Periodically through my life I’ve tried giving things up for Lent and have almost always failed. In the past it’s been sweets, chocolate, cookies… you get the picture.
Over the course of the last couple of years I’ve been living more healthy than in the past and haven’t been able to come up with things I want to give up. Instead of giving things up I’ve taken on new disciplines: intentional reading of scripture, time in prayer, exercise. Though I don’t do all of those things as regularly as I’d like, I’m doing pretty well for the most part.
So, what to do for Lent 2009? Heather and I have talked about it some over the last couple of days and decided that we’d give up TV for Lent. Yes, all TV. When we first started talking about the idea I thought, I don’t really watch a ton of TV, I just watch a couple of shows every week, and college basketball, and the news and Today Show every morning, and the news and Letterman every night… As I reflected on it, it hit me. I might not sit down to watch a great deal of TV, but it is on in our house – a lot.
My hopes for this Lent are many:
- That not having the TV on in the mornings will allow me a greater opportunity to focus on my prayers and to centering myself in God as I start my day.
- That not having the TV on in the evenings will allow for more time to connect with Heather and Hannah.
- That not watching shows each week will free up more time to do other things, like reconnect with old friends.
Some definitions/rules on which we’ve settled:
- We won’t watch anything on our television sets for the duration of Lent (with some possible Sunday exceptions)
- We won’t watch online anything that first aired on television that we would have normally watched either on TV or the computer.
- We will allow ourselves to go to see a movie or movies if invited by friends, but won’t rent or watch DVDs at home.
- When it comes to college basketball we’ll follow the Jayhawks via the radio. Come tournament time we can listen to audio on the web, but won’t watch games on TV or web.
I am hopeful that this Lent will provide me with ample opportunity to pause, to connect with God, and to reflect on the significance of the season. I pray that you have a blessed Lent as well.
I helped lead worship this morning in Resurrection’s traditional services. It was a pre-Lent service of sorts as we talked about Jesus turning his head to Jerusalem. I am excited for Lent and think it will be a great several weeks of worship.
The transition to prayer and prayer I used this morning are included for your perusal…
This morning we come to God for a time of prayer thinking about Jesus and the journey that he made to Jerusalem during what we now call Holy Week. As we worship together during this season of Lent we’ll be remembering the journey that Jesus made, but more importantly we’re invited to take a journey of our own. As we follow Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, it is our hope that we might all be journeying closer to the heart of God. And so this morning, we begin that journey with prayer. I’d invite you to join me in an attitude of prayer.
<Pause for Centering…>
We are so grateful, loving God, that you walk with us each and every day of our lives. We know that you have called us into relationship with you so that as we journey through this life we might better come to know you, to love you, and to serve you. Yet we confess today that we have often fallen short of who and what you would have us be. So often we get wrapped up in our own wants and desires and we begin to take our loved ones for granted. So often we get wrapped up in trying to be good enough and to do the right things that we take your grace and your mercy for granted. So often we get wrapped up in the craziness and business of our lives and we begin to take You for granted. Forgive us God, for all of those things that we let stand in the way of more fully knowing you as we confess them to you now in silence…
<Pause for Silence>
Help us, loving God, to remember and to treasure those things that are truly important as we move through our days. As we seek to more closely follow Christ in these coming days and weeks, we hope and pray that we might be challenged and inspired to dedicate ourselves as fully to our calling as he did to his. We pray this, and all things, in the name of Jesus who taught his disciples to pray…
One of the tools we used at NCLI last week was the DISC Personality Inventory. I had done the Meyers-Briggs inventory in the past, but found the DISC to be particularly interesting. It was explained that Myers-Briggs is a test of who we are and how we function when we’re on our own or alone, but that DISC helps explain who we are as we work in teams and relate to others.
From the above DISC website:
The DISC Profile is a nonjudgmental tool for understanding behavioral types and personality styles. It helps people explore behavior across four primary dimensions:
Dominance: To the point, decisive and bottom line oriented. These people tend to be independent and results driven. They are strong-willed people who enjoy challenges, taking action, and immediate results.
Influence: Optimistic and outgoing. They tend to be highly social and out going. They prefer participating on teams, sharing thoughts, and entertaining and energizing others.
Steadiness: Empathetic & Cooperative. These people tend to be team players and are supportive and helpful to others. They prefer being behind the scene, working in consistent and predictable ways. They are often good listeners and avoid change and conflict
Conscientiousness: Concerned, Cautious & Correct. These people are often focused on details and quality. They plan ahead, constantly check for accuracy, and what to know “how” and “why”.
I am an I-S. Depending on how strongly you score in each of these areas the inventory then assigns you an additional level personality type. I am a colleague. Have you taken the DISC? What did it tell you about yourself?
After Easter we’re going to offer a fun three week worship series on parenting at Resurrection. I’m attending a Worship Design Team retreat tomorrow morning where we’ll be spending some in depth time developing themes for the series. This is where you can help.
- What are resources for parenting that you’d recommend?
- What is an invaluable piece of advice you’ve received regarding parenting?
- What is something you wished you’d known as a parent of a child? Of a teen?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.
I had a great time at NCLI last week and felt blessed by time with great presenters and wonderful friends and colleagues. NCLI runs as a two week program and while most people start in the spring and conclude in the fall you are welcome to start either time. I began last October and had a good experience, but in hindsight I would recommend that people begin with the spring session. There was some content that helped provide important groundwork to the conversation. While I got a great deal out of the October session, I think I would have received even more had I been through the spring session first.
That said, I’m not in the midst of some paperwork and final processing for the Kansas East Conference. Each person that Kansas East sends to NCLI goes through an assesment process and interview within the conference to determine if that person might be a good potential church planter. I’ll hopefully finish up paperwork and inventories by the end of the day today and should know more about an interview in the coming weeks.
I got my new Wesley Study Bible in the mail last Friday and I’m loving it! It as a great list of contributors and some wonderful features like:
- Comprehensive study notes on NRSV text by over 50 biblical scholars
- Accessibly written life application and inspiration by over 50 key pastors
- Easy-to-understand explanations of core terms by over 60 Wesley experts, including: eternal life, forgiveness, grace, heaven, holiness, justice, and mission
- Extended reference to works by John Wesley
- 19 pages of full-color maps; cross references; and summary of each biblical book
I look forward to using this great resource for years to come!
This week I’m headed back to Mt. Sequoyah for my second week at the New Church Leadership Institute. I attended a session in the fall and had a great time, but while there learned that it was officially the second of two (even though myself and several others were there for the first time). I’m a linear thinker and so it was a bit odd to me that there wasn’t really a sequence and you could start on either, but it ended up being a great week. I’m looking forward to several things this week:
further discerning whether or not I might be called to be involved with a new church start or a multi-site ministry
spending some time with some of my great colleagues from Resurrection
reconnecting with others from the October session of NCLI
sharing stories with others from around the country who are interested in new church starts
I will miss Heather and Hannah a great deal while I’m gone (it’ll be my first substantial amount of time away from Hannah since she was born), but am looking forward to it nonetheless. Internet was spotting when I was there in October so I don’t plan to blog a lot, but you can follow me through the week on twitter.
The official process through which people join Resurrection is an event called Coffee with the Pastors. At these events Adam tells the story of the church as well as his own faith journey and story. This week Resurrection hosted a series of events called Dinner with your Pastor. We thought these events would be a good opportunity for people to gather together with other members of their Pastorate and to hear a bit about their pastor’s faith journey and story.
On Wednesday evening roughly 95 people from the D-I Pastorate joined Heather and Hannah and I for a good old fashioned potluck dinner and we had a great time. I look forward to being a part of more of these events that bring a small church feel to Resurrection. If you were present on Wednesday, thanks for coming! If you weren’t able to come, I hope you’ll sign up the next time we hold these events.
Adam Hamilton, Resurrection’s Senior Pastor, has recently written a book called “Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.”
Over the last couple of years I have become more intentional about maintaining and living within a budget and have come to appreciate the call to live more simply. I look forward to picking up a copy of this book and giving it a read and based on what I’ve heard Adam preach about these topics, I would commend this to you as well.
This last weekend we addressed the controversial and tough topic of homosexuality in worship here at Resurrection. About five years ago now Adam preached a sermon on the topic following which hundreds of people left the church. I can imagine he felt some anxiety about broaching the topic again, but he did as 92% of young adults surveyed by Barna described the Church as anti-gay.
It was a thoughtful and inspiring sermon and can be viewed online. I’d encourage you to take some time to give it a watch.