I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Pastor Mark’s sermon this past Sunday. He opened by talking about how faithfulness in our culture is quite low (maybe all-time low) and that among churches/ Christians it’s also very low. And as we think about the message we have and the hope the church is intended to be in a world spinning out of control — well we can’t be satisfied with this assessment. Do followers of God in America, in Minnesota, and at Grace Church Roseville demonstrate a faithfulness and commitment? This is the time for the church to rise and demonstrate (not just talk about) a different kind of life. But I will say that being faithful, stepping up commitment to the things of God and even just faithfulness in general is something that requires courage. Yet we live in a world where we wait. We wait for others to step up, we take our cues from something other than the call of God.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how many of us live our lives. With the amount of things pulling for our time and attention and the continual calls to “take better care of yourself” our time and mental energy is severely limited. Many of us are continually moving and take very little time to think about others. So when we discuss sharing our faith with others, it’s not a natural thing. Not the faith part, mind you, but the “others” part.
Stepping aside from the regular schedule for a little bit lately has shown me how much of life is centered around me, the family and our activities. I’d like to believe that I’m not really selfish, just busy – but does that excuse hold water? Maybe before faith-sharing becomes more natural, we need to start actually “thinking” about others. I mean isn’t that one of the hallmarks of what Jesus did while He was on earth? And could our continual activity and constant pulls of technology and “good advice for your life” actually be used of the evil one to keep our focus inward?
I am taking several weeks here to talk through the seven values of Grace Church. Values, while maybe on the surface, sound like a boring topic – are actually critical and essential. Let me rephrase that – can be critical and essential. Too many organizations have a document with values written down and often there are a different set of unspoken values that are lived out. Some organizations have values but never really think much about them. At Grace – values shape us – they describe our DNA and really what makes us unique as a church. If you want to read about the first 3 of the 7 values look back in the archives of this blog. Now – moving forward to the next value: “Participating in Authentic Community”
I am currently enjoying some time with the family on a road trip out east, ending up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Along the way we’ll see some family, take in some sights and be together as a family of 5. I am grateful for opportunities like this.
I think back to our summer kick-off series: Summer Soulstice. We talked about 4 rhythms – rhythms that I intend to practice fully especially during this time away. Let’s review them, shall we?
1. Reflect – take the time to consider deeply God’s story and my story. Who did God call me to be? Where am I aligning with Him? Where am I “off”? What passions are driving me? What do I hold as high priority?
Today we looked at the life of Gideon. He was an unlikely and reluctant difference-maker. I am amazed at God’s patience, grace and persistence with him. He became a leader who led the people to a place of deliverance. Sure he got sidetracked at the end of his career – but before that, I think we see some powerful phases that God tends to take spiritual leaders through. In the sermon, I primarily focused on Christians and spiritual growth, but in this blog I’d like to use the same 5 phases to talk about spiritual leadership.
So here’s what I don’t get – how come we live in a country where there are no real borders between states and yet there are certain foods you can only get in some states and certain foods that only taste a certain way in a certain place? As I write this blog post I’m in NJ. I am enjoying the best pizza in the world along with amazing bagels. I eat pizza in MN but it’s nothing like the pizza here – and again I ask, why? What passes as a “bagel” in MN in about a 1/3rd the size and not nearly as tasty. But what I don’t get is there is no trade tax to make bagels in MN like they’re made here. No one in MN is banning the deliciousness of NJ pizza. And why no Caribou Coffee in NJ? Ok that’s maybe a little stretch because that is one company and I can’t expect them to expand to places I want them. But pizza and bagels are not the property of a franchise or company – it’s just the way they’re all made here.