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February 12, 2017 | JOHN RAY


I have an alarm on my phone that sounds like tropical birds. Of all the options of sounds to wake up to, it seems one of the less offensive. This morning, like most, it went off at the set time.

I regained enough consciousness to roll over and turn it off before trying to

catch an extra 15 minutes’ sleep.stretched, tempted or lethargic.


But the birds kept chirping, at what seemed an increasing volume. At first I thought I was dreaming, then maybe that

I missed the snooze button, so I rolled over to hit it again.


It was already off. The birds were not coming from my phone.


Now, I was genuinely confused and not nearly enough awake to figure out the source of the sound. Then in a few minutes, it hit me: Those were actual birds. Real, live tropical birds, apparently of the exact species recorded for my alarm. And they were singing right outside my window.


I had flown into Costa Rica the day before and fallen into such a deep, travel-weary sleep that when I woke up,

I forgot where I was.


Which causes me to think: How often have I mistaken a recorded sound or image for the real thing? Have I done this often enough that I can no longer tell the difference? Have I fallen into such a “travel-weary” sleep that I have forgotten

where I am?


The most difficult task a follower of Jesus faces is living into the love that God has for us. To let ourselves be loved and then live from that love. We fill our lives with sounds and reminders, but sometimes even those things can get in the way. We get used to the recorded sound and fail to recognize the real thing. We get “travel-weary” and forget where we are.


Worst of all, we forget whose we are.

Where are you this week? Can you tell the difference between the real thing and the reminder? Are you awake enough to know where you really are? Are you conscious enough to know whose you are?

Watch the following video:

1. Knowing you are loved starts with being able to hear God affirm it. Have you heard God communicate this to you? How?

2. Hauerwas asserts that Christians need to learn to be loved. How does this strike you? What makes that difficult or easy? 

3. What do you, personally, confuse with love?

4. In what ways do you think the Christian idea and practice of love differ from the world's idea and practice?

These question are great ones to explore with your kids this week, as well.


Remember to finish The Attentive Life. Darrel will lead our group practice and discussion this week.


Grace and peace, y’all,





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