Are You Constrained or Unleashed?

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Character, Compassion, Courage, Leadership, Legacy, Significance, Transcendence | 0 comments

Not long ago I heard a speaker, sadly I don’t remember his name, say, “Don’t just give people rules to follow; give them values to believe in.” I think that is remarkably perceptive advice. Rules constrain people into obedience due to another person’s position of authority or ability to punish non-compliance. Values unleash a person to action based on what he or she believes in; they form a powerful connection with ideas or principles that matter on a heart level. At Peregrine Ministries, we guide and inspire men on their life journey, to help them leave a life-giving legacy. In doing so, we are compelled by the following values: Legacy Legacy is the part of us that lives in others after we’re gone. We receive an inheritance we didn’t choose. Transformation determines the legacy we will pass on. Transformation Every word we write and every action we take as a ministry is to see the hearts of men increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ. Authenticity We aspire to conduct our relationships with a commitment to being truthful about ourselves, so that the man others see is increasingly consistent with the man we are beneath the surface. Community We pursue the “Third Place”- not home, and not work, it’s a setting where we know others deeply, reveal ourselves genuinely, and simply enjoy each other’s presence. Integrity The commitment to make every decision with honesty, even when it hurts. We willingly speaking the truth in love; bringing both courage and compassion. Compassion The conscious choice to feel what others feel, and to act on their behalf. It comes from our own wounds that are healed and redeemed. Redemption When God takes a part of our story that is broken, and turns it around 180 degrees to make it a powerful source of healing for others. Mission Being compelled to act, speak and live from the deepest part of our hearts for the benefit of others. The unique combination of God-given talents, gifts and values that create God’s calling in our lives. We can’t not do it. Adventure We embrace the risk, challenge and exhilaration of regularly engaging with Creation. Significance Reminding ourselves, and teaching men, that our significance is not based on our Power, Possessions and Prestige, but on the foundation of who our Creator is. Transcendence Though we live in a broken world, we intentionally anticipate, plan for and celebrate the periodic glimpses of overflowing joy, jaw-dropping beauty and staggering glory we encounter in nature, music, art, writing, sports and relationships. These are all clues of an eternal, transcendent hunger in our hearts. These values inspire us at Peregrine to do what we do. Have you ever identified your deepest values? What do your actions, your priorities and your emotions reveal about your values? I’d love to hear what they...

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Prison Redemption

Posted by on Nov 25, 2014 in Anger, Character, Compassion, Forgiveness, Redemption, Transformation | 3 comments

I haven’t spent a lot of time in prison. But I vividly remember each visit. Last weekend I joined my friend, Ron, in a visit to the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, about 2 hours southeast of Colorado Springs. It wasn’t my first visit to a jail or prison, and just to be clear, none of them had anything to do with my misbehavior. When I was in high school my dad and I joined a pastor on a visit to Cook County Jail in Chicago, one of the largest and notoriously violent jails in the U.S. In 1998 I explored the possibility of involving men from Willow Creek Church in regular prison ministry in Latin America. I’ll never forget the awful conditions of the nearly 100 men living in a filthy holding cell designed for 30, in Quito, Ecuador. They were angry and violent; waiting endlessly for the trial that would determine their future fate. The conditions at Arkansas Valley were far cleaner, organized and peaceful by comparison. The men I met at a large group Bible study were still facing a similar open-ended future of managed lock-up, but there was a pervasive sense of peace and hope. It was a shocking contrast to me. I was welcomed at the classroom door by Deon, a kind-faced, friendly, eloquent inmate who helps lead the study. My friend Ron has a special place in his heart for Deon. Years ago Deon got into a heated argument with his best friend, also named Ron. In the heat of the moment, Deon was overcome by rage and beat his friend so severely that he was hospitalized suffering from trauma that will probably never heal. Deon nearly killed him, and now lives out a years-long sentence. It was hard to connect this story of violence and rage with the kind man who greeted me at the door. On the way home Ron told me the incident that brought transformation and peace to Deon. He will most likely never see his friend Ron again, so his opportunity for any face-to-face repentance or reconciliation is virtually nil. But on one of their first meetings with each other Deon turned to my friend Ron, and asked him, since he shared the name of his friend, if he would personally “stand-in” for the Ron he nearly murdered. What followed were intimate words of confession, apology, repentance; tears and weeping. Deon was looking at my friend, Ron; but he was speaking to his friend Ron. That day Deon embraced spiritual and emotional freedom. It’s a tangible story of redemption. God takes awful brokenness and transforms it into power and compassion. That’s the only way the Deon, who nearly killed his best friend, could become the Deon of grace who leads others into deeper knowledge of God. When we confess, apologize and repent, God can do the same for all of...

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Paying it Forward

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Character, Compassion, Heroes | 0 comments

Sometimes kids do an amazing job of “reverse mentoring .” Demonstrating remarkable maturity and unselfish values while doing what comes naturally to them. Watch this boy give an officer a life lesson he’ll never forget. Paying it forward. “And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.” I Timothy...

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It’s About Forgiveness

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Character, Compassion, Courage, Culture, Forgiveness, Redemption, Transformation | 0 comments

Last month I posted some comments about the legacy of Nelson Mandela, One Man Matters, noting that one of the greatest impacts he had in his latter years was to demonstrate what forgiveness looks like. Recently, my son Alec sent me a link to a blog by Tullian Tchividjian, Forgiven People Forgive, on the same theme. (Tchividjian is the grandson of Billy Graham and the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church). He points out that two team mates of Riley Cooper, of the Philadelphia Eagles, had very different responses to the video that became public showing Cooper using the racial slur while drunk at a concert. Cooper’s words were offensive and inexcusable. He immediately made a public apology beginning, “I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I want to apologize. I have been offensive….” Michael Vick and Le Sean McCoy, both African-American teammates of Cooper’s, made their own public comments. Vick said, “As a team we understood because we all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean and maybe we don’t mean. But as a teammate I forgave him.” McCoy said, “I forgive him. We’ve been friends for a long time. But in a situation like this you really find out about someone. Just on a friendship level, I can’t really respect someone like that…I guess the real him came out that day.” Both were kind enough to say they forgave Cooper, but Tchividjian makes the important point: Vick said, “We”; McCoy said, “Him.” Vick’s words were inclusive; McCoy’s distanced himself. What factor may have resulted in a kinder reply from Vick? No doubt the 21 months in prison and his own stunning public downfall following the exposure of his dog-fight gambling ring. Take a look at Tullian’s blog. It’s a reminder that when we’re honest about our own brokenness, we can embrace a sincerely remorseful apology from someone whose behavior we disagree with. Even someone who offends us. It’s about...

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Miracle Within The Miracle

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Compassion, Courage, Fathers, Heroes, Self-sacrifice | 0 comments

Would I have acted as Joseph did? We’re so familiar with the Christmas story that it’s easy to overlook an essential part of that miracle- Joseph’s amazing response to confusing and embarrassing circumstances. To summarize, the key parts of the story as told in Matt.1: After his fiancée Mary becomes pregnant, Joseph’s first reaction is to avoid embarrassing her publicly. V. 19 Rather than accusing her, or raging at her apparent unfaithfulness, he decides to separate from her quietly. V. 19 When told by an angel that the child is from the Holy Spirit, he does exactly what the angel commanded, he took her home to be his wife. V. 24 Even then, he held off from sex with her until the baby was born. V. 25 I’m not certain that, if the same kind of circumstances happened to me, I would have responded as nobly as Joseph did. In fact, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have. Joseph was: Humble– he accepted the apparent unfaithfulness of his fiancée Loving– his response was to have her best interests in mind, even before he understood the whole story Trusting– he believed what the Lord led him to do, though it probably seemed unbelievably illogical Patient– he waited for understanding to sink in; he let the whole story unfold before jumping to conclusions We’re familiar with the rest of the Christmas miracle story. In celebrating Jesus’ birth let’s not lose site of the miraculous behavior of this man. When we face embarrassment, hurt or confusion, may we respond with the same qualities Joseph...

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“Tucker’s Heart Has Stopped Beating.”

Posted by on Sep 29, 2013 in Compassion, Redemption | 10 comments

I’m a slightly different person today than I was yesterday. I don’t want to over state it, but it’s true. This morning I experienced another level of the redemptive side of grief than I had before. I say that with the recognition that my siblings and I have lost our mother and father in the past 2 1/2 years. Beryl and I made the heart-wrenching decision to put down Tucker, our family’s canine companion for 12 joyful years. For the past couple of weeks we have sensed that his increased limping, and then inability to keep from collapsing while walking, were terrible signals that his life was in its last chapter. When the vet compassionately administered two injections that calmed his nerves and then stopped Tucker’s heart, less than a minute later she said the above words to us. “Not ours,” I thought. “Ours are breaking.” At that moment I unleashed a flood of emotion that I had been holding for quite a while. Beryl was already there long before me. Some of you reading this, if in fact you still are, may be thinking, as I have in the past, “C’mon, Craig. It’s a dog.” Others of you understand how this passing of a special pet might hit like no other. You’re thinking, “Seriously? It’s taken you this long to find this out?” Why is that? It’s not like we haven’t lost pets before. In fact, there was a year when it became clear that pets would be safer avoiding our home. As a boy I lost Meigs, then Rusty, and Boots, my sister’s beloved cat. Then, years later, in a fairly short time frame, our own kids lost Kelsey a Golden Retriever, followed by Shadow the cat, who died 2 days after we brought her home, followed a day or two later by Shelly, the hermit crab. That’s when we thought pets might be better off landing elsewhere. Shortly before 9/11 we lost Cody another wonderful Golden, who we replaced with Tucker. So, we’ve lost a lot of pets. This loss is different. I’ve tried to understand why the loss of Tucker is so deep and have realized it’s not just because we’ll miss him. He was amazingly athletic, smart, obedient and anxious to please. He retrieved balls in water, Frisbees while camping, and in the park across the street, and our morning newspaper with joyful abandon. Friends who met him invariably found him unusually sweet-natured and well-behaved. But those aren’t the reasons his loss hits deeper for me. It’s because of the unique years he spanned with our family. He was the one constant who stayed at home while our kids grew up, then departed, and Beryl and I became empty-nesters. Tucker was the last of our “kids” to leave home. He was the last direct link to so many family memories. I think that’s why his departure hits so hard. As my sister perceptively and concisely said, “It’s the end of an era.” Those are exactly the words I had been thinking. Like some of you, in the past I haven’t completely understood the grief of those who wept at the loss of a pet. I felt sad and sorry for them, but I didn’t know the grief. I do now. I think that for some pets their personality, and the years they spanned with family, make their passing much deeper. I get that today in a way I didn’t get yesterday. All day I’ve been struck by that fact. When we experience sadness, loss, deep disappointment and grief, as many of you have, there...

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