Getting ready for God’s Future

819V0oTxp0LSo here is something basically most of you know: I read a lot…like a lot.

I mean as in whenever we travel Krista and I have fights over the amount of books I’m bringing and the space they take up (at minimum is 1.5 books per day). Did I say I read a lot?  Krista would say this is because I’m a nerd…I say it’s because I like learning. Both are true.

But what I’m reading right now is a great book called “Your First 90 Days”. I’m reading to prepare for a change in our lives. I’m trying to ensure that I’m prepared for the future that is coming as best I can. So for me this means reading…well at least more than 5 books.

But I bring this all up for a specific reason. While out for dinner the other night I tell Krista all about this book and how great it is and she said, “I like it that you’re preparing for our future”. And that comment just really stuck out to me. Because I would say generally I’m not preparing for the future I’m reacting to it. And maybe you can agree. 

So my thought and reason for bringing this all up is to ask you one simple question, “What would it look like to prepare for the future God has for you?” What would that look like for you? Are there dreams you have? Are there hopes and things you believe that God has in store for you? And then my question is this – how are you preparing for them?

Because I believe that God has goodness in store for all of us. I believe, like Ephesians says, that God can do infinitely more than you could ever hope or imagine. And if that is true how are you readying yourself to receive it?

Maybe it’s digging into the Bible more. Maybe it’s really learning to pray. Maybe it’s learning to trust in small little things, so you can trust in big moves. Maybe it’s learning a new skill. Maybe it’s taking a new class. Maybe you dream of launching a business, so you are asking some people to mentor. My point is that I believe goodness is before us, and we all need to prepare to receive it. For me, of course, that’s reading…but what might it look like for you?

Because I have a little hunch, after Krista’s comment, is that I may have missed some of what God has had for me in the future because I wasn’t readying myself for it. All I know is that I don’t want to make that mistake again. And my guess is you don’t want to either. So what can you do, start, or commit to – to begin to get ready for the future God has for you?

A Christian is less about avoiding sin, than actively doing God’s will

1224442_75255610I want to think a little bit about a quote from Bonhoeffer. Its really deep – okay most of what he writes is deep. But this one quote gets me every time. He says this:

Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.

And I think that is so true. The reason that I don’t think that “sheltering” or “Christian Bubble” thinking or practice works is because the focus is off. In those paradigms the focus is to avoid sin, to stay safe, to be cautious, and only to be involved with things that are “approved” (by whomever has the authority). And please hear me clearly, I’m certainly not against avoiding sin or avoiding dangerous or compromising situations. My issue is with the central focus. 

In the “sheltering” or “Christian Bubble” thinking the central focus is actually sin. Sure the focus is avoiding sin, but the focus is still sin. The entire paradigm is driven by fear (don’t fall into sin) negativity (don’t don’t don’t) and staying “safe”. And this is Bonhoeffer’s point. The central activity of being a Christian isn’t what you are again, staying safe, or of fear of the world.

The central mark of being a Christian is courageously following God.

Focusing on following God needs to be the central defining aspect of a Christians life. And yes that entails avoiding sin, and compromising situations but those are secondary to the primary Christian calling: courageously following Christ.

My point is that Bonhoeffer is right. The focus of Christianity isn’t just about avoiding sin, but courageously doing God’s calling. Christianity isn’t best thought of as a retreat, or evacuation from the world, or a refuge from the world; it is best thought of as an adventure in partnering with God to save the world.

Where the Wild Things Run

480535_14231113The more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it has established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild. G.K. Chesterton

I love this quote by Chesterton, who was brilliant in many ways. Because so often we think of Christianity as a staid, rigid, and giant institution opposed to change, creativity, and wildness. But I think Chesterton is right, Jesus did not come to just bring rule and order but to let some good things run wild.

Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit being wind that is wild blowing where it will (John 3). Jesus seems intent on letting loose disciples to change the world through love and grace. Jesus seems intent on letting God’s love run wild throughout the world without constraints or restrictions.

So Chesterton is right, Christianity has established rule and order. There is nothing wrong with that, that is good as well. But its chief aim was give room for good things to run wild: God’s love, justice, hope, mercy, and grace.

I think that’s a beautiful thought and something the world needs more of. A little more of God’s love running wild, God’s hope, God’s mercy, and most of all, God’s grace.