Ash Wednesday Service
“Are we there yet?” It’s not just a question that children ask their parents on a long journey. It’s a question that many ask in life. Have we arrived? Have we fulfilled our goals? Scaled the heights of our ambitions? Reached the pinnacle of our aspirations? We all have an instinctual motivation to aspire to greater things, to make something happen or to have an impact through our life. Ambition by itself is neither good or bad. But today as we continue a journey of deliberate discipleship, Jesus challenges the inner motivations that drive our ambition. He leads us on a path that is relationship driven rather than results driven; a way that transforms our motivations into a life that reveals his glory and makes a powerful impact for eternity. Less ambition...more submission. Are you there yet?
#6 in series: Addition by Subtraction
Being spread too thin is a reality for many of us. Competing demands. Overwhelming needs. High or unreachable expectations. It's burdensome trying to be all things to all people. It's exhausting when we feel stretched to capacity. It's demoralising when our best efforts end in failure. It's frustrating when we can't find a solution to fix the problems that confront us. When the margins are gone and you are running on empty, the “demons” just won’t budge. That's what we discover today. It’s difficult to live "in-between" success & failure, certainty & doubt, faith & unbelief…where fragile faith becomes desperate faith. But in all things, Jesus does not leave us alone in that in-between space. He comes to be with us so that our daily experience is one of less noise, more hearing as we walk the thin line between fragile faith and desperate faith in his presence and with his power.
#5 in series: Addition by Subtraction
Experts say we live in an Attention Economy and our wealth or net worth is measured in clicks, likes, page-views, downloads, swipes followers & friends. Every second of our life, something is craving for our attention - notifications, spam, RSS feeds, social network requests, sponsored posts, reminders or news bulletins. Distraction has become habitual. Checking your phone while waiting in line is our default. Stopping mid-sentence while reacting to vibrations real or imagined is common place. These distractions push us further away from the abundance of life God desires for us to receive. We spectate rather than create. Live on the side-lines instead of get in the game.
But God calls us to keep our attention focused on Jesus. He invites us to listen to his voice so that no matter where we are, who we’re with, or what is happening we respond to him alone as he lives through us to bless and transform our world. Distractions may never go away but in their midst we can offer a broken hurting community looking for "the next thing," the transfigured, transforming, risen Jesus. He alone stills the disturbances of our lives, and calms the clamourings of our hearts. He invites us to share his glory by fixing our attention & devotion on his life given for us. So join us today as we explore less distraction...more focus
#4 in series: Addition by Subtraction
Do you remember this "Snickers Ad campaign. "You are not you when you're hungry." Is that you? Are you prone to becoming 'hangry'? Or irritable, or impatient, or easily annoyed. How do you react when your plans are interrupted? How do you respond when someone asks you for something that is more than you think you can give or more than you think they deserve? Deliberate discipleship is asking Jesus to deepen our trust and dependence on him and be present with compassion however life unfolds. It is asking Jesus to use us as he pleases for the purposes of his kingdom at whatever cost. It is asking Jesus to empty us of our plans and intentions to serve the immediate needs of those right before us. As Jesus works in us we discover that God meets our needs in the most unexpected ways for whenever there is less self and more sacrifice, God promises that there is always an abundance for all. We'll explore that today.
#3 in series: Addition by Subtraction
They are found on our computers. Used by mechanics, health professionals, teachers, coaches and employers. Diagnostic tools. Their purpose is to determine a fault, exclude an illness, gain insight, highlight vulnerabilities, explain causes, aid in self-understanding, monitor situations, restore to original condition, promote well-being and improve life. They are gifts in our journey. In our spiritual walk, we also have a diagnostic tool that hightlights emptiness, exposes vulnerabiities, determines faults, gives insight into those deep places of the soul that are needing to be filled. In the face of all that would lead us away from him or causes us to distrust his goodness & love, God comes in our tempted moments...to satisfy, fill, & repair all that is broken, empty, & weak...to take us deeper into his presence & power so that in Christ we receive less appetite & more fulfilment...eternally. We'll explore and experience that today.
#2 in series: Addition by Subtraction