Sunday, June 22, 2008
For we are God's [own]handiwork (his workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus[born anew] that we may do those good works that God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which he prepared ahead of time]that we should walk in them [living the good life that he prearranged and made ready for us to live]. AMPLIFIED BIBLE -- EPH 2.10
· First, I like the emphasis on recreated (and born anew) as opposed to simply created. Both I’m sure are true but this connects me to the new work God is doing by his Spirit in me that wasn’t there before I became a Christian.
· Also, I really like the emphasis on predestined paths. I checked it out in the original Greek. Turns out, the last word in the Greek and also the NIV is “do.” In Greek it is pripateo which means to do, or to walk, or to live. So this is how the Amplified gets paths (from walk) and also good life (from live). I love the emphasis on the good life walking in His paths blazed ahead of time for me!
What's also cool is someone gave me a Peet's gift card for an early birthday present (thanks cw) so I can't buy tea in this town!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
So new strategies need to be in place to still get the rest benefit. Here's a few I hope to employ:
- Surround myself with competent people. Anyone who has met our ministry staff knows what I'm talking about. They will do a stellar job while I'm gone.
- I'm going to try not to answer work-related email (I have a plan to forward them to people that can help). In fact, most of time my computer is on, I will have my email program closed.
- Take in the sights of San Diego. Do a few things the tourists do.
- Break habits. I'll try to change habits of routes I drive, places I eat, etc. I'll try to do new things, as if this is a new town to me. (One habit I won't break is Peet's Tea - so if you want to bump into me, good chance it will be there).
- Focus on relationships over tasks when I'm with church friends (yes, I want to hang out with church friends since almost all my friends ARE from church). I'll just do my best to avoid shop talk.
- Appreciate and notice nature even in the suburb
- Goof off without guilt.
What ideas do you have for making the most of a staycation?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
· God is writing the story of my life in spite of my attempts to write my own.
· Don’t worry about skills you don’t have, “Kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you …” 2 Tim. 1.6
· Heaven’s calendar has seven Sundays a week. God sanctifies each day.
· I was born pre-packed. Don’t live out of someone else’ bag. Church leaders assign luggage from the pulpit (and we shouldn’t)
· William Wordsworth “The child is the father of the man.”
If you don't understand that last quote, ask me.
PS 90:1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
PS 90:12 Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom
PS 90:17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us--
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90.1 - God has always been a place of rest for his people – every generation – but also every season of my life. Thank you for this new season.
Psalm 90.12 Teach me – that’s my prayer.
Psalm 90.17 I’m hoping that by the end of this process I will be engaged in work that is effective, lasting, established. My sweet spot. The slogan of Pastors on Point is, “Taking Pastors Out of Their Element … and Into Their Essence.” That sounds awesome.
My focus here at the beginning is decompressing and I’m not sure I’m there yet (with a couple more things to do). Actually, the only requirement to be ready for decompression is to be compressed. Which I am. So I guess I am ready. Ready for YOU, God, to decompress me.
Reflection on Jeremiah 33.3 `Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
What an awesome invitation, here at the beginning! That is exactly how I feel today – calling upon the Lord a lot and not knowing what I’m suppose to get! Awesome.
Reflection on Psalm 138.8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever--
do not abandon the works of your hands.
This too is an awesome promise. My prayer earlier was that God would establish the work of my hands (Psalm 90.17), but here the focus is on the work of God’s hands for me. What a great reminder that this is a time for God to do a work in me, before He does one through me. And, also, I notice between the purpose of God for me and the work of God in me is the Forever Love of God.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
After 14+ years serving at Green Valley Church, I have the opportunity to enjoy a second sabbatical (my first one was about 7 years ago). I will be gone for six weeks of sabbatical and two weeks of vacation starting June 18.
I'm really excited about participatng in Pastors on Point which is a story-based discovery process that unpacks a person’s satisfying achievements from throughout their life to uncover their essential “operating system” in terms of energizing circumstances, gifts and motivated abilities, engaging subject matter, ideal roles and even overall purpose in work and life.
I'm also thrilled because I'll be able to lead a group from our church to Scotland, England, and France. I also plan to read, reflect, and visit several churches and talk with godly mentors.
• To experience a mid-ministry tune up, recharge, and refocusing as I enter my second set of 15 years as a lead pastor.
• To better understand and appreciate my strengths and implement a plan to leverage them for greater effectiveness in ministry and life.
• To better understand my stress points and implement a plan to minimize them for greater effectiveness in ministry and life.
• To include my wife, Cindy, in the discovery process.
Here's a cool quote I relate to: Speaking of the sabbatical his church gave him, Pastor Mark Buchanan writes:
“No, I don’t deserve it. Like being born in peacetime and not war, like being forgiven, or kissed, or told you have beautiful eyes. I never earned a minute of it. I don’t deserve a scrap of it. But I feel deeply obliged to the people in my church who have allowed me it. Obliged, not to come back smarter, or thinner, or more eloquent, or more studied up, though all of that could help. The obligation I feel is not to pay them back. These things don’t work that way, on some barter system where the church trades several months of leave in exchange for shorter, pithier sermons. The obligation I feel, rather, is to come back restored.”
Here’s how you can track with me:
Read with me. I've selected The Rest of God; Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, by Mark Buchanan, as the book I'd like people to read along with me. Mark Buchanan has been described as the "best new Christian author you’ve never heard of." You can get your copy at the usual places: ISBN-10:0849918707.
For extra credit (or if you just like to read good books), I'm also reading the following books;
The Sabbath– Abraham Joshua Heschel
Church Unique – Will Mancini
The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter
Hidden in Plain Sight – Mark Buchanan
Why We’re Not Emergent (by Two Guys who Should Be) – Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
Cure for the Common Life – Max Lucado
Blog with me. Check back her often as I will be chronicling my experiences and reflections.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I am currently reading a book by Mark Buchanan in which he reminds us of the movie, A Beautiful Mind. It is the true story a brilliant mathematician, John Nash, who, despite his schizophrenia, won a Nobel Prize in 1994 for his contributions to mathematics.
Because of his disease, John often felt trapped a world that only existed in his mind: his closest friend, his niece, the CIA Director who employed him for undercover assignments – all fictions of his broken mind.
But over the years, John was able to live with his disease by disciplined himself to no longer heed the voices that his mind invented. Even though they still appeared as real to him… he refused to listen. He defied them. Walked right past them.
It is a great way to think about the truth of Romans 8. This world lies to us all the time. It sets up facades. But, in the midst of the craziness of this world, God invites us to embrace the truth of His word.
For I am convinced that [nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That’s the truth.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Consider this: "… we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37
Now I really like words, so, humor me here. When you look at the phrase, more than conquerors, in the original Greek it is just one word: hupernikome. Huper, where we get our word, hyper. And Nikome which means Victor or Conqueror (as in the brand name – Nike).
Those who trust Jesus are Hyper-conquerors! It sounds like the name of a super hero! Or the promise of a sports drink commercial! And a closer look at this verse and its context, reveals that this victory is related to something very specific – the confidence that nothing will separate us from God’s love.
Here’s the deal. Life is filled with battles. And in every battle, your spiritual enemy has a singular goal … to separate you from experiencing God’s love. But what Paul wants us to comprehend is that in every one of life’s battles, we win! Why? Because we still have God’s love. No matter what, we are Super-Conquerors. Nothing can sever us from the unwavering affection of God.