Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 2 and 3: Romans 11:33-36, Proverbs 3:5-6

Talk about a hectic and difficult two weeks! I did not fast 1 meal, I did not fast 2. I didn't fast at all. We did end up getting a new van, so that was good. In memorizing the last two weeks' verses I learned to focus more on God and see him as the source of everything good in my life and the source of all wisdom. He provides the correct paths to go down in every situation because he knows absolutely everything about us. "Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!" We are told to depend on him for all things down to our daily bread. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths."

Among this and the chaos of the last two weeks I got an audible.com book that has inspired and delighted me. It's called "C.S. Lewis Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces" and it is phenomenal. He has given me a picture of God, heaven and the spiritual realm that I have never had before. A picture in which spirit is much more substantial and solid, in fact more solid than the material world. His essays and the chapters on what man is for in "The Spirit of the Disciplines" by Dallas Willard, have lain a foundation in me that was never there before. Because of this and what I see lies ahead of me, I am firmly grasping onto the words of this week's verse "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"

I will go on gladly, experiencing with my senses, while taking refuge in his grace, knowing that he is good!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Week 1: 1-7 - Psalm 139:1-4 Prayer and meditation. Removing Caffiene 4oz a day

This week I removed caffeine from my system over the course of the last 6 days. I went down 4 ounces a day until today where I had just 4 oz. Tomorrow I will have none. It's been kind of rough cutting caffeine and still taking care of kids. They need me to be energetic and awake and all I could think about was sleeping. I did end up going to bed at 9 one night, right after the girls went to sleep, so I could recover from my lack.

The hardest day was Monday because I fasted the entire day and only drank one cup of coffee. Then we went to the prayer and worship night with all three girls, while Kelly spent 2 hours on stage. I was hungry, tired and bedraggled, but loving almost every minute of it.

This is all in preparation for fasting in the future. I want to fast once a month and I'm going to ease my way into it. First only fasting 1 meal, then 2, then 3. Then I'll increase it to 6 and then 9 in the first week of each month. I don't really want to go beyond 3 days of no food. I think that's plenty.

This week I also memorized Psalm 139:1-4. It went quite well. I wrote it out each morning, trying to remember as much as possible each time. Today I ended up just typing it over and over again until I had it committed to memory. Now I can recite it out loud, which I did for Kelly. It's wonderful having the word in your heart. The words can be analyzed and mulled over. For these verses I was able to see how God knows every part of me and all that I do, think or say.

Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue
behold, oh Lord, you know it altogether.

God searches me and knows me down to the deepest part of me, to my soul. He knows where I concentrate and spend my time, and when I stop and leave. He knows every thought I have. He knows where I will go and where I will sleep even when I will die. He knows every way I will go. Finally, He knows every word I will say. He knows everything about me, thoroughly.

I'm excited for the next weeks and for all I learn from the words I memorize. Also, I'm looking forward to other disciplines God puts into my heart. Ways I can implement into my life that will give me a closer and more rich experience of the Trinity and their love for one another.

Father God show me your love and how you love the Son and Holy Spirit as you love yourself. Show me how to love Jesus that same way, that we may be one even as you are one.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Disciplines Schedule

As promised here is my plan for 2017. I will be updating this as the year goes on. I will narrow it down to the week we're on and talk about my experience with the disciplines involved. Follow along with me as we learn to be more like Jesus through the love of God revealed in these disciplines.

January
Week 1: 1-7 - Psalm 139:1-4
Prayer and meditation. Removing Caffiene 4oz a day
Week 2: 8-14 - Romans 11:33-36
Prayer and meditation. Finding things to give away or sell and giving them away or selling them this week. Fasting 1 meal.
Week 3: 15-21 - Prov 3:5-6
Prayer and meditation.  Fasting 2 meals
Week 4: 22-28 - Psalm 34:8
Prayer and meditation daily. Give away or sell not needed things.
February
Week 5: 29 - 4 - 1 John 4:10
Solitude. Prayer and Meditation and Study. Fasting 1 day (3 meals).
Week 6: 5 - 11 - Isa 6:1-5
Prayer and meditation.
Schedule day of service for some group, food bank, or homeless shelter, or some other thing (more details to come).
Week 7: 12 - 18 - Exodus 34:6
Prayer and meditation
Week 8: 19 - 25 - 2 Pet 3:9
Prayer and meditation. Give away or sell not needed things.
March
Week 9: 26 - 4  - Deut 32:4
Fast 2 days 1st and 2nd Ash Wednesday (6 meals). Prayer and meditation.
Week 10: 5 - 11 - Isa 48:9-11
Prayer and meditation
Sat 10th 10am - 12pm EGC EGC 101 course
Week 11: 12 - 18 - Rom 1:18
Prayer and meditation
Week 12: 19 - 25 - Psalm 115:3
Prayer and meditation. Give away or sell not needed things.
Week 13: 26 - 1 - Daniel 4:35
Prayer and meditation
April
Week 14: 2 - 8 - Psalm 139:7-10
Fast 3 days (9 meals).
Prayer and meditation.
Week 15: 9 - 15 - Psalm 27:4
Fast on 14th (Good Friday)
Prayer and meditation.
Week 16: 16 - 22 - Habakkuk 2:14
Prayer and meditation. Give away or sell not needed things.
Week 17: 23 - 29 - Psalm 102:25-27
Prayer and meditation.
Solitude Day
May
Week 18: 30 - 6 - Acts 17:24-25
Fast 3 days (9 meals).
Prayer and meditation.
Week 19: 7 - 13 - Matthew 3:16-17
Prayer and meditation.
Week 20: 14 - 20 - Hebrews 1:1-2
Prayer and meditation.
Week 21: 21 - 27 - Hebrews 4:15-16
Prayer and meditation.
June
Week 22: 28 - 3 - Eph 1:20-22
Fast 3 days (9 meals).
Prayer and meditation.
Week 23: 4 - 10 - 2 Tim 3:16-17
Prayer and meditation.
Week 24: 11 - 17 - Matthew 4:4
Prayer and meditation.
Week 25: 18 - 24 - Psalm 119:11
July
Week 26: 25 - 1 - Psalm 12:6
Fast 3 meals (9 meals).
Prayer and meditation.
Week 27: 2 - 8 - Hebrews 4:12
Prayer and meditation.
Week 28: 9 - 15 - Deut 6:6-7
Prayer and meditation.
Week 29: 16 - 22 - Eph 1:3-6
Prayer and meditation.
Solitude Day
Week 30: 23 - 29 - Psalm 51:2-4
Prayer and meditation.
August
Week 31: 30 - 5 - 1 Cor 15:1-4
Fast 3 meals (9 meals).
Prayer and meditation.
Week 32: 6 - 12 - Matthew 11:28-30
Prayer and meditation.
Week 33: 13 - 19 -John 3:5-8
Prayer and meditation.
Week 34: 20 - 26 - John 3:16
Prayer and meditation.
September
Week 35: 27 - 2 - Galatians 2:16
Fast 3 days (9 meals).
Prayer and meditation.
Week 36: 3 - 9 - 2 Cor 5:21
Prayer and meditation.
Week 37: 10 - 16 - Romans 8:14-17
Prayer and meditation.
Week 38: 17 - 23 - Romans 6:11-14
Prayer and meditation.
Week 39: 24 - 30 - John 10:27-28
Prayer and meditation.
October
Week 40: 1 - 7 - Phil 1:20-24
Fast 3 days.
Prayer and meditation.
Week 41: 8 - 14 - 1 Cor 15:42-44
Prayer and meditation.
Solitude Day
Week 42: 15 - 21 - 1 Thes 4:15-18
Prayer and meditation.
Week 43: 22 - 28 - Rev 20:11-13
Prayer and meditation.
November
Week 44: 29 - 4 - Rev 21:1-4
Fast 3 days.
Prayer and meditation.
Week 45: 5 - 11 - Rev 14:11
Prayer and meditation.
Week 46: 12 - 18 - Rom 12:4-5
Prayer and meditation.
Week 47: 19 - 25 - Rom 6:3-4
Prayer and meditation.
Week 48: 26 - 2 - 1 Cor 11:23-26
Prayer and meditation.
December
Week 49: 3 - 9 - Rev 4:11
Fast 3 days.
Prayer and meditation.
Week 50: 10 - 16 - Jer 31:31-34
Prayer and meditation.
Week 51: 17 - 23 - Matt 22:37-40
Prayer and meditation.
Week 52: 24 - 30 - Matt 28:18-20

Prayer and meditation.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Disciplines: a life long project. This is year 1

I started reading "The Spirit of the Disciplines" a week or two ago and it has inspired me to rekindle my relationship with God through practicing all of them. By all of them I mean the ones listed in the book "Celebration of Discipline." I'm going to catalog my experiences as I systematically practice each throughout 2017.

January 1st will be my next post as I begin practicing meditation, prayer, study and submission. The ultimate goal is that I will start, little by little with daily practice, to become transformed in the renewing of my mind into the image of Christ. There will certainly be bumps and hiccups along the way that will derail me, but I will not be moved from my resolution.

This year will be the year of the Disciplines. Anyone who wants to join me may do so by following the plan I put up in my next post. This is obviously a little bit prideful for me to post that I'm doing this on a public forum, I recognize that. But I also recognize that I need social pressure to make this idea a reality.

Thanks all

Friday, August 28, 2015

My/Our Responsibility as Christians

This morning I started reading the DesiringGod post from John Piper (http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-often-should-we-voice-our-views-on-homosexuality-online) and I had a full thought come blasting into my brain. I have this venue here so I'll use it.

My responsibility as a Christian is to be a human being that lives rightly, loves unconditionally, and speaks truth in love. I say "human being" because these words bring to mind a picture of God's magnificent creation, mankind. Being a member of that creation I want to represent it in the most mature and thoughtful way. I want to steward my humanity as a reflection of God's divinity. I want to show how great God is by responsibly living my life as a human who loves his neighbor as himself.

Living rightly encompasses that kind of attitude and humility. I want to be a gracious, kind, person. What I've learned over the years is I'm not equipped to do that alone. God has to work on my faults, sins, attitudes, and failings through prayer, my wife and my church. To represent Christ I need to be fixed.

Loving unconditionally includes loving those who might be living a life in opposition to God's way of living. I love my wife, my kids, my friends and neighbors but I love them in different ways. I show them different degrees of intimacy and vulnerability. I show them God's love in much the same ways. The blog linked above talks about expressing your views on homosexuality on social media. In my opinion people should sparingly do that in any public forums. Talk with your friends, talk with your family, talk with strangers amicably. Don't condemn and chide those you barely know, with opinions or even scripture. God made each person unique. Each person has struggles unique to their life. Telling someone they are wrong serves no purpose but to spread hate and cause division.

Speaking the truth in love is what we should do, but not on social media. Do it in person. Do it on the phone. Do it in writing, on actual paper. Be connected and grow closer to those you disagree with by expressing your opinions openly in a way where they will be able to express theirs back. Your life is meant to reflect Christ's and Christ died for expressing his love openly, and in a way where others could express their opinions back. We aren't to be any different.

This brings me back to my responsibility. My picture of the human being I should be. I should be a loving husband, a devoted father, a close friend, a good neighbor. I have sometimes failed in those spheres. My actions should come out of love and not out of what cheese burger I did or did not eat. I need to picture the beautiful, eternal, perfect creation that God intended when he made mankind and rely on God's grace and strength to mold me. Shaping a lump of clay like me into that requires time, attention and love. God has infinite amounts of all of those.

God, please bring my life, bit by bit, toward the picture you intended it to be.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Walking by the Spirit

Deciding to walk by the Spirit and actually doing it are completly different things. About two weeks ago I made a conscious decision to walk in the Holy Spirit in my everyday life, while at work, while at home, while doing anything. It didn't turn out like I expected. I had high expectations and low results. 

The most notable thing that happened is I forgot to even think about God. This may be the worst inspirational post ever but to me it's a step in the right direction. I have made it to the conscious incompetence step. I'm aware that I don't live my life in a way that constantly consults the leading of the spirit and I'm aware it needs to change. 

What will I do now? The same. But I will start smaller. Let's simply pray at lunch. 

(Park Street is a good place to pray too)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Echo Chamber of the Mind

I had a thought last night that has had me thinking since. It was a disturbing thought that made it difficult to sleep until I could find the positive side of it. Mainly, that we are essentially echo chambers to whatever stream of vibration we focus on. What I mean is that our minds have a tendency to reiterate, regurgitate, rehash and dwell on the same things over and over. But what bounces around in there is determined by where we face our microphone so to speak. When I think about this I get a picture of a TV screen that is facing a video camera that's attached to it. So when a tiny change occurs in the image there is a feedback loop that goes on forever, from camera to TV, over and over. However, with our minds it's magnified and combined with whatever has been previously been focused on. The mind takes all of this and blends it and makes you. Partially this had me thinking "I am completely at the mercy of whatever I focus on."  And then it also had me thinking that people are extremely predictable. Find out what TV, books, people and other influences they are looking at and you'll find it almost perfectly reflected in their future thoughts and actions. This is why the bible can shape our hearts and minds. We will become whatever we stick our echo chamber near. 

The next thought related to this is that our childhood thoughts and "echoes" are stronger than the ones we create now. And if we start trying to change the frequency of the echoes, discord happens!  

Our minds need harmony. We need to be in accord and consistent throughout. For example say you grew up following the teachings of the Koran. You then come to America and learn about Jesus. You will have a very hard time becoming a Christian when there are so many different chords and melodies in your head that clang against what you have vibrating in your head already. 

I think it's possible to change but it's going to cause a lot of discomfort and a lack of peace for a long time.