Recently I’ve been thinking about the call of Jesus to take up our cross and follow Him. Truthfully, I don’t like that verse — probably not many of us do. But I don’t think I really understood it. And honestly, I probably have never spent enough time thinking about it to understand it.
However, you can’t get away from the fact that the Gospel of Jesus is self-denial, but the gospel of Kevin (and this culture) is self-fulfillment and entitlement — comfort.
For as long as I’ve been a pastor, I’ve noticed God’s presence is one of the most talked-about ideas but, I think, misunderstood as well. In my observation, it’s because we define God’s presence by the goosebumps we can, at times, feel. While we all love that sensory confirmation of God’s presence, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
I just finished a 3 month sabbatical! I went into it on a journey towards emotional health. It started about five years ago, when I was introduced to the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. It’s been a slow journey. I’ve re-read EHS a few times and referred back to chapters another half dozen. It’s been useful in helping me navigate relationships, but also propelled me on a journey of inner healing.
My wife got up early and braved the cold, the rain and the long lines at the grocery story this morning. And she was victorious!! She came back with the oh so coveted toilet paper. And as our bounty of paper products and cleaning supplies were laid out on our counter — and we cheered with great celebration — it occurred to me that this season of scarcity has brought us a great opportunity. We didn’t know we needed it, but it may be one of the best things that could happen to us.