Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Confessions of an Ex-Bible Reader

Seek out the book of the Lord and read... 
Isaiah 34:16a




​I’m convinced priests had no lives. If they had lives, there’s no way they could dedicate themselves to the Word like they did. They couldn’t have had children to feed or clothes to iron or bosses to satisfy. At the very least, they surely didn’t have my life. I can barely fit in time to devote to reading scripture. It’s saddening that one of the most important parts of my spiritual life used to be scripture reading. It used to be such a joy to read and be read by the Word. Not anymore. When I used to read, there were no sermons to prepare, no lessons to teach, nothing to decipher or decode. I read for pure desire. I read to get closer to God. Now, my reading is burdened by deadlines and expectations. Now, I hear each verse asking “What will you do with me?” when before I used to ask “What will you do with me?” In fact, I don’t even know if I read anymore – instead I scour.


​This year, I want to rekindle a relationship with the Bible that is based on love and not obligation. I’m challenging myself to read the entire Bible this year. I've created a calendar that I’ll be using to get through the year. I don’t want to get burned out or dejected so I’ve built in weekly times of Sabbath. I’ve also built in a month  of no readings at all! This will mean some heavier reading loads some days, but it’s important for me to have rest and to be realistic if I need to make up some readings during some part of the year. It’s also important to celebrate accomplishing things and to step away so it doesn’t become a burden again.



​I’m excited and interested to see what this year holds spiritually. I don’t believe the Word of God was given to me to be a chore or a bore. I believe it is God’s love letter to me. I believe God’s Word has outdone William Shakespeare, Zora Neale Hurston, and J.K. Rowling. I desire to be swept away again in it’s stories, lessons, and spirit. If you wish, feel free to grab a pen, curl up in a quiet spot, and join in the journey.*  “In the beginning, God…”



Read,

j.a.g.




God, I hope you hear my heart. I want to be close to you. Please give me the strength and openness to read with new eyes. Please open my eyes that I might see the wonderful things in your law. I long to know You and be known by You. Thank You. Amen.

 








 



*Email me at jeagilmo@gmail.com and I can send you the reading calendar.







Friday, November 22, 2013

How I Beat Candy Crush - and You Can Too!



 
 
I’ve finished Candy Crush!!!  DONE!  COMPLETE!  I made it to level 425!!!!  I beat it!YAYYY!!!  What?!?!?!.....  You say there are more than 425 levels????...



What I’ve learned on the steady scroll upward to Soda Swamp, is that Candy Crush can become an unhealthy addiction.  While playing, I’ve had moments of great joy and great pain.  It seemed that the more frustrated I became, the more determined I was to beat it.  Ultimately, though, I learned that Candy Crush is not really a “game” at all in the traditional sense.  You see, Candy Crush isn't designed to be beat.  It's designed to beat you. How I (finally) realized this:



       1. On the Iphone, the time doesn’t show on the top of the screen as you play. It seems the makers of the game don’t want you to
realize how long you’ve been playing.

       2. The levels are made so that you almost HAVE to spend money (Glory to God, I beat it without ever spending a dollar – I made up my mind early not to get sucked into that). CC is the
top grossing iOS game in the world!  (read the linked article to find out the gory details) They make an OUTRAGEOUS amount of money each day from people who just HAVE to get to the next level. 

      3. One week, level 425 was the end and two weeks later, they added 15 more levels!  Then when after a couple more weeks, they added 15 MORE levels!!! Seriously?!?! How can I win if the finish line keeps moving further back? At this point I saw that the game had never intended for me to win. It only wanted me to keep coming back for more.




So back to the point - How did I beat it? And more importantly, How can YOU???  You beat Candy Crush by deciding what YOUR finish line is. Whether it’s the laughable level 2, the notorious level 67, or the profanity-inducing level 150, you can beat Candy Crush at any time.  You win when YOU decide to step away.  For me, that was after completing level 425.  If you've got other important things you want to do, maybe you decide even earlier.* 


However you do it, you WILL beat Candy Crush. and that day will be tasty, sweet, and oh so DIVINE.

 




Crushing it,
j.a.g.

 





Creator and Sustainer God, thank You for the gift of games. They have given me the opportunity to connect with others and find relief in my day.  Thank you also for your Word that teaches that there is a time for everything.  I pray I use my time wisely and focus on the things that matter most.  When I get imbalanced, please pull me in line and correct me.  I'm nervous about your correction, but I know I need it.  Thank You for being.  Amen.










*Since I've stopped playing nearly two weeks ago, I've read three books (Twelve Years a Slave and the first two books in the Hunger Games series - finishing the third now). I've also found myself looking into my children's eyes more and listening to my wife more clearly (I hope). I also don't look at tile flooring and try to find patterns of threes nearly as much. Beating the game is one of the best things I've done in a while.


 

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-6

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;