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ben overby

Jim,

Encouraging thoughts as always! For a different twist on the same thing you're saying, perhaps rather than scheduling an appointment with God we could just cultivate the awareness that He's in all our appointments, He's making His home in us (Jn 14), allowing Him to shape all the hours of all the days of our lives. I don't need Him like I need an hour with the dentist. As you point out, the relationship is more like what we enjoy with our spouse. Rather than giving him a moment on today's PDA, maybe we could allow him to shape the day, transcend the schedule, and give definition to all the other appointments. Making an appointment with God is sort of like taking our place at the center of the universe, and controlling the direction of God's orbit. He's the center. I can't escape the force of His pull. He holds the Palm Pilot in the grip of His big hand.

Bill

These are penetrating thoughts, Jim. They remind me of an experience: I was once in the early stages of discipling a 40-something man. As the weeks rolled by he seemed to be questioning himself more-and-more. He specifically wondered if his desire to follow Jesus was "real". When I asked if he had a sense of what was behind these questions, he said that he felt like his desire would be validated by “something big happening.” I asked what he meant and he said that there were no fireworks. Well, we talked this through and he came to understand that following Jesus involved something more than a flash-in-the-pan sort of event but a life-long commitment to yield our lives to his will. When he was eventually baptized he looked at me and said, “Now that’s fireworks!” Few people understood the depth of meaning behind those words, but I’m sure the Lord did. Thankfully, this disciple continues to walk out his faith each day. Some days he even sees fireworks.

Bobby Valentine

I think Ben O is right that we need an awareness of God in all of the "events" of our lives.

But I also think for a good relationship we need to culitvate specific times where we slow down, perhaps even simply stop, and let the river of the Spirit and the rythym of grace wash through our being.

Jim your story reminds me of Elijah on Mt Carmel. Perhaps were are to be more like the imperceptible growth of the tree in Ps 1.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine
Stoned-Campbell Disciple

Arlene Kasselman

I feel like I am growing into a greater comfort of being with God. I have always thought about our life as worship and continual conversation with Him through the day. But, I am loving the concept of everything I do being done as "for God." Just being with him throughout the day.
Thanks for the reminder of what it takes and for calling us to "up our game."

ben overby

Bobby,

I'm with you and Jim. I'm struggling to find a metaphor that works a bit better for me. My mind is drawn back to Jesus as bread and water of life. We need the appointment, the appointed communion of word and prayer and silence with Him, less like we need an oil change, and more like we need a meal of bread and water. To get blessing, grace, the breath of God blowing through our souls, we have to take Him in. I'm convinced that lectio divina, or something like it (I practice a less structured version of the ancient discipline), will allow us to take in His word, and give us a supply of the Spirit (as per Ga. 3.5--supplied Spirit by hearing with faith). We go to lunch, and then we live off its energy until we go to dinner, and live off its energy until . . .. To pull from Jim's firework analogy, when we enter into God's life, it's all firework display. When he called the heavenly fireworks into existance, he hung them in the wide expanse, allowing them to blaze constantly by the word of His power (He. 1). The best we can do is shoot something into the air that burns for a second and then it fades. We don't have divine energy in making bottle rockets. But in God's life, He fuels us and feeds us so that there's never a non-expolsive moment in His grace.

Greg England

John Ortberg has a good sermon titled, "An Ordinary Day with Jesus," that hits on what you've written. As always, a good reminder. However, I must confess your blog jogged a ton of fireworks memories from yesteryear. They just aren't as explosive as they used to be ... and I think that's a bad thing for us older guys and a good thing for our kids!

Jim Martin

Thanks Ben--I hear what you are saying. I do think there may be many like me who need to be intentional about reading Scripture, journaling, and even prayer. For that to happen in my life, I need to schedule a time--otherwise, it will often just not happen.

Jim Martin

Bill-- I really like your post. Unfortunately, that is often the same kind of thinking that many people bring to marriage and other relationships as well. For it to be "real" there must be fireworks.

Life is much closer to what you described. "Sometimes" there are fireworks...Most of the time, a life of daily fidelity to Jesus.

Jim Martin

Bobby,
Thanks...Hope you are doing well...

Jim Martin

Arlene,
I like the way you expressed daily life in the presence of God. (In fact, I read it twice) There is a beauty of being in his presence and living in the power of the Spirit. Thanks for the reminder.

Jim Martin

Greg,
Thanks for the note re John Ortberg. I have been blessed by his writing.

You are so right regarding those fireworks. As I remember, those fireworks were high powered!

Ted Gossard

Excellent point and points, Jim! I couldn't agree with you more on this. Especially about the day to day, slow growth you're talking about, as opposed to the spectacular firework kind of thing. And your application in the end is also so helpful and important. Unfortunately we've all seen people (if we've been looking long enough) who make a dramatic profession of faith, but by and by are no longer there.

Thanks again!

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