Intersections, Overlaps, and Community

Travel any road long enough and you’re sure to come to some type of intersection. Some demand a choice, others merely offer options. Arriving at the four-way stop, one can choose a new direction or ignore either option to turn and continue on. The country road that ends in a “T” requires a decision. Deciding to continue on without turning would be unwise.

There is another type of “intersection”. An intersection of ideas, thoughts, discussions, human connections, dreams, teachings, sensory inputs of all types. The last few months seems to have been a time of tremendous sensory input. Possibly a time to consider choices …

Intentional, purpose, habits, declarations, identity, freedom, healing, and connections to the Holy Spirit and to other people. Family, generational, wounds, fleeting, health, love, truth, calling, season, now, urgency, discipleship. A fairly substantial number of intersecting ideas and concepts.

And maybe that’s just it. Maybe the point is that I am the point of intersection, the point where these inputs are guideposts and not binary options to be boiled down to “pick this, not that”. Maybe the real point is to be found in the overlap. Someone shared with me that my brain works “somewhat strangely” and that I think and process information differently than many. I’m still processing that one!

Yeah, that’s a lot to process. Actually, it's too much. At least without some guidance. Some help. A counselor to help me work through it. A guide to lead me into all truth. One who will prepare me for all good works. Someone who has experienced everything and more than I could ever experience. Someone who has come through it all. And brothers. Brothers to talk through it, ask questions, discuss answers, ask more questions. Laugh at me. Cry with me. And laugh some more. To share life with. And ultimately, to make it clear that I have to own my own stuff.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this alone. And I am sorry that this may offend (actually I am not sorry at all, this is MY story), but I can’t do it with only God. I can’t. I need people. Not a lot. Just a few. But the right ones. His grace is sufficient, yet I need other guys who will be there and who will honor me by allowing me to be in their stuff with them. Good stuff and crap stuff. And guess what, I’ve never met a man who is different. Sure, some think they are… for a season. You can’t be who you are designed to be without His presence and the presence of other guys. Period.

Paul understood this. Jesus knocked him on his…  Speaking intersection, Jesus and Saul, now that WAS an intersection! Men had to physically lead Saul by the hand to Damascus. Once there, Saul did nothing for three days, no food, no drink. Nothing. Until Ananias was sent to restore his sight. Jesus could have done this without Ananias, but we see time and time again how he uses other people for His plans.

The disciples learned, lived and experimented in community. They were sent out in pairs. God works in relationships. We are designed for relationship. From the beginning of time, The Trinity, God’s Relational, has been the model. We are designed for family, for community. We are designed to be insufficient in our individualism and yet wholly sufficient as a body. Each role playing its part for the benefit of all.

May I suggest that so much of what you may be wondering, so many of the paths you may be wandering, needs to be done as a community. You, the Holy Spirit and your tribe.

So, what is with all of the ideas of, “intentional, purpose, habits, declarations, identity, freedom, healing, connections to the Holy Spirit and to other people, family, generational, wounds, fleeting, health, love, truth, calling, season, now, urgency, discipleship”? That’s a good question. One that is being worked out in community. Maybe a better question is, “What is God putting on your heart?” And then working through that with a few others as they process their own.

-Brad Roderick

Purposeful Intentionality- Part 2

The last post introduced this idea of, “Purposeful Intentionality”. When we look at the life of Christ, it’s marked by, “Purposeful Intentionality”. In John 5:16-19 we see a pretty good snapshot of “Purposeful Intentionality” from two perspectives.  Same situation, two very different purposes and intentions.

16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” 

The Son can only do what he sees his father doing… because whatever the Father does, the Son does also. Now that’s intentional! And with a purpose! He simply did whatever the Father does. Perfect intentions. Perfect purpose. Perfect. 

If Jesus lived a life of purposeful intentionality, should we strive for anything less? Of course, we will fall short. Of course, we won’t have a perfect track record. Yet, there a few things that we can do to live with more intention and purpose. 

Warning: Before we look at the application of purposeful intentionality, consider how purposefully intentional the Jewish leaders were in this story as they looked for reasons to accuse Jesus (see vs. 16). Or consider Saul. There can be little argument that Saul was hyper focused on what he believed to be his purpose. He was VERY intentional. After he experienced a radical change that redirected his purpose, he was once again very intentional in all that he did. You see, Jesus can take wrong directions, purposes, intentions, hearts, lives and make them new.  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Are there things that God is putting on your heart lately? You sense He’s inviting you into fellowship with Him more; through time with Him, His Word and prayer. And let’s pretend that its been a while since you spent much time in any of these.  

Here’s a few practical steps to begin a new habit or routine. 

  1. Make it easy.

  2. Make it visual.

  3. Make it rewardable.

  4. Create momentum.

Want to read the Bible more? Want to have more conversations with God?

  1. Make it easy. Start with a simple activity. Maybe read a chapter a day. 

  2. Make it visual. Lay out your Bible on the kitchen table before you go to bed. You’ll see it as you grab that cup of coffee in the morning. 

  3. Make it rewardable. Once it’s done, grab that second cup of coffee while you mark it off on the calendar.

  4. Create momentum. Each day, each step, strung together over the month. The simple act of one step after another. Miss a day? No sweat. Miss two days, you’ll probably miss three. Momentum over. Momentum never stands still, it is either alive or dead.

Right now, with all of the busy-ness and activity surrounding you… with all of the things vying for your attention, rest on this: Your Father is highly intentional in all the He does. He is highly purposeful in all that He does. And He is a good, good Father. A Father that will stop at nothing to deliver the best of gifts to His children, to you.

-Brad Roderick

Purposeful Intentionality

“Intentionality”. This word continues to permeate many conversations I have been a part of over the last several weeks. Work, family, spiritual, health, relationships, “intentional” keeps showing up. Maybe it’s the season of life that I am in. Nearing the 60-year mark. Moving into the next stage of life. Or maybe it is the result of the people I am spending time with. Better relationships, conversations, and friendships; deeper, richer and filled with more joy. Maybe it’s the math behind Google; sending me the messages I would be most receptive to. Or maybe there is something deeper, something of greater importance, power, and permanence. Maybe it’s the collective cry of the heart of a lot of men today. A cry put there by the Holy Spirit. A cry to live more intentionally.

In an age where concentration and focus are measured in seconds; where a million things are being pushed towards us seemingly all the time. So much so that research is showing the human attention span less than that of a goldfish. Note: For fellow nerds, goldfish 9 seconds, human 8. 

Distraction may be the norm and intentionality may be scarce, rarer is “purposeful intentionality”. As an example, it's likely your goal wasn’t to spend 27 minutes scanning Facebook this morning. It just sort of happened. The intention was to get ready for work, the activity was Facebook surfing. We allow, sometimes even welcoming, the distractions that fill the days. And depending on the emotions elicited by what was found on Facebook that morning, our outlook may be altered. Intentional choices? Neither physical or emotional. 

For the last few years, we have been involved in a Men’s program based around 1:1 mentoring. It’s been a good season. Several men have found growth, some breakthroughs, and relationships were formed. As we enter a fresh new season, the desire is to be more intentional. A season of “purposeful intentionality”.

1 Corinthians 16:13 creates a perfect picture of both warning and desire. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong”. Now that’s intentional! An intentionality backed by a deep purpose. A purpose for which we were made. Followed by 16:14 “Do everything in love.” Few words. Deep and rich in meaning. We will unpack a bit of what this means for us collectively and individually, but for now, know that we cannot do this alone. We need the Holy Spirit AND we need each other.

Jesus never told the disciples to go “one-by-one”. He never sent them out alone and he certainly never suggested that they could, in any way, be and make disciples alone. It’s ludicrous even thinking that is possible. And yet… and yet, often we try to do just that. It's not our intent, but it can be what we try to do. 

Recently I have been again drawn to the parable of the lost sheep. I have focused on the act of the shepherd finding his one. But I have missed how he shares the good news of the return of the one. How the one is celebrated. No, I read the words, but I missed my own brokenness. I found it easy to have pity on the poor sheep and even be happy about his return but what happens when it’s not a sheep. What happens when it’s the annoying neighbor, co-worker… family member. Yeah, no problem making a quick run down the pretty green hill in my mind for a cute little sheep. Far more problematic when it requires leaving my comfortable couch to intentionally go into the mess of the bushes and the thorns and even the darkness. Intentionality. 

Intentionality comes from new eyes. It comes from a renewed heart. It comes from a loving Father. It comes with a burning desire; a firm commitment and a willingness not only to do certain things but to no longer do other things. Even if those things are “good”. 

Summary: Men, we need one another. We need guys who will leave the pack and go after the lost, saved and unsaved. We need community. We need relationships. We need our hearts back. And we cannot do that alone. And most importantly, we need Christ at the center. At the center of our purposeful intentionality.

Call to action: If you sense God calling you to the deeper community, to stronger relationships, to locking arms with men who are going to run the good race with you until we all finish strong, come on out and join us.

—Brad Roderick