I'm not going to say @#$% anymore.

I grew up on a construction site in Mississippi. I was around guys with names like Poochy, Chicago Lee, and Swistich. They knew how to cuss. I have struggled for years (often without much success) to avoid following in their poetic footsteps. Of the four letter words I try not to use the toughest is the b-word. Busy. It's profane and common as pigs tracks but most of us use it so we can feel important. I've decided to stop.

I took part of a day last week and attended a preaching conference at Baylor's Truett Seminay. I often cross I-35 to recharge at Truett.  Craig Barnes gave the lectures and the q and a was rich. One student asked him about how he found time to write with such a busy life. This is the distilled version of what followed -

I studied under Martin Marty and asked him the same guestion. He cut me off mid-sentence and told me not to be busy. Busy is boring. Everyone is busy. Be scheduled. 

Here's my strategy for battling busy:
Quit saying you are busy.
Do not be busy. Be scheduled.
Busy people feel like victims.  Refuse to be a victim.
Busy people often suffer from the deadly sin sloth. Busy is it's weird manifestation. Don't be a busy sloth.
Buy a calendar and watch and learn how to use them.
Learn that each moment is sacred so do one thing at a time. Pay attention.

Have a great day y'all. Don't talk @#$%!

I Have Called You Friends

Walking with Christ: A Guide for Weekly Scripture Reading and Prayer


What is this?

We are busy people. Our days are jam-packed with noise, demands, and obligations. Most of us long to be closer to Christ and to each other, but we frankly don’t know where to start. We want our families to spend quality time praying and reading Scripture together, but our days are hectic and evening comes before we’re ready.  As a church we will provide you a simple tool to carry home each Sunday.  This guide will help you slow down, remember the message you heard, and engage the biblical texts in a deeper way.  It will remind you to pray and reflect on God’s presence in your life each day. Together we can strive to be a people who not only hear God’s word but allow it to take root and transform our lives every single day. 


What do I do with it?

The guide is divided into three points.  You can do all three in one sitting or work through one a day throughout the week. The guides can be used for personal reflection or as a tool to use with your family or friends.  Each session will conclude with a children’s challenge.  This will give parents several ideas to help bring the passage to life for the whole family.

September 2-8, 2012

John 15:9-15

To begin each exercise, spend a moment in prayer, quieting your mind and asking God to speak through God’s Word. Read John 15:9-15 slowly and as many times as you need to, in order to really hear what is being said.


1.    This idea of being a friend of God is not unique to the gospel of John. Throughout Scripture we see a God who initiates relationship, friendship even, with his people. As we look at these passages throughout the week, we will recognize God as the One who first offers himself to us. We will then ask what God requires of us, as those who desire to engage in this dynamic, divine friendship.  


Read James 2:23.  

Abraham believed in God, it was counted to him as righteousness, and he was called a friend of God. What does it mean that Abraham believed in God?  He walked the earth before the law was given, and before him no official covenant had been made. What was belief for Abraham? To grasp this may help us understand how we too live into this friendship with our God.


Read Genesis 12:1-4.

Who initiates this conversation? 

Who offers the promise of commitment and faithfulness?

What is the evidence that Abraham believed God?


God comes to Abraham, a man of little significance and influence, and tells him to leave all he knows, trusting that God has something in store for him greater than Abraham could ever have imagined. “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him”

God offers Abraham a promise. Abraham listens.  And Abraham moves forward trusting that promise.

It seems for Abraham belief was about more than just thinking the right things about God. Belief was only complete when action was paired with understanding. 


How will your belief in God (in God’s character, in God’s promise, in God’s will) affect your actions today? 


Abraham’s life shows that a friend of God believes in God. True belief will always incite us to action. 


2.    Read Exodus 33:11.

Moses, too, experienced this friendship with the Living God. We catch a glimpse of how this friendship developed by looking back at Moses’ call.


Revisit this story in Exodus 3-4. 

According to Exodus, 3:1-2 who initiates this conversation?

According to Ex 3:7-9 who offers the promise of deliverance and faithfulness?

How does Moses’ response to God differ from Abraham’s?  How is it similar?


Like Abraham, Moses took the time to listen to God’s voice.  He actually turned off the beaten path and marveled at that burning bush until the Lord spoke from within it. In your relationship with God, do you consistently take the time to stop moving, stop talking, and simply marvel and listen? Take a moment to do so even now.


From his listening Moses heard a difficult word. He did not accept it without further thought or negotiation like Abraham. Instead he argued and offered other solutions. In the end, however, he followed. He stood before Pharaoh, then before the parted sea, and then before God and all the people.  

There is room for genuine dialogue in a friendship with God.  Not that Moses handled the situation well, but in the midst of his doubts and fears, God still extended the invitation to be God’s friend.

It seems Moses’ friendship with God was the result of a willingness to listen, the courage to engage and dialogue, and ultimately the trust to follow.


How will you carve out space to listen to God this week?

In which ways are you currently dialoguing with God concerning what God is calling you to do?

Are you willing to follow, no matter how this dialogue ends?


If so, we may be considered the ones who speak to God as one friend speaks to another!


3.  Read Matthew 11:19.

Jesus continues this tradition of the God who initiates friendship with humankind. As he walked the earth, Jesus noticed those who needed him most and took the time to enjoy a meal with them. The tax collectors and sinners were invited to reciprocate this act of friendship by following Jesus as he left their home and went on his way.


If Jesus walked the streets of your neighborhood today, can you imagine him choosing to knock at your door?  Of all the people he could eat with, can you imagine him choosing to eat at your table?  Today, ask God to help you believe that God really does choose you to be a friend. 


Imagine your meal with Jesus coming to an end.  He gets up, ready to move on to the next place.  Where is going?  Are you willing to follow? 


To be a friend of God we must be with God.  Just as God has chosen to be with us spiritually and  physically, we too are asked to be fully with Him. Are you with God?  God is most definitely with you!


Children’s Challenge:

·     Ask your child what it means to believe something.  Explain how the things you believe affect the way you act.  For example, if you believe the brakes on your car really work, then you’re willing to drive 70 miles/hour on a highway. If you believe your paycheck will come at the end of the month, then you will pay your bills this month. And if you believe your child will make good choices, then you will allow him/her to have some independence.  Explain how it is the same with God.  If we really believe God loves us and cares for us, then we will live in a way that pleases God.

·        Tell your child about your best friend growing up.  What made this friend so special?  What did you enjoy doing together?  What did you talk about?  How is your friendship with God similar?  How do you want your friendship with God to grow?

·        Ask your child to describe one of his/her friends.  Ask if they would be friends if they never saw each other and never talked.  Explain how our friendship with God is not so different.  For it to grow we have to make time to really be with God.  Tell your child how you make time to be with God. 
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