Living Intentionally.

Being over here in the Czech Republic is all about living intentionally. That’s a pretty big word so I feel like I should give it a “working definition” so to speak. To me “living intentionally” means being aware of the people, things and situations around you and consciously trying to impact all those things in a positive way. Since I first left for South Africa in January 2008 I have been amazed at how powerful my words or actions can impact someone else for good or ill. Of course, Scripture (in James and other places) backs this up. Here in the Czech Republic living intentionally is all that much more important. Things aren’t just going to fall in my lap. I have to be focused. I have to care. I have to keep my eyes open.

This is not my natural state. I am an American and even worse I’m from the Northeast. Let me explain. We on the East Coast value independence. We work hard, don’t whine and we look out for ourselves alone pretty much. Plus I’m an introvert. I like people but only in the right situations. I would rather sit at home all night than go somewhere with a large group of people I don’t know. I often (consciously and not) value honesty over relationship.

I have a problem. Large parts of my culture and personality fly in the face of the religion and belief system that I claim to profess. Think about it.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it- Luke 9:24

Christianity flips my values on their head. It’s not about me, it’s about others. If I try to look out only for myself it’s hopeless. And of course this is perfectly exampled in the acts of Jesus: God himself, the Savior of the world, giving himself up to be publicly tortured, ridiculed and killed in a major city. And the crazy thing is this: In this ultimate act of unbridled, unrestrained love and intentionality, the entire World has been given hope and salvation.

Wow. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think I need to focus on living intentionally more.

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Authenticity

I’m a very honest person. I’m not stroking my ego with my previous statement. Being honest has gotten me in trouble. A lot. Often with females but everyone in general too. If I know you well I am liable to tell you (in general) what I think, good or bad, nice or mean. My overriding concern is generally not “will what I say be helpful?” but “will what I say be true?” For me, truth is of paramount value. It’s in my personality and it’s how I was raised too.

Our society (in America) does not value truth as it once did I think. As a college professor once declared (erroneously) to my class, “You are all relativists.” What works for someone might not work for everyone (or anyone) else, but if it makes that person feel happy or right inside that can be truth for them.

I want to be nice to people. I want people to like me. I want to show people love in this world because our world is hurting in a brutal fashion. I think the word that sums up what I want to be the most however is authenticity. I long to be authentic.  I am not a salesman. I’m not trying to suck anyone into my worldview. I don’t want your money or support or time. I merely want to be real. I want to discuss things that matter. And I want to share what I believe to be the truth that can dramatically change anyone who wishes to be changed.

All that stuff in the Bible? It really happened. All that stuff Jesus did? He really did it. It matters whether it is true or not and it is important to consider what it means for your life. I’m not out to force a decision on or from anyone. I just want to give whoever I happen to meet an opportunity. An opportunity for true life, real life, life life. It cannot be found completely in anything else.

Call me close-minded, intolerant, or backwards if you want. Just don’t reject Christianity out of hand because of something superfluous. It’s important, it’s awesome, it’s amazing. It’s truth.