EP 119 – DEVELOPING A RULE OF LIFE
As 2021 comes to a close the guys get down to talking about developing a “Rule of Life” as they look to improve their personal lives spiritually, relationally, recreationally and professionally. As you are considering how the coming year will be different for you, we encourage you to grab a notebook or notepad and get down to the serious business of considering how 2022 will be different for you by developing your own rule of life.
A rule of life is a schedule and set of practices and relational rhythms that help us create space in our busy world for us to be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus did—to live “to the full” ( John 10v10) in his kingdom, and in alignment with our deepest passions and priorities. –from Practicing the Way, John Mark Comer
Here are some of the highlights:
- A rule is a set of ordered practices – not a bunch of restrictions
- If you are not enjoying life, not accomplishing what you believe would honor God and bless others-you are a good candidate for developing a rule of life
- The elements of a rule of life can be simple-we recommend you consider City Church’s approach.
- S – Sabbath
- A – Abiding in Christ
- L – Loving Community
- T – Training
Here a few links and resources mentioned in this episode
Rule of Life: Blake Bennet, City Church, San Marco FL
Bridgetown Church – A Rule of life during COVID 19
Your Future Self Will Thank You by Drew Dyck
Home Alone 2 – The Marv Clip
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp yet. Again, you’ll tide ready for the holidays. As we prepare for Christmas. Doing all the Christmas things, the gingerbread houses and creations, the Christmas lights, just like the Stewart family was in the news for our gingerbread creation. One of my good friends at our church, Chris Boughton, got in a news article of like the houses you need to go see.
Because of the light shows that they’ve put together. Like he CRA Clark Griswold this thing on steroids with computer programmed to music. And I mean, just the whole deal, man. And so I haven’t been to see it just yet, but maybe before this even goes, live as an episode, I hope to go see that. What, what are, what are the big Christmas festivity fun things happen in with the big birds?
Bob Bickford: Well Jimbo, you know, of course it’s the, uh, Christmas tree, the stockings, the decorating, [00:01:00] all those things. And then, um, we really look forward to some family time on Christmas Eve. One of our traditions is to. To get pizza or to have chili or something. And then to watch home alone too, on Christmas Eve, like that is our ultimate, you know, we’ll, if we’re, if we’re having enough energy, we’ll do elf and humble loan to, or home loan to an elf.
We just kind of, you know, those are our two Christmas movies and a home alone too, especially the scene where, Marv gets electrocuted in the basement. That is the favorite, uh, one of our kids and we all scream and shout. Loudly like mark, when he gets, uh, electrocuted and we try to scream as long as he does.
So, you know, we’re not, we’re not decorating now. My wife would like me to put lights on the house, but, me and I’m telling you, my dad never did that. And I did it a couple times. And can I just say that that’s just a lot of work, like your bro, who did the computer thing like me and that just I’m, I’m tired.
Jimbo. I’m just [00:02:00] tired thinking about that. Now I’ll go see. I’ll go see it, but you know what? here here’s the deal too. It’s technologically advanced and I’ve transcended into that age where here’s what I’m going to tell you present reality. So I need a bootcamper to help me out with this, my software on my laptop updated and my phone software updated.
And here’s what’s happened, Jim? Uh, my email is out of date. You know, when I’d open it on my computer, it would, it would open it on a smile on, on the phone and vice-versa Jimbo, something broke and I can’t fix it. And I’ve tried to, and so I need a 14 year old to contact. helped me out with that. So I just, I’m tired.
Jimbo, I’m tired, which, you know, Hey, this is good for us to talk about today’s topic because I think a lot of boot campers are worn out. They’re tired. They’re, they’re doing their Christmas shopping. They’re putting lights up. They’re trying to find their Christmas sweaters or Holland decorations out of the attic.
They’re worn out. So, uh, we all need some help and I need my email fixed. So, you know, there’s.
JimBo Stewart: If you can volunteer to fix Bob’s email, we’ll bring you on and we’ll do [00:03:00] a, a bootcamp episode of you guiding Bob through fixing his email.
Bob Bickford: That’ll be a YouTube’s Christmas special.
JimBo Stewart: Now I think you’re right. I think a lot of guys are really tired right now. As I talk to guys, I think, Local pastors for the last two years have really been leaving it all on the field and just going at it, trying to hold things together, hoping that at some point there’s going to be this moment of reprieve and, and relief.
And for a lot of guys that may not be coming, but the best sense that they may get of that will be maybe the holiday season. Where they can take a little family time to celebrate Christmas and get ready for new years. And in light of that and the theme of our last few episodes of kind of taking care of yourself through different things.
We’ve talked about family and life balance. We’ve talked about time [00:04:00] management, uh, and so I think it’d be good for us to take. One more step deeper into self care and, and talk about rhythms of life or rule of life. it’s kind of a phrase I’ve heard. others use it in, in one pastor group that I’m in.
They talk about a rule of life. Some rule is not like rule like a law. I think that it comes from the word for measure. This is like, it’s like a, it’s an ancient Christian idea of. really what are the rhythms, right? What are the rhythms of your life that are intentional beyond a quiet time? Which I should, I should research this.
Where, where did we come up with the phrase? Quiet time. Like, I don’t even know that that’s a good, a good title or phrase for what that is,
Bob Bickford: Jimbo. I went to preschool and in quiet time, like, do you remember? I don’t know if you were to preschool, but I, I was a kid. [00:05:00] Needed to talk and be active. And we had to have quiet time in preschool. And, and I got, I got spankings with a ping pong paddle in preschool because of quiet time. So I always had a very, but here’s, here’s where I think it came from.
There was a guy named Billy Beacham who did student discipleship ministry. So back in the day when, um, there was a guy named Dawson McAllister, and he was doing conferences and, you know, all that sort of thing, there was also a guy named Billy Beecham and you could get him to come to you to. Disciple now he bring a little book and it have a lot of fill in the blanks.
And that’s where I remember first hearing the word quiet time. So that’s where I source it to. I don’t know if the bootcamper knows if we have, uh, if Richard Ross, the, uh, Southern Baptist, youth, pastor Xtrordinair, maybe he’s listening to the bootcamp probably is if he knows where quiet time, maybe he should call in and let.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I imagine he does listen. I would make sense that he would listen to us.
Bob Bickford: Yes.[00:06:00]
JimBo Stewart: now I think I want us to do this episode is something I’m working on right now. And, I’m in two monthly pastor groups and I’ve talked about one of them on here before, the open group that’s actually, meeting the day that we’re recording. And a closed group of a much smaller group of guys who were a little more vulnerable and open.
And we go through each of those groups would kind of go through books together and chapters at a time or things like that. the closed group that I’m in and the last time we met our assignment was to talk about what is your rule of life? What are. Rhythms. How are you being intentional about creating rhythms into your life?
And if you look in the old Testament, there is consistently patterns and rhythms and in ways that we are supposed to go about things. And, my other mentor, Bob in my life, Bob Bumgarner, uh, has often said something that he got [00:07:00] from his mentor, Dr. Jim chase. Uh, great quote, the best gift a pastor can give his church is the gift of a healthy. That’s the best, the best gift you can give your church for Christmas. Pastor is a healthy self. Now we did a whole episode on physical health and kind of watching what you eat in being a steward of the body that you’ve been given and how you and I have each made some adjustments in our lives towards that.
That’s not particularly what this episode is about. Although I do think taking care of your body. Certainly applies to this idea of rule of life. And we could get into that. we want to take a more simple approach depending on what approach you take to this. And so we’re going to take a simple approach today and go from there, but we maybe we’ll add some links into the show notes that help you, uh, explore this further.
If you want to explore it further and there you can go a lot deeper and listen, just like anything in life you can get. Overly complicated [00:08:00] and legalistic about this. if you’re not careful, the, the plan that you need to try to put in here as a plan that you’ll stick to, that helps you accomplish the goals.
Right? And, and as I look at this, the way I think about this is, John 15 and glee in Galatians. John 15, the Lord tells us if we have bide in him, if we abide in his love, and if we abide in his word, we will bear much fruit. And I believe that fruit references the fruit of the spirit in Galatians five, which is love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness.
And self-control. And that’s the goal. And so the plan here is what does that look like for you? So, when I was discussing this with my close group of pastors, Bob, one of the guys there, Blake Bennett, pastor of city, San Marco, he said in their membership process, they encourage members to develop a rule of life.
And so they came up with [00:09:00] a really simple rule of life guideline to get somebody started down the road. and so again, this is when we say rule of life. This is beyond quiet time. Like, give me your explanation when we say worldwide.
Bob Bickford: yeah, I can, let’s define it a little bit. So, I think it was during. The pandemic last year that I sent a resource to you, that I discovered from a pastor named John mark Homer from Portland. And, he’s put together tons of resources and everything. And so this is, uh, uh, we’ll link this document. but it comes from a website called practicing the way.org and here’s how they define rule of life.
And I would say that this is a good definition. They say a rule of life is a schedule and a set of practices and relational. That help us create space in our busy world for us to be with Jesus, become like Jesus and do what he did to live to the full in his kingdom and in alignment with our deepest passions and priorities.
Right? So that’s their official definition in the ORC book, which we’ll link to. So I think a real short definition [00:10:00] is a rule of life is a set of practices, relational rhythms that help. Spend time with Jesus, be like Jesus, and be with other people and make a difference in the world in a way that is healthy and helpful in a life-giving.
Right. I think so. So when, whenever, um, and you and I are kind of both the personalities you, you are, you know, from, from your stories that you shared on the podcast and, and you know, with me as we’ve sat down together, you tend to be a rule breaker, not a rule can. And I tend to be a rule bender or breaker as well.
Right? Because we want to get stuff done. We’re always looking for the way to, how do we do this? And we’re not going to be hindered by barriers, but for guys like us who live at that breakneck speed and are always trying to get stuff done, a rule is not a restriction. A rule is an ordered set of principled practices that help us enjoy.
Right. Rather than be all twisted up. So I would just say to the, to the folks who are listening, and just think of this as, as a way to approach life, that gives you [00:11:00] a joy in, in all the things that you do and your time with God and your time with others. And in your time with friends and family, your personal time, it gives, it brings about the sense of peace and the abundant life that Christ.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I struggle with routines. I, can design routines. Um, I’m good at thinking through. Developmental processes and I can put a good plan on paper. I just, I don’t do well at consistently. I just, I don’t thrive in routine, unless I really understand it. And so as I’m, I’m getting older, I am, I’m getting real close to 40 years old and in July of next year, I’ll be 40 years.
And you know, that it gets you thinking about what you’re doing in life and those sorts of things. That’s been a motivator for me to get in shape. but it’s also got me thinking of like I not, I’ve spent the majority of my almost 40 years of life kind of [00:12:00] go and flying by the seat of my pants. And, and I like doing that.
Uh, it’s enjoyable to me. What I’ve come to realize, I think is. If I can learn some good order and rhythms and search certain areas, it’ll actually free me up to fly faster by the seat of my pants. If that makes sense. Like if I can figure out what are, what are the areas that I need to kind of figure out how to, how to build some intentional rhythms and rules around my life, about what I eat and being exercising and spiritual rhythms and relational rhythms, NFL do that.
I’ve, I’ve found I’m a lot less anxious and stressed out in moments. I mean, and so whenever I’m free to run, I’m free to do. And, and so one of my that’s, one of my goals for 2022 is really figure out more of this discipline. And the way I’ve kind of said it in my mind is, you take a [00:13:00] NFL athlete who is just naturally, I mean, God given gifted at a particular athletics.
And that’s awesome. Right. And that can get a guy along way, but that doesn’t give a guy a long and illustrious career, right. It it’ll, it’ll let a guy be a flashing up. If you’re naturally God gifted at something, but the guys who really last the guys who really make a real impact, a real hall of Famers are guys who are really disciplined in things that seem to have nothing to do with the thing that they’re naturally gifted at, right.
They don’t skip leg day. They don’t skip whatever. Like they do all the things that help support and build the structure for them to be good at what they’re good at. That’s the way I’ve been thinking about it is if I will, in that quote from Jim Chavis, right? The best gift a pastor can give his church is the gift of a healthy self.
Well, man, that quote applies to the best gift a husband can give to his wife. The best [00:14:00] gift of father can give to his children. The best gift anybody can give is the gift of a healthy self. If I’m healthy, that I’m the things I’m really good at, I’ll be even better. And so that’s why I think it matters too, to get more structured in these things, not rigid, but structured in intentional.
And so the whole point of this. I’ve just rambled a lot to say that there’s going to be, if you’re built, like I am, you’re going to naturally push against structures and routines because they feel restrict. But instead of seeing them as restrictive, see them as supportive structures, does that mean.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. So I think that the person out there who thinks the following things, I don’t like the way my life is right now. I wish I could do something about. I’m really tired this morning. Why am I so tired? I feel like I’m not really enjoying life. I’m just surviving life. I wish my relationships were better.
I wish my health was better. I wish whatever. Right? The person who thinks [00:15:00] those things on a regular basis is probably the ideal candidate for exploring what we’re talking about in terms of a rule of life. Right? If you don’t like the way your life is going right now, here’s the big question. What are you going to do?
Right because most people, and I think this, I wish we maybe should have done some background academic work, but I would wonder what percentage of the population is actually really disciplined. And most of us didn’t get, we weren’t taught that. Right. You know, we were taught some ethics and some values and, and perhaps some theological Theresa and those sorts of.
But if we didn’t grow up in a disciplined home, you know, there’s the over discipline, like, you know, running it like a military camp, but then there’s also the life-giving discipline that I think is what we’re talking about. So I think if you’re hearing us say rule of life and you’re thinking, man, it’s just like military academy family.
No, it’s not like the Von Trapp families from sound of music, you know, before the Maria comes in and like changes, you know, captain Von Trapp, you know, and he’s whistling at the kids and the [00:16:00] kids are all doing everything. What we’re talking about is just simple practices and rhythms that will give life to you and value to your life.
And I think what it mirrors is when you look at the scriptures, when God created the world, he created one of the most important aspects for us that we need on a regular basis. And that’s the Sabbath or a day of rest. And we’ve totally blown by that. So I think we, we just got to recover that and, and I think the, the past.
Who is doing the work of helping his members that think about this is really doing effective discipleship from the point of membership forward that I think we’re probably really will shape and has shaped the culture of that church. So I’m ready to jump in and hear what he has to say. And I think he’s going to be really great, these simple principles of, of a rule of life.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
So Blake Bennett at city church, San Marco. he, this is the, the, the paradigm, the. Process that they present to their members in their membership [00:17:00] process to help them begin building a rule of life and you think of salt. And so he talked about how, you know, we’re called to be salt and light. And so light is how we share the good news in the world.
So we need to, uh, do that. So we have to be people who are, who are light in the darkness, but we also have to be salt, which preserves and, and takes care of. Right. And so he took that and created an acronym of, uh, the S in salt for. How are you resting or do you have weekly rhythms of resting? Do you have daily rhythms of resting?
Do you have annual and quarterly rhythms of making sure that you’re resting, a insult for abiding? Are you abiding in the Lord daily? Um, and not just having a quiet time where you read scripture to check box, but are you abiding? Are you resting in the Lord making your home there with him in a John 15 kind of way?
L is loving community. Are you actively and [00:18:00] intentionally in loving community, they encourage their members to be in one meal a week with somebody, uh, that is not a Bible study. Like it’s not a scheduled. Thing not to say you can’t study it, but like the point of just getting into community with people and then the T in salt for training.
And so they have some ways they do that annually as a church where they train people in spiritual disciplines and they have a 21 day kind of prayer season. They do at the beginning of every year to help, equip people, to train their minds. and I think even distinguishing between a biding and training, right?
And so they’re still studying the word of God, but finding a way to not just do that academically, but to abide that Greek word for abide in John 15, Menno is like, make your home in. And, the, the analogy I’ve always [00:19:00] used, I’ll give a quick version of it. Growing up at one point, my parents, when they built a house for the first time, which we kind of grew up flipping houses.
And so I lived in a lot of different houses growing up, but at one point we, had a formal dining room and, I remember that we were not allowed in the formal dining room. you know, French doors and you, they were closed and you didn’t go in the formal dining room, unless, unless it was the time to go in and you had to be dressed up and it was a special occasion and was a whole deal.
Bob Bickford: Had the same thing. And the only time we went in there was when the pastor from the church came to visit our family. That’s the only time we went.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, exactly. And that’s how a lot of us treat our relationship with the Lord or with church, right? Is it’s this special occasion thing. Let me put on, you know, my best clothes and put on my best face and be on my best behavior as I encounter the Lord or [00:20:00] as I go to church. Where abiding is more like, the recliner.
That you, you can kick back in and you just like, I don’t know if you feel the same way about recliners that I do Bob, but recliners do my soul, a, a great gift to just sit and kick back. And the, I like the sound even is like Pavlov’s dog. Like stress leaves me when you click, when you. The thing up could look like and just, I just like, okay, well this is stresses going away.
Right. And, and that’s a biting. Mano is being at home in tabernacle with the Lord. So Sabbath abiding, loving community training.
Bob Bickford: I love those things in. And I think that, each of them are simplistic and profound, right? So th that’s really what we’re after. Is the simple, and I think, you know, Jim, but I think we’ve made life complicated in the Lord when he created us [00:21:00] to have fellowship with him, it was pretty simple. Right. And if I go back to the Genesis account and I think what was, what was Adam’s role and responsibility was to live in fellowship with God, to.
Steward the creation that God had put him in charge of and demand gave him dominion over. And so he had everything he needed. He had a rhythm of spending time with God daily, but also resting from any kind of work you know, dominion or organization or anything like that on a, on a weekly basis. It all got messed up because of sin.
And I think most of us have really the longing of her heart is really trying to get back to the garden right where it’s simple and we’re spending time with the Lord and spending time in community with family and enjoying what God’s given us. And I think at the heart of all of every Christian, and I would say, I wouldn’t even say this.
The heart of every person is too. Enjoy life. Right. And I think culture has twisted it up and [00:22:00]has, said that your primary goal is to be happy. And what we’ve done is we’ve pursued a bunch of things that have damaged our souls and separate us from one another and ultimately separate us from God because their sin and the rebellion.
And so the rule of life is, is almost kind of. Clandestine recovery mission of how do I get back to enjoying what God has intended for me to enjoy in the situation that we find ourselves in is we’re so fatigued and frustrated. We can’t imagine doing something that seems like a, a task list that is named.
It seems like a beat down from the beginning. And now what I would just challenge our listeners to do is when we put the resource out, for you guys to look out into reference from, uh, practicing the way, man, just look at that and read it as a life-giving document. Not some kind of, you know, restrictive thing that you should pursue.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think there’s something to [00:23:00] rhythms that just help us get aligned where we’re supposed to be. And so, man, if you have some, if you’re struggling and you’re wondering, how am I going to get through 2022. Then I would encourage you to take this episode, the time management episode, the family, ministry life balance episode, and even the one on getting in shape, kind of take all those together.
Think through those concepts and this practicing the way document can be a helpful guide as well, and just be intensely. and just set some parameters for yourself that are going to help you be more disciplined and healthy. If you struggle with self-control just in general. And that’s just a mean, you just that’s, that’s not an area you’re good at, there’s a book that was really helpful for me called your future self will thing.
By drew Dick. That is a, it is a biblical and brain science approach to self-control and it’s really good. on just self-control in general. I [00:24:00] mean, it goes into the science of it. It goes into a biblical understanding of what self-control is. He writes in a funny way. that’s easy to read and enjoyable.
My wife and I on Facebook did a, for a while, they were doing Monday. Uh, coffee. And we went through that book a chapter at a time. So you could, even, if you wanted to watch those videos, you could watch those instead of reading it, if you wanted. although I would encourage you to read it or listen to it on audio.
and I’m not trying to add more to your plate guys, but this is, this is not about adding more to your plate. This is about deciding what needs to be on the plate
Bob Bickford: Yeah,
JimBo Stewart: priority. What matters.
Bob Bickford: so good in Jimbo. I think we’re on the precipice of seeing a lot of guys bail out a minute. you know, the latest Lifeway research said about 38% of the guys, uh, that they survey to pastors have thought about quitting ministry. And I think if I remember, right, the numbers were even higher for the younger guys.
Like the older guys were like, man, I was going to grin and bear it and gut it out. Right. [00:25:00]And the younger guys were like, I’m out. Like, this is what I signed up for it. Right. So the things that we’re talking about are things that can help you. Last in ministry. Right. And, and so give attention to them over the holidays.
Here’s what we pro here’s. What’s probably true. You’re going to be driving to grandma’s house going somewhere. May I get your headphones in fire up the podcasts while the kids are watching, you know, pop patrol or whatever it is they watch in the back while your wife is sleeping, you know, in the passenger seat and just listen to some of these things and, go back to.
To get the episodes that Jimbo talk and then, you know, get up early in the morning when you’re, you know, the family’s all sleeping head to the local coffee shop and a man take a journal notebook, write some things down, make a plan of action. And then when 2022 hits start executing it. And I think you’ll find some freedom and victory and satisfaction in life.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. Look, if you guys have other suggestions of ways that guys could improve on this, let us know, send us your favorite [00:26:00] resources of how you do this. We’d love to hear from you also, we want to give one more plug again to am I re planter in February in new Orleans, we would love to see you in person.
And the big, easy city. and so we’ll put a link to register for that event. That is an event for anyone considering replanting revitalization, new as a novice to replanting and revitalization and needs to know. Or someone who just wants to know more about it and it’ll be me and Bob and double dock and our wives and Fred Luder and George Ross and Ryan Rice.
And it’s going to be a good time, noon to noon, February 18th and 19th in new Orleans. We’d love to see you there.