Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The battle of Identity and Self Worth

I'm getting ready to go speak at a mens retreat soon and I've been thinking a lot about where we get our identity and self worth.  At the retreat I'll be sharing a bit about my childhood, growing up with a dad who battled mental illness, and my own issues with finding my value (identity and self worth) in life. I came across some pictures of me growing up...

The first is the summer after my 6th grade year (I was about 180 pounds there...with the mullet) and the other of my senior year in high school at a wrestling match (I was about 165 pounds there...)...when I saw those pics I realized, when I looked in the mirror during both of those times (and truth be told...sometimes even today),  I thought I was fat...both pictures and times, I still struggled with self worth, identity and ultimately worried about what others thought of me.
I guess it's especially hitting me in my attempt to raise our 4 kids to be gracious, loving, and sure of who they I often catch my young daughters looking long in the mirror, or hearing of my sons adventures on the playground and who gets to play in what games, I have all sorts of questions.
What do they think of can I help them navigate life well and do it with an assuredness of who they are?  If their self worth and identity become validated only through the approval of their peers or others...Sadly, I know where that road will lead.
My greatest hope for them, is that they will find purpose, value, identity not in created things, but in their Creator.  Oh, Lord...may it be so!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ENTITLEMENT :: The Number One Killer Of the American Church

What does it mean to be a part of a local church in America today?  

Let me start this by saying, I am so grateful to live in America...we have so many choices, and we have a ton of rights.  Intrinsically as Americans, we understand what it means to have rights...the very fabric in the development of the US Constitution protects its people, from the government (in theory...but, that's another blog) should the government try infringe on said "rights"...the first 10 amendments of the constitution that protect us, are called (shout out to Mr. Gerst here for US history in 10th grade)...THE BILL OF RIGHTS!!  In other words, as an deserve things, and this "deserving things" has crept into every aspect of our way of life; (read these next several lines as a critique so my satire is not lost on you...)

You aren't happy with your family...get another one...because you deserve to be happy, life is too short.  You are stressed at work...take a vacation (or a nap) deserve it.  You aren't happy with your marriage...get a divorce, your irreconcilable differences are too difficult to work deserve someone who will love you the way you need to be loved.  Your house is to small...even though you can't afford it, get a bigger deserve it.  Your closet full of clothes are old and out of date, the 30 pair of shoes you own are so 2000 and late...get new ones, you deserve it!! 

You go to the grocery have options.  You drive through the auto have options.  You go out to have options.  You don't want to go to a P90X and get fit in your have options (enter Cross Fit sighs here!).  And SADLY...these options have become more "rights"...things you think you deserve.  " is so inconvenient that we don't have a Whole Foods here."  Because Trader Joe's, Top Foods, and Food Co-Ops aren't enough!!

You are American...we have rights for crying out loud...and your pursuit of happiness is what really matters...right?  

And just like that...the church of America is doomed, because we take our entitled American ideals and place them on the church...grievously, our entitlement is killing the church.

What does it mean to be a part of the American Church today?  

What could it look like for the churches around America to start seeing their number one priority as pursuing God...not what we think we deserve to get out of the church.  What if we came to serve...not to be served (I think that's in the bible?! :D)  Not only is it killing the church...our Christian "Bill of Rights" is killing our witness to the Gospel.  You see the Gospel is the craziest thing fact, it's the only time as Americans we actually don't get what we deserve!!  

What if we (the church) started really understanding the Gospel...I bet it would change the way we "do" church, we might actually start to "be" the church.  #forgiveuslord #weknownotwhatwedo #orwedoandwejustdontcare