“I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor. . . . I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God’s image in the other. . . . I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end.”
Rhonda Frazier (Super Science Mom) recommended 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Amazon link) to me. Well, really, she recommended it to all her closest friends on Facebook. I bought it yesterday for my Kindle (it was $2.99 yesterday, $4.99 today) and I’m already about two chapters into it.
Excess in our Lives
I know, all that detail is probably not all that important to you, but here’s the deal. This book is really kicking my tail. It’s making me think about the way I approach life and how much stuff I have and why I have it. Excessive stuff. It’s making me think about my (sometimes bad) attitude in light of the fact that God has richly blessed me and I’m surrounded but stuff nearly as far as I can see. It’s made me see a little of the excess in my life.
Now, I’ve been working with the idea of a more minimalist life for several months. I’ve subscribed to a few blogs and I’ve known that I have more stuff than I need and that often my love of stuff is stealing my joy. I know that my life is cluttered. Yours probably is too.
The struggle, though, is knowing how to approach it. Sure, there’s a part of me that likes the siren call of Zen minimalism. But I don’t really buy into the Eastern mysticism thing. And, devoid of that, my only foundation is (or was) not being wasteful and trying to make myself happier. Continue reading
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.
There was a time when children in the United States were required to make a declaration of dependence in school. That time has passed and it’s no longer mandated in our public schools but it does not change that we are all dependent entirely on God’s mercy and grace. That we, as citizens of our cities, nations, and the world need his blessing. His blessing for us, for our families, and those in leadership.
Why not take a minute today to remember your dependence on God? And become a living declaration of dependence.
It’s Friday afternoon. By now, many people are off work and headed to wherever they go. But, before you unplug (and I hope you do unplug), take a minute to answer this question:
Have YOU been hanging on for the weekend?
In other words, is your weekly life so bad that you live for the escape of the weekend? Or are you able to live an integrated life where you’re fully engaged in your work and your family, your vocation and your avocations?
Sure, it’s great to look forward to things. I look forward to holidays and vacations. I want to unplug and to spend some quality time with my family. I’ve been known to watch a movie or head out to the park. We need to recharge.
And, no, my life is not all fun and games. Or puppies and rainbows. But it’s a good life and life – this life – is God‘s gift. A precious and valuable gift. A treasure.
So I’m not trying to escape my life. I’m trying to live it.
Are you trying to escape your life?
If so, what are you going to do about it?
It’s important to know what’s right. But it’s also important to do what’s right.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:22-25 (ESV)
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
James 4:17 (ESV)
Sometimes I struggle with this. I know what to do but, because I’m selfish I don’t do what’s right. Or because I’m afraid. But, in any event, I still have room to grow. How about you?
Bless God that there’s still hope!
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:6-10 (ESV)
Lord, in your mercy continue to work in the lives of your saints – including me – to bring your kingdom to earth. Grant that we might move in righteousness, peace, joy, and hope. That our lives might be marked by your mercy.
Our lives can inspire others to make lasting changes. But before we get into that I need your help for just a moment.
I need you to think back to a time when you made a lasting change. I’m sure you’ve made one, so just take a moment now to think about it.
Do you have it?
If so, cool. If not, just pause for a moment longer to get it in your head.
Now, as you think about the change you made, I’d also like for you to think about what led up to your change. What was it? What was your motivation? Continue reading
How do YOU choose a church? This tweet from Scotty Smith made me think yesterday.
I know what I look for in a church, though I’ve not looked for a long time since I’ve been at my church for over 13 years now. I look for the presence of God, healthy relationships and families, solid theology, and integrity and humility in the leaders (and vibrant worship helps too).
But, what do you look for?
People look for God in all kinds of places. Here’s just one uncommon place where you can find God.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
If we know that God is near to the brokenhearted, doesn’t it make sense that we might find him there? That, perhaps, by serving them and being part of God’s deliverance – actually being the answer to their prayers – we might see God more clearly?
The world is full of interesting people. Here are a few people you might want to check out and some interesting blogs from this week. Check them out, keep what’s good, and let’s all make the world a better place.
I’d like to say “thanks” to some people who thought I was interesting enough to retweet on Twitter. I appreciate the love!
Do you want to stand out in a crowd? Do you want your life to matter?
Live on Purpose
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Stand Out by Being Positive
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16)