Archives For Spiritual Life

Our dog is an idiot.

If it isn’t bad enough that this 6 pound Yorkshire Terrier wears pants to keep him from hiking his leg on anything bigger than he is (which is basically everything), last night he decided to hold a 20 minute licking session with his back right foot on the blanket where I sleep. Here I am, still recovering from my DST hangover, and this stupid canine decides to create a puddle of slobber for me to lay in.

I lost my mind.

As the dog scurried to hide himself on my wife’s (dry) side of the bed, she got a good late-night laugh at my expense.

Why do we let animals live in our homes? (Alas, that question is for another post).

The truth is, I had some unresolved angst living inside of me last night that had nothing to do with the dog – some stress from work and the weight of a few heavy circumstances that were poking at the broken places and insecurities inside of me. Add fatigue to the potion, and the dog gets blasted for a silly and unintentional offense.

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The problem was inside of me, but I needed somewhere else to lay the blame. Something outside of myself. Dogs are good for that.

As silly as it may sound, this story is a microcosm of our human condition. Our fallen instincts scream at us to look outside of ourselves for the source of our issues.

Poor leaders.

Oppressive culture.

Intolerance.

Family of origin issues.

“If ‘they’ were just better, I would be better!”

And those same instincts challenge us to search inside of ourselves for the solution.

More courage!

The pursuit of happiness.

Self-love.

Self-expression.

“I will make my own way in this world!”

And while all of these things may have some merit, this worldview helps us dodge the root problem that is at play. As usual, the Gospel turns our human assumptions on their head. 

The primary source of my issues resides inside of me:

Sin.

Sin is a virus that infects every aspect of our lives with self-absorption, self-obsession, and self-worship. It puts me at the center and everything and everyone else (including God) in my orbit. It’s the root of everything ugly and broken, and I am incapable of remedying it on my own.

The only Solution is outside of me:

The Gospel offers us wholeness as a gift. It’s given from the outside, not conjured up from the inside. The finished work of Jesus Christ clothes us in redemption. All I have to do is give up. Stop blaming. Stop striving. Stop trying to be my own savior. Stop pointing at everyone and everything else.

This is Good News, but it takes humility to truly hear it.

The brokenness is inside. The Answer is outside.

Maybe it’s time to stop blaming the dog.

I like to worry.

In fact, when I have nothing to worry about, I get worried. And like clockwork my fruitful imagination conjures up a awesomely terrifying possibility to fill the void.

Worry comes naturally to some more than others. I seem to have a gift for it. I may be a worry prodigy.

There are some genuinely scary things in this world (some of them are running for office right now), and I’ve had some good friends remind me that there are serious disorders out there – PTSD, clinical depression, those that have been devastated by horrific trauma – that are above simple platitudes and Facebook meme solutions. But for the rest of us who just like to keep a good fear or two in our back pocket for immediate access, here are 3 simple steps that just might help you shed the worry-bug.

3 Steps forDefeating Worry

When you start to worry:

  1. Pause. Fear and worry multiply faster than rabbits. When your mind starts to race with fearful future possibilities, the first step is to press the pause button. The longer the fear-story plays, the scarier it gets. Fear is a master storyteller, but we don’t have to help write the script. First step: press pause.
  2. Remember. Part of worship is remembering. In fact, much of our sin is rooted in forgetting who God is and what He has done (ask the Israelites who roamed the desert for 40 years after they forgot God’s presence and provision in rescuing them from Egypt). We obsess over our “unknown future,” because we don’t know if God will do things the way we want them done. It’s self-obsession and control. We may not know what He WILL DO, but we can see what he HAS DONE – in our individual lives, but also in the ultimate finished work of Jesus.

    “But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.”
    –Psalm 77:11-12

    Remembering is a powerful practice.

  3. Worship. Let these memories fuel your worship. Take time to elevate God to His rightful place. As Pastor Jack Miller says, “Praise is a form of sanity where you suspend thoughts of the future and dwell in the eternal now, lifting up God as the center.” And when we do, His presence draws near! Here’s a little secret, we don’t fight fear and worry, we DROWN them in God’s presence. God never promised us a life free of difficulty (in fact, he promised quite the opposite), but He did promise to never leave or forsake us. He promised to be with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Sure, the future may be scary. The unknowns might be ugly. What is yet to be written might not unfold according to our script. But God is good, and He promised to always be with me if I’ll only let Him. He promised that ALL THINGS would work together for the good of those who love HIm. That’s a pretty good bet if you ask me.

Pause. Remember. Worship.

Drown it, don’t fight it. This is a powerful strategy for worry-warts like me to embrace the unknown future.

We wrapped up our four week series on Faith & Work at The Point by casting a renewed “gospel-vision” for our work. We understand that the Gospel reconciles and redeems our spiritual lives, but can it really do the same for our everyday work, too? Short answer: YES!

The Gospel gives us a new WHY for our work, a new PERCEPTION for our work, a new COMPASS for our work, and a new POWER for our work. This is incredibly good news! Check it out:

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We continued the conversation on Faith & Work at The Point Church this week by looking at the ways work exposes our idolatry. What, you don’t think you worship idols? Yeah, me either. But I was wrong (and so are you).

Understanding how idolatry impacts our individual lives and our culture as a whole is a complete game-changer. See if you can find yourself somewhere in this message. I sure did.

It’s time to destroy the idols. Here’s how:

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Week 2 of Faith & Work at The Point Church in Seymour, Indiana swerved into a less inspiring “work theology” revelation: work is broken. You probably didn’t need a biblical scholar to tell you this, your own experience informs you every day.

Work was created perfectly, but we experience it imperfectly. Work isn’t the result of sin, but it is corrupted by sin. This is where we live.

The bible has a lot to say about the brokenness of our work, and in turn, what we can do about it. I hope this both challenges and inspires you.

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