Monthly Archives: January 2012

Without Trade or Tillage: Pondering Providential Provision

Sometimes, in the midst of the forest of cultural, spiritual, financial, and personal trials, we forget to lift our minds and spirits upwards and remember our source.  This isn’t news. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that this is one of the primary personal perspectives that all Christian’s struggle to maintain. So, how does one maintain one’s balance living in the world while not being of the world? By looking backwards in order to look forwards. By looking inward and upward before looking outward. Don’t get stuck focusing on Maslow’s pyramid.

Turn your thoughts and hopes towards one the of the greatest, if not the greatest, biblical example of providential provision; the Israelite exodus from Egypt. The story of the Israelite exodus is a Sunday school favorite, and offers a great variety of lessons for readers to learn. The lesson I want to focus on regards God as a Christian’s source of sustenance and strength. Once you realize that God omnipotent is in charge your life, you will quit worrying about how to fight your inner and outer demons. No assault is strong enough to overpower Him, and nothing can penetrate your front lines without His permission. The Egyptians thought they had Israel dead to rights when they saw them march into a dead-end by the sea (Ex. 14:3). And so they would have been, but almighty power stepped in and brought them safely through. Then what? No sooner did they survive this danger, than they found themselves in a wilderness without so much as a roof over their heads. Yet, despite expectations of their soon demise, they lived for forty years without trade or tillage, and without begging or robbing any of their neighbor nations.

Can you imagine having no visible financial income, or even food source, for forty years? Do you wonder why the Israelites were occasionally skeptical of Moses‘ leadership and vision of a promised land? I don’t. I could easily see myself struggling with the stress of making sure my family was provided for. I worry about it now.

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What Makes Faith “Christian?”

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Where do you stand? Do you “shrink” with conditional statements of faith, or do you “step-up” and add to the conversation regarding Christ, faith, and life?

Average Us

If you ask the average man or woman on the street if he or she believes in God, you’re likely to get a “Yes.” In fact, most Americans say they believe in God despite the general secularism of American society.

❯ Yes, but…

But, probe a little behind that “yes,” and you’ll hear a lot of “Yes, but…”

  • “…but not like organized religion talks about Him.”
  • “…but not like the Bible portrays Him.”
  • “…but I’m not religious.” (i.e. “I’m not associated with a church”)

The fact is that modern Americans are largely “Yes, but…” believers. This allows them to keep the faith and spirituality they want, while divorcing faith from the religious trappings they don’t want: the Bible and the Church.

❯ The American Faith

How did American faith get this way? I blame American churches (of all kinds). On any given Sunday morning you could find a grab bag…

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Shoestring or Canvas

I’ll admit it.  I’m a little late to the new year’s feel good, motivational, power list of success building tools, blog party.  And that’s probably where this particular post will land, categorically speaking.  My thoughts, with regard to “Shoestring or Canvas,” have been inspired from a variety of sources. While I may not always proclaim boldly the sources from which a particular thought stream evolved, in this case they are certainly worth mentioning. The first component was an interview I heard on a Catalyst podcast with Jon Acuff the author of  Quitter, and other books.  The second component was from another podcast; Part 3: God’s Great Mission For My Life, a message by Rick Warren from the December 3rd 2011 Saddleback Church podcast.

Similar to other people, I find myself working a “day job” while pursing my true passion/calling on the side when I think I have the time.  Does that sound as crazy to you as it does to me?  Isn’t one supposed to live their dream job and pursue hobbies, or deal with the trivialities of life on the side.  Listening to Jon Acuff’s interview on Catalyst, which touched on his book Quitter – “closing the gap between your day job and your dream job,” hit me right between the ears.  No, I haven’t had the chance to read the book yet, but it’s on my soon-to-read list.  Just the idea of needing to close the gap on living my passion and reversing the reality of my day and dream jobs stirred the stagnancy within my soul.  What am I doing, What do I want to be doing, and what am I actually doing, rather than just thinking about doing, to get there? Continue reading