Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tapping the Line

Tapping the Line
By Jeremiah Hughes
A New Life Church Write4Him Author

The 60/60 experiment is far from an ordinary movement. It is an absolutely revolutionary idea that has enhanced my spiritual relationship with God and opened my eyes to His presence in everyday life. My communication with the Lord is at an all time high; I am speaking more freely and hearing more clearly. 60/60 has provided the framework for the Lord to construct a type of cell phone tower in my heart, or “prayer phone” tower, and my provider rings clearer than ever before! No dropped calls, no interference, unlimited minutes, free nights and weekends … the whole nine yards! Well, maybe eight and a half yards … I don’t exactly have text messaging. ;)

But, I digress. In order to help keep on track with 60/60, I have set my iPhone alarm to go off every hour, and the ringtone I selected is an old-fashioned doorbell. *DING DONG* … God’s at the door … *DING DONG* … God is calling … *DING DONG* … Time to talk to God. It is a great illustration for the 60/60 experiment. God is always at the door, always on the other line, always ready and waiting to talk with us. So I must admit, I have been feeling pretty proud of myself, what with my own personal “prayer phone” tower and all. How could this get any better?

Then, something amazing happened! Somebody tapped into my private line. Somebody else started using my “prayer phone” tower to talk with God. My own father started borrowing my phone line to communicate with God. Now, please don’t think that my father was previously a non-believer and that 60/60 has brought him to God. He is a religious man, baptized Christian, and prays before meals. He is an amazing father and loving husband. But he doesn’t have the greatest attendance record and only occasionally finds his way to church on Sunday. However, throughout this experiment, I would hear that familiar *DING DONG*, and my dad would say, “God is at the door. Tell him I said hi.” I thought nothing of it at first and played it off as him making a small joke. But as the little comments continued, I noticed that my father had started actively thinking about our Father, just as I was, on an hourly basis. How incredible is that?!

It really hit home when I was sitting at work, and a call was transferred in. I answered the phone like I always do, but this time my dad was on the other end. It was nothing out of the ordinary at first; we exchanged words about how our days had started and what we were doing. But after a few moments passed he said, “The reason I called was to let you know that I am going into an important meeting in a couple of hours. Next time God rings the doorbell, please ask him to be with me. It could be a really big sale.”


At that precise moment I realized that my focus on the 60/60 experiment had started impacting those around me. Even though the foundation of my “prayer phone” tower was secured firmly in my heart, the signal was resonating in the hearts of those around me. Just like AT&T, or Verizon, or any other cellular phone provider, one tower has the ability to connect thousands of people together. Why can’t we be like that? Why can’t our signal reach out to everyone around us, connecting them to God and connecting them to other people?

As I reflect on the past three weeks, I remember others who may have tapped the line of my “prayer phone” tower. I remember those people who asked why my phone made the doorbell sound every hour, and those individuals to whom I have explained the experiment…coworkers, family members, friends. I remember those who I am attempting to help connect on an hourly basis, my 60/60 running partners. My only hope is that my tower’s signal has been strong enough in those moments, strong enough for all of them to connect with God on their own level and in their own way.

So, how strong is your signal? I am willing to bet it is a lot stronger than you might realize. You may not even recognize it, but one simple little explanation of what you are doing on an hourly basis could very easily have a world of impact on that one individual. Your diligence and commitment to 60/60 could be the inspiration one person needs to continue their own growth. Keep up the good work! Continue building your very own “prayer phone” tower with the Lord. Strengthen that signal in prayer with God. You never know who might be tapping in!

“Pray continually; Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19).

-Jeremiah Hughes
Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.

Speak with Love

Speak With Love
By Ruthann Schmudde, a New Life Church Write4Him author

Just as sometimes we have trouble communicating with God, we also have trouble communicating with humans. Our words give a message, but so does our tone of voice and our facial expression.

Like John Burke says in Soul Revolution, we need to respond relationally (p. 116). So we can choose soft words and a gentle tone of voice instead of harsh ones. If we let people be who they are without trying to control them, if we don’t have to “win” an argument, if we let God’s words be our words, communicating gets much easier and our relationships become joyful.

Prayer: Dear God, Please help us to communicate love and respect in all of our relationships, to you, God, and every person we meet. Give us the right words in each situation, and let us hear the message in return. Help us write these words on our hearts, “We love because Jesus first loved us.” (I John 4:19) and live them out in real life.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

LG2: The Quantity of LG Squared

ByJeremiah Hughes
A New Life Church Write4Him Author

In math, this equation can be broken down into many variations due to the associative property of mathematics. This property allows us to write one equation several different ways. Using my example equation above, the associative property lets three totally different translations mean the exact same thing. (LG)2 = L2 x G2 = (L x G) x (L x G). I am even going to take it a step further by removing the multiplication signs. (LG)2 = L2G2 = (LG)(LG). You might be thinking, “Wow, what a nerd!” or “What does this have to do with 60/60?” The first is an accurate statement and the latter, a great question. Hang tight and I will explain.

The second week of 60/60 for me was rather difficult. Not difficult in the sense that I forgot a couple of hours, and not difficult in the fact that I was lost for words or didn’t know what to say to God. It was difficult for me because this week was the first week of my life that I have ever been labeled as … unemployed. I, like so many other people in this great nation, was unemployed. Working in the lumber industry isn’t the most comfortable of places right now as the housing market is tanking worse than Britney Spears’ career during the “hair cut” era. But this is where I started working right out of college, and thus far, it has been a profitable and prosperous marriage.

However, for my company, as well as numerous other companies around the world, steps are being taken to stave off complete bankruptcy and the closing of doors. In my case, this manifested itself in “rolling lay-offs.” Hours cut, income slashed, bank account leaking, and yet the bills remain constant. And I started thinking to myself, “Why is this happening to me,” and, “what am I going to do?” I was angry, and while I know that there are thousands upon thousands of others just like me, I started to feel alone and lost.

I will be honest. I am not terribly proud of my first few prayers this week. I was angry, not necessarily angry at God, but we always seem to take out our aggression on the ones we love. So I fought with everything that was going on, and I guess I fought with God a little bit too. But after two days of internal struggle and misery, it occurred to me. What I was doing was trying to blame others for my plight. I was blaming the economy, blaming my company, and I was looking at the whole situation from the perspective of “poor me.” Not only was this not healthy mentally, but it was not healthy spiritually.

Now, here is where the math lesson comes in …
(LG)2 means something more to me than just a math equation with a couple of letters and a fancy little 2. (LG)2 … or (LG)(LG) … in my life, stands for “Let go. Let God.” I realized that I had internalized all of my struggles and refused to do anything more than complain. I had refused to “let go” of my problems, refused to “let God” take over. So I opened my heart and mind, allowed the Lord in, allowed him to break down the walls of anger and self-pity, and allowed him to take the reins of my heart and lead me where HE wanted. To “let go” is not to try to change or blame others, it is “letting God” make the most out of me and my situation.

And you know what happened? My week started looking up. I was able to see all of the positives in my life much clearer than before. It may not have been an ideal situation, being laid off and all, but I had a roof over my head, meals on the table, and an amazing wife and daughter with whom I was able to spend an entire week. Plus, I know that God will take care of me and lead me where I am needed most. It is not his plot to leave me wandering about without purpose. He will provide for me and ensure that I take everything in life and make the most out of it. To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to “let God” guide each day as it comes.

Now, let’s not forget about the Associative Property of Mathematics! As I illustrated, this property lets three totally different translations mean the exact same thing. I propose that we take and create an Associative Property of Prayer. No matter how you choose to say it, no matter what combination of words you string together to express your thoughts and prayers, each “translation” means the same thing to God. Don’t be afraid to open up and let the Lord in. Don’t be afraid that you might not know exactly what to say, or how to say it. If it is on your heart, and you take the time to reflect with the Lord, he will understand what you are trying to say. Don’t be afraid. Give it a shot. Open up to the Lord.

Do yourself a favor and (LG)2!!
-Jeremiah Hughes
Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts, comments or questions.