Saturday, February 20, 2021

Future You

Telescope
Photo by Dietmar Rabich
When you think of yourself in the future, what do you see? What do you want for future you? Have you ever thought, what would future you want current you to do? Current you can tackle challenges and pursue goals or let time pass by without taking any steps. Are you making wise choices that will lead to your desired outcome? Is current you compromising things that future you would regret? Every decision current you makes affects future you.

Does current you stay up late watching a movie and then future you is tired the next day? Does current you exercise consistently so that future you has good fitness?

Current you may want to eat or drink things that taste good at the moment but aren't very healthy and so future you pays the consequence. In contrast, future you is thankful to current you when you make good decisions around nutrition, feels better and has better health.

What about education? Whether reading, taking classes, talking with wise people, learning a new skill, practicing the skill or not, each of these result in a level of knowledge and ability that future you has in an area. 

Financially, is current you making choices that future you will appreciate or not? Do you have a savings and giving plan or do you spend without consideration of the future? Do you put good financial habits in place and seek accountability? Do you ask for counsel from knowledgeable people with expertise in this area or do you listen to get rich quick systems?

Of course, in thinking about future you, there will be others that you interact with along the way. Do you reach out to friends, maintain strong family ties, build relationships with colleagues, seek out opportunities to meet new people and make new friends? Does current you burn bridges or look for reconciliation? The relationships of future you will be impacted by who current you chooses to spend time with or not, who current you invests in or lets fade, who current you sets healthy boundaries with or allows others to take advantage of. 

What voices does current you listen to? Whether from news, social media, books, blogs, websites, movies, music, podcasts, people close to you, culture, celebrities, pastors, family, co-workers, neighbors, those you encounter in the marketplace, all of these will impact the worldview of future you. Are these voices  healthy and life giving, encouraging you along a path you want to take? Are there any voices that you need to turn the volume down on or remove from your life?

If current you could give advice to past you 5, 10, or 20 years ago, what would you tell yourself? What do you think future you would encourage current you to do?

Would future you appreciate if current you spent more time in prayer? Future you would be thankful for wisdom gained and intimacy formed with God through actively engaging with Him. He will guide you through life as you ask for direction and future you will be better for it.

Future you depends on current you. 

Consider who it is, where and what you want to be in the future. Work on your behalf and for your benefit. Future you will arrive where current you takes you. Let it be a path and place that future you is glad you took. 

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas and Giftmas

This holiday season, I've been reflecting on the secular side of Christmas wrapped in the mythology of Santa Claus and the material parts of the holiday. Things I enjoy about the cultural celebration of Christmas include fun movies like Elf, The Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, among others. I appreciate the pretty Christmas lights and fun Christmas songs. Time with friends and family is largely positive if a bit hectic in going from event to event and navigating different relational elements. I also especially enjoy the cookies and delicious deserts. On the gift giving front, I can understand how it is fun for some though gifts are not a focus for me personally.

There's a part of me that thinks our society places heavier focus on these fun cultural aspects than the original Christmas story and God's gift to humanity. Rather than cultural elements being a fun addition to the central story of Jesus birth, they begin to shift focus and take center stage.  

A recent Christmas movie that I saw was built entirely around Santa Claus interacting with some kids in an action oriented story and appropriated and warped elements of the real Christmas story. While I don't mind fun fictional stories, to take from and remold elements of the historical account of Jesus birth into something completely different begins to border on sacrilege. As things move further along this path, Christmas becomes more and more secular to the point that for some it has no more meaning than bunnies, Halloween candy, and celebrating a made up holiday that would be better described as Giftmas. 

I don't begrudge people having fun with the holiday but would love for more focus to be placed on God sending His son into the world so that we could have relationship with Him. The fantastic Christmas Carol O Holy Night does a wonderful job of orienting us to this heart posture.

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!

This Christmas I hope that you and your loved ones get to spend time reading and reflecting on the original Christmas story and thanking the One who loves us most for His incredible gift.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Friday, October 23, 2020

Where Your Love Is

This year has been difficult for many people both from a global perspective as well as unique individual challenges. Over the past few months, this song has expressed my prayer and desire to God. 

Where His love is, is where I want to be. His love is more powerful than anything and can fill hearts, heal hurts, encourage souls, and change the world. I hope the lyrics and music can encourage you in whatever you're experiencing this year.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Where Your Love Is

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

When troubled times take hold
Lord won't you guard my soul
when I don't understand 
won't you take take my hand and lead me on

When all I feel is stress
Lord help my heart to rest
when there's uncertainty
be my surety and lead me on

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me
Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

How I love you, how I need you
here's my heart, here's my soul take all of me
How I love you, how I need you
here's my heart, here's my soul take all of me

 So holy, so mighty, so beautiful, your glory
 So holy, so mighty, so beautiful, your glory

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me
Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Waiting in the Space Between

Photo by لا روسا Acacia in Ein Khadra Desert Oasis, Egypt
There can be seasons of waiting and living in the space between what's been and what's hoped for. The new professional opportunity, the relationship development, the family situation, the health condition, the personal goals hoped for. It's in these times when a disconnect can exist between the intellectual acknowledgement that God is in control and loves us and the heart experience of longing, discouragement, pain, and disappointment.

In these places that it's so important to continue to lean in to God's promises even when we can't see what's on the other side and when it will come. To trust in the Lord with all our hearts leaning not on our own understanding but allowing Him to direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 paraphrase)

A comfort when I've been waiting in the space between, is reading Psalms. There are so many great passages that worship God and acknowledge Him as creator, almighty and powerful, a rock and refuge in times of trouble. Similarly, there are passages that are brutally honest, crying out to God in times of trouble, expressing pain, and searching for what good can come of very difficult circumstances and how long they'll last.

Whatever you're going through in your season of waiting in the space between, be encouraged that God is with you, He sees you, He knows you, and He loves you.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Thursday, May 02, 2019

The Effects of Sin

Photo by Roger McLassus
Selfishness and choosing a path outside of the one God designs leads to outcomes that may be temporarily satisfying but ultimately leaves regrets, pain, and heartache. When tempted there can be a tendency to not think of the impact and repercussions one's own actions and choices can have on others.

However, the effects of sin cascade outward like concentric circles from a rock dropping in water. Not only does it affect the person but it affects everyone around them. Sin's physical and emotional consequences can affect both yourself and current or future interactions and relationships with others.

In contrast, making wise choices that lead along the path of righteousness can impact both you and your broader circles positively. By rippling joy and righteousness, those you interact with also benefit from more joy and your contributions to their life.

As you start each day and go through different scenarios along the way, pray Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." 

When you've found yourself in a place that you'd rather not be in due to sin, pray 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Monday, August 13, 2018

Serving the Lord's Supper

Communion
Photo by John Snyder
If you've never had the opportunity to serve the Lord's supper, I hope you get to in the future. And by serve, I mean you holding the cup and/or bread as people receive it vs. passing a plate. Over the past year, I've gotten to do this several times at church. As someone takes the bread, you say "the body of Christ, broken for you." Being in such close proximity to the person, face to face, when they take communion, can be a deeply spiritual moment.

I had a very real sense of Jesus having died for each person that stood in front of me. When you look into their eyes as a representative of Christ, it brings a new perspective to "For God so loved the world..." Each person that receives communion is someone that Jesus died for. Until recently, I've always been on the receiving side and didn't connect in the same way with the experience as I did while serving.

Communion can become ritualistic and lose its significance unless you focus intentionally on engaging your heart and mind. If your church is looking for volunteers to serve communion, go ahead and step up. See how God might open your heart and mind to a new perspective of the Lord's Supper.


In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Worship in Pain and Brokeness

Via Dolorosa Sign in Jerusalem
Via Dolorosa
What is your response to pain and brokenness? Do you become angry, sad, frustrated, fearful, and/or nervous? A natural response can be to pray for God to heal the physical or emotional pain and brokenness. But what about when you continue to experience it even after praying? What then?

At the moment, I have a shoulder injury that according to the doctor will not heal on its own without surgery. I have experienced a range of thoughts and emotions over the past couple of months and began praying early on for healing. He made me and created every aspect of my body. He knows the pain and limitations I've experienced. He knows the questions and emotions I've experienced.

I am still praying for and believing God for supernatural healing but even if He chooses not to heal me that way, I will continue to worship Him through it. I will thank him for medical professionals who know how to partner with Him in healing and ask Him to give them skill in providing treatment. Medical treatment does not qualify as a second class healing.

I want God's best in however he chooses to provide healing and will continue to seek His glory and honor through this. I will not allow the devil to steal joy from me because of the situation and will defy him by continuing to worship the Lord.

Pray boldly and with confidence! May He receive more glory.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew
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