My life as I follow Jesus Christ, and live life as a husband, father, friend, pastor, runner, coach, and sinner who found forgiveness and favor with God.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summertime Goals Part 2: SPIRITUAL (if there is such a thing)

It's Summertime, and that is a great time to set goals. June 1 - August 28 is 90 days and that's a perfect timeframe to really focus. Last post was about health (and infomercials), this one is about spiritual goals.

I'm not sure I'm in full theological agreement with Rob Bell, but he coined a phrase that I really agree with: "Everything Is Spiritual" meaning there shouldn't be such a thing as the "spiritual" part of life, the "family" part of life, the "work" part of life, etc.. When living life as a true follower of Christ, everything we do is spiritual:

1 Corinthians 10:31 "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Colossians 3:17,23 "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him...And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men"

Now that I've set a theological stance that "everything is spiritual" I'm going to break that mold and set some "spiritual goals" for the summer! (p.s. Even Rob Bell has what they call "spiritual practices" so I guess if he can break the phrase, to clarify a point, I can too!)

Goal #1: Read through the entire Bible in 90 days. I'm going to openly confess that I'm not sure I've ever read through the Bible in a year...but that's not going to keep me from trying to do it in 90 days. Personally, I could care less if you read a verse a day, a chapter a day, really doesn't matter. Everyday there are people out there that read the Bible that don't have an ounce of God's heart in them. Reading alone doesn't change anything - but feeding on the Word of God for revelation and relationship with Jesus does - and that's my summertime plan. It's about 12 pages a day, which is a lot - but I really want to spend this summer with my Bible open, and so it's a goal I have made.

Goal #2: Coming Soon

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summertime Goals Part 1: HEALTH (Infomercials Abound)

Ok, I admit it. I'm a sucker for infomercials. Years ago when I was close to 300 pounds I bought multiple infomercial gadgets such as the ab cruncher, as well as "The Great North American Slim Down Challenge" with Larry North! Ahhh, those were the days. The sad thing is that the only thing that got slimmer was my wallet.

Then one day I decide to just start living healthy, eating right, exercising, etc. and Wah-La! 115 pounds later I had a story that people wanted to know about!

The problem is that all that weight loss happened years ago now - and after trying to lose 10 pounds since November, I've succumed to the fact that I don't have the drive and discipline to just get it done on my own. So, despite my horrible track record, I'm going back to Infomercial Land in search of some discipline and drive that will get me to the place of health that I know I need to have to fulfill everything God has called me to be and do.

Beginning June 1, 2009 I'll be busting out the P90X. According to them I'm going to "get absolutely ripped in just 90 days...hmm. I'd actually just prefer to not jiggle when I go running. You have no idea how much jiggle can take place on a 20 mile long run while training this summer for the Portland Marathon!

When I lost all my wieght the one thing I didn't do is put on muscle - and 4 years later I'm still lacking in the "ripped" category.

Fitness: CHECK
Food: Uh. Yeah, that's the true beast.

To get my mind back on track for what is healthy, what is appropriate portions, and what "well-balanced" looks like, I'll be joining Weight Watchers this Summer. I've never done it before, but I'm looking forward to the accountability and fresh approach to healthy living. As a Christ-follower I'm also excited to have a chance to meet new people in the weekly meetings and hopefully build relationships with people in an effort to spread some love to people who need it!

So there you go:
- Portland Marathon (30-40 miles a week)
- P90X (1 hour a day)
- Weight Watchers Momentum Program

Summer health awaits!

Next Blog - Summertime Goals Part 2: SPIRITUAL

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Be the change?" Sorry Mr. Gandhi - you missed it

Mahatma Gandhi is famous for the words "be the change you want to see in this world". I can appreciate this to some degree...instead of pointing fingers or complaining, we need to do/be what we can do to bring about solutions to injustice. If there are hungry people - we need to be the change - we need to feed them. I get that. I like that. I am doing that more and more.

But I'm sorry Mr. Gandhi - you missed it. We don't have what it takes. We cannot self help our way to solutions. We are absolutely incapable of creating any change that will truly change the lives and destinies of the broken and hurting around us. We can give them food, but "what good is it if a man gains the whole world and yet forfeit's his soul"?

That is why we must pray.

Christians are in danger of blending in with all the humanistic thinking which is so prevalent in our culture today, that "preaches" we can change the world. Pastors and leaders are gathering and trying to come up with the latest and greatest ideas on how to be effective. I love these kinds of meetings. I'm a strategy junkie...but it may need to stop.

We can't do it on our own. We can't come up with Social Justice ideas, we can't come up with strategic programming ideas, we can't formulate ways to truly impact the culture. We don't have what it takes.

If you are a Christian - please hear me: stop trying to figure out plans - and return to your knees and pray.

Pray first...
Be the change second...

If you get those two mixed up you'll be wasting your time.

2 Timothy 2:1-3 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.

Philippians 4:6
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Philemon 1:6
and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ

If you're not praying - you're spinning your wheels - and spending time formulating plans without the true power that is necessary to see real change take place.

If you are not a Christian...maybe it's time to ask yourself....for all the effort you make trying to make yourself better, and trying to make the world a better place - as admirable as that is...I'd like you to consider the power of a surrendered life. A life that finally allows Jesus to have the controls. Jesus said "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." As you turn your life to him - He will empower you, and give you the strength to "be the change" this world needs. You won't have to be fake - you won't be forced into "good works". You'll be transformed, and God will live inside of you and give you a new heart and new desires.

Let's all stop trying so hard - and get back to prayer and ask God to release His will and power into this world to bring the true transformations that need to take place.

Pray as if it all depends on God
Live as if it all depends on you.
In that order.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Avoiding God by reading the Bible?

I have a confession: I hide from reading my Bible.

You see, it is so easy for me to have a quiet time "with God" by reading my Bible, and yet never really truly hear from Him, confess to Him, and depend on Him. Nothing like cramming my 5,10,30, or 60 minute "alone time" with God with Bible reading from start to finish.

We often find Scriptures such as these...
  • Mark 1;35 "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed."
  • Luke 4:42 "And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place."
  • Matthew 14:23 "And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone..."
  • Luke 5:15,16 "But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray."
  • James 5: 16b,17 "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous have great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth."
Notice how it doesn't say that Jesus "got alone and read the Scriptures"...notice it doesn't say that "the effective, fervent Bible-reading of the righteous..."

I've been asking I hiding from God by reading the Bible? Do I need to just put it down, and truly be still, seek Him, and allow the relationship He desires to cultivate?

Don't get me wrong - Bible reading is absolutely powerful and necessary. It is described in Hebrews 4:12 as "alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." But if I am truly honest with myself - my Bible reading can take the place of true face to face encounter with the Living God.

How about you - do you hide behind your Bible? How else do you find yourself being "godly" while actually avoiding Him?