Uncomplicated Relationships

In this final part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we tackle one last area where we all struggle with finding contentment: Our relationships. Relationships can be hard. They can be so complicated. What causes that and how can we fix it? With some wise words from Paul as our guide, we wrap up our journey by answering those very two questions. Thanks for reading.

Uncomplicated Relationships

Around about the time that I was coming through my early teenage years, schools were just beginning to transition from having junior high schools to having middle schools.  My own school district followed the trend pretty closely.  When I was a freshman in high school, they passed a huge bond issue to fund some badly needed new school buildings.  The initial plan was to build three single-grade schools for all the students in the district.  So, they opened Pioneer Ridge Sixth Grade Center, George Caleb Bingham Seventh Grade Center, and they converted my junior high building into the James Bridger Eighth Grade Center.  The first class of those students came in as freshmen during my senior year of high school.  Imagine that—an entire grade who had been entirely on their own for three years.  And the year before that, they were all the last class of fifth graders at their various elementary schools.  Forget about not knowing how the standard school pecking order worked; they didn’t even remember what a pecking order was! 

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A Slower Pace

This week was part five of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life. Last week we started getting more practical about how to live a life of simple contentment in some specific situations. We started with our stuff. This week: Our time. In a world that is busy and chaotic and stressful, when we feel the pressure of life pushing in on us as we run from one thing to the next, how can we slow things down? With an ancient practice that is often misunderstood. Keep reading to find out what that is and what we can do with it.

A Slower Pace

Do you remember going on vacation as a kid?  I remember several different vacations we took.  I remember seeing Disney for the first time and marveling at the magic found there.  I’ll never forget the first time I saw Old Faithful erupt, or gaping in awe at the artistic wonder of Mount Rushmore.  Long will I treasure seeing the history of our nation preserved in the various Smithsonian Museums, sitting in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol Building, and walking the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg.  And the feeling of being small while standing at the base of the giant redwoods in King’s Canyon, California is one that will ever give me perspective on just how big the world is.  I really was privileged to get to go and see a lot of our incredible nation when I was growing up. 

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Use It Well

In this fourth part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we get practical. What does it actually look like to live with the simplicity and contentment found only in Christ in some specific situations that everyone faces? We start this week with a situation that is powerful tempting for just about everyone to seek their contentment somewhere other than Jesus. Keep reading to find out where.

Use It Well

By a show of hands, how many of you have heard of Benny Hinn? The televangelist is a longtime peddler of the Prosperity Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel is a uniquely American heresy (that we have unfortunately exported around the world) which holds that God rewards faithfulness with material blessings, that worldly success is an obvious sign of God’s favor. It holds that the contrary is true as well: Poor health and financial loss and the like are signs of faithlessness on our part. If we aren’t seeing the life outcomes we want to see, it is because we don’t believe strongly enough. Hinn’s specialty is healing. His services are filled with him waving a hand in someone’s direction and that person falling over backwards as she is “slain by the Spirit.” In practice it’s pretty wild stuff.

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The Key to Contentment

In this third part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we land with both feet on the heart of Paul’s secret. What is it that gave Paul the ability to be content in all circumstances? It’s an idea that you’ve probably encountered before. But stay tuned to the end. There just may be more here than you thought there was. Thanks for reading.

The Key to Contentment

Where is your happy place?  Come to mine with me for a minute.  Imagine sitting on the porch of a cabin up in the mountains.  It’s cool, but not too cool.  The kind of cool where you could put a jacket on, but you don’t really need it.  The porch looks out eastward over a majestic valley.  From your post up on the side of the mountain you can see the valley opening up wide below you.  There are a couple of farms down on the floor, carved out among the trees, but everything else is blanketed in deciduous beauty.  It’s mid-fall and the leaves are at their peak color.  And as you look out at the mountain on the opposite side of the valley, the sun is just coming up over its peak.  The air is still and it tickles your nose just a bit, seasoned by the aroma of fall, as you breathe it in.  And you just…sit there as the shadow line slowly recedes across the valley, chased away by the rising sun.  Close by is your favorite person in the world—or, in my case, four favorite people in the world, three of whom are unusually quiet—and together you simply rest in the grandeur of God’s goodness. 

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Securely Fastened

This week we continued in our new series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, by talking about how we can stand firm in the storms of life. Rough times come in all different shapes and sizes, but we all face them. And when times are rough, life feels complex and contentment far away. But, if we will do three really simple things, we will have what we need to stand firm. Keep reading to find out what these are.

Securely Fastened

I have a bit of a tempestuous relationship with water.  Let me explain.  I like water.  I like to be in the water.  I like to swim.  When we go to the beach, I could spend hours out floating and waiting to catch a wave with a boogie board.  But sometimes I think the water is out to get me.  And if you knew my story, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m right for at least the first several years of my life.  Two experiences should make my point for me. 

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