Washed in the Word

Get Washed

The insights from today’s post are taken from a chapter in John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted. They were an encouragement to me and something I’m constantly needing to remember so I hope this post will clarify some vocabulary and encourages your heart as well.

The phrase “washed in the word” always seemed vague and unclear to me until I read it in context in Ortberg’s book. The phrase comes from Ephesians 5 where it says husbands are to to imitate Christ who “cleansed” His bride, the church “by the washing of water with the word.” Weird.

I mean, I get the importance of the Word, but what does it have to do with washing? Ortberg boiled it down to the quite literal and it was a lightbulb moment. He asks why do we wash something and what happens if we don’t?

So often, we think we have to clean ourselves up so we can go to confession, attend church, read a Bible. Ortberg says the reason we come to God is the exact opposite – because we need Him to cleanse us! He says our minds our full of everything other than truth – dirt and darkness.

The effects of getting washed

When we read the Word, it cleanses our thoughts and our hearts. It reminds us to “seek his kingdom first.” A concept Ortberg describes as purity of heart or “a singleness of purpose and focus that gives consistency to [one’s] choices and commitments.”

In contrast to this, Ortberg references James’ description of “a life of divided loyalties” or double-mindedness. He contrasts single-mindedness as being connected to simplicity, while double-mindedness is connected to multiplicity and duplicity. He defines multiplicity as “ambivalence – pulled and pushed… we both desire intimacy with God and flee from it,” and he defines duplicity is “falseness… a discrepancy between the reasons we give… and the real reasons.”

These are the thoughts we all battle and he suggests the way to recalibrate, to re-orient is simpler than we think. It is not about what we do or don’t do, rather it is about bringing what needs to be washed to the only One who is completely Pure. As He washes us with His Word, we are slowly being transformed. Just like a plate with crumbs returns to its original shine when rinsed, the more regularly we dirty a plate, the more often we need to wash it!

Dallas Willard in his book The Divine Conspiracy says that people rarely think the God of the Bible has any relevance to our real lives. Either it is silly or incovenient or impractical or… there are few who consider the possibility that God’s words are what brings life to us and our world, and that therefore, it impacts every aspect of our daily lives. As a song by Tenth Avenue North says, “only you can make me new.”

The Divine Conspiracy, a book review

Disciples. Apprentices. Students. Learners.

Does that mean there is curriculum? A training manual?

In his book, The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard asks such questions and suggests that a lack of understanding of Jesus as teacher is plaguing the church and culture today. It’s long and deep, and I’m just getting started, but I’m excited to hear a fresh and candid voice on discipleship. I also love that Willard takes his ideas and applies them in practical ways, i.e. if [this] is true, then how does this truth actually impact my day-to-day?

 

Rest: an introduction

Are you in need of rest? I don’t just mean a little sleep; I mean soul rest. Join us for a Tuesday book discussion:

Why this book?

Today we begin discussing a book by Keri Wyatt Kent entitled Rest. Rest was the first of Kent’s books I read and it made a lasting impact on me. I was initially interested in reading it because I was longing to incorporate more rest into my life and I had no idea how.

Specifically, I wanted to learn more about the Jewish and Christian ideas of Sabbath. How was it originally intended to be practiced, and is there any relevance to our current time and place? The introduction and subtitle of the book is “Living in Sabbath Simplicity,” suggesting that Sabbath rest is part of a rhythm of a simple life. That thought sounded appealing to me then, and I have returned to the book since whenever I need a reminder why rest is important or help making rest happen.

What is Sabbath rest?

In the introduction, Kent says that Sabbath is both a command and a spiritual practice. Like other practices, her goal is not perfect implementation, but to share how practicing Sabbath led her to encounter God and changed her life. She suggests that the rest and recreation that come with Sabbath actually re-create us.

Kent emphasizes the idea that the practice of keeping the Sabbath is a journey. My own experience of practicing rest has also been something that I am continually growing in. There are many questions connected to the idea of Sabbath-keeping so Kent’s is one example that I have found helpful to me, personally.

For Keri and her family, Sabbath is a “day which almost always includes some activity, yet remains a respite from hurry and chaos. A day when we focus on one another instead of on our to-do lists. Still, we never have perfect Sundays. Thank God. Because often, what I need to rest from most is my perfectionism.” I’m still working out what Sabbath means for me, and Jeremy and I are growing in our understanding of it together, but we practice Sabbath on Saturdays. What comes to your mind when you think of the word Sabbath?

Share with us in a comment below! If you are interested in reading the book along with our discussion, you can order it here or check your local library. Then join us next Tuesday for a look at the first chapter and a Biblical perspective of Sabbath.

 

A hutch… seriously?!

Some friends of my parents were practically giving away this solid wood china cabinet at a garage sale this past fall. I had plans to hang black and white pictures on the dark purple wall and never imagined owning a hutch. Even now, weeks later, it feels almost too… grown-up? stately?

I’m not sure it fits our style; I want to paint it a robin’s egg blue, but then there would be no going back. It fits the space so perfectly and provides more space and easier access for dishes we use less often. It even has a light on the top shelf in a part of the room that was a bit dark previously.

So anyway, we own a hutch now!

Chelan

Some shots of our quick, overnight trip. When we arrived we could see Spokane 3/4 of the way around, but the stars were beautiful and in the morning it was fresh and blue! 🙂 Next time, we’ll bring two sleeping bags (oops) and maybe stay a little longer, lol. We saw a lot of wildlife too – blackbirds, deer, chipmunks.

Five books in five words

Here are five books I’m currently reading in a variety of genres and a one word summary:

  1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (fiction) – hilarious
  2. The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino (biography) – inspiring
  3. A Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard (nonfiction, discipleship) – relevant
  4. More than Words by Phillip Yancey (a collection of essays by writers on writings that shaped their faith) – diverse
  5. Sent Together by Brad Watson (gospel, community, mission) – practical

Care to share a book you’re reading and a one word description?

Minds on Truth

Feelings matter. They can influence and inform us, but if we readily rely on them to make decisions… well, let me ask you. What happens if we are governed by feelings?

Fickle. We are easily persuaded by whatever new idea or person comes along. Faithless, lacking confidence in anything we can’t immediately see. Foundation of sand, the opposite of steady and immovable.

James describes those who lives this way as double-minded, as opposed to focused, single-hearted. Faith, on the other hand, relies on what can’t always be felt. Christ is describes as our solid rock and the New Testament says we have been united with him.

Feelings matter, but we don’t count on them to determine our decisions. When our feelings feel prominent, we pause to gain perspective. We consider what we know to be true and we set our minds on truth. Then, we make decisions that we can stand behind, no matter how the wind blows.

The writer of Philippians says:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.