A while ago, I wrote a post called “Ten Words” about saying a few words to a lot of people, trying to condense the things that matter most in life into just a sentence or two. I was under the impression that I had done all the thinking about that post that I was going to do after I hit “publish”, but then my Dad left a comment with a lot more to consider. On the surface, his comment addressed a flaw with my answer, a flaw that I had wrestled with a lot before writing the post, but as I returned to that train of thought I realized that there was a bigger issue, a problem with the question itself.
Tag Archives: God
(Edit: Be sure to read the follow-up to this post, One Life.)
I love deep questions, questions that make you think, questions that get to the core of who you really are and what matters to you. I love it when my friends ask me those kind of questions and I love asking them in return, and one of my favorite questions both to consider for myself and to ask those around me is this:
If everyone in the world was listening to you for just one moment, long enough to say ten words, what ten words would you say?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s worth the time and effort to come to a conclusion. You have to boil down everything that matters most to you, everything you’ve ever wanted the people of the world to understand, into one simple phrase, but in doing so you begin to realize what it is exactly that matters most to you, what ten words you believe the world cannot do without. For me, those words are as follows:
You only get one life. Don’t waste yours on yourself.
There are so many more things I would say if I had the chance, things about God and love and what it means to be human and how much we all need each other and how little we often realize it, but that is the heart of soul of it; that is my passion. My life is not about me. Your life is not about you. The world does not exist to make us happier people, we exist to make the world a better place, to make other’s lives fuller and happier, to exemplify Christ’s love until he returns to make the world into what it was always meant to be. So I challenge you tonight to do two things. First, think about your ten words. Let the question roll around in your mind for a while, let it define and articulate the loves and the longings that are always at the center of your heart. And second, think of one way that you can invest your life in someone else tomorrow, a way that you can influence their world for the better. You’ll be glad that you did, because your life was made for more than you. Don’t waste it on yourself.
Today, I have a guest post for you from my very own Dad, Paul Newton. He recently took a trip to Mexico, and this is the story of one of his most profoundly memorable experiences there. I hope you enjoy his disarmingly honest and deeply moving account of how God brings comfort to His children in their time of need.
It’s been a long time since I’ve conducted an interview with one of my friends to post on the blog, so I am thrilled to present to you a new Pathos feature with my good friend and fellow second cook Adam Beckmeyer. He warned me when he sent me his answers that he does a lot of rambling and derailing and gave me permission to edit him, but those rabbit trails are part of what makes him who he is (and many of them are quite convicting), so I’m posting the unvarnished, uncensored interview for your enjoyment. Good stuff after the jump!
Every year at Lake Ann, there seems to be one worship song that becomes our theme, a song that encapsulates all that God is doing in and through our ministry, and this year, that song is “You Deserve” by Hillsong. Every Friday night, after chapel is over and before Glory Bowl begins, we sing this song together as a celebration of our amazing God and the work that He’s done in the lives of the campers and staff, and the effect could not be more electrifying or uplifting. Listen to the song, read the lyrics, and let its truth encourage you. It really is all about God, and He does indeed deserve our praises and, more importantly, our lives.
I’m so happy to be away from you this Fathers Day. I’m glad that I wasn’t able to call you, that I couldn’t hear your voice or tell you that I love you. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t give you a hug or even send you a card. I’m proud because I know that my Dad is in Mexico right now, serving God and encouraging the church, living out everything that he taught me so carefully about love and responsibility and trust and faith and what it means to be a Christian. I miss you, but if following God’s voice means that I don’t get to hear yours today, so be it. I’m praying for you, Dad, and I love you. Thank you for being a thousand miles away this Fathers Day. It’s just another example of the kind of father you are – the kind who loves not only in word but in action. The kind of father I’m proud to call my own.
I’d rather be writing. I’d rather be sleeping. I think I’d even rather be back at work than here. At least at work I was doing something. As I sat there in the grass at Glory Bowl listening to campers tell everyone about the decisions they’d made during their week at camp and trying not to be distracted/terrified by the sparrow-sized bee sweeping the area, I thought about everything else I could be doing and sighed. I love Glory Bowl, it was always one of my favorite parts of the week when I was a camper, but the last thing any sane person wants to do on a Friday night after a twelve hour workday and an hour of chapel is sit silently on the side of a hill for an hour and a half and listen to more talking. I listened to the testimonies halfheartedly for a while, then a boy stepped up to the microphone in Ken Riley’s hand and took us all by surprise.
“My name is Josiah, and a week ago I was ready to kill myself.”