Insight from Others

Change vs. Loss.
"People don't fear change as much as they fear loss."Thanks Dr. Steve Brimmer for this insight. It is very helpful.

Never Lost
Erwin McManus, in his book, "Unstoppable Force" describes a time when he was talking to a friend who was going through a time of restoration and renewal. When talking about his future he said, "I don't know the path, so I'm choosing the environment." McManus concludes, "More times than we care to admit, we simply don't know what the next step is. But if our hearts are bound to the heart of God, we are never lost." 
What a thought! 


My Country

Philip Yancey writes an intriguing article in Christianity Today entitled, "A Living Stream in the Desert. How the Christian faith will be a subversive - and liberating - influence in the Middle East."

In it he writes:
"Some in the U.S. judge our nation's success by such measures as gross national product, military might, and global dominance. The Kingdom of God measures such things as care for the downtrodden and love for enemies. In the final reckoning described in Matthew 25, God will judge nations by how they treat the poor, the sick, the hungry, the alien, and the prisoner. How differently would the world view my country if it associated the U.S. with the 'Jesus syndrome' rather than with weapons, wealth, and the Baywatch syndrome?"

It makes me wonder not only about my country, but my life.


Adventure or Quest?

This is one paragraph that I can't help but quote. Kevin Ford, in his book, Transforming Church, writes about helping a church change to become outward focused:

"I believe most churches fail in the journey of change because they start off offering people an adventure rather than a quest. As I state in chapter 1, Tolkien writes that an adventurer seeks treasure without the necessity of transformation, while someone on a quest is forever changed, often in the very process of losing a treasure. Church leaders often promise that being a Christian will yield great treasure, but they fail to understand Christ's central paradox concerning purpose: 'If you give up your life for me, you will find it' (Matthew 10:39). Reaching out involves loss - a loss of comfort, a loss of self-focus, and perhaps a loss of some personal enjoyment."
(pg. 125)

Thanks Kevin for this insight.

Enjoy the journey, it will change your life.

Years ago, I attended a men’s convention listening to Jeff Brawner, a pastor in Southern California at the time.  He used a funny illustration that I now pass on to you. It may be dated, but still relevant. 
Once there was a man driving down the road following a large truck. At a stop light the truck driver got out and pulled out a baseball bat from behind the seat and went all around the truck banging on the sides. He jumped back in the truck and drove off. This was obviously puzzling to the man following the truck. At the next light the truck driver stopped the truck did the same thing. He jumped out of the truck, pulled out the bat and ran around the truck banging on the side, got back in and drove off. At the next light it happened again. This was too much for the man following to handle. At the gas station the truck driver pulled in and the man following had to stop and ask. “What in the world are you doing?” “Why are you beating on your truck at every stop light?” The man responded, “That’s easy, you see, I have a two ton truck and four tons of canaries. I have to keep half of them in the air at all times.”

I feel this way sometimes with church, family, commitments, job, ministry (my job), etc, etc... It sometimes seems like it's impossible to keep the canaries flying. When this happens, it's very important that we create space to get alone with God, collect our thoughts and allow God to speak to us.   

Jesus was very intentional about carving out time for his Father. It seems in scripture that the more hectic his schedule the more time he deliberately, intentionally, set aside time to pray. We, on the other hand, feel like we do not have any more time for God because life is too busy. This is a guarantee for powerless living. If we are going to successfully navigate through this rat race we are going to have to make time to spend with our Heavenly Father.

Mark 1:35 says "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed." Quite simply, Jesus lived a very disciplined life and he knew what he had to do to stay effective in his ministry: He had to create space for his Father.  It consistently connected him with his purpose and mission: to redeem the world through love.

Don't let the canaries weigh you down.