Monthly Archives: August 2017

A simple reminder…

When it’s hard to do that which we’re committed to, to which we feel the call, but that which the stuff of life obscures like a morning fog remember…

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Look to Him! Aim at Heaven by abiding in Him! He will strengthen you.

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It is soothing to the soul to remember. 

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭9:1‬ ‭ESV‬)

To think of all that God has done, both in Scripture and also in our own memories, brings peace.

At dawn, as the sun rises, remember the Son rose, the greatest of all deeds, for us and for our peace.


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A favorite, though rare, screen…

(Don’t feel like you need to fill it up.)

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When we want to give up on someone…

This church has been under reconstruction for years, a de-formation, if you will. In reading the end of Exodus recently, I was reminded about the complexity of the Tabernacle. I remembered and connected the fact that followers of Jesus are that tent now. And that we are in a regular state of re-formation. For some of us that process is more difficult that for others.

Some of us are harder to get along with than others of you. Paul experienced this. He said to the Ephesian elders, leaders in whom he had deeply invested to help the weak.

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak…” (‭Acts‬ ‭20:35‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Earlier, he wrote to the Roman church saying: “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Romans‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Decades later Ignatius of Antioch wrote to Polycarp and urged him not to give up on those like some of us who are harder to walk with.

“If you love good disciples, it is no credit to you; rather with gentleness bring the more troublesome ones into submission.”

We must keep before us the understanding that Jesus’ command is love: of God, of neighbor, of one another, and of enemy. He told us that our mark of being a disciple is our love for one another. 

That takes a decision. 

Please decide to keep loving those of us who are harder to love than others of you. 

We’re called to walk with one another in formation. 

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What we pay attention to has a profound impact on us…

Okay, that’s not rocket science. But it turns out that it is brain science. The idea that we creatures of body, soul and spirit need constant reforming is nothing new. Curt Thompson (M.D.) is is helping me understand a bit more about how that continual reforming happens in his book The Soul of Shame.

Consider the following that is a sliver of the chapter The Integrated Mind (I’ve inserted the texts he refers to).

“This way of comprehending the healthy development of the mind reminds us of the Genesis narrative which declares that we mysteriously hewn creatures are both dust and breath;…”

“then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

“we are inseparably embodied and relational. Furthermore, this feature of integration is reflected in the psalmist’s plea that God would give him an undivided heart,…”
“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭86:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

“… and God’s deep desire to do so while transforming hardened, disintegrated hearts into flexible, connected ones…”

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” (‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭11:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

…”The notion that my mind comprises different parts that function well only when brought together in harmony and only with assistance from someone outside of myself is but one metaphor the writers of Scripture offer, a poetic expression of our embodied neural circuitry operating in an integrated fashion.” (Thompson, The Soul of Shame, p. 46)

Earlier he noted that what we’re paying attention is key to what we become.

If the first thing I hear each morning  is the 5:30 news and the first thing I read is my Twitter feed or a newspaper, it’s no wonder I have difficulty keeping God in front of me (to borrow from Willard). 

Willard tells us to train our hearts and minds.

Personal Scripture reading, prayer and disciple making conversations are ways that I pay attention to God.

Aim at Heaven y’all!

In this paying attention, I see God renew my mind.

Thanks be to God!

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The importance of three words is almost incalculable…

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”‭‭John‬ ‭19:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The finished work enables me to press on in my unfinished work!!

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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