Contentment In The Midst of Busy

Sometimes I get lost in the hype. Distracted by everything else except Jesus.

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New job, new church, new a lot of things. Our lives have been a whirlwind the past couple of months. And in the midst of immense blessing, I still have the audacity to question God’s plan for my life in the form of discontentment.

As someone who believes in God’s sovereign reign over all things, it should come naturally to live each day knowing that God has a plan. His plan is to glorify Himself in every area of my life, including my work, marriage, and ministry. And yet, though we in america are the 1% of the world, I still complain and struggle with going to work and earning an honest living.

I like my job, don’t get me wrong. Being a mechanic has its perks, and learning a skill will always be with me for the rest of my life. But Sunday evening comes and I dread Monday. Why?

I think there is a facet within me that is still searching for where my passion, skill, and monetary benefit all coincide. And the idea of not having all three at once (right now) fills me with longing for more, and ultimately discontentment.

It is a very good thing to pursue our dreams, I certainly will continue to do so. But if our dreams and future aspirations (I see you dreamers out there) cause us to sin against God in the form of discontentment, we have made a grave error.

The only place I have found peace is trusting that God is putting me through all things for His glory and my good. This means that every early morning I roll out of bed, not wanting to do anything, is for God’s glory and my good. There is purpose in it. This should lead us not into misery, but rather hopeful anticipation in how God will glorify himself today.

This recognition of God’s control, added with thankfulness, leads to contentment and joy. You cannot be discontent when you look around and look at truly how much God has given you.

This Monday, purpose to ask God to glorify Himself through your humble submission to Him.

We Are Not Made For This World


//It is easy to want to seek the good things in our lives for fulfillment. Work, spouse, friends, etc. But the reality is, when we give someone or something more worth than it inherently has, we become disrupted when they do not serve our needs. 

We wake up Monday let down that our jobs will not fulfill us. We get frustrated with our spouse because they do not fulfill all our needs. 

The truth is, Jesus Himself is the only one that can fulfill these desires. We have become accustomed to seeking satisfaction in everything BUT Jesus. And it is clearly not working. 

CS Lewis’s conclusion? We were not made for this world. Rather we are made for heaven with perfect fellowship with God, our true and only satisfaction.//

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Do You Immediately Follow Jesus?

 

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In a culture full of “me”, “mine”, and “right now” we seem to make priorities of everything but Jesus. Our phones fill every millisecond of our lives (guilty as charged) and we often complain about not “having enough time” for anything meaningful. This is a lie.

Something in Mark 1 struck me. My morning devotion has consisted of a 5x5x5 reading plan through the new testament. It starts in Mark and slowly works its way through the other gospels.

In Mark 1:17-18, Jesus calls the disciples, and the response is humbling:

 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Did you catch it? The word I want to zero-in on is “immediately”.

It seems that when we hear a notification, a phone ringing, or our favorite show is on, we are completely riveted. Nothing can shake our focus save for another digital activity that may draw us in deeper. Jesus calls us to drop everything and follow Him. Immediately.

You may say that it was the disciple who “decided” to follow with much haste. Maybe Jesus does not care how soon we follow? Another passage addresses this – Luke 9:59-60:

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

This time, Jesus is the one who responds. The man wants to first live out his life, career, and inheritance before pursuing Jesus. Our Lord responds in typical blunt fashion, letting Him know that He must follow now. No plan B. No other way.

How many times have I lived like this? Begging God to let me achieve what I want in life before proclaiming His kingdom?

I long for the day when my first reaction is to proclaim God’s kingdom. When I read scripture, after I immediately DO it. What if pursuing God and pursuing the greatest pleasure possible in this life is the SAME journey? And what if our phones and our digital lifestyles can never satisfy the way Jesus can?

Maybe once I realize that Jesus is the greatest joy and pleasure in this life the “things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.” I pray the Holy Spirit would apply these truths to my heart.

He commands many things in scripture. But do we ever get farther than “love the Lord your God with all your heart…“? Our hearts immediately pursue other things. We must pray and ask Him to change our hearts to love Him alone.

Materialism and Jesus

I woke up this morning to a small dusting of snow on the roads. My wife went to work, and I cleaned the house. The best way to clean is listening to podcasts, in my opinion. My podcast of choice was Timothy Keller: Treasure vs. Money.  His analysis of our materialistic inclinations as Americans was quite astounding. Definitely worth a listen.

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My life is at a weird point. I am in a job I enjoy for the most part (auto technician) an I am heading up the shop’s social media as well. It is a cool job description, but still not what my end goal is.

 

I am also dabbling in helping other people grow their business brand. I do not have a whole lot of experience other than my business podcasts and building a small landscaping company that turned a decent profit over the summer. I am essentially learning as I go and seeing what works. Currently I am helping friends and family.

These thoughts brought a lot of insecurity to my soul. Questions ran through my head, wondering if i would be “stuck” at one job, or that I would regret not doing this or that.

It is no coincidence that as I was stressed and frustrated over my lack of “direction” in life, Tim Keller’s voice rang through the house as I was putting away the dishes. His challenge in his message was to reconsider all of your ideas of materialism. Most Americans do not consider themselves materialistic.

This thought challenged me, because I do not consider myself materialistic. But as He spoke and revealed Jesus’ words about money, The Holy Spirit revealed to me my indwelling materialism. What were my end goals for my business? For my job? For my life? Subconsciously it is to make money. Not to glorify God, not to make God look great, but rather to make money so I will not have to work as much. This is materialism.

The thing is, making money and aspiring to make a good living (by american standards) is not a bad thing. If my goal was to make more and work less so that I could serve the Lord in more sacrificial ways, then that is a good God-glorifying goal. But all my heart has been set on is that savings number we are shooting for.

As God checks my heart, it is so freeing to know that God is greater than all these things, and that the Holy Spirit can break down all materialism in our souls. This is so encouraging to me.

Tim Keller – Treasure Vs. Money

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Emotionally Fat but Spiritually Famished

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were driving home from Church. We pulled into our driveway, stepped out in our nicer clothes, guitar in-hand, and proceeded to walk up the driveway.

For some context, there’s a church across the street from us, so there are usually cars parked beside the road sunday morning.

Anyways, an older lady was walking back to her vehicle and she noticed us.
Seeing our clothes and guitar she deduced we had come from church. She asked us if we had, and we said that we just came back. Her reply at that point was something that’s stuck in my heart for weeks now, not so much for her motives (which i’m sure were pure), but rather for the deeper significance behind it.

What were her words you ask? Just two – “Good job!”

Why is this significant? Because, as a Christian, going to church isn’t a “good job”. Church was never meant to be something that you do once a week, you get a pat on the back, and then you live your week like the rest of the world (Colossians 3). Stepping foot in a building doesn’t automatically make you a Christian, or even a “good” christian, if there ever was one (Romans 3).

The real question is “what is a Christian”?

-The American churchis emotionally fatbut spiritually famished-.jpgThis american “christianity” has shaped us into a lifestyle of comfort, materialism, and godlessness under the guise of “i-go-to-church-a-few-times-a-month-so-im-a-christian” mentality. This is not Christianity. The buttery-smooth speakers who entice the flesh with little regard for Christ and him crucified. Never mentioning death to self, never mentioning that you could die for being a christian, only plopping you down in a seat and allowing you to consume until you’re emotionally fat and spiritually famished.

And before i’m misunderstood, attending church is VERY important in the Christian life. Or, i should rephrase, meeting at a church house and having fellowship with THE Church is essential to the christian life (Hebrews 10:24-26).

From scripture, there’s an interesting connection that i noticed while teaching the 7th and 8th graders a few weeks back. I asked a trick question, “what’s the difference between a christian, and a disciple?”.

***dead silence***

Me – “Nothing!”

If you are a Christian you will be a disciple. Matthew 28:19 equated sharing the gospel with making disciples. It’s not different. If you want to see people saved you MUST see them discipled. It’s not a “come to the front” moment, it’s a “lay down your life, give everything you have, and submit to a Christ into a life of godliness”. This doesn’t sound comfortable!

We want our cars, our houses, our boats! We want security! But Christ says to lay them at his feet. Don’t cling to them. Having a house or most anything isn’t sinful. But our hearts can so easily entice us into relying on them for our joy rather than Christ.

As one of my favorite songs says “You possess your possessions or they posses you” (Switchfoot – “If the House Burns Down Tonight”).

And I think that’s the danger of so called american Christianity. We love being comfortable, rich, and fat, more then we love Jesus. And this is an eternal error.

Sure, there’s a whole lot more to being a christian then what I’ve mentioned, but I want to make this clear – If you are a Christian, you are a disciple, and you are to die to yourself and make disciples. Don’t neglect fellowship with the saints. Don’t just go, sit down, and leave. Fellowship is building each other up, maybe encouraging, maybe rebuking.

But either way. I think the American mindset of Christianity has it all wrong.

So, as you see the myriad of people coming in tomorrow for Easter Sunday, welcome them with open, loving arms. But don’t sugar coat the gospel message. The Christian life isn’t easy, but it’s so very worth it.


Key Verses:

Matthew 28:19

Colossians 3
Hebrews 10:24-26

 

 

 

My Hope Has Been Built on Less

The old hymn echoes in my head:

My Hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…

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My life has been a whirlwind of work, ministry, starting a business, and keeping my priorities straight. The latter has had its moments.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I started a small lawn and landscape service. It’s actually going quite well, though slowing for the fall and winter. My job at Chick-fil-a has gone successfully and I’m currently (starting next week) working two days at CFA and two days at a local Auto Shop as a Service Technician.

All of these happening within a month of leaving our previous church and beginning anew elsewhere. With this whirlwind of stress and emotion, my heart has grown colder to God’s goodness. I haven’t felt the fervor of yesteryear I want so much. And I’m checking my heart to truly understand why.

Let me explain.

 

When we’re drawn to sin, or even just “stuff” (career, busin

ess ownership, financial security, etc.) our flesh whispers to us that pursuing those things will ultimately make us happy. That a secure job, a cool car, or path in life will ultimately secure satisfaction. And if we buy into this lie, we will do anything to achieve it. Including neglecting our devotion to the God who bought us.

But as God has been teaching me, all things not built on the foundation of God and His word will eventually make the believer as dissatisfied as ever.

I make myself anxious over not “choosing the right path” or whether or not I should be pursuing a business idea or something else entirely. My brain is wired to think deeply, but sometimes i allow it to cause me anxiousness that i don’t need or want. Waking up everyday wondering if I’m doing what I should.

And this kind of thinking is my problem. I’m at the wrong starting point. Me.

Rather than asking, “what should I do?” I should rather be asking “What will make God look great?”.

This perspective sucks the ego out of anything. Because if I’m pursuing business to the Glory of God, it’s not for the affirmation of customers that my fallen heart so desperately wants. It’s not for the success at work or the pat on the back from the boss. The gospel frees me from this modern form of self-slavery.

For if Christ purchased my standing before God, I have no need to seek my security from money, for I have already inherited eternal life. I don’t have to have affirmation from people because in Christ I’m more loved and accepted than I could ever hope for. And if God has a greater plan than I could ever dream of for me, than why should I wake up each morning and question it? What rebellious people we are!

“On Christ the solid rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand”

Writing a More Effective Blog

I’m finding that as I write more, the more I realize how easy it is to just write about anything and everything and forget the purpose of this blog. Namely to help people pursue Jesus better, to have better theology, and to have better marriages as a result.

So I’ve finally figured out some general categories that i will be starting to post in:

      1. Life’s Pursuit

Life’s Pursuit will be a retelling of the past week (or month) of my life and what God has been teaching me through it. It will be filled with struggles, great times, ministry updates, work updates, etc. Why call it “Life’s Pursuit”? Well, because the Christian life isn’t just lived two hours on Sunday. It’s pursuing Jesus in the midst of all of life.

    2. Marriage

There’s no catchy name for this category of post. Just like it sounds, marriage! It could be what I’m learning in marriage, or something iv’e learned and want to pass to my two readers. Whether how to handle money together, or how not to say things, it will be a fun time writing!

3. Theology 

Having good Theology is something I’m very passionate about. As the great Dr. James White has coined “Theology matters”. And this is why I love writing about it, it effects every area of our lives. Our marriages, how we view God, how we view nature, how we view ethics, etc. Theology touches every single person on this planet because like Romans 1 says, they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. So theology tells us about literally everything.


Anyhow, this is how I’m going to segment each post each week. Keep a lookout!