(057) Lent- To Suffer is Divine

This quote from Ken Gire's "The Reflective Life" looks at what we looked at this weekend as we began the Lent series through the book of Hebrews.

"I want to be like Christ. But honestly, I want to be like the Christ who turned the water into wine, not the Christ who thirsted on a cross. I want to be the clothed Christ, not the One whose garment was stripped off and gambled away. I want to be the Christ who fed the five thousand, not the One who hungered for forty days in the wilderness. I want to be the free Christ, walking through wheat fields with his disciples, not the imprisoned Christ, who was deserted by them.I want to be the good Samaritan, not the man who fell among thieves. But if the man had not fallen among thieves and been beaten, stripped, and left for dead, the good in the Samaritan never would have emerged.

If we want to be like Christ, we have to embrace both sides of his life. What else could the Bible mean when it talks about “the fellowship of his sufferings”? How could we enter that fellowship apart from suffering? How could we truly know the man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief if we had not ourselves known grief and sorrow? That is how Christ grows in us. It is also the way many people come to Christ. For some people, it is the only way. And perhaps that explains, at least partially, why bad things sometimes happen to good people.

For the sake of those around them. That they might come to Christ. That Christ might come to them, to live in them.

So that once again a Savior can be born into the world."

(O55) Further Together- Boundaries Part 2

The purpose of an external rule (boundary) fulfills its purpose when it moves to an internal value. It moves from being a specific rule to a universal deeper truth. The commands such as “Keep the Sabbath Holy,” are like training wheels to help us learn balance but eventual points us to a larger truth. The larger truth of that “boundary” is to see that every day is sacred and so are we. We are not beasts of burden who work constantly. Former slaves needed this law to remember who they were in a tangible rhythm so it would get in their souls. This is the journey and destination of a good boundary.

Some people are natural rule followers and some tend to want to break them. This view of boundaries can help both groups change their relationship with rules. Where do you find yourself on this spectrum?

Was there a rule you needed when you were younger that you no longer need? Can you think of an internal value that guides you now that started as a rule? Did you outgrow it or did it point to a larger truth that you now embody so the rule is irrelevant?

The purpose of a boundary is the same as a river bank. The banks of the river provide a boundary that allow the river to get to it’s destination. If the river banks erode or wasn’t there the land would flood. Is there any area of your life that feels “flooded” that need some boundaries? Any next steps you can take?

Some of us can’t build our own boundaries and need help. Where we don’t have an internal value we need external boundaries. If our finances are a wreck we need a budget to clearly define how we use money. If we have unhealthy eating habits we need clear boundaries around our food choices. Is there any flooded area of life that you know you need outside help with in setting boundaries because you are stuck? Who can help you create that boundary? What do you need to do there?

(054) Further Together- Boundaries Part 1

Scripture often talks about how we need to be more open to the other but it takes wisdom to know what level of access to give and to whom. We often give the wrong voices too much say over our internal world and the right voices less credibility. We all have caverns in our souls from words spoken over us and when we were younger and had no say about those influences. As we grow we must learn to develop healthy boundaries in giving (and sharing) access to our depths in order to become who we need to be and do what we are called to do.

Some influences in your life cannot be helped. Often we don’t choose some of the people we work with, have as neighbors, or are related too. If we cannot put a boundary on our time with these people, are there ways to put boundaries around the depth to which they can influence us?

Some boundaries in relationship are internal. Some are so dangerous we have to take extra steps to create very practical eternal boundaries? Feel free to share or ask for thoughts from others if you feel there is a situation in your life that might require such action.

Boundaries help us engage as our truest self and focus our life’s work. Is there anything currently taking your time and energy in an unhealthy way?

Is there anything that was spoken over your identity as a child that you know wasn’t true but still clings to you? Have you developed boundaries that limits that voice from being reinforced?

Take a moment of meditation and ask God, “Is there a boundary I need to put in place now to fulfill who I’m called to be?” Or, “Have I put up a barrier to out of fear or pain that is limiting my growth?

I Will Be Still- Psalm 46 Song

A couple weeks ago we had a sermon from Psalm 46 and at the end everyone wrote down what they needed to bring before God on note cards. At the time I improvised a song based on those cards but I was so moved by what people wrote and their vulnerability that I decided to spend more time with the cards and write a song to summarize what people wrote. I wanted to give you the song so here it is. This weekend we will hand out CDs with this song on it as well as Psalm 46 sung by Brian O'Cock.

Much love, 

Jim Zartman

I Will Be Still

I will be still and know
You are God
I will be still and know
There is none like you

You know my chaos
My highs and lows
You know the burdens
I fear the most
So I will look to you
I will look to you  

When fear is driving
When hope wears thin
The water rises
And shame soaks in
I will look to you
I will look to you

There is a river of life
There is a source of peace
There is a calm for my soul                 
Where I can rest in the
Stillness of the God who’s with me
The stillness of the God who’s with me