Where are you looking?

my son and I went backpacking a short time ago.   (side note, all that extra stuff you think you should just bring ’cause it doesn’t weigh THAT much will crush your face when you fall down…  hypothetically)   While we were backpacking, treading down a trail I’d not trod before, I noticed a few things.  One, I’ll talk about now, some others will come along the trail soon.

We walked about 14 miles the last day, I guess I should call say we ‘hiked’ to be correct, and during that trek I really really really wanted to know what was coming ahead.  I could look behind me and clearly see, as we were hiking uphill a lot of the time, all the ground we had covered since leaving the gorgeous lake we’d been at the night before.  I couldn’t see what was ahead, I had no idea how much longer we had to hike to get there, and not knowing was not fun.

While walking, pondering, wishing I knew what was around that next bend in the trail, it occurred to me that I do this a lot.  I romanticize what it would be like to know what’s next, and because I can’t I end up looking back and wishing for that.  I also forget that looking back means I’m only gazing at a previous days’ unknown, one which I also didn’t know about, but which also came and went the same as this one would.

Why do we look back?  Here’s a clip from a web show I recently watched, pondering this question:

It is so much more desirable to look back, to dwell in the past, because we can measure it.  We can know it, we can see it, we were just there.  And, forgetting all the real trouble that may have been present there, we long for it.   The future, the next step, what is around the bend is so often clouded by our own fear and trembling- but isn’t that the way we work it out-  with ‘fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12)

My prayer for myself these days is to trust more in what God has for me around the bend, and long for what is behind a lot less, for He who helped me start down this hike will help me get home-  the trail is just one step in front of the last one.  He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it.

Trust me… I need this

This morning, my wife sent me a picture of our dog.  This isn’t newsworthy on it’s own, though our dog is awesome, but it did make me think.  Our dog, atypically, had spent the night in his kennel, something usually reserved for him only after he’s done something outside the bounds of our family rules.  Most likely we just haven’t found the spot in the house where he pee’d on something, but for a reason unbeknown to us, he felt like he needed to spend the night there-  he disciplined himself.

Trust me... I need this.

If only we could find our way to that same kind of self-imposed care.  Discipline usually sounds so much tougher, but really-  it is a deep level of care, and some of us don’t do well at caring for ourselves.

I wonder if that might be a good place to begin discipline in ourselves, to start with caring.  Then, identify WHAT needs care, attend to THAT THING, and, probably, it will take some “kennel time” to make that thing stick in each of your days.

But, remember, discpline for self or care for self should NOT be done on by your self.  Heb 10:24 and the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit should help you realize & understand that.  So, if you do a bit of kennel care, a bit of discipline of self make sure its not by yourself; don’t stay there with it.  SHARE it with a friend and ACCEPT the grace of God that makes life not fair and eliminates the gap between what you will try to do and what you think you need to do (which you ACTUALLY DON’T need to do, because Jesus already did it).

 

I like the thought of that

true vine.  unscrewed.  communionA few times this past week I heard myself say “I like the thought of…” or “I like the idea of….” in reference to something I really did like.

It occurred to me what an absurd statement that is. Liking an idea or a thought of something is akin to liking the shadow of something. It’s not even part of the real thing, none of it’s essence even- just the memory, or the concept, or the hint of it.

What on earth are we doing liking, or caring for, the mere shadow of something when what we could have is the real something?

What real things are you currently replacing with a thought, or an idea, or a shadow? Real community replaced by people ‘liking’ your posts online? Real 2-way conversations replaced by 1 way text/email/tweets?

 

Don’t give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another. Hebrews 10:25.

Today, maybe someone needs the bravery to believe the best about themselves, and its likely that cannot happen without you bringing your courage to embolden their courage. Maybe that someone is you, and you need to experience true connection with Christ, not just ‘like’ the idea of doing so.

the world we touch, we want to change

a new friend asked me what we do today, i try to answer this a lot, but i’m gonna start writing what i write, hoping it will keep making sense and… ya know when you make soup? there’s a pretty wide variety of things going on, but when you simmer that stuff all day, the extra stuff kinda just cooks away, leaving only the necessary… so, we’re heading there- making soup, sauce, a reduction for you Top Chef peeps. anyway, this is what I wrote to the asker today:

What do we do?
…that may look different to different people we’d serve, but it’s discipleship, training, help, hope and health care- so, we want to help the person find light in their darkness. We believe that ultimate light, and hope, come from a relationship with Christ, but that someone may not be able to look there if they can’t see to begin with, so we want to address concerns holistically. We want to help artists, bands, speakers, that are traveling and away from community, from family, and for a lot of them, away from quality care- we want to help them to connect with those things, including medical and dental care while they are in this area. We plan to travel to the summer music festivals and develop and deepen relationships with these individuals, and just really be a pastor to them. Talk to them, care for them spiritually, be a confidential, non-judgmental listening ear, and help to pull them through what can be a tough way to live. We also want to provide an early year and late year (winter/spring and fall/winter) retreat experience where they can be ministered to, trained, taught, and given hope for themselves, help to be able to STAY hopeful, and also some training to stay healthy and be a healthy help to others as well- it is tough to give when you are empty.

We put a lot of weight in what these folks on stages say, the things pouring out of vessels mean a lot, and affect a lot of us. How much MORE effective would this be if the vessels were truly healthy? The sad reality is that they often are broken, cracked, dirty and without much hope to get out of that space. We want to help, to pastor them the same as any person needs a pastor, needs community, needs care, needs accountability.

So… it’s kinda all over the map here, I know… it’s a wide task, a deep breath to think about what it will take. But, we really believe that changing one, because of their stage and their impact, will change thousands. And, changing one today, and another tomorrow, and another.. why not change the world? Someone’s gotta, we want to do our part- the world we touch, we want to change.