The Look

I could never play poker. Sometimes I happen to catch guys playing poker on TV and the amount of money they play with is unreal but even crazier to me is the “poker face.” When these guys change expression, they do it with such control that they throw off the other players rather than communicating what they’re really feeling.

I cannot do this. I tell everything on my face. Sometimes more than I want.

I have always wanted to be open and honest about who I am and what God is doing in me and my faith. Few walls, vulnerable when appropriate, and hopefully no facade. I pray wearing my heart on my sleeve has been more of an asset than a hindrance.

My facial expression communicates so much more than words… good and not so good.

My wife and children often receive messages from me that include no words whatsoever. Sometimes it’s a smile when they do something amazing or even just walk in the room. It’s an assurance of pleasure and affirmation for them.

But then there’s also “The Look.” My dad had The Look. When you receive The Look you stop breathing and wonder, “Am I going to meet Jesus now?” Yet The Look also means you still have a chance for repentance and reprieve. There is a chance to make it right and remember whatever you did to receive The Look is not worth trying again.

All of that within a look. No words, just the eyes, the face, the posture, the aura. Oh yes the presence.

I’ve heard when we communicate with people, 55 percent is through posture and facial expression, 38 percent through tone of voice, and 7 percent through actual words. Only 7 percent!

In the book of John, chapter 8, we read of the woman who brought before Jesus who is caught in adultery:

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1-11)

There are a lot of things to take from this account. What did Jesus write in the sand? How can we remember that we should not be casting stones because we are not without sin? Was she set up? Did she have a habit of adultery?

We think that’s probably true but focus on this: Jesus asks her who condemns her and she says no one. As she stands there in absolute embarrassment, Jesus says, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

What did she see as she looked in the face of the Rabbi? As she looked at the face of God? When she looked into the eyes of the One who loves her more righteously and deeply with mercy?

Imagine how wonderful that look was from Jesus. Imagine the beautiful words she heard by just gazing at the face of real love and forgiveness.

Have you looked into the eyes of Jesus lately? Do you know what the look of God would say?

If I understand anything about Jesus’s character, I believe I can tell you this with all confidence: the look from Jesus is one of pleasure, love, grace, fondness, and joy.

You are His! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. He adores you. He is proud of you.

As you go today, know there is a Lord and Savior who walks with you every breathing moment and His eyes, presence, aura are all about one thing for you: perfect love.

That’s a great look!

God is good all the time!

Peder

The Honor of a Son

When I travel, I love to run and people watch as I go. A few days ago I was out for a run on the sandy beaches of Tampa, Florida. Yep, February, Florida, 70 plus degree temps. Running on sand is pretty good gig especially while Minnesota is under a couple of feet of snow.

The Eide TTeam on the Beach

The Eide TTeam on the Beach

The beach runs along a whole shoreline of condos and hotels, and we pale northerners come out from our private accommodations to join a community as we acquire a new level of sunburn. I saw people running, walking, and splashing in the waves. I saw kids and adults building sand castles and sand turtles. Really, it was pretty neat.

As I looked to the beach entrance of one complex, I noticed a middle aged gentleman putting sunscreen on an elderly gentleman. As I researched a bit more I realized it was a son covering his elderly father with the sun protection.

I know it might sound awkward but it was beautiful.

The son wasn’t embarrassed as he rubbed the lotion on the hairy, worn back and shoulders that he sat on when he was younger. The father didn’t complain or act like he didn’t need the help. Instead of being prideful, he seemed to welcome the assistance.

The son wasn’t condescending or rude. He didn’t use gloves or work quickly. Rather the two laughed together as the son’s skin gently moved across his father’s, careful not to miss a spot.

I’m sure it might have looked weird to see this runner staring as he passed by but I was moved immensely.

How wonderful that the son would not be overcome by any impressions he thought onlookers had. Maybe it’s not true for you but even though I’m well past high school, I still experience the pressure of what my peers might think. Instead the son honored his father by humbling himself, staying focused, and making sure no piece of skin was left unprotected.

I wonder what the father experienced as he felt the tender touch from hands he once taught to throw a baseball. The hands that needed his help as his son walked for the first time now helped him do something he could not do by himself.

It was beautiful worship to our Lord because it was loving touch. In Taste Worship, we believe touch is an act of worship because touch is loving and loving someone is worshipping God.

As I kept running I was grateful for God’s creation of touch, especially between fathers and their children. The only touch we seem to hear about is bad touch when the fact is that God created touch for good and for His beautiful purpose.

As I write this blog, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m on a plane sitting beside my children. If Valentine’s Day is about love, then whether you are a son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife, reach out and touch someone.

Really!

Genuinely be loving with a gentle hand, hug, hand holding, or whatever might stretch you just a bit. You will communicate a lot more than you think you are.

It really is worship.

God is good all the time!

Peder