This past Sunday was National Back to Church Sunday. In preparation, our church sent letters to folks we had not seen in a while, inviting them to join us on Sunday morning for worship or Sunday evening for a special event. One of those letters generated a call from the recipient’s son to the person who wrote the letter saying that his mother was in critical condition in the hospital. The individual who sent the letter took his kids and later his wife to visit this woman in the hospital to pray with her and her family, something they had never done before, but felt they needed to do. On Sunday morning, my pastor related this story and made the comment, “This is a good reminder that Christ calls his followers to go into the world, not invite the world into the church.”
After hearing the statement, I wrote down “belief vs. relationship.” Yes, I believe the Bible to be a true account of the Judeo-Christian heritage. I believe the miracles, I believe the resurrection, and I believe and look forward to the day when the unfulfilled prophecies will be fulfilled. All that belief doesn’t amount to a hill of beans unless I have a relationship. When you read the Bible, have you ever looked not at the “do’s and don’ts” but at the relationship that is unfolding between a people called out to be God’s chosen people, set aside for a special purpose as well as those called to be the bride of Christ? Yes, this romance novel has it all–murder, adultery, forgiveness, backstabbing, petty arguments, forgiveness, betrayal, drunkenness, forgiveness. Thankfully, God continues to forgive.
I also wrote down “love of self vs. love of others.” Who does today’s church love? God calls us to love others, even our enemies. The early church gave everything they had to help their neighbors. Today, we spend money protecting everything we have–locks on the doors, home alarm systems, insurance in case someone gets past the locks and alarms. Will O’Brien once said “When we truly discover love, capitalism will not be possible and Marxism will not be necessary.” In a political season filled with rhetoric and hate and scare tactics, how true is that statement? Imagine the impact if every person who calls themselves a Christ-follower will just give one hour of their week to show love in a tangible way to someone who does not know the ultimate love of God?
What would happen if, instead of “National Back to Church Sunday,” we had a “National Get Out of Church Sunday?”
Have you ever thought about momentum? It is a force of movement. Some definitions define it as a quantity of movement. Momentum has been on my mind recently. Often when I think of it, Newton’s First Law of Motion also comes to mind. This law (I had to look it up) states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.
As I have thought about these things, a few things come to mind. I share them in hopes that you will find value in these questions as well.
- Do I have any momentum? Yes, I must conclude that I am moving, and since I have mass I must also be a force. Personally, I have delineated six to seven areas in which I would like to build momentum. This leads me to my next question that often arises.
- Is my momentum in the direction I want it to be? In most of those areas, yes, I am moving in the directions I desire. But there are some that are not.
- What outside forces are acting upon my momentum? There are many: demands of others on my time, expectations I feel like I need to meet, commitments I have made somewhat foolishly, and more. I recently read The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. In it, he has a chapter entitled “Radical exclusion and the Quest for Abundance.” Things like the “to-don’t” list and defining your purpose so succinctly that you are able to say “No” to those things that are distractions.
- How can I change to avoid those forces? Building new habits. After reading Chris Guillebeau, I picked up The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I just began reading this book yesterday, but am learning how habits are formed and cravings begin. What are the cues in my life that lead me into those habits that are unproductive? Which leads me to my final question.
- How can I create momentum in areas where it is lacking? The easiest answer is to simply take the first step. To create momentum, I need to create movement. No movement = no momentum. Easy to type, difficult to do.
So, my goal this week is to find an area of my life and create positive momentum.
I am curious, what momentum-killing forces do you experience and how do you avoid them?