Serving as Director of Technology Services, Jonathan helps Catch The Fire's staff use technology strategically, to...
My single or married-but-childless friends often ask my wife and I how having children has changed our lives. This is typically presented thus: "Oh man, having kids must be so life changing!"
Have you ever noticed that you can identify someone who hasn't experienced something, by the way they make assumptions in their questions? "Yeah, I can imagine... going on a cruise must be so incredible!" "Oh wow... international air-travel must be so glamourous!" and so on. All I can do is smile and think "You have no clue, do you."
It is certainly life changing, but when you have a baby, the first days typically involve your infant sleeping a lot. Your new baby euphoria ensures that you don't remember anything else anyway. I remember thinking, by about day 4, "Oh man, this is it?! This is easy!". Our kids were born healthy, my wife had incredible sub-2-hour labours, and the boys were pretty chilled out. Being a new parent was genuinely far easier than I thought it would be.
However, after the initial shock of encountering the outside world wears off, your infant will start to make more demands of you. He or she will want feeding more regularly, and burping, and frequently changing, and so on. Perhaps your child will reject the breast, for a time, or maybe she will consistently wake up after 45 minutes of sleep, every night. The changes are often gradual, quietly making ever increasing inroads on your once pristine, carefree, childless lifestyle. One day you will wake up and realise that your 3 year old has broken your Xbox, your 1 year old has scratched "his name" into your new dining room table, your wife's no longer the woman you fell in love with, and you're quickly becoming difficult for anyone to live with.
The trouble of the written language is that you can't hear my vocal flourishes as I read this to you, so you're not entirely sure if I'm writing with a tone of sarcasm and wit, or if I truly do despair at the way family has changed my life. Rest assured dear reader, it's a healthy dose of both. But you didn't come here to read about family, you came (presumably) to read about 10 Minute Worship. Possibly because someone told you what a witty writer I was... but possibly not.
As I came to consciousness the praises of the Lord were on my literal lips.
Worshiping every 10 minutes has changed my life, and it's changed it in much the same way as family has. Gradually, consistently, quietly ruining all of the things that I enjoyed spending time on alone, and replacing them with something far more meaningful. And beautiful. And life-giving. (And also costly.)
When I first heard about the worship timers, I was somewhere between amused and bemused at the concept. I got it, but I didn't think it was "for me". Less than a month after that first encounter, John and Carol shared with our staff their experience of the timers, and a German Doctor named Arne Elsen asked us to consider the impact it had had on his own life. I decided to give it a fair go (which indicates the Lord was already moving in my heart), and I downloaded StopTimer for my "Android mobile device". The first day of using my timer felt a little awkward, and I felt quite self-conscious. To those of you wondering if you'll appear a little odd with a buzzer going off every 10 minutes, the answer is yes. But after the second day it wasn't so strange, and by the third day I was quite comfortable.
I find myself composing lyrics throughout the day.
One night about 4 days after I started using the timer, I awoke in the middle of the night, with the imperative to visit the bathroom. As I came to consciousness the praises of the Lord were on my literal lips; I woke up singing of how much I loved Jesus. I don't know if I had been speaking in my sleep, but as I awoke praise was the first thing out of my mouth. At that point, I realised that life change was taking place in my heart. (I also realised that I should drink less water before going to bed, but that was less of a revelation.)
In the months that have elapsed, I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with our incredible Lord, Jesus Christ. I find him competing for my time. I find myself unable to watch a movie, or television if I'm not in a social context, because the thing seems meaningless to me. I have never written a love song (a fact my wife is quick to point out), but I find myself composing lyrics throughout the day - of love, devotion and affection for our incomparable Christ. One day my darling wife said to me "Seriously, who are you? I had JUST got used to you." Six years of marriage had me playing second fiddle in regards to the spiritual temperature within our house; just 30 days had my wife playing catch-up.
The ongoing awareness of HIM has propelled me forward.
If you are not the pillar of spirituality and scion of grace that your spouse wishes you were (and if you waffle between whether you even want to be that person or not), I understand your situation! But I experience it no longer, and I refuse to go back. More than anything, the worship timer has acted as an anchor, reminding me constantly of the present Kingdom of Heaven, the present, living Christ, and of his indwelling Spirit. Every 10 minutes I glorify Christ, I expound on his incredible ways, I remind myself of Godly Beliefs, I speak Godly identity over myself, and I am reminded to choose grace and wisdom. The ongoing awareness of HIM has propelled me forward in all my endeavours, and has acted as a greater catalyst for intimacy than I have ever experienced.
It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen.
Watch Carol Arnott's testimony on using the 10 minute worship buzzer here.