“q” time

hourglassI wonder what is important to you?

Sometimes life gets in the way and what is urgent gets in the way of that which is important. The lines between what is urgent and what is important are often blurred.  A deadline that must be met.   A project that is past due.  A meeting that needs to be attended.  A person that requires your attention.  Are these urgent or important?  It very often might be that they are indeed both.

time bombOur priorities are easily revealed.  And it’s not as if the urgent mustn’t sometimes temporarily outweigh the important.  But the amount of time and attention we give to any particular person or practice tends to grant us insight into that which comprises our priorities.

We may say that our family is a priority to us, but if what our children see in us is that we are capable of granting all sorts of time and energy toward other people and other endeavors, and little time toward them, what does it communicate to them in regard to where they rate on our scale of priorities?  We may say (and even believe) that we love our spouse more than any other person on the face of the planet, but if we spend more time on the golf course or more energy at the office than we’d ever think about affording to them, what is communicated to them as to how intentional we are in validating the relationship that we share?  And what about God?  Where does He fit in?  We say that God is first in our lives?  Is He really?  How much focus is centered upon God during the course of your week?  Take church attendance out of the picture.  What attention does He receive?

tranquilSomehow we’ve found it extremely easy to con ourselves into believing that right theology equals right relationship.  The truth is, if our theology was right, we would find it all together impossible to think this way.

John Stott in his work, “The Living Church,” describes how on his calendar he would mark the letter “Q” on one specific day each month (Stott passed away in 2011).  The “Q” stood for “quiet.”  Once a month, on a day that he had designated and planned long beforehand, he would go to a quiet place.  Away from the office.  Away from the busyness of life.  Away from interruptions.  And he would spend 10 to 12 hours that day, by himself, “quiet,” with God.  One day a month with no agenda, other than “quiet” time with God.  Prayer.  Study.  Closeness.  Intimacy with God.  What does that say about Stott’s priorities?  What does it say about his desire to be with the Father?

What if you were to plan a “Q” day each month?  Or a “Q” hour each week?  Or “Q” time each day?

What would it say about your priorities?  How might it impact your walk with the Lord?

Glory to God!

Jason

“Q” time

hourglassI wonder what is important to you?

Sometimes life gets in the way and what is urgent gets in the way of that which is important. The lines between what is urgent and what is important are often blurred.  A deadline that must be met.   A project that is past due.  A meeting that needs to be attended.  A person that requires your attention.  Are these urgent or important?  It very often might be that they are indeed both.

time bombOur priorities are easily revealed.  And it’s not as if the urgent mustn’t sometimes temporarily outweigh the important.  But the amount of time and attention we give to any particular person or practice tends to grant us insight into that which comprises our priorities.

We may say that our family is a priority to us, but if what our children see in us is that we are capable of granting all sorts of time and energy toward other people and other endeavors, and little time toward them, what does it communicate to them in regard to where they rate on our scale of priorities?  We may say (and even believe) that we love our spouse more than any other person on the face of the planet, but if we spend more time on the golf course or more energy at the office than we’d ever think about affording to them, what is communicated to them as to how intentional we are in validating the relationship that we share?  And what about God?  Where does He fit in?  We say that God is first in our lives?  Is He really?  How much focus is centered upon God during the course of your week?  Take church attendance out of the picture.  What attention does He receive?

tranquilSomehow we’ve found it extremely easy to con ourselves into believing that right theology equals right relationship.  The truth is, if our theology was right, we would find it all together impossible to think this way.

John Stott in his work, “The Living Church,” describes how on his calendar he would mark the letter “Q” on one specific day each month (Stott passed away in 2011).  The “Q” stood for “quiet.”  Once a month, on a day that he had designated and planned long beforehand, he would go to a quiet place.  Away from the office.  Away from the busyness of life.  Away from interruptions.  And he would spend 10 to 12 hours that day, by himself, “quiet,” with God.  One day a month with no agenda, other than “quiet” time with God.  Prayer.  Study.  Closeness.  Intimacy with God.  What does that say about Stott’s priorities?  What does it say about his desire to be with the Father?

What if you were to plan a “Q” day each month?  Or a “Q” hour each week?  Or “Q” time each day?

What would it say about your priorities?  How might it impact your walk with the Lord?

Glory to God!

Jason

top 5 “must reads”

Man carrying large stack of books

Top 5 “must reads” of 2011….

1) The Radical Disciple by John RW Stott

When John Stott passed away a few months ago, to my surprised, I cried.  It was weird.  But what I came to realize is that so much of my life and theology and thinking and ministerial philosophy have been shaped by dear “Uncle John.”  The Cross of Christ and The Incomparable Christ are both well worn as they sit upon my shelf.  The Radical Disciple is Stott’s final work.  And he knew it.  Through the prologue Stott wonderfully says his “farewells.”  In The Radical Disciple Stott speaks from the heart and the end of a valiant and humble life.

2) Radical by David Platt

Platt confronts any inkling of self-righteous, pharisaical religiosity.  Radical is a call to faith that is real.  Faith that is authentic and genuine.  Faith that is truly, fully, wholly faith.  Our ministry team went to the D6 conference in Dallas a few months ago and Platt was one of the speakers.  Toward the end of his time he said, “I realize that after everything I’ve shared I’ve made a few of you angry.  But I’ve learned in ministry that about 10% of those who listen aren’t going to like me, and frankly, I’m good with that!”  🙂  Our Tuesday morning group worked through Radical chapter by chapter.  We are better Christians, disciples, husbands, and fathers because of it.

3) Why Jesus? by William Willimon

At the Tulsa Workshop last year Terry Rush advocated Will Willimon’s Why Jesus? to our Thursday morning group.  Following Jesus will lead you into dangerous territory.  Too often we seek to avoid conflict.  But if we’re following Jesus how can we avoid it?  Willimon calls us to a close, intimate understanding of this One we hail Lord and Master.  The challenge of faith is to follow.  And to follow Jesus.  Not Jesus as a flannel-graph.  But Jesus as the Way, Truth, and Life.  I’ve read Willimon for years.  You can’t go wrong with anything that comes from his pen.  But Why Jesus? is arguably his best work yet.

4) Generous Justice by Timothy Keller

“He has shown you what is good.  To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).  “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice'” (Matthew 9:13).  Tim Keller’s The Reason for God and especially The Prodigal God are both phenomenal.  If I had done a top five list of what I read last year The Prodigal God would have been at the top!  And so if you haven’t read it you’d be extremely blessed if you did.  Generous Justice is what is becoming to me “vintage Keller.”  Intellectual and yet practical.  Both sophisticated and heart changing.  Keller’s treatise is to live like Jesus.  Compassion.  Humility.  Conviction.  To have a Kingdom purpose and vision.  Eyes that see and ears that hear.  To see life through the lens of Christ and to love God and love others in a way that we as Christ’s church have failed miserably in previous generations to attain to or even aspire to.  If a big picture view of the work of God is what your seeking, Generous Justice is an excellent place to start.

5) Costly Grace by Jon Walker

If you know me well at all you know my affinity toward all things Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I’ve read The Cost of Discipleship at least a half a dozen times.  Jon Walker’s wonderful work Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship is an invaluable companion.  He takes the themes that Bonhoeffer unpacks in Cost and runs with them.  The pursuit of costly grace and denial of anything that cheapens the grace of God made manifest in the Gospel of Jesus.  If you’ve never read Bonhoeffer or do not know his history you’re missing out!  If I were you, in 2012 I’d read: 1) The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer 2) Eric Metaxas’s brilliant biography, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and 3) Jon Walker’s Costly Grace.  And in that order.  If you’ll do that in the coming months, you’ll never be the same.

I’ve read about 20 books this year.  Most of which were published over the last couple of years.  There are others that came very close to edging out one or two of the five that I’ve listed here.  But if you’re asking me, these five are an excellent, excellent place to begin.

Glory to God!

Jason