Tag Archives: spiritual

Beginning or End – Amazing Insight Today

The journey with Christ, on day one, rises forward from the point where all other religions, philosophies, affections and pursuits aspire to attain at their final peak.

I was blown away by this idea while listening to a podcast this morning featuring Pastor Bobby Pruitt from Hill Country Bible Church Hutto.  The religions of the world provide men with a complicated map to Nirvana that only the most faithful and moral can even hope to attain, in some cases, even after many life times.  Philosophies fare even worst at their final destination as they rarely recognize God or the need for transcendence. All earthly affections struggle to achieve unity and unconditional, sacrificial love and none ever attains it. And all the ladders of success rising above the mountains like our own personal towers of Babel confound and haunt us with their beautiful view of all we can survey as far as our eyes can see – for we are left to wonder, “Is this all there is?”

None of these in their highest imagined zenith, much less the real ledge far below that might realistically be attained in the short morning walk that measures the brief life of a man, comes close to attaining what Christ brings to those who love him on day one of their life together.  And that is only the commencement – the beginning.  The Bible say Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.   It says the lamb was slain before the foundation of the earth and it says that only he will be able to open the scrolls that will complete history on this earth.  So all the starts begin after his provision for us and after his creation of us.  And all ends do not touch his.  All of mans effort to find perfection fall short – but Christ is not asking us to obtain this elusive and impossible perfection, he gives us his perfection by joining his life to our own – as a wedding gift.  We only have to say, I do.

Becoming Well Read – Update

Currently reading Middlemarch by George Eliot – but I’m on chapter nine of 86 so it will be awhile before I blog about this book.  In the meantime, I have completed, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni  and will blog about it this weekend.

Other exploration this weekend – I will be attending a workshop titled Listening – The 4th “R” – Uncovering the Forgotten Business Tool.  This is being conducted by Mike O’Krent who I’ve known with for some time and by Jacqueline Rixen.  I’m excited to be able to attend.

Mike O’Krent, founder of LifeStories Alive, LLC, makes personal history videos for families that value their heritage. Mike interviewed Holocaust survivors for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. During that incredible experience, he learned valuable listening skills and discovered the importance of recording the life stories of our loved ones. http://www.lifestoriesalive.com/about.html

Jacqueline Rixen  is an Austin attorney who uses listening every day to help her clients accomplish their legal goals.  She has over 20 years experience as a lawyer and many more years as a listener. http://www.rixenlaw.com

Labyrinth Meditation

Labyrinth-entry I can be somewhat type-a in areas of my passion. This includes the practice of my faith.  I tend to play the role or Martha rather than Mary – sometimes even having a bit of disdain, just as Martha did, at Mary’s seemingly lackadaisical attitude toward service.

The deep surgery Christ performs on Martha during her ailment is not lost on me.  For quite some time, our Lord has been prying my hand from my prideful plow and and healing me to the place where, as Mullins puts it, “I’m lost enough to let myself be lead”  For a variety of reasons, the Lord lead me to take somewhat of a sabbatical from church activity.  As I did this, I realized how easy it is for me to be over zealous about Christian activity.

Putting me in the middle of a ministry driven church is like putting a cat in the middle of a floor surrounded by tuna fish and telling it to stay. There is an element of my zeal that is pure, but to be perfectly honest, my insatiable drive toward ministry is often more fueled by my need to feel good about myself.  I am capable of saying no and sitting down but I don’t want to very often.  So, consequently, I anxiously fill up my time with many good Christian duties but neglect the one thing needed that is so much better. Luke 10:41-42

But our Lord is teaching me.  A variety of experiences over the last few months have taught me more about prayer, meditation, solitude, silence, journaling and other disciplines. I’m a horrible student but He is a great and patient teacher.  Recently, he persuaded me to take up listening to many books, podcasts and other audio material.  It was a way to push me out of the nest of what I know and into the wild blue expanse that I do not know, to add new wonder to my life, and to prove to me how very limited all my knowledge really is anyway.  It’s kind of ridiculous that he has to go to such extremes to show me what is so obvious. 

In listening to the audiobook, “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel H. Pink – see my blog about it – I learned about labyrinths. Contrary to the 1986 film by this name or even the Greek mythology that made them famous, it is a general misconception that labyrinths are the same constructs as mazes.  A maze is a puzzle to be solved with many paths that are dead ends, keeping you lost.  A labyrinth, on the other hand, has a singular, connected journey to the center and back.  They are not puzzles to be solved but an intentionally elongated journey designed to slow your pace into a state of meditation. Mazes are analytical and left-brained where labyrinths are contextual, spiritual and right-brained.  A labyrinth is a walking meditation, a devotional act of worship, and a sacred celebration of life. It’s power is in its simplicity – it presents an orderly path to quiet the mind enabling deeper communion with God as the body moves in a peaceful walking rhythm. With each step, we are able to diminish the cares of the world and tune into the illumined voice of God. Walking the labyrinth is not something to learn or memorize, but something to experience.

LabyrinthLearning all of this, God immediately and strongly impressed upon my heart to visit a labyrinth, so I set my heart upon doing it the very next day.

First I visited the World-wide Labyrinth Locator at http://labyrinthlocator.com/.  There are different layouts, sizes, construction types of labyrinths. After learning about them and reviewing the one in Georgetown and 13 in Austin, I decided I wanted to visit one based on the medieval design then settled on a beautiful labyrinth at Seton Northwest excited by the feature of trees actually growing in the path of the labyrinth. I wasn’t sure what to expect – should I go for silence or bring some meditative music.  I decided to bring it just in case and to decide there whether or not to use it.  I loaded the best candidates in a special playlist onto my iPhone and then headed for the labyrinth with the feeling in my heart of embarking on an epic saga.

As I walked the labyrinth, I found myself in a deeply stirring encounter with God. I will share the experience in my next blog entry.  In the mean time, I thoroughly recommend walking a labyrinth as a form of prayer and mediation.  I hope you will experience it soon.