The analogy is often used of the four seasons representing the four stages of life. We also employ the word season when referring to a period of time that is markedly different than that which came before. The concept of the seasons is one that is intimately intertwined with our perceptions of the past, the present, and the future. How, then, should we as Christians reconcile the often difficult reality of seasons in our lives with the promises of Scripture?
Christians have long stigmatized cursing. Often times we are so quick to dismiss what a person has to say because they employ language indicative of the ‘world’. But what if the problem isn’t as black and white as it is often made out to be. Perhaps there is more to language than just the words we do or do not speak. Perhaps there is something else that determines whether or not what we say honors God.
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.