Friday, March 1, 2013

30 Days With Wesley: Terra Nova

As I sit down to write this post, I am wondering exactly what to write about my experience today that would be a benefit to the reader. My website here, as I have mentioned before, is not intended to be a personal blog. I had one of those for many years, in several incarnations. They were good experiences. But here I want to be able to help others in their spiritual journeys.

And yet, I've always found that if I can't offer something out of my personal experience, it is pretty hard to be of help to anyone. I could teach you how to play major league baseball...but what do I know about it, despite being a big time Detroit Tigers fan? Sure I might be able to teach you something, but somehow it just wouldn't be the same as if it were coming from, say, Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander. Now those guys know how to play the game.

On the other hand, it's important not to minimize the contributions of many people to the game of baseball who aren't household names: Little league coaches, college batting instructors, minor league roving assistants, moms and dads who sacrificed long hours and high dollars to help their kids have a shot at success in the big leagues. All those people contribute something of value to the game and can be learned from, but just like Cabrera or Verlander, they are able to do so out of their personal experience.

When it comes to spiritual formation, then, whether I am closer to St. Francis of Assisi and Richard Foster or Joe Small Group Leader and John Prayer Warrior's Dad (I strongly suspect the latter group) isn't really consequential as long as I have something from personal experience to offer. The small stuff matters, because in the end, and in God's Kingdom, the small stuff is the big stuff.

This morning's opening Scripture in 30 Days with Wesley was exactly the same as the first morning, as if to remind me:

"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise" (Psalm 51:15).

How often we forget what God has already shown us and taught us.

It's Friday. If you attended what I like to call a "building church" last Sunday, what was the sermon about? What did you learn or take from it that has been useful to you this week? If you didn't attend a "building church" - perhaps you had an office or other meeting earlier this week. Can you summarize the main points of that meeting? See what I mean? You might actually remember...but how about the previous week? Or the week before that? See what I mean?

How often we forget what God has already shown us and taught us.

I don't want to re-learn lessons already learned, over and over and over again. I want to walk on terra nova (if you don't know what that means, now would be a good time to look it up before you go any further). But of course, sometimes terra nova, in the Kingdom of God, is really what already was, made new again.

I'm embarking on this 30 days doing many things I've done before: Prayer, Scripture reading, using a prayer book, pushing out thoughts and material to my network on Facebook and my website. But this is terra nova.

And I have the growing feeling (actually, it's much more than just a feeling) that this is what God is up to in my life right now: Walking with me, forward, onto and into terra nova; but not just any terra nova - it is what already was, made new again.

I love that God is always about redemption, renewal, restoration, and transformation. Oh, and yes: Resurrection.

Which reminds me of a conversation I was having on line today. Let me quote myself (if I may!):

"Many people would like to have 'historical' or 'factual' 'proof' of Jesus' resurrection. They would say that, if they had that, then they would believe. But actually...if we did have that kind of "proof" - it would paradoxically not be sufficient to actually believe - it would only be knowledge in our head. We would say something like, 'Oh, yes, Jesus, that's the guy who came back from the dead way back when. Only person in history ever known to do it. Remarkable, isn't it?' So the only real proof of Jesus' resurrection is the relationship we have with Him - the conversation between He and us as the Spirit witnesses with our Spirit that we belong to Christ. The apostles' witness is the only real, convincing proof that Christ lives and is who He said He is - the Son of God, the Messiah. And that is the witness that has been passed down to us today. We do have proof. He is alive. He is in us. And we are changed forever. Amen!"

It's been a long day. It's been a busy day. It was our "Fabulous Friday" for our teen quiz team. We started early, finished late. It's been a good day. Maybe the thing that would be of most benefit to share today out of my personal experience is that, as I said before, the small stuff matters - and matters most - in the Kingdom of God. Nothing earth shattering happened today. But what happened today is going to have a major impact on the rest of my life and those I've been in relationship with today, wherever I've been and whatever I've done.

Some people in an obscure location in the Roman empire claimed a guy they followed around for a few years was raised from the dead. Not an everyday occurrence granted, but small stuff compared to what was going in the rest of the world. Or was it? Small steps of obedience, in the midst of our stumbling and bumbling, done every day, lead to...

...terra nova...

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