Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon

I am so amazed that God shows up in the ways that he does. I am reminded often that God’s love and mercy in my life have not been earned, but are a result of his active love for me. This afternoon as I am reflecting on the worship celebration at LifeQuest today, I had some thoughts I wanted to share with you.

• Today, five people volunteered for ministry today for the very first time. That is awesome!!!
• The way God is moving in people’s lives is powerful. People who are sharing their stories with me are finding the grace of God in ways they have never experienced.
• It never gets old to see people respond to God’s Word.
• Every conversation I had today had a common theme: community. People are either loving the community they have with other people at LifeQuest or they are longing to find community.
• If you are not in a Life Group study of some kind, get in one!!!
• God is doing some awesome stuff at LifeQuest.
• Some people told me they changed their vacation plans to be at LifeQuest on Easter Sunday!!!
• I can’t wait for Easter Sunday!!!
• Don’t miss next Sunday!!! This is going to be a worship experience you will never forget!!!!
• I have a Sunday nap hangover!! Chat at you tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Basics

In 1954, American psychologist Abraham Maslow cemented the concept of the “hierarchy of human needs.” It has become the basis for psychological study and therapy since its inception. While I do not agree with many of Maslow’s beliefs or assumptions, especially his humanistic worldview, I do see incredible value in his understanding of human needs. Picture each step as a building block toward the next need:
Physiological (basic human needs), Security (basic safety), Love and belonging (relationships),Esteem (confidence), Self (who you really are).

I have noticed something rather striking about this hierarchy and I am seeing it played out in the lives of people I interact with daily. At the very center of the diagram, just above our basic human physiological and security needs, is the need for loving and belonging. It struck me this morning as I was thinking about this that the very basic, intimate need for love and connection holds all of our other needs in place. It is, in essence, the linchpin of how God created us.

I meet people who are continually looking for love and belonging. They seek it out in destructive ways many times. They move from one toxic relationship to another and they look for physiological and safety needs to be met through friendship, intimacy and support. While this has been breakthrough concepts in psychological circles, it is certainly nothing new.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus told a young man that the greatest of all the laws was to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Love and belonging with our creator and love and belonging with our fellow man. Maslow didn’t solidify a humanistic concept, he repeated a biblical teaching.

The more I connect with people, the more I hear that people are looking for connection. They want true, rich relationships. They desire meaning and purpose beyond their own pleasures. They are not satisfied with the basics. They want the depth.

It is scary to reach toward those levels. But God created us to be a part of a loving community. He created us with a basic need and with a desire toward depth. We many times are too busy satisfying our basic desires we never move toward the point of intimacy with God or one another.

This week, how can you move toward intimacy? How can you promote loving God and loving others in your world? How can you help meet the most basic of needs for yourself and for those around you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"A Century Turns" by William Bennett

“A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears” is a wonderful piece of American history painted within the frame of someone who was in the room as events, discussions, policy fights and diplomatic decisions were made in the last decade of the twentieth century. William Bennett not only discusses the policy issues and societal shifts of the day, but he relays behind the scene commentary in such a way that the reader is drawn into the moment.

Bennett uses great skill in crafting the story of history with the personalities and the culture of the United States in the 1990’s and the first decade of the twenty-first century. Events that shaped policy at the time are now viewed with the consequences, both positive and negative, in view. Decisions to support foreign leaders at one point in our history have at another point led to tragedy and terror. William Bennett portrays the rationale behind certain policies and explains the fights that took place as members of different parties, factions, and cultures dug in their heels.

“A Century Turns” is a must read for the generation that lived this history. Over the course of twenty years the culture, language, technology, allies and foes of the United States have ebbed and flowed as the rivers of history moved forward. Bennett captures the context behind the content. For any lover of history or culture, “A Century Turns” is a thrilling and captivating experience.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's Time!!!

This was a monumental weekend in our house. Maybe not monumental, but it was pretty exciting. Barriers were broken, challenges were overcome, fear was conquered, and a new challenge looms on the horizon. Kimberly was finally able to master the art of riding her bike this weekend!!!

We have tried for several years to convince her that training wheels were no longer needed. No luck! The first imbalance, the first wobble, the first spill and the battle was lost. For whatever reason, the bike was a battle she was not interested in fighting, much less winning. But this weekend, Kimberly won.

She fell a few times. Getting started by herself is still difficult. Turns can become a nightmare when you are not really sure how fast to go. But, Kimberly can ride her bike. Now she has proudly proclaimed, “Now that I can ride my bike I can get a bigger one.” Yes she can (sigh).

There was one moment where I thought we were lost this weekend. I was helping her around the block and she was getting tired, and I was getting frustrated. I told her she could do it if she just tried. She climbed on her bike and looked at me and said, “I’ll show you!!” And she rode her bike.

When Alana asked her why she decided she wanted to learn to ride her bike she simply said, “I am old enough to know how to ride a bike.” It was that simple. She just felt like it was time to grow up. Another hurdle on life’s road has been cleared and so many more stand in the way.

The lesson for me in all of this is that sometimes, it is simply time to grow up. We often try to remain in a state of childhood where we struggle, pout and give up. Sometimes, it is simply time to do life as an adult.

What hurdle do you need to conquer? What is the obstacle in your life that needs to be cleared? In what area do you need to grow up? My list is long, but my resolve is set. I’ll show you!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

That's Why We're Here

There have been some things I have noticed the last few Sundays that have helped me to see God show up in some really powerful ways. There have not been any major miracles happen in people’s lives that I know of. There have not been a ton of people contacting me because they have prayed to receive Christ. In fact, there has been nothing exceptionally public that has been going on. But some great stuff is happening that others may not notice.

One example I want to share with you is the story of a woman who has been attending LifeQuest and has been beaten up by life. You can look at her and see the strain that live has caused. I know a few details, but her life has been turned upside down the last couple of years. As I see her while I am speaking, I see pain and hurt. I am not sure I have ever seen her smile more than simply a cursory hello.

The last few weeks I have noticed that she is hanging around after the service is over. She is talking to a few people. I have walked past the group talking and heard pain, anger, and a few tears. I see others listening as she tells her story and I see people put their arm around her and offer a word of encouragement. I am pretty sure that none of her circumstances have changed, but she is here. She is hearing the gospel and finding support.

That is what Jesus has called us to be as a church; a place to hear truth and a place to live it out. No one here is perfect. We are hurt, frustrated, angry and all other kinds of things. But we are here, being the body of Christ as best as we can.

I love what God has called me to do. I love that God allows me to see small steps of healing in the midst of large amounts of pain. I pray that this week we will all be encouragement to those around us. And I pray that if you are in pain, you will find support and encouragement from the body of Christ.