“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
The picture is a group of guys in Tel Aviv Israel that I trained with during my trip to Israel. In fact, I'm still in Israel, I leave to come home tomorrow. I came to Israel with my friend Eric (front left), he is one of my Jiu Jitsu friends. He is not just a friend, he is one of my main training partners. We push each other to become better practitioners of Jiu Jitsu, that is why we found time while in Israel to train. I have a plan for my training and a discipline that goes along with it. I don't train flippantly and I don't just do Jiu Jitsu when I feel like it or when it is convenient. I bet there are things in your life where you have developed a discipline and commitment like this. If there isn't, there should be.
There is something far more important than Jiu Jitsu, in fact there are several things, but one of them is my spiritual life. My guess is that you would probably place the same value on your spiritual life that I do on mine. But if that is true, then I should have a plan and a disciplined approach to my spiritual life that is at least equal to the level of planning and discipline i put into Jiu Jitsu. Do you have a plan for your spiritual life, or do you just hope it will happen?
Yesterday (when I started writing this) was Sunday. Normally on Sunday I am in the pulpit preaching a sermon I have been working on for at least a week. There is significant spiritual benefit in preparing and delivering a sermon. I spend time every week digging into God's word exegeting Scripture and examining how it should be applied to my life and the lives of the people who will be hearing the message. Obviously this is part of my job, but it also pays significant spiritual benefits. So, what happens when I'm not preaching and I'm not even at church like I was yesterday? Do I get to "take a break" or a "vacation" from doing what is important and necessary for my continued spiritual growth and development?
Most of the time, even when I am on vacation I will attend church, even if it is in a place I don't know anyone. Yesterday was not a day where I could do that given the nature of this trip. BUT, I didn't take the day off from my spiritual life. In addition to visiting the "Mount of Temptation" in Jericho where Jesus was tempted by Satan and meditating for a few minutes on what that temptation must have been like for Jesus, I listened to two sermons by Chuck Swindoll (one of my favorite preachers of all time). Church is an important part of my spiritual life even when I am not preaching...perhaps more so when I am not preaching. Nevertheless, it is not the only spiritual practice and discipline I have.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.