Michael Kelley's Blog, page 6

May 31, 2017

Here are a few links to some things you might have missed, or at least ones that caught my attention this past week:

1. Every Good Church is Messy

It’s been this way since the New Testament, and though it’s not easy, messy church is actually for our good.

2. A Tale of Two Men with ALS

This is a devastating disease, and yet these two men are living with it in very different ways.

3. How Pixar Lost Its Way

I’m a huge Pixar fan. Though admittedly not as much as I used to be. Story is everything.

4.Watching Your Spiritual Diet

Growth and health is all about what you eat – both physically and spiritually.

5. How Fidget Spinners Became This Generation’s Hula Hoop

There are some of these at our house. Probably yours, too. Here’s the history.

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Published on May 31, 2017 03:57 • 2 views

May 30, 2017

“Culture” is the environment in which you live. It’s around us, within us, and formed by us. It is the unspoken rules of behavior that guide the processes of the world at large. Your home has a culture. Your workplace has a culture. And society at large has a culture.

In terms of that society at large, then, if you had to sum up that culture in which we are living in one word, what one word would you choose?

You could make a case for “consumerism.” We are certainly a people who want everything our way, right away, and those who cry foul when it doesn’t happen. You could also choose the word “sex” because sex sells. And apparently it sells everything everywhere. Or maybe you would choose “distracted.” I get that one, too, because there seems to be a lesser and lesser amount of focus happening in our lives, families, and even work as time goes on.

But here’s another option to describe our societal culture in one word: “Revenge.”

You see it everywhere. You see political groups taking aim at one another in retribution for this thing or that. You see people taking their revenge on social media through their reviews and critiques. You see grudges being held from top to bottom, and then all of us looking for ways to give someone else what we perceive is coming to them. We are, I think, people of vengeance.

But Christians? Christians are meant to live above the culture. This is part of what it means to be salt and light – that we are those who, though we live in the midst of a culture, influence that culture rather than being influenced by it. To add another analogy, we are the M&M’s in the trail mix. We live inside the mix of everything else, but everything else starts to have a hint of chocolate.

This is particularly true when it comes to a revenge driven culture. For because Christians are meant to live above the culture in general, we must also be committed to rise above the level of vengeance.

“Sure thing,” you might say. “I’ve got no problems with that. I’m not plotting in my evil lair to wreak havoc on anyone’s life.” Well I’m not either, and yet the spirit of vengeance still lurks within my heart. I know it’s there when I read tweets and Facebook updates from people and pick them apart knowing their lives can’t be as good as they purport them to be. I know it’s there because I take the smallest level of delight in seeing something unfortunate happen to someone else. I know it’s there when I don’t receive the service I think I deserve and look for a way to lash out. I know it’s there when I do something kind or generous for another and then hold a subtle and internal sense of superiority over them expecting them to pay me back in some way.

All of these things show me the vengeance in myself. Maybe you resonate with that as well.

This is different than a sense of justice, for justice is focused on what is good and true and right. Vengeance is about me. What I deserved and didn’t get. And then making someone feel a similar amount of pain that I myself have felt.

So how does the Christian live above a culture of vengeance?

It begins with recognizing that I, myself, am not able to dispense true justice and therefore any attempt at revenge is always flawed. I don’t know who really deserves what because I don’t know the depths of my own heart and sin much less anyone else’s. So I live above vengeance first of all by recognizing my own inability to discern and execute true justice. But then I must also recognize that God alone is the One who can actually execute justice. This is why Paul would tell us so clearly:

“Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Do not take matters into your own hands. It’s not that there’s not justice to be served; there very well might be. But it’s not for you or I to administer it because we aren’t capable of doing so in a true and good and noble way. This belongs to the Lord.

For us? Well, our job is to recognize first and foremost that we, too, ought to have justice dispensed against us. And when we grasp the immensity of how grievous our own offenses are perhaps it takes some of the fire out of our own desire for revenge.

It is by faith, then, that we live above a culture of revenge. For by faith we believe that the Lord will do His job, and we don’t have to do it for Him.

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Published on May 30, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 29, 2017

Memorial Day is about remembering. Formerly known as Decoration Day, the unofficial holiday originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service.

One the one hand, you would think that “remembering,” especially remembering those who have fought and died to secure the freedom you and I live with everyday, would be the most natural thing in the world. That is to say, given the importance of what we are remembering, you could make the argument that we shouldn’t need a holiday for commemoration. But we are a fickle and forgetful people. What should be humble appreciation so easily passes into arrogant assumption. We need a holiday; we need something official or we will forget. It’s true for our national freedom, and it’s true for our freedom in Christ as well.

It’s not a surprise, then, that when we come to the Bible, God doesn’t leave our memory to chance. In fact, in one version of Scripture, the word “remember” appears over 200 times in Scripture. Sometimes it’s a plea from a person to God – it’s a prayer for the Almighty to remember His promises, His great love, His covenant. Other times, it’s a command straight from God to His people. For example:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

“Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God in the wilderness. You have been rebelling against the Lord from the day you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place” (Deuteronomy 9:7).

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you” (Revelation 3:3).

Why are we commanded as Christians to remember? Many reasons, but here are four:

1. Remembering is active.

Because God knows better than we do how forgetful we are of who He is and what He has done, He commands us to remember. It’s a command as forceful as any other command you find in Scripture. Remembering, then, is an active choice. Without us actively and purposefully choosing to remember, then we will forget. CS Lewis knew this and once remarked, “People need to be reminded more than instructed.” More times than not when we come to Scripture or gather together with the saints, we aren’t there to learn; we are there to remember. There is, after all, nothing new under the sun, but just because it’s not new doesn’t mean it’s at the top of our minds.

2. Remembering makes us aware.

The forgetful person is the person who is unaware. As we go about our daily lives, it’s so easy for us to lapse into a haze of appointments, meetings, and obligations, forgetting entirely that a Sovereign God has put together this day for us. We will, if we don’t fight against it, by default forget that this is His day, that He has made, and He has made it thick with His purpose for our sake and for His glory. When we choose to remember, we are taking an active stance looking for what He is doing that might not be visible at first glance.

3. Remembering gives us hope.

As we look back over the course of our lives, we are able to see in retrospect what we might not have been able to see at a given moment. We can see that no matter what the circumstance, that the Lord really was working for our good, for the development of our faith, and for His glory. When we find ourselves in the midst of difficulty in the present, remembering gives us hope because we are reminded that God has never once abandoned us. He has never once not been for us. We can say along with George Mueller, “If the Lord fails me at this time, it will be the first time.”

4. Remembering brings us perspective.

Whatever is happening in the present occupies our focus. We are drawn in and dominated by the present trial, the present joy, or the present sorrow. But remembering brings us perspective. It reminds us that today is not the only day, just as yesterday was not the only day then. We can, when we remember, breathe in the quietness of heart that allows us to not fly off the handle but instead approach a given day with courage, humility, and thankfulness.

So remember today, Christian. Don’t assume it will happen on its own, but recognize our inherent weakness of memory, and obey the command of God. In the midst of the grills and swimming pools, pause and let your mind and heart go back. Remember, and be lifted up.

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Published on May 29, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 26, 2017

by Rob Tims

“Do you ever just think that this whole Christianity thing is a big misunderstanding?”

This was the very honest question of a loving, God-fearing woman in her 30’s who had served the church pretty much her entire life. Her life circumstances were good: no real trials to speak of, and all the blessings you would expect an educated, middle-class woman to have (house, minivan, kids, etc.). She was simply reflecting on the perceived absurdity of the entire story, from creation to new creation and everything in between.

There is much to doubt—everything we see spoken into existence; human beings living without shame; the story of Abraham and Isaac; the plagues of Egypt; the miracles of Moses; angels; prophecies; pregnant virgins; resurrections … oh, and Jesus riding a white horse when he comes back out of the sky.

She’s not alone. Either all of Christianity is true, or all of it is not. C. S. Lewis’ letter to friend Arthur Greeves regarding this struggle is helpful:

Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all: again, that if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself . . . I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it: again, that the idea of the dying and reviving god (Balder, Adonis, Bacchus) similarly moved me provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels. The reason was that in Pagan stories I was prepared to feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even tho’ I could not say in cold prose ‘what it meant’. Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened.

I’ve found it helpful to remind myself of three core truths when I doubt the validity of my faith … three things that, as Lewis put it, work on me and really are true. They come from Colossians 1:15-23.

First, without exception, He is the reason why anything or anyone exists, and the end for which they exist. Verse 16 states, “For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him.

Second, without exception, everyone and everything is sustained by Him. Verses 17-18 state, “He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.

Finally, and perhaps most winsomely, though Jesus is these things by right, He proved these things through the cross and resurrection. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (vv. 19-20).

So what? What affect do these three things have on a mind mired in doubt? To remind me He is at work in my life, and to keep me faithful through times of doubt. Verses 22-23 explain. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him — if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.

By reminding myself again and again of Jesus’ supremacy and love, I’m drawn to remain faithful to One who lovingly reigns. It’s hardly fashionable to say to the doubting person, “Just tell yourself the truth,” but it is just that simple. The best way to fight doubt is to remind ourselves of what is true.

Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.

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Published on May 26, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 25, 2017

Judgment is lazy.

Consider a scenario with me. You see someone driving a nice car. It is, in fact, considerably nicer than the car you are driving. Perhaps it’s even the specific kind of car that you wish you were driving at that very moment. So what do you do?

Maybe it’s something like this: you immediately presume they are in debt up to their eyeballs. Then you begin to evaluate their entire lives and spending habits, all the while trying to make yourself feel better because your air conditioner doesn’t work, somehow determining that you are of a greater quality than they are precisely because your car is of lesser quality than theirs is. And so it goes.

Now that’s a pretty extended scenario, but it hits home with me. It hits home with me any time I see someone who has something I wish I had, whose kids are behaving or doing something I think my kids should do, or they are receiving some award or recognition that I think I should be receiving. That’s when judgment rears up; that’s when I’m tempted to make a snap evaluation of a person based on a given snapshot I see before me.

What I don’t know is the truth of the situation. Did they win a contest? Have they saved every penny and paid cash for that car? I don’t know, and I’m content not to know. That’s because judgment is, frankly, easy.

It takes no time. It takes no real effort. And it certainly takes no sacrifice. It is based purely on assumption. This is why you could say that judgment, among other things, is a lazy substitute for intimacy. And this is not the way of Jesus. Consider just one example:

In the town of Jericho, there was a certain man known both for his short stature and his greed. Zaccheus was a social pariah, an outcast from his own people. And yet there was a longing desire in him for something more, something else – something so strong that he was willing to scurry up a tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus passing through his town. And how did Jesus respond?

“Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today it is necessary for me to stay at your house” (Luke 19:5).

Notice the divine imperative in this sentence. Jesus didn’t ask if He could come over; He didn’t request some of Zaccheus’ time; instead He said that it was absolutely necessary for Him to be at his house. Predictably, the others of the town responded with judgment:

“All who saw it began to complain, ‘He’s gone to stay with a sinful man'” (Luke 19:7).

They certainly knew a bit about this tax collector, but not one likely knew him. Not really. Certainly not with any degree of intimacy. And so they took the easy road of judgment, while Jesus took the hard road of fellowship. And His ministry is full of examples like this – women of questionable reputation, diseased outcasts, children – all who were judged by the casual bystander, sentenced by those who did not know them.

Real relationships take time and effort and sacrifice. Though the sacrifice might be small, it is indeed a sacrifice to intentionally seek someone out. To ask them questions. To genuinely listen. To hear them, know them, understand them, empathize with them. All of these things are small ways in which we die to ourselves. And when we are dying to ourselves, we find ourselves much slower to judge others.

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Published on May 25, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 24, 2017

Here are a few links to some things you might have missed, or at least ones that caught my attention this past week:

1. For Those Who Are “Over” Church

For some time, churches have been told they need to change in order to appeal to those who are leaving. This article points the target back at those considering leaving the church behind.

2. “I Just Want Her to Be Happy”

For parents, our children’s happiness cannot and should not be our highest goal.

3. Make Room for Different Kinds of Discipleship

We must continue to moving from the thinking that discipleship is simply a transfer of information.

4. You Become What You Eat

In the spiritual sense, we eat promises which our soul digests and converts to hope.

5. The Future of Christianity May Be Different Than You Think

Christian morality, particularly as it has to do with sex, is under much debate. We must choose to be those known for cultural dissent on the matter.

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Published on May 24, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 23, 2017

You know the feeling.

Most all of us do. There is some need in your life – a concern that is dominating your thinking, coloring your emotions, intruding on your conversations – and so you do what you are supposed to do with it. You take it to the Lord in prayer. So you kneel, you fold your hands, and you approach the throne of grace with confidence… at least at first.

You pray about your child, or your friend, or your health, or your job, or something else, over and over again, each time asking God to do what only He can do and intervene in this situation, and nothing seems to happen. In fact, the more you pray the more you feel like your words are going out from your mouth, hitting the ceiling, and coming right back down.

In this sense, prayer truly becomes a discipline. It’s not only a discipline because of the force of will it takes to set aside and intentional and focused time for prayer; it’s a discipline to believe that God is indeed listening and acting in the good and right way. So you tell yourself what you know to be true from God’s Word – that He is an attentive Father, listening and responding appropriately to prayer, and yet you don’t see or feel anything happening.

It’s during those times, when we don’t know what’s happening, that we might be tempted to think that nothing actually is. And while we might not yet know exactly how or when God will eventually redeem the situations we are praying about, there are certain things we can absolutely know for certain are happening when we pray, no matter what:

1. We can know Jesus is praying for us.

Here is a staggering thought – the Son of God, crucified and now resurrected, is actually praying for you:

“Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25).

Jesus is our Great High Priest. Like the high priests of old, He intercedes between God and man. But unlike those high priests, Jesus has been raised to an indestructible life, and therefore always lives to intercede for us. So when we pray, we might feel weak and powerless, but there is One who is all-powerful who is lending His voice to our cause. Jesus, the Son of God, is praying for us.

2. We can know the Holy Spirit is interceding according to God’s will.

When we pray, we might be confused about what the right outcome of a situation is. We, in our limited knowledge, tainted emotion, and short-sighted vision might think we know exactly what a given outcome of a situation ought to be, and yet we might be dead wrong. So we might be confused about what exactly to pray for. We can be certain, though, that the Holy Spirit is not. He knows the will of God, and He is interceding for us not according to our desires, but according to that will:

“In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. 8:26-27).

3. We can know the Father is only willing to do what is best.

Jesus taught us about our generous Heavenly Father in His discourse on prayer:

“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matt. 7:7-11).

We ask, we seek, and we knock, and what do we find on the other side? We find a Father who not only knows what is best, but is unwilling to give anything else. True enough, we as children might not fully understand or yet embrace what is truly best, but that doesn’t stop our Father’s unbending commitment to our good. So when we pray, we can know for certain that God will respond according to His character – that is, He will respond as a wise and generous Father who only does what is best.

So, Christian, you might be confused, worried, tongue-tied, frustrated, or weary in your prayers today. You might not feel like anything is happening at all. But no matter what else, you can know that when you pray, you have a brother who prays for you, the Spirit who intercedes, and a welcoming, wise Father on the other side.

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Published on May 23, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 22, 2017

When I was in high school, my physics class was assigned a project that I’m sure was not unique to our school. We were given limited material materials, mainly Popsicle sticks and wood glue, and instructed to build a bridge with specific parameters. On the appointed day, all of us brought our bridges to class and they were placed over a gap between two desks. Then small weights were systematically hung to the bottom of the bridges to text and see how much weight they could bear. Of course, in that environment, the greatest thrill wasn’t just winning the most sturdy bridge, but also watching as structure after structure was eventually obliterated under the increasing weight.

The weights weren’t added all at once; they were added slowly. One at a time. And they were added knowing that eventually every bridge would reach its capacity and crumble. No one thought that we could do something like stand on top of the bridge; though we didn’t know how much, we knew they would be destroyed under far less weight than that of a person. These structures weren’t made to support that kind of mass.

This is what comes to mind when I read through the Book of Ecclesiastes. It’s a book in which the Teacher systematically examined every part of life under the sun. He held up pleasure, work, time, knowledge, and even wisdom itself, and with each one, found it wanting. That’s the recurrent refrain throughout the book after each aspect of life is examined – Meaningless! Vanity! Each and every time.

With each and every one, they were obliterated. Destroyed. Crushed under the weight. With each one, the Teacher found that they couldn’t provide the kind of satisfaction that we desire. And with each one, we find ourselves eventually and inevitably disappointed. Work never truly satisfies. Pleasure is never really enough. Knowledge is never really fulfilling. Like bridges in the high school physics class, they all eventually sagged and broke under the pressure.

This is what happens when we place our expectations on anything in the world – they are crushed, for they were never meant to bear that kind of weight.

That’s the bad news of Ecclesiastes. Whenever we look to anything under the sun for fulfillment and satisfaction, we will eventually cry, “Meaningless!” as it is crushed.

But that’s also the good news of Ecclesiastes. This is more than just disappointment – it’s disappointment by design.

God has made these things in such a way that they will crumble. Each and every one. And with each and every crumbling, we are reminded of the vanity of everything under the sun when we put too much weight on it. And as we are reminded, we are also reminded that we must look out from under the sun for meaning. For purpose. For fulfillment.

Unfortunately, though, this is not a lesson you learn only once; it’s one we need to be reminded of again and again. We constantly look to the things under the sun to do things they were never meant to do. We put weight on these things they were never meant to carry. But each time they crumble and each time we are disappointed, that disappointment is an opportunity to look elsewhere. It’s a chance to no longer look under the sun but out from under the sun.

Thank God for disappointment by design.

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Published on May 22, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 19, 2017

by Rob Tims

“The proof is in the eating of the pudding.”

You may be more familiar with the shortened version of this common proverb: “The proof is in the pudding.” I’m unsure as to why it was ever shortened, as the simplified version seems to imply that one has to dig around in a gelatinous mess in order to find some sort of evidence that the pudding is, indeed, pudding. But the original proverb makes a lot more sense when you understand that “pudding” was not something Bill Cosby encouraged you to eat when you were a child, but a kind of sausage sealed with animal intestine. If it sounds a little grotesque and suspect, good. That means you understand the nature of the proverb. You’d never know something like that could be good unless you tried it. “The proof is in the eating of the pudding.”

The proverb applies to many other areas of lives, but I’m particularly interested in the topic of love. How can we know for certain that the love we express is really and truly love? How can we know that the love God expresses toward us is really and truly love?

“The proof is in the eating of the pudding.”

That is, the proof is in the tangible expressions of that love. The actions. The sacrifices. The costs.

The way we know someone loves us is that they experience something at great cost to themselves in order for us to experience love. Applying this to our love for others, loving anyone rightly will involve inconvenience and sacrifice.

We know this is true because of the gospel. Consider these three things from 1 John 3:16-24.

First, what Jesus did for us is not something to be merely admired. It must be acted on. Verse 16 states, “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” If self-sacrifice and inconvenience do not come easily for us, then a meditation on Jesus’ life and work is in order.

Second, if we can see and meet the needs of others, we must do so, and it will almost certainly be inconvenient and costly to rightly reflect the gospel. “If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth” (vv. 17-18). Indeed, “The proof is in the eating of the pudding.” There is no being Christian without doing Christian. There is no speaking of love if there is no acting in love.

Finally, when we do love like this, assurance of our salvation is the dividend. Verses 19-22: “This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows all things. Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commands and do what is pleasing in his sight.” The Spirit and our conscience work together to either condemn our hypocrisy or confirm our salvation. As we actively love others with compassion, we are assured of what is already certain. If we do not act in love … if we only speak only love-like things … if we only admire Jesus’ work and not model it … we bring condemnation on ourselves and begin to question the work of Jesus in our lives.

Let’s not go down that road.

“The proof is in the eating of the pudding.”

Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.

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Published on May 19, 2017 04:30 • 2 views

May 18, 2017

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Nuance is everything in this passage. Depending on how you read these words, you can either find yourself emboldened or shrunken back. The hinge seems to be on the word “carefully”.

Since it’s in the context of walking, I think about how I go to check on my kids after bedtime. We live in an older house, and it seems like at night the wooden floors creak with every step. So I creep through the playroom down the hall – being very careful how I walk – to try and keep the creaks from waking them up. The thing about my walk in that instance is that it’s a defensive carefulness – I’m careful with every footfall, like I’m walking on egg shells, because I don’t want to step in the wrong place.

But I don’t think the verse above is meant to cause us to watch every footfall, our head swiveling back and forth and sweat beading up on our foreheads to make sure we don’t step wrongly. It’s true, that some of the Christian life demands that, that we are careful where we go, what we see, and what we do to make sure we are avoiding sin. And sin is everywhere, because, as the verse says, the days are evil.

In the context above, however, it seems to be more of an offensive carefulness that Paul wanted to inspire. We are to be careful in order to make the best use of time – literally, redeeming the time. When you redeem something, you trade it in for something better. You “buy back” the time you have been given to use for good. In that sense, our head is swiveling around, but it’s not fear that motivates it. It’s anticipation. We look in every direction to make sure we’re not missing any chance to do good by way of the gospel.

Here is where this truth hits the road right now: Summer.

We typically think about the summer as a time to pull back. To take a break. To rest up for what will be a busy Fall. So we go to the beach, sleep late, and lounge around.

In other words, we play defense against the pressures of life. But what if instead of playing defense this summer, we chose to play offense? What if we had a redemptive mindset toward the time we have rather than a defensive one?

Summer could become something different. A time to walk boldly. A time to engage rather than pull back. A time to stride through life, looking this way and that, determined not to miss any opportunity.

So, dads, the summer is coming, and it could be more than a time for mowing the lawn and sipping lemonade. Certainly it can be those things, too, but let’s not neglect the best for the good. Be on the offense when it comes to your family:

Reinforce the family discipline of church attendance.
Plan specific and intentional outings for each of your kids.
Lead your family to set goals for the summer rather than let it simply pass by.
Don’t let the TV use up all the seasonal margin you have.

What a great season is before it. Let’s together do what we can to buy back this time.

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Published on May 18, 2017 04:30 • 2 views