Fostering's End

2/29/2024   by Matt Lewellyn

We never want to say goodbye. Many, many people have told me they can't do foster care, because they "would get too attached." I fault not a single one of them.

I got attached - after all, there are only so many children who will call me Daddy. But when foster care ends and one of them moves on, the loss can (and should) send shockwaves through the core of our family identity.

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1/23/2024   by Matt Lewellyn

Like an instrument that is out of tune, we all have parts of our lives that seem out of phase with reality. We desire to be in perfect harmony with God's creation, yet we struggle with weaknesses and vices that tear us away from the ideal and present a dissonance that colors our daily experience.

Let's walk through this concept to discover where we ought to be grounded, and how we can expect spiritual reality to interact with everyday life.

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1/9/2024   by Matt Lewellyn

A couple weeks ago, I drove out of town to do some day hiking. Almost 15 miles of following the trail, pacing myself to the end, and reaching the destination. Sometimes I had deep confidence that everything would work out just fine. I felt strong. Other times, I became aware of a different feeling: despair.

Confidence, then despair, then confidence, the cycle continued switching off all day. It took me far too long to figure out the pattern, though you may have guessed it already. But once I did, that pattern struck a chord within me for how life works.

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11/26/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

There is a mistake I have seen pastors make time and time again. I am surely guilty as well, on numerous occasions. It's a mistake that has the potential to cut down even those we see as strong and mature in the faith. And it's ignored in some major seminaries and ministry training programs.

Pay attention to how you stretch. Responsible soul care demands it.

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Not for Eternity

11/10/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

"They tolerate you sometimes, but they don't want to be around you."
"You had some good ideas for a while, but you're not useful anymore."
"God knows you're just following him to try to get what you want."

You know that voice - the one inside our brains that somehow knows just what to say to tear us down. Many of us experience these types of intrusive messages to some degree.

But the things the inner critic tells a follower of Christ can't possibly be true in the life to come.

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10/30/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

The music swells, hands are raised. The crescendo of band, lyrics, and lights are all unified to lead the crowd in a passion of worship. The messages fall thick and fast about what we should all be feeling.

They are all so talented, and the words so appealing. And yet I feel... so tired.

So what gives? Are there aspects of Jesus they resonate with that I'm just missing?

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Balance Next to Chaos

9/29/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

We plan out our days, we lay groundwork for large life goals, and we try to set our ducks in a row so things go our way. We like to control our life stories as much as humanly possible and balance everything in our minds, in our families, and in our checkbooks.

But when you think you have yourself well-balanced, the prime test will come when you find yourself in close contact with someone who is not.

We talk a lot in the Fog Life blog about the experience of being in that fog. Today, let's switch gears - we need to talk about the other people around the suffering soul.

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The Anxiety of Mission

8/1/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

"Follow the example of Jesus!" The preacher expounds, "He set aside his heavenly glory to die for our sins - how much more we owe! We ought to live our lives completely in his service and lay them down each day!"

And we try, pricked as we are by the Spirit. But there are two ways to go about it. Of course, we want to serve from the overflow, don't we? But many, many people up and down the hierarchy of the church order are stuck in the other way: doing our best from the empty.

It's difficult to come to a place where you can admit to yourself that you are there. It can be even harder to change it.

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We are the Ignorant and Misguided

6/26/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

We hear so much truth among the intrusive thoughts impinging on our consciousness, that we expect the presence of God, where truth implicitly dwells, to be full of the same. We can have this picture of our high priest Jesus talking smack about us with God the Father all the time. We expect the most holy over the universe to match our own inner critics. And when we allow those thoughts to be the voice of our perception of God, we turn ourselves over to that reality.

In Hebrews, God says something we probably didn't see coming: the high priest can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided. But we don't want to be in that category, do we? Instead, we want to be the ones who figured it out quickly and who did it the right way the first time. We want to be those who achieved efficiency in a walk with God. No - we are the ignorant and misguided - and we have to lean into that reality to experience the gentleness of our savior.

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Probing the Edge

6/3/2023   by Matt Lewellyn

One part of us is subjected to Christ completely. The rest, not so much. So there are parts of us that seem to have the light of Christ, and other parts that are just dark as night. Some of us are drawn toward probing that edge between.

But what we tear at in the darkness often looks like the same anxiety, the same depression... Things that are not our fault. It doesn't feel right. And it can be the greatest test of our faith.

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