redeem your rhythms…

If you are like me, one of the biggest questions that I have had concerning rhythms is, although you may enjoy and appreciate the idea of creating rhythms to do mission, you might have no idea how to incorporate one more things into your already busy and over-scheduled life. I get that. I hear that. It is something I’ve thought of too.

r-OVERSCHEDULED-KIDS-AND-STRESSED-OUT-PARENTS-large570I was there when I first started thinking about rhythms. I’m married, have 2 kids, work 40+ hours a week, work 2 different semi-part time jobs on weekends, host a dinner on Tuesday nights, and hang out at a bar every Thursday evening. So, how do I add one more thing to my plate without stressing out about how I’m not on mission? That is a valid question. It is. And I’d like to try and answer that question in 2 different ways.

First, I really don’t think we need to add a bunch of new things to our life in order to create mission-minded rhythms. I honestly don’t. Each believer already has rhythms, and all they need to do is redeem the ones that they already have. Simple.

You eat dinner, right? Invite people over for dinner a few times a month. Boom! Two birds with one stone. You take breaks in the break-room at work, right? Talk to people while you’re in there instead of having your face buried in your phone. Two birds with one stone. You work out each week, right? Run with a neighbor. Both of you need it and you can run much further with someone than by yourself. Two birds with one stone. Redeem the rhythms you already have. Its not that hard. (If you have further questions about doing things this way, see what Jeff Vanderstelt has to say in the clip below.)

Second, if you honestly can’t figure out how to make room for a new rhythm or how to redeem one of the rhythms that you already have, then you are probably too busy with the wrong things. If you truly believe that you don’t have time for people who don’t know Jesus to be in your life, then you are chasing pointless stuff. They may be good things. They may not be bad things. But if they keep you from mission, then they are distracting things. And that is not good. Not good. Jesus had something to say about people who were too busy doing things instead of actually loving Him (see Matthew 25:37-46). If you are going to get on mission for Jesus there is going to be some re-orientation of the priorities in your life. Jesus never told anyone who decided to follow Him to not change their life at all and to keep things the way that they were. He consistently had a challenge for them that called for action. If you can’t fit Jesus into your life, then your life is too packed with the wrong things.

Having rhythms in your life doesn’t need to consist of reinventing the wheel, but simply of redeeming the wheel you already have your hands on.

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A Year of Reflection: Friends

It has been a year since my family and I came up to Kansas City to check out the community and work that Midtown Community Church was involved in.  We had come to the place at our church in Tulsa where we felt like it might be time to move on.

Funny thing is – we never even wanted to move back to KC.  I actually had told a church member weeks before we came up to KC that nothing in me wanted to move back to KC.  And now here we are back in KC doing ministry and loving it.  It is kind of like the young person who tells God that He can send her anywhere except for Africa, and sure enough, she ends up in Africa.

But I digress.  I grew up reading the Bible.  After I had grown up I continued to read the Bible.  And still to this day I read the Bible.  And in the course of me reading the Bible I read all the stories about Jesus interacting and hanging out with people who needed Him and weren’t what you would call your typical “church goer.”

I read about how He interacted with these people who were not His followers; how He had meals with them; healed them; spoke to them; gave them dignity.  He actually spent quite a bit of time with those who we might call “lost” today.  He actually sought them out – e.g. the woman at the well, Peter the disciple’s restoration, the little children, and Zacchaeus.

But for some reason when I was growing up – what seemed to be modeled for me by the traditional church was that we only need to make friends with those who like us – i.e. other christians; or maybe even go as far as to make friends with those who aren’t necessarily like us, but are more than willing to start living like us.

Over time I began to know in my mind that wasn’t right.  It wasn’t logical.  It didn’t seem legit when I looked at what people did in scripture.  Dan Kimball says that when someone becomes a christian they have lots of non-christian friends, but as time goes on the number of their non-christian friends seems to drop off until they are barely any.  That type of life really makes living out the Great Commission (“to make disciples”) pretty difficult if you ask me.

I am thankful for the gospel and the grace of Jesus because a year after we have been here I have way more un-saved/non-christian/not-yet-believing friends than I ever have before in my life.  In fact I simply know more people outside of the church now than I ever have before.  And I think that is a really good thing!  And I’m doing my best having Jesus help me out to make them some of His disciples.  I hope they make the jump someday.

The gospel has worked on me a lot to change my mindset to being one that wants to be friends and spend time with not yet believing people.  The past year has been good.

…i know one church i won’t be going to…

In my opinion, you will either like this book or you won’t.  I think I myself fall on the the like it side of the coin.

I liked this book because it tells a story and the story is one of a kid who was trying to figure out and follow Jesus the best that he knew how, but was just being taught how to in a whacked out and weird way.

The book takes you on a nostalgic walk through Matthew’s past.  It starts around the time that his family begins going to a fundamentalist church when he was a child and takes you up to present day.  He is extremely honest about what he experienced at this particular church and how it affected him.

One of the things that caught me off guard about the way that he wrote is that if you didn’t read the book carefully you could think that every fundamentalist church out there was this way.  While that possibility might exist, it doesn’t necessarily have to be true.  I’m sure that there are some crazy fundamentalists out there along with some really great fundamentalists.

He gives the names of some of the people in his past and gets to the point where he is very telling about them and honest about his opinion of them.  The only caution that I would give is that just because you feel a certain way about a situation or people doesn’t mean that you should write all your thoughts down because it may not be what builds up the church.  Turner might be guilty of that from time to time in the book.

But all in all I enjoyed it and don’t regret reading it.  If you have time, you should too.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)