Posts Tagged "spiritual"

Spiritual Muscle – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Feb 10, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Spiritual Muscle – Cassi Piper

Tabata. Tabata? When I first heard the word I must admit I had visions of spicy rice dishes and war crying men with spears run through my mind. Taba-what? Curious, I did some research and discovered Tabata is the latest and greatest in the world of exercise, a method of exerting oneself to the limit in short bursts of energy followed by minimal rest, all meant to increase your heart rate and your strength.

I was first introduced to the word this past year when my sister-in-law became a certified Tabata instructor. MacKensie, one of the most tenacious and motivated women I know, takes her exercise seriously. Having trained and competed in various fitness competitions and a regular at the gym, she packs some serious power into her petite frame. So when some family members encouraged me to join her class I was a bit concerned. Ok, I was terrified. Hadn’t I seen Kensie pushing a tractor tire on Facebook?

I knew that it would be good for me. Active and physically fit for most of my life, the past seven years of child bearing and raising had unfortunately resulted in a sedentary lifestyle that had not been kind to my body. I lacked the energy and strength I once had. I knew the benefits of being active. But after being sedentary for so long taking an intense exercise class seemed a bit overwhelming. Maybe I should ease my way in, slowly, like entering a pool of cold water…

Nope. Time to take the plunge. So, in November I signed up for her class. I bought a water bottle and dusted off my running shoes. I dug through my closet and found a tee shirt without a hole in it. Ah yes, I even wore yoga pants. I was ready, so I thought. I could not have imagined what awaited me when I first stepped foot in the elementary school gym my sister-in-law had rented for her purposes. There, spread out in stations, were the means of exercise torture: arm bands, medicine balls, thick nautical rope, chin up bars, kettle weights, an agility ladder. I was immediately transported back to my years as a collegiate athlete when my coaches pounded us with whistles and drills three times a day.

I gulped. What had I agreed to? But after a six minute warm up that left me breathless I soon found my stride. Joined by men and women of various ages and abilities, I was encouraged and stretched to try new things and push my physical and mental limits. My body did things I didn’t know it could do and by the end I had to admit I was having a blast trying to conquer each station. But most importantly, I found myself getting excited about being fit again.

Not unlike my journey to good physical health, there have been times in my life where I have found myself at a spiritual standstill, living a sedentary existence, not having the energy to dig deeper into my faith. Times when I knew a bigger commitment was necessary to grow in my understanding of God and who He wanted me to be. Times when I was hesitant to take a leap of faith and really allow God to search and grow me, terrified of what He may find if I truly let Him in. Yet every time I have acted on His prompting, whether it was a renewed commitment to get into His word, join a group Bible study, attend a faith conference, increase my giving, welcome accountability or invest in a new relationship, the result has always been a revival of my love, respect and adoration for my Lord. My spiritual muscle was also  strengthened, better able to meet life’s storms and uncertainties with peace, joy and discernment.

As we begin this new year with the usual plans and schedules, it is my challenge to us to seek where God would have us grow in our walk with Him. Is there something new He has been prompting you to do so your faith can grow? If so I encourage you to take the plunge. Tabata!

Read More

I Lack Nothing – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I Lack Nothing – Pastor Matt

This past week I was privileged to lead a group of teenagers on a mission trip to Vermont.  One of our goals for this trip was for our students to be challenged in new ways.  The importance of being challenged is simple: in our weaknesses the power of God is revealed.  In other words, if we are never taken outside our zones of comfort, we can never experience the life changing effect of God’s power.

For our group this played out a number of different ways.  While many of us were looking forward to a summer of couch potatoing, we built mountain-biking trails in the Green Mountains.  While most of us limit our relationships to friends and family, we were pushed to have meaningful conversations with the elderly (many of whom suffered from sever dementia).   While most of us like the comfort of mom and dad within earshot, we left home to love a place that we had never known.  Within all these challenges, we found God pushing us deeper.

What is really fun is when you are in my position and get to see our students get it.  I was able to see hearts softened, love given and spiritual growth.

But don’t think this trip was just for the students, it was also for me.  Through out our time in Rutland, God impressed upon me once again how much I depend upon other things rather than God.  To put it bluntly, I depend on security.  I want the future of my family to be as secure as the rising sun.  The problem is of course, there is no such thing as security apart from my relationship with God.

Psalms 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”

When was the last time you felt as though you lacked something?  Five minutes ago? Yesterday?  All the time?  This is the problem with the human heart.  We sense we are missing something and yet we have accesses to the only thing that really matters…God.

I dare you to thoughtfully consider what it is that you “need” to live a contented life.  Seriously, what things or people or activities do you “need”?  Write those things down and reread Psalm 23.

Friends, what can we possibly lack?

Read More

Seeing is not Faith – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Seeing is not Faith – Pastor Matt

Let’s pretend that every year our church did a spiritual audit of every member.  Our pastors would call you into their office, sit you down and determine your spiritual health.  They would tell you if you are doing a good job in your relationship with Christ or they would tell you your spirituality needs a lot of work.  Of course they would base their statements on things like attendance, tithing, general friendliness and willingness to volunteer.

What would be the problem with doing that?  Well, no one can be a perfect judge of spirituality based only on things that they see.  How many times have we heard stories of Christians who were seemingly strong in their faith only to find out later that they had a hidden sin or issue that did serious damage to themselves or others?  Or what about those quiet individuals who don’t get any public recognition but are the spiritual pillars of the church?

We certainly wouldn’t want our spirituality to be measured by people who cannot see the full work God is doing in our own hearts.  So how can we measure the spirituality of others?

I had a friend recently say, “It doesn’t take any faith to say what you see in people.”  In other words, what we see in people is so often different from what God sees.  What we might see as an immature Christian, God sees as a chosen son or daughter filled with the Holy Spirit who is hungry to grow in their faith.  So when it comes to seeing our fellow Christians, we need to have faith to see them the way God sees them.  We need to have faith to love them the way God loves them.

Paul’s hope for us in Ephesians 3:18 is, “… [that we] may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

It doesn’t take any faith to say what you see.  It does take faith to believe what God sees.  And God sees a church filled with individuals of immeasurable worth and infinite potential.

Read More