Walking out of Worry, Day 6

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Day 6 in the walking out of worry is all about breathing. The way we breath helps our bodies switch gears and helps us to relax.

The challenge today is to take deep breaths from our “belly” (instead of our chest) and to slowly exhale. On the 5th exhale, whisper “relax.”

A steady stream of this will relax your body and allow your nervous system to “downshift.”

I bet you fall asleep doing this exercise. You’re welcome.

Follow the rest of the 14-day plan here.


Walking out of Worry, Day 5

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Today’s emphasis in walking out of worry is to quit something. Bob Goff encourages us to quit something every Thursday in order to remove what is unnecessary, to get our lives back, bit by bit.

Walking away from excess helps to train us to break away from other worrisome issues in our lives.

Today, I am quitting Halloween candy! It’s been laying around the house and at the office all month! It’s almost like I eat it because I am bored! So, I quit Halloween candy. If you see me eating some, slap it out of my hands!

What do you need to quit today?


Walking out of Worry, Day 4

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GracePoint Church is creating a pathway for folks to walk out of worry. We meditated on the command/invitation of Jesus “Do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25) If you would like to walk with us, here is the online version of our pathway and plan.

Today’s post is centered on the idea of forgiveness. Much of our worry is in relation to broken community. Nearly 10 of 10 issues that a therapist, counselor, coach, pastor, social worker, and/or hair stylist deals with has to do with our inability to have healthy relationships.

Unhealthy relationships feed on our inability to forgive offenses in constructive ways.

Paul said, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” (Colossians 3:15) and the writer of Hebrews said, “Make every effort to live in peace with all people.” (Hebrews 12:14)

Peace means to join together; it insinuates that “something went down” and we’ve found a way to mend a friendship and to steward that friendship into future possibilities.

So, forgiving others is a way to extinguish worry in our lives. The famous saying reminds us of the potential in forgiveness,

“To forgive someone is to set a prisoner free, only to realize that the prisoner was you.”

The challenge for today is to take a step towards forgiving a broken relationship in our lives. May God give us grace and opportunity to do so.


Walking Out of Worry, Day 3

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My church is participating in a 14-day commitment to walking out of worry. If you’d like to follow along, download the resource, here.

Today we are praying an ancient prayer that helps us to engage the anxious parts of a usual day.

Prayers operate in a variety of ways, including refocusing our attention to our commitment to be worry-free. Prayer is like a basketball doing a pivot; it changes our view of a given situation and opens up healthy opportunities.

The prayer that we are praying together is St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer. A part of the prayer that I’ve enjoy is this refrain:

“Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;

In the mouth of each who speaks unto me.”

Each interaction that we have today with another could be a moment when God could speak to us. Instead of being anxious towards others, we should anticipate wisdom, hope, and love. In this way, we block worry and welcome God’s presence.

 


Walking Out of Worry, Day 2

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My church, Gracepoint Church, is engaging in a 14-day journey of walking out of worry. If you’d like to follow along with us, you can download a digital copy of the plan here.

Yesterday, we were challenged to name the big worry in our lives. To get it out in the open so we can begin to face it, head on. 1 Peter 5:7, from NT Wright’s Kingdom New Testament, says, “Throw all your care upon him, because he cares for you.”

Day two’s challenge is to cast that care to God. Here is an excerpt from the day’s challenge:

“Worrying initially feels productive, but it ultimately paralyzes. The wisdom from 1 Peter is to ‘cast’ anxiety away from ourselves, into the hands of a loving God who is able to deal with the particularities of that anxiety with grace and truth.”

The task for the day is to write our big worry on a piece of paper and, either in solitude or community, to burn the paper in a candle flame. (Note: please take extreme measures to be safe as you do this!) As you see the paper disintegrate into ashes, allow your cares to be given to God and rest in the hope that God cares for you.

Post your pictures of your “casting” practice and use the hashtag #ictworryfree.


Walking Out of Worry, Day 1

My church, GracePoint Church, is doing a 14-day process of walking out of worry.

Day 1 is to name the big worry in our lives. As we name it, it’s power seems to shrink. In the dark, it’s able to spook us and to cast a shadow over our souls.

So, we have the chance to be brave and to name the worry and to begin the process of restoration.

My worry, which is also a residual opponent, is to be taken seriously. It’s hard to find its origin. My family, peers, and friends have always been affirming. It is something that I wrestle with from time to time.

So, it’s out there and ready to be grappled with as I seek Jesus, in community.

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Twitter Feed Preaching Style

Len Sweet says in his newest book on the topic of preaching Giving Blood that he has had to learn 7 different preaching styles throughout his ministry career. In seminary, he was coached to never say “you, we, us” in a sermon. Imagine that!

Preaching, Sweet says, is a dialogue instead of a monologue. Most sermons we hear today, however, are monologues or “speeching” as Doug Pagitt says. However, a monologue can still be a dialogue if the communicator can convince his/her audience that he/she “gets” them. And according to Malcom Gladwell, that verdict is settled within the first several seconds of every presentation.

I enjoy preaching. Not because I get to stand in front of crowds and tell them what I think. (After all of this time, it is still nerve-racking to do) I think that I like the preparation of the sermon as much as the delivery. I enjoy learning. I’m curious, by nature. So when I get the chance to preach, the content I encounter is like a circus for my curiosity tastebuds.

Putting the pile of content together for a presentation is a tricky task. I taught a section of preaching while I was a Visiting Professor at Sterling College. We used a helpful book Choosing to Preach by Ken Anderson which diagnosed 5 preaching styles with different goals for the sermon. The students in the class asked what I do for sermon delivery, so I created the “Skillen Sermon” outline (humble, I know). I usually look for the 3 I’s (Idea, Image, Implication) of a sermon. This style seeks to reach out to the intuitive and sensory persons within the crowd. (Hat tip to Myers-Briggs) Implication is better than application, in my opinion. That is a subject for another time.

As I was preparing for the message this Sunday, I realized that my sermon style is beginning to resemble a Twitter feed, with several things stitched together into a whole presentation.

In one message I have:

A Nun

A reference to Back to the Future

Sunflower Seeds and Gatorade

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

A Spiderman 2 reference

Short Sleeves and Door Jams

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

And a Robert Farrar Capon Quotation

These items are stitched together like a Twitter feed that (hopefully) will unearth a big idea about Jesus.

The Reason: The amount of time we give to our Facebook and Twitter feeds has rewired the way that we see our world and the way we take in content. Test it out. Open your Facebook page right now and notice the mosaic of items that captures your attention and provokes you to share, like, comment, and engage.

The sermon, then, is used to help draw our eyes to the Christ in the common that is found in a thousand different locations all around us. As the old hymn “This is My Father’s World” suggests, “This is my Father’s world / He shines in all things fair.” The sermon is not just a time to hear something new, but also to train us to see the God among us in every hour outside of worship services.

This adjustment in sermon style has caught me completely off guard, it wasn’t something that I intended. As the old saying goes, “Sometimes we make tools and at other times our tools make us.”


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