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Friday, March 23rd 2018

6:49 PM

R-E-L-A-X

Sometimes, life can get in the way of trying to keep a good routine. It has been a while since my last post, but hopefully, I can get back to writing on a regular basis. My goal is at least once per month as long as I have something fruitful to write about.

I remember when I began several years ago, a friend of mine told me that she doesn't mind reading what I write as long as it is not about the belly button lint I found, so I try to make sure I write because I have something to say and not because I am trying to keep a schedule. Having said all that, here we go.

The movie "Cars 3" finally showed up on Netflix so we got the opportunity to watch it. That's how we poor people watch movies, but I digress. This was an interesting one to watch because the trailer for the movie showed Lightning McQueen in a horrible wreck and then the screen went black. I remember the Wee Ones being upset because we had no idea about how this was going to end.

The good news is that Lightning McQueen survived the wreck and he was working on returning to the race track for a major portion of the movie.

At this point in his career, he and the other veterans were heading towards retirement as the new generation of race cars took over. Of course, this was not something he wanted to accept, but the reality was that it was time to pass the baton.

I really liked this movie because of the references to the "Good Ole Days" of racing, and the scenes involving the old racetrack. Just like the first movie, I was able to share some history with the Wee Ones as we watched.

When Lightning McQueen started training again, it was completely different from the way he was taught. Instead of going to the track and burning rubber, he was inside a building with simulators and personal coaches.

He entered a modern building with all kinds of bells and whistles, went into the grand lobby that boasted of the owner's financial success, and on the other side of the room were a few cars in training on the simulators.

The cars were making progress until they started thinking about what they were doing.

When one of the cars started slowing down and getting nervous, the coach pressed a button that changed the picture on the screen so the car would see something that helped him relax. After seeing the picture and calming down, his speed increased and he was running the way he was designed to run. What happened?

The car was getting inside his own head and that was causing him to slow down and panic.

We always perform our best when we relax and stop worrying about our present situation. The car was designed to go fast, but when he thought too much about going fast, he would slow down. This happens in the church too.

When we allow ourselves to get inside our own heads, the church cannot "Perform" at its best.

I don't like using the word "Perform" because too many people get hung up on it, but the church does perform a service for God when it carries on its ministry. And if we are not performing at our best, God is not being glorified by what we do. Of course, our best will depend on our skill and ability so we need to keep in mind that while we may not be the best church in the community, we are capable of being the best church we can be for our present situation.

How can we become the best church we can be? There is a one-word answer for that: R-E-L-A-X

If we allow ourselves to worry about that which is beyond our control, we hold ourselves back and the results are a mediocre church. We also send a message that we are not completely confident in the church's ability to succeed on its own. This is why many churches make changes based on fear instead of improving their ministry after spending much time in prayer and discussion.

When thinking about ministry struggles, the problem is usually not with the church's design, it is our inability to calm down and let the church be the church that it was designed to be.

I'm not talking about favoring one method over another. I am talking about our need to stop trying everything that is shiny and new without taking the time to make sure it will work for our present context. I am not against innovation as long as it has a purpose, but if we relax and work with what we already have, we might be surprised at how effective our ministry can be.

God designed the church, and it is capable of succeeding as long as we stop getting in the way and trying to improve what is already good.

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