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Connecting Your Life to God in a Crazy, Busy, High-Speed World

Haven’t  you ever felt like spirituality is mostly trick with very little treat? Does it ever seem like spiritual formation is for some special breed of super-Christians someplace and you’re not one of them.

I know I have and often still do.

To put a re-fill the churches spiritual formation deficit, I’m putting together a small effort called “Wi-Fi Spirituality.” The goal of Wi-Fi Spirituality is helping people connect to God in a high-speed and fast-paced world. But “Wi-Fi Spirituality” will only be for subscribers to the page; individuals and families interested in engaging spiritual practices through means that makes sense in the 21st Century.

If you’re interested, I urge you to visit the Wi-Fi Spirituality home page and sign-up for the Insider’s List. The “Insider’s List” is the only avenue to connect with this life-transforming content.

Here’s a brief excerpt from an upcoming release on beginning a walk with God: “Confessions of A Spiritual Novice“:

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For starters, few of us have any idea what spirituality, spiritual formation, or spiritual disciplines are. Sure there are books and articles and hosts of other resources that can be bought and examined for our benefit.  And we can always turn to those folks around us that seem to have some kind of mystical lasso and appear to have roped spirituality and somehow tied it down for help.  You know those people. They pray—or at least talk about their prayer life—all the time.  Or they study—or at least talk about studying—their Bible all the time, and on and on the lists and stories go. Some even spend hours upon hours in silence.  Silence!  Did you hear that? Silence!

You Must Be Kidding!

Are there really people like that? People that actually look and sound believable when they talk of “praying without ceasing” or “praying for their enemies?  Don’t those folks have deadlines to meet or have to cart their kids to some activity or have people in their lives that so annoy and bother them that they don’t want to be praying and thinking of that person at the same time?

And what about fasting?  Are their actually people who gain some spiritual depth through prolonged not eating? You’re supposed to draw near to God, pray, and realize your dependence on the Lord when you get hungry during a fast, but aren’t most folks really thinking about when they get to eat next?  What they will eat? Who they will eat with? Are there really people who think about more during their fast than when they will break their fast?  It’s like there is a colony someplace that produces super Christians and every church is given a few, maybe just one or two. They’re kind of like the Texas Rangers that way.  One riot, one ranger.” 

Let’s Get Real

If we were honest, we would admit that there is something about the spiritual life that we just don’t get.  That’s why we find refuge in talking and studying about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church rather than engaging our hearts, emotions, experiences, and dreams.  It is a lot simpler and much less messy to participate in God’s story in the theoretical sense rather than the spiritual sense.  We love “the theoretical sense.”  Plus, that confounded Holy Spirit just blows wherever it pleases.

So we buy the latest book, share the newest ideas, ruminate on the most thoughtful literature and then go on with only our minds engaged—and even then not fully.  Because at root we know that there’s no such thing as the separations we’ve created between heart and head and spirit and soul.  None of us ever makes decisions just one portion of ourselves.  Our souls are one whole: We think what we feel; we feel what we think.  These separations between heart and head leave us partly engaged and the parts of the spiritual life—those parts we naively thought were just heart or souls or spirit parts—the parts that we didn’t get before we read what we read or studied what we studied are still drifting out there unacknowledged, unengaged.

We knew all along that we couldn’t just think our way to being more like Jesus, but that seemed like the safe, more predictable way to live. 

 

The Life Abundant: Fitness As A Spiritual Discipline #3 “Workout, Work In.”

Today’s article is a guest post from my new friend, Kim Cook. Kim  is a wife, who became a mother by the grace of God to 3 incredible step-children who in turn have blessed her beyond her wildest dreams with 5 grandchildren.  Kim live in Denton , TX. attended Texas Women’s University. She works at Singing Oaks Church of Christ as the Office Coordinator and serves as one of the church’s Wellness Ministry Leaders. She is a certified Revelation Wellness instructor.

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I am not a fitness professional. Some might tell you I’m a fitness fanatic. But that would not be true. I’m a Jesus fanatic. I’m a woman who loves the people Jesus loves, which includes all people. I believe we are all created to glorify God and to be in relationship with God.  I have had a lifetime of body image issues. I have been overweight, and I have been underweight.  I have even been just the right weight, but I was never happy at any of those places in my life, because Jesus was never allowed into my personal body issues. I never thought to ask Him to help me, or to be a part of that part of my life. I never thought He cared about my body and about what I was putting into my body. Let’s be real. Jesus has much more serious issues to deal with than my personal eating and exercise habits. This has changed for me.  I have learned that Jesus does care, and it matters deeply to him for us to live a holy life. Author and missionary, Elisabeth Elliot, writes, “You can’t give God your heart, and keep your body for yourself.” This quote changed how I read the Bible.

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The Life Abundant: Fitness As A Spiritual Discipline #2 (5 Critical Shifts)

Physical fitness says something about our relationship with God.

Yesterday we began a conversation of fitness as a spiritual discipline. The first earthly gift God gives us is our bodies. Before we know what our interests and talents are, we are physical beings. In fact, when we draw our first breath, before we have contributed anything to the world,  our bodies are protected by law. Human beings have always known the body was special.

One of the first Christians heresies was Gnosticism. In part, Gnostics believed matter was evil and the Spirit was good. Therefore, Gnostics argued they could do anything with their bodies. The writers of the New Testament disagreed. Our bodies do matter.

Because they matter, Christians need to deal forthrightly with issues of food and fitness.

And we can do so by embracing 5 Critical Shifts:

 

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The Life Abundant: Fitness As A Spiritual Discipline (Part 1)

We are obese and it’s getting worse. Americans are more than 50% more likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes, almost twice as likely to have heart disease, and 2½ times more likely to have arthritis than people in other developed countries. The reason is our obesity rate. If the US could improve its population’s health to have the same levels of chronic illness as Europeans do, Americans would save between $1,200 and $1,750 per year each on medical bills.

America is suffering from an obesity epidemic, but I’m not simply talking about Americans, I’m talking about Christians. Before you get offended, give me a moment to explain.

Earlier this week, in a private, pastors-only Facebook group, someone asked, “How many of you preachers are over weight. Fat. Obese. Or as the Bible calls Gluttons.”

The question stung! And you could tell.

The firestorm was immediate. Some members found the post humorous, as the member who posted it suggested it was intended, and others were offended. The conversation raged! Instantly there was talk of lactose intolerance, thyroid issues, the fact that some members exercised everyday and ate healthily yet never lost weight, and some members shared hurt feelings because they’d struggled with their weight their entire lives but felt like they were losing their battle. What was immediately clear is that obesity is both a terribly important and an intensely sensitive subject.

Obesity also happens to be a subject the church is not talking about…and it’s killing us.

Last year a good friend of mine went to a denominational gathering I’ve never attended. I asked about his perceptions of the event, in particular, the attendees. He said, “If I were on the outside looking in at our denomination, I’d say we were old, white, and fat.” Just to be clear, he was not saying this as a compliment. In addition, this past week, as I attended another large denominational gathering I was astonished that so many of my fellow ministers – of all ages and theological stripes – are obese. Brothers and sisters, we have a problem. We are unhealthy and it’s time we dealt with it.

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How To Get Beyond “Sin Management”

About 50 times a day I crash into the reality that I’m not everything God intended when he created me. Part of the wreckage was caused because I was born into a fallen and sinful world. The rest of the damage has been caused because I am a fallen and sinful person.

I don’t like admitting I’m a sinful person, but my disquiet with the phrase doesn’t rob the idea of its truth.

I’m a mix, as I suppose you are. I am sinful, but I don’t want to be. I want to be all that God intended. I want more than “saved” – even though being saved is glorious. I’m not worried about whether God loves me or about my place in God’s everlasting Kingdom. I’m worried about whether or not I’m becoming the kind of person God can trust with His everlasting kingdom.

Here’s what I mean:

Sin Management

 

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