Equipped or not, I signed up for Man Day.
I joined over 70 men gathered at our church to eat breakfast and worship before setting off to finish repairs and maintenance on homes in the community. It’s a day I’m glad I didn’t miss. The camaraderie, spending a whole day outside in perfect weather and enjoying the thread of serving that weaved through the whole day proved rich.
I almost let myself miss it.
You May Not Think So
I like to guard Saturdays with my family. It’s my favorite time. Plus, I’m not a rah-rah kind of guy and large group activities aren’t my favorite.
But the real reason, I have a longstanding feud with tools. I really enjoy the way they look when they are organized in the garage but I don’t necessarily like how they feel in my hand, especially when dealing with the millionth stripped bolt. Every triumph I’ve had with tools I’ve celebrated. Every frustration I’ve had with tools awakens the thought, “Why didn’t I ask somebody to teach me this years ago?” Needless to say, I’ve grown very fond of YouTube instructional videos.
I joked with someone the night before how I was going to bring my Swiss army style all-purpose pocket tool because that was the only tool I felt comfortable with.
The next morning, when I found out my team’s marching orders to paint a house, I breathed easy knowing nobody would depend on me to make compound cuts on a miter saw.
So, paint we did. Getting to know the guys on my team a little better, it became obvious, each one could go number one in a Man Day draft for tool expertise.
This was the A-Team. You know, the type of guys with the tools perfectly arranged in their garage and with knowledge of every nut and bolt they own? Each of them could host their own YouTube fix-it channel. Not only did they know what to do, they knew what to do with ease. But what happens when we can’t rely on our own experience?
As Christians we go to the Bible for everything, or at least we know we should go to the Bible for everything. It’s impacted us one way or the other on something we have read or heard before, but is also sometimes a challenge to us as well. It can be hard to read, seem old, or even out of place in today’s culture, but oftentimes we forget to see what the Bible actually has to say about itself.
I’m convinced more than ever today that spending time with Jesus is the hardest thing for us Christians to do and there are a lot of reasons why. I believe the most important reason it is difficult is because we have a real enemy who is against us and knows the power that takes place when we spend time with God.
The primary way we do this as believers is through the Bible. Since the Bible itself declares that it is the very word of God, I think that’s one of the main reasons it’s so hard to read it. The enemy is against us reading the Bible. Let me encourage you to just read small chunks of it, one day at a time. Maybe start in one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and just read a chapter a day. Just start there…start somewhere…and see what God does through time with Him.
Here is what the Bible has to say with scripture on scripture:
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Identity theft happens when there’s a breach of personal information by people who steal data from their victims for their personal gain. It’s becoming a trend in this digital age; that’s why you need to be careful when disclosing your private information to anyone.
While there are safety precautions you can do to prevent identity theft, it’s different when it comes to your spiritual being. Spiritual identity theft occurs when a person is being blinded and tempted by the evil to turn his back on God. It’s a cause for concern, especially to people who value their personal relationship with the Lord.
The very first spiritual identity theft happened when the serpent tempted Eve to pick a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and talked Adam into eating it with her. Just like identity thieves in the 21st century, the serpent’s motivation was jealousy, envy, and discontent. All his strategies were based on lies and deception, which the first children of God fell for.
So, how do you know if your spiritual identity has been breached? Here are a few signs to look out for:
I don’t know about you but I think God works a lot of times in us through seasons. Seasons of busyness. Seasons of difficulties. Seasons of prosperity. Seasons of excitement. Seasons of loss. And the list goes on.
Lately I’ve been in one of the craziest seasons I can remember in awhile with so many things going on, our church, 121 Community Church, moving new to a brand new building, celebrating Easter, and reflecting on things that matter the most…and all of this seems to have happened at the exact same time.
I remember specifically walking through 121 for the very last time. No one was there. Nothing was left. Not only was it a little emotional because of such history happening there, but something happened at that moment. It was if God stopped me in my tracks while looking down the empty hallway and said, “this…..this is what life is about……..this is how fast life goes……..now that you see this, what do you think really matters?
And I immediately knew the answer…
Do you ever have those seasons where you feel like God has just gone completely dark and left you to fend for yourself? Perhaps that’s a little overdramatic, but I would venture to say that some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
To catch you up (since I haven’t had much to say in the last couple months – really sorry about that) . . . our family relocated to the Nashville area of Tennessee to follow what we strongly believed was a prompting from the Lord. It was not an easy process, but we made the move at the very end of 2016. Now, 3 months in, the boys are thriving in their new school, Stephen is cranking away working his job from home, we are making new friends and getting embedded in a great church community, AND we are getting to watch what will be our new permanent home go up in the lot right next to our rent house. Lots of exciting things going on, and yet there still seems to be some pretty substantial gaps that, quite frankly, throw me into a spiritual, mental, and emotional battle every day.
I fully expected to be settled into a new job well before now and I definitely did NOT expect to be looking at almost 6 months since the last time I was behind a microphone. And yet, here I am. Still without a steady income and still waiting to get to do the thing I love doing the most. The two pieces of my world that I thought were the main reasons the Lord was relocating our family are the only two pieces of this puzzle that are still missing.
Please don’t hear me say that I’ve somehow convinced myself that the Lord has uprooted our lives only to abandon us in the desert. There are plenty of good things happening for us that are exciting. But as it goes sometimes with God-sized plans, all the things that make sense have gone out the window, which for personalities like mine creates a deep sense of unrest and leads to feelings of doubt.
And then the other day as I was processing some of this with my husband, Stephen, it dawned on me that this place is somewhere I’ve been before and had just tucked away in those dark corners of my memory.
I’m thinking about God’s best lately. What does it look like for a believer in Jesus Christ? If we are encountering God and experiencing His best for us, do we continue to have a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction with who we are, where we are or what we are doing in our present state? When things get complex, sometimes I like to revert to simpler times when things just seemed to make sense, honesty didn’t have a filter or agenda and I could see things plain as day. In many cases, I’m brought back to Denver.
Some of my favorite memories of summer in Denver have to do with an amazing amusement park just down the road from my grandmother’s house. There was no place like Elitch Gardens (Elitch’s for those in the know) for a kid during summer vacation in Denver. The Splinter, the Wildcat, Mr. Twister, all of these rides guaranteed great fun and cemented my love for roller coasters.
It made a mark on me and I made a mark on it for a long time, making sure to stick a piece of gum to the portion of the log ride where every kid and immature adult seemed to leave offerings. For me and many other North Denver kids, Elitch’s had no equal; even though Lakeside Amusement Park tried it’s best, for a cheaper price.
You know those generic/store brands posing as your favorite beverage, for example, Dr. K instead of Dr. Pepper or Green Lightning instead of Mountain Dew? That was Lakeside. I couldn’t always afford admission to Elitch’s, so I spent more time at Lakeside wishing I was at Elitch’s, for one reason in particular.