Intolerable

This is something that even I struggle with this. Every day I walk by people I know aren’t believers, but just shoving a Bible in their face and telling them to believe is not going to work. Conversion is people work, and it is messy work. Lots of walls need to be torn down, lots of assumptions need to be changed. And let’s be honest, just relating with someone because you want them to convert is a sucky way to build a relationship. That is not how Jesus wants us to connect with others.

But still, if we allowed it to become intolerable to us, I think we would become more bold. I think we would stop letting the enemy create an atmosphere of complacency in our relationships. I think we would love them even more.

But don’t let that love or friendship have the ulterior motive of conversion, “I’m only friends with this non-believer because I want them to come to Christ.” NO. We need to genuinely love and care for them and adopt the mindset of “Yes, I will always be your friend, even if you never come to Christ, but know that I will always pray and hope that one day you will.”

Who is one person you need to pray for? Who do you want to know the joy and comfort of following Jesus? Now, how are you going to pursue that goal whilst still loving them unconditionally?

Advertisements

Rhythms

The word “rhythms” comes a Greek word that means “any regular recurring motion.” Most of the time, we associate this with music or dancing (especially when someone “lacks” rhythm), but we all have a rhythm or rhythms in which we live. Things that if we get in step with particular rhythms life seems to make sense, and when we get out of rhythm we find difficulty.

My new church here in England, OIKOS, has identified six rhythms which emphasize our values and identity. These six rhythms are the things we do to show who we are. We are not defined by these rhythms, rather these rhythms are ways we exhibit our identities in Christ.

The 6 rhythms are as follows:
1. Story-formed
2. Listen
3. Celebrate
4. Bless
5. Eat
6. Recreate

Now, I recognize that some of these make perfect sense as is and are easy to understand what they are and mean, there are others though that need a little extra explanation. And I understand that.

Hopefully going forward I can write up a little post and share what they are how they fit together and how I am doing with staying within these rhythms.

The hard part, though, isn’t understanding these rhythms. It’s figuring out how they would look like in your context, in your life. Though these are rhythms everyone can do, they can also look completely different for each person or context.

How I bless others can be completely different from how you bless others. How you celebrate can be completely different from how I celebrate. None of these ways are wrong, we just do them differently based on how God created and gifted each of us.

I look forward to writing more about this. Not just so I can share with all of you more about his, but also so I can work out how I can best live out these rhythms in my own life.

Reading Old Me

For some reason, I have been reading some of my old stuff lately. Not only blog posts but in searching for another document I found one of my old term papers from when I was working on my masters.

It’s a strange thing to read something you wrote years ago. I’m so far removed from writing those things, I don’t remember what I wrote. It’s kinda like reading someone else’s work.

Because of that, I’ve been able to gain a fresh perspective on the things I’ve written. It has inspired me now to want to write more, and maybe reconsider writing a book. Writing a book is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time, but I’ve always worried who would want to read what I’ve written. But after reading my old stuff, I’ve realized that maybe I can communicate my ideas interestingly and persuasively.

What I do know is I was fascinated by some of the previous stuff I’ve written. And who knows, maybe you have been as well.

No More Bucket List

I think it’s come time to retire the Bucket List.

No, I don’t want to stop pursuing living life to the fullest, and yes there are some things that are on there that I would still like to do one day. But think it’s time to stop lifting up those things as if my life isn’t complete if I don’t complete those things.

Also, I feel like this comes into slight conflict with my faith. Nothing too drastic, but it makes me think about how I feel like I need to do these things, like Christ isn’t enough to fulfil my life. I can live a full and abundant life if I only pursue Christ and only complete 1 or 2 things on that list.

That’s not to say I shouldn’t do things that interest me. But the mere idea of a bucket list is those are things I have to do when in reality they are not. They are secondary, maybe even tertiary or lower in what is truly important in life.

I’ll still keep the Bucket List category on the sidebar, and may still publish a post about completing something awesome I did on the Bucket List category.

To be honest, I’m not sure I have all my thoughts fully formed on this yet. As you can probably tell my thoughts are scattered all over the place. But I felt convicted about this the other night, that maybe the Bucket List has become an idol and maybe I should reassess the whole.

I don’t know, what do you think? Do you have any thoughts on whether a Bucket List can be an idol in your life?

Gatekeepers

You can’t be a _____ if…

Fill in the blank. I’m sure there is something that you’ve done or tried to do where someone has said something like this to you. Try to hold you back from doing or being that thing because you didn’t fit their idea of what it was supposed to be.

These are called gatekeepers. A gatekeeper is a person you guards access to something. Funny thing, essentially the word has not changed over thousands of years. Before modern times though, gatekeepers literally guarded gates. Now, the gates are metaphorical.

You’re not good enough to do this. You’re not smart enough to be part of this group. You don’t look the part. You don’t speak the part.

You don’t do this thing exactly the way I think it’s supposed to work, so you aren’t allowed to do or associate yourself with said thing.

There are some things where “gatekeepers” are a good thing. School, sports teams, certain jobs. Yes, there are a few things where only qualified people should be allowed. But those aren’t the gatekeepers who guard the tightest.

Hobbist gatekeepers, recreational gatekeepers, identity gatekeepers. Those are the ones who are the most strict.

You aren’t the life-long, ‘oppressed’ nerd so you’re not allowed to enjoy board, card, or tabletop games. You can’t quote a movie word for word, so you’re not allowed to call yourself a fan of a movie franchise. You have too many of this one thing, so you can’t possibly be a minimalist.

Once you tell people who you are, they will tell you who you are not.

Don’t let them.

Phariseeism

“Phariseeism is born when we think it is okay to reject people to protect ideas” – Bill Johnson

This is such a profound quote. I remind myself of it often so that I remember that people are what Jesus cared about.

Jesus didn’t reject people… he embraced them, no matter what they did. Yes he corrected sin, but never rejected the sinner. Yet, christians can be the worst when it comes to accepting people. For some reason we look for disqualifiers, we look for a reason not to accept others.

Maybe it’s because we would rather be comfortable. Maybe it’s because these “disqualifers” truly repels us. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid our imperfections will come to light if we accept them.

Whatever reason it may be, it’s wrong. In John 4 Jesus meets a Samaritan woman who has been divorced multiple times and talked to her (which most Jewish men at the time would have never done). In John 8 Jesus defends a woman caught in adultery, someone (who even according to his teachings and beliefs) had sinned.

There are many other stories, but these two jumped out in my mind as perfect examples of Jesus loving and accepting person despite what idea cast them out. Jesus WAS an idealist, he had big ideas that even his disciples fought to protect, but Jesus never protected an idea at the expense of a person.

I’m not saying Jesus never addressed sin. In fact, in both of the stories I pointed out above, Jesus addressed them directly! But he didn’t do it in a way that rejected those women, which is where most of us will fall short.

So let’s set ourselves apart from current culture and how social media is trying to teach us how to treat others. Let’s show the world that people are more important than preferences. The church is made of people, and if we begin to reject people then the church will just be about ideas with no people…

And that’s no church at all.

Anyone can wear the Mask

Spider-Man-Into-the-Spider-Verse-blu-ray-gq
On my flight to Europe, I was able to see “Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse.” A really great movie, I recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

On of the themes of the movie is Miles struggling with whether or not he is worthy to be “spider-man.” He feels he is not as powerful as the other Spider-men, so how can he be worthy to held the mantle of Spider-Man.

But he is reassured that “Anyone can wear the mask.” It’s not about whether you have the power, if you have the heart and to push through the struggle, you can accomplish greatness

In my opinion, Spider-Man is BEST when it is about a teenager not only coming of age but learning what they are capable of.

Without spoilers, my favorite scene is near the end when Miles finally discovers what he is made and that has the will to become great. In that moment, Miles became Spider-Man. Not when he go his “super powers” near the beginning of the movie, but when he discovered the power in himself.

The point of “anyone can wear the mask” isn’t anyone can be Spider-Man, it is that everyone has the power to make a difference, everyone has the power to be great. We just have to discover the power within us.