Viewing entries tagged
salvation

Wholehearted.

Wholehearted.

In the midst of a busy, stressful time, author David Whyte describes sitting down at the end of long day with a trusted friend. “Brother, speak to me of exhaustion”. The sage companion replied, “You know the anecdote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest. The anecdote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness!”

All of us experience seasons of life that pull our hearts, thoughts, schedule, and finances in many directions. Knowing our tendency to get distracted, grow weary and lose faith, God thought wholeheartedness was so vital that he made a way to center our hearts, our minds, and our families. God’s plan for  wholeheartedness?  Sabbath.  Wait, What? Sabbath, really?!?! Isn’t Sabbath for people who aren’t busy, without kids or like to enjoy their weekends? Isn’t Sabbath a luxury or for people without deadlines?  Not. According. To. God.

When they reached Mt. Sinai, God covenants with Israel to be a nation of “priests” who would put the Divine on Display for the world to experience (Ex.19-24). Sabbath isn’t simply a day for church &/or inactivity. According to God, The way one’s faith, family or a nation – to be set apart as holy is if we maintain a standing appointment with God and community. Sabbath is God’s “game changer” for life. A standing appointment with God forces us to trust. Because everyone worries! Is there gonna be enough…? Will it get done? What am I missing? However, God invites us to trust through dedicated time. Personal and corporate “standing appointments” signals God’s plan to renew our hearts.

WHAT IF…we approach church like showing up to a potluck? We come with an offering, a contribution, acts of service, even rested. What if…we came with an eye for a struggling soul, willingness to examine our hearts, and ideas about surrender? Church would be renewing. Community would grow.

And, WHAT IF…we could begin each day with coffee with God, a scripture, &/or a prayer? “God, this is your day. My life is an offering to you. Open my eyes, my ears, my heart so I might turn toward you.”

We will find one direction. Wholeheartedness.

Count your blessings.

Count your blessings.

I still laugh at an old family story of a distant uncle living in Norway who already had 6 kids, including one-year old twins. With great excitement, he announced to his mom that they were pregnant again. His mom – in what might be the least grandmother moment in the history of grandma’s – looked at her son in disbelief saying, “Oh Son! Get ahold of yourself!!”

“But mom…I like children…”

To which she said, “Pffft! You have enough already."

Apparently, there are different ideas which blessings to count and which ones to not. A dear friend recently offered this quote,

“Spiritual people sometimes get the idea that we should be independent, totally whole, and completely fulfilled. That is a myth that burdens many good people. In reality, our lack of fulfillment is a precious gift. It is a source of our passion, creativity, and our search for God. All the best of life comes out of human yearning, not satisfaction.”

When God promised Abraham a generationally huge family, he and Sarah waited 25 years to see it fulfilled! How can waiting be a blessing!? How is life a precious gift without a family!? How does faith in a loving God become fulfilling!?

“All the best of life comes out of human yearning, not satisfaction”

We live in a world with so much potential. Yet, the greatest potential rests – not with human strength, wisdom, or effort– but with God’s covenant love. Covenant is about restoring the world as God intended. God’s love extends even to the undeserving because it also includes me.

God creates goodness then partners with us to help bring out more of that potential for goodness through things like compassion & generosity, renewal & hospitality…and most certainly community!

God’s blueprint for salvation was to set apart a family…who’d grow into a nation…who’d become a people that would bring God’s blessing to the entire world. Simply put, God wants to use your family. The one you came from. The one you’re creating. And especially the one that ISN’T necessarily related (ie our church family).

The Covenant with Abraham’s family was that they would be blessed in order to be a blessing to all people. As Mission Hills counts our blessings, we need to count on each other. Faith needs a community. And community needs your prayers, your help, your gifts, and your voice…so that we might count on God’s blessing to flow through us.