Saturday, March 10, 2012
Sorry, but artist attribution was nearly impossible to come by, but I had to devote some space to one of the most beloved characters in the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes -
Friday, March 09, 2012
Are we sure about this?
Self-care is incredibly important for men and women. Self-care is to recognize that the creator God has given me my physical, emotional, intellectual, and relational self and has called me to care for his creation. I do so as a part of my stewardship before him. Self-care is not selfishness. Rather, it is to recognize that caring for the self is actually a blessing to others.OK - somewhere in there is a point worth making, but the language makes awfully hard to find. There is no doubt in my mind that God intends for us to be of sound mind and body in order to be able to care for others. I think one of the great failings of the church today is that it focus so hard on reaching out that it fails to care for its primary tool to reach out - those already in. There is a balance here somewhere, but to say "Self-care is a gift to another," is putting a bit too directly.
- Self-care is to recognize that I bless others in the body of Christ by nurturing and caring for my own walk with the Lord.
- Self-care is to take care of my physical body. To care for what God has given me that I might serve him fully throughout the days of my life on this earth.
- Self-care is to pay attention to my emotional self. How many people have ignored their emotional fatigue only to use some very poor judgment regarding an ethical or moral decision?
- Self-care is to understand that I need relationships. I need friends. Something is wrong whenever I manage to burn bridges with most everyone I get close to. Something is wrong when I wall myself off from people.
I could go on and on. Think about the instructions given by flight attendants every time we fly. Suppose you are flying with children. The cabin pressure drops and the oxygen masks appear. What does the flight attendant say? Put yours on first. Then put a mask on your children. You are in a better position to help your children if you have first practiced self-care.
Our sinful selves are simply incapable of indulging self-anything without the self taking over. Example - me weight loss. I have lost weight many times before in my life and always gained it back plus. So far, this is the longest I have ever gone without regaining. Why? This was about my wife, not me. Fact is - my "self-care" pretty much consists of sitting around, watching TV and eating myself gigantic.
But, I want to be with my wife, I want to be active with my wife, I do not want to abandon her with an early death. My weight loss is not self-care it's wife-care.
IF it is a gift - self is never involved.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Doing Hard Things
Yet, in avoiding what is hard or difficult, we may miss a breakthrough.A basketball coach that I admire, who borrowed it from a military general, used to say, "I want my players to fear me more than the opponent. That way the game will be easy for them."
This is what I’ve learned. I have also experienced moments when I realized that my fear was keeping me bogged down and stuck.Often, when I take a step toward doing what is hard, I have experienced breakthroughs. At times, I have realized there is great joy in persevering. At other times, I found that God gave me strength where I thought I had none.
Fear never results in freedom.
So here is what I am trying to do. I want to look fear in the eye. I want to look at the situation that I am avoiding (or rationalizing) and take one step in the right direction. Is this something that you need to do as well?
Look fear in the eye and then step into it. Trust that God will be with you (read chapter one in the book of Joshua). Thank God for that first step and then take another. At the end of the day, know that you’ve made real progress. Is the situation fixed? Is it better? Not necessarily. You, however, will not be the same. In fact, you are breaking free.
That quote came to mind when I read this post, as did this bit of scripture:
Proverbs 9:9-11:There is a good reason not to treat God like a cosmic buddy.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For through wisdom your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Unity is effemoral at best, mythical probably. It is not going to happen in a real world where people can think for themselves.
TO be honest - I have quit church boards where the pastor demanded "unity." I have seen the demand used as a cudgel - a filibuster of sorts to eventually make everyone vote for the same thing. At some point the desire for "unity" become little more than the desire to prove one is the smartest in the room or wants to be a dictator.
I always come back to the fact that we should encourage leaders int he church to think for themselves - the idea is to breed leaders that breed leaders that breed leaders.
But then a lot of Christian "leaders" are not interested in that - they are interested in in being up front, having their egos stroked, and proving they are in charge - often becasue they did not like who was in charge when they were just "students."
This is not unlike when the disciples asked Jesus who would be first - the entire line of questioning is wrong.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
An Immature Way To Look At Church
I pastor a church that at one time was a wannabe Saddleback (only exponentially smaller), dispensational, Arminian congregation. When I began to lead we benefitted much from 9 marks and advice from Mark and his crew. We have elders, we preach expositionally and we are pretty unified. My question is “how much unity is necessary among those who are teaching?” I serve with faithful and godly elders and deacons, but spending much of their life under different teaching has heavily influenced them and they continue to teach the default positions. For instance, eschatology. Something that is always controversial and something not worthy of dividing over. But there is obvious tension between my classes and preaching and other elders’ views. And we all know eschatology is far more than just future events; it’s at the core of the overlap of the ages and the way we interpret scripture in general. Anyway, this is not the only issue, but it is a good example of something important but not essential. If the senior pastor is the lead visionary and lead teacher, how do we handle other elders who are strongly in disagreement with particular views? We all laugh about our differences, try to persuade one another sometimes, and continue to love each other like crazy; I just wonder what effect this has on the congregation. Any thoughts? Is this just my own pride in wanting my view to win the day?Is church really about unity in teaching and viewpoint? Heck - there was division amongst the apostles for crying out loud! I personally think that God wants a lot of diversity of teaching and opinion in the church because it is in how we handle that disagreement that our character is both shown and corrected. It is in that disagreement that we are shaped into God's men and women.
It is immature to think that church is supposed to be a bunch of mind-numbded robots. Such a view does not seek to build real followers of Christ - it seeks to build followers of the preacher!
The job of anyone in Christian leadership is to help shape people into people that read, understand, pray, meditate and THINK for themselves.
Monday, March 05, 2012
From Whence Sin?
“Insecurity results from egotism,” someone wrote on Twitter recently.What a stark and very true thought. Focus on our pain is a form of selfishness.
That single sentence so jarred me the moment I read it that I neither responded to nor noted the name of the writer. The words have made me think and I’ve concluded that while insecurity may have many sources, personal vanity is definitely one of them.
How often do we use pain as an excuse to focus attention on ourselves? At least it is often used as am excuse to withdraw.
HOW OFTEN DO WE PRAY FOR OUR WILL WHEN WE SHOULD BE PRAYING FOR HIS? "Take this pain away...Make me happy...I wish...."
How often when we do service is it to relieve our own anxiety? We serve to have company, to have a place to share our pain. Is that really service?
Sacrifice is not the issue here - simply a lack of focus on self.