Anytime I hear these words I panic a little. My heart rate increases, my blood pressure elevates, my forehead and palms start perspiring some, I have to loosen my collar, and take a deep breathe then release a sigh.
The words, “we need to talk” almost always mean bad news. Am I in trouble? Have I done something wrong? Have I hurt someone’s feelings? Is someone about to hurt my feelings? Am I about to get bad news about a friend or a loved one?
So when I title this post, “We Need to Talk,” I think I know what you are feeling.
Before we talk, let me offer my credentials. I am not sharing them to be braggadocios, but so that you know where I am coming from and why I think I have the right to say, “we need to talk.”
My experience in ministry spans approximately 30 years. That includes two internships in the first 3 years and starting fulltime in ministry in May of 1989. My internships were in NW Georgia and South Alabama. The last twenty-seven (27) years I spent serving in fulltime in three (3) congregations. I served ten years in NW Florida (5 as a youth minster and 5 as preaching minister in the same congregation). Following that I served in NW Alabama for fifteen years, and in May 2014 I moved to Central Alabama where I am now. In all of this time I have noticed some things, some tendencies we have as Christians.
We need to talk.
Brothers and sisters, we need to shift our focus. We are becoming increasingly worldly. I see it in the what we choose to fill our time. We allow concerts, spectator sports, recreational sports, youth sports, and physical fitness
temples gyms to overtake our schedules. We are making time for these events while neglecting others. No one can create more time in our day. We have twenty-four hours and that is all. We either take time for these events away from work, school, sleep, family, or God. Many of us are taking that time away from God.
Time away from God. I am not talking about missing assemblies or small groups. Although some do skip, others are not skipping out but are neglecting God in their lives. We are using worship assemblies, small groups, and special events to soothe our guilt for not spending time with God in private (family) study and prayer. We are not taking up our cross daily and living each moment for God.
Now is the time to change!
We need to talk – no! We need to get busy living daily for God.
Please allow me to offer some suggestions, advice I am taking to heart to improve my daily walk with God.
- Start each day with prayer. My prayer includes a promise that I will live this day for Christ and not for self. I ask God for help to keep this promise.
- Take time in the morning to read a short passage or two and maybe a good spiritual blog post.
- Take time at lunch (or if you are an overachiever and go to the gym instead of eating lunch – take time in the locker room) to pray again. Not just for the food or for an injury free workout, but over the way the morning unfolded, for the afternoon ahead, for family and Christians in your life, and for government and our leaders.
- If your job provides a break, take time to read another passage or article and pray some more.
- Keep your eyes open for opportunities to serve in the name of Christ. It maybe praying with someone who needs a friend. It may just be listening to someone who is hurting or excited. You may discover a small need you can meet or a larger need you can bring to other’s attention so they can help.
- Think about the influence you have for Christ. Let that thought affect the things you talk about. Let that knowledge impact the way you respond or react when things do not go your way. Consider how your choice of clothing impacts those around you, in other words do not dress to draw attention to your self, but dress modestly and appropriately. (Recently, I had a couple of events one day. The second event later in the day required a suit. I attended an early breakfast in that suit and I stood out. To other’s it looked like I was trying to impress the hosts. In reality, I was too lazy to change, but my suit gave off a wrong impression. My point is that dressing to be seen can be too much or too little clothing.)
I think the words of the apostle Paul have application, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phi 4:8).
Not everything is bad in Christianity. I see more and more people focusing on reaching out to others and into the community at large. I read more and more from Christians who are increasingly spiritually focused. I am having more conversations away from the “church building” about spiritual things than I have in the past. The current generation of young adults are and want to be spiritual. They want Christianity to impact their daily lives. I am glad. Christian living is, was, and as long as life lasts will always be essential to our daily lives. But only if we let Christ be our daily life.
Thank you for listening.