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Archive for Out of Ur

Apr
11

The Out of Ur Podcast

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This week’s progress on the forthcoming Out of Ur Podcast included the completion of the artwork, thanks to the gifting and talent of my daughter Shannon. My original goal was to be ready to upload episodes by March, but I didn’t realize all of the work that was involved in setting up the infrastructure. So the back room is almost ready.

After 36 plus years of serving local churches as a pastor, I concluded that chapter officially on August 24, 2020. My initial series of talks will focus on my personal journey from sacred to secular; from the comfort and security of “Ur” to the wide open horizons of the “Promised Land.” It will be an honest, transparent and vulnerable account of what I’ve learned, what I’m learning, and what I still have to learn. Until then, keep your eyes peeled for the first release. Updates will be available on this website under the OUT OF UR tab on the menu bar or on any of the Tim Deatrick or Out of Ur social media platforms. You can follow me personally on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @timdeatrick. You can find the links to the Out of Ur social media platforms at the bottom of today’s email by clicking any or all of the icons. If you haven’s subscribed to the Out of Ur weekly email, you can do so by emailing outofur@timdeatrick.com.

Thanks for your support of www.timdeatrick.com and Out of Ur!

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Any parent that has taken their family on a trip of any substantial distance is acquainted with the question, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer until we get there?” In my case, it was my punishment for asking the question repeatedly as a child of my parents. As it has been said, you pay for your raisin’.

Abram’s journey led him to a geographical destination. He left Ur and travelled to Canaan. But I think we miss something if we limit his journey to one of physical travel. For in the midst of the geographical transition came a spiritual transformation. Not only did he have a change of address, he himself became changed.

The reader will note that his original name was Abram, which means “father is exalted.” And Abram lived up to that name, following Terah from Ur to Haran, where he remained until his father’s death. When Abram arrived in Canaan he eventually received a new name, Abraham, which means “father of multitudes.” This simple change of names reveals the transformation I’m talking about. As Abram, he was focused on his father. As Abraham, he received a new purpose, which was to become the father. And not just a father, the father of many people and many nations.

My point here is that while the story features a change of location, the real destination centered on the kind of person Abram was to become. And that principle is true of you and me. Not every destination God leads us toward requires relocation. Sometimes the destination God leads us toward is an internal redistribution of our values and the development of our character.

Like the proverbial family vacation, spiritual formation takes time. A long time. It may feel like we’re never going to arrive. But if we’ll relax and trust God to lead us through the journey we’ll be there before we know it and we’ll be better for it. What’s more, we’ll be glad we took the trip.

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Feb
14

Out of Ur: The Destination

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Much of Abram’s life had been spent in between his point of departure and his arrival in Canaan. While the biblical narrative doesn’t give us many details about Abram’s in between, we do learn some valuable lessons that can be of practical help to us today.

First, Abram was willing to pull up the anchor from his hometown of Ur and begin a journey into the future. God had spoken to him ever so clearly and he listened to the divine voice.

Second, along the way Abram faced a distraction that led him on a detour. Like Abram, if we are serious in undertaking the journey of obedience to God we will find the path is littered with distractions that can become detours. The danger of those detours is that we can “stop and settle.” Once we stop and settle, it can be just as difficult to pull up the anchor as it was when we first set out.

Third, just because we stop and settle doesn’t mean we have to remain stuck. It just means it is more difficult to reset the course and restart the trip toward our destination. Distractions can lead to detours, but they don’t have to remain our final destination. We can choose to follow the path to the land of promise or settle in the land of immediate gratification, filled with its counterfeits and substitutions.

If you continue to read the story, you’ll find there’s no magical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Abram’s tangible sense of having arrived is still a long way off into the future. But some how, in the midst of his journey, he must have had the growing sense that his new destination was his true home. And when we follow God’s direction to our divinely appointed destination, we too may find the serenity that comes with being home in a way that overshadows all other stops along the way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief series of posts on Out of Ur. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, feel free to check out www.timdeatrick.com where you’ll find the archives to this newsletter and more. If you are enjoying the Out of Ur weekly email newsletter, forward it to a friend and encourage them to subscribe! Have a great week!

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Feb
07

Out of Ur: The Decision

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Terah’s good intention to leave Ur and travel to the land of Canaan was disrupted at the half way point with a distraction. This distraction led him on an 80 mile detour to the city of Haran, where he stopped and settled. He put down roots in Haran and stayed there until he died. Distractions and detours can do that to us. The siren song of the shiny has an allure, that often over promises and under delivers. If you’ve read the story closely, you’ll see that Terah had named one of his son’s Haran. The name isn’t exactly the same as the city in the Hebrew language, even though it is spelled the same in English. The son’s name means “mountain.” You’ll recall that the city’s name means “crossroads.” The point is that many times what we perceive to be the pinnacle of success and achievement is merely nothing more than a crossroads where we have to choose between what is good and what is best. Terah was satisfied that he would be content with good enough, and he died without ever leaving his presumed mountain of accomplishment. In his own mind, he had arrived “on top.”

But Abram still had something stirring in his heart. His vision of Canaan had not evaporated. The death of his father served as a signal to pick up the original call to the land of promise. He made the decision to leave Haran and finish the journey. This would not have been an easy decision if you think about it in terms of ancient culture, for Abram would not just leave a place. He would leave all sorts of things behind.

At the age of 75, Abram left his homeland, his family, his potential inheritance, his position in the family, the family idols, his financial security, the familiarity of culture and community, and the faith of his childhood. But somehow his God given vision surpassed all of that. I’m sure he counted the cost, but the cost of leaving paled in comparison to the future reward of obedience.

One way to think about this is to consider the fact that Abram, by faith, left his certainty and journeyed toward uncertainty. His walk of faith was not void of doubt, for if you look at his life you’ll discover that Abram is often slow to believe. But in the midst of this uncertainty, he walked by faith and obedience. My friend Matt Manos once said, “The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.” As long as we demand a faith that is certain, we’ll remain in our Haran, and find that we’ve not just settled, we’ve become stuck.

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Jan
31

Out of Ur: The Distraction

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“This is the account of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his brith, while his father, Terah, was still living. Meanwhile, Abram and Nahor both married.. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah…But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children. One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter in law Sarai, and his grandson Lot, and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran” (Genesis 11:27-31, NLT).

Terah and his family, including Abram, departed Ur to begin the long traverse to Canaan. The most direct route would have been due west, but given the fact that Ur and Canaan were separated by hundreds of miles of the Arabian desert, they took the circuitous route around the desert. Traveling to the northwest they followed the Euphrates River toward the northern most part of the desert. There, they would travel southwest toward the promised land.

The northwesterly part of the journey would have spanned some 700 miles. It is estimated that caravans could travel up to 20 miles per day, so we’re talking at least 35 days, probably more. Everything seemed to be going well as far as we’re told. And then it happened. A distraction came along that led Terah and the family off the route. We’re not talking about stopping at a rest area or a Bass Pro Shop. Haran was some 80 miles due north of the apex of their travel plan.

It’s one thing for a person to be leisurely traveling and to have their eye caught by a persuasive billboard to visit this site or that. So what if you pull a few miles off the route to check out a famous person’s birthplace or visit scenic view? We can become temporarily distracted and in most cases it doesn’t create much of a ripple.

But this was more than a distraction, for Terah not only stopped, he settled. We’re not sure why he stopped and settled. The Bible doesn’t give us that detail. The real question is whether you and I have stopped and settled on life’s journey, and if so, why?

We can become distracted by many things. Sometimes we become distracted out of boredom. Other times it’s something shiny that catches our eye. Some times we are distracted by visions of greatness or some misguided expectation that over promises and under delivers. Maybe we’re homesick, and the distraction provides us with something comfortable and familiar. Or perhaps we’re just plain tired of the trip we’ve taken and the distraction becomes a substitute that I like to call, “good enough.” There are as many reasons for us to be distracted from life’s purpose as there are excuses for not fulfilling life’s purpose. The apostle John generalized the distractions of life, calling them, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).

The city of Haran was a significant place. It was important to the economy, and was the center of worship for the moon god Zin. Located in what is modern day Turkey, it served as the convergence of several trade highways and waterways. The name Haran means “cross roads,” appropriately so, for it was the cross roads of trade and commerce.

For Terah and those like me who are prone to the distractions that lead to detours, the cross roads is significant. Cross roads cause us to contemplate the decision as to whether we will settle for what is or forge ahead to our God given destiny. Like Terah we can stop, settle, and eventually die having fallen short of our destination. Or, we can make the decision to push ahead and leave all that is good behind.

We can’t control the things that come before us that are distractions, tempting us to stop and settle. But we can control our response in the cross roads, pursuing the unseen in the face of that which is visible and convenient (cf. Hebrews 11:24-29).

Check back next Monday for part three of this series on Out of Ur, The Decision. If you enjoyed today’s post or found it helpful, feel free to share it with a friend!

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Jan
24

Out of Ur: The Departure

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It takes a lot of work to find a name for a podcast because many have already been claimed by other presenters. When I began the pursuit of a catchy, no more than three word brand I went through several iterations before finally settling on “Out of Ur.” Mind you, every idea I had centered around the same theme…the struggle of faith and the challenges of selfless obedience to God. I then came across the following passage in Genesis 11, which follows the story of Babel and a lengthy account of begats.

“This is the account of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his brith, while his father, Terah, was still living. Meanwhile, Abram and Nahor both married.. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah…But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children. One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter in law Sarai, and his grandson Lot, and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran” (Genesis 11:27-31, NLT).

A bit of background may be helpful. Ur was a community located on the Euphrates River north of the Persian Gulf in what we would call modern day Iraq. Because of the waterway, Ur was a highly developed area of commerce and religious worship. The passage doesn’t give a specific reason as to why Terah loaded up the family wagon to leave, but there are several plausible reasons for the move.

It could have been the prudent thing to do. Some fifty years following his departure, Ur was overthrown and destroyed. Perhaps there had been rumblings of a potential threat of invasion. The geographical location of Ur would have made it a desirable location of foreign governments.

Another reason may have been his intent to improve his situation in life. While Ur was known for commerce and religion, it would not have been the epicenter of either. Any wealth Terah and his family had acquired in Ur could have been grown and developed by moving to a more fluid environment.

But the reason we typically accept for leaving Ur is God’s call to Abram. Genesis 12:1-3, reinforced by Acts 7 and Hebrews 11, informs the reader than God’s call upon Abram’s life occurred while he was in Ur. Terah is given respect as the main character by virtue of his parental position, but the work taking place in these initial stages is in the life of Abram.

Abram’s calling was a call to leave one place in order to go to another. That’s pretty obvious. But the spiritual truth at work is that none of us can climb the next rung until we remove our foot from the rung we’re standing on. Or, as one author wrote, “Breakthroughs are always break withs.”

In order to experience the next rung we, like Abram, have to take steps of steady obedience in the same direction. But it also requires we exercise faith. Abram was far more certain of the place he was to leave than the place he was going. He obeyed, walking by faith.

Like Abram, we have the experience of going from and going to. And like Abram, we share in this ongoing pattern of the Christian experience. Seldom do we get to have the best of both worlds…to have our cake and eat it too. (People may take a vacation to an island resort, but they usually end up right back where they started.) These destinations may be unclear and uncertain, as is the journey toward the new destination is unknown. But there is joy in both the journey and the arrival. It just takes one step, repeated many times over.

Next week I’ll examine the second feature of the story, which is the distractions we face along the way. Thanks for reading the Out of Ur weekly email newsletter. If you’ve enjoyed it or know someone who may, feel free to forward it to their inbox.

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Dec
28

Welcome to Out of Ur!

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This past year has brought forward some new opportunities for me, the greatest of which is my venture into online ministry platforms. Many of you may be aware that since 2007 I have blogged at this site. For some time I took a break, but have re-committed to regular posts as I continue to work on the infrastructure of the site that had been neglected.

In addition, I’m excited to announce that beginning January 4, 2021, I will be publishing a weekly email newsletter that will have a little something for the people in the pew as well as something for those in the pulpit. You can subscribe to the Out of Ur Newsletter free of charge by emailing outofur@timdeatrick.com or through Facebook instant messenger.

Speaking of Facebook, I would like to invite you to follow the Out of Ur platforms on social media. You can find the Out of Ur Facebook page at “Out of Ur.” On Twitter you can use the handle @outofur, and on Instagram at @outofurpodcast. Please feel free to follow or like any of the social media platforms you utilize, and above all, feel free to share the news with anyone you may think might be interested.

Which brings me to the final piece of this announcement. The Out of Ur Podcast will feature a variety of topics and interviews beginning March 1. You’ll want to stay tuned for more information about the podcast and where to access it.

All Out of Ur activity will be accessible at this website. So if all else fails, you can always check in here.

I’m excited for 2021! And I’m excited to share what I’ve been doing and learning during the year of our pandemic, 2020. Until then, be blessed, and have a blessed New Year!

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