"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Happens

Life happens. We wake up in the morning, gulp down something for breakfast or go through the drive-thru, drive to work fighting traffic and all the stupid drivers, arrive at the office late and irritated just to find that there is a meeting in 20 minutes that you still have to copy, collate, staple and create binders for because ‘somebody’ forgot to tell you the time was changed from the afternoon,grab a quick lunch at your desk or the break room, drive home with the same stupid drivers, fix supper, clean house, laundry, pay bills, head to bed only to not be able to sleep because it is all about to start again. Saturdays are crammed full of yard work, church or county sports and activities, groceries and on and on. Plus in the whole process above are spouses, children, family, phone calls and the whole rest of, well, of life.

Then comes Sunday. Theday of rest. The day when I meet God. The day when I thank Him for my abundant life. The day of praise and worship. Except when the alarm goes off, the last thing I want to do is …… church. I would much prefer to attend either St. Mattress or Bedside Baptist. So many times when I get to the building that houses my church, my mind is still reeling from the week behind (and the week ahead) that I couldn’t hear God if He were standing on my shoulder with a megaphone in my ear.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

“What,” I say?

“Be still….and know….that I am God.”

This past Sunday ourchurch engaged in the act of Holy Communion. I do not use the term, Lord’s Supper, as many do just because the personal nature of the service is one of communion with God. Lord's Supper seems kinda flippant and not as, well, Holy, as I need for it to be. And that’s important. Communion. Holy Communion. Letting God talk to you. Love you. Comfort you. Calm you. Quiet the buzzing in your head.

This week's Holy Communion was a special time for me. I guess God needed to do some work with me because when we entered that period of our service, and the music was playing, I began to feel God’s presence over in my little corner of the sanctuary. There wasn’t any earth shattering revelation coming to me; just the fact that I needed to….

“Be still and know that I am God.”

That includes a daily quiet time. Not just a couple hours on Sunday. That includes a constant state of “Being God’s.” Not just a couple hours on Sunday. That includes being in communion with my heavenly Father all the time; listening, talking and fellowshipping. Being still.

Is this easy? Nope.It’s hard as can be because we live in and are a part of a very distracting world, but we are to be set apart and follow God’s leading for our lives. All the time. And the only way to do that is to….

“Be still….”

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Of Debt, Diet Cokes and Ticks

‘Tis the season, it seems, for me to be inundated with things that cause my focus to drift from the things of importance to the things of annoyance. My focus should remain on God and trying to live my life in a manner pleasing to Him. However, being the human I am, it is mighty hard to keep that goal clear. I guess you could almost describe me as an ADHD Christian. I really want to keep myself in tune with God, but it is a difficult thing to do in the everyday world of 2011. Now, don’t be getting all smug, because I also know most of you fight the same battles.

Recently, my battles have been against three very tangible things. One of them is debt. Being a single guy, I often find myself battling a Lexus desire with a Gremlin pocketbook. I love electronic toys, clothes, books, and traveling, however, the checkbook doesn’t always allow for such luxuries. The evil plastic card often takes over at that point and all of a sudden, I find myself in a higher debt ratio than I want or should have. Paying off these bills, plus the rising costs of gasoline and other sundries, depletes the bank account faster than it used to. Somehow that retirement check just doesn’t go as far as it used to. In these times, what is the first thing to cut? Support for the church, missions and God’s work. It is a terrible thing to admit, but it is often true. As Christians, we are to give a portion of our earnings back to God for His work, however, when the choice is between the house note and a check to the church…. well, the house wins.

I also tend to have an addictive relationship with Diet Cokes. Now, in and of itself, that’s not such a terrible addiction to have, except that there is no nutrition in those cans and it takes even more money to feed my fix. As a result, I have gained unnecessary weight, spent more money than I need to and have not kept my body in the best shape by not providing the fruit juice, water or other more healthy beverages. We are told in the scripture “our bodies are the temple of God,” well, this temple is pretty fat, unhealthy and broke. I feel bad physically and then emotionally, so I know that God is not pleased with how I am keeping house for Him. Let’s not even think about the word ‘exercise.’

This past week, my leisure time activities seem to be primarily that of checking for ticks. The woods and privet in my backyard must be a fertile breeding ground for this horrid creatures and I think my name is on their list as a good meal. The purpose of a tick is to, well, let’s just say, they have a parasitic relationship that does a person no good, but benefits the tick greatly. Then, there is always the chance of several deadly diseases that can be transmitted to humans (and I’m sure I have all of them by now, plus a few yet to be discovered).

Where am I going with all this? I am learning that I need to keep my physical and financial life straightened out so that nothing can stand in the way of my relationship with God. Being a better steward of my finances and my health will keep my desire for God from being sucked out of me like some little parasite. These are just a couple examples from my life, but you need to examine yourself for what is keeping you from that God walk. Could it be a bad relationship that you can’t get past and forgive? Can it be pride that keeps you from letting go and trusting God for your guide? Drugs, alcohol, language, wanting to be like someone else? Anything to excess will affect you and put a barrier between you and God that becomes harder and harder to break down. Let me challenge you today to examine your life closely and be honest with what you find.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.