25 one-minute faith fixes

A lot can happen in a minute.

If your faith feels a little faded today, try one of these quick fixes and reconnect with God.

1.  See the sky

1. outside

  If you’ve been cooped up inside all day, give yourself a glimpse at the sky.  Feel the wind on your face.
Remember that the Holy Spirit is present.

2.  Give yourself a temporary tattoo

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Really!  Take a pen and make the tiny sign of a cross or fish (ichthus) on your hand.
Every time you look at it today, you’ll remember Jesus.

3.  Remember your baptism

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Use the drinking fountain or a sink.  Just wet your fingers and then make the sign of the cross on your forehead.
You are blessed and made clean by God!

4.  Go Green

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 A potted plant, the tree outside the window, a flower, a weed — it doesn’t much matter.
Being in the presence of life like this points you towards the one who gives it.

5. Laugh.

laugh

 Make a joke, watch a Youtube video, remember your favorite episode of Seinfeld.
Every time you laugh your body, mind, and soul get a little healthier.

6.  Do this quick guided imagery

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Take 3 deep breaths.  Close your eyes and picture the following, using your imagination to add detail:
You are in a giant hall.  God is there, with you.  In front of you is an ornate chest.
You hear God’s voice telling you that there’s something specifically for you, today, inside the chest.
Open it.  What do you see?

7.  Donate for free with the click of a mouse.

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Visit Greatergood.com and with the click of a mouse, you can help
support veterans, rainforests, orphaned animals, and much more.  See for yourself!

 8. Invite someone to church

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What?  In a minute?  Why not!
We spend more time fretting about inviting people than it takes to actually do it.
Ask a co-worker. Send someone an email.  You’ll feel good to have reached out.

9. Strive for silence

silence

Take a minute and simply be in the presence of God.  What the heck.  Take two.

10.  Look at your hand

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Look at the lines on your palm.  Your fingerprints.  The color of your skin.
You are a unique being, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

11.  Pray for someone in particular

25 pray

It could be anyone.  It could even be yourself.  The person you pray for doesn’t have to be sick, even.
But for one concentrated minute, you are channeling your spiritual energy in praying God’s blessing upon them.

12.  Memorize a Bible verse

6. memorize

In one minute, you can commit a simple Bible verse to memory.
Visit http://ministry-to-children.com/easy-bible-verses/ and you’ll find 10 simplified verses you can pick up easily.

13. Tell someone “I love you”

3. i love you

Who do you need say those 3 magic words to today?  Giving love to someone else helps you to feel it too.

14. Light a candle

1111 flame

There’s nothing like a simple flame to point us to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

15.  Remember your communion

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We have the opportunity to take communion all the time — but not necessarily right this moment.
So take a moment and remember the bread and the cup, and what they mean for you and your life.
The love of Christ is still nourishing you — even now.

 16.  Pet your pet or kid with your kid

2. dog kid

The innocence of animals and children is like a giant arrow pointing towards God.
Call up a few fond memories and smile in God’s direction.

17.  Draw Creation

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I’ll bet you can draw the story of creation in one minute.  No time for perfection here–just sketch it out fast:
The Sun and the stars.  The sky and the water and the land.  The birds and the fishes and the animals and the humans.
Remind yourself of the grandness of God’s gifts.
And don’t forget to put God’s pronouncement on there somewhere:  IT WAS VERY GOOD.

18.  Confess

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You don’t have to carry guilt around a minute longer.
Don’t beat around the bush — just lay it out there for God to take from you, and ask for forgiveness.
And then, read this:
“Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  That proves God’s love for us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, You are forgiven!”

19.  Hum Amazing Grace

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Or sing it, if you’re where you can.  Think of how many millions of believers had sung these same words and felt the same Grace.
You are not alone.

20.  Listen to the World.

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The world can be a noisy place, and we tend to block out a lot of ambient noise.
Take a minute, though, and really listen:  The car driving by, the hum of the refrigerator, distant footsteps.
You are called to be part of life’s symphony.

21.  Picture God’s arms around you

7. arms

I frequently share this idea in situations where people are feeling pain or loss,
but really, when wouldn’t God be holding you?  It’s not just an idea…it’s really true.

22.  Recite the Lord’s prayer

10. lord's prayer

This prayer is designed to align us with God’s Kingdom.
Pray it with the confidence and hope of a believer.

23.  put on the armor of God

22. armor

You are a member of the Body of Christ, and an ambassador of the Kingdom of God.  That means you are connected with the powerful Love of God and even able to use it in your life.  When conflict, abuse, or trials come, don’t forget that.

24.  Put a problem in your God box.

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My wife does this, and swears it helps.  It’s based on some writings from Anne Lamott.  If there are problems you just can’t face, put them in your God box, and remind yourself you don’t have to be in control of everything.

25.  Recite the story of the Good Samaritan

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This is one of those parables many Christians know by heart.
Take 60 seconds and tell yourself the story again.
By the time you’re done you may remember Jesus’ 2nd commandment as well
— to love our neighbors as our self.

There you have it!

It’s as if Jesus himself had walked up behind you, tapped on your shoulder, and asked:

“Got a minute?”

Have a great week,

Mitch

If I were the mayor of Ferguson

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The mayor of Ferguson, Missouri is a man named James Knowles.

I don’t know him personally.  I saw him interviewed on TV and didn’t really think much of the guy.

But it did get me thinking about the position he holds.

What if I were the mayor of Ferguson?

If I were the mayor of Ferguson, I would not be sleeping well these days.

I’d be waiting by the phone, for news of another “incident”.

Or maybe I’d be out on the streets, shouting for calm through a bullhorn, until I was hoarse.

If I were the mayor of Ferguson, I’d be juggling between angry, weary police officers and angry, weary protesters.

I’d be talking to the media, and listening to the media, and frequently cursing the media.

I’d be wrestling with issues of justice.

I’d be confused about right from wrong.  I’d wonder how we got in this mess.

If I were the mayor of Ferguson, I’d be exhausted.  Maybe wishing I didn’t have this job.

I’d make mistakes, but for the right reasons.  And maybe sometimes for the wrong reasons.

If I were the mayor of Ferguson, I’d realize how little power I actually have.

And so I’d pray.

I’d pray for resolution, and peace, and justice, and I would try to let my prayer guide my actions.

I’d pray for Christ to be present in Ferguson.

I’d pray for the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

For the possibility of change, for reconciliation.

For something better.

Hmm.

I think I am the mayor of Ferguson.

And so are you.

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Have a good week,

Mitch

What Dreams May Come

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Today, a devotion about my least favorite Robin Williams movie.

In the mid-90’s, some kids from my youth group got together and watched a movie called “What Dreams May Come”.

Do you remember it?

Most of it takes place in the afterlife.  Robin Williams plays a man who has died, and when his soul mate takes her own life, he goes to rescue her from hell.

Visually, the movie was astounding.  I think it won an Oscar for visual effects that year.

But one of the boys from youth group had a tough question for me that next week:

“Is my mom in hell?”

* * *

Gulp.

As beautiful as the movie was visually, it contained a notion I always considered to be quite ugly:

In the movie, if you killed yourself, you were going to hell.

Granted, this was a hell of one’s own making, but there was no escape for someone who had taken their own lives.

This poor boy had lost someone he loved to suicide, and now this movie had scared him badly.

Here’s what I told him:

“No.  The movie got it wrong.  I’m certain of it.  See, the whole notion is just bad logic.  Wouldn’t you think that a person who dies from cancer no longer has cancer?  Wouldn’t you think that a person who is alcoholic is no longer alcoholic?  Someone who dies by suicide is not doomed to suffer an eternity of depression, confusion, and alienation. They are free from it.”

* * *

Pretty good response, I think.

I also like the way Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 15:

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

 “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”

That is an amazing statement of faith in God’s eternal Love.  It seems to say that God’s love changes us in death.

I’m sure it does.  I’m sure Robin Williams is at peace now.

But everything I’ve ever read or experienced about Jesus Christ assures me that God’s love can change us right here and now, too.  While we’re alive.

Those suffering from depression are blessed with doctors, therapists, pastors, friends,  family and partners.

There’s medication and there’s meditation.

There’s music, art, and funny movies (starring Robin Williams.)

Yes, we’ll be changed when we die…

but we don’t have to die to change.

* * *

I sat in my backyard last night, and I cried for Robin Williams.

His pain must have been great.

And yet I still believe God’s Love holds great promise for his soul, and for yours, and mine.

A promise not of nightmares…

but of what dreams may come.

rip Robin,

Mitch

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P E T T Y

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“You are so PETTY”, the anonymous note read.

She crumpled it up in a ball and threw it inside her desk, looking around to see if anyone was watching. She made an effort to return to her seat with a forced smile on her face.  She’d have time to cry after school.

And she did cry.  Even though she was popular, and had lots of friends, the words stung her. Was she really petty?  She thought she knew what the word meant, but she decided to look it up just in case:

mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things: a petty person.” 

She wondered who had written the note, and what she had done to deserve the harsh words.

Had she been mean?  Well, maybe sometimes. There were kids in her class that she teased.  Some of them didn’t dress very nicely.  She didn’t mean anything by it, really.  She was just laughing along with her friends.

Had she been “ungenerous”?  Well, she did talk behind some kid’s backs. That probably wasn’t very generous.  And she hadn’t invited Gabriella over for a big sleep over, even though they’d been best friends last year.  Gabriella’s parents lived in the “wrong” part of town, according to some of her other friends.

Now she was crying again.  Not just for embarrassment, but for shame.  She hadn’t really stopped and thought about how she might be hurting other people.

She looked at the cross hanging on her bedroom wall, and cried some more. She reached for her Bible, and it flopped open to where she had bookmarked one of her favorite verses:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Finally, she said a prayer and asked for forgiveness for how she’d behaved.  She even prayed for the person who had written her the note.

The next day she felt very different as she walked into class.  She found herself looking at each person through new eyes.  She wanted to see people the way Jesus saw them.

She sat down at her desk, and after thinking about it, reached inside to grab the crumpled up note. She thought she might keep it as a reminder.

She flattened the note out and her jaw dropped.

There it said in plain English, “You’re so PRETTY“.

Not “Petty”, “Pretty”.

Blushing slightly, she smiled and put the note back in her desk.

For a moment the thought passed through her mind, “This changes everything”.

“No it doesn’t,” she said aloud, softly, smiling.

“God’s Love changes everything.”

Have a great week,

Mitch

Pettiness prayer