Archives for February 2019

Adam’s Devotional – February 28 – March 6, 2019

From Adam…

Right after Jesus is baptized, the Spirit leads him into the wilderness. For 40 days and 40 nights, he doesn’t eat anything. Then the devil shows up and tempts him with power, knowledge, and influence. But why does he fast for 40 days first? Why not jump right into the temptations? We could talk about the spiritual discipline of fasting, but maybe something else is going on here.  We live in a consumer culture. We consume food, news, social media, images, videos, etc. We consume because it’s fun, entertaining, and at its best can lead to creativity and connection. But at its worst, we consume to numb ourselves to our feelings. We buy or pursue products or entertainment that promises to fulfill us but ends up only distracting us from how hard it is to be human. In this on-demand world where convenience and instant gratification rule the day, maybe we need to practice a little boredom. Maybe we need to practice a little delayed gratification.  Maybe the first step to dealing with the devil . . . dealing with the real hard questions about life, identity, calling, and purpose begins with slowing down and making room to encounter those questions in the first place. God’s up to something . . . slow down.

Adam’s Devotional – February 21-27, 2019

From Adam…

After spending way too long on Google and coming up dry, I’m pretty sure that Karl Barth (famous reformed Swiss theologian) did not say the following statement, but I attribute the idea to him.  “A being is free insofar as it can limit itself.”  Freedom is not revealed in what we can do but in what we choose not to do.  If you look at the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil, it’s clear that Jesus was free.  Each of the devil’s temptations are well within Christ’s capacity, but he says, “no.” He limits himself, and in so doing reveals his freedom. How often do we define freedom with an opposite definition?  Do we think that freedom means we can do whatever we want for as long as we want whenever we want? If so, then Jesus invites us into of different kind of freedom. What are the things you are free to do but may need to say “no” to? We have freedom to shut down when someone spouts a belief or political opinion that we disagree with. What if we said “no” to that? We have freedom to talk about people’s stories and opinions when they are not around to defend themselves. What if we said “no” to that?  We have freedom to distract ourselves from real life through work, social media or Netflix. What if we said “no” to that? When Jesus says “no” to the devil in the dessert, he is saying “yes” to a true, free life. How can you say “yes” to that true free life today?  God is up to something.  Be a part of it!

Adam’s Devotional – February 14-20, 2019

From Adam…

The Bible begins with God present in the “formless void and darkness”. And the first thing God says is, “Let there be light!” The first thing God does is to create light out of darkness. God creates possibility where there was nothing.  God creates hope where there was none before.  The first thing we see God do and the first action we see God take, is to create light and hope where there was only darkness and void.  Where are the places in your life right now where there is no light? What are the situations in your life where you feel stuck and could use a little divinely created possibility? What are the relationships in your life where you could use a little possibility?  How is God calling you to be a part of that Divine creativity? Who are the people in your life who could use a little hope, and how could God be calling you to bear and to bring that hope? The good news is that if you find yourself in a tight spot, if you find yourself in place where there is little possibility and no sign of hope, God is comfortable working there.  That’s actually the first thing God does in scripture.  Maybe God could do the same thing in your life.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – February 7-13, 2019

From Adam…

You know what’s crazy?  When you’re born, you don’t know your name. You have to learn, discover, and figure out what your name is as well as where it came from and what it means.  Even if you woke up one day and pronounced to everyone, “From now on you will call me Morty, for my true name is Mortimer Finetooth Livingston,” it really wouldn’t be your true name. Unless you go to the trouble of legally changing your name, the name your family gives you is the name you keep. God also gives us a name. We didn’t ask for this name; it was just given to us, and we get to figure out what it means.  God calls us Beloved, and there is no form we can fill out to change it.  Like it or not, believe it or not, ready or not, God calls us Beloved. Do you know your name?  Do you know what God calls you?  What would change in your life if you believed that who you were deep down was God’s beloved?  What would happen if you believe what St. Augustine wrote, that “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us”? God has gone to great lengths to teach us our true name. God calls our name through scripture, in worship, and fully and completely through Jesus Christ. How much time have you spent listening to God call you “the beloved? God has named you. Learn your name. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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