Discipling the Body


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20 Habits to Quit In the Next Year [reblog]

This is a little self-help-y, but it’s a good article. Give it a read here.

This isn’t about shaming anyone or holding up a measuring stick to see where the shortcomings are. Instead, it’s a reminder that life is simply too short to weigh it down with unnecessary clutter. And while some of these habits are easier to break than others, all of them get in the way of the wild, radical lives we were created to live out.


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Mission Accomplished

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I have always struggled with self-esteem issues; feelings of not feeling good enough, etc, etc. Prompted by a good friend, who reminded me that I have “everything I ever wanted out of life”, I have been reflecting on exactly what those things are. SO, here’s the list I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Get married to a beautiful, intelligent woman
  2. Start a family
  3. Graduate from my undergraduate
  4. Complete a triathlon
  5. Debt-free
  6. Attain ideal weight
  7. Graduate from seminary
  8. Complete an Ironman by the time I’m 40

I have accomplished 1-5. Should get #6 out of the way the end of the year (If my son says it’s okay), and 7 & 8 will take a few more years. I’ve actually done #4 many times now at the Sprint distance, so that goal is well smashed.

So, what exactly am I feeling down about? This was a good perspective shift for me. It is also a good reminder of why we all need awesome friends who can reflect reality back to us.


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From where everything comes…

10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear”

Deuteronomy 6:10-13

Next Sunday’s Gospel reading is Matthew 6:1-11, where Jesus is tempted in the wilderness. Part of the above verse is part of Jesus reply to a temptation. It really struck me. God is saying in no uncertain terms that the Israelites have done nothing to deserve what they are being given. They didn’t fill the cisterns, they didn’t build the cities, but it is being given to them. It is a statement of the immense grace given to us by God through the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


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The Prayer of God

 

Keep calm we are on a mission from god

Does God pray? I believe He does. If prayer is defined as a conversation with God, then His response back to us must be part of prayer. In fact, I would argue that when God said “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3) God was uttering His first prayer. Of course, in this sense prayer refers to God revealing His intentions, not his dependency on another deity or His creation.

Simply put, God’s mission manifests itself in the world through and as prayer.

God’s missions is His prayer. His mission is founded in His very nature. “God is Love” says St. John (1 John 4:8b) and thus His mission is rooted in love (1 Cor 13) which is fundamentally patient. As 2 Peter 3:9 tells us: “9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

It’s a good thing things are built this way, we all need some patience when it comes to restoration. And if God is partnering with us, He needs A LOT of patience. Since our salvation and restoration are dependent on coming to a certain knowledge of the truth, patience is essential. 1 Tim 2:4 tell us that “[God] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

God creates a vehicle to spread this truth, known as the church. The mission of the church is outline in the Gospel of Matthew, a passage well known as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”.

God’s mission starts and ends with prayer. It beings as prayer and transforms into action:

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25)

So important is it that prayer turns into acton, that James writes that faith without works is dead.

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:14-26)

It begins and ends with a community of people composed of individuals, indeed, even our Lord Jesus Christ, had to withdraw from time to time to commune with the Father.

The missions starts as one of creation and then quickly becomes one of restoration. The scriptures are saturated with prayer and even include an entire book of prayers, known as the Psalms.

The prayer of God started everything. The prayer of God continues everything. The prayer of God seeks the restoration of all people to him (even if ultimately, all may not be saved). We are to be a “house of prayer” It is the churches job to join with God’s prayer and to work to spread His love and work for restoration and reconciliation of all.

 

This article is part of a MennoNerds Synchro-Blog on Missional Spirituality for the month of February.
MennoNerds is exploring through this event Spirituality through an Anabaptist lens and what it means concerning participation in the mission of God.


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A Paradigm for Success

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I work well with models; diagrams that help me focus my attention and help me set out my priorities around certain goals. In relation to my desire to be the best version of myself I can be – or, that God would want me to be, I have briefly sketched out the paradigm above.

Briefly:

Movement – Move every day. Use the body God gave me in ways that honour him and maximum all that it can do.

Nutrition – Eat primarily for fuel to help me achieve movement and mental strength

Mental Strength – The ability to be resilient, firm in decision making, and confident

To achieve all those surrounded by a loving and supportive community of family and friends; and

Keeping Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross at the centre as both the driver, motivator, strengthener, and of course, redeemer.


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Increase your saltiness: A Homily

This homily was delivered at the chapel service St. John Rehabilitation Hospital on Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

In the passage before the one we heard today, Jesus was teaching his disciples the beatitudes: Blessed are the poor, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. He tells us to Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…

Those who do the blessings are his people, his church. If we stop being salty, that is, if we stop being and acting like His people who spread and teach the Gospel of Love, then we are like salt mixed with other impure substances. We will, as the Gospel of Luke tells us, become “of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away”.

A world class chef works hard to put just the right mix of spices on his food, so it tastes exactly right. Then when the food comes out to the guest, someone who doesn’t know better, may immediately pick up the salt or pepper and throw it on the food, completely destroying what the Chef intended the food to taste like.

God wants his people to taste a certain way. He keeps it simple to understand, but in a way that will take a lifetime to comprehend: which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” . . . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

As Jesus says he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The law properly understood is Love. Love the Lord your God with everything you are, and love your neighbour as you would love yourself. The more you love, the more salty you become. The more you study the words of God, the more time you spend with him in prayer, the more you come to know him and the more you will radiate his light to a dark and hurting world.

Jesus is the light of the world and just as one flame lit all these candles behind me, the flame of the holy sprit lives in each of us and reflects the love of Christ to the world around us. Do not hide this love from anyone, not a single person. It is easy to love someone who loves you, or at least doesn’t annoy you. To love one who appears undeserving of your love is an act that is only possible through divine intervention. Allow the love of Christ to flow through you to each other. While you are here in this place, recovering, I encourage you to do things that will increase your saltiness. Comfort each other, pray with and for each other, and study God’s words if you can get a Bible. Jesus says we ARE the salt and we ARE light. We are to be salt and light where we are right now today, not just some day one day.

You are all here for different reasons, but you can all show the love of Christ while you’re here. Show each other what it means to love and to be loved by Jesus.

Amen.