list for a new week {#3699}

thinking about this… {#3699}

irises in rows in the garden … {#4000}

Colossians 2:7: “Rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” {#4001}

Take June’s Joy Dare?Take June’s Joy Dare?

Print it for the fridge and dare everyone in the family to find these 3 gifts from His hand each day:


Click here to print June’s Joy Dare! Put it on the fridge! Dare the Kids!
And begin this week — this month-– right!

Count three gifts a day, 1000 gifts in 2012 (and be entered to win the NikonD90 camera?)

Thank-you is a word that can change you, your world — the whole world!

HOW TO ENTER JUNE’S GIVEAWAY: (The Winner of May’s Joy in a basket is Lynn Pottenger … thank you for giving Him thanks for the gifts, Lynn!)

Each day of June, either share your gifts on on Twitter {label with #1000gifts #JoyDare so we can find you!}, or with us in the gratitude community at Facebook , or on Pinterest (#1000gifts).

Each day, 3 people will who share their gifts via Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest will be randomly selected & entered into a drawing for JOY BASKET: a gift card @ Amazon {100$} & {signed copies of One Thousand Gifts, the photographic gift book, the DayBrightner, and the family gratitude journal} Give thanks to Him in the assembly!

Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts?

Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.

Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!

button code here