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Showing posts from January, 2013

An often-neglected way of hearing God in your life

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How do you encounter God and listen to him speak in your life? I think a lot of Christians expect to see God "show up" when they enjoy blessing or closure in a certain area of life. We equate God with victory over our problems.

What if victory isn't the most reliable place to find God? Here's what John Chryssavgis writes about what he has learned from the desert fathers and mothers (of the 4th century) about finding God:
Each of us must look for the places where we are tempted, where we are lonely, thirsty for meaning and hungry for depth. Each of us will discover the areas that need to be purified, where we can encounter God and where God speaks to us. The implication is that we should look for God in the "desert" places in our lives -- our places of need. If I could interject a theological principle here, it would be: "God draws near to the brokenhearted" (Psalm 34:18). God is drawn into our weakness. When we search for God and listen for what h…

The eccentricity of following Jesus

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Following Jesus introduces tension into our lives. We live in a world that is at odds with God, and we are well trained to live exactly as our world dictates. The call to be a Christian is a call to come out from our culture and live a different way. It is a call to a high-contrast relationship with our culture. When we do that, tension arises. But not all tension is bad.

The monks of the ancient desert understood well that they were entering into a high-contrast existence filled with good tension.  John Chryssavgis tells us the monks were willing to do anything it took to re-establish a lost order. What was that lost order? The existence of Adam before he fell into sin. That means complete wholeness, and utter harmony with God, people, and creation. There are stories of the monks learning to live very contentedly in the harsh desert. It is said of St. Antony that over time, he persuaded the animals in his region to live at peace with him and no longer disturb him.

The monks were awar…

Redefining "normal" with personal finances

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At Sanctuary, I talk a lot about what's "normal." Normal in the world is to be a person who tries to be good and has a general faith in God. Normal in God's kingdom is not goodness but greatness. It is living like no one else lives and loving like no one else loves. It is having faith that enables me to surrender every part of my life to God so he can introduce me to the enthralling ideas he has for my life. God has high expectations for us, and we have to be willing to look crazy to everyone else.

With this in mind, these words from personal finance guru Dave Ramsey caught my eye this morning:
"Normal" in North America is broke. "Normal" is using credit cards, taking on a lifetime of car payments, and spending more than you make. "Normal" is living on a razor's edge, where any unexpected emergency can send you into panic mode. I finally figured out I don't want to be "normal." I want to be weird!
I'm not living a &…