Walking Out of Worry, Day 14 Conclusion

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We are wrapping up the 14-Day journey Walking Out of Worry. If you have missed the chance to join us, you can always download the guide here and use it for your personal enrichment.

One of the most robust categories in the NT is hope. We meditated on hope a few days ago, but it seems important to continue to think about it. Hope is a “gap” word, allowing the people to God to do more than manage the time between now and the arrival of God’s new world.

The Christian life is a rehearsal of God’s new world. We get the chance to engage in the life that we will experience in full in the new age to come. When the current world barely resembles that new age to come, we can get discouraged and hopeless, instead of hopeful.

Paul’s answer to such a dissonance is contentment. He says in Philippians 4:8-9:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of people will be with you.

Our aim is to participate in the activity of God around us. God’s kingdom is not in trouble; our participation in such a life is satisfying and will give us so much meaning.

May you and I not allow worry to have the last word, but trust in the good God that holds us together and does all things well.


Walking out of Worry, Day 12

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For Day 12 of Walking Out of Worry, we gathered as a church community to share communion and to bring our requests to God. Ultimately, we were able to practice a way to give our worries to a loving God and to see how our community is stitched together with prayer and encouragement. It was a great evening together.


Walking out of Worry, Day 11

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We are on Day 11 of the walking out of worry journey. If you’d like to finish the last few days with us or if you want to keep a guide for a future season of life, you can download it here.

Reminder: a Communion Service associated with our journey will be hosted at GracePoint Church on Thursday November 6th, 6:30pm. All are welcome.

Today’s post is centered, again, on the topic of prayer and worry.

Prayer is a category with a wide bandwidth within the Christian tradition. As I see it there are two main “operating softwares” for how people have believed prayer works within Christianity.

First, prayer is the means by which all that God had planned from before the foundation of the world is “uncovered” by the believer and/or praying community. Prayer is not creating anything, but allowing what is “unseen” to be witnessed in material reality. This is a shorthand (perhaps reductionist) way of talking about theological topics of providence/sovereignty.

Next, prayer is the evidence of God’s dynamic relationship to the world. God moves through the prayers of people and creates outcomes within the situation. John Wesley was even bold enough (and perhaps exaggerated a bit) when he said, “God does nothing but through believing prayer.” This is a shorthand way of talking about a tradition called open/relational theology.

In either scenario, God is directly involved in the prayers of the people of God, whether as One whose divine intentions from the beginning are being made known or the One who actively participates through the yearnings of God’s people.

With this in mind, I share one of my favorite Martin Luther quotations, for it deals with prayer and worry:

“Pray and let God worry.”

That is a fantastic idea and gets to the heart of our need for prayer when we are anxious. As we pray, we hand over to God the things that only God can do, and we are free to then see what it is we need to do as we allow God to take care of what only God can do.

So, today let’s be reminded of the big worry that we named on Day 1 and give that worry over to God in prayer and let God worry about it. I pray that freedom would fill our hearts today because of it.

 


Taylor Swift, Spotify, and Conflict

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Earlier this week Taylor Swift pulled her music off Spotify, the online subscription mega-monster. This disappointed a ton of fans, of course. You can read a bit about it here, if you’d like.

I like Taylor Swift (there, I said it) and she can do whatever she wants with her music.

I like Spotify. Ginger and I both have the $10/month plan so we can listen to Spotify on our mobile devices. I like to subscribe to Spotify rather than to own music. You know, one less thing to keep track of at this point in my life.

I’ve enjoyed how playful Spotify has been during this whole ordeal. They’ve found creative ways arouse their listeners during this time in between having Swift’s music and when it will eventually make its way back to their listener’s playlists.

This playlist is a form of that playfulness; “What to Play While Taylor’s Away.” Genius.

Conflict abounds in humanity… oh wait, it is Election Day after all. No matter how much we develop as a species, we find more creative ways to avoid or bury our opponents. We are hard-wired to be rivals and to envy. We could learn something from Spotify in ways to playfully (instead of violently) deal with conflict.

Maybe we should go and do likewise.


Walking out of Worry, Day 10

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We are in Day 10 of the walking out of worry process. If you’d like to join in on the journey, feel free to download the material here.

A part of today’s activity is to watch an inspirational video called “Landfill Harmonic.” If you have not watched the video, I encourage you to and you can view it here.

Yes, these people live in a garbage dump and they are making musical instruments out of that garbage and are playing classical music with those instruments.

The punchline of the video is: “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.” It is an empowering story, convincing us to want to see the potential in the midst of the most depressing of situations.

It reminds me of of the text from Romans 4 where Paul, reflecting on the life of Abraham amid all of his hardships, said:

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope, believed.”

Worry has the potential to steal hope. It is not a surprise that the word hope is used most in the OT book of Job. Job, among all of his hardships, ultimately didn’t want his hope taken away.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” the Proverbs say, “but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

If you or I struggle with worry today perhaps our bravest move is to take a step towards hope in a tangible way. Especially on an Election Day when folks from our culture act irrationally and childish. If the polls don’t go your way today, $10 says that the world will be here tomorrow and what should matter most to us will be waiting for our attention.

When the world sends you garbage today, send back music.


Walking out of Worry, Day 9

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Today is Day 9 of 14 in our process of walking out of worry. If you’d like to download our journey and join the last few days with us, you can get it here.

Side Note: On Day 12 of the journey, we will meet together for a Communion Service at GracePoint Church, 6:30pm Thursday November 5th.

Today, we are reading a favorite Bible verse from Joseph Anglin, son of Communication Director at GracePoint Andrea Anglin. This has become Joseph’s life verse:

“So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

(Isaiah 41:10)

We are encouraged to read this verse two times over, slowly. We should notice the activity from God for God’s people in this passage. It is packed full of promises, things that God is able and desires to do for us.

In the midst of worry, it is helpful to meditate on the “verbs of God,” not just on the ideas of God. Ideas can be memorized, rehearsed, and protected in sanitized environments.

Opening ourselves to God’s verbs, on the other hand, takes guts. Waiting for God to do what God wants to do takes patience, obedience, and hope.

So, we are challenged to take one of the verbs in this passage, one that is particularly relevant to our worrisome situation today, and make it the foundation of our prayers.

One that I carry with me today is “I am with you,” which seems to be more than enough for me today.

 

 

 

 


Tyranny and Jesus’ Kingdom

I’m continuing through NT Wright’s Surprised by Scripture as he deals with politics and what it means to speak and act for God in public.

Wright says this about what we should be seeing as we read the canonical Gospels along these lines:

But the whole point of the four canonical Gospels is that the coming of God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven is not to impose an alien and dehumanizing tyranny but rather to confront alien and dehumanizing tyrannies with the news of a God – the God recognized in Jesus – who is radically different from them all, and whose justice aims to rescue and restore genuine humanness.

NTW, SBS, 168


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