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Archive for October, 2010

St. Iggy and My Jacket

So, I’ve been out and going since 6am this morning. I had to take a picture to document a realization I just had:

Yep. I’ve been to small group, two meetings, and spent at least 2.5 hours in my office and have yet to take my jacket off. Honestly. Just thought of that.

It goes back to something that I find is a continual theme in my journaling and thinking about life and how we get messed up in our efforts to grow in relationship with God.

The issue is attentiveness – paying real, focused attention to the big and small of every day. I wasn’t focused enough today (lack of sleep and lots of reading last night could be the reason) to even notice that I still had my jacket on. So what else did I miss?

This may seem small, but think about this: God is CONSTANTLY working in our lives. In conversations. In nature. In thoughts. In songs. In children. On and on we could go, but as much as God is a God of the future He is very much the God of the present.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his writing called “The Spiritual Exercises“, jumps on the idea that God is present in the everyday and that the only way we can grow from it is by paying attention. He developed something called the “examen” that is a way to reflect on our lives and see where God was working and where we were challenged or struggled during the day.

Sum it all up and it says this: if you want to know what God is doing, pay attention to what God has done.

Here are three “St. Iggy” kind of questions that you can wrestle with as your own “examen”:

1. When did I feel closest to God today?

2. When did I feel like God was distant or that I was creating distance between us?

3. What emotions come up when I try to think about where God was working today? What distractions are right now keeping me from thinking about today?

I’d love to hear your comments on what insights and struggles you have with this.

Also, read this post by worship artist Carlos Whittaker. Incredible, and it may be good to include this in your “examen” for today.

I’m going to go and take my jacket off now.

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The Influenza Virus - Yikes

Yeah, it’s hard to say this going into a season where many of us in Chicago will have our lungs blasted with the kind of cold air that serves as time-share property for bugs, germs, and viruses of all types.

Kind of makes you want to gargle some bleach, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all the same, we live in a viral world. My morning news show has an entire segment devoted to viral videos and links (I take no responsibility for any content you find on the site, however) and much of what we find as illustrations for sermons come from videos we’ve been forwarded or recommended which probably came from someone else forwarding or recommending…

You get my drift.

The reality is that everything we know, do, say, eat, read, wear, drive, tweet on, sit on, think on, love on, and focus on has been passed on to us and is therefore perfectly prepared for us to pass it on to others.

That includes spirituality.

Unlike other viruses, spirituality (or Christian spirituality to be more specific) is something that we should WANT to pass on. This is good news – this is the true evangelism that we’ve been taught is about rescuing people from Hell when they die but really its about giving hope and life in every kind of Hell that we face.

Knowing Jesus and the God He loves and patterning our life after Him through the power of His spirit is contagious.

Look at all the times when Jesus does something in the Gospels and we read “and word about Him spread…” There is an epidemic of love and hope when spirituality is passed on.

There is more and more data coming out today saying that we need to start learning by doing again – so, my question is this: Who are you infecting today with the hope and truth of Jesus? Who are you taking the time to show a life that is bigger than just “heaven when I die”?

Are you really even “infected” yourself?

God, completely infect me with your contagious love and grace so that I can’t help but pass it on to others today.  

 

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Not Going to Lie…

…the blog has had to take a back seat lately. Lots going on, and I don’t want to be a sissy and whine that I’ve been busy because everyone’s busy. (Whether we should be or not is another question, which I’ll address in another blog…)

But I felt like I had to take the time and post this for you. The poem you’re about to watch has in it one of the most explosive elements of the Gospel story. The Gospel does not make distinctions based on how normal you are in the eyes of predominant culture. Jesus didn’t give a rip who a person was, He looked to their heart.

Many times, the one thing that separates us from the liberating and empowering grace of God is our inability to believe we are worthy of receiving it in the first place.

Own the grace of God today. Shake the dust.

http://vimeo.com/8746269

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