Discipline Is All About The Small Things

samsonThoughts on Judges 13-16

 Discipline is about everyday battles. It is really about the small things. We do not avoid slipping up only by jumping over the big pitfalls. Moreover, while one success is a victory, it takes many grace-fueled successes each day to move forward in sanctification. For example, we do not avoid weight gain by avoiding one desert. It is a daily struggle of fighting many battles in which we have choices to make. We do not avoid being out of shape by avoiding one lazy afternoon. No, we fight against the desire to avoid work each day as we lace up our shoes to go to the gym or out for a run. Continue reading

But I’ve got to go!!!

Big_Daddy_film

Appetites grow by indulgence… The world did not turn into a sex crazed machine overnight any more than any one of us went to bed at 190lbs and woke up at 300lbs…The status quo of indulging the natural cannot continue in this direction.  Everything must change…and that starts with redefining our “instincts.”  The question is how…

This was how we ended our conversation from last week (if you missed it, HERE it is).  So where do we go from here?

First, we need to be honest and admit that we do not indulge every natural urge or instinctual thought.  For instance, have you ever suddenly been hit with the urge to use the restroom?  It is a very natural, necessary part of our life and bodily function.  And yet when the realization comes that it is time to indulge the natural part of our being, what do we do?  We wait until we can find an appropriate release point (preferably a bathroom).  Even when hit with the most intense of stomach pain or bladder stretching…we find a bathroom, albeit with a little more haste.

As odd as it feels to write, and I would imagine read, about our bathroom tendencies, this is an important first step in understanding our “natural desires.” 

Society tells us to indulge what it is natural because after all, it’s natural right?  Billions of dollars are spent marketing to our “natural urges” so that we are instinctually compelled to buy a product without fear of guilt or shame because it’s natural.  Why else would GoDaddy advertise with nudity?  What point is there in a Hardees commercial with a scantily clad woman eating a 1lbs burger if it is not to awaken the strongest of instincts in males:  sex and food?  Because there is money to be made off of people who are coerced into believing that are instincts cannot be trained!?!

A bigger lie can rarely be found.  Why?  Next time you need to use the restroom, I bet you choose to delay your natural urge in the name of social and hygienic principles.

Why then are we so afraid and unable to embrace Christian principles of chastity, moderation, and just plain health?  Because we’re fighting against the machine of marketing and money.  There are mountains of money to be had from our sex drives and appetites.  And yet we seem ok in spending it…that seems interesting considering the sociological connotations of paying for something that involves sex…

We’ve also been duped into thinking it’s impossible.  So why try?  And yet there are stories to be told about the beauty of what happens when God does the impossible.  And yet our story in the church is about watching God do the impossible through improbable people so that we might be made whole.  If this is our story, what if we actually believed that all things are possible with God?  What if we lived like it? 

What is the impossible thing in your life that you desperately need to overcome?

 

Blurred Lines

“In nothing has the Church so lost her hold on reality as her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments, and is astonished to find that, as a result, the secular work of the world is turned to purely selfish and destructive ends, and that the greater part of the world’s intelligent workers have become irreligious or at least uninterested in religion… But is it astonishing? How can any one remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with the nine-tenths of his life?” ~ Dorothy Sayers –Why Work?

Dorothy Sayers was a prolific novelist famous for her detective novels, but was also a Christian apologist – a contemporary of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton. Her observation of the compartmentalization of the Christian life just after the turn of the previous century was, in my opinion, ahead of her time. Okay, maybe not ahead of her time, but it certainly illustrates how long Christianity has had this problem. Perhaps, if the church would hear her words of warning, we would be living in a different world.

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Why Work Now If God Will Do It Later?

progress-chart-mdIn my last post (last Wednesday), I argued that God wants us to work with Him in the dirty work of facing our sin and ridding ourselves from it. Like dead roots, sin has no life, but clings tightly to that which it penetrates. In this case, sin penetrates our being. God’s call to us is to deal with this deadness. In Ephesians 4, Paul reminds us that we are to “put off, concerning your former conduct, your old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in spirit” (vv 22, 23). Continue reading

Miley…Robin…and the Big Mac

What can we learn from Miley, Robin and the Big Mac???

We’d be hard pressed to find any blog or talking head that has not talked about MTV’s VMAs from a week ago.  First off, I have no intentions of getting on a high horse about MTV or Miley or bemoaning how far society has fallen (please note the sarcasm in that last phrase…).  This is not one more blog jumping on the bandwagon.  I am much more appalled at too many pastors’ responses and enjoyment of casting verbal stones her way as if John 8 never happened.  Not to mention how heartbreaking it is that no one seems concerned about the backup dancers who have been dancing and over sexualized for decades.  Or the atrocity that no one seemed upset with the male on stage!?!  But I digress…. Continue reading

I have a dream, you have a dream, God has a dream

IMG_2029I have a dream. You have a dream. I presume that our wives, husbands, children, friends, and neighbors have dreams. Dr. King had a dream. This week we were reminded of Dr. King’s dream as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of his historical speech which he projected from the shadow of the towering Lincoln Memorial. I wonder, though, have you ever considered if God has a dream?

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Giving Yourself The Grace to Work

Roots_of_big_old_treeIn my last two posts, I submitted an argument that this life matters, not in spite of the next, but because of it. I think in our own individual ways this idea has been the main theme for all three writers here at The Echo Life over the past several blog posts. We care about God’s Kingdom work here and now and for all of His Kingdom workers that are involved. Christian ministry has eternal impact, and that eternal impact begins now. Continue reading

Are we still talking about practice???

Why are we so set on just talking about practice???  Practicing healthy eating or activity or living…practicing heaven on earth…Why are we still talking about practice?

Allen Iverson thought the same thing in an interview a few years ago after missing a few practices.  Here’s a brief clip from that press conference.  Try to count the number of times he says “practice.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI Continue reading

How Can We Be Sure This Life Matters in Light of Eternity?

ResurrectionLast Friday’s post opened us up to a question: “Do we believe that when all is said and done in terms of this life that the sum of its value will be based on the amount of pleasure we each were able to collect, or is there more to our individual worth than shallow, worldly pursuits?” The answer to this question somewhat depends on worldview and attitude. As for worldview, this is obvious: Belief in an afterlife or not has a large impact upon how we value life in general. But, then again, it is not all that simple. Attitude certainly has a lot of impact. Continue reading

Temple Talk

Heaven isn’t some cloudy, golden paradise…we decided that two weeks ago.  Last week we imagined the possibility that we are searching for heaven in the wrong place…maybe heaven meets Earth in us?!? 

As nice as that sounds, we can’t just make a statement like that without any type background or support.  And if we’re going to understand how we got here, then we need to start at the beginning…The Beginning. Continue reading