We had a blast yesterday apple picking! Can you tell? We invited our friends, and there were a whole lot more of us than I expected. We only planned this trip last Thursday, so it was last minute. But that's sometimes how we roll. It was a perfect fall day. We hung out at the orchard for a couple of hours enjoying the time we had together. That's one thing that's hard about not having a building. Creating time to just hang out is logistically more difficult. But we try to create ways to spend time together. Because we like hanging out.
God didn't create us to be boring robots. He wants us to enjoy our lives and enjoy our time together. Community is important to us, because God created us to crave meaningful relationships. We're like a family. Well, some of us are family, but that's besides the point. I'm not related to anyone outside of my immediate family. But I feel like these people are my family. And that's a really cool thing.
If you'd like to have some community in your life, we'd love for you to become part of the family! Go here to see some ways that you can check us out. And if you're wondering what worship on Sunday mornings is like, go here. We would love to have you!
I did it. I accomplished my goal. I ran a 5k. “Ran” is a relative term. I didn’t walk, but you could maybe call it a slow jog. The two fastest walkers passed me before I got to the half-way point. It’s actually a little embarrassing. I was slow. At the same time I felt really good about it. I accomplished my goal.
I’m trying to get into shape. The getting in shape thing didn’t end after I finished the 5k. I still have to keep on going. I’ve got myself some accountability. I’m trying. And I appreciate all of you who have cheered me on and encouraged me. It’s been a bit humbling to say that I’m not too good at something. I have felt nothing but love. It’s meant a lot.
I ran the 5k in 45:02. The picture proves it. I’m not sure what my long term goal is. I know most people it would be to get faster or to go longer. I’m not like most people. My ankles can only handle so much. So I find myself trying to come up with new fitness goals. It’s kind of fun. It’s kind of daunting. No matter what, I still need to continue. I want to get in shape.
So our relationship with Jesus is not just that one time, “I made a decision to follow Jesus, and now I’m good.” A relationship with Jesus takes time and effort. Kind of like getting into shape. And even if we get in shape, we still need to work to stay in shape. It’s not always easy but it’s totally worth it.
I encourage you to try something a little different than what you normally do. Change it up. Keep it interesting. I’ve been memorizing a passage from the Bible this week. It’s been good. It helps me to focus on what Jesus has
taught and apply it in my own life.
So what do you want to try out that’s a little different from what you normally do?
Usually we make our resolutions at the beginning of January. And usually we’ve given up by now. I read somewhere that goals are better than resolutions. One of my goals this year is to run a marathon. Just kidding. It’s to run a 5k. Now, this may not seem like a big deal. It’s really not that long.
For me it is a big deal. For two reasons. The first reason is I have never been an active person. Even as a child I was the one who preferred to read a book. I didn’t mind, when we stayed in for recess on a rainy day. It’s a struggle. The second reason is that I have had problems in both my ankles. It’s a genetic thing. I have dealt with pain over the years. Thankfully, the doctors were right. With age the pain has lessened. I don’t talk about it too much (or at least I try). I know that other people have to deal with chronic pain far worse than I do.
Actually, my goal last year was to run a 5k. As you probably can guess, that didn’t happen. I don’t want to give up on this one. When I started to do the running last year, I had planned on writing about accomplishing my goal after I could actually run a 5k. No one besides Chris knew about my goal. I think I was afraid of failing. Then what would people think of me? (I seriously think about these things.)
When we live our lives in fear, we miss out. We know that. And we still do it. Is there something unresolved that we’ve been putting off? Is there something that we just can’t stop doing, even if we know that it’s not healthy or good for our relationship with God? Is there something that we haven’t been doing, that we know we should be doing?
If you have said “yes” to any of these, you can stop living in fear of what may happen if you tell someone. You don’t have to tell everyone. You can find a person you trust (perhaps that someone sits right in front of you at worship services), and you can ask him or her for help or even just a prayer or accountability. It takes courage. I know. When we become more vulnerable to one another, we can find that the fear will dissipate. When the fear dissipates, it can only help our relationship with other people and with God.
A few years ago I met someone through a mutual friend at church. (Before you try to figure it out who I’m writing about, let me warn you that this comes from before my time in South Londonderry.) She was around my age. I invited her out for coffee. (Again, I love coffee!) I didn’t really have an agenda. Mostly, I wanted to get to know her, and I hoped that I could be one more connection that she had to church. That’s about it.
We hit it off. I spent most of the time listening to her. I don’t recall having any super deep conversations about faith or God, although neither one of us shied away from the topics either. The coffee was good. We went our separate ways that day.
Now, I know that sharing that half hour has meant more to her than I would have ever imagined on my way home that day. She still talks about it to our mutual friend. I’m not sure that she goes to worship services every week or that she has quite figured out her relationship with God. That’s okay. It’s not a rush. I do know that she goes to worship services. I do hope and pray that one day she will have the same relationship with God that has made all the difference in my own life.
It was a God moment for sure. I know that God can use almost anything to help others to know about His love for them. Sometimes we just have to be willing to share that cup of coffee.
I just want ice cream. Usually I want it the most after dinner. Anything chocolate would work for me. You’re not going to see a picture of a bowl of ice cream on this post. If there were ice cream in the house, it would be gone before a picture could be taken. Most people call this kind of thing a craving. I’m not sure that the word “craving” is a strong enough term for this
feeling I get in the evening. Oh man, it’s rough! Now, I should say to all of you out there who don’t see me on a regular basis, there’s a reason for this
craving – there’s a baby growing inside of me. It would be easy to make that as my excuse of why I NEEEED ice cream every single night. I know that I need to take care of myself and this little one.
So I know what I am going to write about next is a little different from craving ice cream; however, I hope you’ll get my point. There’s a lot of things in this world that we want to do or even that we feel like we NEEEED to do. Some of those things can be good for us. Some of those things are not good for us. God wants the best for our lives as well as to have a relationship with Him. So, for example, if I am spending way more time thinking about or indulging in the ice cream craving than I am thinking about or spending time with God, it’s not a good thing.
How do we keep away those “cravings” that get in the way of our relationship with God? The easy answers are pray, read our Bibles, go to worship services. Those are good; however, we also need the right attitude. It’s okay for us to ask a trusted friend to walk alongside of us as we try to resist those "cravings” that keep us away from God. It’s okay to ask a friend to pray for us. It’s okay to get together with our friends to pray and to read our Bibles so we keep motivated. Let us be as a church community a support system and cheer each other on to crave a relationship with God more than anything else.
This is written by Kathleen Blackey, follower of Jesus and co-pastor at First Baptist Church.