Friday, October 10, 2014

Sleep & Jesus

Ok, the sole purpose of that title was to catch your attention. What in the world do sleep and Jesus have to do with each other?

This week has been a little rough for me, although today is going better. I've had a number of little things...I got over a cold but developed some kind of inner-ear thing which caused a lot of dizziness. I also had a day where work stuff got super busy and I (temporarily) felt quite overwhelmed. Add to that a couple of good but long days, and I was running a little ragged.

However, there was one thing that was the main thing that caused my week to be rough - Sleeplessness. Wednesday I woke up at 3:30 AM and never got back to sleep. Thursday I woke up at 5:15 AM and never got back to sleep. Those two days of bad sleep affected everything else.

  • I was more "snippy" then usual
  • I was not patient in parenting my son
  • I couldn't focus at work
  • My heart was racing
  • I had super bad congestion and itchy eyes (don't ask why, but sleeplessness always causes this symptom in my body).

To put it another way, if I had slept better those nights, EVERYTHING else would have been much easier to deal with. Sleep is a HUGE part of our overall well-being and a lack of sleep shows itself everywhere.

This got me thinking - is there something in the spiritual realm which is comparable to sleep? I think there is...

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:5-7)

Hmmm - did you see that? There's a word in there, one little word that carries so much promise for us. It's the word "abide." What does abide mean? The word abide literally means "continue without fading or being lost." So put that definition into the verse and read it again...

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who [continues] in me [without fading or being lost] bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing..."

We can do many things that will amount to little fruit...we do this when we "fade away" from Christ. Or, we can make sure our lives count and bear much fruit...we do this by abiding in Him. If this is true and I believe it is, then our #1 goal in life should be to maintain this "abiding" relationship with Jesus. Let's do it!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mission, Strategies, Goals

If you have been around a successful business, you've probably heard these terms before - Mission, Strategies, Goals, Values. Almost all businesses have these statements...the successful ones use their Mission to provide clarity and direction for their entire organization. Not only that, but a really good Mission Statement becomes a filter for making decisions about goals, strategies, values, and the culture within that organization.

This got me thinking...what if people like you and me had a Mission Statement for our lives, something that would help us have clarity and direction for our entire existance? Something that would help us decide which "things" (strategies) to pursue, and which "things" not to pursue?

I think I just stumbled on a good starting point for this discussion...

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)

Let's look at what this one verse says;
  1. You are chosen - God chose you and adopted you into His family...
  2. You are a priest - The main duties of priests in the O.T. was to offer up sacrifices to God, and so it is with us as we will soon see...
  3. You are a holy nation - As believers chosen by God, we have been adopted into His family and are "holy" - literally means "set apart" or "different."
  4. You are "God's special possession" - This is an AMAZING truth...that God has chosen us, made us to be priests, set us apart to be different, because we are His "special possession,"  
  5. Therefore, your mission: "to declare the praises of Him who called you..."
To Sum: you are set aside as a holy priest, chosen by God for a "declare His praise."

And just in case you missed, let's put it another way;

Mission Statement: I exist to declare the praises of God.

Think about that for a moment...what if you and I really believed this? What if, to our core, we believed that the mission of the totality of our lives was to "declare God's praise?" If we were a business and really believed this, then the next step would be to establish some goals that would accomplish help us reach for that mission, and then we'd make sure our strategies were actually working to get us there. We would want to establish "Core Values" that would dictate the "culture" of our lives, all in order that our mission would be accomplished.

Hmmm...makes me wonder if my life is aligned for this mission? I'm tempted to keep going down this track in future posts...I've got some great strategic ideas here! But I think this is enough to chew on for now...

Here's the million dollar question - do you know what your mission is? Why you were created...more then created, why you were saved? What your purpose is in life? I think we can start by taking our cue from Peter.

More to come...