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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Increase and Decrease

August 20, 2018 2 comments

Somewhere along the way I quit trying to build an audience.

Oh, I used to try all the tricks.  I commented on other’s blogs.  I tried to guest-post on certain blogs.  I would wake up at 4:30 so that I could write blogposts, read and post.  I really wanted my blog to blow up.

Then I gave out.  I was worn out.  It exhausted me.

I wonder if that’s what happened to John the Baptist.

He was called by God to tell Israel to repent because the kingdom of God was at hand.

John drew a big crowd.  People repented.  He baptized a lot of people.

Then he was done.

Jesus came along.  People began following him.  He made some comments about a political figure’s lifestyle and he was imprisoned.

His attitude throughout that?

I must decrease.  He must increase.

His time was over.  Sure, he wondered a bit in prison, but he pretty much knew that he had done his job.

I wonder if that’s why Christians get tired, worn out and burned out.

We try to do a whole lot of stuff that really should be up to Jesus.

We try to win people with our own skills and rhetoric instead of the word and Holy Spirit.

We try to work at everything.  We try to become the big fish in a little pond.  We can go on and on.

We try to increase ourselves, our ministries, our work, our blogs.

What if we really tried to find our lane and our niche.  What if God wants you to help park cars at church?  What if God never wants you to be an upper level manager?

What if?

What if he increased and we decreased?

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His Adventure

July 30, 2018 1 comment

One of the coolest things I see in the Bible is when people immediately follow Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is walking by the sea and Peter, James and John drop their nets and follow Him.

Phillip is sent down to talk to the Ethiopia eunuch and tells him about the Gospel.

Paul and Barnabas head out on a missionary journey after the church prays and fasts seeking the Lord’s will.

It’s equally disheartening when people get ahead of God in what He’s got in store. That’s how Moses ended up killing an Egyptian and spending 40 years out in the desert.

For the past several years, I’ve had the privilege to spend my Sunday mornings at a campground sharing the Gospel and Jesus with folks. I’ve built fantastic relationships and wonderful friendships.

At some point, almost all good things come to an end.

Life happens. Circumstances have happened that keeps me from giving my all to this ministry as I have in the past.

The interesting thing is that I’ve felt the Lord leading me to the end of this for a while. Maybe I should have moved along sooner.

Regardless, He has made it abundantly clear that now is the time to stop.

I’m no longer doing this ministry that I have been doing for the past 15 years or so.

I could be sad. Sure, there is a tinge of that.

But for the first time in a few weeks I feel like I’m truly following the Lord’s lead. I’ve dropped my nets. I’m moving in the direction He’s sending me.

Where that is? No idea.

But it’s a new adventure. His adventure.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , ,

Origin Stories

July 25, 2018 2 comments

I love a good origin story.

A young man is attending the show with his parents. A lowlife approaches them demanding their money. When they resist, the parents are shot leaving the boy all alone, save a kindhearted butler. Driven by those events to the point of demanding justice and revenge, young Bruce becomes someone, something else as he grows into adulthood.

During a field trip, a high school student is bitten by a spider. Selfishness costs him the opportunity to stop the man who would later kill his uncle. Driven by guilt and grief, Peter realizes that with great power comes great responsibility.

There are countless others. People all around us with origins of their own. It’s even in the Bible.

A fisherman is told by a carpenter to follow him. He does so for three years. He has a bad moment and denies the carpenter three times. Later, Peter is restored and becomes one of the central leaders of those that follow the Way.

A man holds a crowd’s coats while they stone one they consider a blasphemer. He’s on the fast track to greatness and power. He takes a trip to Damascus to round up a group of these traitors of the faith until he is knocked off his horse by a great Light that speaks to him. Saul’s later Paul’s, course of life changes direction quickly.

There are others that could be mentioned. A father of a nation. A man who sees a burning bush. A shepherd who would later become king.

They all had origin stories.

So do you. This is how it was. I met Jesus. Now it’s like this.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come.

What’s your origin story?

Awkward

July 18, 2018 3 comments

I saw him as he was pumping gas.  My heart sank a bit.  I didn’t really want to talk to him.

He finished pumping his gas and started walking in to pay.  “Why didn’t he just pay at the pump so I don’t have to talk to him?”, I thought to myself.

That’s not a good attitude.  I quickly recovered and decided to greet him warmly.

“Hey, ________, how are you?”, I said.

I got something like a dismissive grunt back.  Schwew.  It wasn’t just awkward for me.

I used to know him fairly well.  I even remember one of that last real one-on-one conversations I had with him.  I ran into him about 40 miles from our houses.  He told me about his changing beliefs, some of which I consider bedrock items of the faith.  He told me about a preacher he liked who I think is a heretic.

Not long ago, before the gas pumping incident,  I had a chance to listen to him talk. Not a real conversation.  More like listening to him talk about all the things he likes, things I found a hard time lining up with the faith we (once?) shared.

I don’t know if he has shipwrecked his faith.  I worry much more about shipwrecking my own. I don’t know if he believes.  Maybe he always believed differently. I can’t really judge his heart.

I just know that the encounter was awkward.  Awkward listening to him talk.  Awkward running into him.

And I wonder how Jesus would have me overcome the awkwardness.

Categories: Christianity Tags: , ,

Getting Back In Shape

July 16, 2018 1 comment

I’m struggling.  A few months ago, I was running three miles in the morning and then walking one for a cool down.  Everything was cool.  My fitness level was improving.  Then I fell off the wagon.

I had a layoff for a little while.  Now I’m trying to get back at it and I’m not anywhere near that fitness level.  Maybe it’s because it’s a lot warmer at 5:30 in the morning during July compared to March, but I’m hitting a wall.  Mentally I’m wondering if I’ll ever get back.  Will I ever be able to run 5 miles or 9 or a 15k (all current goals)?

This is not unlike my blogging. This is my second post back. Would it be smart to jump back to writing a post every day? How about one a week? Then two and three. Then more if it works.

I think that it’s like that in our spiritual lives.  We go along really well for a while.  We’re reading a ton of scripture.  Our prayer life is awesome.  Then life happens and we begin to slack off.  Not excure for it, but it happens.

Then we want to get back at it.  We start reading the Bible.  Genesis and Exodus go well, but then we run into Leviticus.  Or 1 Chronicles.  Or Job.

We’re not ready for all of that.  We’re not in “shape.”  We can’t read the Bible that way or for that long or whatever parameter we want to put on it.  We can’t pray for hours or take on nearly as many things at church as we did before.

We need to do what we can.  Run a mile and walk one.  Read the Bible for 10 minues.  Pray for 5.

Do what we can.  Ask the Lord to help us do more as we’re ready.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Now back to getting in shape.

Are You Trying To Live Christianity “Correctly” Part 2?

October 28, 2014 3 comments

I got the idea for yesterday’s post from this post from my friend, Eileen.  I meant to link it, but forgot to go back and do it.  Sorry Eileen.

*****

Today I want to follow up on yesterday’s post.  Rob and Bill mentioned what I was hinting around at.  They brought up the “L” word…legalism.

Too often we grow up in a tradition where we are taught legalism.  We believe that we have to follow the rules, check the boxes, make the right steps to be right with God.

We have to live Christianity “correctly” to have any worth in His eyes.  This is one of the greatest tricks of the enemy, as He knows how gracious our God is and does everything he can to fool us into missing that.

Fortunately, Jesus lived life “correctly” so that we don’t have to.  And so that we can.

*****

You see without Christ, we have no hope.  We can’t live correctly.  It’s not possible.  We have no chance.  He looked at the Father and said, “Let me do it for them.  They can’t do it.”  And the Father said for him to go for it.

Now, though, the Father has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.  It’s only post coming to Christ that we have a chance to live correctly.  Not through our own power.  No, now positionally, we are living correctly.  And through His power we are moving daily toward living “correctly” in reality.

So, no, I can’t live “correctly” on my own.  But I can when He does it through me.

What a glorious God we have.

Are you living “correctly”?

 

 

Are You Trying To Live Christianity “Correctly”?

October 27, 2014 6 comments

My friend, Eileen, wrote a post a couple of days ago.  In it she made a statement that struck a chord with me.

For too many years I had it wrong. I thought way too much about how to be a Christian, “correctly.”

I think that is a problem that I have faced for much of my life.  If it’s a problem from me, I bet that it’s a problem that many others have faced.  There’s just one problem.

What does being a Christian “correctly” look like?

*****

It seems that many of us have a picture of what correct Christianity looks like in our minds.  We probably have some similarities, but we also have many differences.  We take a snapshot of it with our mental camera.  Our own personal photograph becomes “correct” Christianity.  Others become wrong.  That is until we grow to the point where we understand that each picture may stand on its own merits.

My picture is no better than yours.  Yours is no better than mine.  No one person’s is necessarily right or wrong.  We’re all on a journey.  Our goal is Christ.

How do we do Christianity correctly?  We pursue Jesus.  We might falter taking a few steps.  We might take a few different paths.  But if He is our aim, we’re headed in the right direction.

Have you been guilty of trying to live Christianity “correctly”?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,