Catalyst: The Starving Baker

4 01 2008

starving-baker.jpgIMAGE: This principle reminds us of a common occupational hazard of ministry. It’s the baker who spends so much time baking bread for others, he forgets to eat himself. For them, program development comes before personal development. Wrong. Leaders must feed themselves for personal growth-before they feed others.
VERSE: Ecclesiastes 10:10

LEARNING: I’m hungry. It’s ironic that I’m sitting in Potbelly when I opened this week’s lesson. I hadn’t looked ahead and of all things it’s a message about food. So excuse me if I wipe the mustard from my mouth as I write about the Starving Baker.

I have always been one who “eats to live” and not “lives to eat.” Which is weird at times when people are talking with excitement about a great new restaurant or a wonderful new dish. I can’t relate. The old phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” doesn’t apply to me at all. Which is good news for Kathy who doesn’t really love to cook.

Those two phrases about eating really hit me today about our relationship with Christ and feeding ourselves before feeding others. As followers of Christ we “live to eat” and we “eat to live.”

  • “Live to eat” The primary reason we are alive is get to know Christ better. If I am looking for anything in this life to satisfy the hunger that can only be filled by Christ, I will go hungry.
  • “Eat to live” If I am not feeding on God, I am not really living. At best I’m surviving. At worst, I’m spiritually dead. I’ve lived as the starving baker and it’s not pretty.

What is your personal plan for intellectual and spiritual growth? We can’t survive on a supersized meal once a week or worse yet once a month. We need daily nourishment from God. We need a plan! Get serious. RATE YOURSELF on Page 7 and spend some time working specifically on your plan. Here’s my plan in a nutshell for 2008…

  1. Prayer – Daily in the morning (I’m a shower prayer person– I know that’s TMI, but you need to get a specific place and time where you can meet Jesus each day)
  2. Scripture – Weekly 7 chapters a week (I am going to start with the Acts CDs available this week. I will follow it up with the reading of Nehemiah in February)
  3. Worship – Monthly download a new worship CD (I am a worship person, so this really connects with my soul and helps me put into words what I’m thinking).
  4. Meditation/Journaling – Weekly. The blog is kind of like a prayer journal for me. I’ve been using the Habitudes image and let is consume my thought life each week.
  5. Community – Weekly accountability with Scott.

Everybody ends up somewhere, but few end up somewhere on purpose. Leaders, spend some time on the front end “sharpening the axe” and share your 2008 plan.

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4 responses

6 01 2008
Denise Hillbom

I find the business of life can sometimes take me out of my routine. As we are coming out of the season of extra shopping, social events and visitors, I find my ax a little dull and my spiritual body malnourished. This is not a good state for your Spiritual Growth Director. When I find myself in this place all I have to do is turn my focus back to Christ and He is always there waiting for me.

This is Sunday afternoon and I am feeling cleansed from communion this morning and also very motivated after hearing Tim’s sermon on Acts 2. I am so ready to crash into 2008. It will be very exciting to see how God is going to move in all of us as we listen to the book of Acts together.

Looking ahead, I am commintting to sharpen my ax and fill up in the following areas:
1. Devotion–Listen to and read through the book of Acts.
2. Prayer–I am going to seek more guidance from the Holy Spirit as I pray, instead of giving God a list of what I think he should do.
3. Simplicity–On the days I do give God my top priority, it is usually very efficient and uncluttered. I will get up a little earlier to start my day with Him.
4. Journaling–I am challanged in this area. I am going to journal verses that speak to me, things I discover about Christ, and everything I hear Him say as we listen to Acts.
5. Worship–I have found scripture set to song. this helps me memorize as I worship. I have been waking up singing the scripture in my mind.
6. Fasting–Another challaging area for me. I am Italian and I “live to eat”. I will try to go with very little until I can make it all day with nothing but Christ every Monday.
7. Community– I am trying to meet indiviually wiith every person on my Spiritual Growth Team and also with the gals in my Fusion Group.

Look out 2008, here comes Epic Church sharp and full of Christ!

9 01 2008
Amy Hoekstra

I want to thank everyone because in these past few weeks I’ve been a lot better about developing my spiritual disciplines. Just having this group of people to keep me accountable, talk with, and share goals with has really helped me and my relationship with God. Also, I have to say my bracelet from Sunday is a continual reminder to turn off the tv and spend time with God (thanks Tim). I am excited about taking time to feed myself and fulfilling these goals throughout the year.

Prayer – My goal is to pray daily throughout my day and also for an extended period of time at least once.

Scripture – One of my problems is that I will start a devotion book or a specific plan for reading scripture and will quit half way through. For now my goal is to continue listening to the Acts CD’s and finish the Dan Webster bible study. I will do this by spending time alone with Jesus every day.

Worship – Spend more time listening to Christian CDs instead of the radio

Meditation/Journaling – This one is easy becuase when I get alone with Jesus this is the thing I like to do most. My goal is just to take time to do this at least 3 times a week.

Community – My goal is to develop some strong Christian relationships. I haven’t had close Christian friends in a long time and pray that God will help me find some Christian women that I can confide in.

11 01 2008
Kim

This topic has been one that has had hold on my heart for many months now, God has made me feel deeply about the way we sometimes, for all the right reasons, because we love God and want to serve him, ignore our own soul calling out to be feed. We cannot lead others to Christ unless we are full of His light. We get full of his light when we sit in his presence (kind of like solar power?). God has been speaking to me about being still and silent, but I have to admit, this is hard for me. I have no problem reading God’s Word, or my devotionals or my other spiritual transformation “guides” but for me to just sit still and be with God, that is something that I am very challenged by. It is my major goal for 2008, to just BE with God, without expectations, to just open myself up so that he can do what HE wants to do in my soul, to fill it and transform it. My reading time does a lot to keep me feeling connected to God, as does my prayer time and the precious little time I spend in community with my Epic family, so I know I’m not starving, but I feel God pulling me into the idea of contemplation, solitude and silence so that I can hear, free from the distractions of life, how He wants to lead me.

18 01 2008
Brandon

Obviously, from the tardiness of this reply I’m not putting even close to enough focus on my spirtual growth. With that said, I do feel encouraged that I have come a long way from where I was years ago, and that I have a group of encouraging friends like you guys to help me along the way. A constant struggle for me is that I put so much effort into the many family, friend, and business relationships that I have – and then if there’s time, spend time with God. Here are some of the goals that I’ve set for myself to turn this upside down and put strengthening my relationship with God at the top of my list:

PRAYER/ACCOUNTABILITY – At a minimum every morning before I leave for work. I would also like to try and get away for short periods throughout the day. Danielle and I have been making it a habit to hold each other accountable each night before we go to bed.

SCRIPTURE – I have gone through once, and am continuing to listen to the New Testament on CD. I’m currently listening to Acts again.

WORSHIP – I wiped out my iPod shuffle and put nothing but high energy Christian music on it. I listen to it everytime that I work out, and what a difference it’s made in inspiration for me.

COMMUNITY – Diving deeper into God’s word is one goal that our small group has set. I also, would like to develop stronger friendships with other Christians.

REFLECTION TIME – Once a week I want to get away from everything and just spend time thanking God for everything that I have been given in life and being open to where he’ll lead me in the weeks, months, and years to come.

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