Archive for November, 2017

How many of us ask the question, are you there God? Sure we do. Most of us, even those not of a religious persuasion have a general idea how to pray. Even us who are religious, who think we know how to pray usually do not believe in an actual conversation with God. Many find the Bible as God speaking to us through inspired writing and recorded history. While we most certainly take away many life lessons using the Bible as the major text for practicing the Christian religion, especially the use of the Pauline text. The Bible was still technically written for others. We must use the art and science of hermeneutics to create a relevant interpretation of the text for today. I am not undermining the powerful messages contained in Holy scripture, what I am alluding to is that it is not always easy for many to relate to. We tell people we can have a personal relationship with Christ; but do we really? What if you could have a real personalized message from God that you can channel right now?
Please before you stop reading, thinking this is some new age mumbo jumbo, please let me assure you that it is not. Remember that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). The same God who inspired the words of the Bible though ordinary men, is more than capable of inspiring you. You may still be ready to quit reading and say, well if this is the case why even have the Bible? I support the Bible. The Bible has been tested over time, the books contained within have been deemed by Godly men to be Holy cannon not to be added or replaced with our own inspirations. (Even when we believe they are from God.) What I am talking about is having a relationship with God; not writing new scripture based on our conversation with Him. Remember even when you do find yourself in actual conversation with God it may not always be clear or 100% God speaking to you. Let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV). Think of this conversation as trying to tune into a radio connection, it may be true and accurate, or hard to understand. We create bias because of the weakness of the flesh. I say all of this as a preamble so that you may understand what I am trying to communicate for your benefit.
Let us understand Jesus spoke plainly to us how to pray. “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7, NIV). So if this is the case, we must wonder what Jesus was doing when we read verses such as Matthew 14:23, “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” (NIV). In my imagination I would assume that Jesus was not rambling as he obviously was not fond of, but probably listening and conversing with his Father. We are also Christ-like, so we also can listen and converse with our Father as well.
It is of my opinion that God is always speaking to us. The book of Genesis tells us that God would walk with man in the cool of the day. It was people who put up a barrier between himself and God. Through the incarnation of Jesus this walk is reestablished. Often, when we should be listening and talking with God, we continue to wear fig leaves, hiding because we believe the lie of shame. We must establish that you have no shame, you can talk with God, and God is not looking at you in anger but in love. Now let us begin as I lay out the basic steps that I use to talk with God. I may not have the right formula for you. This is what works for me, I hope it will also work for you as well.
1. Bathing ourselves in prayer.
2. Listen in silence until you hear.
3. Start a conversation.
First, we must be people of prayer. We must bathe ourselves in prayer. The Apostle Paul tells us in the book of Thessalonians to pray without ceasing. This of course does not mean that we constantly use words in our prayer. To bathe oneself in prayer is to possess constant knowledge of the presence of God in your mist. To always be conscious of God, to understand that all people are representatives of God. That God is in everything big and small, God consumes like fire your thoughts, actions, and desires.
Second, we must remain silent before God. Often a good method is to use what those in the east call meditation. This is done by focusing on the breath. Sitting still, deeply breathing in and out, clearing the mind and simply breath. Yes, there will be thoughts that enter your mind, that is ok. It is perfectly natural for unwanted thoughts to remain. Simply continue to breath and ignore the unwanted thoughts, knowing this is natural. Sitting in silence is missing within most Christian circles. Do we really think that Jesus spoke all night long to God without listening? Of course not! Being able to sit in silent prayer is an essential step to clear away all the distractions that our minds possess which creates a barrier to the Spirit of God.
During this time of sitting in silence you may begin to start hearing. You may be thinking that you are just hearing thoughts created by your own mind; yes, they are created by your mind, but most importantly, is it God inspiring your thoughts? As you continue to pray and sit in silent meditation those thoughts which you might wonder are of yourself, or are of God become clearer. This takes faith, you certainly will try to resist; you will say “how can this be God?” To be honest I believe it is a little bit of both God and yourself. Yes, it is you, yes, it is God. Therefore, what you hear in your mind is not “Thus sayeth the Lord” of course there will be bias in the message as the Spirit is talking to you through the conduit of your mind. Remember when Abraham was given the message from God to leave his home town? Abraham had to step out in faith and just believe. So, it is with hearing from God. Granted we must use discernment and base everything that we hear against the Biblical text.
Finally having conversation with God. Some would say it is like having conversation with your higher self. God who is in all things is also a part of you, there is no part of you that is not of God. Some would call this your Holy Guardian Angel, or simply the true you, which is connected to the ultimate divine source. This may seem like you are talking to yourself. In some ways you are, yet that is not actually the case. What is taking place is your Spirit is talking with God’s Spirit and in the middle, is your mind (the conduit).
So, let us begin to have a conversation with God. I have heard from many people who question having a conversation with God. “I can not hear God” “God does not speak to me” What I ask of you is to take that step of faith. If you wish to hear God, know he is constantly speaking to you. We must just tune in. Set aside 30 minutes every day, within that time pray as you would regularly pray, then begin to sit and listen to the sound of your own breath. Allow your mind to be at peace, one with all things, then start to listen. Did you hear that? He said I love you. Now respond, I love you God, thank you for speaking with me. Respond back however you wish. Remember God walking in the cool of the day with man? Now you, through your mind are now walking in the cool of the day with God!

 

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What is there really to be thankful for?  Holiday stress, family with happy fake smiles living in homes they can not afford thankful for the bank to give out a loan.  It seems like the most thankful people are the people with the least.  Holidays are a high point in our lives.  Days of remembrance in which should carry over all year long.  Listen as Nate talks about Thanksgiving and much more!

 A major difference between successful people and the 9-5ers is successful people do not spend much time complaining and maintain a positive optimistic attitude.  

This means just like you at the moment I work a “regular” job.  But, I am always looking for the come up. Always ready to jump on opportunity. Always ready to take risk and know I may not be rewarded. Always ready to work hard chassing my passions. Yes we do what we have to in order to put food on the table. But do not settle. 

Understand and know that something is on the way. Do not just sit by and think that success will never happen to me. How did those who have what you desire get there anyway?  Live with unshakeable faith, dream big, remain humble and when you make it, give back to the people.

 God is not some type of trickster, but we can certainly through our human eyes create great schisms through our view of God. Within Christian theology as well as other religions of the world, based upon our view, interpretation, experience and so on.
Let me tell you a short story.

God was walking through town one day and his left side was in the form of a woman, and his right side the form of a man. Later on, people at the local pub started talking about the goddess who visited the town. Others over heard the conversation of the group who saw the goddess and said no, no, it was a man.
Both groups grew heated and eventually began to fight forgetting why God may have came to visit them in the first place. 
When we act this way within our own faith system, let alone when trying to understand another, we never will be in unity.
I tend to beleive the best way to understand theology is to listen, and understand. Nobody has ever seen God, we can read about Jesus. We can say Jesus was this or that. We form groups called denominations and divide ourselves because we cannot allow our ego to possibly be wrong. 
Today as we head into this thanksgiving week let us be thankful for our differences. Let’s listen and understand one another. Maybe through our empathy others will also understand us.
The Backyard Preacher

 In the East they call it meditation in the West it is contemplation. Regardless of the terminology I believe it is important to relax our minds. Often as Christians we pray with our lips without giving thought to our ears. How can the Spirit speak to us when we are filled with thoughts of “us”?  
We can take example from Jesus. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16. I highly doubt the Lord spoke all night during these times.  He took time to listen. He took time to remove himself from the cares of the world to be better prepared to accomplish his will on earth.  So if Jesus needed this strength, we do also! 
Take time everyday to pray, not with just words, but also with your ears.

To find the experience of direct conversation with the Spirit, bringing us closer to God, and in many ways equivalent to Jesus.  This is after all why we are called Christians. 
The Backyard Preacher

Nate talks about true, vs. false spirituality.  Specifically mind altering substances.  In Nate’s opinion the most spiritual people are those with or with past substance issues.  The people who are seekers of something outside of themselves.  Yet the substance method comes at a high price.  While True spirituality is found within yourself through natural means of journeying.

 I have heard it said “Be the hero”  Joe Rogan talks of your life being like a movie. If your life was a movie, be the hero of your movie.

The great Joseph Campbell states:  

“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heros of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known.  We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination we shall find a god.  And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.  Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”

Take a moment and read through this profound paragraph a few times. Let it sink in to your soul.

See here is the deal.  You are not alone on your quest. Billions of people have gone before you. It does not matter your position in life.  It does not matter if yesterday you lived your life as a dirtbag, or that you are lazy, unmotivated, filled with resentments, and just plain tired of life.

If today you woke up in poverty, out of shape and unhealthy, have addictions that are destroying your life. It just does not matter.

We love a good movie about someone who is down and out, then through their journey find greatness! Stop being down on yourself, stop saying I can’t, and realize you can!  As the great Joe Rogan said if your life was a movie, what kind of movie would you want it to be?

You have the power to change who you are. You can be the hero!

 Do not be the one. 

 When your days are done and your hands can no longer function, do not be the one who followed the rules, did everything you are told, and forget God gave you a brain to think for yourself.  Don’t do it!  Yes, being an obediant cog is probably the most safe way to navigate through life; only to end up just another gravemarker with little meaning.  

They say better to be safe than sorry. That’s a lie. It has always been the risk takers who have  made the greatest impact on our world.  As a Christian I can read the Bible and find it was the risk takers who God used. 

In human understanding faith and risk are very synonymous.  So what I am I trying to say?  I am saying chase whimsies, follow your bliss, don’t let anyone tell you “NO” if it is the desire of your heart. Seek it, keep knocking, make life happen. Do not let life happen to you!  

At the end of the day you may still become just an unknown gravestone. Yet you will be one who tried to defy the norm, who said the moon is to close, I am shooting for stars. On your death bed there will be no disappointment, only hope that those you leave behind follow the same path.  
The Backyard Preacher

Nate puts a interesting twist on the parable of the wedding feast.  Nate also talks about our mental health and gun control issues.

Many popular authors have reintroduced the practice of “living in the now”  This is not something new it is a practice of the wise, dating back to time immemorial.
It is a blessing every generation we find wise men and women to remind us of an often forgotten discipline.  It is needed now more than ever in our current society; which in my opinion is far too materialist, fast, and profane.
Everyperson is a star,  everyperson needs a place within themselves where all becomes nothing, and everything, complimenting one another in a dance of divine unity.
A place in which there is no knowledge of the daily agendas, no news, no obligations, stress does not exists, and only breath and divinity remain. It was the breath of God that created man.  So man was created in a state of divine meditation.
Today find a sacred place. A prayer room. A place to be alone. A place in which within its abode nothing matters.  Allow God to speak to you. Walk with God in the cool of the day.  Lay bare to Him who you believe you are, and find who you truly are.
Make this a practice everyday.

Have a blessed Tuesday my friends!

The Backyard Preacher