Seeking the Spiritual

Chilly —  June 12, 2015 — 1 Comment
Storm on Siesta Key Beach

Storm on Siesta Key Beach

The spiritual differs from the religious in being able to endure isolation. The rank of a spiritual person is proportionate to his strength for enduring isolation, whereas we religious people are constantly in need of “the others,” the herd. We religious folks die, or despair, if we are not reassured by being in the assembly, of the same opinion as the congregation, and so on. But the Christianity of the New Testament is precisely related to the isolation of the spiritual man.

~ Søren Kierkegaard

 Are you spiritual or religious?

– What can you do to make sure the spiritual grows & religious shrinks?

Now, don’t get me wrong, isolation does not equal spirituality – it is, however, often a result of being spiritual (real). Some people choose to be loners and then try to spin it into something spiritual-sounding, that never lasts long…

Learning to turn loneliness into aloneness is key – God sometimes sets us apart to sharpen us, encourage us, correct us and invigorate us. He’s there when no one else is & He’s there when everyone is around.

Such isolation is needed in our growth.

I guess both words: religious & spiritual can be spun in various directions – perhaps it’s all semantics… Ultimately we must learn that part of Christian maturity includes times of isolation – sometimes you don’t have to make them happen, they just do. And, when they do, see God’s purpose. In addition, we also need times of aloneness with God – even Jesus (our role model & Lord) isolated himself to be with His Father.

It’s a heart thing… figure it out.

Turning loneliness into aloneness, Chilly

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Chase's FAVORITE meal in the world! Clam Chowder from Captain Curt's (winners of international chowder cook-off in Rhode Island)! Mmm!

Chase's FAVORITE meal in the world! Clam Chowder from Captain Curt's (winners of international chowder cook-off in Rhode Island)! Mmm!

Then

Chilly —  June 11, 2015 — 2 Comments

I love the Bible! Seriously, I LOVE IT! I especially love to read it late at night when everyone else is asleep and things are quiet & peaceful. In these times, I feel like I’m sitting alone with God, hearing Him speak just to me. I meditate on what God is saying – really listening with my heart.  Knowledge speaks, Wisdom listens.  And, man, do I want (need) wisdom! For this reason, I find myself in the book of Proverbs almost daily!

Here’s something that really spoke to my heart yesterday:

My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you… Then you will go on your way in safety and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” Proverbs 3:21-24.

thenSo many times in Scripture there is a “then.” Unfortunately we don’t always bother to go back and find out what the “then” is referring to. In these verses, from Proverbs, there is a “then” right in the middle, and IF we’re not careful, we will only remember what is promised and omit what is required. I was super tempted to do this myself… allow me to explain:   Continue Reading…

Expanding the Margin

Chilly —  June 10, 2015 — 2 Comments

I’m on vacation.

Resting… Playing… Recharging… Praying… and, Listening.

It’s been a really busy, crazy, fast-paced, exciting and exhausting season of life and ministry.

So, during a walk along the beach, I felt the Lord ask, “How long do you intend to live like this?

expired-parking-meterI was reminded of a series that I preached at Courage Church a few years ago called: “Margin” — I think I need to preach it again TO MYSELF. This series really challenged me in some of the fundamental areas of my life. And, you know what? Looking at and adjusting our schedules and daily disciplines can turn out to be one of the most spiritual things we can do!

MARGIN = The Amount Available Beyond What Is Necessary.

So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely.16 Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.17 So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:15-17

If you don’t tell time where to go, you’ll be asking it where it went.

GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF GREAT. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of organizations never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is the main problem. — Jim Collins

So, with this in mind, I need to eliminate or adjust some ‘good‘ things in my life that are robbing me of GREAT things!

Allow me to challenge you to do FIVE things:

  1. Confess those areas of your life in prayer that are causing too much busyness. Ask for God’s help.
  2. Also, as you pray, ask God to give you the strength to say no to good things so that you can say yes to GREAT things!
  3. Listen for God’s response. Take notes.
  4. Commit to God the things you will do immediately that will allow you to create more margin in your schedule.
  5. Be amenable. Get with someone who knows you well, and talk to them about the changes that you’re putting into motion TODAY.

“Life is tons of discipline.” ~ Robert Frost

Here’s a few things I feel like God is asking me to adjust:

  • First is Distractions. Life has enough distractions without me creating them. When I’m with those that I love or serve; I’m putting down the mobile devices or anything else that’s competing for their attention. Seems like in today’s world, we’re all a bit ADD (attention deficit disorder) — we get distracted super easy.  Let’s make it easier to help people engage in meaningful relationship. Stop multitasking and ask the Lord to help us slow down our brains and really listen.
  • Second is Latenight Media. I’m a late-night guy and get lots accomplished after my family is in bed – that’s a good thing (and at times, a great thing)… but God tapped me on the shoulder and said “at 11pm: read, journal, pray but turn the POWER off on TV, Macbook, iPad, etc.” – I’ll get more focused and get more sleep! Win/Win — another good to GREAT move!
  • Third is Queen Time. My wife needs and deserves more of my MARGIN! So, I’m returning to a previous plan of asking HER to pick one breakfast, lunch or dinner each week — our lives & schedules are unique – so the cute little immoveable “date night” won’t work (plus, it’s kind of annoying when people make a HUGE deal about their immoveable night)… we’re a bit more flexible than that! Plus, it will be fun to mix it up and try unique places at unique times! Ultimately, this time is for me to value & listen to my queen speak! She’s my best friend. This commitment should expand my family time too!
  • Fourth is Health & Fitness. I’ve had been much more deliberate about what I eat (MyFitnessPal app) and also exercising daily (Running, biking and Nike+ Fuelband)… and then the move happened to Lansing. Somewhere in the busyness I stopped be intentional about this and gained weight & lost discipline (in this area). Well, I’m more resolved than ever  to lose weight and increase my energy. I also plan to figure out a course of action for when winter arrives — my fitness suffers when I can run & play. Ask me about this later this Fall!
  • So, number Five is Prayer & Journaling. Yes, I already do both of these a lot. But, we must increase the good things in our lives to crowd out the not-so-good or average things. I’m still seeking the Lord about a new book idea — so, I need to increase the discipline of writing. And, my need to be in the Lord’s presence has only increased. I’m so thankful that I serve with a pastor who loves prayer and a home & church that provides lots of unique places to do it!
Ok, so there it is! I’m being transparent and vulnerable with EVERYONE! 

Now it’s YOUR turn!
What good things does God want you to lay down in your pursuit for what is GREAT? And, I would also LOVE to hear from my Mount Hope and Courage Church friends as well as those allies in the Accelerate Network! And, of course, YOU! Can’t wait for the interaction that will come through this accountability! GO FOR IT!
Growing my MARGINS, Chilly

my two best buddies! Ready for some seafood (and then some aloe! ouch!)... #chillcation15

my two best buddies! Ready for some seafood (and then some aloe! ouch!)… #chillcation15