Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?

This Takes Faith

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 5:16-18

This takes faith.

When we hit speed bumps in our lives – health problems, financial problems, material problems, etc. – it’s easy to become bitter and discouraged.  I see it every day at work as team members become frustrated by the ever-changing demands of a project, a schedule, or a customer.  I see it in the news where people in our country and in other countries are fighting against each other verbally and physically.  And I even see it at home from time to time when we get tired, when we face a hardship of one kind or another, or when things start breaking down.

Paul reminds us that things on earth – things that we see – are temporary.

Yet we put so much energy and stock into these things.  We try to build bigger bank accounts and bigger homes.  We try to keep up with the Jones’ and the Smiths’ with our cars, toys, and other material items.

When will we learn to put our energy into the things that matter?

When we die, there’s only a couple of things coming with us.  I’m guessing that our memories will somehow come with us (although that’s just a guess on my part).  The only other thing I can think of is relationships – we can bring others to heaven by inviting them in – by introducing them to Christ.  Yet we live as if there’s no urgency to this.  We keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get the next promotion, the next financial windfall, or the next achievement.  When will we learn that God wants our hearts?  When will we live for things that will last?

God, give me your eyes.  Help me to live for things that matter.  Help me to build relationships.  Help me to actively share my faith in words and deeds, so others might know you.  Thank you for the reminder today.  I will not lose heart!

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July 19, 2013 Posted by | faith | Leave a comment

Riding My Bike Without Any Hands

Last night as I was heading over to the VFW to drop Isaac off for scouts, I noticed a man riding his bicycle in the 95 degree heat.  As he approached a straight away with no traffic, the man took his hands off the handlebars and sat up in this saddle.

When I was younger, I loved to ride my bike with no hands.  There was something unbelievably freeing about taking my hands off the handlebars and basking in the breeze as my bike traveled down the road.

Today, it scares me to take my hands off the handlebars.  I’m sure most of it is my lack of confidence in my own balance.  My center of gravity and my sense of coordination has changed since I was a kid.  Generally, I don’t want to give up control of the bicycle, and I certainly don’t want to risk a crash.

Carrie Underwood sings “Jesus Take The Wheel” as a reminder to let God be in the driver seat.  Maybe that’s a message I need to hear, because quite frankly, I like to be in control of my life.  I like to have my hands on the handlebars of my life trusting that I can guide my path.

The reality is God knows best and is a far better driver than me.

How would my life look different if I gave God the steering wheel?  I’m guessing my direction would be better, and I’d be more likely to enjoy the ride of life.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  Galatians 5:13

God, I confess to You that I want to be in control.  So often I let this desire get in the way of the life You have for me.  Thank You for the reminder to give You the steering wheel.  I ask You to guide and direct me, and I pray that my eyes would be open to ways that I can serve others in love.  Thanks for sending Your Son so that I could experience this freedom.

July 18, 2013 Posted by | faith, thoughts | Leave a comment

The Stretched Blog Visits The Analogous Truth

Today, I have the privilege of guest posting over at The Analogous Truth.  The Analogous Truth is a blog written by my friend, Arny Sanchez.  Arny creatively relates pop culture to faith.  My post today (I Love You Man!) fits into Arny’s theme.  Please stop over to read it and add a comment or two.  Also, please consider adding The Analogous Truth to your regular blog reading routine.  Thanks!

(Note on guest posting:  I’d love to share a guest post on your blog sometime or to have you guest post here about your stretching story.  If either of these two opportunities interest you, drop me a comment.)

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Arny Sanchez, blog spotlight, blogging, faith, guest blogger, The Analogous Truth, thoughts | , | 7 Comments

Book Review: Rumors of God by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson

Several months ago, I received a free copy of Rumors of God from Brandon Gilliland (Thanks, Brandon!) as a prize for reading and commenting on his blog.  I love this time of the year as it gives me a chance to catch up on some reading.  I finally finished reading this book this week.

Rumors of God was written by two pastors from Australia – Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (he even spells his name correctly).  It seems that this book was written as a challenge to American churches and American Christians to live like God is real – to live like the rumors of God aren’t just rumors, God is real!.

“But what about us (America)?  Are we simply content to watch the American church limp into eternity?  Are you ready to drift through the rest of your life, lulled and softened by our comfort and ease?  We believe that deep in your soul you long to see the fame and deeds of God renewed and known in our time.  We believe that you were created for a radical pursuit of Jesus and his kingdom.”

The book does an excellent job reminding readers that faith is meant to be experienced.  For many Americans, our faith is generally inactive, private, and stuck in our heads.  In Rumors to God, Whitehead and Tyson share stories and stories from scripture that inspire readers to make their faith active, out-loud, and alive.

I really appreciated how the authors start at the personal side of faith by challenging readers on the topics of love, grace, generosity, and abundant life.  And I love how they end with challenges related to community, justice, and hope.  The book definitely provided encouragement and inspiration.  I would recommend it.

Have you read Rumor of God?  What did you think?

What steps are you taking to experience your faith?

What are you reading right now?

December 29, 2011 Posted by | blog spotlight, book review, Darren Whitehead, experiences, faith, Jon Tyson, Rumors of God, thoughts | 5 Comments