Nov 6, 2009

what you may be missing out on

Watching the news, I am reminded that pain's biggest deception is that it causes us to think we're the only one's hurting...

even though we're not.

It's odd how the trickle of blood we experience seems to block out our awareness of the massive hemorrhaging of those around us.

I was listening to a CD recently of songs I made during a hard season of life... songs meant to remind me that other lives were on the same journey I was and looking for the Ultimate Anchor. Or as one wordsmith put it:
So hold me Jesus,
'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
won't You be my Prince of Peace?

When was the last time you stopped and asked, "What am I missing out on?"

Normally when we ask a question like that it's because our motive is pleasure. We feel boxed in by our lives and have a sense of rebelliousness, wondering if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. This is where affairs happen, gambling addictions begin, and discontent with everything familiar builds.

But what about the other side of that? What about slowing down and asking how the individuals, people, and groups around you are trying to sort out some of life's hardest challenges?

Have you ever felt yourself becoming broken... but consciously decided to recognize and remember that other people around you were already shattered into pieces?

Have you ever in fear held tight all your resources... without realizing you were depriving others of a needed blessing?

Have you ever considered what the gift of a block on time on your calendar could do if you gave it... instead of became mechanically protective of it?

When was the last time you stopped and asked, "What am I missing out on?"

That's why the Church in its truest form is so important. It reminds us to pick our heads up and stop living in our own little story. More than religion or scratching our own itches, it is intended to bring a change unlike any other into this world if its people would rise up and assume the role of servant-leaders that God has said each of us are capable of being.

My sons and I were reading a book this past week that illustrated in comic form what a kid on his way to a church service might think he's about to experience. It's in the genre of the "Teacher From The Black Lagoon" series, where by the end the boy has realized it actually quite better than he'd prejudged. My oldest son immediately commented, "That's just like how it is in real life. People think church is going to be boring or rough, but once you've experienced the real deal you realize it's way cool!'

(I wrote that down, by the way, because I wanted to remember how he said it so purely)

The Church is meant to be a "real-deal" community of people who care about each other. Even hearing of the struggles others are going through reminds me that we're all taking part in something awesome and amazing that will one Day be reconciled by God Himself. Which is why I am floored to hear about stories like these:
  • Households who are experiencing challenges on everyday levels, and suddenly other people in our church moving in with love through meals, home care, babysitting, and counsel.
  • People who are new to understanding the powerful truths of God, and are being mentored and invested into by others who believe helping someone grow in their relationship with the Lord is one of the most important tasks we can take part in.
  • Skills that normally cost "$x" in the marketplace being gifted into the church for less than that - often free - so that others may experience care and resources they otherwise couldn't afford.
  • Guys who are - even as I write this - taking turns filling a pool because in just a couple of days someone is going to proclaim their love with God through baptism.
When was the last time you stopped and asked, "What am I missing out on?"

It's so very sad when "church" becomes about "going to a building on Sunday morning when we feel awake enough to do so." That's like saying the point of sitting down to a hot, juicy New York Strip steak is to appreciate the plate! Check out what Hebrews 10:24-25 says about how it all works:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Are you up for that? Living in a bigger Story?

And not giving up on gathering with others (as some are in the habit of doing) in order to remember the Plot is communal and not individual?

And doing it all so that we might encourage one another as the Day is approaching?

Because that sounds freaking awesome.

We all have this need to "know and be known," as if it's hardwired into our souls. It's planted there so that we would yearn for our Creator and long to know Him, but also so we would choose to pursue relationships with those around us and stop living in our own subplot.

We all want our lives to matter... but to do so requires that we let the lives around us matter more than we often allow them to.

When was the last time you stopped and asked, "What am I missing out on?"

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