Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

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.

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Happy New Year!  The Backyard Preacher is starting the year out with a bang as we have with us our first ever guest Jordan Sprott.  Jordan who is 17 years old is the son of Nate and brings a candid account of the life of a teenager in this time as well as how teens feel about spirituality and church.

Thank you for listening to the 50th episode of The Backyard Preacher Podcast!  This week Nate talks about not being hard on yourself.  One of the greatest spiritual blockers is our own perception of ourselves.  We need to keep moving forward don’t allow anyone to get in your way, and take the victory found in the Christ!

Nate talks a little bit about the Presidential debates and how he sees them, but his topic is stress as he shares an honest review of his stressful weekend.  Enjoy and be blessed!

Stress, we all have felt it, medical research shows that too much stress can be very damaging to the body, and in my opinion the soul. For example I just recently had a very “stressful” weekend, I had issues with my teenage son, I was talked into getting a puppy and yes the puppy sounds nice but as I am writing this the little thing is running around not giving me time to concentrate. When will I have time to write, do my podcast, or my promised weekly videos? On top of working a full time job, making sure my son stays on track to graduate high school and trying to maintain some sort of spirituality! Now you may be reading this thinking that I am overreacting, and I am sure I am. In fact I believe I have been sinning, as I have written in previous articles that to sin is to miss the mark of God’s perfect will for our lives, I believe I have not been in God’s will all weekend. On top of that my frustration and anger has created an even more mentally destabilizing atmosphere for my household. So in this, I repent, I will just breathe and know that everything will be okay. I know many may not agree with this, I do not even know if I am correct as if I know anything of the spiritual, but our lives seem to be as a record being played on a cosmic record player and when we sin it skips. As in my weekend it seemed to have been skipping for two days straight. God wanted me to be within the grooves which he had preordained and I chose to allow myself to skip and scratch the record until it came back in line. To do this I needed to acknowledge and accept what I have done, repent to God and those I have offended by my behavior. So I could get back into His groove. I like you desire to live in complete serenity and within the groove of Gods record of my life. Yes Jesus said do not get anxious, but He walked on water, calmed the storms, I cannot do that, or can I? It all boils down to choice, are you going to allow the situations in life create even greater stress through giving in to the fleshly urge of trying to carve out your own groove, or are you going to try to skip your way back into God’s grove in which He has already established for you, making life much more easier?

I call it the domino effect of stress and frustration. It can start out small or large but if you give in the dominos are lined up and ready to fall over creating a mess. It takes a lot longer to set up the dominos that it does to watch them fall. We all know that recovery is hard no matter what it is. Let me look back at this weekend. My son skipped half the day at school and is not doing so hot grade wise, my fiancée always makes sure to point these things out as I often overlook what I deem as trivial teenage mischief, all I wanted to do after work on Friday was to get ready, go out to eat and listen to some live music, we did that as well as talking about the kid all night, boy oh boy what a buzz kill! The next day while I was still a little upset about the night before I am informed of a puppy that she wanted to purchase. She is addicted to the animal pages on Facebook which I wish she would remove because I am constantly asked to let her get a dog. I was already talked into a cat which turned out great, cats are easy, but a dog, let alone a puppy! That’s a lot of work! I will spare you all the in-betweens let me just say I wasn’t the happiest new puppy owner. I like my quiet lifestyle and my alone time to read, pray, and meditate. If you have not noticed by now I had been running away from things and holding on to what I thought was important, I blew up more than a few times and did not spend much time in prayer, if any!

Rewinding the script, what could I have done better? Instead of knocking over the mental dominos of stress, creating a mess that I am picking up on Monday morning which by the way is much worse than any mess which the puppy or my son made, I could have acted completely different and stayed with God’s groove. First, Friday night could have been spent at home doing a family activity instead of wanting to do something my way, second the eventual getting a puppy was inevitable at some point, as I look at her now I cannot help but smile at the little precious. I was looking at my weekend off as something I could control, as if I were God and I could cut out my own groove on the record. I know we all try, and unfortunately I am sure I will sin in this way again, I am human. I decided to write this today because I think that you can relate. It may not be about a teenage son and a puppy, but many other issues of life in which you have tried to control but just could not. While we do not have to allow life to control us we must be able to carefully discern what we can control and what we need to allow. We need to control our actions and emotions instead of knocking over the dominos and doing things “my way.” Not just most of the time, all of the time when we try to do things “our way” outside of the will of God we will cause undue stress upon our bodies and soul. I know that it may be hard to discern these things even for the most mature Christian, which I am not. We live in the ultimate proving ground called earth, staying within God’s will for us is one of the hardest things we can do, but I will say most rewarding. My final thoughts, do not skip out of your groove into an awful repeating struggle of stress and misery, instead pray for peace and discernment as you follow along the path God has already established for you. Blessings my friends, I pray that you find a peace filled week and not allow this world to take you out of your groove!

Nate talks about the ongoing situations regarding the national anthem and police shootings.  Of course the main message of this episode is based out of 2 Corinthians 12 involving “The Third Heaven.”  Nate gives his opinions and understanding of the subject.  I hope you enjoy!

What is the “third heaven” in which the apostle Paul talks about in his second letter to the Corinthians? Let’s look at the text.

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know God knows. And I know that this man whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows  was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.” 2 Corinthians 12:2-4

The term third is generally accepted as the heaven in which God lives. Some say it is the highest level of heaven contrary to the popular “seven or even nine heavens.” Paul is the man in which he is describing, it is interesting that Paul with all of his ambitions to change the world and win over the people with the message of Christ would not try to explain what took place during this experience. He does state he heard inexpressible things which he is not permitted to tell. What we do know is that the event took place fourteen years prior to his writing of the letter. This more than likely indicates many of his methods and beliefs about Christianity may have been based on this life altering event. It may have taken place a multitude of times, we just do not know. But why mention the event at all if he could not speak of them? Some in fact believe this was an event that defined his life, giving him even more legitimacy as an apostle of Jesus Christ, this was a struggle for Paul who was often looked upon as an illegitimate apostle. Many other preachers were critical of Paul, he expressed in the previous chapter a long explanation of his friction between himself and who he calls “super-apostles.” I think it is fair to say Paul is using this experiences to help bring legitimacy to his ministry and position.  Paul seems to let go of his ego placing himself as just one part of an amazing experience, then going on to later discuss his “thorn in the flesh.” It is disappointing that Paul chose not to go into detail about his experience instead choosing to stay silent about the mysteries. Paul also could be using this discussion as a way to gain leverage with the Corinthians who were steeped in the mystical arts and mystery schools of the time. This would be appealing to the Corinthian church. I will just take him at face value and believe he could not speak of the divine experience, it may have been virtually impossible for Paul to explain what he had seen. So glorious and magnificent, words of such wisdom that what Paul witnessed is only the tip of the iceberg of the heavenly experience in which awaits us all.

 

Two other Biblical figures come to mind when discussing visions into the heavenly realms that is of Ezekiel and Daniel. The visions of these two men were much more detailed but still strangely blurred. Ezekiel sees God in some type of heavenly contraption or throne with descriptions of non-earthly beings. (Read Ezekiel chapter 1) Daniel similarly sees heavenly creatures and is shown mysterious visions in which many try hard to explain. But can we explain them? And if it was supposed to be explained wouldn’t it not be easier if God would have just gave us better instructions? I will answer that God did indeed send better instructions he sent them with the incarnation of Jesus Christ. All that we need to know of the father is found in the Christ, if you have seen him you have seen the Father. The gospels beautifully lay out the plan of God and the needed insights to live out a Christian life. I think we must remember that we are children of God, but the key word “children” must be understood as we have not yet completed our stay in the earthly proving grounds, we are still bound to the flesh and unable to fully be set free from it till it wears out and dies.

 

What about today, can we experience visions of Biblical proportions? My answer is yes, I think we are capable of connecting with the universal consciousness that is God through many different means while I am not 100 percent of any, nor can I completely verify, yet it is through faith that we believe anything at all. Some would say that DMT or Dimethyltryptamine which is naturally produced in the human brain is a sort of gateway substance which some say allows the connection of our Spirit to the divine. This chemical can be released both externally by smoking, or drinking the chemical, or internally through prayer, mediation, or various forms of yoga. Other psychedelic substances such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms which may give the user a similar experience but at a much less potency, none the less the author believes that psychedelics and other exercises which release DMT into the body is some sort of gateway into the spiritual realm. The brain is a powerful tool in which our spirits use which this author personally believes we have only tapped into just the beginning of our psychic development.

 

So what does all of this mean to Christians? Well it means a lot. It means that our minds have the ability to look into the unknown, that God can reach out to us through visions both internally and externally as Paul himself did not know if he was out of the body or in the body. As Christians we do not base our Christianity on supernatural experiences but through faith. Although I think that it is honorable to seek out supernatural experiences for it is our place to do so as children of God. We are much more “powerful” than we think, we are not just a body, but a spirit. We are more than likely all interconnected with each other and God. Quantum physics is proving this more and more every day. Through mass communications and articles such as this, spiritual mysteries do not have to be something that only the few understand but something we humans can try to understand and practice in order to make a better world.

 

Often when we think of the ideal spiritual life we envision Jesus praying on the mountain alone with his thoughts, or his simple life of traveling from town to town healing the sick and giving hope to the lost. Oh how wonderful! I often wish I had the courage to leave everything behind and wander the earth like Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction looking for adventure. To live a simple yet powerful life, full of spirit and love, changing the world one person or situation at a time. Yet the majority of us including myself are trapped, I love the video someone made of Joe Rogan giving a talk about life and named it Society Trap check it out here: https://youtu.be/zvfy5Enz6-c We have families, we must work because we are in this strange world of money and those who seek financial gain by destroying their fellow man. It is just so strange! I never looked at life this way before, maybe I am getting older, or maybe I would like to think more spiritual, regardless life is getting weirder and weirder. So my fellow Christians involved in busy schedules and family obligations can we ever find ourselves living within the simplicity of Jesus, or any of the other spiritual leaders including Samuel Jackson! I do not suggest taking the Pulp Fiction route to enlightenment. So can we find simplicity in complexity or is it more like complexity of simplicity? Well friends I think we can find a little simplicity within our busy modern lives.

First, just breathe, breathing is an amazing action our bodies automatically perform from birth until death, yet many of us forget to actually take our breathing to the next level. Many studies have proven the impact of meditative breathing, therapist teach breathing techniques to clients with anxiety, and meditation itself revolves around the breath. In meditation the breath is the anchor in which you set your mind upon when it begins to wander. I suggest you take time to meditate every morning. I have talked with many who say they cannot sit still long enough, or they do not have the time to give to meditation. I understand, that but you have time for the sugar filled, heart damaging energy drink! Start with just one minute and work yourself up to ten or longer I guarantee that you will become addicted and will not be able to live life without meditation. For me it is a time to sit in silence and allow God to speak to me. I make no request, I just sit and listen. Believe me this is a perfect addition to the antidepressants and benzodiazepines most of us are on.

Second, stop worrying, I know, I know this is easier said than done. Our Lord talked much about this, his famous quote which believers and non-believers alike know well, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:34, NIV) Jesus being incarnated into this crazy world understood how difficult it was and knew that life is not necessarily about tomorrow it is about the “right now.” The apostle Paul speaks to us in similar manner, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV) How do I even try to do this! We live in a fast paced, overworked, world which demands productivity to gain what we call money so we do not end up in a homeless shelter. On a side not I lived in a homeless shelter for five months and to be honest with you it was a very spiritual experience not exactly a comfortable one, but the simplicity of living out the words of Christ, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20, NIV) The saying is true, “more money more problems.” Yet I do not suggest we sell everything and go homeless that is not going to help anything. The late great Napoleon Hill stated so beautifully, “There are myriads of forms of fear, but none are more deadly than the fear of poverty and old age. We drive our bodies as if they were slaves because we are so afraid of poverty that we wish to hoard money for-what-old age! This common form of fear drives us so hard that we overwork our bodies and bring on the very thing we are struggling to avoid.”1

 

Third, just give it to God, oh yes another one of those easy sayings. Sometimes I call it the, I do not give a crap, whatever happens, happens. Is that healthy? I think so, I think we try so hard to carve out a life from the chaos we miss the simplicity that is found in following the path of Christ. So let us do as the apostle said and cast our cares upon him. Some theologians, and I think I can agree believe that the past, present and future are all within God himself. So when you mess up at work, or do something stupid at home, embarrass yourself, get turned down, etc. Then I suggest don’t give a crap. God loves you with a love in which we cannot even come close to imagining, basically no matter what, you will be alright. One of the keys that I have found is to just keep moving forward, not allowing the negative influences of life to take up much space in my head and create within myself the ideal thought pattern’s to create if you will my own universe. That may sound strange but it is not, we are born as sons and daughters of the greatest creator so god forbid you do not use your own nature as a child of God to create your world. Largely this is done by giving this crazy chaotic complex world to God and then keep the simplistic world of Jesus on the mountain alive within ourselves. Remember everything’s going to be just fine regardless of the circumstances.

I do not say this without experience, I have gone through much in my 36 years. My goal is for us to find simplicity within the complexity of this life. Or in other words take away the perception or the illusion of complexity and focus in on the real, the simplistic, and the wonderful life found within the Christ. Amen.

 

  1. Hill, Napoleon. The Law of Success: In Sixteen Lessons. Blacksburg, VA.: Wilder Publications, 2011.107.