1. What if God created the Universe in such a way that if you spend your time and energy in fellowship with him instead of sleeping longer or working more, you will find time and energy like fish and loaves?
2. Wisdom is realizing you are free to do a lot of things that would be good for you, as a follower of Jesus, to say “no” to.
3. I read an article this week about how many moms are on antidepressants. It was enlightening and sobering. I’ve seen it in my office and it can be heartbreaking. But the article was also frustrating because it neglected one critical factor. The article did not discuss about the need for those moms to make some changes in their life outside of medications. This is complicated because we immediately think, “If he is saying they need to change, then it is all their fault.” Not only is that not true but it is also always more complex. Everyone who comes to me comes knows I am a follower of Jesus and will counsel accordingly. Therefore, I assume there are things wrong in the way my client thinks, just as I assume there are things wrong in the way I think. Why? Because that is the case for everyone. I also assume everyone who sits in front of me would like to change and be different. This does not only require changing the way a person thinks but also what they do day in and day out. And this was missing in the article and it’s missing in much of the way we talk about these things.
4. At every step Jesus seemed to confuse his listeners. I’ve been reading the gospels a lot over the past year. A few chapters at a time. And Jesus is constantly confounding the expectations of everyone. Except those who are desperate for his healing. They expect him to heal them. But those who want him to overthrow Rome seem consistently disappointed and thrown off kilter. Of course, it was never his mission to overthrow Rome. At least not with armies and swords. The American church has never learned this lesson.
5. Resentment and bitterness ought to be fought against not just because they are “wrong” but because they steal joy.
6. I don’t really do parenting advice because I am in the middle of it and sometimes I feel like I am just barely hanging on myself. But goodness, I have a lot of adult clients with parents, who are discouraging, judgmental, and controlling. They manipulate, smother, and dominate. They are without joy, contentment, and mercy. It’s heartbreaking and fills me with fear.
Dear God, please begin even now making me an encouraging, joyful parent of my kids as they grow into adults.
7. The prevailing idea since I attended Seminary 20 years ago was that whatever the culture is watching and listening to, that is what we should be watching and listening to also. The goal was to be on “the front lines” so we can “speak into” and “redeem pop culture.”
Over the past few years I have become convinced that this is a wrong way of thinking. I am now convinced that when the culture zigs, we should zag. What they call important, maybe we should more than often, ignore. Not because we dislike them, but maybe our attention should be elsewhere. let’s be honest, we know that there is something compelling about a person who is not always in the know.
Also I have a suspicion that much of that talk was an excuse to be entertained by what would otherwise be deemed as objectionable.
8. Because I’ve been listening to so much music made by followers of Jesus, I’ve discovered some new music. Two of the artists have at least one song that addresses the Devil directly. Speaking to him. That’s different, at least in my musical universe. But I gotta tell you, I’ve learned something…that maybe some of the thinking and acting required to be an emotionally healthy and mentally healthy follower of Jesus is recognizing the power of the Father of Lies and the Accuser.
9. I want you to imagine that Jesus is with you right now. Think about it. Imagine what that would feel like. Would you now think, feel, and talk about “the news” of the day the same way if he was sitting with you now.
Here’s the thing…He is.
10. We do a lot of shopping at Aldi and Walmart and we also enjoy some of their brand’s items. Because of this, we go to that store to get those items. When we find them, we are glad. Not always joyous per se, but satisfied. But if we went to Target and looked for those items, we would be disappointed. Not finding it there, we might then try Publix, where the rich and beautiful shop. Even there we would be frustrated. Maybe angry. Possibly sad.
So many of us, who identify as Christians are looking for life in the wrong place. We are looking for life in politics, work, money, sex, substances, power, body image, reputation, (kid’s) sports, and even doctrine. And it is making us sad and angry and full of anxiety. But life is only found in one place, the person of Jesus.