Friday, November 6, 2009

Breaking Out of the Funk

Yesterday I wrote about being in a "spiritual funk" and provide some advice about how to/not to get of such a funk.  Well, it happened today that I was reading Galatians and came across this verse (in the NLT):
"It doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not.
What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation."
It was exactly what I needed.  I have read through Galatians countless times, but today, reading it in a different translation, this verse hit me. My life in Christ is not a one time decision, it is a continual choice to change.  I get fired up when I see something in a different way.  It makes the passage feel new, although I have read it numerous times.  I love how God does that!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Getting Out of the Funk

We've all had the funk. I don't mean the mean the good, jammin' out to classic rock tunes funk.  I mean the stop reading your Bible, saying memorized prayers, going through the motions funk that all Christians seem to struggle with at some point or another.
I've been in the funk for awhile now. I've continued to lead prayers with my family at meals times and before bed. I've continued to teach a class on the book of James and attend a men's Bible study on Monday nights. Still the funk remains. I'm not really sure when it is going to leave, but here are a few things that have/have not helped in the past.

Things that Have Not Helped:
1. Trying to do more. It seems like you get in the funk, get behind on the daily Bible reading so you set aside some time to get caught up.  What happens is a marathon reading that allows little depth into the text.
2. No plan. Thinking, hey these things happen, I'll snap out of it soon.
3. Comparing myself to ourselves.  This is rarely a good idea. God made us in His image, not in the image of your best friend, next door neighbor, or anyone else.

Things that Have Helped:
1. Continue in the motions.  Yes, there are times when your whole heart may not be into it, but to stop altogether is not the better solution. There have been too many times when I have just been reading my Bible or listening to a song while in a funk that the Lord showed me something I had never seen before and then the funk was over.  Don't give up on the disciplines that have gotten you this far.
2. Admitting you're in a funk.  Simply recognizing that things are not how you want them to be is powerful.  Sharing that observation with others multiples the effect.
3.Change of place+change of pace=change of perspective. I first heard this from Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. It's great advice for getting out of any funk that you are in.

I hope the advice helps if you are in a funk.  What advice would you share?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Looking to Younger Examples

It never ceases to amazing me the things that I can learn from those who are younger than me.  This weekend I watched my determined 5 year old, Gabie run her first 5k- in Crocs no less!  Now, this wasn't planned. We showed up to the race on Saturday morning.  Meg, my wife, and her mom were going to run the Bison Stampede at Harding University.  The run raises money for the Sunshine School which helps special needs students.
Gabie asked if she could run as well, I guess because Meg and I have been running so much lately.  Well,  I thought she would make it around the first loop and she would be done, but she just kept going! Sure enough, here she is getting ready to cross the finish line at 38 minutes.  Not bad for someone who can't even tie her own shoes yet!

Another example is Austin Gutwein.  Austin has recently published his first book, Take Your Best Shot.  In Take Your Best Shot Austin shares how he was challenged to do something bigger than himself.  He was moved through the the efforts of World Vision to help children in Africa who were dying because of AIDS.  Although Austin is not a "basketball stud" he used his passion for the game to start a program called Hoops for Hope which is currently raising money to build a medical clinic in Zambia.  It's truly amazing to read about what Austin is doing.  This week at during our Sunday morning class the teens talked about not just waiting for programming created by the church, but to go out and live their faith today.  That is exactly what Austin, and many other young people are doing.  They are not the future of the church, they are the church today!  Now that I have finished reading Take Your Best Shot, I'll be passing it on to the youth group at Cloverdale, maybe some of the teens there will be inspired to do something BIG.

Let us always remember the advice that Paul gave in 1 Timothy 4:12,
"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your live, your faith, and your purity." -NLT


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