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Tired of Living on Auto-pilot!

DSCN0014Devotional Thought for the Day:
17  Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:17 (MSG)

1 It is also taught among us that such faith should produce good fruits and good works and that we must do all such good works as God has commanded,6 but we should do them for God’s sake and not place our trust in them as if thereby to merit favor before God.

780         You suffer a lot because you realise that you don’t make the grade. You would like to do more, and do it more effectively, but very often you do things in a complete daze, or you don’t dare do them at all. Contra spem, in spem!—live in certain hope, against all hope. Rely on that firm rock which will save you and help you on. It is a wonderful theological virtue, which will encourage you to press on, without being afraid of going too far, and will not let you stop. Don’t look so troubled! Yes, cultivating hope means strengthening the will.

One of the reasons I like St Josemaria’s writings is because they speak to me.  The words in blue resonate deeply within me.  There are days I seem to be on autopilot, moving from one crisis to another.  Like the disciples in the boat last Sunday, I am not seeming to make headway.   I would love to be a more effective pastor, a better husband, a better dad, but things are so overwhelming, and I often consider myself a failure at all three.  I look at the quote in Green from the Augsburg confession, and wonder what good fruit and works are the results of God forgiving me?  Do I do things for the glory of God, thanking Him along the way?  Or I caught in a lifeless vacuum?

And I know I am not alone.  Too many are overwhelmed by anxiety and even paralyzed by the day to day drag that they feel.  We move through life, as I said, on autopilot.

There are enough life coaches, self-help books, counselors and others who exist to get you out of the doldrums ( at least they claim to!) out there.  Billions of dollars a year are spent by people who want more out of life, even if they can’t define what the more is.

St Josemaria describes how we grow in all of this.  It is not by our own strength or determination.  It’s not by being “forced” by someone’s manipulation, using guilt or reward to motivate, critique or praise to push you into the next level, the next phase.

So how do we get past auto-pilot?  How do we find a life that is full of good fruit?  How do we get to the point where every detail of our lives praise and honor God?  How can we show our Lord the gratitude for all of His work that He has done, from creating us, (and the world we live in ) to His redeeming and reconciling us to Himself, to making us Holy?  How can we accomplish this?

St. Josemaria notes a theological virtue – actually a simple one which cultivates hope, that diminishes the anxiety and overcomes that sense of sluggishness.  This fantastic blessing of theological virtue?

Faith!

Dependence on God!

Relying on God who is our solid base, who will support you and help you through life 

That reliance is what we need so that even when we have no option but to be on autopilot we realize He is at work, He is guiding you, He is not going to let us stop, for He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  He is our shepherd, our Master, our God.

Knowing He is there can help us when dealing with mundane as well as the overwhelming.  It gives life to those moments, those places we serve in our vocation.  

Remember He promises to make all things work for good, and He does.

He is with you… rely on Him.  That isn’t law, but the purest of gospels, for He desires you to have the blessing of knowing He is your God, and you are His beloved people.  AMEN!

Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959. Print.

Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 3230-3236). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

A recipe for healing broken people and church

Thought of the day:

Last night I finally started writing a book.  It’s an odd thing, since I don’t see myself as a wise sage, or a wildly successful pastor.  Just a plain ordinary, slightly crazy pastor who believes that God puts churches in places to bring healing to the broken in that community.  And the only time a church should “close” is when all the broken in the community are healed and are perfect.  In other words, the need doesn’t  happen until Jesus returns.

Of course the statisticians will tell you that there are life cycles to church – usually a 40-50 cycle where around 20-25 the church starts slowly dying, or at least losing its significance.  I know a few that fit that model, and I know a few that have been around 10o or 200 years, or more. Go to Eurpose – there are some there that have been in use for 1000 plus years – and in India, 1800.  So while the stats guys have noticed a phenomena – it ain’t necessarily a law/   My book will be about keeping the church in the business of healing, in the business of salvaging people, and their relationships.  There is hope for such churches, and for those who attend them, and for the community that surrounds them.

The hope is found in soup – specifically “stone soup” and focuses heavily on the sacraments, and on Eph 2:8-10 – especially 10:

2:10 We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 (NJB)

As a lutheran – we focus a lot on 8 and 9 – and for good reason.  But if there is a answer, if there is a way to stop churches from closing, it is in realizing that we are God’s art work,  His poetry, and there is much work to be done as we heal from the damage of sin, and the work, the poetry God has called our lives, because He called us, is key in that process of healing, together.

I’ve seen it happen, in churches in the desert – in a church in the suburbs.  This isn’t some how to get er done book, with methodologies to implement.  It’s a radical way to see the church return to faithfulness, one ingredient at a time.  The recipe is a parable, and realizing the truth in it.  A truth best described in Eph 2:8=10

So pray for me. as I write a parable about healing broken lives and broken churches, simply with sacred simple things, water, a Stone, and some bread.

Thanks!

oh and realize, that this book is about all of us… for there is hope for all – no matter how broken, how burdened, how alone.. as we heal together in Christ!

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