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Death, Destiny and Deadlines

Every now and then I like to reflect on my own mortality. Some people might find that depressing but I, on the other hand, feel inspired when I think about the fact that my days are numbered. It helps me get my priorities straight. If I knew I were going to live for a million years on this earth I don’t know if I’d be as motivated to do the things I feel called to do.   Death Reminds Me of Deadlines As a freelance copywriter I understand deadlines. In fact I had an important deadline today…it was 5pm EST (So 2pm for me). I had to send my client 3 promotional emails that they will then send out to their list of 20-30k people. I made my deadline with 45 minutes to spare and it felt good! Knowing that I had a deadline forced me to focus on the task at hand until it was done. Focusing is not easy for me either. I love starting new things but it’s hard for me to see them to completion….almost impossible unless I have a deadline. And when I think about death I’m reminded that there is a deadline for accomplishing God’s purposes for my life. This perspective helps me to focus on the big picture. It becomes much easier to say “no” to things too. I believe God created all of us with unique gifts and a purpose. It’s the “why” behind our lives. I don’t know about you but I want to remember that I don’t have an unlimited supply of days. I want to steward my time...

Why Do You Go To Church?

A couple of days ago I was working from a coffee shop. It was very busy that day when a couple of men walked in. The only place for them to sit was across the counter from me. So they sit down and start to talk business. Then after they finish with their business transaction the conversation drifts towards church. The one man said, “You know, the reason I go there [his church] is because of the teaching (he made sure to really emphasize the word “teaching”). When I sit down with those guys we’ll all bring our concordances and references books. We’ll cross-reference verses and look up the Greek. You know [name of friend] went to Multnomah Bible College and [name of another friend] went to [name of some other well-respected Bible school].” The conversation continued like this. It was all about how good they could analyze the Bible. There was no talk about God or people. No mention of the friends this man had at church or the bond they had in the spirit. No discussion about how his life had been changed. It was 100% based on the “teaching” and how many “scholars” were gathered in one place. As I sat there listening to this conversation going on 2 feet from me I thought, man, is that really the best part of being born again and going to church? To analyze the Bible and be impressed by the fact that the people we agree with went to a prestigious Bible school? Now I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an intellectual pursuit of the Bible. But I...

All I Want for Christmas is to Be Wantless

  My spell checker just told me “wantless” isn’t a word. Apparently over the last hundred years we’ve not only lost the ability to be without want but we’ve also lost part of the language that describes such a foreign state of mind. An Archaic State of Mind Noah Webster reminds us what wantless means in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language: WANTLESS, a. Having no want; abundant; fruitful. But here we are in 2011, gearing up for another Christmas where want will be in no short supply. Soon enough we’ll be systematically bombarded by retailers telling us we need their products. Some consumers (by the way, how do you like that for a label?) will withstand the initial wave of marketing messages by taking a stand and saying, “No, I don’t need those new shiny things to make me happy.” But these marketing masterminds know just how to overcome such futile resistance. They simply call in specialists who send heat seeking missile advertising messages that say, “You don’t need this but your loved ones do. Don’t you want to buy this for them?” And with surgical precision the retailer reaches the place of want in the consumer and another sale is made.   Would David Need New Shiny Things? I think retailers would hate David. He boldly declares in Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” What’s a marketer supposed to do with that? He can’t even get a foothold. David, a shepherd himself, considered himself a blessed sheep who belonged to the greatest shepherd who ever existed. He had no want...

Why Should Anyone Make a Covenant with Another Person?

I think it’s important to answer the “why?” question before we go out and form covenants with people. Should we form a covenant because we go to the same church or because we’re part of the same ministry? Should it be based on proximity — if you’re a Christian in my town is that enough to form a covenant relationship? Or are these foundations too shallow to build such meaningful relationships on? In my quiet time this morning I was reading 1 Samuel 18 and in it Jonathan and Davide make a covenant. Here’s what it says (verses 1-3): “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”   So in this situation the Bible answers the “why?” — the motive — behind this covenant. Verse 3 says it was “because he loved him,” so we learn that love was the motivation for their covenant relationship. It didn’t say, “Jonathan perceived it would be wise to form a strategic alliance with David.” But how many times do we try to form covenant like relationships with others because it “makes sense?” The wisdom of the world teaches that relationships should be formed only when both parties will benefit from it. ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ kind of mentality. But God’s...

Why It’s Been So Quiet Here Lately

Hey, I just wanted to let everyone know why I haven’t posted anything new in the last couple weeks. I have not abandoned this blog, I’ve just been real busy building my copywriting business (joshuamonen.com) and I’m launching a hyperlocal website for the town I live in (Battle Ground, WA). The hyperlocal site will be called The Battle Ground Buzz and it’s launching next week on Sept 1. The website will be battlegroundbuzz.com. Check it out next week! After the launch I should have more time to get back and update Beyond Cliches on a regular basis. About Josh MonenJosh is a Christian, entrepreneur and writer from Ridgefield, WA. He's married with three kids: ages 4, 2 and 1. Before he met God, Josh was a drug addict with a $500/day cocaine addiction that almost killed him. Today he's seeking a real authentic relationship with God and others.More Posts...

The Benefits of Meditating on the Brevity of Life

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/wfunderber It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. I recently started my own copywriting business and have been spending a lot of time getting the business off the ground. I’m not complaining, actually I’m really enjoying it because I’m finally getting to do work that I love. But I’ve been so busy that the days just fly by. I didn’t even know it was Friday until I was driving into town this morning. So when I find myself being super busy I like to take time to slow down. Something that helps me keep things in perspective is meditating on the brevity of life. I know many people think this sounds depressing and think, “Why would I want to think about the fact that I’m going to die one day? That’s so negative.” Jesus Destroyed the Power of Death   But I don’t feel that way. For one, I have received the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. So I don’t have to worry about what happens to me after I die. In other words the fear of death does not control me anymore. I’m free to meditate on the fact that my time on earth is limited. And if you’re in Christ you’re free to do the same. Psalm 90 is a great Psalm about the brevity of life. Here are a few good verses: The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we...