If you’ve spent any time in my house over the past 3 months you’ve noticed one thing above all others. We watch the Disney movie “Moana” at least once a day!
That’s because (for some reason) my 2-year-old LOVES the music and something about the water, beach, little girl, a big adventure – captures her heart. I love to watch her watch it… but the movie is wearing me out!
However, there is a 3 min song near the beginning of the movie that has been speaking to me for the past month as I’ve thought about the words over and over again.
It’s the song that Moana’s dad sings to her about the village. Here are some of the first few lyrics.
“The dancers are practicing. They dance to an ancient song (Who needs a new song? This old one’s all we need) This tradition is our mission…”
I know I’m a pastor, but these lyrics hit me right between the eyes as the state of the western church for the past 50-100 years.
We (the Church) are the people on an island to ourselves and are SO SATISFIED with keeping things as they are. Our traditions have become our mission! We’ve lost sight of who we are and who we were meant to be as followers of God. Here’s some additional lyrics.
“We’re safe and we’re well provided. And when we look to the future There you are, you’ll be okay. In time you’ll learn just as I did You must find happiness right where you are”
There is something to be said for contentment. I believe that is a peace that comes from God. However, there is also a danger in becoming so stuck in a rut that, simply because our needs are provided for… we have been CALLED FOR MORE!
“Out of Context” is a series dedicated to verses of scripture, often used in today’s conversations, that have little to do with the context by which it was written.
Context | (1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed; (2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
This has to be one of the top 10 verses that I hear Christians use today that has little CONTEXT for when and how they use it.
Sometimes it’s innocent, like an email signature or an encouraging verse for the day. However, most of the time it’s read (all by itself) by a high school student getting ready to go to college with the promise that God has great things in store for them. Or by the person getting ready to go on a mission trip and are excited about the “good plans” God has in store for them… and no bad plans. Or it’s in a social media post that goes along with someone’s brand new goal in life (new job, new city, new opportunity) in which they claim that God is leading them and has nothing but sunshine and success waiting for them.
God does have a plan for your life. Don’t get me wrong. He does LOVE that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone to go on that mission trip or move to a new city where He’s given you a job opportunity. However, there are more verses in scripture that better align with those circumstances than Jeremiah 29:11.
I would guess that more than 90% of people who have ever spoken this verse has absolutely NO IDEA the context in which this Word from God was given to His people. However, if you just read the 5 verses before it – it would be very clear.
I’ll never forget my time in Montana this past summer. Not only was I surrounded by some of the most amazing mountain ranges, but I had the opportunity to drive across one range called “The Road to the Sun” in Glacier National Park. It’s only open for about 4 months of the year. I was there in July, and they had only just cleared the last of the snow off the road to make it open a few weeks earlier. WOW! It was one of those bucket list items I didn’t even know to have on my bucket list.
Many of the prayers I was praying and seeking God for answers to, came over this 8-day excursion to 6 states, 5 cities, 2 national parks, and hours of flying and driving in between. There was something overwhelming about the GEOGRAPHY being so different than my normal surroundings that I felt closer to God, and maybe more attentive to the experiences I was having and how God wanted to speak through them. I tried to put it into words, but struggled to do so until just recently.
I’m currently reading “Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson. It’s a follow-up book to his first work “In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.” It is a great book about chasing the dreams God has for you and how to dream bigger.
He tells the story of how Joel Malm was ice-axing his way up Mount Elbrus when he received his big dream from God. It led him to create the Summit Leaders. Why go to a conference and passively listen to a leader when you can hike the Inca Trail or raft the Colorado River with other leaders and live an adventure?!
Mark has lived by this saying, “Change of Pace + Change of Space = Change of Perspective.”
For those that know me well or follow me on this blog, you probably remember me proclaiming my word for the year at the beginning of 2016. “What if?” I know that’s technically 2 words, but when you hashtag it – it works. #whatif.
I’m a dreamer and a doer. I love to have my head in the clouds, but there are also times when I just put my head down and get stuff done. It’s a unique tension in my life that I’ve learned to embrace. There have been so many wonderful “What if…” moments this year that I could fill all of 2017 with blogs to inspire what if’s in your own life. However, this is NOT that kind of POST.
This post is not about all the “what ifs” that got me pumped up, it’s about the ONE “what if” that had me jacked up for almost 10 months of this year.
What if…my heart never recovers?
I almost wish I was speaking emotionally or metaphorically about lost love or dreams that were crushed because of circumstances (almost – because I do understand that this has happened for people who struggle with this question and I don’t want to minimize their experience nor would I wish that on anyone). No, I’m speaking about the very real, odd shaped, irreplaceable muscle that pumps the life-blood through our bodies. MY HEART!
I’m enjoying a new (to me) book titled “4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. I was inspired to read it after watching an interview with the author about a different topic, and people in the audience kept asking him questions about issues and questions raised in his book.
After realizing that the book is not a “slacker’s guide to life: how to get away with doing as little work as possible off get rich schemes” – I decided to read it. I don’t agree with every conclusion he makes or suggestion he offers, but it’s one of the first books I’ve read in a while where the author truly see’s life differently than I do. I like that.
I’m only half way through the book, but I can’t seem to shake a statement made towards the earlier part of the book that seems to be a common thread through all of the chapters.
“When nothing seems to be working, what is the cost of a little experimenting outside of the norm. Almost nothing… outside of the mental Olympics you will need to play!” – Tim Ferris
Welcome to The Tension is Real Podcast. A podcast dedicated to real discussion about the TENSION that exists between Life and Faith and how to embrace it so we can live with purpose and freedom.
Today’s Topic – Christmas Tension
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As a child, memorizing scripture was a part of my upbringing. Even if you didn’t go to church or believe the stuff that church was saying, memorizing small verses was simply a part of the generation I was raised in.
One verse I memorized when in high school would become a verse I would never forget.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
The last part of it is very inspiring to me. I LOVE to see myself as someone of POWER (“You can DO IT”), LOVE – #lovewins, and Self-Discipline – “set your course and don’t stop until you get there”.
I could give a motivational talk on those 3 things and tour the country winning over crowd after crowd with a message of POWER, LOVE, and SELF-DISCIPLINE. Everyone I know wants these things and wants them to be TRUE of their lives.
However, most of us don’t function with these three things active in our daily lives because we always seem to be fighting an underlying “spirit” of fear.
When the doctrines of faith and science meet, many view it as a collision of opposite ideals and extremes – I see it as a beautiful waltz of 2 distinct ideals with more in common than people realize. Many don’t think they can co-exist! I happen to believe they don’t simply co-exist – they were “made for each other”.
Dr. Ben Carson was once drilled in an interview on NBC about his faith with the assumption that it was a direct conflict with science. He laughed mostly, but the words he did say that caught my attention were these. “I find a very good measure of correlation between my religious beliefs and my scientific beliefs… for those that struggle with this, I’m more than to discuss with them why they believe what they believe, and why I believe what I believe.”.
I love his willingness to discuss why he can be a scientist and a man of faith. I know people struggle with this and if you’re not a fan of Dr. BC and hate that I started with a quote from him… chill out. This post is not about Ben Carson.
The fact is Faith and Science go together like Garrett’s specialty popcorn in Chicagoland. A unique mix of caramel & cheese popcorn! It shouldn’t go together… but THEY JUST DO! (If you haven’t experienced this awesomeness – you can order some online today).
Here are just a few reasons why I believe that Faith and Science were made for each other.
“Now remember class, there’s no such thing as a stupid question”. I can remember my 2nd grade teacher saying this to us often after she’d had just given us a list of instruction to follow. She wanted to make sure we all felt like we knew what we were doing and why… and I guess she thought this would calm some of our insecurities if we DID have a questions but were too afraid to ask it in class. However most of us still remained quiet with the look of “I’m good” on our face – even if there was a question inside of us.
I’ve actually said this to my children as well. Come to think of it – I’ve said this to rooms of adults when hosting a Q&A about issue with life & faith. It’s interesting how we feel like this simple phrase has the power to break down walls of fear, anxiety and insecurity that lies beneath the surface of our “I’m good” exterior.
WHY? If we’ve been given permission to ask ANY questions and that there really is NO STUPID QUESTIONS…why do so many of us walk around each day filled with questions about life and faith and we don’t feel like we can ask them or share them with anyone.