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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Sunday, September 19, 2021

be still

“Keep moving,”
My fears keep telling me,
“For you are only as valuable
As the last thing you’ve done.”

But from deep within
I hear your voice saying,
“No, my beloved,
Be still and know that I am God.
Your value and worth
Can never be achieved,
They can only be bestowed.”

Friday, September 17, 2021

stillness

when i am still
i meet the loneliness
that lies within
and i let it scare me away
from the beautiful invitation
that silence has to offer

for on the other side
of the darkness and fear
lies both light and life
the stillness but a doorway
into a what i most deeply desire
a life lived in you

but only if i dare
to not stop short of it

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

overwork

“Overwork makes for restless sleep.  Overtalk shows you up as a fool.” (Ecclesiastes 5:3, MSG)

Leave it up to us to turn a vice into something praiseworthy.  Deep inside our broken and dysfunctional hearts, we carry a secret pride—although we never would admit it—in our overwork.  In our hidden places, we think of it as something noble and heroic.  In fact, we tend to wear it like a merit badge. 

Yet, truth be told, overwork always comes down to two things—fear and insecurity.  Either we don’t think God can do it without us (whatever it may be), or we’re terrified that he will.  And I’m not really sure which is worse.

Our tendency to overwork is an addiction of the highest degree.  It comes from a desperate need to prove to ourselves and our world—and even our God—that we are worth loving.  It comes from an attempt to make our name great, rather making His name great.  It comes from our propensity to try and make ourselves bigger, rather than smaller.  And, in the process, it robs us of life and health, joy and peace.  It leaves us so worn down and burnt out that we have nothing of substance to offer those to whom God has entrusted to our care.

Maybe it’s time to “work smarter, not harder.”  Maybe it’s time to really trust God the way we say we do.  Maybe it’s time to allow him to direct our steps and order our days.  Maybe it’s time that our lives became about his kingdom and his glory, rather than our own.  And it all starts with coming first to him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

sharpen the ax

“Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade.  That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10, NLT)

Sometimes the most godly thing we can do is just take a day off; to take some time away to renew and restore and recharge—to sharpen the ax so that we can be more fruitful and effective in the work God has given us to do.

But, for some reason, we resist and refuse rest.  Could it be that somewhere along the line we have convinced ourselves that everything actually depends on us?  Breaking that mentality is a very difficult thing to do because it requires a healthy dose of humility.  And humility is not something we are drawn to.  Humility involves becoming smaller, and most of our time and energy is devoted to becoming larger.  Humility requires us to admit, or come to terms with the fact, that it does not, in fact, depend on us at all, but on God.

The sick part is that somehow we really want it to depend on us.  Maybe that’s what keeps us from rest in the first place.  For there is a terrible fear that goes along with being unnecessary.  And, unfortunately, making ourselves more necessary than we really are is one of the primary occupations and temptations of the life of ministry.

O Lord, forgive me when I refuse to stop and rest.  Forgive me when I have made myself so important that I have allowed the blade of my soul to grow so dull that it is simply not fit for the life of ministry you have called me to.  Teach me what it means, O Lord, to sharpen the ax.  Not only for my sake, but for the sake of your kingdom and your work.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

i don't need a thing

“God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.” (Psalm 23:1, MSG)

If our deepest needs for love and impact are not being met in Jesus, we will try to have them met elsewhere.  And when we need the very people we are called to love and serve, it’s a recipe for disaster.  Only prayer can free us from the need to be needed.

Free me, O God, from the need to impress and achieve and perform.  Free me from the need for applause and affirmation and response.  Free me to love and serve, rather than to demand and manipulate.  Help me to live my life from a place of love, rather than a place of need.  I can only do this in you.  Amen.


Sunday, September 5, 2021

we are free

galatians 5:1

our problem
is not that
we're not free

it’s that we
don’t know how
to stand firm
in the freedom
that is already
ours in Christ

Thursday, August 26, 2021

dear jim

how can you
say you love me
if you’re always 
trying to change me

honor the journey
God has me on
and stop trying
to make me into
who and what
you think i should be