Monday, August 29, 2005

Faith Meme

Viral memes are a little different from other viral agents, like the flu or Amway. The latest medical research suggests viral memes won't make you ill and they may prevent tooth decay (unless it's a chocolate meme). In this case, it may prevent murder.

Paula at praise117
has tagged me with this faith meme. Perhaps she did it because she knows I'll be moving this week, so I need to get in my prayer now to prevent homicide (justified or not) later. If I'm focused on God, I can't fixate on my raised blood pressure and all the little things that are annoying me to the point of going medieval on some innocent person (probably the downstairs neighbor who insists on playing her Mexican folk music at airport tarmac decibels). So, God bless Paula. I'm putting down my machete for a moment to answer these questions:

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God? I plan on serving at least one family this year the way my wife and I have been served during our time of need. We think we're going to rebound quickly. I want to "give it away" now, because God has mightily blessed us with servants in our life.

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year? If the income thing stabilizes, we are going to ask God for a child.

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year? I need to serve my wife better by keeping a tidy house. And maybe do a lot more cooking -- and not my "bachelor casserole" I'm so fond of. (Bachelor casserole = 1 pound of fried ground beef in a large bowl, with melted cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, and tomatoes. Just scoop and serve.)

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it? Obedience. This comes with the aid of the Spirit, with a heart intent on focusing on God at the times I tend to focus on myself. I also intend on removing the phrases "I deserve" and "I need" from my vocabulary as much as possible.

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year? Video games. I'm cutting down on the number I own.

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church? I'm returning to my home church with a newfound interest in evangelism. I'm hoping to pass this new passion on to others.

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year? A close family member whose relationship I'd prefer not to mention here. If you're a Calvinist, God is not calling this person while He's called all those around them. If you're an Arminian, this person is simply not responding to God's call. Either way, it's disappointing seeing an extended family of believers broken-hearted because one is still lost.

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year? I hope to pay all my own bills without asking for help -- by the grace of God. This is a big one for me. Never have had two years, financially, like the last two in my entire life. I just want to be responsible for the mess I've created. I hope God sees me as being capable of handling the burden of financial blessing.

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year? I'm pretty good at keeping an open line with God. My pastor once told me "I don't remember the last time I spent an hour in prayer, but neither do I remember an hour I haven't prayed." I'd like to spend more time in corporate prayer. I believe a group of believers on their knees seeking revival is likely to reach God's heart for an outpouring. This is my family's history, actually. My grandmothers spent half their lives doing this, and saw their families saved because of it, while their churches burst at the seams with new believers. That's not something you do passively, though. Not only can it be physically challenging, it's a sure way to get the enemy's attention. Don't start unless your heart is square with the mission and you are prepared to spend days, months, even years seeking God for that kind of thing.

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity? I am seeking to build God's unity in my extended family. The faith is there, but the flesh is resistant. We need a family renewal. We need God to change hearts and behavior in all of us.

11. What's the most important decision you need to make this year? Not to seem vain, but it's fairly important I clear up my career goals ASAP. It's not the kind of crossroads I expected to find at 36. I may end up writing a book or a screenplay, but I dare not treat it like a hobby or a diversion. If I do it, it's going to be with a financial goal in mind.

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could simplify in that area? My life just got simplified to square one. I'll be living at home with my parents again, this time with a wife. I certainly don't crave complication at this point considering the storm we just weathered, but I'd like to think my life won't be this simple this time next year.

13. What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year? I pray my wife will be healed to the point she'll be able to live the active life she craves.

14. What habit would you most like to establish this year? Daily Bible reading. I've always read the Bible in a topical manner. I need to learn how to read the Scripture from cover to cover, letting the Word speak for itself.

15. Who do you most want to encourage this year? My wife. She's had severals lives worth of burden. I want her to see a taste of God's blessing now, a personal and physical renewal for the sake of her faith and happiness.

I'd like to tag JohnBoy now, but he's on walkabout somewhere in the northwestern U.S. and I'm not sure when he'll be any place near electricity next. I'll tag him now, but I'm prepared to tag someone else if I can't reach him.

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