February 03, 2006
Tucker's 16th Birthday Wrap Up
This week’s journal entry wraps up the commentary on Tucker’s 16th birthday celebration. I hope you have appreciated the words of wisdom within the letters from these wonderful men as much as I have. I want to share a few of the letters from the men who were present at Tucker’s actual birthday celebration. We chose to invite the young men who have most impacted Tucker’s life in the last two years since we’ve been in Texas.
The first letter is from Tucker’s favorite “small group” leader, Dan Barnes. Dan is quiet but stealthily funny. His wife, Bridget, is in my MomTime group and is a doll!
Congratulations on this milestone in your life. May it be the first of many. I pray God can use the following to empower you now and through the rest of your life. I am learning the most important thing I can know in life is the love God has for me. I know you have been told from an early age that God loves you in an incredible way. As someone who also grew up hearing that, I know God’s love is something we can believe we already understand and almost get bored of learning about. Fight that temptation! A growing understanding of God’s love for you is the one thing that will keep your heart passionately engaged in a relationship with Him for the rest of your life. In that love you will find strength in the most difficult times. You will find peace in the midst of phenomenal chaos. And, you will discover the freedom to be who God has designed you to be. Be everything God has designed you to be. Be nothing He has not. Experience the full measure of love God has for you. In those things God is continually amazing me and I believe He can do the same for you. May God bless you and may He make 2 Samuel 5:10 true of you.
This next letter is from Chris King, Tucker’s junior high pastor. Chris, probably more than anyone here in Texas has impacted Tucker’s life. If you have been reading my journal entries then you’ve heard me brag about him in the past. One thing I didn’t know about Chris until this letter, is what an awesome writer he is, as well. We will always be grateful to Chris for reaching out to Tucker at a precarious time in his life, moving from California to Texas during junior high!
16 years old! I guess this is the age when you begin to hear a lot of talk about being a man. When does manhood really begin? I think the native Americans had it right when they established rights of passage that signified manhood. Tucker, I think you should be sent on a long journey where you have to kill and cook your own food. Then you have to run around the countryside in a buffalo skin speedo! As fun as I know that sounds to you...I guess it still won’t make you a man. I should probably admit something to you. I am still learning what it means to be a man. I wish I could give you a formula or a process for manhood, but I can not. But, I do know this—that you and I are called by God to be men. We have no choice! If we resist becoming men, then we are resisting the very hand of God in our lives. So what can I tell you about being a man? I say tell you that a man craves responsibility, a man follows through, a man embraces change, a man loves recklessly, a man protects sacred things, a man runs races to win, a man leaves a trail behind him, a man submits to authority, a man invests in people, a man recognizes those who went before him, a man seeks counsel from wise men, and a man grabs onto God and refuses to let go! In short, I would say that becoming a man is completely reliant on the types of decisions that you make today! The “classic” movie Batman Begins taught us that “It is what we do that defines us.” Tucker—I am busier today than I have been in my entire life! However, today I chose to invest my time in a person (you) not in things. I believe I chose to be a man today. What are you going to chose?
You know I love you —
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
I Cor. 13:11
The final letter is from Tucker’s previous “student ministries” pastor, Pace Hartfield. I so respect Pace and his passion for the Lord and I was constantly thankful to the Lord that He had led us to a church with such a solid youth pastor. Pace is now the “worship” pastor but he and his wife, Sarah, who is also in my MomTime group, are still frequent guests in our home. I believe we will always cherish this relationship and I’m thankful his influence is still in Tucker’s life.
Tucker, it might be kind of awkward to read what another guy sees in you, but receive it! You have a passion and zeal for life that is contagious. You have so many supernatural, God given leadership skills. Your posse follow your lead. — All that being said, that’s a lot of stuff to give one guy.
My prayer for you is that you will discover in this year the fury and depth of God’s love for you and that with that in your heart it will shake your everyday living! God has so much for you, bro! Receive it!
One of the things we did over dinner (of tamales, buffalo ribeye, calf fries, jalapeno cheese grits, and other Texas favorites,) was have each of these young men speak words of encouragement and affirmation to Tucker. I so wish I had brought a tape recorder. The words of blessing these men spoke over Tucker were life-changing.
After dinner and birthday cake we transitioned to the purity ring presentation. At our church, the youth department offers this celebration for students when they are 13-years-old. We have chosen to wait until our children are 16, when we feel like it will hit a little closer to home with them.
Pace did a remarkable job of leading this ceremony over dinner. He impressed upon Tucker the fact that the ring was simply an external symbol of a heart decision. I really like how he reminded Tucker that men are visual creatures and sometimes that is what gets them into trouble. In the case of the purity ring, being a visual being is a good thing. Every time he looks down at his hand and sees the ring he can be reminded of the commitment he has made in front of his parents and mentors.
Posted by weblion at 09:35 PM