catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 17 :: 2006.09.22 — 2006.10.06


MySpace, open space, God space


The Internet has historically been about connecting people to information… that is, until companies like MySpace came on the scene. MySpace is about connecting people to people and has transformed the Internet into a completely different web experience; it is a social network, an online community. To create community people have to know each other and that is what MySpace is all about. Almost everything there is to know about a person can be found on their MySpace page. MySpacers spend massive amounts of time communicating who they are, what they like and don’t like and bearing their collective soul to their MySpace “friends”. MySpace has 75 million-ish users, 15 million daily unique logins which average 45 minutes each, is growing by a colossal 240,000 new users per day, and is generating nearly 30 billion monthly page views (that’s 10,593 page views per second). The number of page views generated by each unique visitor is stunning—clearly these users are very, very passionate about making their own space. Most of us, in our own ways, almost always figure out a way to make room for ourselves. From a spiritual perspective, how do we make room for God and people?

If only we as believers were as passionate about creating God space. Too often we find ourselves pummeled by schedules and expectations. Somehow we become relegated to submit to our own unique daily grind and calendar events. How can we find a spacious place where life’s expectations flow from the rhythm of life we find in a fervent relationship with Christ?

Open Space

We (being myself, Brad Riley, and my wife Julie) live in Boulder, CO and lead a beautiful community of Christ made up mostly of twenty- and thirty-somethings. Many years ago, Boulder devised a plan to keep the Denver metro commercialization from pressing in and overrunning our eclectic and very independent city. With the mountains securing our city’s western borders, a mile or so strip of land surrounding the rest of the city was created that no one could build on. They called this never-to-be-developed land…Open Space.

On a personal level, Julie and I have four kids. We live in a 1300 square-foot house where our two boys share a room and our two girls share a room. Our wonderful daughter of thirteen years was showing desperate signs of needing her own space (twitching, drooling, random babbling…). While she was away on a weekend trip we made the commitment to make more room for her…literally. The HGTV in us came out and we converted our office into a bedroom and gave her a room of her own.

In Genesis 26, Isaac moves away from a situation of over-crowdedness and conflict. After a diligent search for open space, which included heavy resistance, he eventually finds a valley where he can settle. He digs a well there and calls it Rehoboth, which means “room”.  He then says to his people concerning the new-found open space, "Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land." When we make room for our relationship with the Father we open up enormous possibilities for ourselves and those that we share life with. It is my conclusion that life flows in a fantastic way when we begin all of our efforts from a place of sweet communion with the Lord.

My friend David Sherman from Nottingham, England says, “Stop resting from work and start working from rest.”  The idea is that God didn’t rest on the seventh day because He was so worn out form six previous days of laborious creating. God doesn’t rest because He is tired.  “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary” (Isaiah 40:28). The essence of His rest was to enjoy what He created and for His creation to enjoy Him. The seventh day was the day of rest and blessing because on the sixth day He had just created man. It is so significant that man’s first day was a day of rest and communion with the Father. God communicates the message that “I want your life to begin from a day spent with me enjoying you and you enjoying me.” As a result, man didn’t begin stewarding his life until he had his day of rest with God. God doesn’t want you to rest from work; He wants you to work from rest. There is a big difference in doing things for God and doing things from God. When we think about loving and serving people, it is not about all the things we have done for the Lord, it is all about the things that come from the Lord. The only way this can happen is to be with the Lord.

God space

When we create open space, we make room for God Space. After Jesus received news concerning the death of his fore-runner, friend and family member John the Baptist, he went to find space to be with his father. Job says the Lord wooed him from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction. Mary chose sitting at the Lord’s feet and Martha chose to be busy. Jesus said Mary had chosen the better thing. My mantra as a spiritual leader has become, “at his feet”—I don’t want to be a pastor who simply gathers people for religious ceremonies and produces a weekly three-pointer. I desire to be one who helps people find an authentic faith. I want to be a good shepherd that leads people to good places. Everything that is good is found at the feet of Jesus. I want to lead people to sit at His feet. I want to create open spaces for myself and others so that we find ourselves in God’s Space. When we are remaining in the Lord and He is remaining in us we naturally bear much fruit. We don’t have to muster it up or make it happen. It’s all about connectivity. This was a huge time-released revelation for my personal life and leadership. I felt I had been so naughty that I had to spend all my time doing things for the Father to make up for my past. Now I spend my time being with the Lord so that when I am with people (as husband, father, pastor, friend) what I am able to be for people is from the Lord.
How do I create space? In addition to a daily integration of prayers, meditations, thoughts and discernment, here is how I create an extended, weekly open space to be with the Lord. These times are very intimate. I view this space as the bridal chamber. This is spiritual consummation. “’The two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32).

  1. Get Alone—I usually do this on Mondays. Mondays give me a context for the previous week and the week ahead. I get alone in various ways. Sometimes I am alone in solitude and other times I get alone in public places where I can see the people I am loving. I get alone in my hammock, my Jacuzzi, a private room, a quiet spot in nature, an overlook of the city, a ride on my motorcycle (sometimes in the city and sometimes on a lone mountain road), a coffee shop, a park, etc.  
  2. Settle Down—I spend a lot of time just centering and focusing on the Lord. I meditate on Him and scriptures.
  3. Assess—I love to spend time assessing my relationship with the Father, my family, my believing friends, and my lost friends. I ponder how I have stewarded these relationships as well as the responsibilities of my life.
  4. Release—I spend some time releasing the things I cannot change and repenting. I ask for a deeper grace to be more like Christ this week than the week before.
  5. Worship—Worship is my spirit touching His Spirit. We spend time enjoying each other. This has been a very intimate time of communicating between the Lord and me.
  6. Wait—One of my recent disciplines has been regular times of silence sometimes lasting several hours. I have had some of the largest spiritual downloads of my life during this time.
  7. Write—I always journal out what the Lord spoke to me or showed me.
  8. Walk—I leave these times with a true sense of the Lord’s heart for me and my life. I find an incredible inspiration here and feel mobilized to be who God has created me to be. There is a real-time, natural application concerning the purposes of God that shows up daily.


Help my space be an open space to make room for you.


This article originally appeared in the e-newsletter of The Mustard Seed Associates.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus