The vastness of the ocean is truly astounding, and it's something that has intrigued man since creation. Through the ages we've tried to tame it, and though we've mastered ocean travel and pioneered underwater exploration to quite impressive degrees, the seas will never be tamed. But even...
Showing items for 'Andrew Stevens'
Sometimes in life our courses are shifted in directions we did not anticipate. We plan and plan and plan, but no matter how mapped out our route may be, we undoubtedly hit a few bumps along the way, and oftentimes get set off the course entirely. I call these unplanned moments in life...
‘The weight of the world on your shoulders’ might seem like a cliché phrase, but if we're honest, we've all felt that weight. Whether you're a business executive with 30 employees under you making decisions every day that could make or break company sales numbers; a mother...
Picture this; Sunday morning, people fill the seats, Waiting on the pastor’s words of happiness and peace. But, instead of a message that brings meaning to their lives, The words coming at them today are somewhat a surprise - Words that remind them of greatness; of something...
Most of us use social media to keep in touch with friends, family members, and passing acquaintances; some of us might even have hundreds of ‘friends’ we don’t even really know. Thinking about your friends’ list on something like Facebook, how many of those people do you...
If you attend the Church at Severn Run (or read the blog), then you’re probably familiar with a common phrase that we use quite a bit: ‘Love well. Live Jesus. Believe big.’ For our local Severn Runners who attend, it’s something that we literally say every Sunday...
As a child, I never worried about living without my family. My parents were always around, I had my sister, and we would visit our extended family every year. I have so many fond memories as a child, playing with my cousins at my grandma’s house, going fishing with my dad, or...
Have you ever asked yourself that ever-unanswered question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Well, don’t get your hopes up, because I’m not here to answer that—we just don’t have enough room on the internet to tackle it. However, I can tell...
Week after week, year after year, people come and go here at the Church at Severn Run. Every Sunday more than a thousand people come to visit us, and we absolutely love it, but as we all know, people bring with them a certain measure of messiness, and that messiness needs someone to clean up...
Saved people serve people. That’s a phrase that you probably haven’t heard very often, right? That is, unless you attend the church here at Severn Run of course. Then you’re probably rolling your eyes at me because we hear it all the time right now. Hopefully...
The vastness of the ocean is truly astounding, and it's something that has intrigued man since creation. Through the ages we've tried to tame it, and though we've mastered ocean travel and pioneered underwater exploration to quite impressive degrees, the seas will never be tamed.
But even though we haven’t been able to observe every inch of these great waters, just inches below the surface lies a vast array of easily observable phenomenon that take place every day. The oceans contain countless species, from tiny plankton weighing a fraction of an ounce, to gigantic whales weighing multiple tons. There are all manner of unique and amazing creatures that fascinate us. Given this vastness, and the dangers presented therein, it's a wonder how a single fish can survive a normal lifespan. As with all creatures, there are a variety of defense mechanisms that God gave fish in order for them to survive, and there's one in particular that's both impressive, and highly effective - the school.
Why Do Fish Swim in Schools?
It's well known that a group of fish is called a 'school', but not often do we stop and consider what exactly the fish are doing. If you've ever been to a public aquarium, you've probably seen a display or two that houses a lot of the same type of fish. These fish are almost always swimming together in schools, and in most cases, this is quite the spectacle to observe. But, why do they swim that way?
At a basic level, there are several major benefits to fish swimming together in such a way. First off, just like when geese fly in a 'V' to make it easier on them by reducing wind resistance, fish conserve energy by riding on the slipstreams created by other fish. Another important benefit of the school is that it protects the fish from predators. There have been research studies that have investigated how fish swim in such close coordination in schools, and without getting into the technical details of their findings, fish have something in their genetic makeup that allows them to be electronically ‘connected’ in close proximity. Some varieties fish swim in a more closely coordinated fashion than others, but many fish still swim in a school during some portion of their lives.
What We Can Learn from the Fish
So, what's the point of all of this? Well, there's a lot that we can learn from fish. According to a study published by the journal “Current Biology”, there have been questions raised about the possibility of whether the 'schooling' behavior of fish can be linked to the behaviors of humans and how we tend to group together. While the studies seem to be inconclusive in that regard, it’s obvious that we, like many animals, naturally gravitate towards groups. Unlike fish, however, since we are considered the "apex predator" of the world, we don't normally need to group for survival. Maybe we did a long time ago, or today in more remote parts of the world, but generally we can survive alone if we had to.
So, why then do we group? Without getting into the social semantics of it, the basic understanding is that we group because we desire social interaction to function normally and live more comfortably. We can also accomplish a whole lot more when we work together.
But, how does this relate to faith and living as a Christian? If we keep it simple and think about it as we see with fish and schooling, it actually makes a lot of sense.
First off, one of the primary reasons that fish school is to be safer from predators. We know that the Bible addresses this specifically, as Satan, the Great Deceiver, is always working to isolate us so we are more vulnerable. The only time we see in the Bible that Satan physically came himself and tempted Jesus was when Jesus was alone in the desert fasting.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:1-2, ESV)
Not only was Jesus alone, but he was also very hungry. The devil came to him when he was most isolated and most vulnerable. He does the same with us. He knows that when we are alone and cut off, especially from other believers, that we are more easily influenced. Just like predators of the ocean try to do, by splitting the fish up so they can single out some of them, the devil is always circling looking for his opportunity to make us vulnerable and strike. He's always trying to divide us, because he knows we are stronger together. We must take great care to not let that happen...
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2, ESV)
We have to look out for each other and share our burdens. The Bible tells us that we must! The more connected we are, the safer we are, and the more resistant to the enemy's attacks. Anyone who's ever been part of a small group will tell you that through sharing their struggles with close friends, they were better able to weather the storms in their lives. At the Church at Severn Run, we call these Connect Groups. We also have a phrase that goes along with those that says, "Life is Better Connected!" This is something we truly believe because it’s evident that not only are we stronger spiritually, but we can also accomplish a whole lot more together than we ever could on our own.
Working Together to Accomplish More
Which brings us back to the other reason humans group together. Some of the studies show that early people grouped together, not just for protection, but also because they realized that they could accomplish a whole lot more as a group working together towards the same goals. And this is still true today, and in fact one of the pillars of most of our lives. Many of us work for organizations in the pursuit of some sort of overarching business goals.
If we go back to look at the example of fish in schools, we see that same thing play out in the slipstream effect. Fish conserve their energy by swimming together. Naturally, this means that they can swim longer and require less food for energy. And the more energy they conserve, the more likely they are to survive if they get cut off later from the school, such as when predators attack.
I’m sure I don’t need to continue to explain all the correlations between these things and how we as Christians should stick together. The problem with humans is that, even though we often know what we should do, we’re stubborn and like to blaze our own paths. And don’t take this the wrong way, we shouldn’t always just “go with the flow”, but that’s implicating that we’re following all the other ‘fish’ of the world. You have to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the right people. Fish swim in schools with like fish. If you surround yourself with like people who also want to live following Jesus, then working together and protecting each other in that endeavor will naturally occur. And that is something we definitely NEED to do.
I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)
It’s not always going to be easy, and at times you might find yourself alone and cut off from the school. Sometimes we drift off on our own, and sometimes life takes us in different directions. The good thing is, there are always other fish around, and the school you just left is not the only one in the sea. And if all else fails, you may even need to start your own school. But most likely you will be able to find a group, even if it’s small, and jump right in. Others will then be drawn to this group and it will likely grow.
Whether you’re a fish or a Christian, hopefully it’s obvious that there are some major benefits to being connected with like-minded individuals. Betting that you’re the latter, it’s probably safe to say that nature is one reflection of God’s intention in our lives, and fish are just one of many examples of that. There are countless other cases in creation of how working together can provide safety and strength, and we are no different.
Whenever we are alone, we can only rely on our own strengths and weaknesses, which don’t always complement each other, and usually our strength will eventually give out. But together in a group, we can cover each other’s weaknesses and continue to strengthen each other so that we are always better able to face the storms that will inevitably come.
Wherever you are in your journey, and wherever your travels take you, try to always keep connected with other believers, because life really is better connected.
Sometimes in life our courses are shifted in directions we did not anticipate. We plan and plan and plan, but no matter how mapped out our route may be, we undoubtedly hit a few bumps along the way, and oftentimes get set off the course entirely. I call these unplanned moments in life “U-Turns”, “Side Roads”, and “Traffic Circles”. It may seem like we’re lost in these moments, but I’d like to suggest a different perspective.
If you take the first letter of each of those words you get UTSRTC. That likely makes no sense to you right now, but I’ll explain how it can be looked at from a different perspective a little bit later to find a hidden meaning. But before we get there, let’s break down each of these moments, and explain what it looks like in our lives.
Sometimes on the road of life, it feels like we start going backwards, or at least like we’re going back to somewhere we’ve already been. Sometimes it feels like we've got a point that we just can't get past, and no matter how hard we try, we keep getting stuck there. Sometimes we’re on our way at full speed, and then life throws a wrench in our plans, bringing us to a screeching halt, seemingly making us lose all of the progress we’ve just made. Other times it’s like a point that we reach over and over, but something (or maybe someone) keeps pulling us back. Or, maybe it’s a decision that we keep coming to, and we struggle to make the choice that moves us past where we keep stopping. Whatever it is, it can be difficult to figure out how to get past these points in our lives.
I call these moments “U-turns”.
When we’re out on our way to a particular destination, sometimes we find ourselves making what feel like “wrong turns”, and it may feel like we’re driving off the beaten path, so to speak. Many times in life it seems as if, even if we’re still moving towards our end destination, we’re either not quite sure where we are, or we’re worried because it feels like our arrival time keeps getting pushed back. Things just seem to not be going according to plans, and we get irritated because the paths we mapped out are not where we currently are. We plan and plan and plan, but it always seems like we hit detours, often times sending us off into the unknown and uncontrollable. These “detours” can be really frustrating, especially when it feels like we’re now headed in the totally wrong direction.
I call these moments “side roads”.
With the U-Turns and Side Roads, even though they can be confusing, and we might feel lost, at least we still feel like we’re still moving. However, there are other times in life where we just feel like we’re stuck in an endless loop, never really knowing when we’re going to get out and get going, and sometimes so dizzy from the circling that it feels like we could get sent in a million different directions. Sometimes we've been going around so long, it seems like we'll never get out and get back on track. And even if we did, we've lost sight of which way to go. Maybe these times have been caused by something out of our control, while other times our inability to choose a path has us running in circles trying to figure out which way to go. Another thing that tends to happen in these moments is that we spend so much of our time looking out, trying to figure out which exit to take, that we take our eyes off what's “inside”. We’re so busy looking out, that we never stop and look in.
I call these moments “traffic circles”.
Lost? Or Just Redirected?
Now that we’ve defined these three moments in life when our plans change, we have to decide how we’re going to view them, and then what we’re going to do about it when it happens. For a large majority of people, we like control. We like the feeling that we’re in charge, and when we can’t control something, we typically have one of two responses: fight or flight.
So, when these situations come up, how do you normally respond? Do you spend all your time and effort focused on fighting back, or “road-raging” so to speak? Do you find that when you get stuck, you start blaming other people, situations, and sometimes even God? This is an easy tendency for us. When we lose control, we try to shift the blame away from ourselves. The problem is, we’ve been behind the wheel the whole time, and we’re the only ones to blame. We have no reason to get upset about where we end up based on the choices we’ve made. Granted, things don’t always go as we planned, but we’ve still had to react to our circumstances, and ultimately we make our own decisions. If we’ve been in the driver’s seat, then only we are to blame. Not only can these responses make our situations worse, but often this leads us to hurt those around us. We blame them, or let out our frustration on them, and our “passengers” – those going along life with us, who were never in control of the wheel – they take the brunt of our frustration merely because of proximity.
Other times as a result of uncomfortable situations we try to flee. We don’t know where we are, so we panic and make rash decisions. We make hasty choices in an effort to just get out and go anywhere but where we currently are. The problem is, this usually leads us to get even more lost. It also usually causes us to ignore those around us, which can be just as hurtful as getting angry with them. Usually those closest to us are just trying to help guide us along, and we either ignore them completely because we are so worried about where we’re going, or we don’t take their advice and make our own irrational decisions. And as we get more lost, we get more and more stressed out, sometimes to the point of losing total control and ending up in a wreck on the side of the road, or so lost we feel hopeless of ever getting back on track.
Choosing Your Path
So, what choice are you going to make the next time you find yourself in one of these kinds of situations? Are you going to panic and flee? Are you going to get angry and blame others? Or, are you going to try a third option?
This third option I’m talking about brings us back to the letters in the beginning: UTSRTC. I told you there was a hidden meaning there. Have you figured it out yet?
If you rearrange the letters, one possible combination ends up being TRUST C, or as I see it, TRUST Christ. If you can learn to not react as you normally would and instead trust Him, then things will turn out a lot better for you. All you have to do is give Jesus the wheel (aka, the control)!
If you’ve ever been a passenger along for a ride, when you’re not the one looking at the map or worried about directions, then for the most part, no matter which way you go, you generally trust that it’s right. It can be the when we trust Jesus. While it may seem scary to give the wheel up, once you relax and realize that he will take you exactly where he wants you to go, then you’ll realize that there’s nothing at all to worry about. However, there’s still some effort on our part, and it’s not as simple as just giving up and letting whatever happens, happen, saying that it is “God’s will”. We still have to hold the wheel. But, like a GPS, if we ask him to, Jesus will be with us every step of the way guiding us to our destinations in life. We still have to step on the gas, and we still have to turn the wheel, but when we are guided by his direction, then we know that every move is taking us exactly along the path that God has planned out for us. We may not always understand where we are going or why, but if we trust, then we know we are always headed in the right direction.
For many of us, control is everything. I know that in my own life, this is completely true. I’ve had to trust God that he knows where I’m supposed to go, and what I’m supposed to do. Giving up control of the wheel hasn’t been easy, and oftentimes I take it back and think that I have a better way. But I have learned that there’s a certain peace in not having all the answers. There’s a relative calmness in knowing that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, even though the unknown is always all around me. It’s hard to listen, especially when the world is buzzing and telling me where it thinks I should go. But if I quiet myself and listen, the still, small voice of Jesus is there, guiding me ever onward towards the destinations that he has placed in my path. I don’t have to know where all the stops are, I just have to know that Jesus is moving me onward on my journey, stopping where he wants me to stop, driving past where he wants me to drive past, and meeting people along the way I never would have ever planned to on my own.
If you trust Jesus and let him guide you, your life will happen exactly as it should, and you will be ever more attentive to the beautiful destinations of a perfectly planned journey.
So let go of the control, open your eyes, and breathe in every moment. I promise, it will be worth it!
‘The weight of the world on your shoulders’ might seem like a cliché phrase, but if we're honest, we've all felt that weight. Whether you're a business executive with 30 employees under you making decisions every day that could make or break company sales numbers; a mother with kids balancing cooking, cleaning, and getting them all to their various weekly activities; an older adult working two part-time jobs past retirement age just to make ends meet; or somewhere in-between, sometimes it really feels like the weight of it all is suffocating. And if this is how we feel off and on throughout the year, it's no wonder that some people feel extra pressure during the holidays. Everyone thinks that Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year - and while it can be, it can also be an incredibly stressful and depressing time of year.
So what really is the point of Christmas? If we're going with the world's view of Christmas, we'd probably say things like gift-giving, spending time with friends and family, extra time off work, fun trips, bonuses, New Year’s resolutions, or a plethora of other commitments levied on us. While most of that is all well and good, and on their own aren't inherently wrong, it was never meant to be the point.
The funny (or should we say, tragic) thing is that Christmas has become a time full of high expectations, often followed by differing levels of disappointment. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to fulfill all that's expected of us. And so, looking ahead to the holidays, instead of cheer, we just see lots of things that could go wrong.
As a father, I've become more intimately familiar with the letdowns during Christmas. We all remember those holidays as kids, when that thing we wanted most wasn't under the tree on Christmas morning. As a kid we get over those disappointments fairly quick, but we still remember what that was like as an adult. It's almost like little wounds that we receive, and though they don't hurt anymore, the scars remind us of a pain we once felt. And while not getting some silly toy or other seemingly trivial item for Christmas isn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life, these 'scars' slowly begin to warp our view of reality. And now, as a father who generally wants what's best for his kids, even though I know that they don't need 90% of the things on their Christmas lists, a part of me still wants to do more than I am. And this is coming from someone who lives fairly comfortably. I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like for a parent who struggles to get their kids just one or two things for Christmas.
But, this is how the cycle goes. We fail to meet their expectations, and we fail to meet our own expectations, and when they grow up, they will likely feel the same disappointments. And when we look at ourselves, all we see are more and more scars, forgetting what we used to look like under all the pain. Perhaps for some people this is why the extra time off during the holidays is so exhausting. Maybe this is why spending time with family feels more like a burden than a gift. We place more expectations on ourselves to look perfect – to act perfect – and that usually causes us to try and cover up the scars, trying desperately to hide the pain, but at the same time hiding who we really are underneath.
Oftentimes, when we’re forced to look in the mirror, we don't like what we see. The holidays can sometimes force us to look in the mirror way more than we would normally. The holidays can also expose us to the gazes of others who we feel are more openly seeing all the scars we bear.
So, if this is what Christmas really does to so many people, then what is the point of it all? If Christmas doesn’t bring about hope and new beginnings, then what are we doing wrong?
The question, instead of ‘what are we doing wrong’, should be ‘what are we focused on?’ If we’re focused on meeting everyone’s expectations, then we are setting ourselves up for multiple failures. We will never be able to meet everyone’s expectations, and we’ll struggle even more so to meet our own expectations.
God’s Gift of Hope
If we could focus on receiving then we’d never be disappointed or let down. The kind of receiving I’m talking about here is not in gifts or anything tangible. The point of Christmas was a gift – God’s one and only Son. The point of the holidays is to receive the most precious gift that anyone has ever given, and to reflect on its impact in our lives. It was a gift of hope; a gift of grace. This grace is the one and only gift we’ve ever been given that comes with zero strings attached, and with zero expectations. And all we have to do it receive it.
Naturally, the world will try to trivialize this gift and tell you that there’s a lot of other, better things out there. But the truth is, all those other things come with expectations. We expect that new car to not only get us around, but also make us feel good about ourselves. But, there’s always someone with a nicer car, and one day even this new one won’t get us around as reliably as it once did. This is just one example, but we buy everything because we expect something from it, even if it’s a necessity. We expect food to satisfy us and keep us from going hungry, we expect water to quench our thirst, and we expect toilet paper to, well… keep us clean. But the truth is, there’s always another day. We eat and drink, and soon that satisfaction turns into a sensation urging as to visit the restroom again. The point being that while these simple necessities may have met our expectations, it’s still just temporarily.
And so it goes with everything, except the one gift that doesn’t ever run out.
When God sent his son to this world, he knew full well what that meant. For a million reasons, it didn’t make sense to the world, but for one reason, it made all the sense for the world. “For God so loved the world, that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believed in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
The real point of Christmas is the cross. God sent his son to Earth so that he could begin with the end in mind. You can’t have an end without a beginning – at least not in a way that we as humans would understand. So, this Christmas we must celebrate the beginning of the life of Jesus, the one person to be both God and human; the one person who never sinned, so that ultimately he could die on a cross and wash away the darkness of all those who would believe in him.
The one problem that we must overcome with this gift is our expectations. Even with Jesus, we have human expectations, and we try to box God into something that meets the needs we think we have. This is why most Christians still feel ‘lacking’ when it comes to their spirituality. Instead of simply receiving and letting grace wash over us, we try to come up with systems that make God ‘manageable’, setting up expectations that if we do ‘X’, then ‘Y’ will happen.
Why is it so hard for us to simply receive?
Perhaps it’s our humanity that holds us back. And while that is a major hurdle for us, I believe the truth of the matter is that our human “limitations” are just our excuse because it’s so hard for us to accept that hope is this easy to find.
This Christmas let go of expectations and try to just receive. God asks nothing in return, and in fact he has canceled all debts. All we have to do is focus on receiving grace and letting it wash over all of the expectations that we’ll never meet anyway. There should be hope in knowing that everything will be okay, even if the world is screaming at us that it’s not.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays this year, try to quiet yourself and just reflect on what it means to have complete freedom from the bondage of all the expectations weighing you down. Let go of the ones that you can, and focus on just living in the grace of a God who loves you beyond measure. Don’t worry about all the things you think you have to do; inviting X number of people to church, reading your Bible and praying 30 minutes daily, or even going to church each week. All of these things are good, but if instead you simply focus on letting God’s grace wash over you, its immeasurable waves will flow into every part of your life and undeniably affect everything it touches. It’s impossible to fully live in the hope that grace gives you without it touching everything around you. In this way, you will naturally invite those who need to come, and you will be drawn to God in Word and in prayer. At that point, it’s no longer about what you have to do, but what you yearn to do.
God has offered to remove the weight of the world from your shoulders through his son Jesus. He took that burden, and all you have to do is put it down and never look back. Consider what the holidays could feel like if you no longer felt weighed down by the chains of expectations that you couldn’t meet. Imagine what Christmas could be if you clung to hope and rose above the darkness of your life’s current circumstances. Imagine yourself completely free, soaring high above the expectations and pressure of the past.
Now stop imagining and receive it.
Picture this; Sunday morning, people fill the seats,
Waiting on the pastor’s words of happiness and peace.
But, instead of a message that brings meaning to their lives,
The words coming at them today are somewhat a surprise -
Words that remind them of greatness; of something they’ve never known,
Every syllable slamming against them, painful, almost tearing at their soul.
And there I sat as well, listening, the words eating me away.
Why do words that should encourage make me feel this way?
Making me feel empty, because I know I could be more,
The shoulda, coulda, woulda’s come knocking at my door.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, the message was quite inspiring,
But what I felt behind it, if honest, was just plain tiring.
Because I knew that I had work to do, if I was to embrace this destiny;
The path that God had set me on, which I had strayed entirely.
Why do I feel this way? Why do I dread the path ahead?
Why do I look across this room of dreams, and see only nightmares instead?
Every single person that day, had hopes, and dreams, and gifts
But most of them abandoned that for lack of faith and grit.
For every person near and far is born an empty slate,
Hoping to do something in life that people consider great.
But as the years come rolling in, we accept an unkind truth,
That most in life we’ll shoot for, we’ll miss, so we settle without proof.
We never try for fear of failure, and so fail before beginning.
And on it goes throughout our lives, accepting loss, no hope in winning.
But God said..
I know the plans I have for you, the plans to give you peace,
The plans to prosper, love, and hold; my son died for your release.
From the pain and suffering and fear, from doubt and insecurity,
So that nothing in this world could cloud your clarity.
And yet, clouded vision comes, because we lose that faith,
And allow the lies of a dying world to drag us to that place
Where darkness overcomes the light, where death steals every life,
Where happiness is just a dream on a road that’s wrought with strife.
The devil wants to keep us small, to keep us living within limits,
Because he knows the greatness within threatens his very existence.
Maybe not the greatness that we had originally envisioned,
But a greatness that comes from something more - a decision.
A decision to commit our lives to higher, to a God that’s full of love,
To the idea that grace covers everything, from below and from above.
Grace changes everything, and sets us a new path.
No matter how many times we stray, we can always come right back
The simple truth is this: that God gave us gifts on purpose,
And even though it’s for his glory, it goes deeper than the surface.
For what you see outside, is not always what’s beneath.
God knows that what we do, ripples beyond our reach.
So each and every day, the choices that we make,
Spread beyond the paths we walk and show His love innate.
Though still I doubt myself, I know that God believes.
And all the gifts I have, are all I’ll ever need…
Most of us use social media to keep in touch with friends, family members, and passing acquaintances; some of us might even have hundreds of ‘friends’ we don’t even really know. Thinking about your friends’ list on something like Facebook, how many of those people do you honestly, really know? When you scroll through your news feed or status updates, do you get to peer into people’s souls, or are we just looking through a small painted window pane that blocks the view of the true brokenness within?
Just as we do with social media, so often we do with God. We post a status update that we went and saw a really good movie, had a great workout at the gym, or just ate a whole box of girl scout cookies (#noshame). And we do the same with Jesus. We ‘check in’ to church on Sunday, we might have a temporary high, and we share a cool ‘status update’. Then Monday comes, and we forget all about the last post and share an update with how we woke up late and on the way in a jerk in a Mercedes cut us off and made us hit a red light, which ultimately led us to have to park and walk an extra five minutes in to the office. And so, with a passing whim, Jesus comes up here and there, and then he’s gone again when ‘real life’ gets in the way.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We need to move Jesus from a status update or online acquaintance to a real life, side-by-side, close and personal kind of relationship – the kind that isn’t blind to the true brokenness that fills our lives. The way that we move Jesus from something distant and unreal to something close and meaningful is by worshipping him daily through prayer, scripture, and personal time.
We devote so much of our time to worldly things – things that ultimately will fail us. Why do we worship the things that will fail us, yet ignore the one holding out his hand who’s already given everything, promising us eternal hope, love, and peace?
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. - Isaiah 54:10
Stop being passive. Don’t let the world win, let love win! Unplug from passing on fake news and start living a real-life side by side with the one who loves you more than you know, and who sings of a worth that outshines the brilliance of the sun. The creator of the universe made you perfectly in his eyes, and he wants to have a personal relationship with you. All you have to do is let him…