This blog was originally posted in August 2015. Entry one of a six-part series.
“Imagine for a moment how you would feel if you were in their shoes…”
It was a phrase I heard many times as a kid. I remember vividly the birthday party that really helped me grasp this concept.
Have you ever come across a person whose name seems to fit them perfectly? Take for example the Olympic gold medalist and fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt. Isn’t “Bolt” the perfect name for him?
Live long and you will notice that the examples are bountiful.
- Race car driver Scott Speed
- Singer Bill Medley
- TV gardener Bob Flowerdew
- Meteorologist Sarah Blizzard
Their names just seem to fit their characteristics perfectly!
Your name is a marker. Sometimes it ironically reflects your talent or job like those mentioned above while other times it simply marks your identity to a family—who you are and whose you are. Either way your name is significant and you will carry it with you for your lifetime.
This week’s blog is from “Flourish”, a new resource that Reconciled World launched over the summer. “Flourish” is a blog that aims to encourage, challenge, resource and support you in your work and personal life. We believe that thriving and fruitful leaders are the product of wholistically healthy lifestyles. We would love for you to read along with us or share this resource with others who may find it helpful. You can subscribe to Flourish, and read past blogs here.
Feeling Tired and Worn Out? Identifying and avoiding burnout
What is your greatest challenge in ministry?
I am sure you could find many ways to answer this question, but one common answer is: exhaustion.
This blog was originally posted on January 8, 2015.
Every year I seem to make the same new years resolution. It always has something to do with drawing closer to God. Basically doing better at John 15:4, “remaining” in him. This year is no different.
John 15:4: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
What does it mean to remain in God?
“That is one ugly looking idol.” It was a place in the local market I rarely went. Mostly because I never had anything I needed to buy in that section of the market but also because I was kind of weirded out by what was hanging from the walls of the various booths. Llama fetuses, teeth and jaw bones of deceased animals, bizarre religious masks and wood carved idols with grotesque faces, horns and octopus like arms. But with a missions team visiting from the states, this area of the market was an intriguing place to walk and get a local flair for the highly “spiritual” culture of the indigenous peoples. While just walking in the place gave me the creeps I always found it fascinating that people felt so compelled to worship lifeless objects.
Psalms 115:2-8 gives a great picture into this reality:
I recall the day vividly. A short-term team had come to visit and the first task on their list was to clean the green space in the center of the neighborhood. The space was filled with garbage, litter and overgrown weeds. No one had cared for it in months, maybe years. The team, having landed only a matter of hours before, graciously put on their work gloves and dug in. They worked for hours and at the end of the day the green space was cleaned and mowed. It looked great and the group and community smiled.
There they sat in the upper room, confused, fearful and bewildered. Only hours removed from Jesus’ death on the cross, what were the disciples to do now? They were now the hunted ones and the storybook ending seemed to come to a fateful and unexpected end. Jesus was gone, and there they gathered… forlorn… attempting to configure a game plan to move forward.
Out of nowhere Jesus appears and gives them a hearty greeting. Peace be with you! Imagine the surprise and shock on their faces!! After showing them his hands and side their fear is turned into joy and the tattered group of followers is given the commissioning that will forever change the trajectory of their life.
Do you ever struggle with doubt? I do. It seems almost daily I wonder if I will be strong enough, tall enough, wise enough or funny enough to pull something off. So after pondering for a while and getting twisted up in my skepticism I often get a sense of doubt. I think it is human nature and I bet I am not alone.
The Bible is filled with doubters.
- Gideon doubted God and needed assurance several times through a series of miracles in Judges 6.
- Abraham and Sarah doubted God (they actually laughed too!) when thinking a person Sarah’s age could bear a child. (Gen. 17)
- Mary doubted God with the death of Lazarus. (John 11) If you would have come earlier she said, he would not have died. Could Jesus not healed him even then? Was it too late?
And then there is the king of doubters, Thomas. The man who has been dubbed “doubting Thomas.” Thomas was not in the room when Jesus first appeared to the disciples and because his eyes did not see the wounds and his hands the hole in Jesus’s side Thomas doubted. After all, he had probably witnessed first hand the crucifixion, could Jesus be living again?
A few years ago my wife and I gave our 8-year-old daughter a Bible for her birthday. It’s not exactly a children’s Bible (giant pictures with two sentences of writing) but it isn’t a King James Bible with 300 pages of index either. It is kind of in between; part pictures to keep her intrigued other part substantial reading to teach her truth. While I know she reads it at night before she sleeps I don’t know exactly what book she is reading or how far through the Bible she has gotten. However, I have sneaky suspicion that she has at least read through the book of Luke…. Here’s why.
Not long ago I came across the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. The story is about a widow who kept coming to a judge in the town with a plea for justice: “Grant me justice for my adversary.” (Luke 18:3)
Prayer: more than a technique but a practice of presence.
I can almost picture in my mind the scene in Mark 9: 14-29 so vividly unfolding…
Jesus comes down from the mountain (possibly glowing like Moses glowed after he met God on Mt. Sinai?? ) where he had just witnessed the transfiguration with Peter, James and John, only to walk into an argument between the teacher’s of the law and the other disciples.
Apparently, according to the story as told by Mark, the disciples had attempted to heal a boy who was demon possessed and were unsuccessful. This failure had lead to a prolonged argument with the teachers of the law. Imagine how embarrassed the disciples must have been? Jesus had given the Twelve authority to cast out demons (3:15) and they had used that power successfully on past occasions (6:13) here though something had gone dreadfully wrong. How awkward that must have been for those men!