30/30: Regret. Worry. Live This Moment

31 12 2009

One of my 2009 learnings came this past summer during an Epic Day Away with Jesus at the Rochester Park. That morning I had two thoughts running through my mind: Regret and Worry. I had been dealing with regret over some decisions I had made in the past and at the same time I was worrying about what the future holds.

I sat down to pray on the shore of the river that runs through the park. It was a great spot right at where the water bends around the corner. As I reflected, I was wondering what was around the bend in both directions. Where did this river begin and where did it end? I could see neither. The only part of the river I could only see was this little bend right in front of me.

As I kept praying, it was like God was saying, “Tim, this is exactly like your life. You can’t see this whole river. You are spending your life regretting mistakes in the past. You are spending your time worrying about things in the future which haven’t been yet. You can’t go back to the past and you can’t see into the future, but you’ve got a clear view of this little stretch of river in front of you. That is the only thing you can see and the only things I am revealing to you. Your regret of the past and your worry about the future is ruining your life in the present. The moment you are living is RIGHT NOW. THIS is the ONLY moment you can live and the only moment you should live. Don’t miss what I’m doing right now!”

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7

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REWIND: 7 Questions to Reflect on 2009

28 12 2009

“IN 2009, WHAT WAS…”

1. …Your best memory?
2. …Your biggest joy?
3. …Your biggest regret?
4. …Your biggest learning?
5. …Your new learning about Christ?
6. …Your best moment with Christ?
7. …The greatest risk you’ve taken for Christ?

BONUS: TWO MORE

8. How has Christ answered prayer in 2009?
9. How has Christ changed you in 2009?

Some people think prayer is reading off a laundry list of things you want God to do for you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Prayer is so much more than sharing your needs with God….it’s an ongoing conversation with Christ about your life. It involves confessing, reflecting and allowing the Almighty into your everyday experiences. So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2





Personal Peace in the Middle of Problems

23 12 2009

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Jesus offers to us peace of heart and mind as a gift, because He knows that peace is something that we all desperately need. He doesn’t say He is going to take away all our difficulties so we can have peace. Life is always going to be a series of problems, but He promises something better: Peace IN the middle of your problems. But what holds us back from experiencing that kind of personal peace? There are four things Christ has been teaching me…

1. Accept What Cannot Be Changed

Acceptance is the key to personal peace. When you are struggling with a situation, do what God gives you the strength to do, but when you hit a wall and there is nothing more that can be done, accept what cannot be changed. Acceptance says “since there are many things that are outside of my control, I am going to put my trust in the One who is in control of everything.” (See SERENITY PRAYER post.)

2. Learn from Christian Mentors
When Mary heard she was going to be mother of Jesus, the first thing she did was to go spend time with Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-40, 56). Over the next three months, Elizabeth, who herself had been through a lot of ups and downs in life, mentored Mary spiritually to become the person God wanted her to be. We all need a Lizzy in our lives to teach us how to live at peace in the middle of problems. If you are struggling with peace, seek out a Christian mentor who you can learn from.

3. Focus on God’s Mercy
Did you ever notice how you can be perfectly content, but one trip to the mall ruins all that. What happened? Your focus changed. Instead of focusing on what you have, you begin to focus on what you don’t. If you are struggling with peace, focus on the things that God HAS done for you. Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. Philippians 4:6-7

4.Lean on God’s Faithfulness
A number of years ago, Jesse Ventura (formerly “the body” and governor of Minnesota) stated “Christianity is a crutch for weak people.” He was so wrong. Christianity is not a crutch for weak people; Christianity is more like a wheelchair for disabled people. We’re all disabled with sin and struggles. And relying on our own strength and faithfulness, will alway lead to more anxiety and more stress. If you are struggling with peace, stop trying to do life on your own and lean on the One who has always been faithful to you.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; 
 His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24





Serenity Prayer

23 12 2009

Last Sunday I mentioned this prayer from Reihold Neibor. Many people know the first couple lines, but few know the ending. For those of us who are on the path to peace, I believe the ending is where all the power is and makes all the difference in the world:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time. Enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is not as I would have it. Trusting that You, God, will make all things right if I surrender to Your will. So that I may be reasonably happy in this life…And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.





New Series@Epic: rEVOLution

22 12 2009

Jesus has always been a threat to the established order of things. You must die to live. You must lose to gain. Weakness is strength. Abandon yourself. Love those who persecute you. Pray for those who hate you. No one who ever walked the earth ever spoke like him, lived like him, loved like him. If you follow Jesus, you follow the most radical man who ever existed.

The revolution of Jesus isn’t for the faint of heart or the middle-of-the-road. It isn’t safe. It isn’t comfortable. It costs us a great deal to say yes. Will we choose to follow a safe Jesus of suburbia – who exists to provide us with health, wealth, comfort, and happiness? Or will we press on to find the Jesus of Nazareth, the most dangerous and radical man to ever walk the face of the earth?

This is the love revolution.

a revolutionary love – Jan 3
Jesus the activist – Jan 10
loving people warts and all – Jan 17
love speaks the truth – Jan 24
love takes a knee – Jan 31





Book Review: Primal by Mark Batterson

21 12 2009

“Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity” by Mark Batterson, RandomHouse.com

I started reading Primal thinking it was going to as refreshing as drinking out of a garden hose as a kid, but I underestimated Batterson. It was more like drinking out of a FIRE HOSE!

Mark Batterson, the Lead Pastor of National Community Church, took me back to the core of what it means to follow Christ. Through thought-provoking and practical insights, we’re challenged to strip away everything else, so we can get back to the primal roots and faith of Christianity…”Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” Christianity in its simplest and purest form: Primal compassion (heart:); Primal wonder (soul); Primal curiosity (mind); Primal power (strength). With two chapters designated to each of the four aspects of loving God, He peals back the layers of the lost soul of Christianity. But even more importantly, the words peeled back the layers the lost soul of MY Christianity.

Some writers engage your mind, but never seem to engage your heart. Some writers engage your heart, but never seem to engage your mind. Batterson is one of the few Christian writers today who engage BOTH intellectually and personally. He has the uncanny ability to take scientific, historic and cultural events and connect them to biblical insights in way that transforms how you look at life and faith. On each page, I walked away with a deeper awe for who God is, a deeper sense of wonder about what He’s doing AND practical ways to rediscover the core of my faith.

It’s a quick read, but the words and insights will linger with you for a long time. To be honest, I’m still processing. My soul hasn’t yet caught up to the new spiritual insights. If you’re looking for a book about Christianity, Primal is not for you. But if you want a great read that will transform the way that you approach your spiritual life in 2010, climb down the stairs of Primal…

Your life may never be the same. Mine isn’t.

“And the quest for the lost soul often begins when we get to the end of ourselves. But that is where life really begins” (Primal, p. 166)





How He Loves Us

17 12 2009

I was youtubing for the David Crowder Version of “How He Loves Us” and came across the Jesus Culture version. SIMPLY, SIMPLY AMAZING!