Category Archives: Rush Hour

RUSH HOUR 7: Road Signs & Warning Lights

SIGNS, SIGNS, EVERYWHERE THERE’S SIGNS

“They’re not just for decoration.”  That’s what I tell my beginning drivers as they nervously drive down the road with tunnel vision, never reading the myriad of signs lining the roadside.  Signs warn us of potential hazards ahead.  They inform us of services up the road.  They regulate traffic flow in order to keep everyone safe.  But they only work if people read them and obey them!

Likewise, God has given us many traffic laws and signs to ensure us safe travel through life.  They warn us of dead end streets.  They set limits and prohibit reckless living.  They bring safety and blessings if we obey them.  If we ignore them, we may find ourselves upside down in a ditch—or worse.   Listen to the words of Moses: Continue reading RUSH HOUR 7: Road Signs & Warning Lights

RUSH HOUR 6: Eyes on the Road!

Once we have found ourselves traveling down God’s Holy Highway, with the wind of the spirit at our backs and the bright morning Son lighting the road ahead, there are still some basic driving tips we can follow to make the trip safer, more enjoyable and problem-free.

One of the many jobs I have had to help pay my way through seminary is a Driver Instructor.  No joke!  For a few years I had the privilege, or punishment, of teaching hundreds of 15 year-olds the basic skills of safe driving.  It’s a terrifying thought that I am partly responsible for putting over 500 teenage drivers out on the roads!

I have sat through hours of the classic videos filled with haunting images of twisted metal and personal stories of traffic fatalities.  I have gone over the mind-blowing statistics, noting the considerable risks and responsibilities that come with driving.  We all know that these are all “scare tactics” to try to break through the teenage attitude of invincibility.   There is no greater challenge than trying to impress upon these carefree teenagers how serious a matter driving really is.  “There are not always second-chances in the game of life,” as we like to say.   Continue reading RUSH HOUR 6: Eyes on the Road!

RUSH HOUR 5: Going Against the Flow

The decision to make a U-turn in life is much more difficult when everyone else seems to be headed in the same direction.  I mean, come on!  Can all this traffic possibly be going the wrong way?  I mean, isn’t it safest to just go with the flow if you’re not sure what direction you should be headed? There’s safety in numbers, right? Let’s consider this for a moment.

In my home state of Minnesota there are only two seasons: winter and road construction.  Road construction season coincides however with another seasonal Minnesota pastime—cabin fever!  Every Friday afternoon you’ll find a mass exodus of cars heading north for the weekend.  The irony of it all is that in order to escape the mad rush of city life, one must endure yet another hectic, hair-pulling rush hour—the cabin rush.

Continue reading RUSH HOUR 5: Going Against the Flow

RUSH HOUR 4: Time to Make a U-Turn

Turn around.  Change direction. Make a U-turn.  These are all accurate renderings of the Greek word metanoia, which is translated “repent” in most Bibles.  The word ‘repent’ is loaded with religious baggage, notions of gloom and doom, judgment and wrath, hellfire and brimstone. But the word literally means “change” (meta) of “mind” (noia).  Why even bother with this nit-picky word study?  The reason is that the notion of repentance has become so unpopular and offensive in our day.

Christians, however, cannot shy away from the notion of repentance.  It is at the heart of both John the Baptist’s ministry and Jesus’ kingdom announcement.  It’s the very first word out of both of their mouths.  We have to face the challenge head-on.  What did Jesus mean when he came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15)?  We might turn to a very unlikely source for an answer to this question.

One of the best-loved rock ballads of all time is Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.  Toward the end of the song we find the following line:

Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there is still time to change the road you’re on.

Continue reading RUSH HOUR 4: Time to Make a U-Turn

RUSH HOUR 3: Asking for Directions

You have heard it said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”   But I’m more convinced it is paved with bad directions. If Eve’s grave sin in the garden was a failure to follow God’s directions, her punishment has been putting up with Adam the rest of the way who refuses to stop and ask for directions!  There is no need to linger too long on this point.  We have all experienced the following scene:

Wife: “Honey, do you know where you’re going?” Husband (shocked): “Of course I do!” Wife: “Wasn’t that our exit back there?” Husband (to save face): “Oh, I’m taking a short-cut.“ Wife (an hour later!): “Maybe we should stop and ask for directions.” Husband (angry and offended): “Don’t you trust me?!”

How heated the conversation gets from here will depend on the particular couple.  One thing is clear: Deep within the soul of every person is this prideful insistence upon going our own way, and the stubborn refusal to ask for help.  As the proverb goes, “The way of a fool is right in his own opinion, but the one who listens to advice is wise” (Prov 12:15).

Particularly for us men, our very “manhood” is called into question by the very idea that we may be lost on life’s road.  To humble our hearts and admit we are lost is to acknowledge our powerlessness and lack of control at that particular moment.   The situation intensifies when there is a woman in the car.  Then a man’s primal instinct to protect and lead her safely back to “the cave” takes over, and makes it even more humiliating to admit we have lost our way.  It may be a stretch, but being asked, “Are you lost?” has about the same effect on a man, as the question, “Have you gained weight?” has on a woman!  “These are fightin’ words!”

Continue reading RUSH HOUR 3: Asking for Directions

RUSH HOUR 2: On the Road Again

The Christian life should be a life on the road.  It should be viewed as a long, exciting road trip.  We are like “Christian” in John Bunyan’s classic allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, who is “a man on an adventurous journey across rough terrain, over sunlit hills, and through dark valleys… From the City of Destruction to the Celestial city whose builder and maker is God.”

We are headed somewhere — at least we should be.

Go ye therefore…” Those were the marching orders of our commanding officer, Jesus (Matt 28:19).  There is no time for standing around staring at the sky (Acts 1:11).  The Christian life we are invited to embrace begins when faith’s tread meets the asphalt of life’s rocky roads.   Any faith worth having will find God at the busiest intersections and amidst life’s worst traffic jams.

When we hit the highway, we find no shortage of traffic—both in real life and the spiritual journey.  Have you ever stood on an overpass and just watch the traffic flow for a while?  I have. You can’t help but ask yourself, “Where are all these people going?”

When it comes to the spiritual life, we should be asking the same question.  Which road am I on?  Where is this path leading me?  Where do I ultimately want to end up? Will this road get me there? If not, should I make a U-turn or try another route?

In real life we would think someone’s a fool or at least a bit strange if they spent all their days driving aimlessly along, racking up miles on their car for no particular reason.  It’s seems like a waste of a good engine, not to mention precious time and gas money.

Yet, when it comes to spirituality, are we willing to draw the same conclusion?  Many people we interact with daily are spiritually “lost”, driving aimlessly through life’s deserts, taking every convenient exit and trying every possible road that might lead them to ‘somewhere.’  But just where is ‘somewhere’? Many will never even bother to ask that question.

There is a charming scene in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  Alice encounters the Cheshire-Cat and asks, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”  The Cat answers, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”  Alice, not particularly concerned about her ultimate destination, responds, “I don’t much care where, so long as I get somewhere.

Alice speaks for many spiritual wanderers of our day.  They are not particularly concerned about where their journey will ultimately end, but are merely enjoying the adventures along the way. I’m reminded of the bumper sticker that reads: Not all who wander are lost. They may not be lost, but are they headed anywhere significant?

And the places many turn for direction end up being about as reliable as the talking cat! The Christian life, on the other hand, has a specific destination and offers us a map to get there.

Stay tuned!

How about you? Do you have a clear sense of direction in your life right now? Do you know where your faith is leading you? What’s the next stop on your spiritual adventure? 

RUSH HOUR 1: Buckle Up

“The gate is wide and the road easy that leads off a cliff, and there are many who drive it.   But the gate is narrow and the road is bumpy that leads to life, and there are few who take it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

“There will be a highway called the Holy Road… It’s for God’s people exclusively—impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it.”

Isaiah 35:8

“Life is a highway, I’m gonna drive it all night long,” as the song goes.  It is filled with twists and turns, bumps and potholes, dead end streets and never-ending expressways.  We find roads diverging in every different direction, and we assume all roads lead to somewhere.  Life’s roads are cluttered with impatient drivers, all racing at high speeds trying to beat each other to the next red light.  We are all trying to get somewhere, cooperating just enough to avoid a collision on the way.  Sunday drivers are passed up by the more ambitious, aggressive drivers.  You have to be quick off the line to survive in this fast-paced world.   It is life in the fast lane. Continue reading RUSH HOUR 1: Buckle Up

NEW SERIES: Rush Hour – Begins May 1!

The average American has a 21 minute commute and spends 175 hours per year in the car—and that’s just for work! Over a 40-year career, one will spend approximately 291 full days behind the wheel! That’s a lot of time to think about all the spiritual lessons one can glean from their time behind the wheel.

Join Jeremy for another “Sacred Analogies” devotional series called Rush Hour: The Road Less Traveled beginning May 1. Enjoy the ride!