I've struggled with being a workaholic. Being burnt out. I've had some major crashes in my life where I was seriously ill from working too much and carrying the burden that was not mine to carry. Trying to make everyone happy with me. Doing everything for everyone else, but not caring for my own soul, and losing much of who I was in the midst of doing what Jesus called me to do. You like that? It's the danger of pastors and pastoral leadership. Lots of studies have shown that pastors, doctors, and lawyers are the most stressed out, which is funny to me, because Jesus says here that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This morning I simply want to teach from a place of longing and brokenness as I'm discovering this and stumbling forward with you. I think that this is a serious subject to discuss, because it is the great enemy of spiritual life. Today, I'm going to talk about the great enemy of spiritual life. We're in this series called Practicing the Way of Jesus. We have declared over the next season for us as a community, we are wanting to become a group of people that become apprentices of Jesus as it was intended to be in the first century. We are going to rearrange and reorder our life around three goals: be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus did. This is a massive vision - would you agree? To do that takes all sorts of transformation and change in our individual lives. Would you agree with that? We've talked about this in months past, that any change, any inch of transformation in the Kingdom is gonna be met with opposition from the kingdom of darkness. Do we remember this? Which is why we've prepared ourselves with this spiritual warfare series to prepare us for this series. Recognizing that the enemy's going to come after us as we make steps towards wholeness, transformation, and life as followers of Jesus. I have to say, what I realize is there's actually a sneaky way that the enemy wants to sabotage us. This is the great threat: it has something to do with us not embodying this particular text and accommodating to culture. Culture is part of the problem. We are part of the problem, but I want to speak to culture for a moment in regards to what we're getting at. We're gonna land with such simple practices that you're gonna think I'm speaking to second graders. Are you guys okay with that? Stay with me. The world has been moving so fast. It's frantic. One writer calls it the age of acceleration. That feeling when things take off - we're in this state of constant acceleration. Most of us are just trying to keep up with the world. Lots of things have caused this -- I'll just give you a brief history. Ironically, it was the monks who invented the clock in order to organize the monastery life around fixed hours of prayer. But most historians believe that our relationship to time shifted when the first clock in 1370 was erected in Cologne, Germany. That's when it went from natural time (our relationship with time being related to seasons, day and night) to artificial time, where we constructed hours like 9 to 5. We can all just say, that sucks. So 1317 was that time and it created this artificial relationship to time and its existence. Then in 1879, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, which killed rest. People began to work more hours because they could produce artificial light when it was dark outside. Then about a century ago, technology started to change our relationship to time. Technology invented so-called labor saving devices. I guess in the past you had to chop wood to get warm; now you can push a button and heat comes out of the floor magically. You used to have to walk everywhere or ride animals to get to places that were far away. Now we can drive and fly. We used to write with ink on something called paper. Eventually we started typing. Now we just dictate everything to Siri and she does it for us. Our time has shifted from these labor saving devices. What you see is that even though we have a microwave, dishwasher, laundry machine, we don't actually feel like we have more time. We actually feel like we have less time, even with these labor saving devices. It's fascinating because in the 1960s, there were all sorts of futurists, from Sci-Fi writers to political theorists, who thought by now we'd all be working fewer hours. In one famous Senate subcommittee in 1967 claimed that by 1985 the average American would work only 22 hours a week for 27 weeks a year, and that the main problem of our future would be too much leisure. But by 1973, leisure time had decreased by 37% in the U.S. alone. During that same period in the 1960s, we saw the death of Sabbath, which one store that decided to go against the grain and open up seven days a week: 7 Eleven. Slowly but surely, stores began to compete and open on Sundays, when at one time in our history, Sunday was completely closed for just the church. Everything was shut down. Could you imagine living today where Sunday there were no restaurants, Amazon Prime shut down, Facebook was off… Think about this! It's 24/7 all the time. We used to slow down our pace of life to enjoy ourselves, each other, and God's creation. But all of history has really reached a climax with technology in 2007. Historians and writers are saying that 2007 is as significant of a time as the invention of the Gutenberg Press. It will be marked as a time when humanity shifted its relationship with technology. In 10 years, we have redefined what it means to be human through the invention of the iPhone. The iPhone was released in 2007, and all of a sudden, you have access to infinity in your pocket. So we all carry this thing around and we don't think twice about the impact it has on our lives. We're talking about culture here, but there's all sorts of studies that are showing the impact our smartphones are having on our lives. The average iPhone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day. They are on their phone for 2.5 hours, with over 76 sessions on their phone. Calculate this. Another study for 35 and under said that the numbers of young adults on their phones was 5 hours a day with 85 sessions. In all the surveys, most people had no idea they actually lost to their phones. Psychologists are now making the point that the vast majority of Americans' relationship to their phones fall under the category of compulsion. That feeling that we HAVE to check that text. That we HAVE to click Twitter or look online for that answer on Google. Just Google it, or ask Siri. They say it's not full addiction, but the definition of addiction is: "the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive, it ultimately interferes with everyday life. Anyone struggling with addiction to their phone? Let's not talk about serious things here. We're just talking about the decay and fracture of society. That was sarcasm. Our individual addiction to something that has become our great threat to spirituality. It's not just the iPhone -- it's all sorts of things associated with the iPhone. If you don't think you're an addict to your iPhone, I challenge you to turn your phone off for 24 hours and see what happens. My phone has been acting up for two weeks. It shuts down, I can't unlock it, I try to reset it. The first six times this happened, it created all sorts of stress. I was using my friend's phone to say: "Alex, if you need me, text me on that number." Really? What's gonna happen? I'm at a movie watching Star Wars. It happened during Star Wars, which was a gift from God. But as it was happening, as I was studying this, I thought about how this was a great gift. I was not distracted by the millions of times that I'm on my phone. So, what does this have to do with being an apprentice? What does living in a culture that has something wrong with it like being overworked, distracted, busy, addicted to our phones, and constantly in a hurry -- what does that have to do with being an apprentice to Jesus? Well, if you read the scriptures and you look at Jesus' lifestyle and life, you see that He was never in a hurry. Jesus was never in a hurry. In fact, there were times where people were trying to hurry Him, and He just slowly wandered. And during that urgent crisis, a person literally died. You can say, no one's gonna die if we slow down. Well for Jesus, somebody actually did die. Lazarus died. And then He raised him from the dead, which is actually kinda cool. But what you see is this slow pace of Jesus' life. John Ortberg is a pastor and writer in Northern California, who was mentored by Dallas Willard for 20 years. He worked at one of the most famous mega churches in Chicago called Willow Creek; he was the teaching pastor at the time. Famous pastor. He was asking Dallas: "How do I move forward in my discipleship? Something's off. How do I move forward in my discipleship?" After a long pause, and with Willard, there was always a long pause. He said this: "Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." Ortberg said: "That's great. What else?" Another long pause. Willard said: "There is nothing else." I've been meditating on this interaction for a long time. How is it possible that there was nothing else? How could Dallas tell this megachurch pastor who was leading tens of thousands of people, that the primary area for him to focus his life was to ruthlessly eliminate hurry. That nothing else is as great of a threat to a spiritual life? If someone were to ask you, "what's the greatest threat to your spiritual life today in this progressive city of Long Beach, would you say hurry, or something else?" Something else. But Satan doesn't always show up as a demon with a pitchfork, but sometimes as a dopamine rush that comes from an addiction to your phone, an extra hour at the office, a commitment on top of commitment, another meeting to make at life's speed. Carl Jung says: "Hurry isn't of the devil, it is the devil." Why is this the greatest threat of our pursuit of discipleship to Jesus? Well, look at scripture as an example. Acts. The Spirit of God fills the church and it grows. Thousands of people show up to it, and they're filled with the Holy Spirit. They're baptized, and then the church begins to move. The first thing that happens is the religious establishment tries to stop the new thing of God. The Sanhedrin core takes John and Peter and says: "Stop talking about the resurrected Jesus."And they're like: "We can't help it!" They take note that they've been with Jesus, they get flogged, and they rejoice over their sufferings, and it just encourages the Way versus squishing it. The next threat is a little worse: it's hypocrisy in the church. Sapphira and Ananias show up saying one thing and doing another, and God ends it right there. Read Acts chapter 5 if you wanna see what happens there. Not a pretty story. The next one we often overlook, it's Acts 6. It says in those days, the Hellenized Jews were complaining over the Hebraic Jews over the daily distribution of food. They complained among themselves. What happens is the disciples who are leading this large community begin to wait on tables as they say; they begin to serve the homeless. How cool is this? The church is explosive and it's growing, and one of the things the church does early on is it says: "We're gonna take care of the most vulnerable among us. We're gonna give daily food to those who don't have access to food." Would you agree that that's a good thing? I didn't get enough yes. Is it good to make sure everyone has enough food to eat every day? Yes! Good job. Thank you for the participation, especially you introverts. I saw you come alive on that. So that's a good thing, but what's being threatened is the leaders in the church are focusing on the administrative tasks of the church, and the growth, and the busyness, but they're neglecting the preaching of the Word and prayer. So in the wisdom of the Spirit, God says to delegate the burden of what is good to others in the church to carry, so the leaders can focus on a different task that they're gifted and called to. What is that? It's saying yes to really good things when God has yes to great things. It's hurry, and busyness as the threat to the church. One way you can say it is, if he can't shut you up, the enemy will give you a megaphone. You will not recognize the limitations that are necessary for your health and obedience to Christ. If you follow Jesus in the scriptures He's in front of the crowds, and immediately the next day alone with the Father. When it gets so successful that they want to make Him the king, He says something like: eat my body and drink my blood. And then everyone leaves. In John 6:66, it says everyone deserted Him, and He says: are you gonna leave me too? They say: how can we, you have the words of life. It's a different kind of ministry in our culture of busyness and work and American success. Michael Ziggarelli did a survey from Charleston University School of Business of 20,000 Christians in the U.S. and identified busyness as a major distraction from God. Here's what he found: "First, Christians are assimilating a culture of busyness, hurry, and overload, which 2.), leads to God becoming more marginalized in Christians' lives, which leads to 3.) a deteriorating relationship with God, which leads to 4.) Christians becoming more vulnerable to adopting secular assumptions about how to live, which leads to 5.) more conformity to a culture of busyness, hustle, and overload. And then the cycle begins again. This is what's going on. The threat here is you just keep going, and going, and going. In this season of holidays, Christmas, it's a season of burnout and exhaustion. We go into debt to keep up with it. We say yes to all the parties because we don't want to feel left out. We make all sorts of commitments, and we don't live with limitations. What we don't realize is we're doing violence to our souls. Pete Scazzero calls it in the slow-down spirituality. That most people, the problem they'll face, is that they're too busy to live emotionally healthy and spiritually rich lives. Walking with people in our church, I realize there are some people that have problems. Let's say it's problems in their marriage -- they're too busy to slow down their pace to fix basic problems that will create a platform for health for the future.


I see it all the time, that we say we don't have time for anything anymore. College students say this to me and I just laugh. It's so cute that you think you have no time. Just wait. Because I used to say it too, and then I realized that life gets more complicated. Psychologists are beginning to diagnose something called "hurry sickness." Here's the definition: a behavior pattern characterized by continual rushing and anxiousness. Psychology Today defines it as "a malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, and so tends to perform every task faster. They get flustered when encountering any kind of delay." Can anyone relate? Quick story to show you how bad I am at this. A couple weeks ago I was preparing for this sermon, reading about this, practicing disciplines, which are the hardest disciplines to practice. Fasting is easy compared to slowing down. Putting my four year old to bed. Trying to put my four year old to bed. Anyone else have a couple kids and getting them to bed is a nightmare at the end of the day? What you pray for is patience, but what you realize is that it's a fruit grown in time. That's what I'm realizing. "God, give me patience!" He's like: "Perfect, I'm gonna make it impossible for you to put your son to bed." What?! I was like: "Ezra, you gotta hurry and brush your teeth so we can read books." He's like: "Daddy, why do I have to hurry?" Ughh. I got hit. I just got on his level and said: "You don't have to hurry." I realized I'm creating this anxious environment because I'm hurry sick. Broke my heart. I'm missing it. Jesus is like "Martha, Martha." Says her name twice. "You are worried and upset about many things, but only a few things are needed, indeed only one. What Mary has chosen is better and it won't be taken from her." And in that narrative what's so frustrating is that Martha is doing what's expected of anyone hosting the Messiah! She's preparing the home, entertaining guests, preparing the meal, providing the meal, making it perfect for the one and only son of God. Can I get an Amen? And Mary sits at His feet. That's a sign of discipleship in the first century. Anyone that sat at a rabbi's feet was seen as a disciple. Women were never allowed to be disciples, and He's saying I affirm her decision to be a disciple. She's missing the presence of God in all the preparation to serve others in the presence of God. Does it sound like ministry to you? Yes. It's the story of my life. Changes [when I preach] begin to happen when I stop caring about making sure everyone's happy with what it sounds like, or how good it is. Then I start enjoying the presence of God for my own sake. Which is a discipline, because I've been taught growing up that success is defined by making everyone else happy, and success means being the best at it. At what cost? My soul. God cares less about how good the sermon was and more about how I put my son to bed the night before. Seriously. Now this is -- stay with me -- this is anti-American church success definition. This is the direction that we've headed with house churches and discipleship because the call to follow Jesus is not "brothers and sisters, pick up your crosses, which are lightly left in the room, stacked and neatly ordered. They have iPhone charging stations and cup holders for you." It's not convenient to follow Jesus. Nothing about the cross is convenient. It's a death to yourself. For so many of us, church has been set up as a mouse trap. Look at all these amazing things. We've stage lights and fog rolling off here. We have the best baristas in the city serving, and we're gonna have this famous, funny speaker next week. It's gonna be super convenient. Just show up. See you next week." That's not the call of the church. The call of the church is: "Brothers and sisters, pick up your cross and follow me." And the mouse trap is we get people thinking it's super easy, when actually Jesus is like: Count the cost before you sign up for church. He gives a story of how you don't go to war without evaluating if you're gonna win the war. You don't build a tower without evaluating if you have enough resources to build the tower. What He's saying is: "You don't just say yes without recognizing that He's going to reorder your entire existence." Is that cool? It's less of a real cool gift and more of an infection. Merry Christmas. "Pastor just said Jesus is like an infection??" It's a good infection! It's a good one. [Laughs] Laughter's infectious. Okay, anyways, Ruth Haley Barton says this: here are 10 signs you're moving too fast in life. I'm 7 for 10, which is not a good thing. Here they are:
  1. Irritability
  2. Hypersensitivity
  3. Restlessness (when we actually do try to rest we can't calm down)
  4. Compulsive overworking
  5. Emotional numbness (we just can't feel, say, empathy)
  6. Escapist behaviors (binge watching Netflix…)
  7. Disconnected from our identity and calling
  8. Not able to attend to human needs
  9. Hoarding energy
  10. Slippage in our spiritual practices
 Anyone moving too fast in life? Anyone feel like the definition of hurry sickness is there? So, I'm just saying this is the work of the enemy in our lives. This is the product of culture, not gospel. Jesus says: "Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart. You will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is life." I believe with all my heart, that what this society and culture needs are people that take and embody this text and live it out. It's what Dallas Willard calls the secret of the easy yoke. It's found in this text: the secret. Everything the world is looking for: becoming people of peace, becoming a non-anxious presence, becoming unhurried and detached from the things you're attached to, and detaching from things that are causing distractions and brokenness and despair. It's all found in this text. Here's what Dallas Willard says: "In this truth lies the secret of the easy yoke. The secret involves living as Jesus lived in the entirety of His life. Adopting His overall lifestyle. Our mis­take is to think that fol­low­ing Jesus con­sists in lov­ing our ene­mies, going the ​“sec­ond mile,” turn­ing the oth­er cheek, suf­fer­ing patient­ly and hope­ful­ly — while liv­ing the rest of our lives just as every­one around us does. That strategy is bound to fail us. In a nutshell: if you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus. Because Jesus is a way of life, not just a set of ideas or theology. Or a set of lists of do's and don't's or ethics. He uses this odd imagery of a yoke, which is, as Frederick Dale Bruner says, one of the top scholars of the Gospel of Matthew: "A yoke is a work instrument. Thus when Jesus offers a yoke, He offers what we might think tired workers need least. They need a mattress or a vacation. Not a yoke. But Jesus realizes that the most restful gift that He can give the tired is a new way to carry life. A fresh way to bear responsibilities. Realism sees that life is a succession of burdens." Man, that hit me good. It's so true. We cannot get away from them, thus instead of escaping (which is what society and culture offers us: another drink, vacation, meal, post, or dopamine rush, or medication), Jesus offers equipment. Jesus means that obedience to His sermon on the mount, his yoke, will develop in a balanced way of carrying life that will give more rest than the way we have been living. This is the "ah-ha" moment for us, brothers and sisters. If you want the life of Jesus, you need to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus. This means taking on the yoke of Christ, being connected to Jesus. The image is two oxen carrying a heavy load or a plow. Jesus is saying "come under my yoke and rest under me. Match your lifestyle, your pace of life, your way of life to mine and learn from me." That is the only way to experience the unforced rhythms of grace. It's literally slowing down our lives to recognize that we are moving at too fast of a pace to allow Jesus' life to be grown. Because we're too busy. We're too connected. We're not learning to trust Him with the outcome of our lives. As Bill Dogterom, my mentor and other teaching pastor says, "Nothing important depends on you. Nothing important depends on you."


I was reading this book this week, and this pastor, also mentored by Dallas Willard -- I keep mentioning Dallas but he's shaped my theology of discipleship and spiritual formation -- this pastor asked Dallas: "If you could describe Jesus in one word what would you say?" Pause. He said: "Relaxed." Now that frustrates me. Compassionate, powerful, driven, on a mission, yet Dallas' observation if he could describe it in one word and he says "relaxed." The challenge now is to read the scriptures and the gospels and see Jesus' interactions and his characteristics as relaxed. It's totally changing my view of God, and my view of ministry. So, if we want to learn the unforced rhythms of grace, we must match our pace to Jesus and find the solution. The solution is not more time. The solution is to slow down your life. This is where it's gonna get extremely practical, and I just want you to stay with me, because I actually believe if we committed to some of these disciplines, they're not gonna be easy at first. You're gonna think: "Why are you challenging me to do these things?" I'm trying to create and empower margin in the edges so we can actually read the words that are on the page. Studies have been done where books have been written without any margins. What we realize is people read it slower and can't read it to its full extent without margins on the page. Less words, you read faster and retain more information than more words without margin. Here's what I've got for you. These are some practices I've started to put into my life. I want to remind you that you can't learn how to slow down quickly. We call people forward for prayer, and that was kind of my prayer, that people would be gracious to themselves. Is anyone here wanting to experience the easy yoke of Jesus? If that's you and you too are like me, hurry sick or chronically working too much, I want to give you some steps to slow down your life:

1) Schedule your life around meaningful values

This is so important, that you ask the question: "What do you value, and is it reflected in your schedule?"\ If you were to examine your life maybe you'll see "I value work more than anything else. I value gaming more than anyone else. I don't mean like Settlers of Catan, I mean like gaming." My wife and I just recently did this. For me, I want time with the Lord. I want to have a regular devotion to Jesus and quiet time. Every day I have to wake up early to read the Bible, to pray, to practice and solitude, and to journal. I do this every morning. I have a six month old and a four year old, and you know that they don't sleep like normal people. They get up whenever the heck they want -- especially a six month old. For me to get the time I need, I have to wake up really early. I hear all the time: I don't have time to read my Bible. Wake up earlier! They tell me all these excuses: I have to work at 6 a.m. and leave at 5 a.m. Great. Wake up at 4:45 and get 15 minutes with the Lord. To have quiet time with the Lord affects the time you go to sleep, and your commitments at night. So for Alex and I, we recognize that we value going to bed at a certain time, having energy with our family, eating a meal together every day. We try to eat one meal together at least. We value Sabbath and rest, and we take a day off together. At least a day off - one full day -- and if you can't do that, try four hours. You have to recognize that the system you've created in your schedule produces the results you have. For many of you, it's cutting back on your commitments to other people. That actually you don't need to have a night out every single night with somebody if you're single. You need to cultivate solitude and silence away from those people and that community. If you don't create rhythms of rest and slowness, you will never get the things done that need to be done. With this, if you write the schedule down, commit to it. What happens is you allow the urgency of the day dictate what you do. I encourage a fixed workweek. For those of you who have the freedom to define your schedule, don't do emails every single day. Now for some of you, that's hard. But choose a set time to check your emails. It slows you down. Don't be responsive.

2) Embrace limits

We are human, therefore we have limitations. We are half dust, half deity. Spirit and dust. So we have access to infinity on our computers, the internet and our phones. That is not a great thing. There are some great things about it, but that unbridled access 24/7 will produce this frantic, accelerated need for connection unless you put limits and disciplines on your smartphone, on your access to media, and all the ways that we're disconnected. Those numbers on your phone are fascinating. You're being so influenced by your cell phone, by your smartphone. And I just think, we should be more influenced by the Spirit of God in Jesus. Would you agree? Or disagree? Now, this is a great tool to have -- it connects us. I wouldn't let my son use a phone right now, because he's a young person that needs limitations on his development. Now I think it's the same for all humans -- we need limitations to what we have access to. Put up some boundaries. Shut your phone off. That's pretty dramatic. Try shutting your phone off at night. Try fasting social media for a season. I think we should all take a break from social media for a while. Studies are coming out right now that 2017 was the year that we recognized the darkness of social media. That the smartest people from Ivy League schools are being hired by tech companies to create advertising for you, and apps that keep you addicted. The smartest minds that we're producing are trying to get you to click on ads and stay addicted to angry birds. It's fracturing. This is a little prophetic or maybe completely crazy. I think we'll look at social media and our use of technology in the future like we look at cigarettes today. "What were we thinking?" I feel like we need to challenge it. I'm not saying it's inherently evil. I'm saying put some brakes on it. Pump some brakes. Put some disciplines on it. Take some time fasting. Recognize the impact it's having on your life. Is that cool? If you're like me, and you don't know how much time you're using, there's a great app called Moment (I'm not getting paid for this) and it tracks your screen time. At first, it was like four hours and 50 minutes on my phone. Part of that was reading; I read on Kindle. Which is me justifying my screen time. Recognizing that I'm using my phone that much, and how many times you open it up, it's crazy! That will help you just take an inventory. Embrace limits schedule life around meaningful values.

3) Sabbath

Sabbath is designed for rest, play, prayer, and contemplation. Set aside a day a week to just be, and not do anything. Turn off your phone. Unplug from the internet. Sleep if you can. Read your Bible. Pray. Eat. Hang out with friends. Go on walks. Play. Take a nap. Do life giving things for your soul. This is a ten commandment, and it's probably the most revolutionary thing we can do to our consumerist culture that tells us you are what you consume and produce.

4) Simple Living

The more I'm reading the gospels, if you're reading along with me, the more I'm learning about Jesus, is that Christians have accommodated to culture's consumption. I think we need to put some challenges on our lifestyle practices of consuming. Not just stuff. Not just buying things. But our consumption of media and information, and I think we need to pull back a little bit. Evaluate, and pursue some simplicity. It's gonna look different from every person. I'm not saying be a minimalist where you have seven things in your house. But I am saying challenge the behaviors that say we need more. Because that is being funnelled through all the advertisements out there. It's a scarcity mindset. It's saying you're scarce and you need to produce more to produce happiness. That's not true at all. So, if you look at Jesus, He lived a simple life. Most of the followers of Jesus of the early text lived a simple life, so just go through your life and ask the question: "what really matters?" Start with your money, possessions, and go through your house and get rid of clutter and extra stuff. Sell it, give it away, bless people with it. Get rid of that DVD collection that you have because it means something, but it really is just taking up space and you're never gonna watch a DVD again. Then move on to activities that are not helpful and think about the ways you're just accumulating things and get down your life to the things that matter most. I believe that will be really powerful for families by the way, for families to do this together. We recently did this with Ezra's toys. He has a birthday in November and he got all sorts of stuff. His closet's full of toys so we got rid of over 50% of his toys joyfully. Joyfully he did, because he was giving them away to other kids. That's part of the practice - training him to give away because you don't need extra things. I'm not saying he only has two toys. He has so many toys. We do keep moving the target forward and simplifying. I think you should do that as well. Lastly, this is the hardest thing I've done so far. I have fasted for a week before. I've given up all sorts of food. I've done all sorts of crazy diets because of wanting to pursue Jesus. I've traveled the world serving the poor. The hardest thing I've ever done is slowing down my overall pace of life. This has become a new game I'm playing. I'm looking for little ways to slow down, but here are the rules I want to invite you to. Anyone struggling with hurry sickness? Raise your hand proud. You're in a safe place.


You've all been corrupted by the Empire. Just kidding. Not the Empire from Star Wars, the Empire of American culture. Here's a bunch of things I've been trying to do, and I'm getting called out by my friends, which sucks: 
  1. Drive the speed limit
  2. Come to a full stop at a stop sign
  3. Get into the slow lane and stay there
  4. Show up early to an appointment and don't check your phone. Or stand in a line and don't use your phone. (Revolution of Jesus by not getting on your phone!)
  5. Walk slower
  6. Get into the longest checkout line (uggghhhh). I've been groomed for efficiency. I was at Trader Joe's and I was calculating how many people would get ahead of me. I've been groomed for hurry.
  7. Turn your smartphone into a dumb phone. I don't have emails on my phone. I have restrictions for websites. I can't get on social media. I'm off social media right now. Restrictions on various things that will become infinity. I have to limit how much time I spend on my news app, because that has become the new scroll for me. I find a way to escape and it's through the news. That's just because I've created these habits.
  8. Start a journal
  9. Eat slower and chew food slower. This is the weirdest one, because I eat really fast and my wife keeps going: "Do you not like it?" "Baby, I'm trying to slow down
  10. Speak slowly. Letting other people finish their complete sentences and waiting before I speak. As I'm saying these things to Alex in bed I interrupt her and she said: "Didn't you say you were going to let people finish?"
 I'm a work in progress, and I hope you will also become a work in progress, because the great threat to our spirituality is going to come through busyness and hurry.


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