Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!

Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
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Friday, May 29

Today’s Readings: Psalm 53; Ezekiel 7:1-13; Luke 11:14-23; Romans 8:12-17; Psalm 33

Two years ago during my sabbatical, I had the chance to read a book that had a profound effect on me The book was called The Contemplative Pastor, and it was written by Eugene Peterson. In the book, Peterson talked about three qualities he felt an effective pastor should have. Two of the qualities he listed were ones I expected to see. The third was somewhat of a surprise. The third quality an effective pastor should have, Peterson wrote, is that he/she should be apocalyptic. By that, he meant a pastor should have a sense of urgency about his/her pastoral work that inspires others to feel a sense of urgency as well. This is a challenge for many of us in the progressive church since we put such an emphasis on God’s unconditional love. Now don’t get me wrong. The notion that God loves us unconditionally isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. The problem is what we’ve done with the idea. Because we know that God will love us no matter what – we can get awfully complacent about the way we lead our spiritual lives. Let’s say we have a choice to get the kids up on a Sunday morning and take them either to soccer practice or Sunday school. Where do we take our kids? Or let’s say our work schedule changes and we suddenly have an extra 30 minutes before work in the morning. What do we do with the extra time in our morning? Do we use the time to strengthen our spiritual life through some time of prayer and devotion, or do we sleep in? Often times, because of the notion that God will love us no matter what, our spiritual practices fall toward the bottom of our “to do” lists. Consequently, the quality of our spiritual lives suffers greatly. Today’s reading from Ezekiel is a “nice” challenge to our rather laid back approach. The words from Ezekiel confront us by saying: “The end of business as usual for everyone… Endtime – the end comes… Judgment Day! Fate has caught up with you… Time’s up. Coundown: five, four, three, two, one…” If that isn’t apocalyptic language I don’t know what is! I’m not suggesting that we should hear these words and make substantive changes to our life that our fear based. That’s because I’ve learned that most fear-based behavioral changes rarely last. What I am saying, however, is there is a wake-up call here that challenges us to move our spiritual lives much higher on our priority list. So how would you characterize your approach toward your spiritual life? Do you have a prevailing sense of apathy or complacency toward your spiritual life, or do you feel a sense of urgency about the matter? Til next time…

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