The Surf Report – Missionaries, Legalism, and Biomutant

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Welcome to the Surf Report for June 9, 2021!

.: God :

My wife’s cousin Elizabeth and her husband William came to stay with us a few weeks ago. We had a good visit with them. Getting to learn about Brazil (where they have served as missionaries) and learning about Southern Brazil (where they are going to be missionaries next). I, personally, learned a bit about pride while they were visiting. I learned that when William asks if he can do something, he is more than willing to do it (no strings attached).

God also reminded me, gently, not only about praying/asking Him to show me my gifts (in this case, mine is listening to people). But further more, then asking God where I can serve with my gifts. Who might need an ear to listen?

Liz and William were so giving of their time and themselves. A good reminder of how I need to be as a Christian.

.: Life :

Have you heard this:

“I don’​t drink, smoke, or chew, or go with girls who do.”

Wyatt came back from the first day of missions week (put on by a group of local churches) and mentioned that someone had repeated this statement. Got me thinking about Christian legalism. Drinking, smoking, and chewing tobacco are not inherently wrong.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. – 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)

In excess, without moderation, any one of those things mentioned above can be harmful to your health; Food and even video games can be harmful to your health. I think that it is funny that we, as Christians, can hyper focus on some things are not on others. Declaring things sinful simply because our parents didn’t do such things. As William reminded me, some things are not in the Bible.

.: Gaming :

Sunday, I played video games for a couple of hours. First, I played Biomutant. After spending more time with the game, I’m finding that the story bits just aren’t working for me. More thoughts to come on Biomutant.

I did happen to buy/play FAR: Lone Sails. From the little I played, I kind of love it. 🙂

If you don’t read your Bible, start.

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“How many of you have a personal quiet time?”

Crickets could be heard in the room.

“Any of you?”

Silence.

Then, one of the boys spoke up.

“As part of my homeschooling curriculum, I have to do Bible in the mornings.”

I looked around the room, “Anyone besides Steven?”

Again, silence.

< – – – – – – >

Parents, I teach junior high boys on Sunday mornings. The above is based on a real conversation we had a few weeks ago that left me dumbfounded.

We can bring our kids to church… but if we aren’t having them reading their Bibles, praying, having a personal quiet time, then they are hearing the Gospel one day a week. That’s one day to:

  • Minister
  • Transform lives

One day to build fellow brothers in Christ up.

It is not enough.

A personal quiet time starts with one day, you, God, and His word. It morphs out of that one day to become multiple days where you spend time with Him.

All I can say is if you don’t read the Bible, start.

Prayer Is Not My Strong Suit

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Can I admit that prayer is not one of my strong suits? I can read the Bible all day. I can teach through the Bible with ease. When it comes to prayer though, prayer is something that I have to work at.

Chuck Lawless posted “8 Ways I Pray for My Wife“. #5, on his list, is what stood out to me:

That God would maximize Pam’s incredible gift of hospitality—and that I would be fully supportive. I add that latter phrase because I’m an introvert while Pam’s an extrovert. I love seeing Pam’s joy when she serves others. I just need to love it more….

Tabitha also has an incredible gift of hospitality. A gift that I too push against with my introvert nature. I need to work on being supportive when Tab wants to invite others over. Even when that invite pushes me out of my comfort zone.

God has been speaking to me a lot about prayer these past couple of days. A friend posted a quote, to Facebook, that I’ve been thinking on:

The things you pray about are the things you trust God to handle. The things you neglect to pray about are the things you trust you can handle on your own. – H.B. Charles Jr.

Got me thinking about:

  • How I’ll often talk more / write more on certain topics than pray over them.
  • How there are some prayers I don’t think God will ever answer–me being honest here–, so I quit praying over them due to lack of answer.
  • What type of spiritual legacy, I’m modeling, for my wife and son.
Photo by Peggy Paulson on Unsplash

Tabitha has always told me that God answers prayer in 3 ways:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not Yet

Reminds me of how long I prayed for my wife before we even knew one another. How I went through years of thinking I’d never find someone. Only to meet Tabitha when I was least expecting.

Reminds me of our current adoption process. How I find the silence and slowness of the process to be heart breaking. But I realize also that I need to pray more over the process as God says not yet.

Prayer is that unused tool, on my spiritual tool belt, that I need to actively use more. Not use in order to get what I want, per se, but use to communicate with my Heavenly Father and deepen my relationship with Him.

How about you, do you find the spiritual discipline of prayer to be easy?

The Corona Reset: A Blessing in Disguise

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Before the pandemic, my wife and I were balcony dwellers at church. A throwback to a time when our Sunday school class would all sit together, on high, in the balcony. A great place to watch all the movements below and be hidden from the pastor’s view due to the bright lights.

Unnecessary Explanatory Note: We have stayed in the balcony due to the ease of finding seats. When you serve, easy seat access is a plus.

Since we have returned to church from the dark pandemic times, Tab and I have sat downstairs. Free from Sunday school, serving, and any other positions we may hold, we have been free to just attend… to just be.

Sitting where we have been sitting, I have smiled to myself many a time. You see, church goers joke about members having assigned seating. When I say joke, I speak of a partial truth. One of those things that is awkwardly grinned at but often experienced in the form of a wordless glare. The “Hey, why are you sitting in my seat” glare. But why are you talking about assigned seating and “the glare”, Bryan?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

On the other side of COVID-19, everything is new at church. Months of not meeting together have erased ingrained habits. We’ve had to figure out what the church looks like when it does not meet; We’ve had to figure out what church looks like when it does meet with a lurking virus.

My key here is that the old is gone. The boardgame has been reset. New habits, even those as small as seating, are allowed to begin anew.

  • I have loved being able to talk with those I didn’t normally see by sitting in the balcony.
  • I have loved feeling more a part of the worship service, not so distant–proximity is huge–.
  • I have loved the feeling of a new beginning.

As we experience a reset of the old norms, I want to encourage you to shake things up. Talk to those you didn’t talk to before. Allow yourself to experience the Body of Christ in a whole new way.