Rest. As a practice this word remains irrelevant to some people, and it occupies a marginal amount of space in the lives of others. We barely need to look around us to recognize how busyness is ingrained into not only what we do, but also virtually into who we are. How can we take time to step back from working, and reflect on the “daily grind”?
People commonly find the beginning of the year as a great time to turn over a new leaf. The metaphorical slate is essentially wiped clean. While these commitments are outwardly beneficial, I would like for us to take a step back and become aware of our motivations for these resolutions. Do we perhaps make New Year’s resolutions with hopes to fill an internal void that we all inevitably feel?
Signs are helpful. They tell us where we are. They tell us where to turn. Have you ever made a wrong turn because there was no sign? Have you ever turned onto a road because of a sign but then wondered later if you made a wrong turn or missed a road sign somewhere along the way? Sometimes in life we make major decisions in complete confidence only to question those decisions down the road.
“I’m moving to Canada,” say many in response to the choices that they have had and the results they fear from the elections. Few mean it. Some leave the voting booth grumbling words similar to a friend of mine, “I voted today, but I don’t feel good about it.” This week, as the final ballots are cast, we engage an alternative way to look at political realities.
A heightened sense of anxiety over the outcome of the election appears a reasonable response given the high stakes involved. As American believers, we have long enjoyed the privilege of power and influence, a rare opportunity afforded to Christians throughout history. How should followers of Christ continue to deal with the anxiety of losing the illusion of political control?
There is a trend within culture that seems to have infiltrated the church. Culture, especially here in the west, tends to equate one’s importance – and therefore their worth – with what they do, who they know, and how much power, money, or influence they may have. To see how this might have influenced the church, how many Christians do you think would rather meet with the Carl Lentz’s, Judah Smith’s, Matt Chandler’s, and Hillsong’s of today than people who are being prostituted, substance abusers, homeless, and those considered “worthless” by society? Don’t get me wrong, the ministries of the aforementioned are amazing and important to bringing people to Christ.
But should the influence, ministry, money, or power one has make his/her worth more or less than others?
What are we as the church doing? We are missing the struggle, the pain, the hurt of those around us. We keep saying “come to my church, you’ll find Jesus”. We keep writing songs on how great God is, and the world keeps writing songs talking about their pain. Could it be that we are hindering people from finding Christ because we are not hurting along side of them (or showing the hurt that we have at least)?
Dreams can motivate us, get us out of bed in the morning, push us towards the life we want to see for ourselves or help mold us into who we want to become. But, dreams can also be devastating, disappointing and even lead us away from the life God wants for us. How we understand and shape those dreams in our lives is instrumental to living a fulfilling life that brings us into perfect relationality with God and with others.
There has been a lot written on the effectiveness of short terms missions trips. Through the years, I have heard countless arguments FOR and AGAINST short-term mission trips and there is definitely validity to both sides of the argument. However, there are generally six misconceptions often heard about short-term mission trips that need to be cleared up.
We’ve all known a friend that uses the phrase, “Well, God will forgive me” right after they do something they know they shouldn’t have done. While the phrase is correct, this attitude can begin to create a “cheap grace” that doesn’t value the gift that was given to each of us. Grace is a serious subject matter in the life of a Christ follower. It should not be taken lightly but should be something that we value and embrace.