Back in 2006, while I was doing ministry in Houston, I had taken the youth group of The United Korean Church of Houston to a Dare 2 Share conference. In one of the talks that Greg Stier gave, he explained that there were three types of people: rebels, posers, and losers. He challenged us to be “losers” for Christ (Matthew 10:39). Recently, I had an epiphany that took this lesson to the next level for me. For the longest time, I had arrogantly thought of myself as so important . . . so knowledgeable/smart/spiritual. I was deeply humbled by the realization that I wasn’t “all that.” It forced me to look at myself (and my past) and review my relationships and social interactions in a different way. When you start to think of yourself as “less than,” I believe it offers you a huge opportunity to grow.
In March, I saw this great TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal about how to make stress your friend. She was talking about how we generally view stress as a negative thing, but maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should take a different perspective. Stress could rather be the body’s physical response to bolster us to overcome the obstacles that we encounter in everyday life. I thought to myself that this could be the same for faith. The word “stress” is not in the Bible, so I decided the next best word that could most embrace the meaning was the word “suffering.” The Bible talks much about suffering. Romans 5:1-5 talks about suffering leading to hope. Perhaps Christians need to take a different perspective on suffering. Rather than seeing it as negative, maybe it could be seen as a way to bolster faith.
I remember one time in one of my seminary classes, our professor told us that we were not allowed to double-dip. What? Double-dipping is the process by which a student uses one assignment to fulfill the requirements of two (or three) different classes. It seemed a little strict, but I understood the reasoning behind it. It was an issue of integrity and each class had its own reason for the assignment. The student should go through the process for each class. One of the things I learned about Dwight Pentecost (who recently went to be with the Lord) was that he apparently never re-used a sermon. In fact, he would start completely from scratch whether he had preached from the passage or not. I am writing this to tell you that I am probably going to double-dip for these posts.
At the beginning of the year, by the time resolutions were already being broken, I preached about something that was bothering me. I felt like . . . so many people (myself included) were spending too much time talking about and thinking about the things we needed to do or wanted to do, but we weren’t actually doing them. There’s a saying, “When all is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done.” How about another Bruce Lee quote? “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” Buffett shares the acronym: KISS (“Keep it Simple, Stupid). What did Jesus say? “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” In the Bible, when people move in faith (not blindly), things happen. The problems arise when they start to question God’s wisdom on a thing.
What can you say in so few words? Maybe that’s the problem. We feel we have so much to say, when in reality, we really only need the bare essentials. Bruce Lee once said, “It’s not the daily increase, but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” Get rid of the fluff. Anything that doesn’t benefit, or doesn’t serve a purpose, should be eliminated. Those folks at Twitter have it figured out. If we can’t say what we need to say in a limited number of words, then maybe we need to fine-tune our thoughts. Economy of words. In fact, maybe we need that time to filter our thoughts. Didn’t James say we should be “slow to speak” (James 1:19)? John the Baptist also said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Make every word count for His glory.