All posts written by Sean

How You Lost Your Story…And How To Get It Back

As I launch a BeachBody Challenge Group and look ahead to all the summer has in store, I’m reminded of the importance of remembering your story, your why? I’m constantly amazed by people who want to change their circumstances without changing themselves. Equally interesting is the thought that our own decisions landed us in a place we didn’t want to be, only to be offered assistance and then choose to opt for the same decision making strategies that landed us in an undesirable circumstance to begin with.

Essentially we lose our “why,” our reason, if we ever spent time discovering what it was in the first place. Today, I’m brought back to this post about James Bond and losing our ambition.

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Did you see the newest James Bond movie, Skyfall.

Acting like a 25-year-old, I took in a late showing of the film a few months ago. And even though it’s been out a few weeks, the movie is still charting at the top of the box office. There’s a reason, too. It’s good, classic James Bond. With all due respect to my namesake and the original 007, I think Daniel Craig is the best James Bond ever. (And, yes, my mother did name me after Sean Connery…seriously.)

As good as it is, there is one crucial problem with the film. It’s the same problem many of us have; the story loses itself.

Apologies to those who haven’t seen it, but the tale begins in a quest to recover a hard drive containing a list of names of covert NATO agents. Yet by the end of the movie, the plot centers on a personal vendetta against M. Admittedly, the combination of my getting older, drinking a large Diet Coke, and the length of the movie resulted in multiple trips to the restroom, so I may have missed it, but I left the theater wondering, “What happened to the list?”

Leaving aside the mind-boggling idea that a list of covert NATO agents resides on an outdated PC laptop somewhere in Istanbul, the story ignites one way but once the action gets going forgets about its own raison d’etre.

People are like that, too. We lose our reason for existence.

On January 1, many Americans will commit to a resolution, maybe multiple ones – losing weight, reading more, etc… – just like last year. Remember those promises we made to ourselves last year? To get off the couch because we know it’d be better for us. But so many of us lost the story.

We free fell into skyfall. We lost our reasons.

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Returning Hate for Hate: Perhaps Our Greatest Temptation

 

Yesterday our country experienced another act of violence! As of this writing, there are more questions than answers.

Violent and deadly events always produce strong feelings. Many times, those feelings are to return violence and call it “justice.” In these times, I’m drawn back to the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

These words remind me that I am not pre-conditioned for retribution and human being are not predisposed for requital. In fact, those of us who call Jesus Lord are called to “offer the other cheek as well (Matthew 5:38).”

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Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957

At Oslo I suggested that the philosophy and strategy of non-violence become immediately a subject for study and serious experimentation in every field of human conflict, including relations between nations. This was not, I believe, an unrealistic suggestion. World peace through non-violent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Non-violence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built. Racial injustice around the world. Poverty. War. When man solves these three great problems he will have squared his moral progress with his scientific progress. And more importantly, he will have learned the practical art of living in harmony.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., “DREAMS OF BRIGHTER TOMORROWS” (March 1965)

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation… I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow… I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., Address in Acceptance of Nobel Peace Prize – 10 December 1964

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Ripped: “The Lord Stands Alone, Reflections On Joshua 5″

rippedRipped entries are taken straight from my journal. Unedited…almost!

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I want God to be on my side. But good ole’ “Honest Abe” Lincoln was right; the important thing is whether or not we are on God’s side. I wish Abe had been a little more specific because it’s terribly easy to think you’re on God’s side, that you’ve joined up with God, when really you’re just concerned about God signing on to your agenda.

Joshua finds this out – in both good and bad ways.

In Joshua 5, the Israelites are about to topple Jericho. They have a string of successes, they’ve sent in spies who came back with a favorable report, and the time is right for battle. Then something happens. As Joshua travels near Jericho he encounters a man along the road, sword drawn, and I imagine a little intimidating.

Why does this guy have a sword out? I’m just trying to ease on down the road.

Joshua, in a moment of calm I’m sure would have escaped me, simply asks, “Are you for us, or are you for our enemies?”

Reply?

“Neither.”

Instead the man tells Joshua he is “the commander of the Lord’s army.” A fairly, powerful position, I would imagine. But wait….

Aren’t the Israelites about to take Jericho? Doesn’t the LORD go before them? Didn’t YHWH bring them out of Egypt, lead them access the Jordan, give them the Law and PROMISE to lead them into a land “flowing with milk and honey?”

What gives? The commander of the Lord’s army must be confused! He must have missed the meeting, deleted the e-mail, or lost his notes, because God has given us this land already. It’s in the can. What does he mean, “neither?”

The best I can tell is that God is on God’s side.

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Do You Believe These 5 Lies About Your Spiritual Formation?

Christ-followers can’t escape spiritual formation.

Well, neither can anyone else since everything we do spiritually forms us, but for Christians the idea of “spiritual formation” is increasingly becoming the topic du jour.

That’s good and bad.

It’s wonderful people are taking spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation seriously. Enough of us dated other spiritual approaches – merely going to church, Bible study without heart commitment, worship without engagement, etc… – and discovered if we didn’t do something strong and strange and different, we’d look back wondering why we didn’t do more to practice the presence of God.

Yet in our all the newness  an conversation surrounding ancient practices, there are 5 lies we tend to believe:

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Why Your Church Service Will Stink This Week

Your Easter service was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know your Easter service was awesome because you told me. I asked on my Facebook page about your experience and 99.9% of them were “great!” That’s good.

This week’s church service will stink.

You’ll go to the same place, see the same people, have the same preacher, and the same worship leaders, but your experience won’t have the same lift. In comparison, it might, well, stink!

Why will your church service stink this Sunday? You!

Why Service Sucks

 

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