This is What Keeps Me Up At Night

Hey folks…time to send a message from my pastor’s heart.  Doesn’t happen very often, but here it is.

We get a lot of traffic on this blog and my personal blog, and lots of posts.  But on Monday on this blog, I asked everyone a question:  how is your dialogue with Jesus going?  Your personal time with Him?  This comes out of my personal conviction that I spoke about in part two of Jesus the Guru (watch it here) that Christians are far less personally devoted to Jesus than people of other religions are to their gods. 

We’ll think about Jesus, expect things of God, talk about Jesus.  But deep down, as a pastor, I secretly fear too many Christians are crashing spiritually when it comes to their personal walk with Christ (prayer and reading scripture).

So I asked people to tell us your story.  Number of posts?  Zip.  Notta.  Zero.  Blanko.  We’ll post on just about any subject. But not this one. 

It’s making me wonder whether my fear that people just aren’t generally investing personal time with God is grounded.   So, are you reading the Bible?  Praying? Relating directly to this amazing God with more than our laundry list of complaints and concerns? I’m not your dad checking up on you.  I just believe none of us will grow if we don’t personally invest in this.

What are you hearing from God?  If you’re not hearing from Him, what blocks your devotional time?  What are you frustrated by when you read the Bible?  Do you hear from God?    Post here, or go back to Monday and share.  I’m just so anxious to see us all connecting. Let’s talk about it!

– Carey

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6 Comments

  1. JP says, April 2, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    I think your fears are grounded in truth. I know that in my circle of friends that are believers, we all still suffer with the lack of discipline it takes to break away from our distractions in life to spend a measly half hour in quite time with God. I have not only challenged them to become better at it but they too have challenged me in return…. we all failed. We start off with good intentions, only to be discouraged at the smallest interruption. It's definitely a weakness that I struggle with daily. I know that I need this small block of time with God yet I don't take it. Funny thing is that I can still see God's hand in my life. For that I am very great full. I must say (and I believe this is true for most) is that we have seasons were we are close to God spiritually and we have seasons that we struggle through the motions that help us get closer to God. But hey I may be the only one with this issue – who knows…

  2. Joan Parker says, April 2, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Hang in there Carey.
    I've been reading and "talking" to Jesus everyday. My daughter and I went to our Bible study Sunday night and 'coincidentally' it was on Matthew 5 – 7! Reading it faithfully and John as well. Sorry I didn't respond sooner when you needed it.
    Bad work week this week and I'm staying tuned in by listening to instrumental worship CDs at work. (No one knows what I'm doing). It works well.
    I continue to submit to Jesus and haven't had my "answers" yet but I do believe it will happen. Well, I mean the answers that I hope to get. I pray that my ears will be open to what He desires.
    I could go on forever, but to make it quick, I am with you on this as I'm sure others are.
    As much as we should be giving to God and not asking always, I will add you to my conversation with Him tonight.
    Thanks for all your messages.

  3. Tracy Wallace says, April 2, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Hey Carey,

    I read your post yesterday and the guilt from the shower prayer comment hit me full on and made me laugh out loud. I thought, "man how many others do that too?".

    I, however, like to think of my shower prayer time, driving prayer time and jogging prayer time as multiple chats with Jesus throughout the day though. I personally find the continued conversations really help me stay engaged in His presence and that I'm making Him a part of my day, not just once but several times throughout my day.

    I can see however that if not combined with a larger dedicated chunk of my day given to Him in earnest, I'm not giving Him my all, nor am I hearing all I can from Him.

    Your post did motivate me to crack my bible open again this morning where I had left off (started NT recently) in Luke and was excited to get to John with only a couple chapters to go.

    Thanks for the motivation I needed to get back into the relationship depth God wants from me.

  4. Joey says, April 3, 2008 at 5:46 am

    I know I have a long way to go to improve in this area, but I'm investing more time in getting closer to God than I ever dreamed possible since I started attending first Trinity then Connexus now. Basically before this I just attended on Sunday morning and that was that. I really did nothing for Jesus and didn't really think much about him at all during the week.

    My main blocks are lack of time and not making God a higher priority (watching that TV show instead of reading or praying and getting distracted by my own stuff). What helps me to grow closer to God are: our church, reading the bible and other Christian books, Christian friends, small group, Christian music, LIFE 100.3, serving, and regular prayer time. I also love to hear the stories of how Jesus is working in people's lives – I feel SO blessed when people share their stories – it is such an encouragement.

    I want to also start going for a SHORT walk at night and praying during that. I get tired at night and this I think will help keep me focused and more alert for prayer as I look around at God's creation – instead of dozing off at home in the evenings!!!!

    It is hard though – life is so busy and secular. It is so easy to get focused on other things. I find that the emphasis our church puts on growing closer to Jesus and the support it gives for that really helps! So thanks for that, Carey. What a wonderful journey it has been and is!!! Growing closer to God, what a priviledge. What a joy.

  5. Jen says, April 3, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Wow, Carey, don't lose hope. I see my VERY new found belief impacting all kinds of people from all different walks of life. I can't wait until I bring someone to the Lord; I know it's around the corner. My close friend who has been a christian a long time just told me my fresh spirit brings her closer to God…. It was her who brought me to him in the first place! And that's my ex husbands new wife with whom I never got along with before! Wow, praise be to God!

    Just yesterday I was at my Grandparents retirement home for their bible study and there were lots of tears shed and it was partly because of me and partly because of a man with Parkinson's that doesn't know how to go on anymore. I have been through my fair share of suffering and to be able to tell this man that He hasn't done this to me as punishment but He is suffering right there along with me was (I believe) potentially saving this man from any decisions he may or may not have been thinking about. I could see that my believing it's an honour to suffer, as it is nothing compared to what Jesus went through, really impacted this man and let him know there is ALWAYS hope.

    I have on numerous occasions opened my bible to find the answers I'm looking for. I read it EVERY night and I am always surprised by the fact that I ask why me? Why did God choose me to spread the word? And funny how I used to ask Why me but in a totally different context. I'm no longer asking why did my car accident have to happen but why did you pick me to find You? Either way, I'm thankful He did! He has brought more blessings to my life than I could ever have imagined. (Mom, I know you'll be reading this and you/us are a total blessing from God and I know you believe that too)

    I thank God for Connexus, Carey, and even when people don't respond, know that you ARE doing great works and impacting christians lives every Sunday. I'll get more to come, it's just taking me some time! :o)

    Love you guys…

    Jen

  6. carey nieuwhof says, April 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    jen…thanks for bringing your passion and energy into this discussion. i love the enthusiasm of someone who is fresh into the journey — it fuels us.

    longer term followers (including those of us who feel like we struggle daily), isn't it great to see the fruit of doing what we do — and I extend that way beyond just our core team to everyone who helps make connexus what it is. you just can't argue with changed lives….

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