A Visit With Jim…

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I enjoy being creative. Whether it’s wood working, writing stories, or some other outlet, I like to create stuff. It often times helps me process and express some of what is going on emotionally internally.

Today I wrote a story to help me process and talk about some of the difficulties that come with chaplaincy and pastoring. Namely those most intimate moments and conversations that I’ve been invited in to. Names and details have been changed to protect privacy. This isn’t an attempt to justify or judge anything that’s been expressed.

It’s a rough draft. The “world” is not fully built, and the narrative isn’t quite what I’d want it to be. Some of the imagery isn’t as subtle as I’d like, and I’m sure some of what I intended to express isn’t readily noticeable.

That said, I still want to share what I can. So here is my first pass…

A visit with Jim

Who Moved My Stuff…

A little over two weeks ago, I got married. And after taking our honeymoon, my wife and I moved back into my our house and began to settle into a “new normal”. For the first couple of days, the house was an absolute wreck, what with wedding gifts, luggage, and another persons stuff to put into the house I had been living in. But over the next few days, my wife and I got the rooms organized, began a garage sale pile, and went shopping for some things. Slowly but surely, the mess got sorted and put away, and the house became our home. There was just one problem:

I didn’t know where half my stuff was.

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Now, I was mentally prepared for things to get moved around. I knew that the kitchen would get reorganized from the way I had it. I knew the bathroom was going to need to get rearranged. And I knew the bedroom was going to moved around.

What I was unprepared for was the amount of emotional attachment I had to misc things and their places. The sofa was always under the windows, but not anymore. Never mind that I like the new lay out, it’s just weird. My cereal was always on the counter, not the cabinet above the fridge.

All of these small changes got me thinking about how someone’s life changes when they first become a Christian. Here are a few ways being a newly wed is like being a new Christian: Continue reading

How to pray w/out stopping…

Way back when, the apostle Paul wrote a couple of letters to the Thessalonians (Thessaloopians if you’re a Veggietales fan). Near the end of the first letter, Paul tells the reader to “pray without stopping” (1 Thess. 5:17). And without fail, every time this phrase gets brought up at a Bible study or Sunday school, everyone in the class turns to me and asks: “Preacher, how do we do this?”

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The implication is that we as people don’t have time to pray throughout our entire day. We have families, careers, and numerous other things that all clamor for our attention, so we can’t just stay home and pray all day, every day. What about when we’re eating, or sleeping, or going to the bathroom?

So here are a couple of my thoughts on praying without stopping: Continue reading

Four Ways to Connect w/God…

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When I was in college, I participated in the Army ROTC program. One of the fundamental skill sets we learned early on was Land Navigation, which consisted of map reading, orienteering, and plotting out a course over the terrain to find different points on the map. We would often use a variety of skills and tools to hike through the woods to these points. We’d use compasses, protractors, and different techniques to find our points.

When I think of trying to better understand or connect with God, I think of this hiking or map reading imagery. So here are four things that you can use to connect with God:  Continue reading

The Gospel according to ‘Dr Strange’…

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For a while now, I’ve been looking forward to seeing ‘Dr Strange’ in theaters for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason was the integration of Scott Derrickson serving as the director and one of the writers. I talk a little bit more about Derrickson here, but the short version is that he is a Christian who uses a secular medium (movies) to tell the Gospel story.

I know that ‘Dr Strange’ is going to be seen by a huge number of people. And that gives Christians and church leaders a great opportunity to have a common reference to discuss the Gospel with people who saw the movie. So I want to talk about a couple of places where I saw the Gospel in ‘Dr Strange’. Hopefully parents and church leaders can use this as a starting reference for discussions and conversations with their kids or non-Christians in their churches.

I have to warn you though, I cannot do so without spoiling the movie. So this is your [SPOILER WARNING] Continue reading