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Thursday, September 11, 2014


            I recently took a solo backpack trip into the Desolation Wilderness.  I just needed to get away for some “me and Jesus” time so I loaded up my backpack with the essentials on a Sunday afternoon and 3 hours later I was all by myself watching the sunset at 8,000 foot elevation next to a lake.  It was beautiful and peaceful.  And I was tired.  The tiredness was from lugging my pack full of “essentials” a couple thousand feet uphill.
            I am an Eagle Boy Scout.  The motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared.”  That was drilled into me as a kid and has come in very hand throughout my life.  However, at times I have acted like “Be Prepared” means carrying with me any tool I might need in any situation.  The problem is, all that “stuff” gets heavy!
            As I went through the stuff in my pack at that lake, I kept finding things I really didn’t need at all.  I had too much food, too many clothes, too much extraneous gear.  I could have left a lot of things home and lightened my load.  It would have been an easier trip, for sure.  But I had a good reason for every item I put in my pack – I might need it.
            Mark records for us a story of Jesus sending his 12 closest disciples on an important mission to tell people about this new kingdom Jesus kept teaching about.  Look what Jesus says:  And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.” (Mark 6:7–9, ESV)
            Now, clearly these instructions are descriptive of a particular event and not prescriptive of how everyone is to go out and about.  But we shouldn’t dismiss the significance of what Jesus communicates.  He said it and it is recorded for a reason – there is something we should pay attention to in these words of Jesus.  And I think it is this:  When we are following Jesus, we need less than we think.  The unnecessary things in life become distractions, weigh us down and slow us down  – in mind, body and soul.
            This week we are starting an adventure called Simplify where we are going to take a look at the things that clutter our soul.  This isn’t going to be an intellectual exercise, it is going to be a practical journey that will challenge all of us to be less encumbered with “stuff” so we can live life more fully – the life Jesus invites us to live.  Each week we will look at a critical area of life.  You will have a Bible verse to meditate upon and practical actions steps to remove the clutter.  Some will be fun, some will be painful, all will be freeing.
            I have to be honest, I’m looking forward to this with mixed emotions.  I know I will be personally challenged with some of my “stuff” I have been hoarding.  But I’m excited about the freedom it is going to bring.  I hope you will join me as we Simplify so we can live the life Jesus promised.

Peace and grace,

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:28–30, ESV)

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