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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Technology has some wonderful benefits. I use it almost every day. It has become our way of life and how we connect with the world. We are wired for connection, but this is not the only way to connect.

We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much – if at all. —Steve Jobs

However, that being said, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our world is developing an unhealthy attachment to technology. A recent study showed that:

  • 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device.
  • 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.
  • Some mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes.
  • 88% of U.S. consumers use mobile devices as a second screen even while watching television.
  • Almost half of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls.
  • Traditional TV viewing eats up over six days (144 hours, 54 minutes) worth of time per month.
  • Some researchers have begun labelling “cell phone checking” as the new yawn because of its contagious nature.

How then, in our ever-connected world, might we take appropriate steps to find balance and intentionality in our approach to technology? If you need help getting started, try one or more of these:

  • Choose to start your day elsewhere.
  • Power-down for one period of time each day.
  • Better manage the time-wasters.
  • Take one extended break on a regular basis.

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Of course there is a deeper issue here than just disconnecting.  Technology affords us so many options not to take the gaps we need in the day to just pause, reflect, and re frame our thinking.  If we miss too many of these gaps then we miss something important.  Rob Bell, on his podcast calls this, ‘The Importance of Boredom’.  It’s worth a listen.

 

I’m aware of the irony of writing this on a computer, to post on a website, so that you can read this on a screen somewhere.  My sign off and prayer below is for me as much as it is for anyone.

May you my brothers and sisters, find a way this week, to unplug, be present in the gaps between life, and use these times wisely.  May you be still and know that there is more, so much more, that waits for you if you take the time to listen to the music that you may not have heard before, and begin the dance.

Grace and peace.

The Eucharist of Life

I will be still
And not fill the gap
For I choose not
This dance of despair

I will be calm
And celebrate the pause
For I choose not
To fill my mind with emptiness

I will go off the grid
And find the spacious place
For I choose to listen
And not hear or speak

For the Eucharist of Life requires
The empty to become full
The calm before the storm
The rest between two notes

Then and only then
Can the music begin
For the dance of freedom

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Life, for most of us, feels like a movie we’ve arrived to twenty minutes late.

Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. But tragic things happen too. What does it mean? Here we are in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, and usually a confusing mixture of both. We really have no clue and about how to make sense of it all. We get despondent and start to lose heart.

We need to know the rest of the story – the larger story.

Travers-Cascade Track in Nelson Lakes National Park
               Travers-Cascade Track in Nelson Lakes National Park

We were all born into the midst of a great story begun before the dawn of time. A story of adventure, of risk and loss, heroism and betrayal. A story where good is warring against evil, danger lurks around every corner, and glorious deeds wait to be done. Think of all those stories you’ve ever loved—there’s a reason they stirred your heart. They’ve been trying to tell you about the true Epic ever since you were young.

There is a larger story And you have a crucial role to play.

So what is our response. Which story do we choose to live in? Mark Twain, the great writer reflected on the stories we live in.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

May you this week remember some of the fleeting images and memories that lead you to the larger story. May you remember that the mundane, the routine, and the usual all exist to lift our eyes and remind us that we are all caught up in something epic and exciting – the greatest story of all time. You are invited to this story and write your chapter. What will your story be?

The Inside Story

Explore the valleys
I have made
And you will find me
Deep within the forest glade

Dream your future
I planned for you
And you will find me
In your heart that’s true

Discover the frontier
Beyond boundaries you know
And I will find you
In the places you’ll go

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Living Water

We all experience valleys at one time or another during our lives.  In fact, usually several times.  Life is a series of mountain tops and valleys. While we know God cares about our suffering, many of us wonder at times why He allows it.  No one likes the valleys of suffering. Most of us would rather spend our time on the mountain top.

Time in the valley can be a place of rest and solitude.  It may not be what type of valley we find ourselves in, but rather, what we do when we’re in the valley.  Do we complain, groan, and allow bitterness to enter our hearts – if we are honest then probably yes!  There is one unique thing however that we can only find in the valley – rivers.  Perhaps time in the valley is time to rest, drink and be refilled.

You restore my soul. You guide me in the path of righteousness for your name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:3-4

In the valleys of life, we learn that we need help, restoration and guidance.  Other people may be able to help, but they may also offer too much advice – remember Job’s friends? There is only one God who can provide full and complete restoration. It’s an issue of trust and of waiting.

So what about you? If you find yourself in the valley, take heart. God is up to something, because you’re worth it. If you feel like you are in an endless, uphill battle and can’t do anything right to get to the top of the mountain. Stop climbing. Breathe, and take in the fresh air from below and drink from the river. He has so much for you.  Here, or somewhere this week, be real and share your story.

Living Waters

They say that faith moves mountains
But do they really know
That it’s only in the valleys
Where your living waters flow

They say that words have power
And we all have seeds to sow
But have they walked the valleys
Where your living waters flow

They say just call your name
When you feel defeated by your foes
Do they know the valleys
Where your living waters flow

Their actions betray their words
So for now I’ll cling to you
For you are my living water
In the valley of my foe

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The Game of Life

One fine day in the middle of the night myself and five of my good friends were playing the board game Life (also known as The Game Of Life).  At the time we were poor students and we had little to amuse ourselves with on Saturday nights, so what better that a free rousing game of Life. 

If you haven’t been fortunate to play this game let me give you a brief run down:

Originally created in 1860 by Milton Bradley, The Game of Life was America’s first popular parlor game. The game simulates a person’s travels through his or her life, from college to retirement, with jobs, marriage, and possible children along the way. Two to six players can participate in one game, however, variations of the game have been made to accommodate a maximum of only eight or ten players.  It has a cool plastic spinning number wheel too.

So, one winter’s night five of us sat down huddled in the lounge of my good friend John’s drafty house. We began the game.  Along with being a player I was also fortunate enough to be the elected banker.  About half way through the game things weren’t really going my way.  I had just lost my house, two kids, my wife had walked out on me, and my retirement plan has just been cashed up to pay out my wife. Not a true story – it was just part of the game.  I was bored and rapidly losing interest so I began sneakily stealing money from the bank and giving other people money on the side.  I didn’t give any to John, as he was winning and was displaying some serious smugness .  John had recently acquired my house, including my wife and two kids and a generous retirement plan.  Remember this is JUST a game it wasn’t real life, or so I thought.  I was envious, jealous, and out for revenge and others were also after him as their life stories were equally sad and pathetic.  Remember this is JUST a game. 

In a scene reminiscent of something form Lord of the Flies, John discovered what I was up to – redistributing the wealth.  In a fiery fit of rage he leapt to his feet, while at the same time sending the Life board spinning into the air, the plastic bits and funny money flew up into the air and landed in a mess on the floor.  John exclaimed in my direction, “Get OUT of MY HOUSE, you thief, you evildoer, you spawn of Satan!”  “Steady on old chap, it’s ONLY a game, keep your hair on!” I replied in a soothing voice, as John was very bald.  Everyone else was silent with their mouths wide open at John’s fiery tirade. He was very serious and he wouldn’t back down. 

Not knowing quite what to do I left, as he stood holding the front door open with a stern look on his face.  “Same time next week then?” I suggested.  Again, silence.

While I walked home alone, I reflected on the night’s events and how I began a friendly game of life and then had somehow turned into the spawn of Satan.  I brushed it off.  I knew that John was quite competitive and I also knew had board games can bring out the best but usually the worst in people.  John rang me the following morning and apologized profusely for his outburst and apologized to the group the following weekend we we met for a game of monopoly.  I was not elected banker.

Why is it that our own life gets in the way of what God calls us to do and be?  Why do we get distracted and turn friendship into war?  How is it that the trivial injustices in our world escalate rapidly into situations that end up on the front page of the newspaper?  What is that all about?

Jesus died on the cross to offer us a chance at eternal life.  All we need to do is believe – just believe. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
~ John 3:16

Notice that Jesus only asks us to believe and we will receive eternal life.  We often complicate life (here and now and for all eternity) by the games we play.  We all play the games and we all get what we deserve.  We have missed something.  Something so simple and so beautiful.  What is it?  Grace – God’s grace.  It is what we are saved by, not by game playing and posturing.  We don’t need to play any more games of life.  Jesus came to give us life in abundance.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10

So what about you my friend?  What games are you playing?  Are you overcomplicating life?  Whether you are destitute or a millionaire, or anyway in between, Jesus’ message is the same – through grace you are saved, and not by works (or games).   Will you take a moment to share your story, here or somewhere this week?  It may just help someone pack up their game and get real.

The Sweet Life

If all the world’s a stage
And the men and women merely players
Then – how do we play
And have we won or lost?

Who sets the game plan
And selects the teams?
Is it the luck of the draw
Or do we draw from something else?

In the game we call life
Who ends up destitute?
And who becomes the millionaire
Just by throwing the dice?

Whether life is a game or a production
Milton Bradley and Shakespeare
Would probably agree

That the game of life is
Never called off on
Account of darkness

 

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Frances Ridley Havergal (1836 – 1879) was a Christian writer, poet, hymn writer and musician.  She was brought up in a Christian family in Worcestershire, England.  At the age of 3  Havergal could read.  At the age of 4, she began reading and memorizing the Bible, and at age 7 she began writing poetry.

Havergal was a devoted Bible student, memorizing the New Testament as well as the Psalms, Isaiah, and the Minor Prophets. Although highly cultured and educated she maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. She lived a disciplined prayer life and it is said that she never wrote a line without first praying over it.

Havergal’s most famous hymn Take my Life and Let it Be is an extraordinary poem and is a great example of rhyming couplets

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Havergal had this to say about writing:

Writing is praying with me. You know a child would look up at every sentence and say, ‘And what shall I say next?’ That is just what I do; I ask Him that at every line He would give me not merely thoughts and power, but also every word, even the very rhymes.

If you’re a writer what does this say to you?  Will you do anything different?   Here’s my relection, I’m working on moving the words from my head to my heart, and from understanding to belief.


Ever, Only, All for Thee

More of you and less of me.
This is how my world should be.

Less of me and more of you,
Shift my world and change my view.

Use my talents and my skill,
Mould me to your perfect will.

Transform my mind, renew my soul
Fill me up and make me whole.

Take my worry and my fear,
Hold me close when night draws near.

Cast my shadows into the night,
Turn me toward your brilliant light.

Cover me with your peace today,
This to you my Lord I pray.

Take my life and let it be,
Ever, only, all for thee.

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The Game of Life

If all the world’s a stage
And the men and women merely players
Then – how do we play
And have we won or lost?

Who sets the game plan
And selects the teams?
Is it the luck of the draw
Or do we draw from something else?

In the game we call life
Who ends up destitute?
And who becomes the millionaire
Just by throwing the dice?

Whether life is a game or a production
Milton Bradley and Shakespeare
Would probably agree

That the game of life is
Never called off on
Account of darkness

Read Full Post »