Routines…New, Old and Changed

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I have worn more sweat pants over the last four weeks than I think I have in my entire life. These last few weeks have been trying to figure out my routines.  Things are not the same a they were before the stay at home orders.  I would say in some ways it has been good and in some ways it has been difficult.  Certainly things I tried to do early in the process are not happening nearly as often today.  Things like wearing dress pants and dress shirt even when I have to come into the office has been lost as the weeks have gone on.  Even getting up early to be in the “office” (my kitchen table) by 8am has not happened.  Some things are never going to be the same.

17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”  26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Matthew 26:17, 26-29 ESV

As I was thinking about it this week I was thinking about the Lord Supper.  How Jesus took something they had been doing in the Passover/Sabbath meal and tweaked it.  He took something in their routine and made it that much more meaningful.  I imagine the very next week when they got together for Sabbath meal they sat in awe of the moment it could never be the same. They couldn’t look at it the same way. When those disciples sat together and ate the meal together everything was different.

Lots of things we have done these last few weeks will not be the same.  Hopefully you and I can consider some new routines that glorify Jesus.  I know for me one of those things will to be to appreciate the power of being together in worship and most especially the gathering around the Lords table.  I also pray for me that this routine of being in the word more outside of class will continue into the future.  What are the things in your new routine you want to keep?  What things will you cherish more?  What things do you want to get back?  Jesus comes to bring change, may that change help us all grow in our trust in Him.

This isn’t how it is supposed to be…One day we will do this right

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Today I had the opportunity to sit in front of my TV and be a greeter at Church. This isn’t how this is supposed to be. We had some technical difficulties, and the feed was missing sound for the first 10 minutes. This is not how this is supposed to be.  I had technical difficulties at home with my TV, and I participated in the service through a 4″ phone.  This morning all I thought was,  “This isn’t how it is supposed to be.”

During the service, once it got working, I had some friends from Church text me about the tech stuff and sent me thanks for it working. I had nothing to do with fixing it, I just let the team know at Church it wasn’t working. At the end of our conversation, one of them said, “I can’t wait until I can see my Church family again.”  I agreed this isn’t how this is supposed to be.

Although there is a lot of good that has come from all this, not the least of which is churches and people sharing Jesus online, I cannot tell you how much I want to be together with people in worship. This is not how it is supposed to be. I look forward to the amazing moment when our community can be together again. It will be a great moment for our people and for me personally. I love people, and I can’t wait to be together again.

I had a thought today; even when we get back together, even when we get together and pull out all the stops and it feels like heaven, it won’t be.  This just isn’t how it is supposed to be. You see one day, when this is all over, we will gather all together, in person, in our resurrected body for worship that will last for eternity.  It will be beyond amazing, and it will be beyond everything we have ever experienced or seen.  We will hug our loved ones and celebrate Jesus like we can’t even imagine.  That is the day we see a little here but will see more fully when Jesus comes again.

I pray as we go through these days that we are reminded that this isn’t how it is supposed to be, not just in worship, all of it.  Jesus changes everything, and I can’t wait for it to be just as He said it will be.

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:13-17 ESV

School is coming…finding rest in the chaos!

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School is coming…For some it is already here…For some parents it is a great day, for some parents their will be tears .  For some kids it is a struggle filled with anxiety and for some kids they just cant wait to be back at school with their friends.  It is a mix of anxiety, joy, fear, and excitement for a new year.

One things we will all experience this year is the busyness that comes with a new school year.  It seems to me that every year, sports gets more intense, classes get harder for kids, the schedule for ministry even seems to get more and more intense.  All these things may be amazing opportunities for learning, exercise, friendships, and fun.  These things can make it almost impossible to have opportunities to share a meal, share your day, or just find times to be home and slowing down together with your family.

Somewhere as a family we all learned that to be the best parents we have to run, run, run.  We have to be in everything, be there for everyone, and give our kids the most experiences possible.  I am here to tell you we are all wrong on this front.  Yes experiences for our kids are great.  It is important to give them times to succeed, and fail, to find joy, and sadness so we can help them navigate those moments before they become adults.  The thing I think we miss is how can we also teach them to rest.  How do we teach them to slow down enjoy life with the people God has put in our lives.

This fall our Church is starting something new. We are calling it Family rest nights.  The second and forth Wednesdays of each month during the school year we have opened the school and Church schedule so that no events happen in the building after 4pm.  We want to model for families to be home and with each other gathered around His word. I love food so for us it will include a meal.  We plan to send out emails with devotional questions, scripture readings, and prayers for the family.  The goal is to help model family times of rest.  My prayers is this will help families slow down and be.  Slow down and be in the presence of each other and Jesus.  I know I need to have those times of rest. Join us in resting in Jesus and growing together as a family.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42 NIV)

Lets talk…the work can get done later.

taskThis week I have spent most of my days talking with people.  I actually didn’t get as much work accomplished.  I suppose most some think we have a great day when we have a list to accomplish each day. I have a list but I am not sure I completed too many of those things today.  So tonight after I put the kids to bed and started getting work I didn’t get done today. I had a thought.

This past week has reminded me of a simple truth. I have never regretted spending time talking is someone over getting work done. Never and I mean never have I had a regret of looking at a person sitting at a table looking down and thought I don’t have time to talk with them.  My greatest joy is sitting with people and helping them find hope in a situation through Jesus.

This week I had a student come talk with me. It is not abnormal.  In fact I happened fairly often.  Sometimes it is students and sometimes it is colleagues, or parents. Most of the time when someone really needs me I find God sends them to me during a time when I don’t have the time.  When they walk in I am in my head thinking I really don’t have the time because i have to get this project done, but God sent you here so I will make it work. I will say it again.

I have never regretted spending time talking with someone over getting work done.

So here is the thing.  For those of you reading this I pray that you know people care for you.  I pray you know I care.  I pray that as we walk down the halls, and through our daily lives we take the time to talk.  We take the time to look at those around us and ask how they are doing?  The work will get done.  I promise it will.  Lets be the Jesus to those around us.  Let us take the time to really hear each other and listen and care for each other.

 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:11-12 NIV