A strong contention for intentional living from Garrett Argenna
You lived here you’re whole life and never _______?!
So a friend at work just got back from a business trip to Scotland. I asked him if he had a good time and what sort of sight seeing he did. He basically ended up explaining to me that it was boring and he just ended up playing modern warfare every night when he wasn’t working. I gave him a hard time of course, “You’re across the world in Scotland and you spend your free time playing Call of Duty!? What’s wrong with you?”
Now most of us are not like my friend. When we go on vacations we try to maximize every second of everyday and we do this because we realize we only have a few days/weeks to see or do… [fill in the blank], and then the opportunity is gone.
But have you ever noticed that people who have lived in great places their whole lives will often tell you they’ve never even done any of the things that are on your schedule. The New York City resident has never gone to Ellis Island. My mother in-law told me that she has lived in Florida her whole life and never visited the Wetlands. I’ve lived in Upstate New York for 26 years and just last year visited Niagra Falls for the first time.
So I wondered… what’s God’s perspective on all this? Does he look at us like we look at the people who’ve lived there forever. Does he say ”I can’t believe you’ve lived here this long and never watched how the willow tree blows in the wind a little different from all the rest? I can’t believe you’ve never made it out to the creek side in your backyard, you could be listening to the music water can make when running across the right surface”
Or does he look at us like the people on vacation… like I looked at my friend. Does he say “I can’t believe you spend your nights after work, playing Call of Duty when you know you’re only going to be here for a blink of my eye.”
You know what, I just realized something. It doesn’t matter if he looks at us as the visitor or the life long resident. Cause here’s the thing…
Yes, you can tell me you have a long life to live and plenty of time to “smell the flowers”. You know what you’re probably right… you’ve got time.
But at the end of the day, if you’re spending most of your time playing Call of Duty, you’re wasting your time while the person who lives each day like it’s their last is actually living a life worth living.
So, whether we’re visitors or residents in God’s eyes, we should live like the visitor does. Not because we might run out of time, but because it’s a better life.
I’ve been reading (aka listening to) “Death By Meetings” by Patrick Lencioni. It is a parable about meetings and how they can either drain us or inspire us to lead and make decisions that are better for us and ministry. If you’ve ever been to a meeting, or lead a meeting, I definitely recommend it.
I have been to many program meetings in my life in general where I have left uninspired and unchallenged and even drained. On the other hand I have been to meetings that have called me to be a better leader, meetings that taken programming to the next level! In other words it’s not just the routine of putting the square peg in the square hole. I believe these are the meetings we should strive for! These are the meetings that remind us why we do what we do! If we aren’t inspired in our program meetings, how can we expect our students to then be inspired by our programming?!
One point they touch on is total agreement. I think this is probably one of the biggest faults of any meeting. How can we get people with different background, and different minds, who always agree on everything. It’s just not realistic. I’m not saying we need vague arguing for the sake of arguing. But we need to see a challenging meeting to flush out the best ideas. We need to have challenge to bring the best ideas out for programming sake and for the sake of inspiring our students.
So when you get time, pick up a copy of the book (or the audio) and be ready to be inspired to program!
// Jeremy is a frequent contributor on foolsandclowns.com read more of his rants and raves on his shiny new blog! jeremyboswell.wordpress.com
Is it paved with golden streets? Is it filled with precious jewels? A Palace? a City? Beneath all of this will there be a floating cloud that supports us all? At the end of the day, is awesome beauty all that it is??.. All there is to entertain us.
Will God live in the top floor of the highest building, overseeing and watching us live out perfect lives? Will there be no mistakes? No sin? No evil?
I mean come on.. Will no one even be tempted to sin, will we be just smiling all the time, never knowing any better? Will we be robots? Will I even be me?
Or Is heaven a place where all our greatest wishes come true? Will we be planted in front of a 11 Dimensional TV playing video games all day? Will we share eternity with others who will treat us the way we always wanted to be treated? Will we be praised for our fashion? Praised for our intelligence? Will they approve of our actions? Will there be no hangovers?
Here’s the thing about this question… we actually have the answer! Now before I lose some of you, let me asterisk that comment by saying YES, heaven will exceed all our expectations, and YES, I cannot fully understand what heaven is like until I get there… But let’s not sell ourselves short, some of us certainly know more than we let on when we share our descriptions of heaven with others.
So let me give you the truth…
The truth is… and for many of you this will be a let down… the truth is in heaven we will all be willfully praising and worshiping God – And this is when everyone stops reading – buzz kill… “Sorry but I have no interest in mindlessly worshiping some God for the rest of eternity!”
And that’s exactly why we rarely tell you that piece of information. We keep our description simple and vague, saying, “don’t worry it’s just going to be better than anything you can ever imagine” But when we say that, it invites our curiosity to imagine, and when a person that is NOT following God starts to imagine heaven, he often begins to create a heaven where slowly but surely, everyone else is praising YOU. Admit it, everything and everyone you imagined was specifically arranged in such a fashion that YOU would be happy. Everything and everyone serves only one purpose and that is to give you whatever you want. When we imagine heaven we create a utopia that serves us and then when someone like myself comes onto the scene and burst you’re bubble by saying, “well actually you’ll be spending eternity serving and praising someone else..” people instantly reject it and walk away dissatisfied.
But do we need to be dissatisfied? Does this have to be a great let down? I don’t think it does…
Maybe we can grow a taste for this type of life.. Maybe it can be better explained through experience. Maybe heaven can be experienced here on earth.
This weekend I experienced an incredible worship service at my church. We were encouraged to let it out, to put all we had out on the table, to just give it all to God. As I stood there a good friend of mine standing next to me started losing it, speaking in words incomprehensible to me and shaking uncontrollably as he spoke. As the songs progressed his posture slowly changed as we went from standing, to kneeling, to laying on his stomach soaking the floor with his tears of joy. To my right a girl screamed at the top of her lungs over and over, expressing her overwhelming love for God. Further to my right a wave of hands were in the air stretched out and reaching. At first as I sang the words I spoke were somewhat unattached to my heart. More of a leading and wanting to feel and think the words I spoke, but over time my heart began to lift and my words began to diverge from the actual lyrics and like a fool I was screaming expressions like, “Holy, Holy, Jesus” Speaking the very name “Jesus” was like honey to my lips… like it literally tasted good! I began dancing as i sang, and I CANNOT and DO NOT dance!
After the worship set many of us who were a part of the experience were hugging and candidly speaking of how much we needed that…
Again I say, maybe we can grow a taste for this kind of life.. maybe heaven is better described by experience.. and although it might feel awkward and silly to those who have not experienced it, It is my hope and prayer that you do. I’m sorry if this post has made you feel uncomfortable, that is not my intent. I only hope that one day you will also experience heaven on earth so that the next time someone asks, what is heaven like? You’ll be able to answer with joy and confidence.
PS. After writing this post, naturally it has got me thinking about the question, What is worship? Perhaps for a follow up blog
// Garrett Argenna is one of the most interesting people i have ever met. Checkout his other musings at garrettargenna.tumblr.com