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Mark’s Musings – Spiritual Disciplines

by | Jan 30, 2018 | Featured-News, South District Newsletter, South District Webpage

praying hands with bible

For four and a half years we only received one television channel and I was OK with it. We mostly watched shows on Amazon Prime, but it was nice being able to occasionally watch what was happening on live TV using our antenna. It was a disappointment after moving into our new house to find out that we couldn’t pick up any channels using our TV antenna. This confused me, because I expected more channels being so close to Tucson. Why don’t they broadcast more channels?

I was reluctantly thinking about paying for a cable package when my wife discovered that the issue was with our reception, and not with the broadcasting. The back of our house, where we have our den, has a double porch that appears to have been affecting our reception. She tried our indoor antenna on a small TV in her hobby room, and it picked up multiple channels. Everything changed once we knew that it was possible to pick up more channels!

My wife was the one to tackle this project. She did the research, purchasing, and installation of an outdoor antenna.  I was surprised that it looks nothing like what we had when I was growing up! I wasn’t home when she put it up. The first report I received said that we were now picking up three clear channels. My wife was not satisfied with this, but I counted it as a win! She then found that she had done a cable search and not an antennae search. All of a sudden, we are now receiving thirty-one channels! After a post on Facebook, I already saw one inquiry asking where she bought the antenna. The timing is good. I understand that there is a big football game on Sunday. Anyone know who is playing?

It is common for me to hear people say that God is not speaking to them. That they are praying, but God is just not saying anything. I’m often aware that the issue is one of reception verses broadcasting. In my experience, God is very persistent, sharing the message that we need to receive in many different ways. I believe that practicing spiritual disciplines makes us much more sensitive to hearing what God is saying to us. Do we practice spiritual disciplines in our lives? If not, how come? If we do, are we sharing with others the difference spiritual disciplines are making in our lives?

The first part is for us to help share with others how life can be experienced differently as a practicing Christian. I can honestly say that I love being a Christian! Part of my experience is having a deep, life-giving peace in my life. By nature, I’m a worrier. Christianity has taught me how to not worry (this is something that I have not perfected, but I’m not going to worry about it!). This alone is enough to get the interest of some people. There are many other aspects of Christianity that have impacted my life. I’m always concerned when I hear Christians say, “My faith is private, it’s just between God and me”. If we don’t share our experiences, how will people know what is possible?

I don’t think that a strong Christian faith just happens. We need to practice our faith. This is where spiritual disciplines help. Just today I had someone ask if I have ever fasted. They are interested in fasting once a week, and had questions. We need to be ready to help teach others how to practice spiritual disciplines. It seems obvious that the church would be the place where spiritual disciplines are taught, yet I don’t see this happening very often. Even a spiritual discipline as basic to our faith as prayer seems to not be taught on a regular basis.

It is not our goal to have as many Sunday Christians as possible. Instead we are looking to help create disciples of Jesus Christ. This is where real transformation happens, both personally and in the world. If we find ourselves lamenting about the lack of commitment in our church membership, we need to take an honest look at how our church is intentionally discipling people. The answer needs to go deeper than our Sunday worship services.

Your brother on the spiritual journey, Mark

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Author: Mark Conrad

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