Monday, January 01, 2018

You Can't Rush Growth

Sorry it's been a while, but there's a reason. I was sick. Actually, I am sick. Pneumonia. It's been awesome.

But there's something about being sick that I have learned over the years. There's nothing you can do. Literally nothing. You can take a few meds and rest, and that's it. There is no way to rush back into being healthy.

I think often we'd like that to happen when it comes to growth, we'd like to be able to rush it. I heard today about a woman who knew some people who were not acting as they should and her reaction was, "Well, they just should do it!" She's right, but that's not how it works. Personal growth, spiritual growth, whatever it is takes time. Rushing never helps, as much as it hurts.

So I'm still sick, and I'm okay with that. It means I'm tired and can't do as much. Yup. I know there's no way to rush this, and that realization helps me do the healthy thing every day and get a little bit better as slowly as it takes.

As you start your New Year's Resolutions today, take your time. Don't do crazy crash diets or plan to read 14 hours a day. Small, incremental growth is always healthier and more sustainable than wild jumps and bounds.

What are some small, consistent ways you can get to know Jesus better in 2018?

T

Monday, December 11, 2017

Consuming vs. Sharing

Last week we had the wonderful opportunity to go to Walt Disney World. It is truly a magical place to us and one of our favorite places to go. And when we are there we try to be as nice as possible to the Cast Members (employees) who work there. We have seen people treat them horribly for things they can't control, and after taking that from so many people we'd rather build them up then tear them down.

What I realized in doing this on our last trip is how we had a different focus than many others. There are people there who are showing up to consume the magic of Disney. They deserve the best things. They paid for this trip and are going to get everything out of it.

But there are others who are there to share the magic. People make cards for Cast Members to say thank-you. They pick up trash even though it's not their job just because they see trash on the ground. They don't get mad when a ride breaks down because they understand it's not the Cast Member's fault and yelling isn't going to do anything but make everyone unhappy. Instead they try to find other magic to focus on and share.

After watching this all week I started to wonder if we do this to church on Sunday morning (or whenever you worship). Am I there to "consume" my time with Jesus? Does everything have to go my way, do I complain about the temperature, do I make sure I get my seat and if not those in it hear about it? Or am I "sharing" Jesus while at worship? Am I welcoming, hospitable, do I genuinely live-out Jesus to everyone I see while I am worshipping Him?

Worship, like Disney World, can be all about you or all about others? Which do you choose, and how do your actions reflect that?

T

Monday, December 04, 2017

Thankfulness

A moment of reflection:

You just spent the last weekend focusing on being thankful. So how did you show you were thankful? To whom and for what?

Sometimes being thankful is like eating healthy at Thanksgiving. We say we're doing it but have a plate full of stuffing. To really eat healthy at Thanksgiving you have to think about it, a lot.

So think about it, how were you thankful? What ways can you be thankful this week?

Just like eating healthy, it takes a while to see a difference. But if you keep at it everyone around you will notice the change in your thankfulness.

Always give thanks for everything to our God and Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 4:20 (TLB)

T

Monday, November 27, 2017

When Reality Hits

Last week we celebrated our daughter's birthday. The interesting part of the day? She was way more excited for the anticipation than the actual event.

She had been asking for a present for about a month. She got it, then cried. She said we can't sing "Happy Birthday" until we have the candles in the cupcake. We did it, started to sing, she runs out the room crying.

Sometimes we live in a world that is completely in our mind and we don't realize it. We have a view of God or church or ______ and when reality hits it doesn't line up and so we want to give up.

But there is an alternative.

On her birthday we also told her we were going to the "bouncy slides". She had been before and loved it. But she wasn't sure. A couple of times during the day we did something that were way better than the bouncy slides could ever be. Eventually we had to convince her we were just going to see them or just to walk in.

She went crazy, ran around for the entire time with a smile on her face, and didn't want to leave.

Sometimes we just have to power through and show up when we don't want to or when the initial reaction isn't what we imagined in your head. Because if you can make it thought that one moment, you can enjoy the bouncy slides, love your cupcake, and play with the wonderful toy you wanted (all of which eventually happened).

Don't give up on God or a God experience too quickly...

T

Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for?

No really. Don't play it off or do less here. Not the one word answer at the table Thursday waiting to eat. Stop and actually think about it.

What are you thankful for?

T

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Importance of the Whole Story

I hate driving. Really, I don't mind the act of driving, it's the time spent driving that I can't stand. If we had teleporters sign me up. Because of this I have been watching news of self-driving cars very closely. If I can afford it I will be a very early adopter.

But they keep getting in accidents. Google's cars have been in accidents over ten times. And last week a new driverless shuttle at the Vegas airport got into an accident on its first day.

They must be really bad then... or are they?

That was the headline I saw at first. "Self-driving bus involved in accident on its first day." And most people jump to the conclusion right away there was an error in the technology.

And that's why we need the whole story.

Google's multiple accidents in the self-driving car, all were the other person's fault. The error of the other driver. In the crash by the airport shuttle, the truck in front of it backed into the shuttle. The shuttle wasn't even moving. Even if it were a human driver there still would have been an accident and it still would have been 100% the other driver's fault.

We live in a society that loves headlines and the Twitter version of a news story. The problem is in cases like this reputations are damaged and fear is incited when the real story is something that happens every single day, just this time it happened to a robot car so it's news.

When it comes to Jesus, make sure you're getting the whole story, read the Bible for yourself and join a Bible Study. When it comes to church and family and friends, make sure you are getting the whole story. Without it all you get is fear and damage.

T

Monday, November 06, 2017

How Do Scientists Do It?

This past week I spent a few days with 16 students all in one house living together, living our normal daily lives together while trying to also spend time together learning about Jesus and who we are in Him. And at one point we talked about how we need to spiritual scientists.

Scientists live in this weird dichotomy. They have to accept that what they already know is true. But at the same time they have to challenge those facts to progress. They need to feel confident enough in what they know to say they can know more and move forward finding what they don't, possibly even changing what they knew to begin with.

To know God, we have to live in this place. We must have faith that what we know about God to be true, but not enough faith in it to stay there and say there is nothing else to know about Him. We need to dive into the mysteries before us and draw closer to Him.

Here's the Scripture we looked on the retreat:

We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:

                 No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
                 Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
                 What God has arranged for those who love him.

But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way. (I Cor. 2:6-13, MSG)

Are you willing to be scientists and dive into the unknown with God...?

T