Slowing Down. Resting. Stopping. It is crazy time. 2 weeks of school left, man. my stomach drops thinking about that. SO MUCH TO DO.In a world that praises business, productivity, and success. Sometimes its hard to slow down. Thanksgiving was a sweet time to rest, and to stop.
I was at the airport the other day, headed home. I checked my bag, went through security, found my gate, sat down until my plane arrived, and then waited for the plane to fully board and takeoff. Lines, layovers, and the whole flight I waited to get where I wanted to be. Obviously, a part of the airport and flying experience is waiting. It felt a bit like life here on this earth, a bunch of people hoping to get somewhere else and do something else.
Through this experience, I realized something about life. Hope deals with something in the future, but it sure does influence the present. If you are flying to see your grandkids, you sure are cheery. If someone is flying to a business conference, it’s a somewhat mundane experience. If you are flying to a friend’s funeral, mourning comes along. This happens whether we are aware of it or not.
Where I am traveling to, invades the current moment. Where my hope is for the future, it affects my here and now perspective. So where is my hope? What is hope? Our English language has different perspectives on hope. The modern meaning of hope “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.” However, the more biblical idea of hope is a “certainty, a strong and confident expectation.”
I easily get them mixed up. I often begin to put my hope in things that cannot sustain and will let me down. Things like blue birds and sunshine, and the hope that life will just be zip-i-dee-doo-da, without trial and struggles. It is not bad to want these things! Heck, who wants to be sick, make F’s on tests, and be sad all the time? Yet, inevitably, I find myself eventually anxious, depressed, and frustrated when these hopes don’t work out. When my hope is placed in this world, it feels and looks hopeless.
So often I hear us Christians depressed and discouraged at the terrible state of our nation, our world, and our churches,and the next generation. Watching the news gives me immediate frustration. Then I think. Hello!? Duh. The world at this point is a messy. It is filled with brokenness and sin. The world is in need of a savior.
I am blessed to be friends with all kinds of people, believers and non-believers. My life in just the past month has been overwhelmed with a lot of hopeless stories. Of disease, abuse, self-hatred, and brokenness. They are friends that don’t have hope anymore. They don’t even want to live. But. As Christians! We get real hope. That is a BIG deal. It is a game changer. When our hope is in Christ, it is in something that will not change. It does not fail. It does not waver.. It is consistent. His promises are not broken. This hope does not disappoint. In Jeremiah 33:17 we hear that “the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”
This is where my hope is placed, in the Kingdom of God. In a God that is good and great. In God that sees this earth, knows our pain, and has plan for a grand future. Hope in our Lord now gives us peace rather than fear. It gives us joy. It gives us security. It changes how we see ourselves and others. I then see the world as a place that there is hope for. I like life with hope. It is a treasure.
Yet, so often I ignore the hope I have. I forget where my hope gets to be, and I lean it up real nicely on the economy and weather. Things that are not consistent.
Now, is it wrong to be affected by boo-hoo life things? I think not! Life is hard. Sometimes it will feel hopeless. However, thankfully as son or daughter of Jesus, it does not have to. We choose what to place our hope in. In this Christmas season, I want to remember that my hope is not in this world and days are coming, when the Lord will fulfill his good promise.
Worth watching. Worth asking yourself is this worth my time? Is this not worth my time.
Check the video out for an interestng perspective.
15 things Jesus Didn’t Say:
“For God was so disgusted with the world and you that he gave his one and only Son.”
“I have come to bring you a new religion.”
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have correct theology.”
“If anyone would come after me, let him disparage all other religions and their followers.”
“If you love me, you will regularly attend a church of your choice… within reason.”
“Blessed are the tithers for they shall be called the children of God.”
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Heaven after the earth goes up in flames and destroyed.”
“You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor,’ which means the people with whom you attend church and relate to in your Christian sub-culture.”
“In my Father’s house there are a limited number of rooms. But no worries, there is plenty of room in Hell.”
“The kingdom of God has come!… Well, not exactly. I mean, not completely. Let’s face it, the really-real kingdom comes after we die. Hang in there. It won’t be long.”
“And you will know the truth and the truth will make you superior to all the other simpletons who never learned Greek or Hebrew.”
“You are the light of the world… well… in a sinful-filthy-scum kind of way.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you a checklist of things to do and not do in order to remain in God’s favor.”
“For God so loved the world… you know like theoretically… as in, God loves the big ‘W’-world. But when it come to you specifically, that are quite a few things that would need to change for God to actually and specifically love… or even like… YOU.”
“He appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days and spoke about how to incorporate his life and teaching as a 501(c)3, and go into all the earth to build mega-churches in his name.”
– Jim Palmer. Notes from (Over) the Edge
1. Contemplate your sin in light of God’s grace and contemplate God’s grace in light of your sin.
When you contemplate your sin apart from God’s grace you end in despair. When you contemplate God’s grace apart from your sin you fail to see the cost of the cross. When you do both you’ll find yourself overwhelmingly thankful.
2. Remain in Community.
Doing life in community can be challenging but it’s crucial. Because we’re relational beings community is inescapable. Even if we check out of church we will end up in community. Also, communities are formative. Every community has certain values and virtues it provokes people to pursue. Remain in the Christ-focused community of the church, it will preserve your soul.
3. Ask your friends about what God is doing in their life.
Has it been a while since someone has asked you “How is your walk?” When you ask that question you are letting them know that it’s OK to talk about Jesus. It might be awkward at first but it’s worth it. This helps to form community and creates accountability—God will use this to preserve your soul.
4. Start tithing.
(and if you’ve started… give more, or in other directions) We know you only make $30 a year. That’s not the point. It’s a discipline, it has to start some time. If you already tithe, find other avenues to give. After all, He’s given you a costly gift.
5. Daily write down things you’re thankful for.
Psychologists have discovered that we more easily recall times of trauma. That means you might need to do some digging, but there are PLENTY of things to be thankful for. Make a list, daily (James 1:17).
6. Be bold about your faith.
Is Jesus really king? Are people really dwelling in spiritual death, going the wrong direction with an eternal trajectory? Does Jesus save? YES. Sure it can be awkward but in announcing God’s saving reign we often see that He does indeed reign and He does indeed save.
Maybe you’re tired of the cliche “leaders are readers” but it’s true. But reading isn’t just for leaders. In reading, we put ourselves in a posture of humility—we admit we don’t have all the answers and consult voices that do. This posture of humility, if cultivated can work its way through our life and help preserve the soul.
8. Cultivate godly confidence .
While the world longs for acceptance and validation Christians should not strive. In fact, Christians should be more confident than anyone else—the Christian should live knowing God’s deep and passionate love for them. Not because of what they’ve done, but because of what has been done for them. Let the truth that you are loved fill your life.
9. Find a rhythm.
Too many students live disjointed, random, ‘ping-pong’ ball lives. Start shaping a rhythm to your life. What do you need to provide personal health and a Godward focus? Quiet times? Yes! Exercise? Yes! Prayer? Yes!
10. Confess your sins.
With sin we often have one of two reactions. We laugh it off, “Can you believe I did that?!” Or out of shame, we conceal it. The first reaction dismisses the sin and the second allows the sin to cripple you. There is another option: confession. When you confess your sins to a friend you essentially say, “I am not where I want to be and I need your help.” This build community, creates authenticity, and is a mark of obedience (James 5:19).
11. Go to war.
While many dismiss language of spiritual warfare (and others seem too interested in it) it remains something the Bible speaks frankly about. The theologian Richard Lovelace writes, “In folk religion, the posture of the Christian towards fallen angels is defensive; in Scripture the church is on the offensive, and the blows it receives from Satan come from a retreating enemy.” Jesus says it this way: “I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you” (Luke 10:19). You have been given a sword, use it.
– Bryan Halferty
Last night was one of those kind of nights where life, is just blah. Yes. Blah is a read word.
It was one of those moments where if I could just call God up on the phone that would be great. Being single would not be nearly as hard if I could just get a real hug from God. If we could just literally hang out. Maybe a face to face conversation would be nice. I could do that.
Because last night was also one of those nights where I did not feel God. I had doubts, frustrations, I did not understand, I was mad, scared, lonely. Not really satisfied with anything aspect life. I was hurting for a lot of my friends.
God could you just COME DOWN OR CALL ME OR BE REAL. I KNOW YOU HAVE THAT ABILITY.
Then I called a friend, a camp friend who had a wonderful metaphor to share.
Married Couples.Somedays you being married. You are happy, it is the honeymoon, you feel in love. You just can look over all the flaws. And life just so happy. You are in looove…. Then there are others days where you wake up and you are just married. No feeling. No sparks. No nothing. But that does not mean you are not married that day, hour, week, whatever. You are still married even when you do not feel it.
So. No I am not married, have not ever dated actually. But I get this.
Sometimes I do not feel God. However, even in the moments I dont feel God. That is the time we choose faith. That is when faith, is faith. Trusting becomes trusting.
Its a choice. So even in the moments I don’t feel God. I choose to trust. I chose to have faith.
“I’d rather risk my whole life for something that matters than to get to the end and realized I played it safe so I could drive a nice car and own a leather couch. I’d rather hold to things loosely, feeling grateful for gifts as they come, and giving them away as they are needed by others.”
And tonight. I am missing my crazy camp friends tremendously.