Is Your Life Too Mundane for God?

Most of us, at least most people I know, have fairly routine lives. Myself included. You may say “Now wait just a minute JB. You live in a country thousands of miles from your passport country, speak a different language or two, and roast coffee.” And, to that I say, yes, that is true. But I have a routine that may seem fairly normal. I get up early, work out, read and journal, have breakfast, help get the kids off to school and then I head off to either work or language school with Iris. We come home. The kids come home, we eat dinner, we hang out a bit and then they go to bed. We eventually go to bed, and then the routine starts again. The weekends are filled with either resting at home, or traveling to the countryside and sabbathing together and others who want to follow Jesus more.

I have a friend who lives a similar life but instead of sending his kids off to school, they home school. Instead of the one hourish I spend exercising, he spends a bit more time as he just completed his 5th Ironman just this past Sunday. And their weekends are filled with camping and gymnastics tournaments for their boys. But, it’s his routine.

I know other people and have other friends that seem as though they are traveling more days a month than they are at their home. Different countries for training or certifying people. Different places for outdoor adventures and spend more nights in tents than in bedrooms. Yet, this is their routine.

Many people I talk to and are friend with, often desire a break up of their routine. “Oh, if only my routined, mundane life could change, then I could really experience God doing this.” Or, “If I was doing that, man God would use me so much more.” Maybe that’s true. Or perhaps it is something that society has taught us about those few exceptionally rare cases of people that just did something completely crazy, it seemed, that are the only ones we hear about.

Regular times of sabbath for me are important. They don’t necessarily have to be scheduled, but they are needed. If I don’t have them regularly, even for a solid unplugged hour a week, it is hard for me to be at peace within which then leads to a non-at-peace person without. That hour, I’m learning, doesn’t always have to be in complete solitude with my candle burning, listening to classical music with journal and book in hand. It can be in the midst of my normal living routine. In the mundane tasks or simply making space among those tasks to be reflective and open to what the Spirit might be saying to me.

This is part of the monastic life. Whether it be brewing beer, hoeing the garden, painting a building or kneading bread, these mundane tasks where meant to also be times of asking what it was God was speaking to them through that particular task. Last summer I preached a sermon on how growing up we picked up rocks from the fields after it had been plowed and tilled in preparation for the seeds to be planted. We walked over ever square inch of every field with my grandpa driving the tractor at walking pace while it was hitched to a wagon. My brother, sister, parents and I would all be lined up behind the wagon simply walking with our heads down looking for rocks. If we found any, and we always found a lot, we’d pick them up, and throw them in the wagon to dump out by the tree line. Why were we picking up rocks? Because they would break the very expensive equipment if we didn’t. Just an hour or two of work could save our family thousands of dollars and several days on fixing broken equipment.

I believe, it’s in the mundane that God may speak to us more than in those “experiencing God” moments we always read about.

That reflection reminded me of how many times I need to look for sins in my life, ways that I am affecting other people that I may not recognize if I didn’t spend the time to look at myself and reflect with guidance from the Spirit. That mundane task is something God used to remind me of a greater Truth of Himself. And I believe, it’s in the mundane that God may speak to us more than in those “experiencing God” moments we always read about.

Washing the dishes, punching numbers, running that 21st mile, dropping the kids off-these mundane tasks are incredibly divine moments if we allow them to be. God is always present, He has never left us which means He is always there, always present during those moments. What if we were to give Him more space in those times and wait with open ears and eyes as to what He has for us? What if we simply began to think on Him during those tasks? It might just end up being something extraordinarily exceptional!

Let’s try it for a week, cool?  Honestly, let’s do the best we can at giving these mundane moments to Him and then perhaps we’ll have some stories to share. Will you join me? If you have any incredible encounters, we would all be encouraged by you sharing them with us. Please feel free to comment to this post and we shall see how He speaks through the mundane yet divine.

be blessed today

 

Photo Credit: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140203092316-64875646-bored-at-work-here-s-what-to-do

In Today’s World-The Most Heavily Traded Commodity

A lot has happened in the past two weeks that I took off from writing. Philando Castile was shot, his girlfriend immediately pulls out her phone and takes a graphic video of him dying in the driver’s seat; the week before him Alton Sterling was shot and killed. Though I had no emotion in reading the news those days, what grabbed my attention and hurdled my emotions into deep empathy was watching Alton’s son start to sob uncontrollably as he tried to be strong standing next to his mother at a press conference. This followed by the horror of a sniper targeting police in Dallas and killing 5 officers and wounding 11 other people. This is just in the U.S. alone.

Just a few days ago, a man drives a refrigerated delivery truck into a crowd out to celebrate a national holiday in France, and kills 84, 11 of which were children. The Turkish army attempts a coup against a self creating dictator but fails, and over 300 have been killed in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. Colombia opened its border to Venezuelans, the first time in over a year, so that they may cross to purchase the basic of food stuffs as the crisis in their own country has left many wondering where their next meal will come from. There is ongoing fighting in Rio ahead of the Olympic games and Russia has laid down a law so harsh, you cannot even speak to your children about Jesus without first registering with the government.

And that has been the last two weeks.

The U.S. political race is trying to capitalize on these atrocities for their own gain in their career, giving little concern to the actual people who are caught up in the pain and collateral damage. And honestly, in my opinion, these politicians are no better than the terrorists who are claiming responsibility or the media trying to sway the public in one direction or the other.  Why? Because they are all using a currency that is more powerful than the United States Dollar or the Euro or gold or diamonds. They are dealing in something much more valuable that can control and motivate people to do unimaginable things. What is this incredibly valuable commodity? Fear-it’s the most heavily traded commodity in the world today. 

As I’ve written about before, fear is a powerful motivator. Though it can paralyze people to inaction, more often than not, it causes people to do whatever they can to escape it. To become safe. The craziness that has gone on in the past few weeks (or the past decade) seems to be increasing. It’s always been there, but it seems to be more on the incline  in the Western world. But what do I mean by “traded commodity?”

Fear-it’s the most heavily traded commodity in the world today

Let’s look at the back and forth, raising the stakes game that seems to have occurred, especially as of late. Regardless of who was the first to pull the trigger, there has been a constant trading of fear the past several years. The 1% of the world (and if you’re reading this, you’re white and live in the West,  you are almost without a doubt, in that 1%), has oppressed the other 99% in the world. Intentional, not intentional, having full knowledge or ignorantly, it has happened. ISIS and other extremists are afraid of the West constantly bringing it’s “liberal” ideas and oppressing them with their wealth. That fear is traded with us being afraid of the extremist and the terrorist acts towards innocent people.  Cops have a rough job and are afraid of losing their lives when so many officers have been killed in the line of duty from people of all ethnicities.

This is traded with the fear Blacks have towards cops because so many have died from innocent shootings. This plays out in politics as politicians either saying “we’ll protect you” or “we’ll get them back.” This plays out in how we view neighbors, no matter the color of their skin or social class. It plays out when driving through the wrong side of town, people telling us that we need to lock our car doors.  And it plays out in the advertisements from gun shop owners or gun manufacturers telling us we need to build up our own personal arsenals to protect ourselves or protect what we have. All of this back and forth, constant trading of this commodity called fear. And that fear drives us to spend more money and vote to do things we never thought we would. Why? Because this commodity is valuable, it gives power and it lords over us. It brings oppression.

And, in the looking at the world from the perspective of someone who has no other hope, this makes sense. But the thought, the constant that has been running through my mind as of late is “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Psalm 24:1. This just “happened” to be the main verse that I hit upon everyday last week using a book for daily reflection. If what David writes is actually true, and we really believe it, then fear no longer becomes our motivator…God does. God’s love does. This changes our perspective on how we view other religions (even if their goal is a holy war and they are dead set on ridding the world of all other religions). God’s ultimate power becomes who/what we trust in and not on our bank account, arsenal, government or anything else that is substandard. Yes, if God is the standard, everything else is sub par. So why do we give fear so much control? Because we are human.

Can we be afraid, yes. But do we have to be? No. Is it wise to be wise? Yes, but can we foresee everything  in the future like a refrigerated truck barrelling down the road intentionally trying to hurt people? No. So we can either lock ourselves in our fortified homes forever, or we can live.  We live our lives, lives of freedom no mater what happens, knowing and trusting that God is in control…even if that means we lose our lives, we still have gained something greater-Christ. It is counter intuitive for us to to release control to anyone, let alone God. But that’s what God invites us to do. He invites us to live in freedom, a lighter yoke, a lighter burden, a thriving life in Him. My prayer and hope is that as we head into tomorrow, the day after, next month, that we live lives that are more trusting in Him and less fearful. That our lives are lived out of a love that compels us from deep within, a God placed love, that no fear can ever overcome. In that they will know we are different. In that they will know Who is Lord of all. Blessings.

 

 

 

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Where Are You Headed?

There’s a major holiday coming up here this coming week and the preparations in the city have begun. Most people will be heading out of the city to the countryside. Many businesses are closing their doors for a week and so are we. We are preparing on heading out, going West, seeing a bit of the countryside we have never seen. Hot springs, glacier fed lakes, dirt paths roads, sleeping in tents, hiking down trails-all part of the adventure.

As I started making a mental list today, pulling out some gear to check over, it got me thinking about the journeys and trips we have been on. For me, a lot of the excitement and enjoyment is the prep work that goes into it. Planning where we are going, how we’ll get there, what we’ll do…all part of it. The anticipation of what will be, what we’ll see, what taste, smell.

And, well, that’s life, to, right? A journey, a trip that goes on through time. Perhaps we don’t move far away from home. Or maybe we never strive to be the president of the company. But, we’re always on a journey.

So, just three simple questions to pose for some reflection and discussion…..

………what are you preparing for? Where is your journey taking you in the near future? And, where is one place it’s taken you that you never that you’d go?

be blessed

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