Archives For spiritual growth

Fast Food Spirituality

Tim —  October 22, 2011 — 1 Comment

Drive Thru Worker: Welcome to McJesus™! What can I get for you?

Person #1: Yeah, I’d like my sins forgiven. And uh, I have a tough test on Thursday, so can I get a Memory Enhancer?

Drive Thru Worker: What size would you like?

Person #1: Super-size me!

Drive Thru Worker: Will that be all?

Person #1: Yeah.

Drive Thru Worker: That’s one order of Sins Forgiven and a super-sized Memory Enhancer. Pull around to the second window please.

Drive Thru Worker: Welcome to McJesus™! What can I get for you?

Person #2: Hi. Can I get my sins forgiven? I have a lot.

Drive Thru Worker: That’s not a problem. We’re happy to help. Anything else?

Person #2: Oh, and my grandma’s really sick. Can I get a large Health and Comfort for her?

Drive Thru Worker: Yes, you can. So that’s a large Health and Comfort and an order of Sins Forgiven. Will that be all?

Person #2: Yep. Thanks so much! I’m feeling better already.

Drive Thru Worker: You’re welcome. Pull around to the second window please.

Drive Thru Worker: Welcome to McJesus™! How can I serve you today?

Person #3: Hi. I need a large Peace About an Important Decision, a medium Sense of Purpose, and an extra-large Sense of God’s Presence. And I need them quick, please, I’m running late today!

Drive Thru Worker: Not a problem. We’ll have those for you right away. Just pull up to the second window and have a blessed day.

Person #3: Great! See you next Sunday!

Questions:

Have you ever treated Jesus like a fast food franchise? Or a vending machine? Or a genie in a bottle?

Why do you think our society (generally speaking) has a tendency to do that?

In the first chapter of Daniel, the royal house of Jerusalem has been taken captive by the Babylonians. Among those captured are Daniel and his buddies Rach, Shach, and Benny. They are inspected by a court official and qualify to serve in the king’s palace, but first they have to undergo a 3-year training course.

Their training was very detailed and included what they ate and drank. But in verse 8 it says “Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.” He asked permission for himself and his friends to eat a diet of vegetables and water instead. He asked to try this experiment for ten days, and after that if they weren’t on par with the others, they’d change.

Of course at the end they were doing much better than everyone else, so the official changed everyone’s diet to veggies and water. I’ll bet there were some real unhappy campers after that change was made!

What if we took the same approach to the whole of our lives and tried a “Daniel Fast” for ten days? We cut some stuff out, and we add other stuff in its place. We journal our experience, and at the end we see how it affected us.

That’s the plan, and this is a challenge for you to take on your own this summer. Look at every area of your life, and try to be as extreme as you can be for just ten days. Be creative, think outside the box, and leave no stone unturned. If you’d like a guide to help you figure out how to do this, click here. Then cut out the “noise” in your life, and turn up the volume on God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

Stick with this challenge and see if at the end of ten days you’re closer to God than you’ve ever been before!

How God Grows Us

Tim —  April 28, 2010 — Leave a comment

*Photo credit Hoosier Environmental Council

Donald Miller has a good post on God’s plan to grow us up through our life experiences, and you can read it by clicking here. Sometimes we American Christians, who are used to getting “our way right away,” apply that mentality into how God is supposed to work in our lives. But the God revealed in Scripture is no genie in a bottle.

If we have spiritual goals in our lives (and we should) what role do you think God wants us to play in pursuing those goals? Doesn’t he want us to work hard at them like we do in other areas of life, and at the same time depend on him to be working on us, too?

Remember, fruit takes a long time to grow. About six months ago, I heard a speaker share an insight she’d learned about vineyards: A vine will usually not grow good grapes until the third year after it has been planted. We are to remain in Christ, but that doesn’t mean we curl up in the fetal position and hibernate until he’s done working on us. We are to be proactive and intentional and consistent as we remain in Christ.

For most of us in the church, Sabbath is probably the command we take least seriously. But we do so at the expense of our own souls. Keeping the Sabbath is what feeds our souls and fortifies our relationship with Christ.

A recent parenting article in TIME magazine examines the benefits for families choosing to slow down the pace of life and even embrace “boredom.” Author Carl Honoré writes “(Children) need that space not to be entertained or distracted. What boredom does is take away the noise … and leave them with space to think deeply.”

Ironically there is a connection between silence and hearing God speak to us. And as our world gets louder and louder with technology that never leaves our side, I believe we need times of extended silence even more than we used to.

Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, writes about keeping the Sabbath in his book Working the Angles:

Sabbath means quit. Stop. Take a break. Cool it… Quieting the internal noise so we hear the still small voice of our Lord… The two biblical reasons for sabbath-keeping develop into parallel sabbath activities of praying and playing.

As a family, discuss these questions:

1) Can we commit as a family to try this for a month (i.e. four Sundays) and then discuss how we feel about it, what’s working, and what’s not working?

2) Which day of the week and for how long will we keep the Sabbath together?

3) What will be some nonnegotiables for us? What are some things we will do? What are some things we won’t do?

4) How can we creatively incorporate praying and playing into our Sabbath?