“Try Some Stuff” and other high level spiritual thinking.

There are alot of words you could use to describe our human population today, but perhaps one of the best would be “paralyzed.”  At least in the United States, we don’t have a burning need to do anything.  For most, their next meal is a certainty, their income is reasonably secure, they have a roof over their heads and a car that runs pretty well.  There are no needles in our nest to push us out into the world.

In yesterday’s post I hope I did a fair job of convincing you to start small.  Stop sitting around doing nothing because you can’t do everything.  The next step, then, is to pick that one small thing that you will do to get the ball rolling.  We normally look at this as a daunting quetion.  “What will I do to serve God?”  It seems weighty.  It seems like it would require weeks of prayer and mediation.

It doesn’t.  Who cares what you do first?  The general idea is that you want to get out there and help people.  You might not knock it out of the park, but you’re not going ot do anyone any harm.  So this leads me to my grand philosophical perspective on the subject of serving God.  These are my sage words of advice that I have gleaned from my 41 years on this planet:

Try some stuff.

Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.  Trust me.  As an attorney, I am surrounded by things being more complicated than they need to be.  Don’t over-lawyer your service to God and humanity in general.  The best advice I can give you is to grab the first thing in front of you.  Don’t make the mistake of feeling like you have to find the one thing you can commit to forever.

I recently heard the addage that it’s impossible to steer an immobile object.  Get in your car.  Don’t start the engine.  Start turning the wheel.  What happens?  Nothing.  You can’t steer and immobile object.  But if you start the engine and roll down the street, it is surprisingly easy to alter the course of a two ton lump of steel.  The same is true for God.  He can’t steer you while you’re sitting on the couch.  But it’s easy for God to nudge you in one direction or another while you’re already moving.

For me it started as an usher at church.  They asked.  I did it.  Jump in.  It was fun.  But honestly that matrix of which row to pass the plate and then which to give it to stressed me out.  More than once under my watchful eye did a pew at church get a double passing of the plate.  I wasn’t good at it.  But it got me moving.  I met people who were active in the church.  I was on the radar, so to speak.  So then I would be asked to volunteer for this or that.  And I did it.  These things became more common.  I met more people.  I made more connections.

Then it happened.  The course correction that God had been waiting for.  I finally took the plunge and signed up for a weekend men’s retreat.  Have you ever noticed that steering your car is easier when you’re moving faster?  A lane change at highway speed is easier than a u-turn while barely moving.  I was moving faster now.  Hearing my calling.  Feeling my calling.  Feeling the nudges in one direction and another.  And for the first time in my life I was responding to them.

Then it happend again.  I got a course correction to lead the next group putting on the following year’s retreat.  Now I was in a genuine leadership position in a room full of people who wanted to hear what I had to say.  And I started really relying on those nudges.  The stakes were higher now.  It’s not just me figuring out my journey.  I’m taking others through their journey.  And God was gracious to put the right people in my life to keep me on track.

Then another nudge.  Children’s ministry.  Well, let’s call this a shove.  Delivered at the hands of Bethany, the director of children’s ministries at church.  I reluctantly accepted the call to teach Sunday school every once in a while.  Well, cutting out all the boring details, I’m teaching a group of about 60 kids every Sunday morning now and I can’t wait to get into church each week to do it.

Nudge nudge.

Put yourself in a position to be nudged.  Stop trying to figure out what your calling is and just grab the first thing in front of you and start doing it.  If you’re not a church-going person then volunteer for something.  Toss an ad in Craigs List to give free lessons on Microsoft Excel to anyone out of work.  The point is to do twenty different things and watch the nudges as they come.  God can’t steer you on your path until you actually GET ON THE PATH in order to be steered.

Yesterday we dispelled the notion that you have to cure the world in order to take your first step.  Today we decided that doing anything, whatever thing, is better than sitting and waiting for your calling.  On Monday we’ll talk about the fear of the future: Will God call me to abandon my life to answer His call?

I love to receive your comments.  Let me know the little things you have dived into over time and the nudges you have felt.  Your story is the most powerful tool you have to bring others to God.  How are you using it?  How can you use it more?

We were built to be heroes.

It’s about time we start acting like heroes.

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16 thoughts on ““Try Some Stuff” and other high level spiritual thinking.

  1. Great post and so filled with truths and encouragement. Last year this time I was sitting home every night by myself and days that I didn’t have to work (semi-retired, working parttime) and I would drag myself to church on Sunday morning, but no Sunday school, rarely had the energy or desire to go to Sunday evening services and never went to Bible study/prayer meetings on Wednesdays. Having a great old pity party for myself and wondering why I was so alone. God kept nudging me by placing new friends on my path, many online through blogs, who are Christians also and who encouraged me. Fast forward to late spring of this year, I started meeting with my pastor’s wife and talking, which led to my being in the Word more and then led to a small Bible study group. I now eagerly go to Sunday School and all the other church services on Sundays and Wednesdays. God also nudged me in another direction that I thought I would never be doing–I volunteered to help out in the Christian Education Dept – not to teach, but to assist in other ways. I was assigned to a juniors class as a fill in helper when the other helper is not able to be there. I’m getting more involved in volunteering to help with things at church. It’s a slow process and I have my days where I slough off but life is just looking so much brighter and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me. Even at my age, God has roles for us. As I said to my 20 year old granddaughter the other day, don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks! (both of my granddaughters teach me lots of them! ) 🙂

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    • So cool to look back and see how the little steps are all coming together to create bigger life change. And go ahead and tell Abraham and Sarah about that whole “old dog, new tricks” thing! God doesn’t see the limits that we place on ourselves.

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  2. Thank you Jim for following my blog. What an inspiration message you always write. May God give you the power and wisdom to fulfill the calling He has placed in your life. May you never lack anything that is needed in this journey in the name of Jesus Christ.

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  3. Bethany hammer says:

    Wow, Jim!!! You continue to amaze me. This was so well written and a huge blessing to read! One that will stick with me!!!

    Praying it touches others as much as it has touched me!

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  4. Great post, Jim. This reminds me of a quote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” We will never get anywhere if don’t take a step. And like you’re saying, it’s one step, and then another. In 2010, my wife and I moved from a laid back, rural, TN town to Charlotte, NC to work with inner city youth. We were doing nothing to advance the Kingdom while we were in TN. Nothing. I would work, we would eat dinner, and then most nights we would watch TV until bed. Sure, we went to church and helped set up and things like that, but we were producing no fruit whatsoever. We were spiritually stale. Now having been with One7 Ministries for 3 years, our lives have radically changed. We thought we were moving to Charlotte to make a difference. Well, it’s been the complete opposite. God is using the kids and this ministry to change our lives.

    I am 41 as well, and have finally started learning what it truly means to die to self and follow Jesus. It’s not a fairly land where everything is going to be peachy keen and we sit around all the time singing Kumbaya while our S’mores are roasting. Ministry is 24/7, 365 work. It’s never easy. Most times it’s pure hell to be completely honest. But it’s the big picture we have to keep in mind. We are sowing seeds and we may never see the result of our labor. We have faith that God will do a great work in His timing.

    I know we’re friends on Facebook, so you may have already checked out One7. If not, gives us a visit at http://www.one7.org. We also have a blog that I maintain. http://www.one7blog.com

    God bless, bro

    Chris

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    • Chris your story is definitely an inspiration, as is your consistently amazing writing. I’m glad that we’ve stumbled accross one another in this massive internet community. Thanks for the all the work you’re doing. It’s holding me accountable!

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      • me says:

        Thank you both for thought provoking comments. I find myself wondering at the moment how many times the ‘frustrations’ I’ve experienced, especially at important times in my life, might actually have been nudges that Our Father wanted my response on. Thankfully, I’m still drawing breath so it’s not too late to fine tune my sensitivity to divine nudges.

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      • They are all nudges. And they are all a gift. But it’s rare that they feel that way while they are happening. I’d also suggest that you’ve had a few nudges, and a few pretty good shoves as well. Still standing. With a message the world needs to hear. Can’t wait.

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