Big G and Little me

apostles-creed

Recently, our church has been participating in a study of the Apostles creed… in the process, I was challenged to reconsider some basic assumptions behind the Christian faith again.

The Apostles creed has been widely recognized and revered since the 4th century. Considered to contain the basic building blocks of our Christian world view it has been studied and respected as a key cornerstone of essential Christian theology for almost 2000 years. A solid foundation for believers to refer to in times of confusion and doubt, the Apostles Creed has endured since 390 AD.

“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth. (opening line of the Creed)

These words, carefully discerned and recorded have guided countless millions of Christians over the millennia and provides us a rich context from which to contemplate.

In the church study, we were asked to read and explore the passage of  Isaiah 40:21-32. It’s a beautiful and poetic expression of the magnitude and grandeur of God. When you read the words and phrases… you can’t help but sense the awesome size and strength of God contrasted with the infinitesimal smallness of mankind.

It reminded me of how infrequently I pause to consider the nature of God. To remember just how big “HE” truly is and how small I really am. 

Why is this helpful?

Who has the time to jump off our merry-go-round of modern- spastic -life… who has the space in their schedule to slow down enough to just ‘think’ ? It would have to be pretty important to grab my attention. A life crisis, tragic loss, or a career change might make me…but it takes a lot to get me to slow.

Abstract stuff is hard for me to value. I tend to major on things tangibly observed and assessed. If it’s theoretical or contemplative… I’m not making it a priority.

But for this study… I was forced to break the pattern.

When I did stop to consider, something vital resurfaced in my soul. Long dormant feelings of reverence, awe, and mystery slowly emerged as I remembered basic truths that had faded over the months and years. Faith became simple again. Simple, but profound. 

God really is the “BIG G” in life, and I’m the infinitesimally small little ‘b’.

Why does that matter? It matters because without this basic truth front and center again in my over-stimulated brain… I won’t slow down. I won’t find rest for my weary soul. I’ll rush headlong into the ‘obvious’ until I re-align my beliefs to fit the truth of scripture and to concentrate on things like the Apostles Creed.

It helps to re-focus on how I think about God, about myself.

When I do, I gain perspective. If God is the “BIG G”… then I surrender my plans for his.  I stop running ahead of him, insisting he hurry up! With perspective I stop forcing myself to do more, to work harder… to sacrifice more painfully in my futile attempt to get God to back my latest ‘scheme’.

Instead… when I see God as the “BIG G” again and I’m the little ‘b’, He immediately takes charge. I choose in an instant of clarity to let him ‘pick’ for me and I simply ‘follow’. Life becomes so much less exhausting.

isaiah-40-22-tga-version

God needs to be the “BIG G” if you and I ever want to live at Peace with each other and with Him. Nothing else will do for the Christian. Isaiah 40:21-32 is a powerful reminder to choose to ‘wait’ on God in all the places of life where we have ‘run-ahead’ and in doing so… live exhausted and barely alive.

There is a better way.

Pastor B.

Struggling to Spend the time…

Joshua 1:8

8This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (courtesy of the e-bible.com)

Wow… some days my time just evaporates… up before dawn, shower, energy bar, coffee, commute, work, dry cleaners, pick up dinner, eat dinner, dishes, meeting with someone at or with church, laundry, talk with the wife, kids and check on parents…  am I the only parent who finds that it’s a constant battle, a struggle to spend the limited time I have to be alone with God?

It’s really hard, harder than it should be.

It’s easier to sit on the couch, catch a few minutes of the local news… then pick up one of my mobile devices and re-check my emails, Facebook and twitter… it’s much easier for me to find the time to walk the dog, workout, catch a movie, re-arrange a closet or clean up the house. It’s more gratifying to do something that provides me with immediate and visible results, or something that actually entertains me or distracts me from life…than to go read the bible.

Out of water

Problem is… when I go more than a day or two without spending some time in the word, without being alone with God. I start to wilt… like a plant that goes a bit too long in the sun without being watered. I’m still there, kind of green on the outside, but weak and droopy. If I don’t re-immerse myself in the living water of God’s word I start to get dry and brittle. Irritable, short-tempered, inflexible.

Photo by: Andrey Armyagov

Joshua reminds us… don’t let this word of God depart from us, it should be all around us, in us… until we learn to abide. I’m learning that spending time with God is not only a dedicated time each day, but a constant re-focusing of my mind and heart throughout the day. To remember the bible verse  that encouraged me somehow in my last reading, to hang onto the key thought my pastor shared on sunday that I know was just for me… this effort of the mind to reconnect with Him all through my day is as legit a time with God as much as breaking out a thick journal and study bible on the kitchen table.

So, today on my way to work.. Instead of a Fox news broadcast with the latest in political scuttlebut…I tuned in a Christian radio station and listened as Chuck Swindoll encouraged me to never compromise… I took the extra 3 minutes to read my e-bible.com verse out of my email in-box and shared it online. When I get home tonight, I will take 15-20 minutes somewhere before I fall asleep to read the word, Not because I “should”, or “have to”, but because without it, I can’t survive…

Psalm 1:1-3

(ESV) “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers…”

I’m not able to negotiate anymore with my personal time and God time, I‘m going to make every effort to blend them into one. I don’t think we were ever meant to live outside of His presence, that’s why it’s so hard for me / us to segregate our faith during the day and then try to re-engage with God later. It’s not natural… and its way to hard to try to raise our kids well, stay in a healthy marriage and struggle to make a difference in the world we live in… all on our own. So let’s not.

Peace and Grace,

brad.