Hi Five Oakers, The weekend is almost here and there are a few things I want to share with you.
You are important to God. Yes, you, even if you're messing up royally, ignoring God or stuck in neutral. You are important enough that he is working on you, transforming you from the inside out. He will use whatever means at his disposal to shape your character, including pain and hardship. And that's what we're looking at this week as we continue our series on "The Gospel According to Joseph."
Joseph's purposes in Egypt are part of God's grand plan of redemption. God is constantly pointing to this grand purpose in his Word and in this story in particular. But part of that purpose includes individuals, so we'll see how Jacob, Joseph and Judah are changing as the account progresses. God is at work in them, and by looking at them we can see how God is at work in us. Don't miss it!
Tish Harrison Warren on "The Wrong Kind of Christian: I thought a winsome faith would win Christians a place at Vanderbilt’s table. I was wrong."
I thought I was an acceptable kind of evangelical. I'm not a fundamentalist. My friends and I enjoy art, alcohol, and cultural engagement. We avoid spiritual clichés and buzzwords. We value authenticity, study, racial reconciliation, and social and environmental justice. Being a Christian made me somewhat weird in my urban, progressive context, but despite some clear differences, I held a lot in common with unbelieving friends. We could disagree about truth, spirituality, and morality, and remain on the best of terms. The failures of the church often made me more uncomfortable than those in the broader culture. Then, two years ago, the student organization I worked for at Vanderbilt University got kicked off campus for being the wrong kind of Christians.
Ashley Emmert on "Hey Millennials, Stop Complaining: Donald Miller shares the secret to building a great life"
Then he told me, “We Americans, especially, just don’t understand that life is supposed to be hard. And we buy things to make it easier. But God has designed life in such a way that it’s difficult, and we should be engaging that challenge rather than running from it.” I began to feel uncomfortable. I thought about how many items I’ve purchased recently “for convenience’s sake.” I decided not to think about it. “You need to have a vision for your life, and let that vision guide you,” he continued. “If you want to have a family someday, then in your daily decisions you want to think of your life like a movie. You need to ask yourself, ‘Would this girl or this guy be a scene that I’d want in the movie about a family someday?’”
One More Thing
In case you didn't read the article called "Hey Millennials" I mention above, at least read this. Here's what Donald Miller said to Ashley Emmert in an interview:
“You need to have a vision for your life, and let that vision guide you. If you want to have a family someday, then in your daily decisions you want to think of your life like a movie. You need to ask yourself, ‘Would this girl or this guy be a scene that I’d want in the movie about a family someday?’”
Then he adds this, after talking about the importance of living our lives for longer narrative:
"We’re handed the pen and we get to write whatever kind of story we want. But we are programmed from an early age to defer our responsibility onto others. We don’t take responsibility for our own lives—we don’t own our stories. But when you start looking for a solution rather than being the solution, you’re not taking full ownership of your story. Just do something. It’s not very complicated. The principle idea is that God has given us what I call ‘shared agency.’ He has shared power with us to affect our stories. We don’t have to have ugly marriages. We don’t have to have ugly relationships. It’s a simple concept.”
Take pen in hand today. Ask God to remind you of his story, his longer narrative. Decide you will live in that longer narrative by following his lead. Start writing with your life.