Walden 2010: The Dance

IN CELEBRATION OF THE FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF MY EXPERIENCE IN LIVING OUT OF MY CAR, I AM POSTING A SERIES OF JOURNAL ENTRIES NEVER BEFORE REVEALED. THE HOPE OF MY WALDEN SERIES IS TO SHARE BOTH A JOURNEY AND … Continue reading

Yom Kippur

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This weekend the Jewish calendar celebrates Yom Kippur—The Day of Atonement.

In the Old Testament the Day of Atonement was the one year that the High Priest would offer a sin offering for the nation of Israel. The ten days before (beginning with Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Years) was a period of internal reflection and fasting as the individual considers his sins before God. The Day of Atonement is the Day when we come before God unable to atone for ourselves and see the burden of our sin forgiven. In the days of the temple, propitiation (appeasement) was given through the sacrifice of a goat on the alter. The blood of which would be sprinkled on the mercy seat over the arc of the covenant. This is the one-day that the priests would enter the Holy of Holies in the temple—to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people.

Yom Kippur was also a time of vows for the Jewish people. Rosh Hashanah was the day when God would write the names of his people either in the book of death or the book of life. But he wouldn’t seal it until ten days after the New Year, giving the people a chance to repent.  On Yom Kippur he receives the repentance and seals the book. In this season let us examine ourselves. Don a life of sobriety and abstinence and seek out a deeper understanding of our own atonement.  In the Old Testament the sacrifice was an assurance that God had forgiven his people. And now we celebrate Yom Kippur recognizing that the sacrifice of Jesus is the final sign of God’s forgiveness. The details behind the ‘sign’ are elaborated here.

For more specifics about the custom and traditions check out this.

Posture

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Equipping only goes so far in preparing you. Mission’s isn’t easily predictable. There are things that will happen which no one can expect and they’ll affect you in ways you couldn’t have imagined.  No one is perfect, and you can’t wait to be perfect before going. But how you posture your heart will go a long way in how effective you are on your mission and how durable you will be in troubled times.

Honesty, humility, graciousness….these things go beyond relationship skills and leadership tactics. They address the posture of your heart before God and before others. It will also determine how much you will take away from your experience.  When you make a mistake are you humble? When others fail you are you gracious? Do you shy away from malice, envy, vainglory or do you embrace them?

Wondering about your heart? Here are some indicators to watch for.

Accountability

Seeking the right posture of your heart requires a realistic honesty about yourself that has to include accountability. You need someone to give you an honest opinion about the posture of your heart. FIND that person. Make sure that they are wise, have experience greater than yours, and are also gracious in their hearts. Once you find them LISTEN to them.  How well you accept honest criticism is the first indication of the posture of your heart.

Repentance

The bible says that Godly sorrow leads to repentance and to life, and that worldly sorrow leads to death.  The difference here is the posture of your heart. How you approach your sin will determine a lot of how well you do as a missionary.  Sin will own you if you aren’t able to confess it. If you can’t come humbly before God about your failures you will be jeopardizing the ministry you’re involved with and short changing yourself freedom in Christ. Don’t be too proud to accept grace or to be honest about yourself before others.

Listen

Not listening well says a lot about a person and the posture of their heart. If their heart is proud, they won’t listen to instruction well. If it is selfish they will dominate the conversation with themselves.  How well do you listen to others? And not just “yup”, “yupping”, where they talk and you assume you understand and so you go “yup”, “yup” all the while discounting what they actually say. Listen and seek to understand.  You can measure how good you are at this by how many questions you ask your friends when you’re talking…how many do you ask?

Again you don’t have to be a master at perfection, but if you know Mission’s is where you want to be. Start looking at these things now. The posture of your heart in the kingdom of God will make or break you. It’s the difference between Saul and David, Peter and Judas.  Think about it.