In 1986, Lyn and I landed in California with two small children, four suitcases, and a few personal belongings. "This will be your home for quite a while," God whispered as the plane was about to land on those fingerling runways that protrude into the San Francisco bay.
This sparked an intense season of seeking God for what we should do with the foreseeable future: Should we stay in the US? What about our community back home? Do I change careers? Will the children be better off in South Africa, or the USA? Why would God want me to lay aside the church I was leading... many questions.
34 years later, one tends to forget the struggles of those decisions. Truth is, it is a myth that life decisions are easy. "Just ask Jesus," sounds right, but also trite.
Be prepared to wrestle with God, get insight from trusted counsel, see through the mist, stub your toes in the dark: it is part of the journey.
My bent is towards strategy, but in uncertain times, this can paralyze people. We think, "Until I know my life calling, I cannot make a decision."
Generally, we come to understand our purpose as we do the next thing, with one hand on our tools, and an ear toward heaven. We talk about the Head, Heart and Hands of a leader: there is a 4th H... Habits! Sometimes our habits lead us into our calling.
In fact, having the Big Picture in the wrong picture frame is stupid.
Dig into your worldview, the set of assumptions you have about how the world works. Get a little insight into your assumptions about life before you try to settle your purpose. In the meantime, do some good for someone else. Obedience opens the intellect.
There is something amazing about entering God's rest. "Strive to enter God's rest... rest from your own work." The chances of cruising your way to Convergence while you sip champagne and binge Netflix... could be zero.
God is a rewarder of those who "diligently seek him." What does this look like? We can, for one, try to understand his ways, the patterns that seem to mark the lives of leaders who did well. In Convergence, we observe The 7 Seasons, for example, and how each of our lives' goes through such seasons. We try to understand what is normal--tough time, trials, difficulties--so that we don't get discouraged.
There are lots of distractions that will keep your mind occupied with everything in general. Technology magnets will suck your focus away from what is best. We can get so preoccupied with WhatsApp, Instagram, Tik Tok, viral videos and trending trash. It is hard to stay focused on things that matter. Let's make choices that draw us towards Convergence.
The paper, published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, said: "As with internet addiction, the concepts of selfitis and selfie addiction started as a hoax, but recent research including the present paper has begun to empirically validate its existence.”
But it won't kill me... don't count on it. According to a 2018 BBC article, 259 people reported dead seeking the perfect picture. The quest for extreme selfies killed 259 people between 2011 and 2017, a 2018 global study has revealed.
Researchers at the US National Library of Medicine recommend that 'no selfie zones' should be introduced at dangerous spots...
Let's be honest, the carefully curated Instagram photos have nothing to do with what someone really looks like, let alone who they are. This notion of carefully managing your social media image is partly a consequence of faulty thinking.
Jesus says, "Lose your life and you find it." There were a bunch of people who rejected Jesus back in the day because they valued their image and reputation above truth.
There are some things we must cultivate: truth, humility and justice, for example. There are things we must grow more than our following: love, joy, peace, patience kindness, self-control etc. Scripture says that promotion does not come from the North or the South, the East or the West, but promotion comes from the Lord. Get a new Brand Manager, and rather focus on your character, competence, calling, community... the important things.
I was reading this verse the other day, and it led me to wonder: has the world of social media made us more sensitized to "image" than we should be, and more susceptible to replacing true meaning in life for the "image of man"?
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Romans 1:22,23
The image of man I am thinking of is not the carved statue at the side of the Indian or African road, but the "influencers" we follow on social media, the YouTube celebrities we seek to emulate. It is the self-help philosophers whose over-toasted "truths" we swallow like marshmallows at a campfire (and that have about the same nutritional content.)
I love the fact that young people want to change the world. (This has been the case for generations; Millennials actually believe they can do it, however. This is true, thanks in part, to the tools that previous generations built for them... like the internet, web browsers and mobile devices. But I digress.) The downside of this world-changing-enthusiasm is that it often comes mixed with a tolerance, inclusion and muddiness around truth that fosters Myth#2:
As long as I have a good cause, I’m good
This can lead us to be crystal clear on how to save the whales, the planet, the spotted owl... but clueless when it comes to "saving our souls." We should save the whatever, but we should 100% make sure we are saved as well.
Convergence is that season or place in life where we cry out, "This is who I am; this is why I am made; this is what my life is for." It is when The 4-Cs overlap significantly: Career, Calling, Creativity and Community. I cover this in my book which is called Convergence.
I recently spoke on 12 Myths that will prevent us coming to Convergence; I have not done this before. The first myth I dealt with was the notion that we can find a great and meaningful purpose to life outside of God's will. Actually, this is true to a certain extent. Elon Musk may build a colony in space, and Steve Jobs certainly did create products that "bless" people daily. We can accomplish great things, but they will not necessarily lead to true Convergence when we live by the principles of God, but without the power and presence of God.
When we get got out of the middle, we don't: we actually replace him with another God.
When the earth goes topsy-turvy
And nobody knows which end is up,
I nail it all down,
I put everything in place again. GOD
God made this observation in Psalm 75. Pity he is not running for office, or sorting out the healthcare malaise, or the budget mess. What if we had Godspan instead of Greenspan? Would the world be in this sorry state? The answer is, “Of course not,” not if God were running government, or healthcare, or the economy. The problem, however, is that God is a delegator, and mankind has taken the assignment without the Source, or better stated, the Source out of the assignment. We create policies that are bereft of Power. We design systems–and many churches do this too–that are designed to run without God.
Then things go topsy-turvy, pear-shaped, farce about ace… or whatever your colloquialism is. We don’t know which end us up. Life is hardly “nailed down.”
Perhaps it is time to invite God to “put...
Lyn and I were vacationing on the Island of Crete and walked & kayaked to a town, if you can call it that, called Phoenix, a tiny spot on the south of the island. It was also an intended destination for Paul and his fellow travelers, but they never made it.
We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. Act 27:7-8 NIV
The intent of the ship’s captain and the centurion was to ease up the coast to Phoenix and stay there for the winter. Back then it was more than a hotel with eight rooms and a small church. Paul, the prisoner, warned them not to proceed.
“Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”
Things start well, but ended in near disaster....