That’s My Boy

May 19, 2018

The caboose.

That’s what I used to call my Danny boy, the youngest of the Peercy Posse. He was the one that would bring up the rear, the last car in the train.

Then he came home from his first day of kindergarten and announced that he didn’t want to be called the caboose any more.

He was always having to speak too loudly to try and be heard above the noise of the crowd of siblings. He has been bossed and occasionally bullied and sometimes left behind. But I have watched him learn to navigate the maze of people in our home as the one who would get along with anyone.

He has had some legendary one-liners – especially in his very young days when his vocabulary had outgrown his enunciation. When he flatly assured one of his brothers, “That’s hi-wa-wious. You’re hi-wa-wious” (hilarious), the car-load of people roared with laughter. When he felt his oldest brother’s words were contradictory to his actions, he informed me, “Dad, Mickey’s being a democrat.” (No political commentary intended, just confused the word democrat with hypocrite. Supply your own joke in whatever direction you want to take it.)

All along, despite his hindrance with Bell’s palsy and other frustrations, he has had this drive to be a part of something bigger than himself. He has grown up with a recognition of the need for community—the need to share life with others. He loves being on a team whether it’s a worship team or a soccer team or a leadership team or his biggest team, the band.

For his last end-of-year band banquet last night, he was asked to share some thoughts. He was honest and kind of emotional (which we know as transparency). He was clear-spoken and accurate. He owned old mistakes and celebrated grace (in his band director’s restraint from taking his life when he damaged a tuba at a marching contest while playing hackey sack). And he ended with one of his greatest strengths—pulling his peers together in their traditional “D-town” chant.

And the audience stood to their feet in appreciation of a kid showing his heart and sharing his passion and being real… and expressing what this whole band thing really is.

It was a proud moment for his old man. I was proud that he did without my coaching what I try to do all the time. Though he was so incredibly nervous, he put the fear behind for the greater purpose before him.

That’s my boy.

 

Sitting on the porch this morning reflecting on that sweet moment, I realize that this feeling of joy in my heart as I see that young man doing what he was made to do, what he was raised to do, I had a moment of recognition.

I have written much about the fact that God has taught me more about Himself through my kids than through any book I could read. And in this moment of reflecting on the pride and joy I felt over my son last night, I see this truth again so very clearly.

When we lean into that purpose for which we were created, it brings delight to the heart of our Creator.

To this end the Psalmist implored:

Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. (Psalm 69.34)

As I sat and watched my son do just part of what he was made to do, my heart was full, saying, “That’s my boy!”

And so our Father, when I do what I was made to do, is filled with joy. No doubt He too whispers, “That’s my boy.”

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Hanging Up The Hat

May 15, 2018

I like hats.

I wear a lot of hats. Some I wear to pretend I’m someone else. Some I wear when I do particular things or when I go particular places. There are different hats for different circumstances and different hats for different seasons.

I wear a lot of hats… figuratively as well as literally. By that I mean that I fill many roles for many different people. I am a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend, a neighbor, a pastor, a mentor, a board member. Occasionally I’m an actor and sometimes I’m a teacher and at times I’m a counselor.

I wear a lot of hats.

About 16 years ago I put on a new hat. I became a Band Dad when my oldest son signed up for band. When you connect that occasion with the fact that I was a band director for seven years before I started pastoring, you see that it was a significant thing to put on that new hat.

Tonight I will go to my last concert as a public school band dad.

It’s weird, I tell you.

I have been to at least a couple of public school band concerts every year since 2002. I’ve been to SO MANY marching contests and football games and band booster meetings. And the fundraisers—Oh my WORD the fundraisers…

I’ve traveled many miles, met many friends, and made SO MANY great memories through band. I’ve grilled more chicken breasts and quesadillas than I can count.

I’ve watched three of my kids find their spouses just like I found mine – in band.

I’ve seen two of my kids go on to earn some serious scholarship money through band.

It’s been such a huge part of our lives. And it’s not entirely over. We still have a few of our expanded brood significantly involved in band into the future. But my public school band dad days are coming to a close.

I’m hanging up that hat.

It’s a season that is coming to a close. And, with it’s passing, a new one begins. I don’t know all of the hows and whys and whens and wheres, but I know that there are great things ahead. I know that there are concerts yet to come that I can choose to attend as a pastor and friend cheering on the kids that he is so proud to support. And there are so many other ways to grow and learn and experience.

It’s hard to hang up this hat.

I like hats.

I wear a lot of hats.

As I hang up an old one rich with memories, I trust the next one I pick up will bring as much joy as the last.

To all of my band family, thanks for helping me enjoy this hat.

Please… It’s My Son

October 31, 2017

I’ve never had the terrifying experience of a child with a life-threatening illness or injury.

I can hardly imagine what I might do to find an answer—a cure or a procedure or a treatment.

I can imagine that I would have some hard, not-at-all-pretty prayer conversations with God. I expect most of them would not be deemed “Sunday-School Appropriate” by most standards.

I think that is the earnest longing captured some years back by Mark Schultz in his hauntingly beautiful song, “He’s My Son.” Take a minute to listen to the yearning within it.

You hear that longing, don’t you? You can hear that desperation and agonizing desire for the healing of the son. It’s the kind of desperation that would press a well-revered man, a leader in the community, to take off on foot to the village 15 miles or so down the road because he heard that Jesus, the man that healed so many people in Bethsaida and turned water to wine in Cana, had come back to the area.

15 miles.

On foot.

One way.

That’s desperation.

[Read John 4.43-54]

After a couple of days spent in the Samaritan village of Sychar, Jesus finally made it back over into Galilee, where he had grown up. It was a strange thing for him to return here. As he had observed, according to verse 44, a prophet is seldom well-received by the people who saw him grow up.

Still, even here in where he was raised, the people had heard of the miraculous things he had been doing. Many of the people here had made the trip to Jerusalem themselves for the feast.(45) And so he returned to the place at which his first recorded miracle had taken place, the town of Cana.

The text tells of an official from Capernaum “whose son was ill.”(46) He had made the journey, about 15 miles or so, to where Jesus was.

When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.”(47)

Jesus makes what seems kind of an odd statement.

So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”(48)

The man clearly did not come here to discuss theology and doesn’t seem particularly interested in hearing a sermon or being taught a lesson. His son is near death. His only hope is that the one who has done so many unexplainable things might choose to come and heal his son.

This is precisely why I think it’s so important that we be about the work of helping meet the immediate needs of people—because it’s often very difficult to hear the truth of the gospel over the groans of the dying loved one or the screams of the sick baby or the howling winds from which they have no shelter or even the growling of their own empty belly.

The man simply begged Jesus to come and heal his son.

The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”(49)

Jesus, evidently moved by the man’s worry for his child, does something even better.

Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.”(50a)

He granted immediate healing for the man’s son without even having to go and see the child in person. He met the man’s need. And the man “believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.”(50b)

The rest of the passage relays how the official’s servants met him as he made the trek back to Capernaum and brought him the news that the boy’s fever had broken and he was recovering—he would live!(51)

The man asked when things turned around and indeed it was at the very moment that Jesus had spoken the promise, “Your son will live.”(52-53a) But we must see the ripples of this healing action that Jesus took:

And he himself believed, and all his household.(53b)

People saw what Jesus did with merely the word of his mouth. They believed that Jesus was the promised One.

I suspect you would too… if it was your son.

Jesus stepped into the mess of disease and disability and brought healing.

He doesn’t always answer this way. He doesn’t always heal. But the hope of the gospel is the very real, very sure promise that ultimate healing will be found by all who believe in Him.

See Him as your healing.

Believe Him—that He came to heal you completely.

Know Him as your medicine, your therapy, your transplant, your wholeness.