Sunday, December 9, 2012

I am Second- Day One

Blog Entry #1

Buy the Book

Live Second : 365 Ways to make Jesus First by Doug Bender is a 365 day devotional book based on the concept of the Original I Am Second book released earlier this year. The cover depicts an empty, modern white leather chair, in an empty ominous dark room, with nothing but a bare industrial flouresecent light- contraption affixed on the ceiling. The spartan, lonely emptiness of the room is reminiscent of an interrigation room. The
modern, yet minimalist black and white photography conveys a sense of urgency and seriousness. In a world that often dismisses God as being quaint and antiquated- this outreach strategy gives faith a new credibility and presence for today's generation.

The book is divided into 12 session, which can be divided among 12 months. Each month is a larger theme with four related themes for each week. There seven days of devotionals dedicated to each weekly theme. In contrast to traditional devotionals, organized and identified with a particular month and day, this book - in keeping with the modern minimalist tradition, identifies the days and months by simply by sessions and issues. The book is intended to lead the reader on a personal spiritual journey. This book encourages personal and individual participation rather than simply passive reading. Each week begins with a code reader in which an oline video can be accessed by using a smart phone. Each day ends with a "Talk to God", "Live it", and "Tell It" prompts to enable the reader to apply what is read.

The following four blog entries starting today, the week of December 9, 2012, will chronicle four days of my spiritual journey applying the principles of Live Second. The selected blog entries will be based on Session two: Issues which covers weekly topics on "Open People", "The Story", "His Story" and "Ask God".

The section on issues addresses one of my favorite passages of the bible, where Jesus delivers the sermon on the mount and addresses the crowd about faith, worry and material things. Jesus urges us to have faith that God will provide rather than spend our life worrying about food, clothing, wealth and treasures. He goes on to explain that if God cares for and feeds a lowly, worthless bird such as a sparrow or adorn the wildflowers with beautiful colors, then how much more will he provide for us, people who are made in his own image! Session two touches on the very issues that occupy each and every one of us! We are called to have faith and seek the Kingdom of God first. In other words we are called to Live Second, and then God will provide. 

Day 5: Enslaved
Beginning with Romans 6:19, it is clear that each and every one of us is enslaved in one form or another. In fact anything that comes before God, becomes an idol, whether it is drugs, food, entertainment, hobbies, wealth or fame- to name just a few. We can become esnlaved by our habits. Our focus changes from God, to our manmade idol. Our pleasure and selfish ambition comes before God. Anything can become an idol if its importance becomes paramount to God in our lives. To break this cycle we must Live Second. We must place God first in our lives and abandon our man made idols. God requires our worship alone! Even things that appear to be good on the surface can become idols.  For example, family, friends and children- all become idols if their importance is placed before God.  In fact, Jesus tells one would be follower to let the dead bury the dead- meaning devotion to God must be first and formost even before other priorities.
And how can I live second today? I can begin by reducing my faith on personal possesions,  and to be content with what I have. Rather than worry about money to pay for bills or grocery shopping- and rather than making a worry become an all consuming pursuit I can have faith that God will provide. Rather than worrying about my health I can have faith in God,  Rather than placing seemingly innocent or noble pursuits such as family, hobbies or career, I can place God first.  By becoming second and living second, I can trust that God will provide as God becomes my focus.

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