In Ten Years…

As we move into 2020…
A new year and decade…
What is God asking us to do?
In response to God’s call…
What must I leave behind?
What must I strip back to the true core?
What must I hold on to?
What new thing must I embrace?
What fear must I face?
What risk must I take?
What must I commit to daily, weekly, monthly, to arrive at God’s and my desired end?
God lead me, these days, for what you want to accomplish in the next 10 years.

– – – – – – –

I discovered a new artist this year. His name is Simon Beck. He describes himself as a snow artist. That’s right – a snow artist.

Being a snow artist doesn’t mean he makes snow angels all day long. No, that would be the extent of my snow art.

He looks for large snow canvas’s and works his magic.

Image result for simon beck snow art
Image result for simon beck snow artImage result for simon beck snow art

He has 300 pieces to date, some in the sand as well.

This got me thinking…

  • How long does it take him to complete one?
  • How much thought and planning go into this?
  • What kind of patience is needed to start these pieces, and then push through until the end?
  • Think about what they look like at the beginning? Not much I’m assuming.
  • And how long until someone like me sees progress and the art starts to take shape?

I’m like a kid when watching something like this. I’m the same when work is getting done in my home…or any kind of construction site. Intrigued, curious, enjoying the process and progress, and once in a while wishing there was more to see, more aspects of the job complete. And when it’s all done, I’m always amazed at the vision and planning behind the job – the ability to see a project come together from beginning to end.

This quote may capture what I’m thinking…

“He who works with his hands is a labouror. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

I wonder if we have the patience to see our lives in this manner? And if we have the discipline to plan, pray, strategize, and slowly but surely craft our lives, our relationships, our impact, our plans, together in this way? Look ahead to what can be, and slowly plod our way there.

We are WORKs of ART.
We are also WORKs in PROGRESS.

– – – – – –

How do we apply this to, not only a new year, a new season, but a new decade, with all the possibilities and potential that it holds?

We should take these ‘crossing points’ in our lives to plan, budget, dream, strategize, etc. But how much more important is this moment as we look at a whole other decade to live out our dreams, God’s plans, our hopes, God’s desires, all wrapped up together?

I felt we should walk through just a few scriptures today – ones that I believe are connected in some way, but will also connect the dots for us as we place our lives, our year, our decade, in the very loving and capable hands of God.

(Take note on how the words are separated. This is intentional. I’d like you to read the verse by thinking about each phrase on it’s own and then how it connects to what line comes next and what line came before it. FYI: this is a good way to meditate and reflect on scripture.)

Ephesians 2:10
We are God’s
Handiwork
Created
In Christ Jesus
To do good works
Which God prepared in advanced for us to do

We are God’s art work. God’s work of art. This is how he views us. Do we see ourselves in this way? Do we live in this truth? Do we act and do and serve and work and love with this in mind?

With that thought in mind, even though we are God’s work of art, we are still a work in progress – we are His work in progress!!!

Philippians 1:6
Be confident of this
He who began
A good work
In you
Will be faithful
To complete it

We need to know this at every stage of the game…every season and stage of our life – as kids, teens, young adults, adults, married, single, parents, not parents, seniors, elderly – ALL seasons.

God started something good in you. He won’t give up on you or the work he’s doing in and through you.

We are partnering with God in becoming who he wants us to be, so we need to play our part in this good work he is doing in and through us.

Psalm 90:12
Teach us
To number our days
That we may gain a heart of wisdom

What does it mean to number our days?

To plan them well.
To understand the significance of a moment, of a season, of the time we have and the time we’ve already lost.
– Today, tomorrow, this month, this year, this decade, our whole life.
We are smarter when we do this!!!
– Unwise people don’t think about their days at all, they let them slip through their fingers.

Perhaps you’ve had these thoughts: I don’t want Monday to arrive? I’d rather let this day pass in hopes that tomorrow is better? You want me to number my days? Take them seriously? Plan well for them? Take them on? Each one of them, like they mean something? YES!

Psalm 90:17
May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us
Establish the work of our hands
Establish the work of our hands

David doesn’t say, establish the work of ‘your’ hands, but of ‘our’ hands. Our work. Our planning. Our sweat. Our labour. IN CONNECTION with GOD’s work, God’s heart, God’s plans, God’s vision for us and this world.

– – – – – –

As we look at the next 10 years, and we begin to work towards the ART God calls us to create and make, what will we do to get there – to accomplish our/his goals, in and through us?

In 10 years, what do you want your…
– Relationships to look like
– Finances to look like
– Parenting to look like
– Work/Career/Vocation to look like
– Neighbourhood to look like
– Spiritual formation to look like
– The Village to look like

 

 

 

Think about Simon Beck’s SNOW ART. Think about how beautiful and grand it looks. Now think about this: as big and beautiful as it is, it takes a step at a time to get there. Simon started with one step, then another, then another. But not just any kind of step, a well planned and thought out step, one that he knew would get him to his desired end.

What steps will you take – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, to get to where God wants you in the next ten years. You can do it. The good work God has started in you is far from over. Keep moving forward. So, God willing, when we get to 2030, you’ll look back and be able to say, “Look what God did in and through me these last ten years.”

Breathe in & out

One of the most important things we can do post Christmas is…

…to ensure we get our garbage & recycling sorted out.

How happy was I to see that my street’s garbage collection would not be affected by the holidays.

However, that morning, I woke up to…hearing…you guessed it…the garbage truck only a few houses away from  mine… (I woke up later than I intended:)

What was not going to happen that day?
The recycling, compost and garbage was not staying in my house…it had to be gone.
What did I do…? I used my the bottom of neighbour’s driveways to put out my garbage and compost. Note that I’ve pre-asked some of them in case this ever happens. So we’re good.

This is a weekly rhythm for all of us…
– Buy groceries / Consume food
– Collect the remains and bring it to the curb

Some times it’s the opposite…we take things out, to make room for something new to enter our home.

– – – – – – –

Life, at it’s basic level is breathing in and breathing out.
(Remember the Karate kid: wax on, wax off, breathe in, breathe out)

This New Year I wasn’t pulled in or attracted to resolutions or lists or goals…but this simple idea:

Breathe in what you want. Breathe out what you don’t.

Kathy Escobar says it this way, “Take in what we need and let go of what we don’t”

If you follow The Village on social media, you would’ve seen this image pop up on New Year’s day…

Breath in Peace               Breathe out  Anxiety
Breath in Hope                Breathe out  Despair
Breath in Courage           Breathe out  Fear
Breath in Mercy               Breathe out  Unforgiveness
Breath in Peace               Breathe out  Division
Breath in Rest                 Breathe out  Hurry
Breath in Jesus

These words from Isaiah will help us here…(43:18-19)
Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland…

Forget the former things…
– Let go of 2019
– Not like it didn’t happen, but don’t let it hold you down or hold you back
– What pain or fight or hurt or conflict, may have helped you grow, but now is time to say goodbye to it? Is it  occupying too much space in your mind and heart?
See
– open your eyes to God’s newness
I am doing a new thing (what is it? ask God?)
I am making a way in the wilderness
– verses 16-17 speak to this as God reminds Israel about their deliverance from Egypt)
And streams in a wasteland
– 2020 won’t be perfect, but God will lead you through whatever comes your way.

None of this newness can happen to us when we’re in a hurry.

For us to breathe in God’s newness, we need to stop, think, pray, be quiet, and hear from him about what that newness actually is!

Slow Down
Pause
Be Quiet

Listen to the first words of Psalm 23…
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul…

I love what David does here. He tells us that we must ‘lie down’, and we must be ‘led to quiet waters’, and when we do that, our ‘souls can be refreshed’.

Listen now to Psalm 46:10
Be Still and know that I am God

The word still comes from the word vacate. So maybe God is telling us to take a vacation from trying to be god, and let him be God instead?

Finally, the word Selah, that pops up 71 times in the Psalms – this is a ‘middle’ word or an ‘in between’ word between verses and phrases in the Psalms. No one knows for sure what it means. It’s possibly just a technical note for readers and musicians.

Best guess? Selah is an invitation to pause, to weigh the words we are praying. An intermission, if you will. A moment to reflect on what just happen, and plan well for what we may hear next or what may come next.

Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Only when we pause, when we rest, when we Selah, when we are quiet…is when we can Breathe in Jesus!!!

– – – – – –

Why do we call Sundays an Intermission at The Village? Because our hope is that in the few minutes we have together, we want to breathe out the week before, and breathe in Jesus! Time well spent eh?

– – – – – –

This week, take time, make time, to…

Breath in Peace               Breathe out  Anxiety
Breath in Hope                Breathe out  Despair
Breath in Courage           Breathe out  Fear
Breath in Mercy               Breathe out  Unforgiveness
Breath in Peace               Breathe out  Division
Breath in Rest                 Breathe out  Hurry
Breath in Jesus