Air bath

In Uncategorized by Caleb

A friend of mine told me that when he’s stressed out and his wife can tell, she tells him to go and take an “air bath.” Meaning, ride your motorcycle and don’t come back in until your attitude is cleaned up.

Do you have an air bath? Something that resets you… rejuvenates you… or allows you to clear your mind and get your heart healthy? 
Friends of mine…

  • motorcycle
  • run
  • mountain bike
  • surf
  • road bike
  • stationary bike
  • swim
  • play cards
  • knit
  • lift weights
  • hike

…and the list goes on. Here’s the point: have something. 

We need a reset, or a totem, that brings us back to reality and goodness despite the bads and ups and downs of all our lives. 
Find—and prioritize—your air bath. 

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Hate Bait

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So much of your news and newsfeed is hate bait. Don’t bite.

If it’s juicy, jarring, divisive, or critical, it’s manipulating you. Billion dollar ad specialists know how to keep your eye balls and interest peaked with controversy. Resist. 

Better yet, counter with compassion. 
How about this: Whenever we see a negative post, hear a divisive comment, or read a critical message, lets…

  • remember there are always more sides and perspectives
  • consider the people above the politics
  • value loving over winning 
  • believe that we’re all connected and in this mess-restoration movement together 

There’s hate… Then tolerance, which is better by far… But it’s ultimately Love—or compassion—that is the hope of our divided world. 

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While you were sleeping

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A lot of “high-performance-types” talk about reviewing/writing their goals every morning. But I’d like to suggest doing so in the evening before drifting off to sleep. Our subconscious minds are a powerful thing, and they are able to work all night on our behalf… 

  • deepening convictions
  • working out problems
  • designing solutions
  • uncovering memories
  • unlocking answers 

This is how dreams come true, in a literal sense. 
I don’t have any verses for this one, but there’s plenty of science to back it up. 
Whether morning or evening, focusing your mind on helpful, healthy thoughts is key to the good life. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8

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Same and Special

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“The whole evolution of man is from being somebody to being nobody and from being nobody to being everybody.” —Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The famous Apostle Paul said it a little differently…
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss… (Philippians 3:7)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)

But you have to go through something that makes you feel like nobody before you realize you’re like everybody… and everybody is like you. 
Here’s another way I think about it.

First, we want to believe we’re unique (special). Then we experience pain and realize we’re human and the same as everyone else. Then, Grace teaches us that we’re completely unique AND so is everyone else. The rest of our lives we continue to learn what it means to love others like we love ourselves. 

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Call up

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I’ve heard a lot of people (mostly zealous younger men) say that they needed to “call out” some person in their life whose behavior was falling short of a standard. The standard may have been previously agreed upon, or just a standard of moral acceptability, as interpreted from the bible by this impassioned friend. You know the kind: 

    •    Everything is black and white.
    •    They feel a need to protect some seemingly fragile moral code.
    •    The bible is textual ammo against sin instead of a way of love.
    •    They say it’s for the guilty party’s own good, but person in question feels smaller after the interactions. 
    •    There’s usually a double-standard: The other’s “sin” is worse or different than whatever imperfections exist in their own life. 

Standards for living are important, but it’s why we have them and how we offer them that distinguishes the helpful from the hurtful.

When I say accountability means calling up, not calling out, I’m hoping to redeem the word, “accountability.” Coaches, managers, trainers, and even trusted friends can hold us to agreed upon standards. But calling UP is better than call out. Calling up is speaking life to a person. Empowering them, inspiring them, and holding up a mirror…

“You’re better than this. You don’t need to limit your experience of life. You don’t need to settle for this lesser thing. You have the strength to overcome this challenge. You can lean on me. God is with. There’s more in you…!” 

That’s calling up. 

Calling out sounds more critical, more judgmental. Calling out is about pointing out the fault or the failure. It reduces a person to their behavior—specifically, their worst behaviors—often causing psychological, emotional, and spiritual damage as identity becomes associated with “the worst of me” instead of “the best in me.” 

Critics will object to “coddling” in our everyone-gets-a-trophy culture raised by helicopter parents. But this this different. This is just honest psychology and emotional/spiritual health. And it’s biblical. This is called speaking the truth in love. 

Call up, not out. 

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Everywhere, Jesus

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“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

We’re like the woman at the well… She changes the subject when it’s clear that Jesus sees her and knows her. It’s a vulnerable feeling, and we do the same. 

We jump to religious arguments. We debate doctrine. We insulate ourselves from the naked truth, because being fully exposed is uncomfortable. 

“Do Muslims go to heaven?”
“What about the gay thing?”
“Is that guy a heretic?” 
“Our group is more holy, right?”

And Jesus, ever-exposing of our self-protective tactics, aims to shift our thinking—from small and territorial to big, invisible, eternal.

God is spirit. You can’t contain Him. He doesn’t belong to just your little group. He won’t be limited to your Sunday box. 

And it’s a good thing, too. Especially for the woman at the well. She certainly didn’t fit into anyone religion framework for salvation. Then, Jesus. 

You want water that will satisfy? Drink from the well that’s within you. His invitation is always open. Anytime. Everywhere. 

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The Fact Is…

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“The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” -John 4:18

Jesus doesn’t shame the woman. On the contrary, He shows the woman that He knows her—everything about her—and loves her anyway. There is no condemnation in His voice. He’s not going to embarrass her. 

So why doesn’t He point to her greatest fear or vulnerability? Because it’s what’s keeping her alone and at a distance. Jesus is inviting her into eternal connection and relationship, and this fear of her sin and shame and inability to make relationships work… it’s just won’t due anymore. 

Why does Jesus allow your biggest fears and weakness to be exposed? Because it’s what’s keeping you from the real water that will satisfy your soul. You’re settling for less because you’re stuck in a self-imposed prison. Jesus loves you too much to let you stay there. 

“The fact is…” 

Don’t be afraid of what’s true. You can’t go foward from a place you’re not. You can only go forward from where you are. 

And Jesus know… He’s here with you… And you can walk on from here with Him. 

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Your Well

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…Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” -John 4:13-14

Jesus is still meeting us at our wells. 

You know the place… It’s where you go when you feel lonely. It’s the thing you do when you feel badly, or bored. You go the the well, time and again. 

You have to go back because it never satisfies. 

And, like the woman at the well, you go when no one else is around because it’s embarrassing. There’s shame involved. What would people think? Well, you justify, their issues are worse. But still… you’re alone. 

Jesus: “I have the only water that will satisfy.” 

Us: “But how? I can’t see it. I don’t get it? Why should I trust it? This is the well that I know.” 

Jesus: “But how’s that working for you?” 

He’s got a point. It isn’t working, and we know it. But we’re inclined to persist with what we know. Then again… there’s a glimmer of hope. We feel seen. And He’s not judging us… there’s no condemnation in His voice. Just awareness. Is living water possible? 

“Jesus, how about today? Will you give me living water today? Then, maybe meet me again tomorrow?”

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Seen

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When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) John 4:7-9

It’s difficult to appreciate how revolutionary Jesus was. We read the miracles and know about the resurrection, but just talking to a woman he didn’t know—and a Samaritan woman—was mind-blowing. Men didn’t do it. Especially, renown rabbis. Woman were considered less than. They went to get water everyday, carrying back full, heavy jugs on their heads, because men didn’t do that kind of thing. 

And this woman… She got water in the middle of the day because she was “tainted,” or branded a “slut.” The other woman looked down on her. Not only did she feel socially limited as a woman, but then as a disgraced woman, at that. 

And then, Jesus. Before anyone was talking about empowerment, Jesus just looked and saw women—daughters he’d designed in his own image. Women who reflected him—each in a unique way—not better or worse than any other human. Equal in every sense. And it was revolutionary. 

Just his engagement with woman could have gotten him stoned and killed. The social structures were so rigid and stuck; but Jesus poked and exposed and called into question. But he was not leading a social revolution… he was leading a soul revolution. 

So he made sure the woman at the well was seen. Let’s just start there. Being seen by the One who made you and gives you purpose. 

You ask, “Why are you talking to me?”

Jesus: “Because I see you.” 

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Priests, pastors and prominence

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“My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow [Peter]”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?” -1 Corinthians 1:11-3

This is great on so many levels!

  1. The church kept it simple, not institutional—meeting in homes. 
  2. Paul—the writer of a huge portion of the New Testament—knows people’s names. 
  3. Chloe was the leader—Jesus empowered women before it was cool (and is still trying to help us get it). 
  4. Paul tries to kill the idea of celebrity pastors. 

People were already starting to elevate leaders and ascribe to slight variations of what now would be considered “doctrine,” creating division in the early church. Paul says, STOP IT!

We’re all following the same Jesus. We might be different, but the Source is the same. Keep Jesus the main thing. Don’t let persuasive leaders leverage prominence to divide. That’s never what this movement of Jesus was about. And it’s stifling progress and power.  

More Jesus. Less of everything else. 

If you want to talk with me more about this concept, come to a First Dinner in Orange County this weekend. 

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