Category Archives: Spiritual disciplines

Dealing with Fear Requires Discipline

“Fear is the greatest obstacle to learning. But fear is your best friend. Fear is like fire. If you learn to control it, you let it work for you. If you don’t learn to control it, it’ll destroy you and everything around you. You think you know the difference between a hero and a coward, Mike? Well, there is no difference between a hero and a coward in what they feel. It’s what they do that makes them different. The hero and the coward feel exactly the same, but you have to have the discipline to do what a hero does and to keep yourself from doing what the coward does.” – Cus D’Amato training Mike Tyson at 14 years old.

There have been a handful to events in my life that resulted in spine tingling fear. A few of them include:

  • Running from a pack of wild dogs through the woods at dusk, trying to make it to safety
  • Nearly being carjacked by a gang of ruthless criminals who had just shot and robbed a guy earlier in the day
  • Having M16’s pointed at me in Honduras as some soldiers wanted a bribe
  • Being in a convenience store when some guys who had just gotten out of prison came back to kill the clerk for getting them arrested for robbing her years earlier.

You never know what life is going to through at you. Life is going to have its spine tingling, genuinely scary moments. They are few and far between and so we don’t really expect they are going to happen to us. Or we expect that the police will be there in under a minute and guarantee a favorable outcome (which hasn’t happened to me to date even when I needed it to – no slam on the police here, just the reality that they can’t be everywhere at the drop of a hat. Only time that happens is on TV where the reality is suspended to create suspense, like in 24 where they can get across LA in less than 5 minutes).

It is important that we take responsibility for our own preparation, not just about physical safety but also about our spiritual well being. Acting and reacting in ways that are likely to get you out of some serious spiritual messes really do boil down to discipline. From a spiritual perspective, it is our spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, studying scripture, etc) that prepare us for the most difficult and scary moments in life. You can’t prepare for those things by cramming an hour before the final. It is day in and day out preparation for the things that aren’t even happening in that moment. That is why it is called discipline, because you have to do it when it isn’t urgent in order to use it when it is urgent. Relying on the preacher to get you ready for those moments through a 25 minute weekly sermon is like thinking watching a few youtube videos on self defense will prepare you to protect yourself should someone try to harm you or your family. It just isn’t sufficient and no one can do it for you. So be disciplined. Be prepared. Watch yourself, your actions, your attitudes and examine them to see which ones are likely to get you in trouble and which ones are likely to keep you out of trouble. This all takes discipline and time and sacrifice but your life may depend on it.

Spiritual Muscle Confusion

When Missy and I lived in Memphis we used to do P90 in our apartment. If we ever wondered why the neighbors who lived below us seemed a little unpleasant, we had to look no further than P90. We did so much jumping and punching and kicking that I am sure it drove them crazy!Continue Reading

Making Spiritual Disciplines More Than Just Another “To Do”

Spiritual disciplines aren’t just one more thing to keep us busy. They don’t exist to occupy our mind. We don’t do them as penance. Spiritual disciplines are here for us as tools to focus on God, put him first and find our ultimate delight and fulfillment solely in God. Too often in the past, IContinue Reading

Study Guide on Spiritual Disciplines by John Dobbs Now Available

Check out the most recently uploaded study guide by John Dobbs called “A Deeper Walk.” It is 13 lessons in 60 pages and the material is excellent! This would be great for a class but I would also encourage those of you who aren’t teachers but are looking for a Bible study to do onContinue Reading

Bible Study – Just Pick a Book And Stick With It

Over the last couple of months in our 20s & 30s Bible class we spent several weeks talking about why study and how to study the Bible. Bottom line – pick a book of the Bible and start studying. We recommended the book of James as a good starting place and I started emailing aContinue Reading

Spiritual Snacks Will Never Fill You Up

I love snacks. I could snack all day. Chips, donuts, cokes, string cheese…I could probably make a list longer than all the types of shrimp Forrest and Bubba came up with. They are my weakness. What I have found over my years of snacking is that they never leave you full. Snacks are like throwingContinue Reading

What if…

What if we dropped Sunday morning Bible class for a week or even a month and asked people to pray for the full hour before coming to the worship service? I wonder if we might rely a little more on God and a little less on self. How do you think people would react?

What is the Purpose of Spiritual Disciplines?

I think there are times when the spiritual disciplines are used for all the wrong reasons. Maybe there are times we think we can leverage God to intervene in the ways we prefer if only we do the things he asks. What is intended as a relationship building activity ends up being a tool ofContinue Reading

What Does God Use to Grow Our Faith?

Our 20s/30s class has been watching Andy Stanley’s 5 Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith DVD (You can actually watch the messages at that link). He has observed over time and through talking with many people that there are 5 common factors that God predominantly uses to grow our faith. Here is his list:Continue Reading

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