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.

A Year of Reflection: Worry

One year ago my wife and I packed our car and made our way up highway 71 to Kansas City for the weekend.  We came up to visit Adam and Courtney Christensen and the people who make up Midtown Community Church.   I met Adam in 2006 when we took a seminary class together.  It wasn’t long before me and him connected for a number of different reasons…our common baldness not necessarily being one of them.

Any who – we came up to visit a year ago this weekend to see if God might be leading us to move back to KC and join the church here on mission.  It doesn’t seem like it has been a year because it has gone by so fast.  But calendars don’t lie, and it says its been a year.

On our way up to KC our car started to make a rather funny noise.  Turns out the in the middle of January our little Honda’s air conditioning compressor went out.  When we got to Adam’s house he took a look at the car and told me that he could fix it over the weekend.  To him it didn’t seem to be a big deal, but when it comes to me and cars, especially this car, I tended to worry quite a bit.  This car had given us a bit of trouble in months prior and I didn’t want it to give us anymore.

The weekend here was packed full!  We had dinners with people, lunches with others, meetings with staff, and some question-and-answer time with yet more people.  But anytime that we didn’t have something to do I was worrying about the car and bugging Adam about when we were gonna get started fixing it.

Worry.  Worry is what I did for a good portion of that weekend.  It was then that I realized that I had a problem.  After the weekend was over i couldn’t believe how much time was spent just fretting and worrying about that stupid car.

The reason that it is a problem is because the Gospel does not lead a person to worry.  It actually leads them away from worry.  If God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, then we don’t need to worry about Him taking care of us.  And taking care of us includes being in control of our Honda Accord.

In the past year I am thankful to the grace of God and the gospel.  I am thankful for them because I worry so, so much less now.  Since we have moved back to KC our car has had problems 3 more times and each time my response was “Well God, I trust You to take care of it.”  And every other time something crazy has happened like our computer breaking, my bike getting stolen, our dog running away, etc. have all been handled the same way.

The gospel has worked on me a lot to change my mindset to being one that trusts God a whole lot more than it ever did before.  And that is why this past year has been good.