Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Sometimes the most astounding and distressing thing about our lives as Christians is the lack of a sense that there is really any pressure connected with how we move forward into whatever lies before us in the Story that we have fallen into.
Naturally, who would want the pressure? Our lives are already awash with anxiety, panic, the tyranny of the urgent. Those bills have to be paid NOW or they're going to shut off our electricity or repossess our car. If the grass isn't mowed THIS weekend, it'll be too tall to get through it with that lawnmower that's put in good service, but has seen better days. If we don't get that project in the mail TODAY we are going to have some very angry clients, maybe jeapordize the whole business. If I don't come up with an incredibly romantic date SOON, that relationship might be headed for the rocks.
And so it goes...
There's no question that we understand the need to "git 'er done". Whether it's human nature or not, it's certainly the spirit of this Age. In almost every area of our lives, choices come with consequences.
So what are we doing wandering through our spiritual journey like it's one big invitation to spend an afternoon at the mall, or the zoo, or the beach?
Sure, Grace is a pretty big deal in Christianity. There's plenty of it to be had, and most of us don't mind standing in line as often as it takes to get all that we need and then some.
I get that.
But even though it is "grace that leads me home", and grace that carries us so often along the Way, there are still other components to our creation as image bearers, made in the likeness of God. Even in the midst of our addiction to grace, we never fully extinguish our longing to have something expected of us.
John Eldredge writes "Oh how we long for this - for a great endeavor that draws upon our every faculty, a great 'life's work' that we could throw ourselves into".
And your heart says, "Yes." That sentiment is not the sort of thing a preacher has to exort you to do your best (with the help of your accountability group) to manufacture.
It's just there.
It's in you.
Your soul leaps at the suggestion.
I think it's safe to say that we were made to feel that way.
So who do you know that treats the next 24 hours in their relationship with God, with Jesus, and with the whole Unseen Realm like it is something more than a walk in the park, a pasttime, a hobby for the 'good' people of the world, the last thing on their list of what really needs to get attended to NOW?
This is why cultivating an 'epic' mindset is so vitally important. Because, to some degree, the Quest does stand upon the edge of a knife. Ground is being won or lost right now, today, that has HUGE implications on the Journey ahead -- both for you and for those that need you.
"Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all..."
May we all inject our spiritual lives with some of that sense of importance and urgency...
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
How different would your take on Life be if you thought the One who designed the whole shebang...well...wanted you to find Him? To know Him? Intimately, like a friend, or like the kind of Daddy you wish you had but never really did?
It was during the Christmas holidays (not surprisingly) that during some time alone in prayer, I felt this phrase from the Dickens classic leap to mind: "Come in man! Come in and know me better!" If you are a fan of the George C. Scott film version, you will have the same mental picture I had of the Ghost of Christmas Present, in all is warmth and jocularity, practically laughing out his lines as he summoned the terrified Ebenezer Scrooge into his presence.
Sure, I could have conjured up the words out of my own memory cells. Maybe I did. But, oh, the thrill in that moment of thinking that this was what God was saying! Really, Father? You really want me to throw open the door and come closer? You wont snuff out the light and disappear into the darkness like elves caught unawares in the forest at night? Could I dare believe it?
In the midst of all the hustle and clamor of your life, what have you come to believe - not in theory, but deep in the unspoken places of your heart - about God's attitude towards intimacy...towards drawing close and becoming increasingly knowable...towards sharing Himself with you?
Oh, I know a lot of people who are growing in their theoretical knowledge about God.
But who do I know that is living out this invitation to "come in and know Him better?"
Who do you know that's living like that?
It's arguable, you know, that if this Christian thing is remotely accurate, then the whole purpose of our existence is to know God. Personally. Intimately. Increasingly. The fact that this is just about the last thing happening in most people's lives is one more VERY BIG claim for the worldview that fuels the Warrior's Path: quite simply that spiritual warfare is the context of our Story; that, like it or not, we are at War. Assailed. Besieged. Opposed at all costs from discovering all that God is offering.
"Come in man!" (Said with cheery welcome and abundant mirth, you'll remember!) "Come in and know me better!"
Or, as Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him..."
When I think about all the lies about God that I have come to believe in...
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.”
October 1, 2011 – 5:59AM; 49 degrees; Littleton, Colorado.
It’s dark out and I (David) can still see stars above as I sit wrapped in my sleeping bag out on the deck. Mornings are always chilly at 6,000 ft. and a 40 degree swing during the day is not
unusual here at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills. There is just the faintest hint of light on
the eastern horizon and everything is quiet and still.
There’s no other way to say it. Yesterday was a disaster. I failed in almost every respect. A mere five days in to our new 90 day challenge and I allowed myself to be crushed by the Enemy. It started with giving into sexual temptation online, which is by far my greatest and most consistent struggle. Then it spiraled out of control from there. I barely managed a double digit point total for the day which is far below our target goal. I went to bed last night dejected and discouraged.
But thank God for his beautiful design where each morning you can start anew. I woke before my alarm with the above quote from C.S. Lewis in my mind - “pick yourself up, and try again.”
So I’m out on the deck on this Saturday morning while most are still sleeping. Just spending time with our Father. Dwelling on His beauty, thanking Him for His forgiveness, and appreciating who He is. I make a conscious decision to forgive myself for the failures of yesterday. The Enemy will try to use our failures and sin as a club to fill us with guilt and shame and convince us to stop fighting. However, I have repented and God has forgiven me and doesn’t even remember my failures of yesterday. So I choose to do the same. I spend 90 minutes with Him, praying, reading I Peter 1, interceding for family and friends and reading a chapter from one of my favorite Brennan Manning books, The Rabbi’s Heartbeat.
I am struck by these words from Manning:
“The Christian commitment is not an abstraction. It is a concrete, visible, courageous, and formidable way of being in the world forged by daily choices consistent with inner truth. A commitment that is not visible in humble service, suffering discipleship, and creative love is an illusion.”
And I am reminded, once again, how important the disciplines are and how important this 90 day challenge is.
I finish my morning time with the Lord and get an enjoyment of beauty point by listening to the fifth movement of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony while I enjoy the sunrise. Absolutely gorgeous. (6 points; sunrise, time with God (2), intercession, reading, enjoyment of beauty.)
I then take a 25 minute hike before breakfast and get a cardio point. (1 point; cardio.)
Returning from a few hours enjoying bright yellow aspens among the evergreens with a deep Colorado blue sky in the background, I head to the gym to work out and do a session of kickboxing. (2 points; gym workout, physical warrior training.)
Then, I meet up with my brother-in-law and train him for 45 minutes (he has asked me to help him lose weight and get in shape and he is doing great. Down almost 15 pounds already!) (1 point; random act of generosity (time).)
In the evening after supper I spend some time praying with my Mom who is battling a terrible shingles infection in her eye. She has rather constant nerve pain around her eye and we keep praying for a healing breakthrough. (3 points; battling for someone in prayer.)
By the end of the day I have compiled seven additional points. (7 points; sexual
purity, eating with discipline, vow of poverty, vow of silence, working on
After the disappointment of yesterday, I began the day resolved to fight even harder and had my most successful day yet on the new program – 20 points.
We would love to hear how you are progressing with the new challenge and hope that when you fail, and you will, that you will pick yourself up, set your face like flint, and try again.