Join the Conversation: Learning to Swim

(Join the Conversation – a summer series inviting conversation and engagement. Leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter)

Learning to Swim:

As I taught my son to swim, I encouraged him to jump off the diving board into my arms. He was scared. It took a lot of coaxing. I repeated, “I’ll catch you … I’ve got you … trust me … jump in.” Finally, he leapt into my arms and a big smile came to his little face. Learning  to swim takes trust that the one who promises to catch us will really hold on, and that it will be fun and not kill us.

In John 4 Jesus invites the woman at the well to jump into the living water. She is so exhausted by her circumstances and consumed by the shame of troubled relationships she does not see the refreshing beauty of what Jesus offers.

I get this woman, even though I’ve not been married five times, I have felt overwhelmed by my circumstances. The exhausting shame blocks her from seeing and receiving Jesus love. She’s the person drowning who fights against the one coming to her rescue.

Jesus says, instead of pushing me away – if you knew me, you would ask me if you could jump in the pool with me (v.10 my paraphrase).

Isn’t it true that often our trials block us from recognizing how much Jesus has for us. We flail about attempting to find satisfaction in the plastic water bottles of the world that we miss his ocean of grace.

Jeremiah 2:13 captures the problem:

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

We’re trying to swim in the world’s empty pools and reject the deep love and satisfaction of Christ. Maybe fear, shame, doubt or 100 other distractions keep us from resting in his arms and learning to swim. It’s hard to relax and swim when you’re fearful.

But faith says, I may be fearful, but He is trustworthy. His love is real and strong. We don’t have to be strong to rest in His living water, we simply have to let go of our broken cisterns and accept that he will catch us and hold us, forever.

What might you need to let go of to enjoy the living waters? What if, in reality, you are already in the living waters and held by Jesus? Oh, then I could rest in the safety of his arms and enjoy swimming.

Join the conversation: Be Still and Rest

Rest in a restless world – are you finding it? I AM.

The name of God in Hebrew is made up of four letters which are translated: YHVH or Yahweh. It is often written as LORD in our English Bibles, but in reality it means “I AM.”

Moses encounter this in Exodus 3 as he received instruction from Yahweh to go to Egypt to set the Israelites free. Moses says, “what if the people of Israel ask who sent me and ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Say, “I AM has sent me to you.”

I AM, the eternally existing God of creation, the God whose “BEING” is the cause every thing that is, the Eternal Essence who is the reason for our existence has chosen to make us in his image (Gen 1:26). Therefore we are little I AM’s, uniquely and fearfully made in the image of the Great I AM.

Whenever we speak of our selves using the language “I am __________” we are first uttering the name of God. To speak of my name as in, “I am Rob,” I must first speak the name of God.  Our being flows from his BEING, and bears his image.

So the Psalmist invites us, amidst the flaming arrows of life, nations raging and cosmic chaos, to “be still and know that I AM God” (Psalm 46:10). How can we this be? How can we be still, or rest.

Maybe it depends on who you “be.” Who are you? Whose are you?

If I am, then I am made by and cared for by the Great “I AM.” And more importantly, if He is the Great I AM, the redeemer, our fortress, a very present help in trouble, then I am still and I am resting in knowing the presence and promises of God are with me.

What do you think?

Join the conversation on Facebook or on Twitter @cc_goshen

Join the Conversation: “I’ve got nothing to say.”

Join the conversation is a new blog series inviting engagement over the summer

“I’ve got nothing to say!” Do you ever feel like that? I do.

A friend recently said, “it has been a long time since you’ve written and I enjoy your blog.”

My internal thought was, “I haven’t had anything valuable enough to say.”

In moments like that a message in my head is negative and silencing.

As a pastor sharing God’s word and my heart every week, I say plenty. Intellectually I know I’ve got something to say, but often another stifling message is at work in my head. An internal critic can pound out the power to speak and mute a friends encouragement.

This is the part of me that gets untethered to who I am in Christ. The critic is part of the non-resourceful side of a ONE on the Enneagram. Ennea is Greek meaning “nine.” The Enneagram is a nine point spiritual-psychological inventory to promote awareness and growth of our true self in Christ. I am a One.

Briefly, a resourceful One is intuitive and determined to make things better, to reform and encourage wholeness. A non-resourceful One wrestles with an internal echo of defeating self-evaluation and criticism.

You may not be a One, and that’s not the point. But, who you are in Christ is important.

The point is we all have God given gifts and something to contribute to the conversation. In fact, the body of Christ benefits from all the parts engaging in the conversation and sharing unique perspectives. Engagement is part of knowing one another and growing in Christ together.

So let’s engage. If this resonates with you, share your thought.

P.S. If you would like to know more about and/or take the Enneagram, message me at rob.gibson.5@me.com. I’m happy to administer and review with you.