I came across this quote the other day and I could not help but agree.
“The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians, and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes- a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The greatest danger to the Christian church today is that of pitching its message too low.” - Dallas Willard
I agree…I think that the greatest agent for change is through the church.
This is our time to rise up with the power of the gospel. With the living power of Christ within us, and change this world.
It’s time to dream the biggest.
pray the impossible.
and believe the incomprehensible.
Now is the time.
Answer me this one question on this most whimsical of Wednesdays:
What is absolutely your most favorite thing to do in the entire world?
Basically if you could do one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?
In other words, what is it that simply brings you the most joy, fulfillment, pleasure, etc?
We live in a fast-paced, quick, impatient, microwave culture. Through our advancements in technology and such, we have become a people with extremely short attention spans and without an ability to focus.
We have lost our patience. We want thing now because anything else is just inconvenient. We are a culture of instant gratification. There are many problems with this. This type of mentality will spill over into our spiritual lives and when it does, it can wreak havoc.
We tend to want spiritual growth and transformation to happen overnight, but it doesn’t work like that. When building a relationship with Christ, there are no shortcuts, tricks, or cheats.
“You can’t microwave spiritual formation.” Pete Wilson
The way to transformation and a deep relationship with Jesus is to allow His presence, grace, and love to truly shape us. We can’t change ourselves. It needs to be more of Him and less of us. We can’t just change by trying harder, you need to train. A person who is out of shape, can’t just decide to run a 4 minute mile by trying harder…they will need to train and train in order to get in shape enough to attempt that time. I can’t just bench press 200 pounds cause I decide to try harder…I have to train in order to lift that weight.
The same goes in our spiritual lives. We can’t expect huge transformation and change just because we want it more, or try harder…we have to train.
We have to build our ‘spiritual muscles.’
Just as it will take an athlete years to train to becoming the best at something, it too will take time to becoming the man or woman God has called us to be. The Christian walk, our spiritual lives and transformations is not a sprint, it is a marathon. It take time and patience…and at the same time urgency.
“In America slow and urgent are not compatible, they cancel each other out. In the Kingdom, patience and urgent are yoked together. The consumer religious culture wants to get things done and they are looking for short cuts to the person God builds over a long time.” Bill Hull
Don’t settle in your relationship with Christ…it is a life-long journey and it deserves your best. Train, don’t just try.
How are you doing lately?
It’s always good to do some routine check-ups on yourself and evaluate where you are really at…
Are you struggling or are you thriving?
Here is a video that may get some things started…just click and enjoy. (my church made this.)
How can I help you? How can I pray for you?
Formulaic faith does not work!
At one point or another, we all fall into the trap of having a formulaic faith. As humans, we like formulas. We like knowing that A + B = C; we prefer to do things that have formulas…if I do this and this, I’ll get that. It’s especially easy for the long-time Christian to fall into this trap of thinking that they have God figured out.
But faith does not work like that.
Sometimes phrases like, You just need to believe more, or have more faith, bother me. I mean, what do those even really mean? A lot of times the answers to our questions and our problems are a lot more complicated than simply “believing” more.
God is God. He is omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign, creator of the Heavens and the earth. He will not be put into a box. And He certainly will not be distilled down to an easy, simple formula.
I have seen that sometimes we tend to take certain principles in Scripture or trends in the church and create formulas to follow and live by…but this is dangerous. Just as it is dangerous to build your theology off of one single verse, the same goes for creating formulas. You are setting yourself up for disappointment when God doesn’t come through for you the way you though He should.
Do miracles occur on the other side of obedience? Yes. But if we are obedient, are we guaranteed a miracle? No we aren’t.
Does prayer work? Does it heal the sick and mend emotional wounds and scares? Yes. But when you pray, you are not guaranteed to be healed or mended.
With a formulaic faith, you can begin to shape your faith based off of the benefits you could receive…this is another fine line to walk.
- Maybe you tithe just to receive God’s increase.
- Maybe you worship only when you feel the tingles.
- Maybe you seek God only for what you think He will give you.
But none of those things are enough to build a solid foundation.
We need to worship God for who He is, simply because He is God, and not for what we thing He should give us. We should tithe because the money is His to begin with. We should pray to build our relationship and create dialog with Him, and not use Him as some cosmic vending machine.
Avoid having a formulaic faith. Are spiritual rhythms and disciplines important? Absolutely. But don’t confuse those with creating formulas for your faith. Focus on worship God for who He is, seek His face and not just His hand.
Because at the end of the day, His grace is simply enough.
“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’” 2 Cor 12:9
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 [emphasis mine]
Recently, I’ve been in a season of life where I have to choose joy. It is easy to forget that joy is a choice. Since joy is not based on circumstance, it becomes our choice whether or not we are going to have it. The verse above says to give thank in all circumstances. It doesn’t say for all circumstances but in. So even in tough, unexpected, and bad circumstances, we can choose to give thanks or choose joy.
Times have been somewhat bittersweet for me lately and it would be very easy for me to become overwhelmed by my circumstances and let them dictate my outlook. But that is not what I’m choosing to do.
I’m choosing joy.
Being recently engaged after over a year of long-distance dating and will be long-distance for the entire engagement. Being away from your fiancée and planning a wedding together while being 1200 miles apart is not easy. Most days it is so easy to become overwhelmed by all of that, but I’m choosing joy. I focusing on that fact that in less than 3 months, I will be married. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Also, the job that I have requires lots of my time and energy and has crazy hours. Therefore, I have less and less time to actually talk and communicate with family and fiancée and that is not easy. For example, the other day I worked a 12 hour day that started at 4:30pm…Then had to be back at work at 9am!
But I’ll choose joy.
The truth is, I’m blessed to have a job in a tough economy. I’m blessed to be have a nice place to live in and drive a reliable car. I’m blessed to be in great health and not worry about where my next meal will come from.
Crises tend to turn our focus inward and our thinking becomes more selfish…in those moments it is always good to take a step back and add in a little perspective and realize just how blessed we are. Perspective can straighten us out and help us realize the need and importance of choosing joy.
”The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7
Whatever you are going through right now, remember you can choose joy and find the good in every situation.
Are there situations in which you need to choose joy?
Here is the latest update on my cousin Brie.
She is now out of the hospital!
Her and David are sticking around in LA until Brie’s drug trial is over with and then they will make arrangements to move back home.
Her platelet count is now back to normal and just about all of her other numbers are back to normal.
The drugs seem to be working and the biggest difference has been the our prayers. Pray works and we have living proof of that in Brie’s life.
Keep praying and praise God for the works He’s done in her life.
Thank you all.
I apologize for not blogging as much lately. I started a new job a while back and it is physically demanding, and the hours are really weird, so I have had no energy lately. I will get back into the swing of things shortly, but until then, keep checking in as some archive posts will be in the mix.