Friday, September 26, 2014

3 Things People Will NEVER Say At Your Funeral!

Our oldest just started middle school this year, and in 7 short years, she'll be moving out (unless she red-shirts a few years in high school) and on to her next adventures (insert here all paternal hopes and unfair expectations for an 11 year old).

Knowing middle school was rearing it's awkward pubescent head in our household and celebrating my last birthday in my 30's this past August (3rd, in case you want to get that on your calendar for next year. #RedRobinisoneofmyfavoriterestaurants), I've been reflecting a ton on life, our future, family, how we are spending our time...things that really matter.

So...in a humble attempt to remind myself (and hopefully, encourage YOU!), here are 3 things that people will never say at your funeral;

1. "I sure wish he worked more."  Many of you know I'm a pastor...I officiate weddings, celebrate baptisms and minister at funerals...Sadly (and from a Christian worldview, joyfully), I have been to a lot of funerals...no one has ever stood up and said this.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Whether it was, "I wish my dad was around more.", "He was a workaholic", or "She was never able to do the things she really wanted."  People who go to funerals are saddened not by your inability to go to the office again, but by their deep longing to spend more time with you.  I don't know what your life is like...I have no idea how your family is doing, or how you spend your time...but PEOPLE, PLEASE NOTE...no one is going to say they wish you worked more.  If anything, they'll be sad they didn't have more time with you and so will you (Well, actually, you'll be dead...but you get the point).  Be free from the lie that if you start working less, your family will fall apart...if anything, you'll have more time to enjoy them.  What's that you say? "But Rhyan, I can't stop working because I've created a life that costs too much."  If that's the case...un-create it.  Start over...be free from the crazy and start enjoying the people that really matter to you.  They might be out of the house in 7 years.

2.  "I wish she had a bigger net worth." Did you know that if Warren Buffet invested his wealth in a savings account at a measly .06% he'd still make more than $34 million a year in just interest (see TIME magazine report on richest Billionaires)...that's a large net worth.  My question to you is; How much is enough? How long do you want to spend building your empire of stuff, when all along the things that matters the most in your life are the people in it, not the things you buy.  A few years ago, my son and I were playing Frisbee golf at a camp for kids in Canada (A Young Life camp called Malibu)...there was a reported Cougar (the animal) sighting that summer, and so we were talking about it as we wandered the forested golf course...about the third hole my son looked at me in deep earnest and asked, "Dad, if a Cougar attacked us, would you die to protect me?"  With out hesitation, I sad, "If I had to...I absolutely would.  I love you bud."  We were silent for a long time as we both pondered the depth of that truth.  Our relationship turned a corner that day in a profundity we had not yet known.  You know what he didn't ask?  He didn't ask,  "Dad, how much money do you make each year?  Will it be enough to provide financially for our family, and our future?"  He doesn't care about my net worth...he cares about our relationship.  At my funeral he won't be talking about my portfolio, it's ROI, or the S&P...he'll be sharing memories of our time together, not giving out investment advice I told him.

3.  "I 'm SO glad we kept that grudge all of these years." One of the hardest things to do is to is to forgive someone who has hurt you...our nature is to protect ourselves and when we get hurt by others,we tend to try and write them off instead of wading through the difficulties of restoration.  Have you ever experienced the freedom that comes with forgiveness?  I guarantee you, it's better than the weight of allowing someone else to live rent free in your head (I'll let that set in for a moment)...Sadly, I have had far too many conversations with people at funerals who say things like, "I wish we could have talked more about ______. I wish we would have forgiven each other. I wish I wouldn't have waited to talk to them...now it's too late."  Friends...please...if there is a relationship that can be healed and your pride is the only thing keeping you from beginning the process of healing...for crying out loud; Make the call. Write the letter. Go to coffee.  You won't be glad you kept that grudge when you go to their funeral.  Last year I spoke at a men's retreat in CO. During one of our times together, I had the men go and write a letter that could begin the process of healing in a broken relationship that they currently had, and I challenged them to send it.  I wish you could have been there to hear the conversations...grown men...far better men than me...crying, because they had never taken the time to ask for forgiveness or were too hurt by someone else to even try.  One man said, "I have some work to do with my son-in-law.", Another said, "I've had a grudge with my sister for 7 years...we haven't spoken, that needs to change."  I hope it does in your life too, my friend.

So the questions remain and the clock is ticking...How are you spending your time?  Perhaps a better question is, "Who are you spending it with?".  What are you living your life for?  To build an empire of temporary stuff or to have an impact on eternity (picture the scene here of Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator saying, "What you do in this life will echo in eternity!")  Now, turn off your computer AND phone, tell your boss you are going home, go to your kids school today for "pick up" and take them out for ice-cream (or a gluten free snack of your choosing if that's healthier?).  The point is this friends...it matters how you spend your time and your money, and I don't know about you, but I don't want to miss it, and I certainly don't want to look back when it's too late and feel like I wasted my life.  Lastly, reconciliation is one of the hardest things you'll ever do in your life and it may not happen fast...but the process to forgiveness and freedom is worth every ounce of the pain it takes to get there.

May you be free!




Thursday, September 4, 2014

What being a Seahawks fan tells us, that Christianity has been saying for centuries!

If you live in the Northwest right now, it's an incredible time to be a Seahawks fan.  The 12th man (Go 12's), Blue Friday, gameday jersey's, defending Superbowl Champs....the atmosphere in the NW around being a Seahawks fan is like, Ralphie getting a Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle for Christmas! (Sorry...movie reference from an Amercian Classic, "A Christmas Story"...I know I just lost a generation of readers.) :)

If you are a 12th man right now, there are some things others outside "the family" just won't understand;


  • Like when you are wearing your game day jersey and complete strangers either high-five you, hug you, or say "Go Hawks!" in seemingly random and odd places (grocery store, mall, sidewalk, gas pump, school pick up, public restrooms, etc...)
  • Like when you are in a crowded area and someone yells out, "Seeeaaaa...." and you immediately think or yell back, "Haaawwwwkkkssss!"
  • Like when you see the 12th man flag waving gloriously from someone's home or car window, and your first instinct is to honk your horn obnoxiously and give them the universal fist pump as if you were sitting front row at a Journey concert together, singing..."Don't Stop Believin'!"
  • Like when you routinely say phrases like, "Beast Mode!", "Why not us?", or "He's all about that action..boss!" and others laugh hysterically as if you were saying, "That's what she said..."


So what does any of this have to do with Christianity?  Well...I'm glad you asked!  You see, you are experiencing one of the greatest gifts of the Church...we call it "Community" or "Fellowship"...the biblical word is, Koinonia...it's a deep sense of community, and it's a reminder that we are made for relationship.  Did you hear that, YOU WERE MADE FOR RELATIONSHIP, and as a Seahawk fan you are experiencing the depth of that in wonderful ways.

This is what the church has done for 100's of years...cared for each other, prayed for each other, celebrated with each other, and grieved for/with each other (yes, even greater grief then hearing Hasselback say, "We want the ball...and we're gonna score" and then promptly throwing a playoff ending interception)

For the church, it lives this fellowship/community/relationship out because the love of Christ compels it...for the fan, it does it for their love of the Hawks...the only difference is this, and it's huge...the Seahawk nation will one day fade, but the kindgom of God will forever reign.

Praying you find a true community that lasts more than 16 weeks each fall...because you were made for so much more!