Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shake it up baby

With our recent move from New Mexico to Pennsylvania, a lot of routines got turned upside down. My new job has totally different patterns from my old position. We are still trying to find the right church for our family and no matter which one it ends up being, it will be different from our old church. Together time with the family is different now. I used to exercise by playing basketball a few times each week. Now my exercise is cutting and splitting wood. As I write this, it's hard to think of anything that is exactly the same. Even the pastors I listen to on my way to and from work are different. I have to say I didn't like that at first. I was so used to the 4 or 5 regular guys I heard on my New Mexico station. These guys seemed to pale in comparison. But after awhile, I noticed that I was getting a lot more out of listening to these new pastors. They were speaking about familiar topics but presenting in ways that were different from what I was used to. Ultimately, it was a good shake up for me. I was too comfortable and didn't even know it. There is a fine line between routine and rut. And the most dangerous ruts are those we don't even know we're in. The shake up has been hard but it has been good. I would highly recommend occasionally shaking up your own routines. Maybe you always seem to read the new testament. Crack open the beginning of the bible for a change. Take a small break from your small group and visit a different one. Pick a Sunday and visit a different church. Maybe do something as simple as sitting some place different on Sunday. Whatever it is, just shake up your routine every now and then. It might reveal some ruts you didn't know about.

Have a great week.
Your brother,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In order

Where have I been? What have I been doing? I guess the short answer is "getting my house in order". In the most literal sense, we've been settling into the new house, schools, job, and routine. But in a less literal way, there are aspects of my spiritual house that I've been getting in order as well. Let me explain.

Initially, I intended to continue writing these messages during the move. But then the transition activities overwhelmed me and it just wasn't possible. I have to say, it felt good... Like some weight had been lifted... And the fact that it felt good really bugged me. I thought and reflected on it a lot. Every time someone asked me when I was going to start back up again it made me reflect even more. After all, I love to write. I love to study God's word. I love to share the things God is teaching me. So why was I enjoying, and prolonging the hiatus? Was it just a phase I would work through? Was it a spiritual attack? Slowly the answer began to dawn on me. And I think what was affecting me affects many Christians. In a nut shell, I was coming to God as an employee instead of as His child. I spent more time asking for guidance on the next message and less time enjoying Him as my heavenly father. In the process of asking for more and more to share, I was growing less. I had to re-learn what came so natural when I was a new believer. I had to re-learn the joy of just hanging out with Him.

In retrospect, I think about it in terms of my own children. I give them chores on occasion but that is only one small sliver of our relationship. If they only ever came to me as the one who hands out tasks, I would be offended. I would miss all the other aspects of our relationship. So this week let's pray about this. The question to ask is - am I acting like an employee? Are deadlines and expectations causing me to cheapen my relationship? And if you aren't falling into this trap, perhaps you know a friend or family member who is. Additionally, pray for the leaders in your church. I'm guessing they are no strangers to this struggle.

Going forward, I plan to frequently check myself to make sure I'm remembering my sonship. That means I'm going to write when I have something to share - not just because another week has gone by. I may write more frequently... I may write less. I'll leave that up to my father. I'd love to hear any thoughts you may have.

Have a great week,
Your brother,