Saturday, August 4, 2007

Nod Over Coffee

It seems lately that I don't have the energy to be thoughtful and creative. Sometimes I wonder if I am too busy or maybe just too busy in my head trying to figure out how to make the most of my time. It seems that even after a couple of deliberate months of this, I don't have an answer. Don't get me wrong... I rest, at least once a week, but I have to fight to do it since my nature and the rest of the world beckons me to come and burn the candle at both ends. Nevertheless, I'm still trying to understand how one should pursue dreams, visions and relationships while running on a treadmill.

"I'm old enough to know
That dreams are quickly spent
Like a pouring rain on warm cement
Or fingerprints in dust
Nectar on the wind
Save them for tomorrow
and tomorrow lets you down again."
(Mark Heard - House Of Broken Dreams)

Today, I have a moment to myself.
But perhaps not so much a moment to myself after all.
I'm feeling comforted.

David G.

"All the unsaid words that I might be thinking
And all the little signs that I might give you
They would not be enough
No they would not be enough
So we nod over coffee and say goodbye
Smile over coffee and turn to go
We know the drill and we do it well
We love it, we hate it
Ain't that life

Ain't that the curse of the second hand
Ain't that the way of the hour and the day

If I weren't so alone and afraid
They might pay me what I am worth
But it would not be enough
You deserve better
So we nod over coffee and say goodbye
Do whatever has to be done again today
Get in the traffic and time will fly
Look at the sun and pray for rain

Ain't that the curse of the second hand
Ain't that the way of the hour and the day

The dam of time cannot hold back
The dust that will surely come of these bones
And I'm sure I will not have loved enough
Will not have loved enough
If we could see with wiser eyes
What is good and what is sad and what is true
Still it would not be enough
Could never be enough
So we nod over coffee and say goodbye
Bolt the door it's time to go
Into the car with the radio on
Roll down the window and blow the horn

Ain't that the curse of the second hand
Ain't that the way of the hour and the day"

Lyrics by Mark Heard 1951 - August 1992

"Mark was incredibly real and honest. His lyrics and music, like his life, were open, and expressed what he felt. He constantly strove to communicate. He sought after Reality and Truth with an amazing zeal. He loved people. He loved God. He wanted to help build the bridge between."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Courage from the Crucible

Someone once said “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.”(Job 3:25)
When he said it, it was in relation to his profound losses, including the loss of his children. These words were probably voiced without intent, most likely the gut wrenching conclusion of a shattered heart thinking out loud. If you ponder this statement within its context, you’ll determine that they are brutally honest and painful.

Those of us with kids would have to concur that we would say the same thing if we were to receive such news. Today, many can say that they understand because they too have experienced the loss of a beloved child. The rest of us don’t want to even ponder what it would be like. It’s too uncomfortable to think about. We don’t have to ask why that is.

To most parents, our children are not just part of our lives, they are our lives. They come into our world totally vulnerable and dependant on us, and we raise them, nurture them, and spend many years of our lives striving to provide everything they need because we love them from the day they are born. Our lives and hearts are willingly and sacrificially invested in them. To lose them to some unexpected tragedy or disease would be tantamount to losing a part of ourselves.

But as they grow older we begin to see them make life choices, some choices with positive outcomes, and some, not so positive. Some are even tragic. We instruct them in the way they should go, and if we are honest with ourselves, it’s not the same way we went when we were their age. Nevertheless, we hope that they will heed our instructions.

The truth is, every child old enough to make choices, will in one way or another, reap the repercussions of those choices. From relationships, to bodily injuries, to legal issues, to accomplishments, to losses and gains, choices have outcomes… good or bad.
(Gal. 6:7)

Sometimes the consequences that come into their lives are of no choice of theirs at all. Sometimes they are imposed on them by the choices others make, from the trivial to the tragic. We can see this in the fateful event of the Virginia Tech slayings. No matter your perspective on that young man’s reasoning (or lack of it) for committing such an unthinkable act of violence, it does not negate the fact that his choice, though decisive, randomly affected innocent others. The students who lost their lives were someone’s sons and daughters.

To a parent, this is the sad and sobering reality of life’s unforeseen turns.
Our plans and hopes for our children’s future can easily be disrupted by today’s unsuspected events. This shouldn't keep us from making good and responsible plans for their future, but it should compel us to consider what our objectives are for them today while we have them.
(Mt. 6:34)

If our objective is the stuff of this world, because we want our kids to have it “better than us”, or if it is our own sense of parental significance, or even being so preoccupied with the "ideal family" that we are always expressing disappointment or disagreement with reality, then is it possible to be so driven toward their well being that we may be driving our kids away? Is it also possible to miss out on enjoying the treasures we do possess (speaking of the privilege of being a parent), because we fail to see how wealthy we already are?

Those of us with children literally have a treasure in our hands. If we're not careful, we will allow the cares of this world and our pursuit of tomorrow to blur our vision of it’s value.

The gold miner who yells “eureka!” does so because he has discovered something of profound value and worth. But to the mule that carries the gold, it is no more than a burden. The difference is in the perspective.

Those of us who know the value of our children, may have difficulty releasing them to making their own decisions, their own mistakes, to facing the trials that this life has in store for them, trails we are all too familiar with. We don’t want them to suffer.

Eventually, our children begin to reach an age where they need to start learning to become independent of our covering, to learn to provide for themselves and eventually their own family, they will make decisions or have circumstances that we know full well will turn up the heat in their lives, this is the crucible referred to in the title, their crucible. As they start to go through this, we as parents must have the courage to know that God is in control. We must remember that like precious metals, it is necessary for them to go through the fires of the crucible. They must be exposed to the fire’s critical mass, and there, they will either allow its heat to refine them or reduce them, but it needs to be their decision, not ours. If we bail them out, we will need to be certain that it is for their good and their growing, and not just for their comforting and caring. We need to discern the possible outcome… Cheer them on, encourage them, but to intervene without discretion may produce regrettable consequences. I'm not suggesting that we wink at their waywardness, but to reconsider releif from the pressures of this life. We have a responsibility to call them out on sin issues, but even then, we must ultimately place them in The Master's hands.

As parents, we must have the courage to discern when to let go of what we treasure. Not as a loss, but as an investment. We spend the early years laying a foundation in their lives and after time it is simply faith to believe that the building will stand on the basis of a good foundation. When the storms come, and they will come, we must remember that we were useful tools in the Makers hands and therefore cannot allow ourselves to be swayed by our fears, failures or faults. Faith must be the catapult that launches them from under our responsibility. We must relinquish them into the hands of the Heavenly Father who cares for them by providing and protecting, as well as purging, purifying, and perfecting them by the Holy Spirit's fire.

"But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children..." Ps.103:117

Again, we can't be too careful. Anyone who is still holding on to the precious metal when it's going through the Crucible will inevitably interfere with the purification process. Better to be available than intrusive.

We won’t always be there for our kids, and to insist on being so is not always helpful. What I mean is that we shouldn't always insist on bailing them out, or on offering our untimely advise.

So this calls for courage and not control on a parents part. Not to deny them our love, but to slowly dismiss them in love from under our covering as they grow older to face the reality of life’s demands. We will have equipped them appropriately, and will have nurtured a trusting heart toward God, who will never leave them or forsake them. He will always be a covering to those who trust Him. Hopefully, they will appreciate this from us after the transition, and we will have gained the honor of influence …something that can’t be enforced.

David Gonzalez

Friday, March 9, 2007

Face to Face Friendships

I remember how at one time or another, there have been friends in my life that really mattered. Not that the friendships I have now don’t matter, it’s just that the ones I remember seemed more authentic, vulnerable and honest in terms of community. They were also knit together by common interests and passions. We were “birds of a feather” that were constantly seeking opportunities to “flock together”. I’m referring to friendships that go back to the teen and twenty something years.

Some of us still keep in touch with each other. The problem is that we live many miles apart and many years have accumulated since those days of koinonia. (see

With those years came the periodic news of trials, tragedies, turning points and triumphs.

The news of serious hardships, illnesses, deaths, divorces, job losses, relocations, successful business ventures, promotions, and family additions have proven that time’s no respecter of persons and won’t wait for you to catch up.

Once in a while since then, there have been a handful of relationships that begin to take on the positive qualities described above. They’re rare, but when they do happen, they’re a breath of fresh air. Yet, for one reason or another, these friendships are difficult to cultivate beyond the few moments of authenticity. Why so?

I’m sure it’s not because there isn’t a genuine interest in having them.

I have decided to give thoughtful consideration to this.

“For everything there is a season”

Why are deep friendships difficult to cultivate at certain seasons of life?

After coming up with all types of possible reasons, I have concluded that most of the reasons are peripheral hindrances, and can’t be addressed unless the central ones are. In my experience, at least two seem to be central.

1. Increasing responsibilities bring increasing demands on our time.

Marriage, children, career, home, health, bills, etc., all come along with time, and all continue to demand more of the little time we have left each day… time we wished we had more of to spend on cultivating authentic friendships among other things (outside the home).

Life Happens! I have a family that I’m responsible for. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a different thing, a different good thing.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the LORD. Pro. 18:22

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Ps. 127:3

Still, I believe that a man should have a few men in his life that can share a source of deep fellowship, honest accountability, and encouraging strength with each other.

The same should be for a woman. That is, she should have a few women in her life as well.

But the demands of life’s responsibilities at home, which include making a living, gives us little time to spend with others outside the home. So in order to make it happen, we need to be better managers of our time.

2. Increasing demands on our time requires clear priorities.

If life is to be taken one day at a time, then each day, we should be making the most of our time.

Good friendships need to be cultivated, they don’t just come. It takes time to develop them. Therefore, in life’s busy seasons, we need to understand that without appointed times (set apart for; established for; predetermined; arranged), the things that need to get done, won’t get done. God thinks it is important enough in that He set’s appointed times for everything from His Holy Feasts, to meeting times, to future events.

" 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times. Lev. 23:4

And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. Ex. 9:5

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Hab. 2:3

If the LORD does it, what better example do we need?

It really isn’t that we don’t have the time to make close friends, it’s that we don’t include this as one of our priorities in life.

May I suggest that we can’t afford NOT to.

I trust that if we were to take an inventory, we would find that we are taking up valuable time doing things that are of little or no value (watching TV, PC games, and overworking come to mind).
Of course, if we were to make friendships one of life’s priorities, it can’t be done alone. This is a two way street. What’s the point in setting an appointed time for others if the other party doesn’t show up?

So here lies the criterion for a potential authentic friendship.
Is there effort coming from both sides? If not, you may need to care for that person, but not necessarily become vulnerable to that person. You may need to be patient in waiting for a response, but you may also be pursuing a one sided relationship. That's not the type of friendship I’m talking about, that may just be codependency… and for that, you may need to pursue counseling instead.

Setting time aside for someone else says we care.

God didn’t set His appointed times because he needed a schedule for Himself. He set them out of love for us. They speak of His commitment to us and involvement with us. He steps into time from eternity and fulfills His promises in time.

“Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

We need to do the same, because love is the cement that authentic friendships are built on.

Just talking about getting together won’t cut it when it comes to deep friendships. There has to be appointed times. There must be an effort to meet face to face. That’s what close friends do.

“The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Ex. 33:11

David Gonzalez

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Pure Pusuit?

I realize that the title you find here is ambiguous (subject to various interpretations). “The Pure Pursuit” sounds somewhat of a lofty endeavor. Of course, even the word lofty can mean different things and used to define two far extremes.


1. Of imposing height.
2. Elevated in character; exalted.
3. Affecting grandness; pompous.
4. Arrogant; haughty.

The definition is set within the context it’s used.

So then, we find that words have meaning and meanings have words.

What is the “The Pure Pursuit” then?
Is it that there is a pursuit that is pure, or something pure worth pursuing or simply a pursuit and nothing else?


The word pure can be used of things that are vastly different or at poles with each other.

What’s pure water or pure wisdom in comparison to pure dirt or pure folly?
Though a pig may find itself quite content to wallow in a deep pile of pure dirt… Some people would consider it to be purely disgusting!

You say, “then pure is relative.”

In the world of relativity you may be right.

But in a world of moral relativity, where values and truth are always changing and being redefined by how each new generation feels, there is a problem.

There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. Pro 30:12


I live in Michigan. When Deer season comes around, there are a great number of hunters that set out to pursue and bring home the prize. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what defines “The Prize” to a deer hunter.

Many will come home with a doe or two. Some will come home with nothing. But few will come home with the prize... The “monster buck” that sets the record.
Naturally, in order to come home with the prize, the hunter has to move outside of his own comfort zone, and do more than just study books about "How to Bring Home the Prize". He has to go out there and practice what he has learned. We would agree that if he doesn't, there will never be a prize.

It’s easy to understand a pursuit that has a tangible goal and that everyone understands and agrees with (i.e.; The Big Buck… whether that’s the deer or the dollar),

but when the goal (or Prize) itself is defined differently and as intangible by the interpretation and opinions of everyone, then we are left to wonder which one is really the prize we should be pursuing. We want to know the truth... the pure truth. Does it exist? Is it more tangible than we think?

The challenge isn’t for me to prove that pure truth exists, if it didn’t, there is nothing for me to lose. I am content to be convinced that it does and that “He” (The Truth) rewards those who diligently seek (pursue) Him. Nevertheless, there still remains a pursuit that needs defining as well. Maybe it's an insatiable desire that keeps a person from being satisfied with what is status quo.. So then, in the life of faith, the pursuit may be described as a believing that produces a life of trust and committment to the path defined by Pure Truth Himself, even if it leads totally outside of one's comfort zone, beyond the status quo. Maybe it can be described as "committed tracking" of the “Great Reward”, the real Prize. (see Gen 15:1 ; Psa 19:7 - 11)

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield to them that put their trust in him. Pro 30:5

So now “The Pure Pursuit” at least how it is to be understood here, takes on flesh (or substance).

It is a life that is determined to find God in everyday life; at home, in the office, in learning, in aging, in hardships, in relationships with wife, children, family, neighbors, enemies, and the rest of the world… how it should look according to what is lovingly and graciously defined for us by God in His self-disclosing Holy Word.

..because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy". 1 Pet. 1:16 (
See Lev 19:2 ; Lev 20:7)

Does that sounds like a high mark to hit?


Has God set us all up for failure?…

Or has He set us up from a place of failure… to a position in Him , giving us the power that enables us to pursue a prize that is secured in His Son? If it be the latter, then here lies the reason, the purpose for “The Pure Pursuit’, that is; pressing in to discover the disclosed desires of His heart and what pleases Him, by choosing out of responsive love to submit to His instructions and commands, and by allowing Him to purge those things in us that take us off track; the impurities that are at poles to His character, His love, His holiness, HIS IMAGE in us.

This is our reasonable act of worship.

Now does that sound difficult?

Is there anything impossible with God?

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God... Matthew 5:8

David Gonzalez