Holy Discontent

| — Rev. Brandon Dirks — |


1 Comment

When God Changed His Mind

When God Changed His Mind

By: Rev Brandon Dirks

If my last blog alienated half of you, this one will cause you to run away from me – once and for all!
Read Jonah Chapter 3… it may blow your mind.

“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” Jonah 3:10

God CHANGED his mind?
WHAT???!!!
That’s not the God I know. God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today, and
tomorrow. God is omniscient. God can’t change his mind! Can He? Continue reading


Leave a comment

Divine Discontent

next-step-college-tips

You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy. Ephesians 4:24-26

Tim Hansel wrote in the wonderful little book, “Holy Sweat,” that we really aren’t so much human beings as “human becomings.” Every day we are becoming more and more the person we will be. The scary thing is that some people will actually become less than they are now by this time next week. But most of us want to become something more than we are now.

Most people today think of themselves on a spiritual journey. But most of us don’t know how to get there or even how to take the first step. So we do what we are told. Go to church. Go to a small group. Read your Bible. Pray. Do good things. If that is what we are supposed to do, then why do we so easily get bored, distracted, disillusioned? Why does worship sometimes lose its impact? Why does Sunday School fail to sparkle? We look around and wonder…is this it?

We begin a search for more….but only find something else. We long for something Holy to touch us, but we still come up empty. At the same time, we find that the things of the world have lost their appeal. We continue our search…this worship service, that worship service. This preacher, that preacher. This group, that group. This prayer, that prayer…. It goes on an on.

But let me tell you a secret…The answer to the divine discontent that makes you feel dissatisfied with your current spiritual life, that makes you feel hum drum with the way things are, that makes you feel that there is something more, is not something you will find out there in the world….The answer has already found you. God’s amazing grace longs to touch you as much as you long to touch it. God’s amazing grace is straining to touch you…to fill you…to give meaning to your life…to give you purpose…to make you feel whole, complete, useful…we simply need to be open to it.

That Divine Discontent you are a feeling might be a signal…a message from God…something urging you to move forward in your faith. Many of you are experiencing this right now. To move is to grow, and sometimes that is the hardest step

Christians for centuries have known how to take that next step. The path is so clear and right in front of you, and has always been. Like any new path though, taking the first step may seem difficult and hard, but it is also so full of possibilities! An adventure awaits!

Then, after that first step, you soon discover amazing beauty, exciting twists and turns…and the path keeps going.You look around the bend and you see breathtaking landscapes…and you stop to take it all in. But you can’t stay there…the path keeps going. You have to see where it leads. At times, the path may seem long and tedious, but at other times it pushes you up challenging hills and through dangerous valleys. You may choose to linger here and there, but the nudge of ‘keep going’ is always there. The exciting question of, “What’s next?” beckons you forward on your next step.

If trusted, this path at times will allow you to see and experience the fullness of what life has to offer. If worked on daily, it no longer becomes work…but becomes the very breath of life… a path that you hunger for and can’t live without. It literally becomes the pathway, not just for you to touch something beautiful, but for that beauty to touch and fill you.

This fall, I encourage you to take the next step on your path.

Every step you take brings you closer to God.

Check out the Next Steps brochure you should be receiving in the mail for opportunities to begin walking a different path.

This blog post will also appear in the August-September issue of Christ Church’s Reflections Magazine.

TwitterFollow me on Twitter

@bkdirks1


Leave a comment

The Good News About Marriage

origin_5966651715

While the country is roiling over the issue of gay marriage, has anyone stopped to think about the state of marriage itself? Has all the talk, turmoil, anger, and divisiveness been simply a distraction from addressing the real problems of marriage? Have we only pointed out the speck of dust in another’s eyes, that we neglected the log in our own? Have we forgotten:

  • Most marriages are unhappy marriages!
  • The divorce rate is 50% or more!
  • Remarriages divorce rates are even higher!
  • Your marriage is no better off if you go to church!

Well, what if I told you that all of the above “facts” are lies? That’s right. Not one of these so-called truths is substantiated in any credible research. They are simply…cultural myths!

NEXT STEP. This fall, I invite you to join me in taking the “next step” in your faith in marriage. I am designing a small group that involves a wide-variety of couples to explore the book, “The Good News about Marriage” by Shaunti Feldahn. The research in the book debunks the above myths, and actually proposes that most marriages are happy and fulfilling, the divorce rate is nowhere near 50%, remarriages survive just fine, and couples who attend church together are much less likely to divorce than those who do not. The research in this book is contrary to what our culture believes, but the hope it offers is exactly what this world needs to hear.

GOOD NEWS. While it is tempting to use this book for marriage counseling, instead this group is designed to equip participants to articulate to a hurting world the message of hope in marriage. In a culture where marriage is getting nothing but bad news, God has a message of Good News!

EXPERIMENT. What will make this group truly special is its diversity. Would you join me in an experimental small group made up of a broad demographic of couples? Specifically, I am looking for couples who:

  • who have been married a long time as well as newly married
  • who are planning to get married, as well as those who are not
  • who have remarried, and who are dating

WHY. In a world where people are hearing nothing but bad news about marriage, it is no wonder that they start to believe it. As a result, before people even get married, there is a sense that ‘we are against the odds.’ Also, when a couple faces a terrible time, often a futile feeling will come over them that ‘we aren’t going to make it.’ Therefore, one of the biggest reasons marriages don’t make it is that they believe they aren’t going to make it. As Feldahn writes, “There is one common denominator among marriages that survived verse those that failed: hope.”

JOIN ME IN “NEXT STEPS.”

Be looking for the fall Next Steps booklet in the mail. Twice each year, Christ church publishes, “Next Steps,” which outlines purposeful short-term small groups designed to help you take the next step in your faith. These small group experiences are meant to increase your ability to recognize how God is at work in your life and in our community. Designed to help you nurture God’s love within your life, these groups will help shape you to become living proof of God’s love in every facet of your life. And, these groups will strengthen your ability to articulate God’s love in a world crying out for a word of hope.

Small groups was the method Jesus chose to use to develop faith in his disciples, and being held accountable in a small group is at the core of what we want for each member at Christ Church. Simply put, you can have faith without a small group, but you cannot grow without a small group.

Next Steps groups have increased by 70% over the past two years, with one-fourth being individuals who participated for the very first time. We are expecting the growth to continue so Jennie Weeks, Christ Church Director of Adult Discipleship, and the Adult Discipleship Team has put together an even more amazing slate of groups for you to try this fall and spring.

So, if you are looking for a way to start in a small group, or you need something to get you invigorated again in your faith, give one of our fall Next Steps group a try!