Over the summer I’ve been teaching a Sunday morning class at church titled “10 Life-Charged Words.” Each week we looked at a word that – if embraced – would add a charge of life to the way we experience our faith as Christians. So we talked about “Jesus,” “Excellence,” “Passion,” “Community” and more. It turned out to be a helpful series.
As a resource, I modified the content of my 2012 book, 10 Life-Charged Words. It was written for men but the content is just as relevant for women too.
Last week, wrapping up the tenth chapter, I turned the page to remember I had penned a “Pulling it all together” afterword or conclusion. However, as we didn’t have another week I promised the class I would post a modified version they could read without having to buy the book (even though it’s worth having on your bookshelf!)
So here it is. For my class, yes, but for all my readers. This is for men and women, young and old – an edited version of “Bringing it all together (LETTING LIFE LOOSE)”. Maybe a little longer than my average post but definitely an inspirational read.
Enjoy (and feel free to share) – DEREK
LETTING LIFE LOOSE!
Writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) believed most people fall short when it comes to embracing life in all of its fullness, and he made the following, troubling, observation: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation” (Walden, 1854).
Thoreau’s contemporary, Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), expressed a related sentiment in his poem, The Voiceless (1858): “Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them.”
Being Christian is all about putting an end to such sad resignation that avoids the challenge to live like we mean it. We are called to live a life defined by fullness. Christians are supposed to be people who let their song find its voice. Or expressed in another way, let’s be people who embrace the process of Letting Life Loose.
The incidence of desperation observed by Thoreau and Wendell Holmes is a huge issue in our severely fractured world, and it’s a quality of desperation that’s not always all that quiet. When people fail to live according to the blueprint of their design it’s not surprising they experience frustration, angst, depression, dissatisfaction, anxiety and desperation.
The way that Christians live tells the truth about the Gospel we say we believe. The word “Gospel” is supposed to mean “good news.” But, if what we profess to believe really were presented as good news then, surely, wouldn’t more people be interested in our message?
The sad truth is that too many people who describe themselves as Christian present the world with regular news bulletins that can hardly be classified as “good” news at all. It becomes painfully evident that, rather than representing “The life that is truly life”, what’s often advertised is not only tuneless, but more along the lines of “The life that is barely a notch or two above desperate.”
Hungry for “Life-Charged” Good News:
This world is hungry for good news! One reason the words Jesus spoke – and the work that he did – continue to resonate throughout the ages is the obvious fact that Jesus was simply brimming over with vibrant life.
Life! Not gloom and doom and a new list of rules; not holier-than-thou; not self-righteous. Instead, the Gospel message is the story of irrepressible life.
The “Ten Life-Charged Words” I write about in my book represent the evidence of good news folded into the very fabric of the way that we live.
Our opportunity – our responsibility as Jesus-followers – is to live in such a way that light and life spill out from us from the moment we wake up every morning and invite Jesus to live through us:
- Homes, neighborhoods and workplaces transformed because we are not afraid to claim a living relationship with JESUS…
- Everything we touch improved as we practice an EXCELLENCE motivated by our commitment to embrace all the possibilities of the life-charged life….
- Relationships and faith communities animated by our PASSION for the life that really is life…
- Creativity and productivity enhanced as we redefine what it means to live at and beyond CAPACITY…
- Promise fulfilled, lives redirected and spirits healed, as SCRIPTURE becomes fuel for a renewed mind. “Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out” (Romans 12:2 The Message).
- Jesus Followers empowered as leaders and equipped as healers via the beauty of HOLINESS…
- Newfound CLARITY of purpose as we pray for God to, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord”…
- The orientation of PRAYER integrated into the essential architecture of our personal operating system…
- Trust recreated and doubts conquered in response to a “What you see is what you get” AUTHENTICITY that tells the truth about the Gospel, simply by the way that we live…
- COMMUNITIES of people unafraid to be vulnerable, willing to be accountable and motivated to be encouragers in their ongoing journey of discipleship as genuine Followers of the Way of Jesus.
EACH ONE OF US, Life-Charged followers of Jesus, telling the truth about the Gospel of Love simply by being; taking a firm hold of “The life that is truly life.”
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Thank you Derek. Your post is a reminder to Christians like my husband and I who are living with a terminal disease–where life is ebbing–that there is life yet, and by the grace of God, we still live.