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random thoughts

We are always busy.

Going from one place to the next, meeting with this person or that, not ever slowing down. For anything.

I am realizing I love staying busy. I love to run. I love to go, go, go and not stop.  I am so much in this pace of life, that if I am not busy, I feel like something is wrong or out-of-place.  I am then, forced to create a “to do list” to work myself up into a state of busyiness again.

I drink coffee so I can think faster.

I run so my heart rate will be increased. (it’s not a work out until it’s at least 180 for 20 minutes)

I worry so my mind has things to obsess over. (what if this, i hope that, maybe here, maybe there)

I don’t know how to go slow and to be okay with open, “non-productive” periods of time. I don’t know how to be goal-driven by the Lord and not by my to do list. I wrote this poem in 10th grade that I remember so vividly.  The last words in the poem were…”my red-hot soul screams…STOP”  These words have been reappearing in my life over the past year.  Is God asking me to stop? Am I ignoring Him, because I know better?  There is so much work to be accomplished on earth.  So many goals to be reached.  I have things I want to do. Things that are important to me. The bigger question for me at this time is:

Who is setting my goals?        Me; or My God.

Do you struggle with these thoughts/questions? What answers have you come to?  How are you doing with slowing down and following the Lord’s leading?  What makes you feel satisfied when you come to the end of a day?

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I have days where I feel the need to deconstruct and rebuild everything. Not physically, my car wouldn’t exist if that were true, but in my life. I wonder if I’m the only one who does this. I begin to think, what got me here? What choices did I  make to get me where i am today? Some days i think about the church in that realm. How did the church get to be the way it is. It is usually on the heels of a comment by a outspoken Atheist I read on a news article or twitter that I begin to think, why does the world look at us this way? Even further, why do I look at us this way?

So I begin to peel back the layers. Usually when people think about the church, they open their Bibles to Acts 2:42. But that’s not far enough. The church didn’t begin at Acts 2:42. Then some go back to Matthew 28, to the great commission, and some even further to Jesus death on the cross. There are some who go to Matthew 16 where Jesus tells Peter that he will be the rock on which Jesus builds his Church.

But that’s not far enough…

I want to suggest that it goes all the way back to creation. That we were created for God’s glory. Isaiah 43:7 says,  “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. So a true understanding of Church goes all the way back to creation.

So if we are created for God’s glory, the most fulfilling thing we can do is to bring him Glory. There it is. The meaning of life in a sentence. But living that out is much more difficult.

So we ask the question, what does it mean to bring God glory. Well first of all we have to look at the narrative that God is telling through the Bible and essentially mankind. That story is that He created us to be in fellowship. That we were created without sin, to walk with God in the garden. But sin separated us from that. And because of that sin, we are eternally separated from God. So we try to build big buildings to get to God and he changes our language. Then God gives us a set of rules to live by to prove that no one is without sin. So we sacrifice animals and become so legalistic to the law that we become self righteous.

But God has a different plan. Even though our sin separated us from God, he was so loving, that he provided the way back to him. Even through our disobedience, sin, murder, hate, racism, pride, and blasphemy, God came down and provided the way back to him through Jesus Christ. And because of Jesus, we can have a eternal relationship with God. Not because of what we’ve do, but because of what he has done. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

But it doesn’t stop there. John 20 says, “As the father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And the Great commission says,  “Go and make disciples.” So it seems that God’s plan for humanity involves the gospel transforming our lives and empowering us practice and proclaim it to others.

So the mission of God, is to bring him glory by demonstrating and declaring his story (the gospel) to everyone we know. And that’s good news.

Recently there has been alot of buzz about this video. It’s really well done, and has a great gospel presentation at the end, but in the words of Amy, “this video is more about hating religion than Jesus.” I tend to agree. I guess I am realizing something about myself that I hate. And now when I see it elsewhere, I hate it too. I’ve realized that I’m a cynic. I can make fun of and dislike pretty much anything. Lately its been overplayed Christian music. And by lately I mean the past 8 years. And to be completely transparent, I think spoken word is lame and annoying.

Anyway back to the video. The premise of the video is spelled out in his one line, “That Jesus and Religion are on opposite spectrums.” Now I understand his desire to separate hypocrisy in the church and Jesus, but I wonder if he is swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction. We cannot discount the fact that Jesus came save us and establish the church. The church is a response to communal salvation. His line, “Jesus had you on his mind” is very pretty and makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but he also had everyone else’s, God’s sovereignty, and a bunch of pain. So you weren’t alone on his mind.

The last part of my rant, is that the book of James talks about religion, and it doesn’t seem like it’s on a different spectrum than Jesus. 1:27 says this: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So the question is not abou getting rid of religion, but remember what the church was made to do. To glorify God by loving the least.

Now somebody make a lame video about how God loves religion, when it does these things, and we can all have something else to talk about.

Sometimes I forget how important what we’re doing is. As we talk to people who are outside our circles, I remember how we need to continue to encourage and empower people to make their faith the most important part of their life. I don’t want to assume that it isn’t for most, but that the way that our lives match up with our faith is so important to our witness to people. We live in a culture that is so scared of ruffling someone else’s feathers and a culture that is so obsessed with the individual and not the collective. I wonder what our great grandparents would think of the way we live. Sometimes I forget…

It’s Christmas eve and instead of spending time with family, I decided to post to my blog. I am amazed at how significant Christmas really is. I guess you do it so much, you forget how important it is to spend time with family and friends and to just enjoy their company. I think the extended family is becoming less and less in our culture and Christmas reminds us how much we need it. No matter how rough it can be, it’s important that we celebrate together.

I wish that I could capture how important this time is. Even as we sit here just hanging out, i realize how much community is a part of life. Because we are so individualistic in our culture, we think that we’re somehow reverting to our childhood if we spend time with family.

This Christmas, i want to think about how important it is for us to spend this time with family. Don’t take it forgranted, but engage in community with your extended family.

As i disengage to write this post….