Archive for the ‘Spiritual Disciplines’ Category

thirty by thirty

Friday, December 14th, 2007

In exactly three months from today, a big event is happening in my life. I’m leaving my 20’s behind, and turning the big 3-0! Inspired by a good friend who committed to a similar goal, I’m going to try to lose 30 pounds in preparation for that big day. Don’t worry. I definitely have 30 to lose, and this is the best time to do it.

A few years ago, I lost a little over 20, but I was younger then. I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be this time. One thing I do know is that over the next three months, my diet will not include what I had for dinner tonight.

Fettucini

That’s my homemade Chicken Fettucini which I adore. Unfortunately, pasta is my downfall. I’m miss you, my carbohydrate goodness.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress, but if you see me around, don’t feed me.

A howling wind

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Just got back from a quick camping trip with my two of my best friends who also happen to be pastors. We try to get away together on a somewhat regular basis to relax and bond. It was a great trip even though we got caught in a pretty big storm last night. We expected it to be somewhat windy. We didn’t expect howling winds and a pretty good downpour of rain, but we survived and had a really great trip.

The winds hit us about 3:00 a.m. and it was really some of the strangest winds I’ve ever experienced. You could hear them starting off in the distance and as they came closer the howling got louder and louder and louder until your tent shook violently for a moment. As quickly as they came, they were soon gone which left you wondering when the next big one would hit.

Laying there in bed listening to the storm, I wondered about how much my life feels like those winds sometimes. I can tell when busyness and stress is coming. I can hear the winds starting to howl and pick up steam and when they hit, it’s shocking and sometimes it hurts… But then the winds die down again and I wait for the next big one to hit. It’s a continuous process that over time can leave me feeling pretty beaten up.

But the winds also made me think about God… about how powerful God is, and how scary God is sometimes too. I think the winds made me think about God because even though they shook my tent pretty hard, it was still exciting to experience their power. There was a short thrill from knowing that the wind had just found me.

I don’t think I spend enough time thinking about how powerful God is. I like to think about the compassion of God, the grace of God, the love of God… but I don’t take the time to consider the awesome and raw power behind God’s character. I like to think about God’s heart being moved… but I tend to forget that God has the power to move things as well. I think that’s a chink in my theological armor. I don’t know.

But I do know this.

I’ll drive myself crazy trying to muster up enough power to survive to the point that I am left begging for God’s power to show up. Maybe that’s backwards.

Maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time running from the wind. Maybe I should spend more time running towards it.

A great Easter celebration!

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

The marathon has ended. Life is back to normal, and steak… steak is still really good.

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David’s steak (notice the bloody greatness!)

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Johnny’s steak

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Kyle can’t stop gnawing away…

Life is beautiful.

Meatless Marathon

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

steakLent is drawing to a close and with it, the meatless marathon. I know this sounds bad, but I have never wanted Easter to get here so badly before. Sunday afternoon, Johnny, Kyle and I will be having a meat festival for lunch. We’ll each be bringing our favorite piece of dead animal, firing up the grill, and cooking up a great feast. We have no idea how our stomachs are going to respond to meat for the first time in almost two months, but with no Sunday night activities, we’re prepared for the diarrhea potential.

It’s going to be great.

Halfway home…

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Today is Day 23 of the Meatless Marathon. There are 23 days left in Lent after today. After counting that up today, I felt affirmed that Kyle, Johnny, and I have made it halfway through the season without having any meat (except for some stray bacon bits in a salad one day!). Johnny and I had a bit of an inconvenience today when the cook decided to upgrade our Fettucini Alfredo to an order with chicken. We had decided to return to the office to watch the opening round of the NCAA tourney on the big screen TV, so Johnny and I were a bit surprised to see a lot of chicken in our food.

It looked good, but luckily the Nix boys helped us out and devoured our chicken for us.

Thanks Josh and Jason.

23 more days to go.

Remain calm

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Today, the 3rd today of the meatless marathon, I almost panicked. I left my wonderfully crafted PB&J sandwich at home. Stuck in Fort Worth at lunch, needing to find something fast, I had no idea what I was going to eat. Luckily, I remembered the greatness of Central Market, grabbed a salad, and even squeezed in some organic foods shopping.

Crisis averted. Marathon intact.

Let the meatless marathon begin

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Cows

Attention all beef!

I am giving you a 40 day head start.

Run while you can.

Beginning today, Johnny, Kyle, and I begin our 40 day meatless marathon throughout the season of Lent. I don’t think any of us have any idea what we are getting ourselves into, but we’re all looking forward to walking through this together. If you have any “vegetarian” meal suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

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Fat Tuesday is stupid

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent. As I shared last week, I am going to be a vegetarian during the season of Lent, so I decided, after a conversation this morning about Fat Tuesday, to go by Freebirds for lunch, and have a steak burrito. Since it was Fat Tuesday and I knew I wouldn’t be having any meat for a while, I decided to get the “monster” size.

That was not a good idea.

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Lent this year…

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

I used to think giving up something for Lent was dumb. I remember when I was in 5th or 6th grade, I gave up nachos which at that time in my life was a pretty big deal. After playing basketball in the backyard each afternoon, I use to come inside and make me a plate of nachos. Denying myself that daily practice was hard, though I don’t think I quite understood at that time why I was doing it.

During college, most of my friends gave up something for lent… but again, it seemed like the purpose was more about weight loss than a meditation on the sacrifice of Jesus. Chocolate, Freebirds, and Pizza were the most frequent things that were sacrificed for the Lenten season.

But I guess I’ve come around on this practice. Last year I decided to not only deny myself of something, but also to add something to my life. Continuing that tradition, this year our Mosaic community will be using the Phyllis Tickle book, Eastertide, to join together in praying the Daily Office throughout the Lenten season. Off and on throughout the last year, I have participated in praying the Daily Office and I look forward to sharing this practice with my community and my family.

Praying the daily office won’t be hard, but what I have decided to give up will be a little more challenging. Johnny, Kyle, and I have decided that we are going to try to be Vegetarians for Lent. All three of us are huge fans of meat, so we will probably be pretty grumpy for about 40 days… but at least we will be grumpy together.

So, what about you? Giving anything up for Lent?

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The danger of speed…

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Pardon me for a bit of transparency.

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept my prayers; and because in my weakness I can do nothing good without you, give me the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandment I may please you in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The above prayer is “The prayer appointed for the week” for this week from the Divine Hours prayer book. If you’ve never tried praying the Daily Office, I would highly recommend this resource. This morning the phrase, “I can do nothing good without you” gave me pause as I considered how fast my life sometimes gets… and how much I tend to depend and trust in my own strength and ability to respond to that speed. When life moves fast, you have to work a little harder to remember all the things that are on your plate, what priority each “to do” should have, who else you need to communicate with to accomplish your priorities, and you don’t have a lot of room for error in any of those categories. And for me, this short phrase pinpoints for me one of the real dangers of the fast life.

Living a fast paced life builds your self esteem. It makes you feel important because lots of people are depending on you. And it makes you feel a sense of pride to be accomplishing so many things… and therein lies the danger… You’re tempted to believe that your accomplishments belong to you alone, and you begin to trust more and more on your own talents and abilities to continue to get things done. When you live a fast paced life and you do have some success at juggling a lot of things, you also get rewarded. Coming through in the clutch for people makes them grateful to you (Again, boosting the self-esteem) and in a performance based culture your value skyrockets as you continue to produce.

Which is why silence, sabbath, and space are so important for us. Sabbath reminds us that our lives are about more than production and consumption. For the Israelites who had lived enslaved in Egypt, Sabbath was a reminder that their lives were about more than making bricks… and so often I need to be reminded that my life isn’t about writing and delivering sermons, planning programs, and trying to care for people’s needs.

And most importantly, I need to be reminded that I can’t do any of this by myself. The speed of my life sometimes tells me that I can.

I have to stop believing that lie.