Aug 19, 2008

A Kinder, More Gentler Me

Because of the ranting nature of my last post (which has been deleted to avoid further misunderstanding), I think I left several people with a inappropriate view of me. One question was asked "Who DO you love?" and I think it's a fair question. So here is my attempt to show the kinder, softer side of me.

I love puppies, sea lions, and the way penguins waddle when they walk. I love the way fish attack the surface when you throw in the food from the feeder. I love coffee caramel milkshakes and every one of the people at Chick-Fil-A that make me one.

I love my three boys more than I can ever imagine. I love the fact that we have to start almost every morning with a wrestling match in my bed. I love the way they smile when I tell them I am proud of them (which I don't do enough). I love it when Nathan fills in the blank at school labeled "someone you admire" with the word "Dad", especially since I don't deserve it. I love the way Drew has to have at least one hug a day from me. I love the way John David turns upside down and puts his rear-end in my face and laughs.

I love my wife who stole my heart across the table 12 years ago and has never given it back. I love the way she whines when she wants something because secretly she wants to be a princess and be waited on hand and foot but doesn't want to admit it. I love the way she believes in me to be the man I can be and not just the man that usually shows up at home.

I love throwing the ball for my lab Maggie.

I love those who are giving their all in the spirit of Olympic competition for the United States whether they win 8 gold like Michael Phelps or finish out of medal competition but still proved themselves to be a champion because they competed and gave it their all.

I love my new brothers in Top Gun even though I have only known them one weekend and that they have now entered an area of vulnerability that will take them closer to being the man that God intends for them to be. I love the men in my church who have started to step up, reject passivity, and be men of God. I love that we can finally show the world that a Christian man is a leader and not some pansy-whipped man who comes to church because his wife nags him.

I love my friend Rob Sulver who has taught me a lot about leadership, manhood, and the value of giving up rights and freedoms in Christ in order to stand for a greater cause.

I love the orphans in Africa who are the victims of a sin-saturated world and suffer each and every day from the sinful choices of those who have gone before them. I love those like the Children's Hope Chest team from Westwood who give up finances, time, and energy to travel around the world to minister to them only to have their hearts broken when they come back to an equally sin-saturated, self-indulgent nation like the United States.

I love those who are lost, searching, and desperately seeking the truth even when they don't know how to find it. I believe God will reward their searching and long to hear their story of life-transformation. I love those who have gotten sick and tired of being sick and tired and finally begin to respond in faith to the one who created them for His glory. I pray that they can find Westwood to be a place where we are more concerned with matching their story of desperation with God's story of redemption than we are that they are comfortable being part of our club.

I love my Mama, my step-father "Pops", my brother, my sister-in-law, and my niece "Marlee" who looks at me like I am the Elephant Man every time she sees me but eventually warms up. I love my 92-year old grandmother "Mama Alice" who just moved to a nursing home last week.

I love my Dad who is a daily reminder to me of the power of God's grace. Only Christ can take a back-slidden Catholic who ran from God for 35 years and turn him into a trophy.

I love Bill Watterson for creating the greatest cartoon ever and then taking it away before it got old.

I love John MacArthur for faithfully preaching the Word in season and out of season no matter what the critics said. I love Mark Driscoll for being faithful to bridge the gap between biblical truth and cultural relevance (even if I don't agree with his views on alcohol). I love Max Lucado for teaching me the softer side of Jesus that I often overlook. I love Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio and how they are wise voices for truth to a new generation. I love Neil Cole for helping me to discover that discipleship is about being transformed by the Word and not about filling in the blanks.

I love the staff that I get to work with each and every day. I love that we can pound the table one hour and gather around it to eat as brothers and sisters in Christ the next. I love the way my Pastor challenges me to be better today than I was yesterday and that he has always had his door open (figuratively) no matter what. I love the way Ty Coffey laughs so loud. I love working beside Jay Gordon for 12 years even though we disagree about things more than Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

There are dozens more things and people that I can name, but I am getting tired.



Tom Bird said...

You write a good blog Matt. I appreciate a little honesty along with the boldness to sign your name to a statement than false sentiment.

Matt Haines said...

Thanks Tom.

51 Blog said...

awww... matt haines:) I believe that you are kind and gentle... until you throw things at me from across the room.


Helms Family said...

I wish you would not have deleted that post. Tom Bird is spot on! Where I don't necessarily agree with you on certain things in your blog world I do appreciate your candidness. You have never abused your role as a “Professional Christian” and certainly didn’t start with that post. Keep firing off with the honesty pal! It is certainly refreshing and a joy to read. As for your replacement post on “LOVE” I would expect more negative feedback from the peanut gallery. I mean how could you possibly leave off your Church, Mississippi State and your Home Group to name a few. I don’t care how sleepy you were. So insulting! And just for the record, I saw one of the Coffee Caramel Milkshake Making Chic-Fil-A employees smoking out back yesterday and toss the butt in the parking lot. If I were you I wouldn’t go back.

Matt, just keep doing what you do! You are an awesome follower of our Lord and Savior, wonderful role model for this community and dear friend to many. Simply wanted to say thanks for letting Matt be Matt!

Haines said...

Hey bro! I didn't get to read your last post and hate I missed it. You know you are the greatest Christian man I know and you are not only my brother in life and my brother in Christ but you were my Dad and taught me more than you will ever know. When I needed a father figure and role model you were there and I love you for that! Thank you for loving me even though I haven't done what I should have in my life. I love you bro!

brenda said...

Here is my input on ONE of the things I love.....I love the man that you have become. I have loved you since I first saw you and held you in my arms. I loved you when you were 2 years old and you smeared your mother's lipstick all over the bedroom. I loved you when you were a lanky teenager trying to bear a burdensome childhood that no child should have to endure. I loved you when I drove from Texas to see you marry that beautiful girl who had stolen your heart. And, I love your children like they are my own grandchildren. I loved you when we held hands around Brad's hospital bed and prayed for God to heal him. I love the way you love your family and the way you love Jesus. I believe that we don't say "I love you" often enough, so know this Matt Haines....I love YOU!!!!

Southern Belle said...

My first time to comment on your blog. I love the vulnerability of your posts. Makes you real, although I know you are real. Question: I know you love John McArthur. We like him too. Would you conisder yourself reformed baptist? The reason I ask is because we have been at a Reformed Baptist church for 2 years now. We are still "learning". We are on the fence on somethings and are praying about specifics in order to write our Family Mission Statement. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tell Allison I said hello...
Beth Noble

btw since you love puppies, we have almost 2 week old English Bulldog puppies. They are so cute. Picts on my facebook page under Leia and her pups. I will update more tomorrow.

Southern Belle said...

Another thought. One of my favorite people to read/listen to is Voddie Bauchamm...Opinions?

Is your Doctorate from the Founders Seminary??