by Erin Bird

So when I was a kid, I learned my “half-birthday” was September 1. And for some strange reason, I thought that was cool. In fact, I almost preferred my half-birthday to my actual birthday, just because a half-birthday seemed a bit silly and more fun.

I took that half-birthday silliness into my relationship with LeAnn by giving her a half-dozen roses on her half-birthday one year while we were dating. And she reciprocated months later with a half-dozen donuts, a half glass of orange juice, and a birthday card cut in half. (That’s when I knew I had found the right girl for me!)

So this past week, I had a “half-birthday.” And sure enough, my awesome wife surprised me with a half-birthday card (another card cut in half), a half-hour back massage (that was incredible!), and a half-pint of Just Got Serious salted caramel ice cream from Duos (she ate the other half ;-).

As we sat on the couch thoroughly enjoying our ice cream, I realized it was simple things like this that drew my heart to her. She didn’t have to buy me lavish gifts or do anything extravagant. It was the simplest of things like ice cream and a back rub that made me realize just how blessed I am to have LeAnn as my wife.

The Simple Spiritual Things

I think the same goes for our spiritual growth. Too often, we look for the “big thing” – the Christian conference, the mind-blowing experience, the thundering voice of God – that will suddenly make us into the type of Jesus-follower we want to be. We want God to microwave our spiritual growth and change us overnight into a super-spiritual saint who knows all the Bible verses, never struggles with anger or lust, and cheerfully serves our community at every given opportunity.

But that’s not how the Holy Spirit usually works. [pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]But the majority of the time in the majority of His people, God seems to work steadily and stealthily, slowly restoring His image within you.[/pullquote]

God seems to prefer to “crock-pot” most of us. His transformative work in our lives comes through the daily pursuit of Jesus, not the one-hit wonder. It’s the simple things like…

[list type=unordered extra=]
[list_item]reading the Bible regularly,[/list_item]
[list_item]praying throughout the day,[/list_item]
[list_item]coming to a Worship Gathering on a consistent basis,[/list_item]
[list_item]giving of our FIST (finances, influence, skills, and time) to bless others,[/list_item]
[list_item]and/or meeting with fellow Jesus-followers for study, prayer, & encouragement…[/list_item]

…that God seems to use to shape us more and more into the image of His Son.

I am not against Christian conferences (I’ve been to many good ones in my lifetime!). I believe God can change someone in an instant (I know several people that have seen God do miracles in their lives). But the majority of the time in the majority of His people, God seems to work steadily and stealthily, slowly restoring His image within you. You may not see the growth day-to-day, but as weeks, months, and years go by, you’ll realize God has done an amazing work in you.

As a side note, “simple” ministry is at the heart of Riverwood. I encourage you to take 3 minutes to read through the Riverwood Way and be reminded of the type of church we are.