Idolatry Today

G.Rahl quoteWe all serve, honor, live for something, whether it’s God or a god. People did it 4,000 years ago and we’re still doing it today.

Through the years, my definition of idolatry was limited and uniformed. As a little girl in Sunday School, I breathed a big sigh of relief. “Good thing we don’t do that wooden idol-thing today.” As a teen, I knew I was exempt from any concern over Commandment #1. Idolatry meant a hunger for money, prestige or sex. Again, another big relief.

God is a gentle, determined teacher.

I now know that idolatry is the #1 sin in my life. Some things never change. There are few modern man-made stone images set up in homes in my corner of the world, but there are plenty of modern man-made beliefs and priorities that are set up in unsuspecting hearts.

Our modern day idols separate us just as much if not more, than any ancient image. Exploring idolatry today requires a personal inventory. Upon inspection, the top idols in my life bounce between “me, myself and I” (a trio of dangerous proportion) and my use of time.

Many dedicated church-goers have come to idolize time. In an era of endless opportunity and monumental demands, time becomes extremely precious and how we choose to use it, one of our biggest idols.

Gordon Rahl captures our use of time and the challenges we encounter because of it in three succinct statements:

We worship our work. We work at our play. We play at our worship.

Of which ones are you guilty?

Idolatry and faith are kissing cousins. They both require a throne. Both ask for our energy and our allegiance. They desire it and require it. Both ask for sacrifice—sacrifice of time, talent and treasure.

Idolatry speaks to our deepest fears: worth, emptiness, boredom, value.

God speaks to our greatest need: love.

He speaks the language of love with arms extended and dancing eyes. He invites us to give Him our best. Before His throne we work, we play and we worship.

 

Before His throne do you work, play, worship? What has God been teaching you?

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

Prayerless wonder

Psalm132.7Convicted. Again.

I am a prayerless wonder. I have learned of yet another Kingdom worker who spends hours (HOURS) on his knees before entering his day. And it shows – in his heart, his hope, his vision, his fruit.

In the arena of prayer, God and I share a casual closeness. He’s never far. I keep Him in my line of vision. (More importantly, He keeps me in His.) I dive deeply into His Word each morning.

It’s the highlight of my day. But my prayer time is lacking. It’s OK. But I want more. And so does He.

I want to learn how to pray.

I want to learn how to pray like Jesus.

I’m not alone. One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He was finished, one of his disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray …

Jesus response began with the word “Father.”

Relationship. Contact. Connection.

Psalm 132:7 invites us:

Let us go to His dwelling; let us worship at His footstool.

Mary sat at Jesus feet. What did she do there?

She listened. Focused and undistracted.

Jesus, teach me to listen, so I may be praying for the things on Your heart.

 

When was the first time you asked the Lord to teach you to pray? When was the most recent?

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

Servant Leadership – Part 2.

kingdom restAt this website we spend a lot of time challenging each other to embrace the God-ordained rewards of a guilt-free rest. It’s a counter-cultural commitment and requires accountability and encouragement every step of the way. This is a goal of Run Hard. Rest Well., but it is not the goal. Run Hard Rest Well. champions rest to empower God’s people to live healthy, vibrant, Kingdom focused lives.

There’s a call, Kyle Idleman reminds us, to be a Follower of Christ, not a Fan. We need to trade sitting in the stands with sitting at His feet—there to listen well, equipped to move into the world empowered and unshakable. We’re being called to live lives that defy the Christianized commitment to comfort and complacency, content with mediocre standards of who we are and what we’ve been called to do if there is to be change, but guilt cannot be a part of the equation. It gets us nowhere. Conviction, on the other hand, is of the Spirit. It leads to confession.

Change begins at the foot of the cross.

Our Kingdom work is dependent on Kingdom rest. Well rested, we are suited to listen, to attend with full abandon. Engaging in a rest that refreshes (not one that merely entertains), removes the cobwebs from our hearts, the blinders from our eyes, the cotton from our ears. The Word of God, the Voice of God intimately spoken and fully received changes lives. It transforms our hope, our vision, and our ability lay down our pain, our shame and pick up our cross.

Cross carriers have front row seats to Resurrection power (Philippians 3:10).

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” I Samuel 3:10

Servant Leadership at its best.

Where does your comfort get in the way of your commitment?

Did you catch part 1 of this series on Servant Leadership?

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

 

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership. It’s aServing others prepares you to lead others relatively new buzz word in the church. This week I got a first-hand glimpse of it. My son, Sam, just finished Basic Combat Training with the Army, affectionately known as Boot Camp.

During this 10 week experience, Sam was chosen to be his platoon leader (PL).

Being a PL is a position not given, but earned. Once earned, the demands are constant—requiring a selfless commitment to those he was called to lead. There was no privilege. No perks. Few rewards, except the honor of fulfilling your duty and serving others well.

This leadership position meant Sam worked harder, ate less, had fewer hours of shut eye and needed to remain positive and encouraging during the endless challenges and hardships sent their way.

One thing is for sure. When I grow up, I want to be like that.

What example of servant leadership have you seen recently? 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

R.I.P.

Psalm29.11R.I.P – ‘rest in peace’ is a declaration of death, but what if it becomes a statement, a bold stance for life.

With a child in hospice, another facing chronic pain & disability and my dad battling stage 4 metastasized prostrate cancer, we are facing death head-on, day by day, hour by hour. The weight is no small thing. Heaving and straining, knees buckle, my breath is shallow and quick.

This past week, in a moment of inspiration, an unexpected opportunity for retreat emerged. So, today I am on retreat. My heart is pounding. Jesus’ invitation to ‘come away’ (Mark 6:31) is as real now as it was back then. It beckons and directs. It echos with David’s longing to ‘hurry away’ (Psalm 55:6-8).

Let me tell you, there was pedal to the metal my dear friends, as I pulled out of my driveway early this morning.

My ‘place of shelter’ was a grove of towering pines, a lakeside bench and a wicker chair nestled in a window-lined hallway at Pokagon State Park in northeast Indiana. An hour from our home, the car ride allowed me to unwind and disentangle. There, in a span of 5 hours, God took me from the ache of R.I.P. to the quieting, the whisper of “Brenda, rest in peace. It is mine to give. Yours to embrace.”

To rest in peace is the hope of heaven. But it’s not bound. It’s not out of reach. It’s within our grasp, here, now, through storm, flood, fire and furnace, through ache, anguish and unknown.

It is ours when the Spirit invaded the consuming darkness. He comes to us with authority to comfort, to hush our racing thoughts, to breathe new life into embers He will not let die.

For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said, ‘ You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence… Isaiah 30:15a (HCSB).

R.I.P. or ‘rest in peace.’ Which will it be?

A few quiet hours off the beaten path allows us to exchange one for the other.

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.