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Core 52 Chapter 43 - Radical Change

As I write this, my wife has headed out of town for a quick getaway with some friends, leaving me behind to “hold down the fort.” As you can imagine, it will be complete anarchy and chaos in the Ramsey house for the next 24 hours.  Meals? How many times can you have pizza in a row? Sleep?  If the couch is good for naps, then it’s good for sleeping, too.  Dogs? Someone did let them back inside, right? At this rate, by the time she gets home, Joel and I may be sitting on the couch on our underwear eating cheese puffs while binge watching Star Wars (sorry for the frightening mental image, but the truth is sometimes painful) while Bekah hides out in her room waiting to be rescued from the grossness that is men in their natural environment.

Now that I’ve ruined your breakfast, I will confess, it’s not likely to be that bad, so there is no need to send a rescue party over –the dogs will be fed, meals will be prepared and beds will be slept in; but there will still be a significant amount of cheese puffs consumed.

I say this to make an observation and share a reminder to all of us: routines matter.  Routines give us direction and help us for habits. Routines give us something to comfortably look forward to. Routines provide structure and stability.

I think it would be stating the obvious to remind everyone of the dramatic change in routine for most people during the past 14 weeks.  Daily work schedules, daily school schedules, recreational team sports, annual weekend trips, family holiday activities, regularly scheduled movie runs, weekly lunch dates or meetings and more – all part of our routine and all briskly removed.  This even encroached on our ability to follow our faith routines – no large gatherings on campus, no Sunday School, no midweek programming, no CWF circle, no youth or elementary outings or activities.  All the routines of spring and now summer are gone or severely altered.

Without these routines, we run the risk of filling the void with things that might not be as productive to becoming a stronger disciple of Christ. Without these routines, we open ourselves up to a vacuum that is absent of accountability. Without these routines, we find our social connection to be hollow or shallow or even worse, nonexistent. Without these routines tied firmly to our faith, one might say we open ourselves up to potentially defenseless attacks from the enemy with no way to call in for reinforcements in the form of loved ones, friends and fellow pilgrims on the same journey to eternity as you.

Mark Moore mentions the essential nature of this community seemingly woven together by our routines in this week’s CORE 52 reading.  In his discussion, part of the ability to receive the radical change made available to us through Christ comes through the routines we find in our faith community. Moore says,

“Our commitment to family, team, unit, or community causes us to conform to the values of those we value. This instinctive conformity leads to a powerful synergy that allows us not only to accomplish more together but also to live healthier lives …This is why regular church attendance is so important.  It reinforces the values that reinforce our lives… It’s connecting with others we admire. We’re better together.”

That’s it!!  If we want to truly experience the radical change Christ freely provides and God willingly offers to us, we must do so in community with each other. As we slowly return to even the former shell of our previous routines, let me challenge, encourage and beg you to prioritize those faith-rooted routines.

So, get off the couch, put the cheese puffs away and turn off the TV right now.  Pick up the phone and call someone – someone you have not talked to in the last seven days – and encourage them, then make it a routine.  Or get your cell phone and text someone. Or connect through social media. Or send an email. Or you could even send a card or letter in the mail – just don’t call them before they get the letter and talk about everything you wrote about – kinda spoils the fun. Or, you could even find a way to see them in person (I know, I know – six feet!!)

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

- Pete Ramsey