Friday, June 15, 2007

You ever been to the arcades, maybe at the beach or in the mall somewhere, and played or seen the "Whack-A-Mole"? Its the one where the person playing has a hammer and is standing at a surface with 6 holes in it (very similar to the image to the left). In each of the holes is a mole and they will pop out of one hole at a time and the object of the game is to hit the mole before it ducks back into its hole. You ever have the feeling that trying to find your direction in life is a lot like playing that game? I do at times. I feel like I just keep poking my head out in different directions only to be slammed with some giant hammer telling me this is not the way I should be going. I'm glad at times that there are those hammers there stopping me from going a direction that I shouldnt, but I just keep thinking there has to be a better way to figure out where God is leading me.
Its interesting how God prepares us for situations in life. This week one of those hammers came down on my head showing me that i wasnt going the way I should be right now. Right before that happened I decided to sit down and watch the "Nooma" DVD that our bible study was going to be watching the next night, something i rarely do in advance. This week Rob Bell was talking about how often in life, because we can only see our immediate surroundings, we think that God is taking something good away from us for no reason. And often we get upset at God because we think we know what is best. But the problem is our vision is limited, when God's is not. God can see what lies in front of us and knows exactly what we need. So while it may feel like God is taking something away from us for no reason, maybe we need to realize that He is Good and that should be enough for us to trust that He has things in control.
An amazing and sometimes misused verse is Jeremiah 29:11-14 (The Message):
"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 13-14"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.
The problem with me is that I want the result without following through on my part. I want God to just tell me where to go the minute I ask, but thats not the way it works. God is desiring to be in a deep and conversational relationship with me. He's longing for me to set aside my time and seek after Him. Another passage that I came across this week was the story when God led Elijah up on the mountaintop. And as Elijah was waiting for the Lord an earthquake, fire and strong wind came but God wasnt in any of those, then he heard God speaking in the silence, in a still small voice. My problem is that I get caught up in the loud things and never wait long enough to hear the voice of the Lord. I never sit in the stillness, listening for the voice of the Lord. I want directions on the fly. Maybe thats why I feel like I'm a mole in one of those games, maybe I'd do better to sit and wait for the Lords leading before I poke my head out of one of the holes.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Sabbaths Rest

Have you ever tried to purposely do nothing? I did today. I woke up this morning a little later then i normally would on a Saturday, 9:30, and by the time i had breakfast cooked i had already washed all the dishes from last week plus had a list of 6 things that i wanted to accomplish that day. I looked at the list an immediately got depressed. Over the past months I've been reminded several times of how little I understand the concept of rest and truly taking a Sabbath. For me Sundays are never very relaxing. Now dont get me wrong, I love Sundays. Well I should clarify, usually I love Sundays, sometimes they can be somewhat annoying. But thats beside the point. Most of the time I love going to church and everything else that Sunday entails. But being a worship leader causes Sundays to be not so relaxing. And actually just going to church, especially if you have young kids to try to get up and ready that early in the morning, can be hectic and somewhat stressful.
Therefore, I never really have a day of rest. And I think that shows. Actually I think our culture shows the affects of that. Why do you think we need so many coffee shops - I know I know you drink coffee because you like it, and i do to, but theres times when even I drink coffee just to get that caffeine fix i need for the afternoon. We're constantly going. Trying to make the most out of every day, every minute, and if we dont we feel like somehow we've fallen behind and will never catch up. We go, go, go until we get so burnt out that we have no choice but to stop.
So this morning i decided to change that about my life. I decided to do absolutely nothing today. And let me tell you, that was a hard thing to do. The morning was pretty good, I spent it reading through the book of Revelation, which that alone could lead to another post. Have you ever sat down and read through the book of Revelation in one sitting? Its amazing! I would encourage anyone to do that, and not only with Revelation. Read one of the epistles or any shorter book of the Bible in one sitting, it reads much more like a story or a letter which is what they were meant to be. Anyway, that made for a great morning, but by afternoon i was starting to feel very lazy and unproductive. Which i really wrestled with. Why do i feel like i need to be accomplishing something with every second of my day, and is that right? The rest of the day i spent finishing my Harry Potter book - the first one which i read entirely this weekend (tells you how exciting my life is)- watching a movie, and eating with my parents. It was a very good day. I even made an intentional effort not to try to plan out the rest of my week, which is something that i tend to naturally do. I just wanted to enjoy today as much as possible.
So if today was my Sabbath what will tomorrow be? I actually think that after church i will do some of the work around my house that i used to do on Saturday. I'll admit thats going to feel weird, but why should it? Jesus says that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27), it was not meant to be a burden but something that was a joy. Something that helped us to recharge, a time of rest. For me, that wasnt Sundays, so i needed to find my Sabbath some other way. As i thought about it this morning i found it strange that perhaps non-Christians honor the Sabbath more then Christians do. Many use Saturdays to work and Sunday to sleep in and rest. Thats sad. Theres a chance that today might be the only saturday that I truly use as a Sabbath, but I enjoyed it and think that we need to rethink our idea of rest and realize our need for it.