experience.vs.engagement

lazy-1I’ve been alive long enough to know that for everything with which we involve ourselves, we can estimate what our experience will be by looking at the quality of our engagement.

In other words,  we can expect a great experience if our level of engagement is strong.

I know this to be true by the judging my own pursuits.

If I am actively engaging in a club or interest group, I will get more out of it than if my attitude of engagement is one of “just one more thing to do.”

If I am actively engaging a book I am reading, I will get more out of it than if my attitude of engagement is one of “suffering through it.”

If I am actively engaging my Bible readings, I will get more out of it than if my attitude of engagement is one of “let me get this over with so I can so something else.”

You and I could extend this relationship between engagement and experience to MANY examples -including relationships.

One more note – the amount of effort is not necessarily the same thing as the quality of effort.

God said to love Him “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

Whether we are “dipping our toes,” “wading waist deep,” or “jumping in” – we can expect an experience that corresponds.

embody.the.faith

“Defending the faith” is a futile exercise, as the battle is fought with those who are convinced to be your enemy. The better route is to “embody the faith” as it is the surest “weapon” against the unbeliever’s heart, and thus towards winning their mind.

I am thankful I learned this lesson a very long time ago, when I used to battle atheists on religious forums, resulting in much energy and time redeemed for other purposes.

Also, Romans 12:17-21.

To The Fallen

To you who have fallen
for the cause of freedom
no words or gestures
are adequate enough
to express the gratitude and humility
that ought be felt by a people
whose security has been bought
by grit and suffering and blood
– but as tiny a voice it may be
in the shadow of your great
and final sacrifice,
I speak “thank you”
with the voice of my words
and I hope the same is said
of the voice of my works.

-Herb Halstead

roll.them.eyes

My office started an internal newsletter, for which I’ve been invited to write a recurring column. Here’s my inaugural entry. Maybe it’ll help you where you work.

Most of us get along well with one another, but inevitably, in an office this size, there is bound to be that person who rubs you the wrong way. It’s easy to roll your eyes behind their back and say, “I can’t stand that guy!” within hearing range of others. I know it’s easy because I can roll some eyes with the best of you.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The “therefore” refers to the fact that Jesus suffered for all of us so that we could find peace. Because of that, Paul urges us to do more than tolerate one another – but to go so far as to actively encourage one another.

We must not be tempted to pat ourselves on the back when we read the last part: “just as in fact you are doing” – because “encouraging” is what we need to be doing for all people – not just the ones we like.

In His grip,

Pastor Herb

dirty.knees

In preparation for yesterday’s message at Thrive Church, my heart has been in some serious “exploration” mode with God. Many of you know that I am a “tentmaker,” pastoring a church and holding a career as an architectural designer. So, it sort of goes without saying that I don’t mind working hard. But, I have to admit that I sometimes struggle with a calling to be a pastor and having to endure this season of splitting my time between the calling and a career.
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