Posts Tagged ‘spiritual disciplines’


May 27, 2009 Leave a comment

I think that hidden somewhere within the definition of rhythm is the word discipline.  I have always had trouble with the concept of discipline.  Not so much when it has to do with disciplining a child or other forms of correction, but more-so when it’s used to describe personal discipline.  This, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is one area in which I feel completely helpless.  I have no power over the things I want to do.  Rather, the very things I don’t like to do, or should do at another, more opportune time, that’s what I end up doing.  Sounds a little familiar to something an ancient saint once wrote…

So, as a youth minister, there are certain tasks which are part of the job.  A pretty significant one on that list, teaching classes.  I could wing it most of the time, but what good does that do for anyone involved?  I’ve probably mentioned it before as well; I strongly feel that we all learn best by experience and self discovery.  That said, how do we find new rhythms of experience?  How can we discipline ourselves for self discovery?  How can we align ourselves along the paths God has laid?

One of the things I’m working toward in this new ministry I’ve started is creating a culture, even an ecosystem, of friendship, relationship and growth.  I desire a place where teenagers can come, bringing friends, and know, without a doubt, that they are going to experience the love of Christ in new and even shocking ways.  I don’t want us to do the “same ole, same ole…”  I believe it should be possible to create a culture that produces people who care about obvious things like, loving God and each other as well as taking care of this planet, keeping a reign on our tongues and working peacefully for justice in this world.  The Kingdom of Heaven is something people should and can experience now, not when you die.  It’s my conviction that the Kingdom reaches much further than the typical read you Bible, go to church and follow all the rules.  I would argue that as important as we may think those things are, we too often miss the boat.  In fact, I would also argue that for most of evangelical Christianity, the boat is completely out of sight and we’ve become comfortable treading water thinking this is it…

Here’s the deal.  Discipline is vitally important.  But, we’ve got to start aiming our ammunition in other direction.  We’ve got to use our energy for Kingdom purposes.  If we believe God is a God who cares about this world, then as imitators of him, we’d better get after it.  Ever wonder why even the mention of God or Christian or church stirs up such nasty aromas in people?  It’s probably because the god they’ve seen in people around them says, “you have to go to church, you have to act a certain way and if you don’t, I’ll eradicate you.  And by the way, you’re a screw-up and you’d better get things right before you come through the doors of our church…”

All that to say, as followers of Jesus, distinct from the “religious elite” and “posers” who like the benefits of religion, we have to set some new rhythms.  Doing things the same ole way is going to produce the same ole results, 100% of the time.  I follow the One who offers life, and freedom, and excitement, right here, right now.  His Kingdom promises a better life for everyone, here and now, not sometime in the distant, invisible future.

So, what’s that means for my youth group and the class I’m supposed to teach tonight?  I have no idea… I’m glad God is in control and does what he needs to despite my awful handicaps.