Today was a sick day for me. I’m not feeling flash. It’s only appropriate my writing has a rest too.
I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free! ~ Georgia O’Keefe.
I saw this quote at a friends house and immediately resonated. As a creative person it’s easy to get caught up in the applause and criticism of people.
The wisest thing in both cases is to not accept either, but continue down the road you feel called to go and create the beauty you were born to create.
I think we undervalue the first step. We have 5 year plans, strategic plans, mission statements, vision nights and other whiz bang ideas to help create the ideal future. Sadly, these wads of paper and ideas typically stay on the wall or in the filing cabinet. They are mostly a waste of time.
This evening over dinner wifey was sharing with me how her morning craft with Muffin turned into something way more exciting than she initially thought. We’ve been focusing on the Easter story and today Wifey had no idea what they were going to do. Normally she’s super organised, but the cool outside weather threw her off.
An idea she saw on Playschool sprang to mind, and with that little spark, she was off.
Together they began drawing a shape, sticking on bits of paper and creating an easter egg collage. The curiosity of Muffin turned the conversation toward the real meaning of easter, which was the opening for Wifey to share more about the resurrection and the freedom we have in Jesus.
The outcome was amazing, but the step out in the beginning was critical.
I think most of the time, our plans can be pretty sterile. So often we search for surety that the direction we are heading is the right one. Or we blame our lack of movement on God, claiming “is God really calling us to go this way?”.
I don’t think our future works like that. I don’t think we can fully understand or predict the way the future will unfold, and sometimes it’s pointless to do so.
But most of the time, our infatuation with planning stops us from simply starting.
This year (kicked into gear by my Epic Writing Quest) I’m learning to just start, and see what happens. And I’m finding, the first step out of the boat and into the unknown is often the easiest. Sure, it can be tough, but without it, we are just a bundled up mess of ideas that becomes frustrated because none of them ever amount to anything.
Overthinking cripples us, and we never move to action. This is the sad reality of many people.
I can’t count the number of ideas I never started, simply through fear or lack of courage to make the jump. Without the first step, every other step is meaningless. I know that sounds obvious and kitsch, but it’s true.
Instead of determining the final outcome of your new health regime, just jump and make it up on the fly.
Instead of determining if there is a market for your new product, just build it and share it and see what happens.
Instead of launching the viability of a new mission project, just love and get to know your neighbours.
Instead of wondering if you have what it takes to make a change and do something crazy, step out, start, and see what happens.
Determine within yourself to quit the procrastination and just do something different to break the status quo in your life. Life is to short to worry about the five-year outcome of what you’re thinking, so just go for it.
Many a successful man and woman had no plan, but took a leap of faith and made shit up on the run.
You can do that too.
A few families in our HC network are gathering on Sunday for some focus time and kingdom family building. Colossians 1 is our focus so we’ve been letting the words simmer so we have something to share with the community.
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1 Paul, an emissary of Jesus the Anointed serving at God’s pleasure, along with our brother Timothy 2 to you, dear holy and faithful brothers and sisters in the family of the Anointed who live in Colossae. May grace and peace from God our Father [and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One] envelop you.
3 As always, we’ve been praying for you, thanking God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, 4 ever since we heard of your faith in Jesus the Anointed and your love for His holy ones— 5 a faith and love that emerge from the hope you have heard about in the word of truth—the gospel—the very hope that awaits you in heaven. 6-7 The same gospel that was brought to you is growing and bearing fruit all over the world, just as it has been growing among you since the day you heard and took in the truth of God’s grace from our beloved fellow servant Epaphras. (He is a faithful minister of the Anointed on our behalf.)8 He was the one who told us how you demonstrate your love in the power of the Spirit.9 Since the day we got this good news about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We ask:
The following is a prayer for knowledge and insight that only can come from God.
Father, may they clearly know Your will and achieve the height and depth of spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 May their lives be a credit to You, Lord; and what’s more, may they continue to delight You by doing every good work and growing in the true knowledge that comes from being close to You. 11 Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. 12 Thank You, Father, as You have made us eligible to receive our portion of the inheritance given to all those set apart by the light. 13 You have rescued us from dark powers and brought us safely into the kingdom of Your Son, whom You love 14 and in whom we are redeemed and forgiven of our sins [through His blood].
15 He is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal. 16 It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes.17 He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. 18 He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything—He is first. 19 God was pleased that all His fullness should forever dwell in the Son 20 who, as predetermined by God, bled peace into the world by His death on the cross as God’s means of reconciling to Himself the whole creation—all things in heaven and all things on earth.
As Paul gives thanks to God—a normal thing to do in a letter—he remembers a hymn he heard in the churches. The Colossian hymn (verses 15–20), as we call it, is all about Jesus. It celebrates His reign, first as the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos and second as the head of the church and the One who reconciles every broken thing to God by what He accomplished on the cross. In this hymn, the story of redemption is a witness to God’s love. Paul wants the Colossians to understand who they are; but to do that, they must first know to whom they belong.
21 You were once at odds with God, wicked in your ways and evil in your minds; 22 but now He has reconciled you in His body—in His flesh through His death—so that He can present you to God holy, blameless, and totally free of imperfection 23 as long as you stay planted in the faith. So don’t venture away from what you have heard and taken to heart: the living hope of the good news that has been announced to all creation under heaven and has captured me, Paul, as its servant.
24 Now I rejoice in what I’ve suffered on your behalf, but even more suffering is ahead for me as I take on and complete what remains of the Anointed’s suffering for the sake of His body, the church. 25 I am a servant appointed by God to preach the Word of God until it is known to you and all over—what I am talking about is nothing less than 26 the mystery of the ages! What was hidden for ages, generations and generations, is now being revealed to His holy ones. 27 He decided to make known to them His blessing to the nations; the glorious riches of this mystery is the indwelling of the Anointed in you! The very hope of glory.
28 We are preaching Him—spreading the Word to all with equal amounts of wise warning and instruction—so that, at the final judgment, we will be able to present everyone to the Creator fully mature because of what Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, has done.29 This is why I continue to toil and struggle—because His amazing power and energy surge within me.
The story of Jihad Jake which aired on 60 minutes was chilling television. Jake was an Aussie teenager who over several years was groomed by the Islamic State to fight the holy war in Syria.
The interview was gripping. In some ways I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, yet in others, it seemed like the logical outcome for someone like Jake who had spent is entire child and teenage years fighting a myriad of personal battles.
As I watched, I couldn’t help but think of the teenage boys I know, but also the hundreds of boys that I work with on a day-to-day basis. I could see there faces in Jake, I could hear their voices. It all seemed a little surreal for a teenage boy who grew up in the burbs and was essentially middle Australia.
The story of how Jake found himself fighting for Islamic State was astonishing. There were some parts of the interview which I believe shine a light on the warning signs for the rest of us, and other teenage boys in Australia.