Another Year Older
Yesterday was my birthday, and I got to spend it doing some of the things I love the most. I was blessed to be able to preach and spend the morning with my church family, and to be reminded once again how amazing it is to serve as their pastor.
I also got to go on a bit of an adventure with friends and family as we continued our quest to find the very best BBQ in this part of Texas. But mostly, I just relaxed, laughed and rested, which is kind of the best way to spend your birthday I'm thinking.
I've learned a lot in this past year. I would have just as soon not learned some of those lessons--especially the ones that had to do with loss and grief. But still, it's all part of this journey I've undertaken to keep stumbling after Jesus.
The older I've become, the more I've come to understand that possessing the willingness to be transformed by God is probably at the top of the list of requirements to follow Jesus more fully.
But so many of us grow comfortable with the status quo when it comes to our faith. We don't want to be challenged. We assume that God only has big things in mind for people with more qualifications than us, and are content to stay exactly the same as we've always been.
Writer John Pavolvitz addressed this very thing. He wrote, "We discourage so much of the work that God is doing in each of us by never allowing it to reach the surface."
As I continue to grow older, I want to become more flexible, more open to possibilities. I want to be stretched in my faith, and to realize that God is never finished with shaping and molding me to become the person I ought to be---and to fulfill the destiny God has in mind for me.
May you embrace a faith that is easily molded and shaped by the Almighty. May you resist a cold, brittle, fixed kind of faith that really isn't faith at all. May you push back against religiosity in favor of a relationship with Jesus that keeps you stumbling, changing and transforming.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.