Morning Reflection 3/12/12 – Psalm 21

Thanksgiving for Victory

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help how greatly he exults!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah
3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life; you gave it to him—length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great through your help; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6 You bestow on him blessings forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9 You will make them like a fiery furnace when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among humankind.
11 If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows.
13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.

via Psalm 21:5 (NRSV) – Biblia.com.

Whether you like it or not, you will have a birthday this year. Some, a few at least, have already had their birthday this year (including those that have it every four years on Feb. 29th), others will have to wait. Some people love birthdays, others don’t. To some it is a time for celebration, for others it is a time for commiseration. Either way, birthdays mark a milestone. Another year has gone by, and another year has just begun. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 3/12/12 – Psalm 21”

In With The Old

oldbook

Rob Bell is coming out with a new book at the end of this month. There’s been quite the buzz over the past week. There are some who are concerned that Bell is now a universalist while others are concerned that labels are being applied without first reading the book.

I have a different problem….

.there are just too many books. 

I like Rob Bell. I like his video series. I used to listen to his sermons via MP3s while driving in the car. But I’ve only read one book, Velvet Elvis. In fact, a friend and I did a podcast reviewing the book. The other books either didn’t interest me, or I thought they were too expensive for the content (that’s another issue however).

Anyway, I actually have a new problem now…I just not that interested. Over the past few years I have grown dissatisfied with types of books being published. I’m sure there are some very good books, but who has the time to read through them to discover which ones are good? I don’t. A lot of the books being published can be read through in a few hours. They are very ‘consumer’ oriented. They are meant to be consumed; read, marked up, discussed, and then put on a shelf. I’m tired of the consumer book.

It could just be me though. Perhaps it is how I approach reading. It seems, however, that books that were the ‘hit’ five or ten years ago aren’t that big of a hit now. We have moved on. But why? Why is the shelf life so short?

I find I am being drawn to books that have been around for a while. If a book that is over three hundred years old is still being published, there is probably a reason. I want to know why. Books by St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, John Wesley, John Cassian, etc. are not, in my opinion, easy reads. They are deep. They are thick. They have substance. Some I have read more than once and there are still depths left to explore.

Someone gave me the advice that for every new book you read make sure to read an old one. That is good advice. Be forewarned….you might find that as you read the old books you loose the desire for the new ones.

Church People…

 

The party was great – hotdogs, hamburgers, squirt guns for the kids, dads trying to get charcoal lit, moms passing around Baby Hudson like he was a football. An interesting realization hit me about halfway through the party as I was flipping burgers. No one there with the exception of myself, Amber, and her parents were “church people”. I’m looking at these friends celebrating Jackson’s birthday and thinking to myself, “How did this happen?” Five years ago, our life revolved almost exclusively around church people. At that point in my life, I was clueless how to relate to anyone outside of that context, almost to the extent of being fearful and avoiding social situations where unchurched people would be present.

[The Mustard Seed]

 

Some interesting reflections. I have often wondered what would happen if ‘chuch’ didn’t take up so much time and energy. I have a friend who at one point was a pastor, now he is not. It seems like he is able to ministry in a different way now. He has been able to shed the ‘churchiness’ and continue to reach out. At one point he said that it has taken five years, but now the neighbors are beginning to open up.

There are times when I wonder what life would be like if we could create a new type of church culture. One that isn’t focused on buildings and budgets but rather living an authentic life marked by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. What would happen to our communities if church ceased being about a ‘great meeting’ once a week and became the conversations we had with those around us and the time we spent with them.

Letting Go

There are times when you simply have to let go. Although letting go is seldom a simple thing. For the past several weeks I’ve been evaluating my spiritual life especially in the area of prayer. I’m finding, that in order to discover a greater sense of God’s grace I simply have to let go of other things. For me, the most precious item in my life is time. Yet, this is the one thing that gets chipped away little by litte. Before I know it, my time has been spent and I can’t get it back. In order for me to deepen my relationship with God, I’m finding that I must spend time with God. Even though I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years and have been a pastor for over around 15 years I always tried to ’speed’ up my relationship with God by trying to spend ‘quality’ rather than ‘quanity’ time with God. Now, I’m discovering that the only quality time is quantitative time. For our culture it is difficult to let go of things. It is difficult to free up ourselves. We want to squeeze everything we can out of life. When we do we are making a statment and a choice. I’m finding that in order to grab onto God, I must let go. Letting go is a difficult thing.