Tomorrow marks the beginning of a brand new year, and many of us have new hopes and new habits that we are ready to enjoy and set in motion starting tomorrow. Personally, I’m making a commitment to eat less sugar, own less stuff, use less screen-time, get more sleep and embrace more silence in my life — I’m going to try and devote the first hour of every day to silence, psalm reading and prayer. We all know that there are things in our lives that we need to alter or do better, and the New Year often gives us the spark of motivation that we need to actually implement these things.
The week after Thanksgiving has become the most refreshing week of the year for Tanner and I. That is because every year for the last seven years, we have attended PAO’s Increase Conference during this time. This event provides a place for professional athletes to gather together and to learn from gifted speakers and teachers concerning how our Christian faith should be impacting our relationships, finances and careers.
Minor League Baseball can breed this awkward team dynamic where everyone's individual pursuit of the Big Leagues secretly but not-so-secretly trumps the overall performance of the team. Sadly (but truthfully), this can cause players to struggle with the success of their own teammates (especially those who play the same position). And so, even though your teammate's success will help the overall performance of the team, it can also be seen as a potential threat to your individual pursuit of being the next guy who gets called up to the Big Leagues.
The first groups of Jesus followers devoted themselves to core habits that helped strengthen their unity as a group and their allegiance to Jesus. These are core habits that have been carried on throughout the history of the church and are the essential elements that make up a healthy group of Jesus followers.
I am a regular at the local coffee shop in Downtown Woodstock as it has become my own personal office. Rather than playing zone defense in an attempt to defend my privacy from four children under the age of eight, I sit quietly at my favorite table up against the wooden bleacher seating unique to Copper Coin Coffee in Woodstock, Georgia. This coffee shop get-a-way is an application of wisdom and discernment on my part. As I sit there each week and cherish my Ethiopian pour-over, I seek to take advantage of this quiet time. It is here that I often find the Holy Spirit subtly offering His wisdom aimed directly at my heart.
In the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign in Judah, he initiates a project to renovate and repair the temple of the Lord. In the midst of this project, we are given a glimpse into the reality of how far the nation had fallen as we are told that the high priest "found the Book of the Law" during renovations to the temple in Jerusalem. What does it say about the people as a whole when their high priest stumbles upon the very book that he is supposed to be obeying and teaching to the people?