Tag Archive: saying “no”


Been-There-Done-Thatwhen new things are presented one of the first things our brains want to try and answer is this; “have i seen this before?”  our brains are categorizing machines.  neatly organized files of experiences, emotions, things done & places been.  so when something new comes on the scene & we have the option to enter/engage our brain immediately tries to make sense of it with little to no information.   such a dangerous practice…

we are, by the nature of our current culture, highly impatient people.  we feel like we have to decide right now if we’re moving forward to going to retreat into what we know & have seen before.

in the midst of this there’s a lie that we want to believe…

“do what’s familiar”

after all, the familiar is…well, familiar.  “i know how to handle stuff that i’ve already seen.  i know what to expect & how to react.”  the new is unknown & it might just be a lot of work.

as we talk about reshaping church & the expectations that exist within church; and realizing that we’re reshaping the culture of church, we know that there aren’t just one or two things that need to be addressed; there’s a truck-load of things & expectations that need to be dealt with.  and quite honestly that’s hard work.  there’s a lot of self-examination that must take place, a lot of questions that need to be asked & honesty that must be employed.

if we realize that Christ comes to offer us something that we cannot attain on our own & do something that we’ve never seen before [and that’s a big IF]; then we stand a chance in seeing something that we’ve never seen before, to be a part of a move of God’s people like we’ve never witnessed in our life-times.

Jesus says in john 10:10 [msgB]

 "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

hmm, “more and better life…”

yea, what if we just said “no” to the familiar, & decided to embrace what Jesus comes to offer; a different kind of life.  a life that’s difficult…but then again, life in general is difficult.  so instead of choosing the familiar & easy path what would happen to your life & mine if we chose a path with Christ that seemed harder but would lead to a more full life?

recently a friend was telling me about a conversation they were having with a family member.  it revolved around their connection to a little church that didn’t have the best programs, especially for kids; but they were working on it.  and it was said, “i just wish that part was a little better, then we’re in.”

and the response was, “well, sometimes it takes the commitment of some parents to say we’re here to get this thing off the ground & make it great.”  since that conversation those parents have decided to fully engage in that little church.

i think sometimes we want to walk into a setting that’s already hummin’ & it’s just the best thing; and you’re surrounded by people that are just like you & it’s not uncomfortable at all.  and the truth is that’s pretty great when it meets your needs right now, where you stand.  but i think there are a lot more times when Jesus calls us to give all we have in places that are difficult & undone.  that “more and better life” part of what Jesus offers is a hard road.  but it still leads to the kind of life that has Jesus at the forefront.

the fallow ground

so last week i just finished teaching on some of the dominant metaphors in the bible.  we talked about 4 pictures; sheep, the harvest, milk & honey & the last piece was the vineyard.

within that final chapter of the series there was something powerful that occurred to me, something that i haven’t been able to get away from this week; and that was the part about fallow ground.  that is, ground that hasn’t been planted for a season, giving it time to rest.

when the ground has been able to rest it experiences a sort of rejuvenation, nutrients are able to recover & the health of the next planting is that much greater.

wow, does that speak to me!

this fall has been a series of races from one thing/place/event to another.  with kids involved in sports & extra-curricula’rs it can be hard to make space to rest & be still; and yet that’s exactly what is needed.

when i find myself with little-to-no down time everything suffers.  sure, i may be able to accomplish a lot & be in many places, but the quality of those “things done” suffers.  so it becomes important to say “no” to the right things.  this quickly becomes an issue of self-discipline & an awareness of life to gauge the things that are most important.

it’s also about realizing that life is lived in seasons…

i know right now, as i have one in high school & one nearing jr.high, that my time needs to be spent investing in their lives.  meaning they get the best of my attention & time.  that means some days are long & many miles are logged.  and if you’ve already been through this stage of life you’ve experiences the phrase “you can rest when you’re dead!”   it truly feels that way some days.

what i think i’m realizing is that within this “seasonal living” approach is that there are some things in my life

[things i would choose to do with my saturday]

& in ministry life

[things i want to see happen within the church that i need to lead]

may have to wait…wait for a change of season.

if i’ve learned anything in my years of parenting it’s that the kids don’t say little for long.   their seasons keep changing too.

so in  the midst of my ever changing seasons as a father & pastor & the busyness of a packed schedule it’s easy to forget about times to rest & be still.  even it that just means insisting on closing the curtains & shutting off the phone for a few hours, being still & let God speak to us in the absence of sound & busyness.