Growing on Purpose or Drifting by Accident

boat-956x537I love to fish (though I don’t seem to be doing much of it lately). Specifically, I love to bass fish. When fishing for large mouth bass you rarely anchor your boat, normally you troll slowly casting the entire time. This is not a problem so long as you are fishing and controlling the motor. Occasionally, however, the fishing has to stop to take a fish off of your hook, tie on a different bait, or to eat (this is very important to me when I fish). It’s funny, but when your attention shifts from fishing and driving to doing some other task within the boat, the boat has a tendency to drift. I know a guy who wound up with a snake in his boat because he drifted under some low hanging trees one night. Fishing and driving happen on purpose, but drifting happens accidentally all on its own. In our spiritual lives, we will either grow on purpose or drift by accident or neglect. This morning, I took some time to think through ways that I could get more of God’s word into me and get me more into the word. I made a list of several different steps that include most of the usual things like my quiet time, scripture memorization, and prayer. Of course, these are the kinds of things that you plan time for and you fill the time you have planned with the practices for which you have saved that time. But, if you are like me, you’ve got lots of other time in your life that gets filled up by accident. Those accidental times like the grocery store line, waiting to pick up kids from school, driving to work, or running an errand. In these times I tend to occupy myself with whatever is available (Facebook on my phone, tabloids, the radio) without much thought as to how that time could be spent more profitably. Somedays I may have 30 or 45 minutes of “accidental” time, and without preparation, that time gets wasted. With these “accidental” times in mind, I worked on a list of things that I can prepare for the extra moments in my life to help me grow spiritually. None of these are earth shaking, but you have to do a little preparation to make sure that they are readily available. As mentioned above, we focus on what is available. Here’s my list of tools to help me grow during my spare time (Notice, my list is very iPhone-centric. I did this because it is the place I first turn when bored, so I’m working to have more tools readily available there).

  • Podcast Sermons. I listen to lots of sermons, but in recent years have gotten away from podcasts. Podcasting makes sermons available and allows you to stop and restart without losing your place if you are only in the car for a few minutes. You can podcast Malvern Hill sermons here.
  • Bible App. There are several that I have used and like, at this time I’m making use of the Blue Letter Bible on my iPhone. Bible apps are great because they give you the BIble in the palm of your hand and because many of them will even read it to you out loud.
  • Evernote. I’ve written about this before, but Evernote gives me a place to store sermon notes, prayer lists, and even memory verses. I use it a lot and it helps me. Of course, with Evernote, I can also prepare this stuff ahead of time on my desktop and have it available on my phone.
  • Audio Books. I love audio books. Keeping one on my phone gives me the chance to listen as I drive (of course, my 80 gb iPod classic is great for keeping a large collection of audio books and lectures).
  • Kindle. With Kindle books you can read them in an app or on the Kindle device without skipping a beat because they sync together. This is great.
  • Carry a Book. This is retro, I know, but as much as I like my Kindle, I still prefer paper and ink. I try to always have a book in my truck (and my hunting bag).
  • Keep A Pen and Paper (or Cards). We need to be ingesting as much of the Word as possible, but we are called to be conduits, not sponges. Do you have 3 minutes in your car? Write someone a card telling them you are praying for them and drop it in the mail.

You will drift by accident, but you growth happens on purpose. Plan for your down times and watch God work in your life.