Two Important reasons for rest

I have mentioned several times the importance of resting for self-care and living to our full potential. CEOs, caretakers, pastors and workaholics are dead set in their work ethic. They want to be productive and successful. It is wonderful to be living with such high goals and expectations.  Although, this always-on-the-go lifestyle has it’s downfalls too. We were not created to work this way. The Bible offers a lot of examples and principles for a healthy lifestyle.

The truth is that the Bible offers a picture of balance. Rest is important is a principle depicted by even God the Father, who rested on the seventh day after creating the universe. Jesus followed suit on many occasions He “went away” from everyone to be alone with God the Father to fast, rest and pray. While I could continue on in the theological evidence, I want to also mention that more and more studies are providing the same information that I am arguing from a Biblical perspective. On Wednesday, I posted my weekly links post. This theme for these links is napping. Napping helps people to be well-rested and in turn, more productive. Even Google is embracing the importance of well-rested employees, as they provide rest pods for their workers.

Through the Bible there is a theme centering around boundaries and balance. We can be the most productive and the most pleasant when we have proper boundaries in our lives. Work is definitely a high priority and an important one. At times, it can be difficult to put down the phone and spend time with kids. Important meetings and business deals need to get down, yes. But there are other priorities that need to be balanced as well. How are you doing socially? emotionally? physically? sexually? close relationships?

Your job will not satisfy all of your needs.

This why we need rest and we need balance.
I challenge you to rest this week. Even if it is only marked out for one hour every day this week or blocked out for a Friday or Saturday evening. During this time, enjoy God and enjoy other people. Do not entertain thoughts about your job. Also take care of yourself. Exercise or enjoy a hobby. Get ready for the next storm. Life does not stop, but as a human you should stop and rest.

Family, make it a priority

Whether you are a family of two adults, have children, or even if you are single and relate to a family from a distance, it is important that you evaluate the enjoyment level  in your relationships. While spontaneous fun is a wonderful experience of grace, most of us need to be intentional about making space for experiences of fun. Having fun with others socially  is a healthy medicine!
A healthy exercise for any family configuration would be to set aside some time to brainstorm together a variety of fun experiences in which you might participate together as a family in the near future. Be creative even in this brainstorming experience. Depending on your family, you might want to order a pizza, pop some popcorn, or go to an ice cream parlor and order some sundaes as the setting for this family idea generating experience.

Setting up your family calendar is the next step. It is easy for the creativity and excitement of the brainstorming to fall into the background if you don‘t identify at least a couple of dates that you can set aside to begin to experience those fun ideas you just shared. If you have mature enough children, it might be helpful to give them to an important role or responsibility in pulling off the experience. Even if it is not a significant task, in your eyes, it will make them feel even more a part of the process! For example, if you are planning a game night with the family, maybe allow the children to be the ones that got to organize the games and plan the evening. If you are going to a movie, allow the children to choose the movie. Set the date in stone. Stepping outside the seriousness of our lives and  sharing in laughter and pleasure can be a good glue for family bonds.
Often times hard working individuals, because their work, draw out their “other-directed” and serious-side and they forget how to play. Remembering how to play is an important trait to develop and it is a good witness to your spouse and family. Couples, whether they have children or not, need to be intentional about finding couple time when they can play together.When your life is very demanding and the children need a lot of attention, it is easy to neglect the time for other priorities, like work. Sometimes we can even hide behind our busyness and avoid dealing with issue that if faced immediately can be easily resolved. In addition, even if everything is going along well, couples need to have some fun and some private time together on a regular basis.I recommend that couples have a regularly scheduled date night.

You might get season tickets to a theater, sports event, or concert series. If you know it is on your calendar and you have paid for it, there is a better chance that you will set aside the time. Sharing a meal away from family and obligations can be an important time to focus on each other. Of course nice restaurants can be special but picnics or grabbing a Subway sandwich can be an less expensive and often just as fun. You could add to the spice of the event by deciding that at different times one of you would plan the evening for the other and make it a surprise.
We talked a lot about the importance of family time today, but now it is time to execute a plan. In today’s exercises, you formulated some ideas for family fun time, now within two weeks, you should not only commit to an action, but actually DO it. Make your family important, spend quality time with them and let them know how you love them. Make it a priority. (Accountability to the established goals).

REFUEL your relationship with God

I’m reading the book Refuel by Doug Fields…
And I am enjoying this help and practical book.

I love how Doug writes the same way that he speaks. His personality is the same even in his writing, not a lot of authors can (or even try) to express the same sense of humor in writing that they use in their real verbal life.

So far the book has been very helpful. It has confirmed a lot of thinks I have been thinking about, doing, and teaching about myself personally. I hope Doug does not mind me spilling the beans, but the approach to connecting with God is really simple. First we must STOP, then BE QUIET, and MAKE A CONNECTION WITH GOD.

There are a lot of things in our lives that we live that keep us busy, a lot of times we use this busyness as an excuse for not finding time for God. The issue is not our busyness but it is easy to use that as the excuse really our priorities are flawed or we are not managing our time properly to truly live out our priorities.

So Doug tells us to STOP…even for just a few minuets or seconds through-out the day and recognizing God as Lord. Put Him first, seek Him, pray, and read the Word of God….

but the first step of STOPPING can be difficult because of the lives that we live. Stopping does not mean giving God the left overs, we must STOP because if we really want to make a connection with God we must surrender all of our attention to Him. He uses an illustration of getting gas. We cannot fill our car up with gas while it is still moving or even running….we have to STOP the car before we can connect to the pump.

Being "Religious" is not enough

Being religious is not what gets us into Heaven.

Being “good” or “spiritual” are never going to be good enough.

In order to be saved you MUST be born again according to John. 3 verse 7. ( Especially in its full context, the entire chapter!)

In fact being religious is not what we are called to be.

The “good” will not outweigh the “bad”…because there will not be a “good and bad” balance beam in Heaven. Even if there was such a balance beam in Heaven the ONLY person who could reach God’s standard would be Jesus. (Rom. 6:23, Romans 3:23) So if we were judged on being good or bad, heaven would be only be occupied by Jesus and God (and the Holy Spirit) but all in one – of you know what I mean.

Fortunately, Heaven is not for just Jesus and God has allowed ANYONE to call on the name of the Lord to be saved! (Rom. 10:9, 10, Rom. 8:8)

So Heaven is not for religious people. Heaven is for those who call on the Lord.

Religious people are the ones who called on Jesus to be Crucified. Religious people where opposed to Jesus, the Pharisees. Religious people have started wars.

We are not seeking to be religious. We are not called to be religious. Being Religious does not save.

But Chrsit does. And we are to seek Christ in a relationship, not a religion.

compartamentalization is bad

How often I catch myself doing this!!!

I organize my “to do list” and I have my employment related tasks, my University related tasks, taking care of me/myself, family, social events, and my church related tasks, and somewhere in there I know I need to spend time with God.

You know? I give him maybe 30 min.s to an hour in the beginning of the day and then that is it…

I get so caught up in the flow of life, marking off my things to do, that I use that mentality to my own personal walk with God. And when I do this, my walk with God suffers.

On these days, God is just a brief section of a day that centers around ME.

I got my God section of life, my blog section, my guitar time, my reading portion, my sleeping hours, and my personal down time….you get the idea!

And it should not be this way. The center needs to be God. When God is my center. EVERYTHING flows much smoother. There is peace. There is a strong relationship and their is communication through-out the day between a loving Creator and His son! Ah!

Complete Rest in God’s Will?

I was reading “My Utmost for His Highest” as I do daily today…and got me thinking:

Here is an excerpt (read the full devo by clicking link above:)

“The child of God is not conscious of the will of God because he is the will of God. When there has been the slightest deviation from the will of God, we begin to ask – What is Thy will? A child of God never prays to be conscious that God answers prayer, he is so restfully certain that God always does answer prayer.”

Oswald Chambers makes a good point here…that in God’s will we do find rest. We should rest in God and be assured that he answers prayer…..

My thoughts though are this:
Is it so bad to be asking God, ‘What is Thy Will?’
Is that really bad when we are conscious of God’s will…
aren’t we suppose to be on our feet and looking out for God’s will everyday?

I think there is an extreme that could take place if you are too “rested” in God’s will that you miss the obvious callings of God. What I mean is that there is a certain level of consciousness that we need to have. An active faith.

We need to avoid a lazy faith. And like I said a lazy faith is an EXTREME. You really are not finding rest IN GOD if you are being lazy….(but I am on a rant here.)

John Piper: Youth Ministry

I recently listened to John Piper talk on the topic of Youth Ministry.
His sermon was very good and really challenged me.
It is a free listen at desiring God.com, where you can stream it or download it.
I highly recommend listening to it.

Here are some things that are stirring me still as I reflect on his sermon:

Let the Word of God burn in our hearts!
If we youth ministers really let the Word of God resonate in our hearts and minds, if we truly reflected on and memorized the Word before we began teaching our students…can you imagine what our sermons would sound like? Imagine the impact of the Word in our students’ hearts and minds?
If the Word of God was burning in our hearts, then it would begin to burn in our students’ hearts as well.
We would start a revolution, a fire for God!
Sometimes we just work week-in, week-out. We do enough to get by, maybe read over our message twice and the Word of God is not quite resonating in our own hearts, let alone our students’!

Let us pray over the Word before we begin studying for our sermon/talk. Let us slow down! Let us settle on the Word. Let us delight in the Word. Let the Word BURN in our hearts! Open our eyes Lord to the WORD of God! Let the Word shock our students’ lives. Let us have ONENESS with God and His Word! That is radical but it is real.
This is how to start a revolution! Take delight in God’s Word in your own life. Take care of your walk. Let the passion of God’s Word pour out and infect our students!

There is an answer…

All men have a bend towards sin, but there is an answer…

from Unchristian by David Kinnaman:

“No one goes to heaven because of what they do or do not do. Every human
sins
, and we all deserve Hell for that. But Jesus freely offers everyone his
grace.
…homosexual behavior is sin, but it is no different than if I sleep with someone
other than my wife or even momentarily have a sexual fantasy. God created
sexuality, it is good, but it can expressed in wrong ways. Every one of us, gay
or straight or whatever, expresses sexuality in wrong ways. It all comes down
to what you do with Jesus.”
(pg. 108)

I just finished chapter 5 of Unchristian called “antihomsexual.”
It was another hard chapter and humbling chapter to read.

I really had not put too much time or thought into the what the culture, as a whole, thinks about Christians relating to the topic of homosexuality.

Christians have
A. been wrong, too conservative, and mean
B. left people with the wrong idea of what we believe about homosexuality
C. left people with the wrong idea of how we should treat homosexuals
D. hurt people
E. wrong priorities

What we really believe is that homosexuality is a sin, yes, but it is no worse than any other sin.
And Jesus still loves and has mercy on homosexuals, just as he has had mercy on us and forgiven us of our sins.

Bad perception due to real problems within Christianity:
Christians have displayed a special and bad image for the sin of homosexuality. It is “the big one.” And Christians have irrationally fought harder against the issue of homosexuality than any other sin/issue.

We have come across as arrogant, uncompassionate, self-righteous, inconsistent, and uncaring to homosexuals. Our method has been ineffective, stupid and dumb. We have repelled young outsiders from church because of this issue. When this happens, it is apparent that we have lost sight of what is really important! Jesus Christ as their answer and salvation!
Stop fighting the sin and show the love, grace, mercy and compassion that Christ would!

Think about it. Homosexuality is a sin, but it is only a sin! You also sin!
We are all sinners. God’s gift of grace is what is important! Regardless of our sin, God still loves us.
Don’t avoid relationships with people because of their lifestyle. Make relational connections with homosexuals. Stop preaching at them and going to political war with them. Treat them as HUMANS, treat them as friends. It is sad I have to say this! Respect. Love. Grace. Show them Jesus. Build on real relationships.

personal music

Music is an amazing thing that God has given us. We all love it. It is something we use to express ourselves, to comfort us, to relax to, party with, and so many other occasions we have music playing in the background (while we are exercising, studying, reading, watching tv…)
We are bombarded by music, by choice.

One of my professors at OU said that “music improves the quality of our life.” I agree…to an extent. It can also destroy us if we are not careful.

We all live noisy lifestyles. And we live in a society of constant noise. If we do not take some time away from the busy, loud world then we are going to drain out of energy. We are slowly killing ourselves.

Are we losing the ability think clearly and properly? Are we drowning out important relationships with people and with God? Think in your life…has there been a time when something important happened but you missed it cause your Ipod was plugged in you ear, grabbing away your attention? Or has someone important in your life tried to tell you something but you could not hear what they were saying because of all the noise?

Instead of having typical, normal everyday interactions with normal everyday people, everyone has headphones one. They are more narcissistic. They are more alone in this world. All they have is their music and themselves. They lose important relationships, communication skills, and the ability to act/react normally.

I am suggesting that first we need to have a time every day with no noise, no screens – just you, God and a Bible. Second I am suggesting that we make time for important relationships in our lives. And third, I am challenging that we use every opportunity God gives us in our lives to listen to the Holy Spirit and glorify God. You never know what kinds of circumstances God will give you if you are willing to obey….they may though require that you turn off your Ipod. (Just a thought!)