4 Ways to Reboot Your Spiritual Life

StillnessHave you ever felt like life is just flying by you?  Work is cranking out endless tasks and responsibilities… The kids have countless events that they need chauffeuring to…  There are multiple required social events on your calendar filling up your weekends… And some how you need to find time to just simply go to the bathroom in all that mess of a schedule.

This happened to me the other day.  I was in a rush to get as many things into one 24 hour day as possible.  I was running from one event to another and found that it was making me grouchy, irritable, and just down right testy.

I had to hit pause.

For about 40 minutes I simply sat still and watched life around me.  Instead of watching life go by I did my best to be fully present in the midst of it.  I sat and journaled and prayed and listened to some music.  In those 40 minutes I felt more refreshed and rejuvenated than before.

When life is flying by you and feeling out of control try these four things…

1. Pause

As difficult as this may be, there are times when you need to simply just unplug.  This might mean the dishes in the sink pile up for a little bit.  Or the lawn doesn’t get mowed today.  These things need to get done, but not necessarily right now.   Your pause could be 30 minutes, 2 hours, or even a full day.  It all depends on what you are willing to carve out of your schedule.

2.  Reflect

Our minds are moving a million miles an hour, thinking about thousands of different things.  It is a gift to stop and process what has been happening in your life the past few days, or weeks.  It could be as simple as answering two questions: Where have I seen God lately, and What has God been showing me through these past few days or weeks?

3. Pray

Prayer is our intimate connection with our Creator, our Heavenly Father, and our God.  Prayer is an act of depending on God in all things.  When I am running my life and going a million miles an hour, my greatest temptation is to believe that I can do it all on my own.  Prayer reminds me that I can’t.  I am desperately in need of God’s help and presence in my life.

4. Journal

There is something life giving about writing in a journal.  It has been a habit that I have added to my life for the past 8 years.  I have filled a few moleskin’s with the thoughts, prayers, and tears of what’s going on around me.  Writing is slow.  It causes you to think, and process.  Writing things out quite possibly can also help you figure things out.

What would you add to the list?  Leave a comment below.

~Peter

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Puddles and Perspective

As many of you know, my life is in the midst of a major transition.  Recently I have resigned from my position as youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Doylestown and I have accepted an associate pastor position at Liquid Church in Morristown NJ.  My life meets the pre-req’s for the term transitional to apply.  I am living in one state, and working in another.  Our front yard is decorated with a large “for sale” sign.  The attic is ready to explode with the amount of boxes that are shoved up in there.

Our life is in the midst of a transition.

Transitions are crazy right?  If you’ve been through one, then you know what I am talking about.  Some of you may have moved, changed jobs, or added children to your family–all of these things create a massive disruption to your version of normal.  I was on the phone this morning and I said, “I can’t wait to get back to a version of normal”.  See, normal is relative.  Right now is anything but normal.  That is okay–because it is a time of transition.  Right now, I can say to myself, NORMAL WILL RETURN!

But, during this time of transition, life is crazy!  I am driving more now than I have ever driven before.  I am learning a whole new language, a new organization, and a new work culture.  I am farther from home more often than ever before.  Things do not feel normal.

In the midst of this transition there are several things that are constant.  I am still a dad to my three kids, and I am still a husband.  This has not changed, nor will it ever change.  The hard part is trying to figure out how to balance being the best daddy to these three precious children and being the best husband to my wife all while living in the midst of crazy amounts of commotion.

Daddy and KidsStarting last week our church kicked off a Wednesday night worship and prayer service as a part of our Revive Series.  It will run up until the week before Easter.  The idea is that on Wednesday we would fast and pray and end our day with corporate prayer and worship.  (Aussie Dave blogged about it here.)  Last week was my first week at Liquid, and my first week participating in the church wide fast.   We were challenged by Pastor Tim to pray about what we should fast and bring before God.  I knew quickly what I was fasting for.  It was clear, and obvious.  I was to be fasting for my wife and my kids.  I specifically was asking God to watch over and protect my family.  I was asking God to meet their needs since I couldn’t.  Simply put, it was me asking God to do what I couldn’t.

That Wednesday afternoon I had to walk to the store to get some ice for the evening, and I was praying for Grace, my 5 year old.  She was having a particularly hard day emotionally.  I was on my way back from the 7-11, awkwardly carrying three bags of ice when I noticed several common sparrows flitting about on the ground ahead of me.  I paused to watch them for just a few brief moments and then I noticed what they were doing.

Birds on the SidewalkThe sparrows were dancing around a small puddle that had formed in the low area of the sidewalk, and they were drinking from this pool.  I watched one sparrow in particular crane its neck forward in order to swallow up a small amount of water.  I was reminded in that moment how much God cared for these sparrows.  Those sparrows were being taken care of by God through that puddle. I thought of my daughter, Grace, and how much I wanted God to take care of her emotions.  I thought of my wife, Tiffany, and how much I wanted God to give her strength.  I thought of my son, Noah, and how much I wanted God to protect him and watch over him.  I thought of my 1 year old daughter, Leah, and how much I wanted her to know that her daddy loves her.

And then I thought of how much God takes care of these sparrows.  I was reminded of what Jesus says in Matthew 10:29-31,

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

It was in that moment that God comforted me and reminded me that they are really his children, and He’s got it all under control.  Even when I don’t feel it!  Tiffany is His daughter whom He values more than I ever could.

It still feels crazy.  But I am thankful that God is a God who handles all of the transitions.

~Peter

Revive

Last night was one of the first events that I was apart of in my time here with Liquid Church.  We had the first of three prayer and worship nights, which we are calling Revive.  The goal of the evening was simple:

Gather together to worship God, and call on His name in prayer.

Being new here, I had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t know how many people would show up, or how the evening would go.  At 7:30 people were streaming in and the line wasn’t stopping.  We ran out of programs and we were adding chairs to the room till it hit capacity!

The truth of Hebrews 4:14-16 was declared, and realized by many.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

I am excited to come before my Lord and ask Him in confidence for the things on my heart.  What about you?

~Peter

Dangerous Tools…

I have a lot of tools in my garage.  There are countless tools.  I have tools to fix cars, tools to work the ground, tools to fix plumbing, tools to work with wood, and tools to fix electric and tools to do a ton of other tasks.

Several of these tools are ridiculously dangerous.  I’ll never forget the time when I saved my dad’s pointer finger from being severed on a table saw.  (That story later)  I have another friend who nearly lost his finger to a table saw.  Every time I operate a table saw I think about lopping my finger off.  I have a chainsaw that loves to rip through wood.  This thing is mean.  Since I heat my house with wood, I have spent a lot of time cutting up trees with this saw.  I have heard horror stories of people who have done incredible damage to themselves with their chainsaws.  Those thoughts run through my mind every time that thing rips!

As I have a garage full of tools to fix my house, garden, or vehicles, as a follower of Jesus there are certain tools that I have at my disposal.  I think that one of the most dangerous tools is prayer.

In the voice of prayer we can diminish others and elevate ourself.  Jon Acuff has a pretty funny blog post about the prayer shot block.  (quite the funny read)  Because we know and believe that prayer is powerful it can be incredibly tempting to use it like one uses a tool to fix their home, car, or yard.  Too often I use prayer as a tool to change God.

I can focus a majority of my prayers on changing God instead of praising God.  I can spend 80% or more of my time asking God to change this person, or give __________ to that person, or even to help me do __________.  It is good and right to be praying for others.  But it seems to me that we miss the boat when all we do is direct God to do this that or the other thing.

What about spending time praising God for who He is?  What about spending time thanking God for what He’s done in your life and the life of others?  What about spending time asking God to forgive you?  What about just being silent before God and listening to what He has to say?  Must you really hear yourself talk the whole time?

When most of your prayers begin with Dear God, please… there may be a problem.  

I might even go out on a limb and say that this is an effort to play god.  In a sense to be god over God.  Every time I see someone trying to be god it never ends well.

I am afraid that this is the pattern of my prayer life far too often!  It’s time to make a change.  Anyone else with me?

~Peter

Wakeup!

In a few short hours our Senior High youth group will gather together and pack up the church van, load up the bus and head on up to Glen Spey, NY for our winter retreat!  It is going to be a really awesome trip.  Our theme for this year is: Wake Up.  I am super excited about our speaker this year.  His name is Clint Ussher.  Clint has been given the task of challenging our students to wake up; to wake up to what God has for them!  This is going to be an exciting weekend.

Will you pray for us?

Here are a few things that you can pray for…

1. Pray for safety as we travel. We are headed to New York State.  You never know what kind of weather you are going to get up there!

2. Pray for the hearts of teenagers.  Would you pray that their hearts would be open to hear what God is trying to say to them?  Often times it is on a weekend away where there are less distractions that we get a chance to actually hear what God is saying.

3. Pray for no distractions! Distractions can come in all forms.  Will you please pray that there would be no distractions this weekend?  That means no girl drama, and no smelly guy gas!

4. Pray for fun! One of the other reasons we get away together is to just flat out have fun!  Pray that we have fun, and lots of it!

Thanks!

~Peter