Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘life’

Cartography and the Christian

In Chrisian Life on September 23, 2014 at 6:23 am

terrestrial globe

“Ok Google”

Ding.

“What is the distance between Chicago and Santa Monica?”

“The drive between Chicago Illinois and Santa Monica, California is 2031 miles.”

Maps today are so different.  I remember keeping maps in the map pockets of the vehicle, which now are used for trash.  Whenever travelling, I would bring the maps in and pour over them to make sure we were going to take the right path.  Now we just speak to the phone and it will tell you how to get where you want to go.  Maps…

  1. Reveal big picture in small-scale
  2. Communicates information of terrain, distances in ways all can understand
  3. Guides and shows roads and options
  4. Helps in planning for the trip

The Bible is our map as followers of Jesus.  It reveals the big picture in small-scale.  Consider that in one book you can become aware of the universal problem, solution, and current issues.  If you were to sit and read it like a novel, it might take a while but the revelation would be incredible.  The Bible communicates information important to the journey.  Is this portion smooth or bumpy?  Are there unexpected curves ahead?  The cool thing about the GPS on the phone is that it will also tell you how heavy the traffic is ahead and provide a different route.  Did you know the Bible can also?

Your life is a trip.  Like any trip it helps to have maps and navigation so that you can enjoy the journey.  There can be joy in this life; hope in this life.  The Bible gives us these since it leads us to God.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

 

Do These 4 Things When Life Happens

In Grief, Suffering, Transition on July 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

This is just one tale of how life can hit you.  Rarely do you find the fairytale stories of everything going right.  Actually, even the fairy tales have their moments.  The Happily Ever After is a nice thought but not reality.  If we superimpose fantasy onto our reality we will be sorely disappointed.  It is there I find most people.   When life happens what do we do?

Lean on Others

This presupposes you have developed relationships.  These relationships, whether friends or family, can be of emotional or tangible help through the difficult moments of life.  Carl did not have anyone to lean on and it caused him to become bitter.  Life will happen.  Will you become bitter or better?

Invest

Find inspiration in something and invest in it.  A bad day, week, year, or tragic event can create a wormhole leading to depression and anxiety.  Finding inspiration can bring you positive energy as well.  God has created an entire world to inspire us to that which is greater than ourselves.  Where do you find your?  Investing in something outside of yourself helps you to balance your focus.  Thinking only of yourself can become a problem.  Investing in something, or someone, else shifts your thinking to a more positive position.  In this you can find healing.

Value

As life brings its gifts and its smack-downs, thinking through the value of people, places, and more in your life provides perspective and opportunity.  Often, we don’t recognize the value until we have it no longer.  Understanding this value and showing appreciation, while we can, helps us to manage the difficulties in our lives.  We can, without regret, express that we did not leave anything behind or to chance.

Establish Goals

A great leadership quote concerning insanity:  Insanity is doing the same thing but expecting different results.  If we just do nothing, we become unhealthy.  Establishing short, mid, and long-range goals helps you to focus on a plan rather than pain.

 

We have heard it said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  Drink up today!

Blowing Your Horn

In Chrisian Life on April 22, 2014 at 9:42 am

2silver_trumpets

I live out in the country and have along driveway that used to gravel on it. Over the years it has all shifted and now there is just dirt. It often reminds me of the car driving ride at amusement parks where there is a median in the middle so you cannot swerve out of control. Because we drive the same path every day to get from the road to the house the same has been developed over the years. Our spiritual lives can get that way as well. God told Moses to fashion out 2 silver trumpets to be used in distinct ways.

  • Blow the trumpets to gather people.
  • Blow the trumpets to scatter people.
  • Blow trumpets to go to war.
  • Blow the trumpets to thank God.

Why would God want this to happen? I believe it is for two reasons.

First, blowing the horns causes the people to be mindful. How often have we gathered together to worship a powerful God, risen Savior, and mighty Spirit only to have it feel lackluster and mundane? Shame on us! Let us blow the trumpet of celebration that we can gather. I have been in many churches and several have over the exit door a sign that says something to the fact of “leaving to serve”. We gather to worship and scatter to serve God in our everyday lives. We give lengthy monologues on all we want God to do for us. How often do we spend thanking Him for the gifts, provisions, and answers? We are to blow the horn.

Second, blowing the horns announces to God that we recognize we are not in this alone. We are in a covenant. Too often we live our lives on our own by our choosing. Taking the time to blow the horns pulls us and God close together. We are in a covenant with Him. Jesus did not say he was starting a new contract, a new denomination, or new nation. He was fulfilling the covenant we broke by sin and instituting a new one by grace. We blow the horns so we all come together.

When you consider how often the trumpets would be blown, it would seem the trumpets might be sounding a lot! Each of these had different types of signals, but the point was that God wanted to people to gather, scatter, fight, and thank.

  • Do you find yourself gathering before God with others on a regular basis?
  • Are you in a position of leadership in your church so that the trumpets would be blown for you?
  • Do you live habitually for Jesus so that you would hear the trumpets if God wanted to make changes in your life?
  • Do you record and share moments of gratitude?

Which signal is sounded most often in your life?

Wheels on the Gospel Go Round and Round

In Evangelism on January 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

vintage_kit_03_large

We finished up our pinewood derby cars last night.  The boys are so excited to race them next week but were concerned that the wheels were not on yet.  I told them that the wheels were the last thing attached after this long process.  I told them that when they came next Wednesday the cars would all have the wheels on and aligned, ready to race.

Wheels are so important! Can you imagine putting a car on the track with no wheels?  Of course not because it is a ridiculous notion.  The car, even on an incline would just sit there.  Without the wheels there would be no motion.  Without motion there would be no hope of finishing the race.  The car may look stunning, but if it does not move it is useless.

God has established that the Gospel would be spread by His followers.  God can do whatever He wants and He has chosen for you and me to be the wheels of this project.  For this reason, if we do not carry the Gospel it will just sit there.  You are the wheels that make the Gospel move.

Jesus had many people that believed though some would not admit it.  They were afraid.

Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders.
But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.
For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.

How do we put wheels on the Gospel?  Tim Keller shares several ways for us to wheels on the Gospel.  I recommend you read Gospel in Life.  Here are a few thoughts for us today.

The Gospel shapes our hearts.  As we move away from moral performance as the basis of our relationship with God and run toward grace, we find greater fulfillment in life.  When we recognize what it cost God, our gratitude moves us to obedience.

The Gospel shapes our towns. As we allow the Gospel to shape our hearts, we will affect change in our town.  Get involved.  Coach.  Run for school board.  Attend PTA meetings.  Go to council meetings.  Let your voice be heard and use a Gospel tone.

The Gospel shapes our lives.  So often, we celebrate the Gospel in church and calculate our reputation at work, school, or shopping.  Let what you learn and celebrate on Sunday spill out of you Monday through Saturday.

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see,
so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

 

 

Life in Transition

In Life and Culture on January 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

0903_transition_Jessica-LaPlante

Change is imminent

While those might be ominous words, they still ring true.  It seems that the old statement is true: the only constant is change.  We have a growth chart outside of each child’s room.  Periodically, I will have the kids stand for me to measure how much they have grown (changed) since the last time.  We are in that stage where the growth (change) spurts occur.  Most recently, our daughter outgrew everything she owned.  Off we went on the trek to find new (change) clothes!  It is not as easy as you would imagine, though you might already understand.  We joke and tease kids that we should put a brick on their heads to keep them from growing (changing), but we don’t really mean it.  Isn’t the point of raising children so we can watch them become (change) all they dream and hope?  Parenting is simply managing change.  Life, then, is also about managing change.  Consider the necessary change for a family in each of these moments.

  • A Birth
  • First Day at School
  • Puberty
  • Driving
  • Graduation
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Death

The Flood of Emotion

Each time one happens there is significant change.  For those involved I suggest that these three emotions are felt at once by the family.

  1. Joy
  2. Grief / Loss
  3. Stress – financial and relational

For example, the first day of school is usually heart-wrenching for Mom while the child bolts out to go to class.  My son could hardly wait to get to school.  My wife sat in the car and cried.  I began to consider college expenses.  At that moment all three were being felt.

Our two kids are rapidly approaching those years where Mark Twain suggests you put them in barrel.  As parents we grieve because childhood is being torn away as adolescence rushes in and stress about what that also brings:  dating.  Our kids are excited because of the new stuff they get to do in life.  All three are being felt.

A friend of mine recently went through a divorce.  All at once, these three were felt.  There was joy to be free from a dangerous situation.  There was grief because a marriage ended.  There is stress trying to figure out how to survive as a single person again.

GPS is required

We travel a lot by car.  Before kids we used to fly (joy, grief, stress).  A few years ago, I bought a new phone and it came with GPS.  I had never had this before.  The closest I had was DNS (Dulcie Navigation System) which always seemed to know which way was North!  This new device could route me to my desired location and route around traffic issues on-the-fly!  We were so impressed and thankful.  While it is cliché and a tad silly, you might have seen the shirts/hats that have God’s Positioning System.  As we are required to navigate through transitions and the ensuing emotions we need something to help us. I recently did a study on 3 names of God.

Elohim – we see this word typically describing the command and control of God.  Take rest in knowing that your transition is not a surprise to God.  He is our creator and commander.  He is aware of what is happening and has the resources to assist.

Yahweh (Jehovah) – this was introduced when Moses asked for a name.  This name is typically used about the covenant relationship with Israel.  As the new Israel, believers today can rest in the promise keeping God.  Not only is He in control, He has promised to care for you.

Adonai – This was introduced first with Abraham in Genesis 15.  Abraham, Moses, Hannah, David, and more all recognized the ownership of God and the management of mankind.  God owns it all and our lives.  We would find freedom if we acknowledge this as well.

Layover Moments

If you are not in change status now, just wait you will be.  Like the traveler who is in the airport between flights, so are we when in-between transitions.  I close today with a few words of wisdom from the wisest man who ever lived.

My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; for they will bring you many days, a full life,  and well-being.  Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the Lord  with all your heart,  and do not rely on your own understanding;  think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

Simple

In behavior, Church, Decisions on September 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Why is simple so complicated?

I hear all the time how people wish they could go back to a simpler time such as 6 or 7 years old.  It seems that while we all wish for the future while yearning for the past.  We fail to see that at every turn in life there are freedoms and limitations.  Simple is not an age, but a choice and state of mind.  In the same way, complicated is a choice and state of mind.

Adam and Eve had everything and life was simple.  There was just one thing – don’t eat from the tree in the middle of garden.  Simple.  Yet it wasn’t long and it became complicated. Two bites and they were subjected to complicated living.

The Israelites were given 10 things.  Ten guidelines for better living and freedom with God and others.  It wasn’t long and 10 became 20 and later 1000’s.  The simple became complicated.  Moses even tried to remind them of the simplicity:

Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow [them], so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:3-9 HCSB

Simple.  Give God your full attention and He will give you His.  Why do we complicate things?

So often we believe that being younger is better.  We remember no worries, no responsibilities, no problems.  What we forget is that we couldn’t drive, couldn’t reach the shelves, and couldn’t stay out past dinner.  Life was simpler but limited.  Why is it that with age comes complication?  Was Moses delivering the children’s message at Mt. Sinai? Moses was speaking to the leaders. He was speaking to adults!

Your life and my life does not have to be complicated! You can have a simpler life.  We argue that kids, car payments, mortgages, and jobs we despise would beg to differ.  God has a much bigger and better plan in mind for us.  Complicated is what Satan uses as a distraction.  We are shown all these wonderful things and tempted to chase after them.  We get sucked in and soon our heart, soul, strength, and mind have settled on the things of this world.  God spoke through Moses a simpler way.  He later spoke through the prophets a simpler way to love God more than religion.  Then Jesus comes along.  Life was so complicated.  The religious leaders asked Jesus one day what He thought the greatest commandment was for them.  Were they asking for simplicity?  Had they grown tired of the complex? 

“Jesus tell us how to find simplicity.” He goes to the basics. He goes to the Shema quoted above out of Deuteronomy.  Simplicity begins when we focus on one thing rather than a thousand. Simplicity can be yours. Simplicity is what God has desired and designed for us to have.

Lord help me to accept the simple in the face of temptation to be complicated.

%d bloggers like this: