Feb 17, 2010

Relentless at Lent

Ok, so the title isn't the best in the world. I'm ok with that; virtually everything I do is not the best in the world and I've had to learn to be ok with that too. But, still, I like the title. Here's why.

I've never really been a health fanatic (and I don't plan to become one today). Sure, I try be sensible in my eating and physical activity. I remember saying when I was a kid that when I grew up I would get a milkshake anytime I wanted one. Well, here I am and I want one...but I rarely get one. Why? Because I'm trying to eat more healthy foods and milkshakes rarely, though sometimes, qualify.

Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter, the resurrection day of Jesus. It is on the church calendar to commemorate Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism. Other biblical characters spent a period of 40 days in a similar way, such as Moses and Elijah. Of course, Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness. So Lent, is a time when we are allowed, if we so choose, to enter the "wilderness" and do without and thus share a time with Jesus in a different kind of way. Peole choose to fast, go without TV, or don't eat out, etc. Virtually anything in your normal lifestyle could qualify as something you give up.

So I'm re-lenting as it relates to my diet. No, I'm not dieting. I'm choosing to develop better eating habits. And it won't be easy. I fully expect that Satan will attempt to lead me to compromise. I choose to relentlessly pursue better eating habits. More green, even raw veggies. Fewer sweets. More water. Less bacon and more oats (that was hard to write!).

What about you? Have you chosen to give up something?

Feb 12, 2010

Season of Lent

It's that time of the year again. Time for Lent. A time for us to participate, even in small ways, in the death of Christ as we anticipate celebrating together his resurrection come Easter. It is an opportunity to give something up, not just for the sake of giving it up but to surrender a part of self in order to be more intentionally filled by God. The idea is that we surrender something of meaning and use that space to be more open to God at work in us. It is an experience for us in going deeper into the heart and life of loving God and loving others.

I've surrendered different things over the last several years I've participated in the Lenten season...things like caffeine, various foods, and the snooze button on my alarm clock. Those are small, simple things but they provide an opportunity for me to be reminded that my life is LESS about self and MORE about God.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (April 17) and continues for 44 days leading up to Easter. Traditionally participants enjoy whatever they have given up each Sunday throughout the 44 days as a reminder of coming together as God's people to celebrate the resurrection.

I invite you to participate. And be creative. There are plenty of unique and wonderful ways to surrender a part of ourselves to God during this time of year. If you have already decided on your own, maybe you would like to share with the rest of us?

May God bless you during this time as you die to self, and rest in him...


Feb 5, 2010

Settled Christianity

I think sometimes as Christians, one of our biggest enemies is our own contentment.

It's easy to buy into the idea that once we find a place where we are comfortable and where we fit in, we put down roots and set up shop. We become so content to remain where we are that we forget that we are on a journey toward becoming more like Christ. We become "settled," when God calls us to be continually on the move. What invites us to be contentment home owners on Christianity street? Fear? Comfort? Ignorance? Indifference? Apathy? Maybe you can fill in your own blank...

The God story of Scripture calls Abraham to leave his home and all he's known...calls Noah to build an ark with no hint of water anywhere...calls Moses despite his "weaknesses" to help deliver God's people out of Egypt...calls the prophets to speak truth regardless of the consequences...calls Peter to drop his nets to become a rock of the church...calls Paul out of a life of "blindness" to proclaim the "light" he encountered on the road to Damascus...and calls us to seek, pursue, grow, and change. It is not a message of stagnation but a message of movement. Jesus invites us not to stay, to kick our feet up, and to get comfortable...BUT to love, to serve, to go, and to make disciples. It is not a call of arrival, but a call to travel...a call to be, and to keep on be-coming the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities.

I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street...
Philippians 3:12-19 (The Message)


Feb 3, 2010

What Kind of Party?

I know I live in somewhat of a bubble but that bubble is now smaller than it used to be. Why? Key Parties! No, not Tea Parties. Yes, Key Party. What's a Key Party? you wonder. Here's how it was explained to me.

Some married couples get together to enjoy each other's company. So far so good. Snacks, conversations, etc. Again, so far so good, right? Depends on how one defines "etc." At a Key Party, one's house key is dropped into a container. But when you leave someone selects a key from the container and goes home with the owner. Translated, a Tea Party is a change-of-partners-for-the-evening for a night of sexual immorality and adultery. But hey, participants are consenting adults and no one's harmed. Right? Wrong! But that's another post.

Here's what shocked me most, actually hurt me most. Christians in Reidland are known participants. Surely not! Is this true? Have you ever heard of such? I'm asking for verification. I'd really like to know? Can anyone help me? Rumor? Truth?

One thing I know...no Christian husband or wife who loves his/her spouse with the love of God would ever participate. It's called unbridled lust, sin. That's not being unfairly judgmental. Here's God's judgment: "the sexually immoral...will not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor.6:9).

--Posted by Terrell