You Long for Blessing

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There are two great words in the Bible that describe the posture of our souls toward other people. One is to bless. The other is to curse. We are creatures with wills, and in every encounter with other people we will what is good for them, or fail to do so: we will what is bad for them. Blessing is not just a word. Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. We must think it, and feel it, and will it. -Dallas Willard, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You

Blessing is not something we talk a lot about in our culture, or experience or do. Our culture is more concerned about being right, putting others down, getting others in line, controlling outcomes.

Yet, blessing is something long for.

So how do you bless someone instead of curse them? Here are ___ ways to bless someone:

  1. Have a right heart. No one blesses from a place of pride or selfishness. It is a giving away. It might be financial, time, effort, care or love on your part to someone else. This is why it is rarely done. We bless people we think deserve, instead of blessing the people God has given to us. I remember when I got married and the pastor who had mentored me through college prayed over me. It was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Here was a man that to this day, I have done very little for simply because I couldn’t give him anything. He mentored me, showed interest in me, used his connections to better me and my ministry and he was asking God to pour more blessings on me. That’s a right heart. Giving, knowing that you will get nothing back. 
  2. Help them see who God wants them to become. Because blessing comes from someone, you are really helping the person you are blessing helping them see themselves as God sees them and who God wants them to become. This might be challenging a child to be who they are called to be. At the end of the day, this is vision casting. This is painting a picture for someone about how they are settling in life. Not in a negative way or a “stop doing that” sort of way. But, don’t you want more out of life kind of talk. There is a difference. One is negative that shows how much smarter you are and one is more helpful and comes from a place of serving that says, “I don’t want you to miss God’s best in your life.”
  3. Be willing to serve someone. Blessing is about giving something of yourself away, to someone. You may serve them, be generous to them. It might simply be words spoken to them. It will require you to take a step towards them. Blessing is not reciprocating. There is a difference. When I bless my children, I am not expecting them to give something back for it, or to earn it.
  4. Blessing shows someone where they have come from, but where God wants to take them. Each year, I write a letter to our kids on their birthday. In the letter, I highlight how they have grown this year, how God has worked in their hearts and lives, what has happened in our families. My plan is to give these letters to them when they graduate high school and go to college. I want them to have a picture of who they are, where they have come from, so that it influences them onto where they are going. In Scripture, when someone blesses someone there is usually a genealogy nearby in the text. This is a reminder of where these people have come from, their history. In essence, it is who they are, their identity. Blessing is a way of reorienting someone’s identity, helping them to see things more clearly so they are on track.

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Links for Your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Trevin Wax on The surprising response to Josie Cunningham’s abortion.

What’s sickening is to see how society bullies and shames a woman who is following the script that society itself has given her. Over and over again, we are told that women’s rights hinge on access to abortion, that women can be equal to men only if they have full freedom over their reproductive choices, that women need to put themselves and their careers first. One woman follows the logic, and all hell breaks loose against her. So, yes, the outrage over Josie Cunningham’s abortion is both surprising and sickening. As Christians, we should weep for the baby who was lost and be encouraged by society’s shock at abortion for selfish gain, even as we shake our heads at the double standard on display in society’s demonization of a woman. 

David Swanson on The strangeness of being a pastor.

So being a pastor isn’t the hardest job but there is a strangeness to it that is hard for people outside vocational ministry to relate to. And that’s OK, but it does mean many pastors feel lonely and isolated.  A quick internet search of “lonely  pastor” makes it plain how widespread this is. There are a few reasons I don’t typically feel this: a supportive family, friends who don’t care all that much what I do and remain interested in me for other reasons, and a kind and gracious church.

How the fortunes of the Steelers changed. With the NFL schedule coming out this past week, I’m so ready for football.

6 questions visionary leadership must answer.

Visionary leadership is crucial in today’s world. Every leader has a vision. Some visions are clear, others are fuzzy. Some are well-developed, others are sloppy. Some are compelling, others are forgettable.

Sinner come home.

This is so moving.

 

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Heaven is for Real

With the movie Heaven is for Real coming out this week, I’ve gotten questions on whether I think this book and movie is worth seeing and reading and if it is true. This is the best thing I’ve found on it.

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You Are One Choice Away from Wrecking Your Life

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Only 2 weeks left in our series Fight and you don’t want to miss either of them.

As we continue this week and look at Judges 16:1 – 22 we see how our choices matter. Most of us make decisions everyday: what to eat, who to spend time with, what to buy, what shows or movies to watch, what to read or what websites to visit. We make these decisions often with very little thought about how they will affect our lives.

Yet, every choice impacts another choice.

Which leads us to a simple truth that we will unpack this Sunday: you are one choice away from wrecking your life. 

The question is, how close are you to that choice?

If you or someone you know struggles with making right choices in their life or keeping boundaries in their life, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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We Are Voices | Loneliness

My brother-in-law is in a killer band called We Are Voices. This is their latest song “Loneliness.” Be sure to check them out.

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Questions to ask Yourself about Electronics

Michael Combs, second from left, with his family using electronic devices.

Many in our culture act as if electronics, social media and TV are neutral. They are simply there. That is naive at best. Electronics are not neutral. They dictate our lives, pump us with more desire for approval, and often help us waste time and miss out on relationships with family and friends. They can keep us from work and ultimately, run our lives and ruin our lives.

Below are some helpful questions from Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions by Arthur Boers to ask yourself about your relationship with electronics:

Attention: What is the primary and ongoing focus of our awareness? Screens and virtual relationships? Family and neighbors? Voyeuristic television “reality shows”? Nature and our surrounding environment? Is our capacity to pay attention, dwell, and be aware diminishing? Are we so overwhelmed with information and stimulation that our ability to respond is affected? Are we moving from receptivity to expecting to control what we perceive?

Limits: What guides our sense of what is appropriate? Do we have the moral strength to recognize when something is beyond the pale and that we need to say no? Or does technology, which makes more and more things possible, including voyeurism, pornography, and gambling, also make all things permissible? Which taboos are worth guarding? How does technology free us from moral constraints and accountability? What is the relationship of technology to addictions? How does technology reinforce addictions? How is technology itself addictive?

Engagement: How are we coping with life and its challenges? Do we approach our day and those we love with calm anticipation, eager to be and work together? Or do such rushed and harried attention spans lead us into being demanding and curt? How does technology speed encounters, making conflicts and misunderstandings more likely? Does planned and perceived obsolescence contribute to eroding commitments?

Relationships: Do our lives include rich networks of loved ones, supportive friends, caring confidants, and casual acquaintances? Are there people who know us in our fullness, care about our hardships, and challenge us to grow in virtue? Or are our lives characterized by growing isolation and loneliness, our relationships dispersed and fragmented? What are the implications of having relationships increasingly mediated by technology while opportunities for face-to-face conversations decline and in-the-flesh friendships decrease? How does technology reinforce casual approaches to relationships, ones that are easy to enter or exit but do not necessarily sustain? What kinds of communities are created by our technology use?

Time: Do we have a sense that there is enough room in our lifestyles for the things that truly matter—work and play, rigor and rest, love and laughter? Or are we too busy to live according to our deepest and highest priorities? Do distracting demands and pressures lure us away from our highest values? How does engagement with technology make us busier? And how does technology erode and displace opportunities to pause and determine, reflect on, and honor ultimate priorities? Space: How well connected are we with the geography and places where we are located? Are we rooted in neighborhoods, connected to the earth and our environment? Or is much of our life lived abstractly in “virtual” reality?

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Making Room for What Matters | Sleep

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one: Get a good night sleep. 

This might seem like a silly way to start. Everyone knows how important sleep is. We know how we feel in the afternoon if we don’t get a good night sleep. If you have kids, you know that you are a better parent when you get good sleep. You are a better student, boss, employee when you get a good night of sleep. You are more creative, lively and all around, more enjoyable when you get a good night sleep.

Yet, how often do you find yourself laying on the couch watching TV when you should be laying in bed? How often do you find yourself staring at a computer screen checking email, scrolling through Facebook when you should be in bed?

More than you want to admit?

Then you need better sleep.

What is fascinating to me in the Bible is how a day starts at night. When God creates things, when he establishes the Sabbath, talks about time, he starts at night. He starts at sleep.

What if you had the mindset that your day started when you went to sleep instead of when you get up?

It changes how you think about things. Talking about starting your day off right starts at 10pm.

Why 10pm?

That’s when your body begins to shut down.

When people talk about a second wind, they get that around 9:30-10pm. If you don’t go to bed then, you will struggle to fall asleep.

Don’t believe me?

Stay up past 10 tonight and see if it is hard to fall asleep. Go to bed by 10 tomorrow night and see how it goes.

Sleep matters. 

So, how do you get a good night sleep?

It isn’t taking sleeping pills (unless your doctor thinks you should, but even then it probably isn’t a good idea). Here are 5 things to do to get a restful night of sleep:

  1. Sleep in a dark room.
  2. Turn off the ringer on your phone.
  3. Don’t look at electronics before going to bed.
  4. Don’t eat after 8.
  5. Set your alarm to get up at the same time each day.

There are more things you can do, but this is a good start.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how to create margin in your day by staying alert and awake.

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