Viewing entries tagged
Spiritual growth

Short on Adulting.

Short on Adulting.

An Agave plant spends the vast majority of its life growing. Often called a ‘Century Plant’ because it can spend 80 years growing to before reaching its bloom. Imagine a giant asparagus growing 25 feet! Shortly after bloom, the stalk falls, and hundreds of genetically identical seeds fall to grow after it. The greatness of the agave isn’t just an entire life of growing. It’s also seeding life for others.

When it comes to children, growth is obvious. They get taller, lose teeth, become literate, develop a vocabulary, and seem to absorb everything (good & bad) from their surroundings. Kids also try new things with little fear of failure. And, trust seems to be the most natural thing in the world for a child.  It’s no wonder when Jesus was asked who’s the greatest in the kingdom of heaven; Jesus puts a child in the midst of their conversation. Apparently, greatness isn’t about social status or even remarkable skill. Rather, a child is held up as an ideal of humility…because with humility comes a greater ability trust.

The ability to trust is a beautiful quality of a child. Like the agave whose life is mostly spent growing, Jesus upholds a child and signifies that the process of growing and trusting – not the results – is most significant.  Childlike humility is not thinking lowly of oneself, but accurately. Humility "owns" who we are and learns to steward it. How can I trust God and use gifts for his glory? – That’s humility! That’s greatness!

Disguised as our life.

Disguised as our life.

LOVE. It has so much meaning yet it’s so hard to comprehend.

We desire & resist it. We seek & hide from it. We want & withhold it. 

Some suggest love is simple acceptance. But, real love also interrupts us! God is ‘abounding in love’ (Ex.34.6), and because of it, doesn’t leave us as we are.

The aim of Christian living is Divine union with God. That is, To know God’s love in such a way that it changes the way we love.

This isn’t something we can simply read about or hear a talk to understand. If we make the Christian life about knowledge, we miss out on the transformational impact of love. We need experience, which isn’t complete without failure and loss. We can Google instruction on filling out a tax form or installing a ceiling fan but most things are learned through actual involvement: A golf swing, a misunderstanding, baking, injustice, driving a car, dating, an interview, surgery. And so it is with Christian faith as we open our heart up to God.

Richard Rohr turned a phrase that’s been lingering about how God comes to us, “disguised as our life.” 

Hmm…It’s hard to imagine God as ordinary as our lives.

We often ask, “God who?”, God, when…?”, or “God, why…?” Yet, it’s through constant trials and temptations, God leads us forward through family, failure, friendship, marriage, loss, abuse, and success. There are no dead ends, no wasted time, no useless characters or meaningless happenings. All has meaning, and God is in all things waiting to speak and to bless. God not only redeems, he is “abounding in love”. 

It’s what we’re supposed to experience. And when we do, it’s transformational.

Something About Mary

Something About Mary

Every year, we re-read the Christmas story…shepherds, wise men, angels, Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. It’s beautiful but it’s more than historical, especially when it comes to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She is unique in that, while a virgin, conceived and gave birth to the Christ child. It’s also tempting to think of Mary as unique simply because God chose her and not me. Yet, if we allow the Mary's story to end there, we miss the greater significance. Maybe a better way to view Mary is a prototype of God’s plan for every person in the world!  More than “just” the virgin birth, she represents the hope of Gospel: Christ In Us!    

Paul writes to the Galatians the point of the Christian life, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”  Paul’s singular desire is that we become people who bear and express the life of Christ. Like a mother with labor pains, I don’t want you to just look/sound/act like Jesus but to be the actual presence of the resurrected Christ. 

That’s the Gospel! Christ formed in you. Jesus paints a picture of vine and branches and invites us to “abide in me” (John 15).  He’s saying, allow your life to be filled with mine. This is the goal of Christian life! We do that that and we bear much fruit!

WHAT IF…this were your starting point? Everyday you know that Christ lives in you. What if…you went into each day with the hope, power and confidence of the resurrected Christ? Mary made Jesus’ arrival possible some 2000 years ago. But, we can hasten Christ’s return as we live into the God’s invitation of Christ in us.  Welcome to Advent!