Worthwhile

Worthwhile January 3, 2020

For all the celebration and time off we have arrived here. 2020. Of the opportunities. Of the anxiety of it all! Whatever comes, let’s determine to run to Jesus and trust in him.

To kick off the year four bits worth reading as we shape what we will look like as the calendar unfolds.


First up, prayer. John Starke, a pastor in NYC, wrote a piece for The Washington Post on adding the daily routine of prayer for all of us looking for self-worth and satisfaction. His words are a good invitation to what we should take up.

Here is his conclusion: “There is much to learn about prayer, but it’s easy to get started. Begin by reading Psalms in the Bible and see how believers have prayed and what they’ve prayed for. Read a book on prayer. Find a community of faith and see how they pray and what they seek.”

“Christians often come to prayer not knowing what to say, whether because of suffering, weariness or feeling distant from God. That’s okay. God, who is our help, invites us just to be present. He tells us not to expect to be received for our many words but because we are loved.”

Read the whole thing here.


Following that, there is an older piece from Mike Brooks on For The Church on “A Revolutionary Prayer Life.” It is actually more simple than we think.

A problem many of us face in the moment we’re praying is that, if we were to pay close attention, we’d likely catch ourselves mentally processing our joys and frustrations, rather than remaining present in prayer and sharing these things with God, praising him for his faithfulness and asking him to reveal the ways in which we aren’t trusting him as we ought.

Give it a read here and let’s start using the “Dear God” more often!


Now we move into how we can work differently. Oriented toward redemptive things versus the normative increase of money or accolades.

Molly Worthen penned an essay in The New York Times early in December to process thoughts on justice and inequality finding fruitfulness in the faith and work movement afoot. It is worth looking in on and pondering how we live and work.

“Today, a different cast of evangelicals — who are more likely to be pastors, academics and small-scale entrepreneurs than titans of the business establishment — are leading the faith and work movement in new directions, because they take more seriously all the ways the Bible challenges the exploitations of our new Gilded Age. They have built a network of businesses, ministries, media organizations, conference programs, websites and more than a dozen research centers in every region of the country that focus on how Christians can turn the workplace into “a sign and foretaste of God’s coming kingdom…”

Check out Worthen’s thorough look at the faith and work movement here.


To close out the week then is a great example of this type of work. 1951 Coffee is a roaster and coffeehouse that employs refugees giving them work experience and skills as they learn life in the U.S..

“1951 Coffee Company, founded in 2015, is a non-profit specialty coffee organization that promotes the well-being of the refugee community in the United States by providing job training and employment to refugees, asylees, and special immigrant visa holders while educating the surrounding community about refugee life and issues.”

It seems to be a great model and rumor has it we will soon see one in San Diego. Check them out online.


Whether you are still struggling with resolutions or just living free, may 2020 be a grand experience of the grace of Christ. Onward!

Grace

Fulfilled in 2020

As we enter into a new year, we have begun a new reading plan to journey through the Bible. This morning in the first installment one word and theme jumped out to me. Fulfilled.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing…” Ezra 1:1 (ESV)

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet…” Matthew 1:22 (ESV)

Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David…” Acts 1:16 (ESV)

God is in the business of fulfilling his promise, his word. This is how the Old Testament enriches us. We know that his word does not return empty but is accomplished. Ultimately the promise of Immanuel is fulfilled making all the other promises part of the the anticipation for a Savior. Jesus has come and he has fulfilled the law for us that by grace we would be children of God. All of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ.

In light then of the New Testament we live boldly knowing that what God has declared will be fulfilled. He is bringing us all the way home.

As I reflected on this the Spirit brought to mind prophetic promises the Lord has given me and here on the first day of the new year the reminder of his faithfulness to fulfill.

What is it that you are anticipating being fulfilled in Jesus this year? Is it confidence in your identity in him? Restoration of relationships that have been broken? Comfort or the ruling peace of Christ in every corner of life? Ask the Lord to give you an awareness of how he is working fulfillment, rest in the grace of Christ and live. God fulfills.

Discipleship

What Are You Resolving Toward?

The other day I saw someone tweet that they were hesitant to take on a new fitness challenge into the new year, something they needed, because people would essentially make fun of them for setting resolutions. After all, no one keeps resolutions.

The opposite is true. People do keep resolutions. All the time in fact and not just at New Years. If people could not keep the determination to make changes in life, there would never be any and we would all be dead. But the social backlash or fun-making at the crowds at the gym at the beginning of the year is perhaps a coping mechanism with our own inability to live a resolved life.

Spiritually, we rejoice that salvation is not kept by our ability. It is secure, kept, and brought all the way home by Christ himself. Then in the natural we realize that Jesus won’t eat less sugar for us. While we are helped by the Holy Spirit we still have to shut the pie hole, run the miles, read the books, enjoy the out-of-doors, build relationships with family and friends, spend less or more strategically, and whatever it is you should be resolved about!

So go ahead and make that change. Plan to do it, make a resolution. I am cheering you on and you will find it is worth it.