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Lessons from Lent

Its been awhile since I updated the Lessons from Lent series. Something that I’ve learned in my absence is that whether it is television or other distractions you will always find a way to fill your calendar and be busy. There has been a steady stream of freelance design, a vacation, and then a pile of work to get through upon my return from said vacation. Mix in a healthy amount of Bible Study, reading, yound adult, and small group ministry and your plate gets full quickly.

Even with all the busyness, today brought a new and significant insight from my hiatus from television. It came after dinner when I asked my wife whether or not she missed TV. She commented that she hadn’t really missed it other than a few favorite shows, but it obviously wasn’t killing her to give them up. What she said next is the most important lesson to come out of this Lent experience, she said that she did notice that I had been more attentive and focused on her during the last few weeks.

. . .

I’m not a guy who watches alot of television, nor did my wife feel like she ever had to compete for my attention, but she has felt more loved because I haven’t been watching.

Men, we’re missing out on our wives, whether we realize it or not. Something is stealing your attention from the things that matter most.

Maybe it isn’t television for you, maybe its golf, your car, fantasy sports even. You are missing out. God never commanded you to have hobbies, and persue lesiure activities, but he has commanded you to love your wife like Jesus loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).  

He gave up his life for his bride, what will you give up for yours.

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My Lent Experience – Week 2

Its official, I survived my first week without television – and I can’t say I miss it.

I’d like to share one of the unexpected revelations that has come through this process. I realized my television watching was a selfish ambition. Tt was my reward after a hard day or week of work, an escape from my own thoughts, an excuse to mentally check out of my life.

What happened once I stopped trying to escape my own thoughts? I began to think of others more. I didn’t anticipate this happening, but it makes perfect sense doesn’t it? If you think  less about your own needs you’ll naturally begin to think of the needs of others.

Philippians 2:3 says it this way, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

Can television watching be viewed as an ambition? Ask yourself this:

How big is your tv?

Do you have theatre surround sound?

Are you saving up for a larger television right now?

This week I took the time to get in contact with two friends who I know are going through a very difficult time, within 4 days I ran into both of them and we made plans to get together. I hope that I can be an encouragement to them and walk beside them as they trust God to help them in their time of need. I also ran into one of my college roommates that I had fallen out of touch with, we’re making plans to get together for dinner this month and reconnect.

What are your selfish ambitions? What would happen if you gave some of them up? What could God use you for if you were more concerned with the needs others and less about yours?

I dare you to try it and find out.

My Lent Experience – Week 1

This week my wife and I began the great tradition of Lent

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent 

In Canada you know that Lent is coming up because Tim Hortons begins its “Roll Up the Rim to Win” campaign. For those of you who are not familiar with how this works let me explain. Roll Up the Rim to Win turns every paper coffee cup into a lottery ticket, when you purchase a regular or large coffee you are given a specialty cup that you can roll up the rim to see if you have won any of the thousands of prizes. These prizes range from donuts and cookies, to cars and cash. I hope the irony is not lost on anyone.

This year my wife suggested that we participate in Lent and after a short debate over what we would actually miss if we went without out, we decided to abstain from television. Now that being said my wife and I are not big television watchers; in fact we can count “our shows” on one hand, but what we had noticed lately is that we would end up watching when we needed to relax or when we were bored.  I greatly underestimated how impactful this would be.

On Wednesday night my wife was out at choir rehearsal, which left me home alone with a free evening, and no television. What happened when I couldn’t watch television for an evening? To my suprise I couldn’t find enough activities to keep me occupied that night. I spent time reading (Knowing God, by J.I. Packer), doing some website design for a financial planning company, dishes, laundry, and cleaning the bathroom. What I realized that night is how much time I actually wasted in front of the television every day and what I could potentially be doing to contribute, to my home, to my wife, to my career and to my spiritual development if I was more focused.

This new awareness got me thinking about faithfullness. How faithful am I being with my time, my energy, my talents? How much more could God use me and grow me if I really gave my best energy to the activites that I believe have the highest value. Am I really loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength?

So I’ve decided that I will take the next few weeks to see what happens if I give my life over to God with a deeper committment than ever before. I think it will be a great adventure, maybe you should join me.