Our World Has Been Turned Upside-Down

Our World Has Been Turned Upside-Down

On April 13, I told my wife, Cyndi, that I felt like the Lord was leading us to sell our house…. our house of 28 years. It is the only home we’ve ever known—the home I owned when I asked Cyndi to marry me, the home into which we brought our newborns, raised them and from which we launched them.  This was one of those few times when I didn’t really have a clear plan of what was next; I only sensed that now was the time to put it on the market. 

To make a long story short, on May 3 we accepted an offer and by July 8, we were out. But in between, there was a lot of angst—de-cluttering, selling off all but about 10 pieces of furniture, reducing our household down to fit into a lovely but smallish apartment. I planted myself for hours in our garage, sorting through piles of old pictures and letters, deciding what to keep and what to burn.  At one point, I literally sat on a pile of things that Cyndi thought we should throw away, clandestinely scraping my treasures into a secret “save” pile like Gollum clutching his ring and lisping, “My Precious!” It was pathetic. If you’ve been through it, you know how hard it is to de-clutter, throw away, simplify and start anew. 

But I’m telling you, it is refreshing! We are now ensconced in a beautiful one bedroom apartment. We have no idea how long we will be there, but we love it. And we are enjoying this less cluttered, simpler life. We are learning new rhythms and new habits which we are finding life-giving and enriching. But we would never have discovered this sense of “lightness” if we hadn’t taken a journey down what was a times a frightening path! 

There is a sense in which I am going to ask you to make a similar journey as a church family beginning September. I am convinced that we will never become the church God wants us to be—never become the disciple-makers Jesus called us to be—until we courageously and radically de-clutter and simply our lives and open up space for what every Christian knows we ought to be doing… but the vast majority of Christians would admit they aren’t doing at all… or very much. What am I talking about? Prayer! 

I’ll admit it; my prayer life has been one of the least satisfactory aspects of my spiritual pilgrimage. Frankly, at times my prayer life stinks (which will be the title of my opening sermon).  And yet, Jesus modeled a life that was centered in prayer. The New Testament is filled with the prayers of God’s people and God’s miraculous responses. I know in my head that I need to pray, that prayer makes a difference, that we can never accomplish what we want to unless I am a praying pastor and we are a praying church. And still, my prayer life languishes at times. How about you?

We spent the last year focused on the Word by journeying through The Story. This year, we will focus on prayer together, starting with a series on the Lord’s Prayer, “Lord, Teach Us To Pray.” Not only will we learn about prayer, we will provide countless ways for you to grow in your discipline—and hopefully, in the joy of a more prayerful life. 

Are you willing to join me in this journey of de-cluttering, simplifying and making room for regular prayer? Well, get ready!  It’s coming! 

Meantime, we continue through our “Fearless Q” sermon series. And this weekend, I have a special surprise for you. 

Pastor Mark