Top 10 Places To Connect With God…

Realizing that I like to do Top 10 lists here is another one for us. The top ten places I connect with God, which aren’t in any real particular order.

Place #10: Wherever Hudson – My Son – Is

Jesus says that we can learn a lot from children about his Kingdom and I’ve found this to be so true in and through Hudson.

Place #9: Mountains

Krista and I in Banff

I want to live on a mountain. I just feel close to God.  I have wonder and awe all-over. Connecting and mountains go hand-in-hand for me.

Place #8: Around the Dinner Table

Top 10 Meals I've Had: Eating at an Outdoor Seafood Cafe, in Dubrovnik with Krista

Its no surprise that Jesus instituted a meal to remember him. Meals are times of connection, fun, discussion, and dialogue. And for me I often feel closest to God with friends, food, and drinks around a table.

Place #7: Church Buildings

The church isn’t a building, it’s people. But even still I often feel like I can connect with God in a space that is regularly used for prayer and worship. Any place where people continually invite God’s presence to rest, is a place where I find God.

Place #6: Sunrises – Anywhere…

If I’m up for a sunrise it also means I have coffee, and there is something about having some stillness, seeing God’s creation, and listening that makes me feel close to God. Maybe you’ve felt the same thing.

Place #5: Around Art

Being around things of depth and beauty helps me to connect with God. I love good art whether photographs, pictures, or anything else. Has this ever happened to you? Seeing a picture of beauty that draws you closer to God? Here’s one of my favorites by Rembrandt. What’s yours?

Place #4: Serving

Somehow when you serve, volunteer, or give I feel connected to God. It’s simple why that is. Because when I do that, I’m acting like Jesus and so connecting with him.

Place #3: The Bible

The Bible isn’t a place so much as a conversation. But that’s where I connect with God in his conversation with me, often started whenever I read his word.

Place #2: In Silence

In the beginning God spoke and brought everything into existence, except us. We were brought into being in silence. And in deep silence I connect with God.

Place #1: In Everyday Life

I most often connect with God in everyday life. For me God isn’t removed but active. And it’s amazing how often he shows up when you’re looking for him in your day. Maybe in a conversation, an interruption, a brief moment. But he is there.

So what about you? What would you add or change in my list?

My Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned… Part 3

Here are the last 2 lessons I’ve learned this year.

Lesson #2: God Leads One Step at a Time

We often love to know the destination. But the life of faith isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. And what I’ve learned is that God reveals the next step but often not the destination. He asks me to trust him, in that as I walk with him, He always shows me the next step and asks me to trust him with that. And I’m learning to do just that.

Lesson #1: God is Certain

So much in our lives feels uncertain. As we look forward into the next year I don’t know what it holds. Maybe you too have some uncertainty in your life. You might not know what’s going to happen with your job, family, personal life or health. But what I’ve learned is that while I’m often uncertain about what the future holds: God isn’t. He is certain. He is steady and true. And he promises us that the future in front of us is good. This doesn’t mean easy and perfect. It means good. It means that he will cause everything good, bad, and boring to come together for good (Romans 8:28). God’s future for you and for me is full of hope, promise and more than we could ever hope, dream or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). So I’m learning to trust in that.

So I guess the only last question is to ask – what’s the next step God is leading you to take to reach your certain future? What is he asking you to do? Maybe today is the day to take that step.

My Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned… Part 2

Here are the next three lessons I’ve learned this year.

Lesson #5: God’s Love is Unconditional

This is something I’ve known, but this year experinced in a deeper way than before. With a son, whom I love so deeply for no reason other than he’s worth loving, I’m starting to get a glimpse into what God feels for us. This in reality is really changing me this year.

Lesson #4: God sees Us as Holy

This has been an amazing learning, that once you come to know Christ God sees you as holy. You are not a sinner, but saint in God’s eyes. Go and check it out yourself. Read the Bible and discover that what defines us isn’t sin but Jesus Christ within us. So this year I’m focusing on reminding people who they are in Christ, not what they need to do. My theological hunch is that the more we focus on who we actually are, the easier it will be to actually live that out.

Lesson #3: Grace is Costly

Grace is freely given, but that grace costs. I’ve learned this year that grace is hard to give, it isn’t cheap. We love to give grace to people who deserve it, but God gives it to us, those of us who don’t deserve it. And we should do the same. To give grace to those who hurt us, who know better, who won’t accept any responsibility for their actions. We don’t do this because it’s easy, but because it’s godly. This doesn’t mean excusing the hurt that was caused, but recognizing the depth of the hurt and still choosing to show grace. This is the high road, and high roads are hard. But that’s also where you’ll find God and Jesus walking with you.

For me these were three amazing lessons to learn. The first two were great to learn, the last one no one wants to have to learn. But each made me a better person I believe.

What have you learned over the past year that’s made you a better person?

Would you share it with us?

My Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned…Part 1

Here are my top ten lessons I’ve learned this year. To hear the expanded explanation download my sermon from Sunday here.

Here are a few of the first fun ones, and the list gets more serious as it goes.

Lesson #10: God Loves Top 10 Lists

This is pretty self-explanatory. Just go check out the original top ten list…the 10 Commandments. Looks like God invented it, not David Letterman.

Lesson #9: Laughter is Good For the Soul

Proverbs talks about how laughter feeds the soul. This is true, so go and watch something funny. Get together with friends and laugh. You’ll feel better. And now you know that laughter is a spiritual thing, and a Godly thing.

Lesson #8: God Loves Coffee

Now this is hard to prove biblically because the Bible really never mentions coffee. But I think if you’ll notice how many great God conversations happen over coffee you’ll need to agree that God must love it then. I’m pretty sure the logic is infallible, much like God.

Lesson #7: We can Find God in Creation

This year I learned how close you can feel to God when you recognize him in creation. Whether that’s being in awe of mountains, feeling the tranquility of a quiet lake, or the beauty of a sunset we can see God revealed in creation. This year more than most I’ve found myself feeling close to him simply in awe of his handiwork.

Lesson #6: We can Find God in Others

Since we’re all made in the image of God we have the potential to reveal God. This is really what my posts entitled “Where I Saw Jesus This Week…” are about. They’re about finding God in the everyday, and that’s become clear to me this year. God is not distant but waiting to be discovered in our midst.

Tomorrow I’ll post the next 3. But for now – which lessons resonate with you?

Which ones has God taught you as well this year?

Making a Top Ten List…

This upcoming Sunday is the first day of the new year. It’s a time to look forward to what’s coming and to reflect on what’s happened.

If we don’t reflect we run the risk of not realizing how we’ve grown, how we’ve changed, and how God’s spoken to us. There is an old spiritual technique called the Ignatian Examen. But in a simplified version you simply look back over a period of time and ask yourself these questions:

  • When did I feel closest to God? When did I feel farthest from him?
  • When did I feel full of generosity and grace? When didn’t I feel generous and gracious?
  • Where did I notice God in the past year? When did I fail to notice him?
I’d invite you to simply do that. Take some time and reflect on what God taught you this year. I’ve done that and have come up with a Top 10 list of lessons I’ve learned about God this year. And I’ll share them with you all next week.
But what about you? What has God taught you this year? What’s your top ten list?
I’ll share my list, but I’d love to hear a few of them off of your list!
Because maybe what God has taught you, you can teach me…