GOD STOLE MY FANNY PACK
good news weekly 11.20.21
we are in the back half of this is study of God’s goodness in difficulty. we would love for you to check us out this sunday at 10a in-person / 10.30 online.
GOD STOLE MY FANNY PACK
so a while ago i got a letter … like an actual in the mail letter. it was BRUTAL. a response to (what i thought was) a gentle attempt to re-connect with an old friend. our relationship had for sure been strained, from perspective about 95% out of either of our control. my attempt to start over was met with a wave of anger + harshness. this letter ripped me up + down + backwards + forwards about a dozen different things. there was nothing kind or redeeming in it, just a stern recitation GO TO HELL, just said in slight more palatable Christian words.
rather than give it to a trusted confidant for context or immediately shredding it, i put in my adidas fanny pack and started carrying it around.
a little backstory:
i struggle sometimes with something akin to social sadomasochism. a counselor once termed it a form of emotional self-harm. in the same way that someone who cuts themselves is trying to control pain by inflicting it on themselves in a misguided attempt to gain control, i have had patterns over years of reading + re-reading the mean tweets or harsh emails, somehow thinking that by acting like it doesn’t hurt, it will take away the deep hurt.
a little backstory part 2:
i don’t know why i had a fanny pack. maybe i was bit too california-y at the time. maybe it was typical mid-30s reaching for something youthful in a vain attempt to stave off aging, but yes, i was carrying around a fanny pack with my wallet, airpods, small notebook, keys, etc everywhere i went for a while.
after a week of mulling this letter over day by day, i woke up one day and my fanny pack was stolen. right from the front seat of my car. this didn’t make sense. we lived at a dead-end a gated community. this wasn’t a bougie mid-western gated community vibe, but more of a ‘we put some decent houses in a sketchy area, maybe if we put a fence around them all, people will buy them’ kinda vibe. there were no security concerns. there is no reasonable explanation.
i believe God wanted that letter out of my mind so bad, He let my stuff get stolen also. He disciplined me in order to achieve His ends. while of course sinful humanity + my inevitably careless leaving of things in my car contributed, i believe God wanted it to happen.
the hassle of replacing credit cards + getting new keys was nothing compared to the pain of repeatedly pondering something that hurt so much. his discipline while painful, was a kindness.
but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
The American dream that has been taught and embedded in our culture is to work like heck to get ahead, to give a better life to your kids than you had growing up. Typically there is a list of things that you didn’t have as a kid but wished you had. That then leads you to ‘metaphorically’ put a stake in the ground and say it’s not going to be that way for my own kids. Sometimes that’s really good, if you grew up in an abusive situation or with an absentee parent or a child of divorce; since you have walked in those shoes, you are able to see the consequences of those actions and try your best not to replicate them. But, I think the danger for more, bigger, better as a means to an end is revealed in this verse. The truth is that we could run like heck toward more, better, bigger and yet miss the target that is in front of us all. Eternity is coming. We have seen in the last year and a half that for some people that came faster and more unexpectedly than they ever thought possible. I think that this verse reminds us to recognize that in gaining in the here and now we can so easily lose the perspective of the bigger picture.
I actually heard this verse on a podcast from a successful man who has accomplished things that many people unsuccessfully seek after. He was posed the question, what do you remember that your parents taught you that helped you keep perspective as you rose to be successful in your career? It was this verse that his mother engrained in his heart growing up. She wanted her children to know that whatever they seeked after career-wise, that they could be successful in this world but if they forgot who it’s for and what’s most important that they would lose out on so much more.
As I search my own heart, I think of how important it is to apply this as we approach thanksgiving and Christmas in effort to not lose sight of what’s most important. Do I truly acknowledge that I am blessed with food on my table and clothes on my back and a roof over my head? Do I acknowledge God’s goodness or am I fixated on what I don’t have? Or when I think about Christmas, am I worried about making it bigger and better for my kids than it has ever been before? Giving was God’s idea in the first place. He gave his only son for you, to die on your behalf so that you could be freed from sin and shame and have the hope of eternal life in him. Not only that but at this very moment he is preparing a place for you so that you can spend eternity with him. There is much fun to be had this holiday season, I think God wants us to enjoy life and the blessings he has given us but I think more than that he wants us to not forget the most important thing that nags at every soul. We can say that ‘Jesus is the reason for the season,’ but is our stress reflecting something completely different? He wants our joy, our peace, our hope, our kindness to be so palpable to those around us that they wonder what’s in us. Let’s not forfeit our soul by being so consumed by the things of this world. As Romans 12:2 reminds us to renew our mind each day so that we aren’t conformed to this world but transformed so that we are able to discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Maybe take this moment to search your own heart and think of how to best go into this season without losing sight of what’s most important.
Cup of Leadership
we live in an age that loves simplistic communication. the ability to take ideas to their essence drives clarity + the tribe building. being able to communicate in this manner is vital.
to distill is to purify by removing extra elements.
to reduce is to simplify by taking away elements that fundamentally change the original thing.
in the same way that the overly reformed Pauline oriented tribe turned teaching on behavior into a ‘moralism’ scarlet letter, the red letter oriented left political leaning tribe is trying to do something similarly problematic
by overly reading Jesus lifestyle into discussions about masks and vaccines and criminal justice they are revealing poor hermeneutics and underlying motivations. history
the Bible is written in a multitude of languages + literary styles + genres for a reason: it is simple enough for a child to understand yet complex enough to challenge the greatest of humans minds.
when we over-simplify in an attempt to bring more clarity than the Bible wants, we don’t serve the Bible or its author well.
distill ideas to what is simplest + clear, don’t attempt to do distill and needlessly reduce out critical components.
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feeling a little sad about the change in seasons?
don’t miss the attached spiritual reality .. new video from JGriff + I.
Monday Morning Book Review
the intentional father - jon tyson
a short but powerful book, Jon Tyson challenges fathers to make a plan for how to raise sons into adulthood. challenging without being harsh, the strength of this book is in it’s practical steps. Tyson takes us through the process he designed for his son, honestly discussing what did he poorly + well. the book also has the insight to frame much of what men deal with as fathers is framed around what they experienced as sons.
especially if you are a man from a dysfunctional background trying to make a new start with your family, buy this book + bring intentionality to your desire to raise them well.
have a great weekend …
luke + kristen