Sunday, February 26, 2012

Originality - Discipleship 163

The default setting for humanity seems to be comparison. We love to measure ourselves against others in order to see where we might actually fit. We compare salaries, talents, skills, gifts and even opinions.

What has me fired up today is the tendency we have as Christians to compare ourselves to each other. In particular, we seem to get great pleasure out of comparing one church to another church in order to determine how we might be "better" than the other. As a leader in the church, I confess that I have fallen into this mindset. I've definitely compared the programatic elements of my church against others, looking to find places where my program may be superior or borrow ideas that I can replicate into my ministry context. And I hate to say it...but I'm not alone in this type of comparative conditioning.

I'm reminded of a portion of the story of the nation of Israel from the Old Testament. The nation of Israel did not have a physical king. Instead, God Himself said He would be willing to serve as their king. During the creation of Israel as a state in biblical times, the people of Israel cried out to God asking for a physical king to rule over them instead of God as spiritual king. The reason why they asked for this was because they compared themselves to all the other nations around them and saw something these nations had that they wanted...a physical king. Because God is a loving God that does not force Himself upon us, He honoured the request of His people. This desire for a physical king led the entire nation to forego their God-given destiny to a certain degree. Instead of being a biblical model for others to aspire to, the nation of Israel became a biblical example what not to do.

I wonder sometimes if we as the church play this role out in modern day society. With our desire to be better than or just like some sort of pseudo definition of success, do we end up simply being an example to our world of what not to be instead of being something to aspire towards?

What if we actually embraced the desire to be original, creative and obedient to God's leading? Would our desire to embrace originality help us to combat the tendency to compare ourselves to others while trying to mimic or recreate their perceived success?

As a dad, I don't want to be like any other dad. I want to be an original dad. My kids deserve someone that is unique and original. Originality doesn't mean there will not be some resemblance to something else, but it does mean that the primary quality of something is unique and unlike anything that has ever been before. As a pastor, I don't want to be like anybody else. I want to be original; motivated by God's design and desire for my life and my willingness to be obedient to it.

How might life be different if we had a little more originality and a little less mass conformity or copy-cat tendencies? What do you think?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Blessed Beyond Measure - Discipleship 162

I've recently had the privilege of being invited into the lives of others through unique experiences. I've had the opportunity to hear life stories of people who are in the middle of their journey and through listening to their insights, I've been able to gain wisdom, perspective and joy. I've also had the privilege of being able to share my hope and dreams through spoken word, love in action and the receiving of gifts from the most unlikely of sources.

It's been just over two weeks since I last sat down to process the world around me through this blog format. Since then, I must admit that the overwhelming conclusion that I've come to it quite simple: I'm blessed so that I can be a blessing to others.

I heard this analogy once that my life leaves a wake that impacts others. If anyone has ever been on a lake enjoying some sort of water sport, you might understand this image. A wake is a wave or ripple of water that an object generates. A wake is an impression of sorts. These impressions have the ability to impose both positive and negative things on one's surroundings. Like it or not, each of our lives leaves an impression on the world around us...and I'm not talking about only a carbon footprint.

The questions that I find myself asking are along the lines of what sort of hope, impact and impression am I making on others? My life is truly's full, it's fun and it's fast. So, do I keep it all to myself, or do I give my life away in service of others? I'm blessed so that I may be a blessing to others. My hope is that the wake that my life leaves would inspire those around me to be a blessing to someone else. What about you, what do you hope for?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Days or Moments - Discipleship 161

I heard this quote the other day, "People don't remember days, they only remember moments." Quite frankly, I couldn't agree more. I remember moments when my day started and ended strong, but for a few moments hope seemed lost...guess which parts I remembered most vividly?

Could it be true that moments are more important than days in the hearts and minds of people? I think about moments like when I saw my wife for the first time in her wedding dress, or my first goal in a hockey game, or the first time I learned to ride a bike. I don't remember most of the day that is associated with these moments, but I do remember the moment itself.

Does this phenomenon have implications for us parents and leaders with regards to discipleship? I think so! The question I'm asking myself currently is what sort of memory or moment creating experiences am I facilitating for those in my sphere of influence? The students, parents and families I serve may not remember all of my days as their leader, but they will remember moments. My own children will not remember every single day of me being their dad, but they will remember moments.

What moments are you leaving in the lives of others? Are they inspiring ones, or discouraging ones? My hope is that in a single moment, my kids and the people I serve would know that they are loved, cared for and worthwhile. I may not always live up to this goal, but I hope I never stop seeking to inspire others through the way I live my life...filled with hope, peace and joy knowing that there is more to life than what can be learned in a single moment.