focusing on obedience to God

Category : God, Jesus, bible, faith, taking action

Things are rushing these days.  I’m trying to juggle a new job, volunteering opportunities at my local church, writing opportunities (both for R3 and a book I’m working on), and most importantly a wedding.  Yes, that’s right; I got engaged over the holidays.

Which brings me to obedience.

Because so much is going on I need to streamline my life.  I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions.  But I wanted to try something new.  (Although I’m still not doing a New Year’s Resolution!)  I think God has a lot of things he’d like me accomplish, and to do that, I need to be organized.

So I’ve decided to identify four words that will define my 2010.  The first three revolve around productivity / work / scheduling / time.  But the fourth one, the most important one, is all about faith.

And, in case you haven’t guessed already, that word is obedience.

I want 2010 to be fully focused on God.  I want to be obedient in an intentional way I haven’t been before.  Sure I’ve been thinking about this word for a while now.  As you can see from the R3 post called the miracle of obedience.  I’ve even given talks focusing on what it means to be obedient.  But I’ve never tried to fully live it out, consistently, in all things.

That’s scary just saying that out loud!  Truth be told, I like my rebellion.  But all things must come to an end.

Which brings us to Mary…

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.  Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

This is the only time in the entire Bible Mary gives a command.  (thanks to Erwin McManus for pointing that out).  Locally she’s speaking to the servants at the party.  But it applies directly to us too.   As I wrote a few days ago, the servants didn’t question what Jesus was doing (something that surely was crazy), they just did it.  They filled up giant containers of water that must have weighed hundreds of pounds (which was a lot of work without forklifts or running water.)

Through their obedience Jesus performed his first miracle.

Which makes me wonder, what miracles will he perform through my obedience?  What about yours?

wants & needs

Category : God, faith


It’s funny how quickly wants turn into needs.  Not because their value becomes greater.  Or that your want becomes more important.  But because you convince yourself that your want really should be a need.

With all the writing projects I have been doing, including my newest venture, Meaning to Work, I have a lot of stuff happening.  But this work isn’t all my own projects.  A good portion of it is through volunteer positions, including teaching a class at a local church while also writing a year long mentoring program for people in poverty.

As the old saying goes, there are only so many hours in the day.  Which means the more writing I have the more organized I must become.  That’s just a basic law of productivity.

Because of all this writing, I’ve been thinking I need a new desk to work on.  The one I have is from college.  It was small then, and it’s smaller today.  Or maybe it just feels smaller.  Either way it just doesn’t really cut it in the productivity department.  So I’ve been dreaming of getting a nice big desk with drawers and places to stack my work.

This dream is not helped by my frequent visits to Ikea.

As I think about this new desk, I keep telling myself how it would improve my productivity.  How, really, if I get this desk I will be a better writer than I am now.  (I suspect some of you are taking up a cash donation now).  Ever so slowly I have convinced myself that the only way to become more productive is to have a new desk.

That’s when it struck me – I have turned a want into a need.  And I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

Wanting a new desk isn’t wrong.   Improved desk space is a nice thing.  Better productivity is wonderful.  The problem is a new desk is a want, not a need.  How do I know this?  Because Paul wrote many letters from prison.  He wrote much of the New Testament that way.  I’m sure Paul would have loved a nice desk, Microsoft Word, and a comfy chair.  But that’s not what he had.  Yet he accomplished a lot, with a lot less.

It’s a bit scary how easy it is to slide from a want into a need.  It’s often so subtle that we don’t even notice.  So what, in your life do you think you need, but in reality it’s only a want?

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