Saturday, February 4, 2012


I drove by a house on my way to a hardware store a while back, and noticed that the house had a "FOR SALE" sign in the front yard. As I returned from the hardware store a few hours later, however, I noticed that the same sign in front of the same house now said, "SOLD." I thought to myself, "Wow! That was fast!" I didn't think much else of it.

Then a few days later, I was driving to the same hardware store and drove by the same house. This time, I realized that the SOLD label was missing, and it appeared the house was back on the market. Coming back from the hardware store, however, I was surprised to see that the house once again had the words SOLD boldly written across the FOR SALE sign.

Then it hit me...the house was both for sale and sold, depending on the direction from which you were looking at the sign. A quick glance in the rearview mirror confirmed this suspicion as I drove by. It struck me as a humorous demonstration of how critical perspective is, and how important it is to understand the other's point of view.

There could only be one right answer. The house couldn't be both for sale and sold at the same time. Certainly the sellers would want to make sure this was straightened out, and they would know which it was. It was either sold, or it wasn't. But you and I, depending on which view we had of the sign, would argue until we were blue in the face what we saw. We might even stand facing each other, with the sign between us, adamantly stating our case based on what the sign was telling us. Imagine the frustration! "Listen, buddy...I can read, and I'm telling you, the sign says SOLD!" "Oh, yeah! Well I think you need to get your eyes checked, 'cause I'm looking at the same sign, and I don't see no SOLD sign!" "You calling me an idiot, moron?" "Who are you callin' a moron, idiot!"

The problem is our perspective. Which of us is right? One of us is. But if we'd just take the time to see it from the other's point of view, we'd see the problem and realize that we both need new perspective. Only one person could tell us for sure if the house was really sold or not, and that would be the buyer! And even then, you might argue the buyer's bank...but that could derail the illustration, so we won't go down that road. Ed Young wrote:
Perspective is critical, is it not? We do not always have the understanding we need to correctly evaluate the world around us. Even those of us who are Christians are guilty of having a "flatland perspective" that does not take into account the wisdom of God. He sees things we cannot, and His understanding is infinite.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NIV84)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

To Whom do I Belong?

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9 NIV)

Is my life my own? That's something that turns again and again at the core of each person. And my natural inclination is to say, "Yes! I am my own person. My life, my rights." This verse reminds me that I am not my own. I belong to the Lord. He sought me, and bought me, as the old hymn goes. I am his. 

But I belong to so many others, as well. And I believe that if I truly desire to honor God, then I will live to honor Him through these relationships, as well. I am His, and I am theirs. 
  1. My wife, Amanda Jo Dunaway. She took my name over twelve years ago and pledged her life to me, and I my life to her. I belong to her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 
  2. Breanna Jo Dunaway. God gave her to me 10 years ago, and blessed me with the wonderful charge to be her father, and to be her daddy. I cannot say my life is my own, it belongs to her. 
  3. Sophia Grace Dunaway. God saw fit almost nine years ago to grant me another daughter, to whom I belong. I am her father, her daddy. 
  4. Gibson Eric Dunaway. God knew my heart and my desire to have a son, and he gave me this young man five years ago. He will spend his days watching me, observing me, and taking what he sees and hears as his very own lessons on manhood. I am his father, his daddy, and his model for becoming a man. If I ever believe I am my own, then I reject the truth that I belong to Gibson. 
  5. Ellie Laine Dunaway. Two years ago I became the father and daddy to this surprise blessing of a young lady. My life is hers as much as it is mine, because I am her father and daddy, too. 
  6. John and Ellen Dunaway. They gave me life, raised me in a nurturing and God-honoring home. My life bears the mark of that love, even in how I love my wife and my children. I am theirs, too. 
  7. Bob and Shanna Chapman. They raised my wife, are grandparents to my children, and now my life is forever linked to theirs. 
  8. Pathway Community Church. This is my community of Christ followers, where I lead, serve, worship...and at the end of the list, work. My life is woven into the lives of every single person who serves and attends there, as well. 
And I'm sure the list could go on. My siblings, and Amanda's siblings. Our extended family. Our network of friends, both past and present. The older we get, the more people become part of our stories...and we belong to each one of them. How I live, how I tells a truer story than what I say...and it impacts so many more than just myself. 

I am His, and I am theirs

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Creativity of the Creator

Then the Lord said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 31:1-5 NIV)

Earlier in life, I came out of the gates - into independent adulthood - as a graphic designer. At one point, I even forsook my calling to pursue a career in graphic design. Fast forward several years - eight, to be precise - and I was offered an opportunity to transition away from small group ministry into communications at our church. 

I waivered on this. I knew that God had wired me in such a way that I could creatively, and somewhat professionally, design brochures, graphics, logos, videos and so on. And I was happy to offer that where I could. But would a transition to full time communications simply be me wandering back to that stumbling block which lured me away eight years before? 

Then I came across these verse, shared by Jon Ortberg in his book The Me I Want to Be. God revealed to me that he created me, designed me, crafted me, to be who I am. That person is one who thrives in creativity and enjoys opportunities to craft and design - whether it's a logo, brochure, or video piece. That's me...that's my sweet spot. Why would I pursue something outside of that? If the best Me I can be is one who has the opportunity to think creatively and strategically about communications, designing and leading at the same time, then why wouldn't I do that? 

When I read about Bezalel, I think about how significant - and overwhelming - his job was. He was tasked with designing and crafting the original tabernacle of God, all it's furnishing, including the Ark of the Covenant, and he had very specific and explicit instructions on how to do so. I was tempted to minimize art direction to something less holy or pastoral - something beneath the endeavors of one who is ordained in the ministry of the gospel. And yet when it came time to build God's dwelling place among his beloved people, God sought a man who possessed the creativity and skill to see it done. Moses in all his leadership abilities lacked the skills necessary to accomplish these specific things. God needed, not just someone who could lead, but he needed a creative. What's more, Bezalel's role in the Kingdom was such that God saw fit to mention him in the Scriptures. 

I believe that our creativity is the residue of God's fingerprints on each of us. Whether we write, make music, draw, design, scrapbook, take pictures, make movies, or build things, it all stems from the fact we have been created by a God who contains within the very core of his character the original spark of creativity - that essence which prompted him to form us, our world, and all within it, from the passion of his very being. That is the ultimate expression of creativity, and it resinates within each one of us. And it is through our own expressions of creativity that we tap into the heart beat of our loving, masterful, powerful, creative God.  

Sent from my iPad