Worthwhile: July 20, 2019

Already we have hit the tail end of July and we are beginning to think about all those projects we want to tackle this fall. Let’s not waste today though, there are many worthwhile things out there!

This week I have been a hermit. My family is in Oregon for some summer fun but like most of you I only have so much vacation time to use… so instead I am terribly lonely! Not in a bad, depressive way, but in a “the house is quiet and the dogs don’t talk back” kind of way. I have been able to give undistracted time to at least one project, but mostly I am just going through the motions and paying keen attention to the difference. The results of my “study” so far are that I really miss my tribe and look forward to their return!

Some of the things that have filled my time are these worthwhile bits that I am happy to share with you.

First up from Jonathan Dodson is a needed reminder on the way grace works backwards. How grace doesn’t just cover the present, and as he puts it, your “gospel-awakened” future, but it also deals with our past. The lingering shame of sin.

I know I have experienced the very thing Dodson describes and like him I am forever grateful for the grace of Jesus. “God doesn’t wag a finger of shame at us because of Jesus. We are not defined by our failures because of Jesus. We are wildly loved and unflinchingly accepted because of Jesus.

I need this, and you probably do too. Read it here.

The next two probably go together because they hit us where it counts, our minds. John Mark Comer, Portland pastor and host of the wildly popular This Cultural Moment podcast, has a forthcoming book on the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.

Turns out a significant obstacle to spiritual and emotional health is hurry. We all suffer from it, some of us by choice. The full list, the short windows of time we have to accomplish it all. Running from place to place. In fact if we are not hurried or “busy” what then are we?! Maybe less anxious…

The books appears to make the appeal to slowness for health sake. Intentional living unhurried. I haven’t read it yet but the first two chapters are available free so I plan to read it today, you should too and whet your appetite for the elimination of hurry.

Fittingly then comes the call to leave social media behind. Justin Taylor shared the TED talk video from Cal Newport, a 37-year-old professor of computer science at Georgetown, author of five books, and family man that only works until 5 most days.

Newport has never had a social media account and he suggests that yours are disrupting your life in the worst way, leaving you distracted and not at all productive.

In fact it is when we can give intense concentration to those things we endeavor to develop that we find success. I know this firsthand and you probably do too. I have even taken steps to lessen the noise of social media by removing Twitter from my phone and blocking notifications from others.

So whether it is incremental change or a wholesale escape from social media, Newport’s thirteen minute exhortation is worthwhile.

Lastly, if you are in San Diego and interested in studying Gospel Fluency with other dudes, hit us up at hello@reservoir.church and join us on the third Monday of every month in Escondido.

Have a wonderful weekend. Slow down. Don’t hurry. And listen to the blue birds outside, not the ones on you screens.


Grace and Shame

A guest post from Marques Rodriguez, a youth ministry coordinator in Eastern Washington. Marques attended the Liberate Conference and brought back some thoughts on ministering to those that are faced with shame.

As liberate kicked off last week I was excited for much but was very intrigued by the session on Grace for the disgraced. Justin Holcomb, author and pastor,  went through this with the mindset of re-wiring the way pastors deal with sexual and domestic violence.

The sexual abuse and violence statistics are horrifying. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are victims of these terrible crimes. This means that it is almost certain that no matter what ministry you are leading this issue will arise. There are most likely, even now, people you minister to that this is a very real issue.

When asked, most victims said that a “minister” would be their first choice in seeking help. After seeking help however, when asked who would their top choices be, “minister” fell to last behind others. The church has failed terribly in this area and the one way to correct this is only through the Gospel.

People must know that we do believe them and they must experience the love that Christ has for them. Holcomb said, “people do not need advice or a checklist, they need to hear the Gospel! The same Gospel we need just as much.” We never want to minimize the suffering and the pain that people go through we just want to maximize the Glory of Christ.

As we minister, let’s give the grace that covers and removes all shame.