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Sky Links, 7-30-16

Photo by longboard CC 2.0
Here we go...

Busy, busy, busy.

 Business is an issue and a detrimental problem I see.  If you are a very busy person, you may not see the down-side of business.  I believe, or it is my opinion that, a busy life, overstuffed with too many activities and responsibilities, is a shallow life, that yields diminished returns.

And, some pastors are way too busy, and way over-worked, because 'the job description' is way too wide and frankly inhumane.  Everybody loses: the minister, their spouse, their children, and the ministry.

This is why I want to share this article by Tim Suttle, The Importance of Disappointing Your Congregation, where Tim reflects on the words of Eugene Petersen, about 'unbusying yourself':
Peterson’s probing question is essentially this: If I was not busy making my mark in the world and not busy doing what everyone expects me to do, what would I actually do as a pastor?

His answer is quite simple: pray, preach, and listen. The pastor must be a person who prays, which takes disciplined hours of time set-aside to engage with God. We cannot pray if we are busy. The pastor must be a person who preaches, stewarding the pulpit faithfully by speaking the language of the scriptures into our present day context in creative and compelling ways. We cannot preach if we are busy. The pastor must be a person who listens, spending time with the congregation over coffee and meals, learning about their lives and bearing witness to their struggle. We cannot listen if we are busy.
Busyness is the enemy of the pastoral vocation.
The problem is that, as Peterson says, if we decide to become an Unbusy pastor we will become a huge disappointment to many people in our congregations.
I believe these principals also apply to folks who are bi-vocational or who are 'great commission Christians' , who are trying to be on mission in their lives and use the gifts God has given them.  Your 'pulpit' is the place you have in your life to speak the word.  What if prayer, listening, and then speaking carefully when it is our turn were the main things for all ministers?

Suttle quotes Petersen as saying that we are too busy in life, because we are both vain and lazy.
I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself-and to all who will notice-that I am important. 
I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself.
In a nut-shell, this means that we think we are more important than we really are and we let others or the waves of life overwhelm us, because we are too lazy to set boundaries and have priorities.  The paradox is that lazy people can be workaholics, and the laziness is in the compulsive, lack of self-control and boundaries.  In other words, the lazy one lacks discipline, and so their schedule is out of control and they beholden to all instead of God and themselves.


You Are Irrelevant

Somewhere I saw this quote, from Henri Nouwen:
I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.  (In the Name of Jesus, 1989)

Apostle Paul's Surprising Word About How You Should Live Your Christian Life

Chaplain Mike, wrote on Paul's words about the simple and normal Christian life in, Another Look: Paul's Disappointing Approach to the Christian Life:
In today’s church, we might have expected Paul to exhort us about being more involved in the life of the congregation.
 After all, how can your love for others grow if you are not participating with them in the fellowship of the church? Are you attending church regularly? Are you in a Bible study, learning God’s Word with others? Are you in a small group, sharing your life and praying with others? Do you have an accountability group to help you keep your motives and actions in check, so that you are staying pure and living a life of holy love? Are you actively partnering with others in Kingdom service? Paul does not point out any of these things.
Paul’s encouragement, instead, must seem remarkably lackluster and ordinary from the point of view of those who invest so much in spiritual engineering and technology, motivational methods, and churchianity.
"Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your

hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others."
There it is, friends:
Live a quiet life.
Mind your own business.
Work with your hands.  
The best way to show Christian love to others? It almost sounds like a prescription for a small, selfish life! Yet this is how the Apostle, by divine inspiration, encourages us to live.
Paul commends a life that is the very opposite of activist churchianity.
Instead, he advocates the way of Christian vocation — Walk humbly and quietly with God.



What Are You Looking For?

 I was struck by this post from Greg Crawford:
What are you looking for as you surf endlessly through all the Face Book posts? Is this where you think you will find God? Is this the place that holds your answers? We waste so much time trying to find revelation in the wrong places...
Later, he writes:
What are you looking for? If you’re looking for awakening, then what exactly does awakening look like? How do we know we have found it? Because what we see sure isn’t producing the shift in hearts we desire...
And he says:
I’m not looking for what we are currently calling fivefold, awakening, revival, or whatever tag that has to be the center piece of attention but the Lordship of Christ would put all such nonsense into an eternal grave and resurrect a people who are under Lordship’s power first in their heart. I’m looking for competition to be replaced with esteem and honor. I’m looking for national prophets to carry a true national word. I’m looking for apostles to be allowed to function so we can sort out the mess and find the true apostles. I’m look for real sons and daughters willing to walk a journey in life together with a spiritual father and willing to pay the price to do so. I’m looking for the foolishness of being “spiritual” to cease as an excuse for a person’s unwillingness to change or hear truth. I’m looking for messages that come from heaven not the Internet, Google, books, etc. that shakes the unredeemed portion in believers’ lives to step into light and out of the darkness.
What are YOU looking for?  Read, What are you looking for? by Greg Crawford.



Have You Had Your Pharisectomy?

Here is a post, called A Pharisectomy In Progress, with the testimony of a lady named Julie, who is in the throes of change, transition, and transformation in her life in Christ.  Her story illustrates some of what this death and resurrection is like for many people today, as you will also read in the interaction in the comments section, if you follow the link below:
I too am a recovering Pharisee. I was really good at it. I was an ultimate performer and striver as I exerted my strong will to be the best of the best for 21 years. I grew up in the church, I heard all the stories on flannel graph, memorized the scriptures, learned the books of the Bible. I was studious to the point that I did 2 Beth Moore Bible studies at one for fear I would miss something. I was going to KNOW God.
I have been coming out of that for a few years now.. and I see so much wrong I believed. I now understand that I am crucified with Christ and that I no longer live. I have absolutely no desire to prove anything anymore. That has been stripped from me. I have no desire to perform or strive. I haven’t been in “church” for five years and I have no desire to go back and sit under sermons that try to mix the old with the new. I have a great deal of exposure into this new covenant living and am soaking it up. I now know it is all about Christ living in me and what Christ did and has done and will do through me. I know it is not my life but His in me interwoven together as one.
I want to believe I am currently in a transition phase… that the dark night is just before the dawn. I feel so very lost and uncertain. I have dropped everything I used to do—journaling, praying, reading the Bible, attending church, and writing (a great love of mine). In the midst of this I find myself feeling so very gutted to the point that it feels hard to know who I am.
Wayne's response begins with this:
If I could say one word to you, Julie, it would be relax! Your mind is racing a hundred directions right now worried about outcomes you can’t possibly see at this point. I know it is scary. I know it is incredibly disorienting to move out of a religious framework and go on a better journey. All your perceptions are set on an old paradigm and as that shifts this kind of season is incredibly normal.
Read, A Pharisectomy in Progress, at findingchurch.com, with Wayne Jacobsen.


Pars, Birdies, & Eagles

What Attracts People Into The Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement?, Roger E. Olson

An imbalanced and woefully incomplete description of pastoral ministry,  Chaplain Mike


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