31.5.12

Life Change

Sometimes I wish I could manufacture life change. I day-dream of a formula, or a series of well-timed maneuvers, or a set of input points, and think that it would be nice if you just hit these things hard enough, threw enough energy, or talent, or money in their direction that things would happen.

........................................

You see, I'm a results kind of person. I take great pleasure in seeing the positive results of my efforts. They don't need to be quantifiable, but they need to be visible, at least to me. I don't care if others know, I don't care if I'm appreciated, but I do care if I have made a difference. And in 'my line of work' that means life change towards Christ. Or at least, it does to me. I suppose other pastors may use other measuring rods; whatever. But even if I were not a pastor, those would be the results I sought more than anything else. 

Unfortunately, there is a subtle and dangerous form of idolatry at work here. I am privileged to labor in the Kingdom of God. I am privileged to be a part of Jesus' work in the hearts of His children. And while this is a calling I gladly embrace, it is not a job my talent, or energy, or resources (money or otherwise) can accomplish. I will till and water where, when, and as God calls, but He will cause growth. 

Yet even as I know this truth I find it difficult to work in submission; I would rather work in control. 

And then I catch a glimpse of what we would be like if life change really could be manufactured. 

I go to a conference and see what happens when one gives oneself over to the pursuit of manufactured life change. Substance giving way to style as the reaction becomes the goal. Depth replaced by popular appeal as engagement becomes the end. 

Or

I see an advertisement and realize that the ability to manufacture would be a terribly misused power. Freedom giving way to marketing as life change becomes a tool. Individuals replaced by ideal users as target market dynamics become a physical reality. 

And then I mourn. I mourn over the fact that while life change cannot be manufactured it can be faked. It can be pushed so hard that some, in desperation they hardly recognize, attempt to sell what cannot be bought and are inevitably disappointed with the results and left bereft, having giving up much to gain nothing. 

And then I worship. I worship over the fact that the Spirit of God still comes among us, like the wind, like a fire, to accomplish the often unremarked miracle of true change in the hearts of even those who have nothing left to hope for, let alone sell, giving fullness in place of brokenness. 

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May you know the only source of true life: Jesus Christ. May you come to understand that all you hope for is but a vague shadow of the reality that he holds. 







10.5.12

2012.05.10 Worth Visiting

The Critic Revisits the Monsters - Wonderfully insightful essay on the fantasy genre in our time.

Caine's Arcade - Just plain fun.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? - "We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information." That quote should make you want to read this article. 

Understanding Amazon's Strategy - Frightening... too much to keep track of and I like my kindle... but still. 

Shift HappensExamining Kuhn's "Structures of Scientific revolutions." The last paragraph is stunning. 

A/B Testing - Do you wonder if this has ever happened to you? I do. 

The Worlds Most Important Story - More to think about.

TED Video: How Small is an Atom? - - fun, entertaining, mind-boggling... it's like the high school science class I wish I had. 

TED Video: Reinventing Fire; a 50 year plan for Energy - - if this is really doable are we doing it?

4.5.12

Discipleship: A Word from Darrell Johnson

"Our No. 1 'job' in discipleship and ministry is to so live in Christ that we live and serve out of the fullness of Christ. Our No. 2 'job' is to do everything we can to make No. 1 possible. Our No. 3 'job' is not to do the things which hold us back from No. 2 and No. 1."
- Darrell Johnson, Speaking at the 2012 Regent Pastors Conference 'Overflow'

Response: This weeks pastors conference has been good in many ways. Above all, I have been reminded of the true nature of my position as pastor and the priorities which come with it. If this is not number one in my life and conduct then all else will fall apart. 

1.5.12

April Reflections

" You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows." - What I want

Top 3 Posts from April
1. "Daddy, Be a Monster..." - With a resounding lead for traffic this month, we have a brief reflection on playing with my daughter and experiencing heaven. 
2. Prayer: A Word I Need to Hear - Also with higher than average traffic, and a strong second place, a brief reflection and response to some words from Timothy Jones. 
3. Forgiveness: A Hard Word From Luther - Third place goes to a good quote. 

Three Most Visited Posts in April
1.  "Daddy, Be a Monster..." - It has been a long time since my top most "googled" posts have been knocked off the top. Clearly I need to write more about Hannah :) 
2. Heaven and Hell - ... but some things don't change...
3. We're Sinking - Indeed...


April has been a hard month. For some time now I have been doing my best to exercise discernment in what to prioritize and what to let go. Now, I feel like things are slipping even when I don't want them to. I suppose what is really happening is that I am getting closer to the top of my list, in terms of what I just can't do, and the more that I can't do the less that I like it.

I know, that is rather cryptic. Oh well. 

In the meantime this supports me: "... and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." Col. 2:10