The Farm

We are wrapping up our first week here at The Farm. It has been a CRAZY week! I’ve gotten more information in the last 5 days than probably the last 5 years combined!

But even more important has been the spiritual and fellowship aspects. On a spiritual note, it has been a great time away from phones, texts, and to some degree, emails. I’ve had time to think, pray, worship, dream, and even plan (a little!). On Friday we had a personal retreat time where we were told to take a sack lunch and go disappear from human contact for 3 hours. Our only guidelines were to spend the 3 hours with Christ. It was a GREAT time for me. It was a time Christ reminded me of His grace and His great joy for those who come to faith in Him. As I was walking on a gravel path through the trees in the morning sunlight, I was contemplating Jesus’ interaction with Zaccheus. I could just picture Jesus looking around at the lunch guests and proclaiming with overwhelming joy and celebration, “TODAY salvation has come to this house!” The contrast was that in spite of my knowing this, and regardless of how many times I have spoken to others of God’s grace and mercy, I had forgotten what that mercy and grace means for me. I’d been operating from the mindset that God is just waiting for me to mess things up and crush me. Without boring you with a long history of my walk, this is an area I’d struggled greatly with because of my relationship with my dad. And, even through I KNOW God is not a malevolent being waiting to crush me, I’d been thinking like that for a long time. I’d been confessing sins already forgotten by God, and dragging up things He has already dealt with me on. Friday, I left that behind! And how liberating it’s been!

The other aspect we’ve encountered has been that of the fellowship of 100’s of other people who are all experiencing the SAME things we are: getting rid of stuff, leaving loved ones and comfort of home, in a long period of transition. We’ve celebrated with these new friends, cried with them, watched each others kids, shared countless meals already, and worshipped as a house church with our quad-mates. We’ve also found time to do some family stuff. Last night, I took the kids fishing while Caryn did some reading. Jeremiah and I are watching “Tron” while Caryn runs and Cayla swings at the park. Tomorrow morning, it’s back to the grind stone!

Continue to pray for us as we make this journey with the other families and singles here. It’s been amazing and it’s only been a week!

See you soon!

Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Training.

I wanted to share a post from CrossPoint Martial Art’s Facebook page that was written by Sabu-nim Hook and myself.  Feel free to add to the flowing stream of consciousness!

“When we face struggles in our life how do we react? Do we react in the same manner as we are trained against a physical attack or do we do something totally opposite?
As were faced with opposition physically we are taught to bring in the force and intent of the attacker to be ultimately used against them. Allowing them to enter our space and then taking control of the power and force they are using as we blend their force with ours into a controllable action that we are guiding. The constant training of our body should also be internalized within our emotional protection also. Trying times are more likely to affect the majority of us through emotional stress more than the threat of physical harm. Look to accomplish the same reaction inside as we train so hard to do outside. Bring the exterior training inside the frame of your being and begin to internalize the art that you practice.”
– Sabu-nim Hook

“Additionally, we must understand that looking inside should ultimately take us “outside” to Jesus Christ, the source of our strength and peace. Our hope and overcoming can only be ultimately realized in Jesus Christ, making our relationship with Him a necessity for overcoming. Jesus Himself said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33)

As martial artists, our training, by design, takes over in times of physical crisis so that our reaction is quicker, calculated, and natural to us. When that training comes to bear on dealing with emotional training, the same end occurs. The Apostle Paul reminds a young man that he is training (Timothy) that “…physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8)

Unfortunately, our first reaction to emotional stress or conflict is usually a learned coping mechanism that fits our temperament or personality, or a reaction that we’ve learned from our environment growing up. It usually encompasses a survival response (How do I win? How do I get through this? How do I survive?). In the Bible’s New Testament, we find that IF God is for us, who can be against us. Multiple passages indicate that God wants to provide all that we need in these moments. The half-brother of Jesus reminds us, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:11-12) Our reactions indicate what our source of coping is. So have we trained ourselves to turn to Him? To depend on Him? To find wisdom and counsel from Him? Is the reaction that comes out of us in keeping with the Savior that should dwell in us? Have we disciplined ourselves to the point of HIM being our first response; our immediate, “natural” reaction?

As we bring the exterior training inside the frame of our being and begin to internalize the art that we practice, we must not neglect that we are spiritual beings. We must recognize that the survival of our spirit is of greater import than the survival of our physical being, making spiritual training of even greater importance than the physical. Take the time to begin application of the principles of your training to the nourishment of your soul. It will make all the difference.” – Chung sah-nim Bishop