Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Should Evangelicals Care About the New Pope?

Great Article surrounding the new Pope and the Evangelical/Catholic divide. 
Should Evangelicals Care About the New Pope?: Pope Francis has been called a “friend” to evangelicals — but does it matter?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hungry? I know I am!

I have done many workout cycles in my many years of athletics and training. I work really hard a few times a week and after about 6-8 weeks I begin to really see improvements. I get stronger, I can run faster, I begin to look stronger. But there is alway a plateau, as if just doing the exterior physical work can only help me gain so much.

Getting ready for my Mt. Whitney climb has been no easy feat. From collecting gear, pledges, planning the trip, and the workout schedule; it has already been a trip. As usual though a little over a week ago I felt that I hit my wall. My point where I'm not gaining like I want to gain. This was also right before our family vacation. It's alway difficult to eat right and train the way you want to when you are on the road, 2,700 miles in one week. On the way back I decided I needed to try something different in my training; I needed to work on my inside as much as my outside. I needed to "diet" to get my body moving.

Now let me clarify here, I don't really need to loose weight. I'm well within my zone for height and weight. But when your body has junk to burn, you can't keep putting junk into it. So I started the P90X "diet" last week. For me it is a small amount of calories, especially considering the amount of running, strength training, and cardio work I am doing every day. But if you want your body to act and react, sometimes you have to confuse it and change it up.

Funny how the same thing happens spiritually with us. Sometimes we just get stale, we stay in one thing or mode of spirituality too long. Sometimes we have been doing the same thing over and over again, hoping it will continue to have an effect, long after it has lost its effectiveness and relevance. We only work on the outside and neglect what we bring into our insides.

Here's what I do know. If we hunger and thirst for righteousness the promise is that we will be filled. Jesus promised us that in Matt 5:6. I may be hungry physically in order that I can kickstart my body into using some of its reserves that I have stored. But I don't have to be malnourished spiritually to get it to kick off my need for God. Being hungry spiritually is really what we need. God is all we need. When we look to Him to fill those needs, and look to him when we hunger and thirst for that which is not good for us, then his promise is to take care of those needs for us. When I am hungry for the things of this world I have to ask my self, "What have I been feeding my spirit lately." Chances are if I am hungry for the wrong things, I haven't been feeding it very well.

On the other hand if I have a steady diet of spiritual disciplines drawing me toward him and letting go of me, then I tend to be satisfied. Are you satisfied by your time with the Father? Or are you looking for satisfaction, fulfillment, and your needs to be met in other places?

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8, 9 NLT)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On Rob Bell from a friend

There are a lot of posts and discussions going on about Rob Bell right now and some comments that he may have made. One of my minister friends Sean Palmer posted a great blog that very much goes to the core of what I have been thinking and feeling on the subject.  So rather than regurgitate it to you...go here to read: What We Talk About When We Talk About Rob Bell

I would love to hear some feed back from my friends not just on this issue, but also on how we respond and interpret what people do or don't say.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Philippians 4:8 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Training: Mind, Body & Soul

I do best when I have a goal in mind. I work best under pressure. How about you?

I have the pleasure of participating in a backpacking trip with Big City Mountaineers for their Summit for Someone program in April. The mountain is Mt. Whitney, a whole different kind of backpacking or hiking endeavor than I am used to pursuing.  I will have snowshoes and ice crampons as part of my arsenal and experience after this trip.  If you are not familiar with Mt. Whitney, it is the highest peak (at 14,505 ft) in the lower 48 states and located in California.

In order to deal with the elements, including; altitude, pack weight, vertical assent, snow/ice and many more, training began back in January. Although this is not my first 14,000ft mountain (I've bagged 9 in Colorado), it will be the first during winter conditions. Because of the added elements to this climb, extra gear and training are necessary.

Here is what the last 8 weeks looked like:
1. 5 days a week P90X lean routine (nightly enjoyed with my wife and 2 friends)
2. 3 days a week strength training at the gym (I have my own routine if you're interested comment or email)
3. 3 days a week running (increasing a half mile each week)
4. Friday am to Sunday pm are my rest time

This is a pretty rigorous routine with little time to rest or recover.  There are a couple of reasons for this. First, when you are on a mountain you don't get a day to recover. Second, you can't simulate altitude when you live in Houston. Third, our bodies can be pushed much more than we give them credit for being pushed.

I'll give more specifics on what this training looks like and what results I have achieved in the process.  But here is some food for spiritual thought.  What if I had a plan for my spiritual growth that was as rigorous as my physical training. I know we don't want to be legalistic about our time with God...but it is so easy to get out of the routine with our reading, prayer, sabbath rest, fasting, and the list could go on. 

Here is what I have found: as I discipline my body, I find it easier to discipline my spiritual life.  In other words when I am disciplined in one aspect of life it helps me to be disciplined in other aspects.  Is that how it works for you?  Do you find yourself out of discipline in you physical life? In your spiritual life? In your life? What do you do to correct it? How do you stay disciplined?

1 Corinthians 9:25
25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

The summer of recovery and difficulty

The last year and a half have been in a word; hard. The pandemic has left us disconnected, grieving, uneasy, fractured, and wondering what i...