Balance in Your Life?

Thom Rainer has posted an article written by Mike Glenn titled “Balance is Bunk.” In it he explains that there will never be balance to your life. This is something that I have been asking regularly since I accepted my role as associate pastor in Cheyenne. How do I maintain order in my life when my job is my life? When I leave church I spend time with people from church. When I’m not at church I’m thinking about and praying through issues going on at church. When it’s my day off I’m still spending time with people from church. When I go on vacation, I still hear about what’s going on at the church. It never ends! I’m grateful that during this season of stumbling around figuring out how I can best serve in this role, I have 2 other godly men speaking truth into my life and encouraging me to take the time I need. Right now I can make the church my entire focus, but what about when I get married? What happens when I have kids? Then my priorities would need to shift.

I appreciate what Mike said in his article, “Here’s the hard reality. All of us have multiple priorities. Each of these priorities has multiple and competing demands. Not only that, but most of these demands are mutually exclusive.” We can’t continue to please everyone, and we shouldn’t try to please everyone. There is 1 person we should work to please and as we work to please him, the other priorities will fall in to place.

I just started reading ‘What Did You Expect?” by Paul David Tripp. In it he says the only way to have a great marriage is to line up the vertical relationship first and make that the number 1 priority. If the vertical relationship to God is your primary focus, the horizontal relationship with your spouse will fall into place as the love and grace God has so graciously extended to your pours out into your relationship with your spouse. I think it’s the same thing with the church. If your vertical relationship with God is in the right place, that will flow out into the way you conduct your job in the church and the priorities will fall in to place. This does mean that at times you’re going to let people down but remember who you’re working to please, not man, but God.

Questions a Worship Planner Should Ask

Jared Wilson has posted a blog titled “6 Questions Worship Service Planner Should Ask” on The Gospel Coalition website. He asks some very helpful things that should be regularly asked for those of use who plan a worship service on a regular basis. I think the most important question that should be asked that Jared has in his list is the 5 one: Does this element exalt God or man? So many times people take church to be for and about them instead of the one who created them. All of us are incredibly selfish people who will stop coming to a church when it stops fulfilling our wants and desires. Only when we have the vertical (God) component correctly in place can we start to get the horizontal (man/ourselves) component to work the way it is intended to work.

One other question I would add to this list is: What is the history of this element? Is it something that needs to be redefined for people or will everyone understand why it’s being included? One example I can think of is meditation, which might be difficult for someone who had recently become a Christian from a Hindu or Buddhist background. How would we explain that moment to them and would we need to help them understand why we’re doing that?

Bitterness and Age

Cheyenne Evangelical Free Church, where I have the privilege of serving has continued to go through Hebrews, last week being in Hebrews 12. One of the verses the stuck out to me was verse 15 which says, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” It reminded me of an experience I had at Culver’s earlier that week when I noticed an elderly couple sitting near me who were complaining about everything they ordered. Having worked at a fast food place I know how difficult it can be to keep all the customers happy. I one time had a guy order French Fries at McDonald’s, then come back an hour later complaining that they were cold. It seems to me that as people age they continue to become more and more bitter. Either everything has gone so well in their life that they expect it to continue to be that way so everyone around them needs to continue to fulfill all their wants and desires or life has been so hard that they continue to expect nothing but the worst, neither of which attitudes is godly.

By God’s grace, there are some exceptions to this rule, and I can think of no one better than my grandma who makes this clear. She has been a widow for almost 25 years and has lived with cancer for over a decade, yet she continues to serve in her local church body and continues to visit her local nursing home to visit her friends. Despite her loneliness she continues to serve pray and strengthen her local body. That’s the way it should be!

Where does this “root of bitterness” stem from? I think it often comes from a lack of contentment. Paul says in Philippians 4:11 “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” How many of us can say the same thing? How many of us can continue to encourage, support and set an example in our life as we continue to age? Titus 2 paints a brilliant picture of the way the church should work. The older should be teaching the younger to be self controlled and to “teach what is good.” We younger people in the church need the influence and support of those who are older so that we do not fall in to the same errors that the previous generation did. I hope and pray that as I continue to grow older I do not let bitterness rule my life, but instead that I continue to serve as God gives me the strength to do so.

John Newton Quote

My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things-that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.

-John Newton

The Meaning Of Meaninglessness

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you completely resonated with Solomon when he wrote Ecclesiastes? “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

These past couple weeks have honestly been kind of boring for someone who always likes to stay busy and engaged. Granted, I’ve had a couple of event filled weekends, but they seemed to be a lot of monotonous repetition, like setting up a PVC maze for a church event. How are we supposed to stay engaged and energized when everything seems to be boring? (sorry mom, I know how much you hate that word)

Honestly, I think it stems from a lack of contentment, at least in my own life. I’ve become so saturated with entertainment, that if I don’t have a screen in front of my eyes or music in my ears I feel lost. How can we continue to strive ahead when we’re always so distracted?

As a self-confessed techie and extrovert to the extreme, I do find it hard to sit down and rest. Yet throughout Scripture I see so many instances where we are commanded to sit down and rest. (see Psalm 27, 130 and Isaiah 40) Even Jesus, before his earthly ministry took 40 days of solitude in the wilderness. I so often struggle with this idea. I always want to have people around me and be having a fantastic time together. Even with my extroverted ways I’ve begun to see the importance and necessity of both taking a Sabbath and taking times of solitude.

What does this look like? Well for me, that means I have a day where I have absolutely nothing scheduled. I enjoy my rest, I’ll clean up around the house, I’ll spend time reading, catching up on some TV shows, talking to friends and family, honestly whatever I feel like doing. I’m very blessed in that the church I work in gives me 2 days off, 1 of which I try to use to clean and run errands and the other I try to use as a Sabbath doing only the above activities. What are some ways you’ve found to take breaks and Sabbaths in your life? Do you think it’s important to be taking regular scheduled times of rest?