This is rocking my world right now

51YZhSQhAjL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve written about a book I picked up from Thriftsmart here in Nashville, a book by William Barclay in the Daily Bible Study Series- the Letter to the Hebrews. You can read that post here but as odd as it may be, I can’t help but write about it again.

Just in the past few days I came across inspiring words from Mr. Barclay. Of course, the true greatness is the actual book in Bible- Hebrews- but just check out these thoughts from the study book:

Finally, the writer to the Hebrews says that our Christian duty to each other is all the more pressing because the time is short. The Day is approaching. He is thinking of the Second Coming of Christ when things as we know them will be ended. The early Church lived in that expectation. Whether or not we still do, we must realize that no man knows when the summons to rise and go will come to him also. In the time we have it is our duty to do all the good we can to all the people we can in all the ways we can. 

I took the liberty to make bold the last sentence because, as the kids say, that line hits hard. I love it, and in a sense that is the simplicity and yet the impossible challenge of Christianity. For me, it’s most difficult when it comes to drivers like this and this. But we all have areas we struggle in, right? It’s like Needtobreathe sings in their song, “Who Am I?”… (scroll down for more about the Hebrews book!)

While I’m on this road you take my hand
Somehow you really love who I really am
I push you away, still you won’t let go
You grow your roses on my barren soul!

The next line in the book by William Barclay is this:

The appeal of the writer to the Hebrews is one that could be made to every man. In effect, he says: “Be what you were at your best.” If only we were always at our best, life would be very different. Christianity does not demand the impossible; but if we were always as honest, as kind, as courageous, as courteous as we can be, life would be transformed.

Rocking. My. World. Hope y’all are having a great week!

-Out of the Wilderness

Is being a Christian really this easy?

There’s a talk radio host in Nashville I love listening to and one day he had this most simple yet profound thought summarized below…

As a kid, all you really need to do is get good grades and obey your parents.

If you do those two things, the world will open up to you in ways you actually really want. Is your friend having a party? Want to go on that trip with your friend and their family? Dying to get that new Playstation game? Well, those dreams can be reality if you just behave and do well in school. This sort of blanket statement obviously has exceptions, but just imagine the trust between parents and kids if this was the norm.

I often think of my beagle, Piper. If you have a beagle you will totally relate to what I’m about to say. She follows her nose. Sometimes that nose gets her in trouble. It’s why she absolutely must be on a leash outside if she’s not in a fence. I can call her all day long but she will not come to me when she’s hot on the trail of [insert animal here]. There have been too many times to count where she’s gotten out of the fence, or escaped from a place of safety and been gone for hours. What she doesn’t know is that if she were to behave, she would actually have MORE freedom, more time off the leash. But without a doubt, if she’s off-leash, she’s off and running. I wish she knew that if she obeyed, she’d have a lot more freedom.

It’s a simple statement about Piper, and about a child getting good grades and obeying their parents. For each one, a lot of their life would be better and more fun if they just follow a few rules. It sounds so simple.

Then I connected this thought with the Christian life. God knows we are people prone to complicated webs of rules and jealousy and bossiness and selfishness and, well, I could go on and on… but in the Bible He laid it out in such a way that’s easy to grasp:

Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind… and love your neighbor as yourself.

Now I know that’s not as easy as it sounds but isn’t it pretty amazing that there isn’t a gigantic rule book to follow? Heck, even the Old Testament only had 10 rules (which were easy to break, might I add).

Even these two commands, loving God with our whole selves and loving our neighbor, is hard to follow because of our human nature but it’s a lot easier to give ourselves a chance and some grace knowing that with a bit of submission and trying to obey, we can actually have more freedom than if we try to do things our own way.

What are your thoughts on this? I’d love for you to share in the comments below, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

Jesus, The Risen 1k -aka- The Empty Tomb Trot (3 years running)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running…

That’s from the book of John, chapter 20.

For the last few years, I’ve made a point to run/walk what I think is the same distance they travelled that morning. More on the distance and how I came up with 0.75 miles can be read here. I’ve been calling it the Jesus, The Risen 1k but after a great idea from a friend, it’s now also called The Empty Tomb Trot 🙂

Today I was torn because I wanted to run as a symbol of this blessed morning, but also, it’s 56° and raining sooooo yeah. Before I started the run, one of my dogs, Asia, hinted she wanted to come along.

Asia in the morning

She didn’t know how wet it was going to be. Look at the screen shot below to see how far we made it before she was like, “Nope. Not happening.” Yeah, .05 of a mile. She basically went to the mailbox and back!

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In her defense, I can be little bossy while we’re running, so maybe she just wasn’t in the mood. Either way, I was doing this one alone. While I ran, I thought about the experience from the perspective of Mary and the disciples. Running through town, dodging food carts, grabbing their clothing so they wouldn’t trip over it. In the rush of the moment, did they think to even put on their sandals? Was one of them thinking, gosh I shouldn’t have eaten such a big breakfast? How far off were they when the large stone covering the tomb entrance was in view? They must’ve had a million things going through their minds until they got to the tomb… and then…. Yes, it’s empty. But how? Where is His body? What in the world is happening?

Running this distance in my neighborhood helped to give me a more vivid picture of that morning for them. The sound of feet pattering on the ground. Adrenaline. The town just waking up and people out for their morning errands. In just a few short minutes everything they ever heard Jesus say becoming more clear… and His words, His life, His death, His resurrection, changing the course of history forever.

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What a beautiful morning.

-Out of the Wilderness

…and I’m still in awe of You

Hebrews 3:3 “…just as the builder has more honor than the house.”

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This part of Hebrews chapter 3 stuck with me after I read it. It connects with how I feel about walking through a forest, standing on the ocean shore, even watching my dogs dig. You see, I am often enamored with nature. Most of it, even the scary things, fascinate me. I’m sure I’m not alone in this because for one thing, the Weather Channel exists. If people weren’t also fascinated by our environment, a channel about weather wouldn’t exist. It’s important, though, to not let our enchantment end with these “products.” Let the love we have go all the way through to the producer of these amazing things.

That’s what this verse in Hebrews means to me. Have a super day! Get out there and honor the house (whatever it is for you), but give even more honor to the builder.

-Out of the Wilderness

Jesus, The Risen 1k – a short run/walk

You’ve heard of, and probably participated in, a 5k run, or a 10k… well, this one is much shorter than any of those… but first, happy Easter! This whole idea of running a 1k is to remember and symbolize the same distance Jesus’s disciples Peter and John ran the day they heard Jesus was no longer in the tomb. A quick backstory is that for the few days after Jesus was crucified and buried, his disciples and other followers pretty much went into hiding. Knowing what the Jews just did to Jesus, they were afraid they’d be next.  I guess this was the first case of the witness protection program.

So it’s pretty fascinating that when these followers of Jesus were told his body was no longer in the tomb, Peter and John took off running. So much for being in hiding.

My best guess is they ran about 1.2 kilometers, or roughly 0.75 miles. More on that is in this post. So I challenge you (and me) to do the same this Easter weekend and imagine the adrenaline those folks must’ve felt as they ran to discover the tomb was missing one key thing… a body. Crazy and amazing stuff!

It’s the “Jesus, The Risen 1k”…

-Out of the Wilderness