What I’m Not Reading

I’m home.  Home to my little house in my “Mayberry” neighborhood and my community filled with people who cheer and frustrate, and are broken and in the process of being put back together just like me.

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The past two months have been rich and stimulating and very, very full.  Full of new relationships and places and ideas, and stories and prayers and intense conversations.  It’s been wonderful and overwhelming at the same time.  And not the norm.

I love variety and travel and learning new things.  It’s a blessing.  But I need to get back to living my real life.

So…this is the pile of books I’m not reading.

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Don’t get me wrong.  They look really good and I’m excited about digging into them, but here’s where I’ve felt a pinch in the butt by the Holy Spirit.

I’m getting fat.

It’s crazy wonderful to be exposed to stimulating relationships and new information and great books, but the danger is we become obese – filled up with all of the deliciousness and getting no exercise.  Processing and applying nothing.  A holy hoarder if you will.

I think…”Oh that’s such a great IDEA!!  I should tell someone and they should DO it!”

“I will think more about _______________(insert anything I hear that I’m convicted or excited about) and how real that can be real in my life…someday.”

“I’m gonna Tweet that quote!”

We consume more, tweet more, Instagram more than we live into.

These days I need to do more living into.

I have a friend who used to say, “Start reading Jesus’ words in the New Testament and when you get to a command, stop, and don’t read further until you do it.”

And then there’s Jen Hatmaker who writes, “At some point, the church stopped living the Bible and decided just to study it, culling the feast parts and whitewashing the fast parts.  We are addicted to the buffet, skillfully discarding the costly discipleship required after consuming.”

I’ll get around to reading these books and be glad I did, but not today.

Today I need to write a note of encouragement, take a walk and pray present, do laundry, and forgive that person who dinged me.  I need to create stuff and breathe deep and serve others in my real-life community.

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For you the challenge may be the opposite.  Maybe you need to stop doing and be still.  Or maybe you’re starving for more sustenance and need to fill up with inspiration from God’s Word and information about the needs in His world.

What are you living into today?

Jesus Stalker?

Bob Goff is one of my favorite guys.  He inspires, encourages, challenges, and cheerleads for Jesus. He reminds me of Peter Pan – a perpetual kid on a kingdom adventure filled with hope and joy.  He throws candy down to kayakers from a cliff above them. He helps orphans in Uganda.  I want to be his friend.

If you haven’t read Love Does, DO! (Check back in on Wednesday for an opportunity to win a free copy!)

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Bob spoke at the Leadership Summit a couple of weeks ago and asked, “Are we just stalking Jesus?  Have we just been learning more and more stuff about Him?”

I picture a psycho with a creepy room with a stash of Jesus pictures, and Bible verses with strings to cards with the Greek translations, and maps with arrows.  But then…maybe he’s talking about people like me who love to learn and can get stuck there.

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A Salvage Mission

I love, love, love Christmas cards with the beautiful scenes of pristine snow and a lovely stable and winsome sheep.  I love to imagine the cleaned up version of Christmas.  Like I prefer the cleaned up version of me.

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I’d prefer not to face the reality of Christmas that involved manure and labor pains, sweat and body odor and afterbirth.  Jesus didn’t come into a Christmas card, but into a sin-filled dump.

We are fragile and broken and God comes into the junkyard of our lives not with a bulldozer, but with loving hands that sift through our shattered pieces and gently put us back together, better than new.

Recently I read this quote from The Drama of Scripture by Bartholomew and Goheen:

When his good creation was fouled by human rebellion, God immediately set out on a salvage mission.

He had created it, and it thus belonged to him by right. Now he would redeem it, buy it back for himself, so that it might be restored to what he had always intended it to be.”

I love the image of God’s “salvage mission”.

And then I saw this Youtube video that seemed to be a beautiful picture of people literally living out that phrase.

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Books and a Give Away Because it’s Friday (fake title)

It’s Friday, and you’ve made it through another week.

Some of you have made it through “somehow”, hanging on by your toes, holding back tears, and wanting to hide in a hole.  It’s gonna be ok.  Be gentle with yourself.

For some of you it’s Friday and your stomach is in knots or in butterflies or in whatevers and you’re nervous or fearful because even though it’s Friday you still feel like Rocky going into the ring.  The hard conversations, or pressure to produce, or scary diagnosis doesn’t disappear for the weekend.  It’s gonna be ok. Be gentle with yourself.

And others have come to this Friday “triumphantly”, feeling like you want to high five the checkout girl and the barista and maybe even give a thumbs up to the person who cuts you off in traffic.  We’ll try to be happy for you. :).  Celebrate!

At the end of the week, what do you do to care for yourself?  What is most nourishing to your soul?

For me it’s getting outside biking, walking, playing – soaking up the beauty of the world, and relationships where there’s meaningful conversation and lots of laughter and hugs.

Reading is replenishing too, but lately I have felt a check in my spirit.  A caution that I need to live more than I read.  

I fear we (I!) get sucked into collecting sound bites, hoarding information, sharing pithy tweets, taking lots of notes and not allow any of it to seep into our souls and change us into people who look more like Jesus.

We read more than we live.

We quote more than we do.

We know more about praying than we pray, know more about serving than we serve.

I need to live what I know.

If I fasted from reading for a time, would my hands and feet and heart ever catch up with my head?

Note the title of this post.  I just added the parenthesis.  I sat down today, fully intending to share a couple book reviews and do a give-away, but I prayed and…well, this is what came instead.  Thoughts?

Spiritual ADD

Often people ask me for suggestions of good devotionals or Bible studies.  It happened again this past week after John preached on the Bread of Life and it got me to thinking.  I’m delighted to share what’s been helpful to me, but with a few caveats and a request to hear from you too.  I am so grateful for my relationship with Jesus but…

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Two Questions to Consider Every Day

This week is the one year anniversary of the start of this little blog.

A year ago about this time I had nothing.

Ok, that’s “a lie from the pit of hell“, as daughter Maggie would say.  I “had” a lot of things.  A lovely home, and delightful family and friendships I treasured.  But it felt like I had nothing partly because I didn’t have an impressive job title.  Actually I didn’t have any job title.

I felt like an untethered space station floating in the inky cosmos.

We had just returned from a five month sabbatical and I was clueless about how the next season of my life would look.  What was my “place“?  Who was my “tribe“?  Was there anywhere God could use me to add value?

The answers seemed to be “nowhere”, “no-one”, and “nowhere” (again).

Maybe your circumstances are different, but you can relate.  You’re “in transition” (that horrible euphemism for “in a place that feels scary and directionless“). Or maybe you’re just feeling unsettled and under-utilized.

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Ilegal Bible Reading?

Here’s the rest of the post from Wednesday.  We’re talking about avoiding Bible Boredom…

When we were little, my cousin Karl had some weird ideas about road signs.  And one of them was that this was the only place deer could cross the road legally.

Somehow he thought deer would understand (maybe because of the picture of themselves that they’d recognize) and line up to cross only where they saw that sign.

Over the years I’ve had some weird ideas about what was “legal” Bible reading…you know…what “counted” on the cosmic scoreboard of spirituality.

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