Dawn and I will be leading a trip with Cru Global Missions to walk the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain next fall (September 23 – October 2). This will be a week of reflection and renewal on a pilgrimage traveled by followers of Jesus for a thousand years. We’re really excited to go and take folks with us, especially as we’ve just returned from a fabulous trip to Spain.
If you’re interested in joining us, please let me know and I can send you more info. Spots are limited. But so are the opportunities in life to follow in the paths of pilgrims and experience “walking with Jesus” in a new way.
I’ve enjoyed wonderful meals all over the world. I’ve tried many unique foods, including water buffalo and fried scorpion (I believe the best countries for excellent food start with France, Spain and China). However, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat at this restaurant found in Beijing.
Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, a time of revelry and celebration of all things Irish. But do you know that the namesake of the holiday, Patrick, is one of the greatest missionaries the church has ever known? And the real reason for this party is that Patrick brought the good news of Jesus to the pagan Irish? As you wear the green keep these thoughts in mind. Here’s a paragraph from my book, GO, about Patrick which hopefully adds flavor to your celebration:
…about 400 years later, on an island far to the north, Irish raiders kidnapped a young English boy named Patricius and held him as a slave for several years. While he eventually made his escape and returned to England, something started to shift in his heart. The Lord, through visions, began to pull him once again to Ireland, this time to return as a missionary to his former captors. He sailed back to preach the gospel to the pagan Irish and eventually became Saint Patrick of Ireland, the first documented missionary outside the bounds of the Roman Empire. Patrick preached the gospel as far as he could go, “to the point beyond which there is no one,” to the western edge of Ireland. Only the sea remained…
If you’re intrigued, a couple great books on Patrick are How the Irish Saved Civilization (particularly the chapter on Patrick) and The Celtic Way of Evangelism, which focuses on his methodology. So celebrate with gusto today and remember the missionary behind the party!
The book of Luke in the New Testament describes to us the thoughtfulness of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Twice, as she learns of the divinity of her son, she “ponders these things in her heart.” I’m certain that you’d do a lot of thinking and wondering if it was looking like your child was actually God in the flesh.
Like Mary, we need to be people who ponder the things of Jesus in our hearts, people who take time to be reflective. I need to make the time and find the right places to ponder. The TV kills pondering. So does the computer and phone. Screens overwhelm pondering, too distracting to eyes and the mind.
Just as I take time to go to the gym, working out in order to stay healthy and productive, I need to make space and time for reflection. It’s best practiced as a daily habit, a time of no screens and distractions. But if that’s not possible it needs be at least a regular habit. Like smoking but much better for you.
The more valuable things of the Lord, things like depth and insight and wisdom come from this practice. These yield hope and expectancy of our future. Make time to ruminate, slow down, think, reflect. Take time to ponder and your thoughts of the Lord will begin to bud and bloom in new and profound ways.
I was reading recently in Matthew chapter 2 about the Wise Men, or as they are also called, the Magi, who seek out the new born Jesus. They left home to pursue their search based on study of the stars and signs. Some folks look to the stars for guidance, as if the patterns of the stars themselves yield wisdom. Others look for the wisdom beyond the stars.
The Magi watched, studied and understand that there was a God who created what they observed. They knew of the prophecy found in Matthew that a ruler would come from Bethlehem. They studied, watched the skies, read books, thought, pondered and then acted on their knowledge. They sought God and found Jesus.
It’s sometime said today that “wise men still follow Jesus.” A good leader thinks on the Lord, ponders the things of the Lord, reads of the Lord and looks to nature for evidence of the Lord. A good leader knows that sometimes you go on a journey to find the Lord. Think, study, act. It takes all three to change the world.