Blue Rock vs. Deer Hunting

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I’m not a hunter by any means (if you know me, you might have laughed at the title).  It’s a hobby that requires a lot of money and time which are two things that I don’t have in excess right now.  I’ve only gone deer hunting once, but I’ve shot blue rock or clay pigeons upwards of 50-100 times probably.  I’ll tell you up front, I’m a way bigger fan of shooting blue rock than I am of stealth hunting.  Shooting blue rock to me is less stressful, more predictable, and fast-paced.  When I’m ready to shoot (which I always am), I just say “pull” and there is instant pay-off.  As opposed to the uncertainty and patience of deer hunting, when I go clay pigeon “hunting” I know 1. how long it’s going to take and 2. how many rounds I plan on firing off.  It’s calculated, quick, and there shouldn’t really be a mess to clean up afterwords.

The same could be said about my life I suppose.  I tend to make quick decisions, and I like for life to be fast-paced most of the time.  This also means that I can be easily angered when things don’t go my way.  Also, when I can’t control a situation -I just might shut down, and I could be first to say “pull!” when a seemingly good opportunity presents itself.  While this fast-paced, forward-moving, approach to life can be a very good thing, it has potential to be quite dangerous.  In relationship to my wife, the answer isn’t always, “How can I fix this RIGHT NOW?”  When it comes to big life decisions like moving, job changes, etc. the answer isn’t always, “Let’s do it now!”

Sometimes I need to be more like the deer hunter -persisten to pursue the heart of God, while patiently waiting for him to make his move and reveal when I should shoot or hold fire.  You “deer hunters” out there are screaming “Yes! I wish my husband/wife would see it that way!”  Just hold on buck-o.  Sometime’s God just wants us just to say, “Pull” and quit waiting on the clay pigeon thrower to go off when it will never work that way.  God doesn’t want us wasting our time praying about silly things that we could just decide based on the wisdom and discernment he has already given us.

Application: Whether you’re the deer hunting-type, or the clay shooting-type, don’t be afraid to operate in contrast to how you feel.  If you can identify more with the clay shooter, you need to stop, breathe in and out a few times, assess the situation prayerfully, and then wait to see what God does before you flippantly pull the trigger.  For those that might be recognized as the deer hunting type, stay persistent in prayer.  Please stay persistent in prayer, BUT sometimes you just need to get off your hindquarters and do something!  And for both parties, let’s work together.  I would argue that some of the best decisions are made when quick-decision makers and persistant information gatherers are on the same team.

I hope this is helpful for y’all as it has been helpful for me to process a bit.  May God alone get glory in all our decisions!

The “L” Word

Liturgy

Some (if not most) of you are thinking, “Lit-what?”  Liturgy (lit·ur·gy) simply means “a form of public worship.”  In other words, a church’s liturgy is just the order of elements that shapes a church’s worship service.

The purpose of a church’s liturgy has been misunderstood.  I always thought that church’s that were “liturgical” were required to have choir members that wore fancy robes and pastors or priests that wore even fancier ones.  Church’s like these, I thought, rehearsed the same prayers every week, sang the same hymns, and ate the same crackers for communion that the church bought in bulk 30 years ago.  To be honest, I thought liturgical meant -dead and dying.  As a punk 20-year-old kid preparing to come on staff as a worship pastor at my first church (I am now a punk 24-year-old kid), “liturgy” wasn’t one of the words on my daily vocabulary cards.  I was more interested in being authentic -which really just meant I wanted a free pass to be a bit lazy and unplanned for the weekend, and then if God shows up He can take all the credit.  It’s kind of like the teenager that says, I want to party and have sex so I can have a huge testimony.  Really?

And just as everyone’s life testifies about something, every church has a liturgy.  The question is, are we being intentional with our worship services?

Over the centuries, theologians, pastors, and church leaders have sensed the importance of utilizing their church’s liturgy to (re)tell the gospel story.  A message about God’s holiness, man’s utter sinfulness and inability to save himself, and the glorious provision of God sending his Son to be our substitutionary sacrifice (Jesus dying in our place, for our sin).  In his book, “Rhythms of Grace,” Mike Cosper tells us a bit about why church’s should constantly re-tell and re-apply the gospel in our worship services.

Rehearsed regularly, the gospel becomes part of our way of thinking, seeing, feeling, loving, and being in the world.  It’s a weekly hearbeat, gathering us in and scattering us back out to our homes and workplaces, to children’s soccer games and board meetings, to chemotherapy sessions and evenings around the dinner table.  From there, we return to the gathered church, once again rehearsing the story, remembering who God has made us, singing and celebrating that identity.  Liturgy that immerses the people of God in the rhythms of grace doesn’t merely train them for gospel-centered worship; it trains them for gospel-centered lives.

Pastors and leaders, if we are going to center all of our lives on Jesus, let’s utilize every ounce of our creativity to paint a picture of the gospel week in and week out.  For those of you who don’t have a say in the church’s weekend worship, rehearse the gospel story to yourself daily.  Afterall, Sunday morning worship is just the beginning of living life saturated with Jesus.