Thursday, December 4, 2008

staying fresh as a christian

I am as susceptible to spiritual droughts as the next pastor. Because I know my vulnerabilities, I work hard to keep my passion alive.

Here are a few things I try to revisit:

See God working in another part of the world. God is so much bigger than what we see week in and week out and our churches. visit the operation world website or the blogs of some missionaries. The voice of the martyrs is good as well. Sometimes I also read stories from Butler's book of Saints

Visit an impoverished place / neighborhood and serve at least once a year. Some moms choose what to feed their children. Some moms have to choose which children to feed. Putting yourself in a place that crushes your heart keeps the passion alive. A friend told me once [who worked in the poverty of mexico city] that christians are to live life with [full but broken hearts]

Fasting. I don’t know why fasting works, but it does. Fast from something that consumes your time and use that time to feast on God's presence.

Develop friendships with non-Christians. Caring about people far from God helps keep me closer to God. Just to enjoy them and get to know them without pressure. Trust God and enjoy the people he has created. Someday his perfect timing may make room for more.

§Devoted time to prayer. If I don’t spend time with my wife away from all the other pressures, it is hard for us to stay close. My relationship with God is the same. If I don’t spend time with Him, how can I know Him? Get a copy of Richard Fosters book on prayer or get a copy of the Common book of a pinch pray some of the Psalms out loud. I go to the park several times a week and pray about all sorts of things; and late at night sometimes just take a prayer-walk around the neighborhood.

Give extravagantly. Something about giving big breaks the grip of this world and connects me closer to God.

Cry hard and Laugh hard. Do some deep breathing. Do some deep CONFESSING and you will cry over your own faults; laugh at your own stupidity; and be able to give empathy and forgiveness to others in MUCH bigger ways.

Visit a cemetery. Seeing today in light of eternity always changes me. Jonathan Edwards [famous old pastor] and his wife used to go to the cemetery once a day on horseback and ride through it in silence. While there they asked God [silently] what they MUST do if today was their last day on earth. Then they shared with each other when they got through. This helps keep a dynamic sense of immediacy alive!



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