Working Out Day #2

PT for day #2 is in the books. It consisted of a 20 minute HIIT Elyptical workout, followed by a sit up/push up routine. In all, it took a little less than an hour.

Here is a pic of my cardio log:

B/c Cardio is hard…

If I’ve not mentioned it, I’m following the Body for Life routine.

It isn’t a bad routine, especially if you don’t really care for cardio. For my “intensity levels,” I use the resistance level on the machine. I don’t mind watching the clock like a hawk. It makes it go faster. It said my Heart Rate was 150 at the end. I wasn’t watching it, nor do I really understand it. My distance was 2.13; but I don’t know if that is miles of kilometers. My Nike run app said I went a little over a mile.

Still, ellipticals aren’t my end game. My end game is running an 8-9 minute mile, or better. Using an elliptical machine isn’t running.

There you go! Workout for day #2 of my personal 12 week challenge.

I hope that you are making something of your day. This is the one we have, and we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

Tim

“Hope is our weapon against the darkness.”

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Tike’s Manifesto

I’ve joined Jeff Goins’: “Blog Like a Pro (BLP) Challenge,” and the first thing we need to write about is our Manifesto.

Granted, I’ve never really desired to write a Manifesto before. He defines it as “…a short, shareable document that makes an argument, that tells the world what you’re about.” It draws a “line in the sand, which forces you to clarify your message.”

Well, clarity and focus are a good thing.

When I was in Seminary, I had a professor that had us define ourselves by the roles we play. It was an self-reflection exercise. While I balked it, I now find great value in it. I find great value in being a Husband, a Father, and a Christian minister. These are three of the greatest things that I care about.

The BLP Challenge gives us three questions to think about, as we craft our Manifesto:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What’s the solution?
  3. What’s the next step?

I like those questions. I can’t help but look at them through the eyes of who I am; the roles that I play.

What is the problem?

I think that the problem is us being, or not being, who we were created to be.

Yes, there are a lot of assumptions in that. There are assumptions in every stance, argument, and idea that we have. I hope that I’m fairly aware of my assumptions. Still, given the inherent issues with them; I still hold them. I hold to the idea that there is a God. I hold to the idea that God has a preferred future, including for my life…my being. That I am created with purpose and intentionality. That I am in process, hopefully moving forward and not backwards.

That process of me becoming includes a few things.

For instance, when we were pregnant with our first son, I was given some great advice. An elderly gentleman in our church named Bob called me over and said, “Preacher…you want to know what that baby boy is going to need from you the most?!”

Look, Bob had been married for over 60 years to his wife and raised three beautiful and successful children. I figured he knew something.

I nodded my head, and said, “Sure Bob. What will my son need from me the most.”

Bob answered, “He’s going to need a daddy that loves his momma.”

I’ve never forgotten that. It matches up with what the Bible tells me to do; to love my wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. That I’m supposed to live sacrificially for my wife. That I’m supposed to honor her above all else. My kids aren’t my priority; their mother is my priority. It is part of my being.

I’m also a daddy, and their ain’t nothin’ better! I can’t begin to describe what it means for me to hold my children in my arms. I can’t begin to describe how much it hurts to be separated from my family during my deployment. I knew, the moment that I held each of them in my arms, that things had irrevocably changed. It was a good thing, no a great thing! I want to be the best dad that I can. It is part of my being.

Finally, I’m a minister…a USAF Chaplain to be exact. I used to be a pastor. I was a youth minister for a while, and even lead music in a church for a couple of years. But, being a USAF Chaplain is something that fits me like a glove. I get to teach and preach, just like a pastor. But, I also get more of an opportunity to care for others outside of my Chapel congregation. I get to care for people, completely and utterly where they are. No condemnation, just listening and caring for them. It fits into who I am, in a very fulfilling way. The best part about it is that I get to help people in the areas that I care so much about. I get to help them in figuring out what it means to be a better spouse. I get to help them in figuring out what it means for them to be better parents. I get to help them in figuring out what it is for them to be who God created them to be.

I love it.

What’s the Solution?

I think Discipleship is. I think following the Way of Jesus is. I think that living that life in front of others is a beautiful thing. I know that when I’m living in such a way that I prioritize following Christ, what the world sees is a guy that really loves his wife. What the world sees is a father that deeply cares for his children. What the world sees is a Chaplain that is known for caring for his Airmen. I don’t have to tell them that my overriding priority is Christ. They can see it in how I treat others.

Granted, it’s a lot easier to say than to do. My selfishness gets in the way. My desire for comfort, for power, for influence…all makes me less of who I am supposed to be.

But, perhaps there is some value in the struggle. Perhaps there is value in transparency. Perhaps, there is value in letting people see how we try so hard, some times fail, and yet get back up again.

If so, then that leads me to the last question

What is the next step?

For now, the next step is blogging. I have an opportunity to put a little time into it. Perhaps the words that are typed upon this digital medium will encourage someone to do differently, to try a little bit harder, to look a little bit deeper.

As I continue in my USAF career, I can be more intentional in discipleship. I have a few tools in the tool box in regards to mentoring. I can offer it as a part of my services to my Airmen. I can teach Lunch and Learns on the subjects. Most of all, I have the unique opportunity to get out on the flight-line, in the hangars, in the offices of the Airmen.

This is something that most ministers will never get.

Access.

I can live among the men and women of the USAF, and just mirror the way of Christ.

So, that is it. This can be my Manifesto. I desire to reflect Jesus back onto the world. I want to mirror Christ, so that others can see.

I’ll use this opportunity to write my experiences of living among people; while I try to mirror the way of Jesus.

Perhaps you’ll join me? Perhaps, you’ll do your own walk and mirroring along the way.

Tim

“Hope is our weapon against the darkness.”

Working Out

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One thing about joining the USAF, or any branch of the military, is the need to stay fit.

Not something that I’ve been good at! It is something that one needs to stay constantly actively striving towards. Again, not my best area of diligence. It doesn’t help when you’re injured. Which, has been me for far too long.

I hurt my leg a while back, and I’ve been fighting “compensatory tightening of the T band” for about a year now. This is not a good thing. Basically, my left leg continually feels tight, with differing levels of pain in my upper quad and knee. This makes it difficult to run, at times walk, and do sit ups.

Did I mention that you need to stay fit in the USAF?

You see, we have a Physical Training (PT) test. In that, we have to run under a certain time, do at least a certain number of sit ups and push ups within a predetermined time limit.

Granted, I’m not due to take my test in the near future, but still. It makes it rough to stay on top of it when you’re feeling pain.

So, I’m taking Physical Therapy, and I’m trying to work out.

I’ve decided to go back to a workout routine that I used during Seminary. This is a picture of my today’s upper body workout.

Day 1 Workout Log

Working It Out

It is Day 1 of a 12 week system.

I’m adding one thing to it, though. I’m going to do extra sit ups and push ups. It is my understanding that those have more to do with stamina than actual strength. So, I’m going to do those every day, 5 days a week.

I’m just about 12 weeks away from my PT test, so I’ll let you know how I do.

For the record, I’m sitting right under 200lbs (197lbs); and I feel rather plump. 🙂

While I’m willing to take advice, know that I may not follow it for a while. You see, I want to follow the plan through, and not modify it during the process. I have a plan, and I’m going to trust the plan. I’m not going to fight the plan, nor try to “make it better,” etc.

So, if someone does give advice (which I’m grateful for), I won’t initially follow it. I may incorporate it after my 12 weeks is up.

Tim

“Hope is our weapon against the darkness.”

Want to be a Minister Part 2: Seminary Edition

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You’ve decided that you’re called of God to be a minister.

You’ve come to a decision that God is actually calling you to the Pastorate!

You understand that you need to go to Seminary.

Lord help you… 😉

One thing you need to decide is what you want to look like at the other end of your seminary experience.

Please understand, where you go to Seminary will mark you in some way.  I don’t care what your professors say, they will indoctrinate you.  They can’t help it.  If you go to a seminary with a conservative reputation, you will be more conservative at the end of it. If you pick a seminary with a more progressive reputation, you will come out more progressive at the end of it.

You can’t help but be influenced  by your surroundings.

Secondly, there will probably be some expectation placed upon you by your particular brand of Christianity.  You may be a non-denominational, Bible Church kind of minster. Technically, you can attend any seminary you desire.  There isn’t any rule that says you need to attend a certain seminary.

Now, look at most of the pastors of the “Bible Church” variety in your area.

Where did they go to school?

If I were to do that in my area, then I would see that many of the local Bible Church ministers have graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.

If I look at the local Baptist Churches, I would see that most of the pastors are graduates of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Many of the Methodist Pastors went to Perkins School of Theology, and many of the Disciples of Christ Pastors have degrees from Bright Divinity School.

Of course, you’ll find some folks who went to my alma mater, George W. Truett Theological Seminary!

You get the picture?

Each of these schools have a reputation. That reputation will follow you throughout your ministry.  Perhaps you decide to attend a seminary that is something other than the one “most” of your brand of Christian ministers chooses.

That says something as well.

You may say it’s about broadening your perspective. Those interviewing you for that future ministry position may see it as someone ashamed of their denomination. And don’t forget, your theology will be influenced by where you attend.

Let me give you my experience as an example.

As mentioned, I went to Truett.  It is a smaller seminary, associated with Baylor University. When I went there, it was graduating it’s very first class. It met in the education space of First Baptist Church of Waco.

You could go a whole semester never having stepped foot upon the main Baylor campus, with the exception of the library.

From my experience, it is a small, fairly conservative, evangelical, thoroughly Texas Baptist seminary.

Many people choose to go to Truett instead of Southwestern. They feel that Truett is more of a “moderate” seminary, and they will use the term. “Moderate” is a term used in Texas to mean “non-fundamentalist.”

Some people will decide that I’m “more liberal” than some of my colleagues. Some people may like that, or not. What they don’t know is that there is only one theological area that I may disagree with my more “conservative” brethren on.  It is the area of women in ministry. I believe that God can call whomever he wants, to do whatever he wants. Including the pastorate.

My more “conservative” brethren, or you say more “fundamentalist” types may say that women aren’t allowed to be pastors.

The crazy thing is that these terms, “Liberal, Conservative, Progressive and Fundamentalist” are used within a cultural context. What it means in one state may be entirely different in another.

In Texas, there aren’t that many differences between the terms “moderate and fundamentalist” from the rest of the world’s view.

You’ll be surprised what people read into your decisions. They will never ask you why you chose to go to seminary A instead of seminary B. But, they will have some sort of opinion as to “what kind of person” graduates from there.

Now you’re there, so now what?

Work your tushy off, that’s what.

If you’re a recent college grad; then you might treat it as an extension for college.  There is a chance that you treated college as an extension of high school.

Let’s not do that.

Seminary is there to teach you how to do a job. That job is to be a minister in your brand of Christianity’s churches.

Yes, you do need to learn how to properly exegete scripture.

No, those years in church did not prepare you for this.

You are going to learn how to actually study the Bible. This will be both a blessing and a curse.

I’m very grateful for my years of intense Bible study. I also have found it difficult to experience purely devotional reading of scripture.  I’ve a lot of baggage when it comes to every single book of the Bible.  There is no such thing as reading scripture with a clean slate and fresh eyes.

Most seminaries have a Spiritual Formation series of courses. Be sure to take everyone, even if you don’t need to. Learn about Lecto Divina, types of Prayers, Christian meditation, Fasting, and other spiritual disciplines. God will use these in your future to help stem the tide of spiritual aridity, when the Bible seems nothing but a text book.

Dive into authors like Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, just to name a few.

Take CPE.

Work at a church (whether they pay your or not).

Your studies will come alive when they are mixed with real life ministry.

And finally, enjoy yourself and your classmates. You are at a special place. More people will be on the same page as you. You are in a place where more people are spiritually minded than you will ever experience again.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that your future ministry will be marked by extended experiences of that nature.

Tim

A Friendly Question: Was Jesus a Christian?

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I put a request for blogspiration on Twitter the other day. This was one response that I got back.

This is copied directly from my twitter feed:

@tikesbestfriend Christian? Is faith and devotion enough if one doesn’t apply the label of “Christian” to themself?

I believe the heart of the question is this: What are the minimal requirements for salvation? 

I’m going to break this down into a few different of sections.

First: Was Jesus a Christian, and do we need to accept the label?

Secondly: Can you follow the Gospels and not the rest of the NT?

Finally: Is “faith and devotion enough?”

So, let’s get started!

What Jesus a Christian, and do we need to accept the label?

I think labeling Jesus as a Christian is putting the cart before the horse.

Let’s look at where the term comes from.

One of the first times we see the term, it is found here:

Acts 11:26

New International Version (NIV)

26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

I think that an interesting observation is that it wasn’t a term that the early believers chose for themselves. Others chose the name for them.

It is actually a diminutive term. It means “Little Christ.”  The belief is that it was a pejorative term, used as a “put down” against the early believers.

Also notice that this was in Antioch. This was the practical birthplace of the Gentile Church.  Gentile means, everyone that isn’t Jewish.  The first believers in Jesus as the Messiah were Jewish people, who firmly believed that Jesus was the foretold Jewish Messiah.

In that view, Jesus was supposed to save Israel from the other nations, and set the nation up as the premier among all of the nations.

Yeah, didn’t quite turn out that way…did it?

Point being: No one was choosing to call themselves Christian.

If you look at the Gospel Accounts, you see Jesus referring to himself primarily as “The Son of Man.”  Every now and then he refers to himself as God’s Son. Others often referred to him as Rabbi, Teacher, Anointed One, and of course Christ.

Pro Tip! Christ = Anointed One!

I would agree that Jesus never called himself a Christian. But, I wouldn’t agree that he did it was because he had something against the label. Mainly, I would argue that he did it because 1) it didn’t exist within society at that time, and 2) he chose how to refer to himself based upon how he wanted his message understood.

Now, that is another whole blog post.

So, is it ok for us to be using it today?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “Yes.”

It is a perfectly good label, in that it attaches the Person to whom they confess to follow…aka, Jesus. The one referred to as Christ throughout the New Testament.

Are there reasons that people decide to not use the label?

You bet there is.  Like any label that has been in use for some 2000 odd years, there has been some baggage attached to it.

In some cases, the term “Christian” has come to carry some very negative connotations along with it.

I might argue that “that” isn’t so very different from the first century as well.  People were trying to spread around horrible rumors using the term back then. If you were labeled a “Christian,” then it meant you were following a dead man. It meant that you were a cannibal, drinking that dead man’s blood and eating his flesh. It meant you were in some sort of semi-Jewish cult. It meant you hated governmental authority, and were an all around bad seed.

I think that for those of us that claim to identify with Jesus, need to do so with some thought.

Do I still use the term Christian?

You bet I do.  It is a historically vibrant word. It speaks to a lineage beyond that of modernity; and connects me with folks back thousands of years.

Do I choose to use terms other than Christian at times?

You bet I do.  I live in Texas, the buckle on the bible belt!  Everyone and their dog claims to be a Christian around me; yet I rarely see anyone trying to actually follow Jesus.  So, I use differing terms when I speak to someone to get a sense of where they are in the religious spectrum.

I go with terms like, “Follower of Jesus , Believer, and Disciple.”  

Can someone be a true follower of Jesus, yet choose to not use the term “Christian” as a term of identity?

Yes, I think they can.  But, I believe they have to be intentional about it.

Next week, I drill into the second part of the question:

So what if someone followed the Gospels but disregarded most of the NT…

Thanks for tuning in!

Tim

So, You Wanna Be A Pastor, Minister, Whatever…

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So, you want to be a Minister?

Preaching Wedding

Cool Moments in Ministry

Or, you want to be a Pastor, Children’s Minister, Associate Pastor, Youth Minister, Music Minister, Missions Minister…the titles go on endlessly.

I’m going to assume that you believed that you are Called of God to do so.

I guess we can talk about that later if you want.  But, for the moment let us assume that it’s so.

So, what now?

Understand, I’m coming at this from a particular perspective.  I’m a Southern Baptist/Texas Baptist Pastor.

We’re a little bit different down here. But, not by much.

You’re probably going to need an education.  In particular, it will probably be expected that you have a Seminary Degree.

Can you say, M.Div.?

Of course, there are exceptions. However, if you want to be paid a livable wage; then you’ll probably need the Masters of Divinity.

That means you’ll need a college education.

Don’t worry, just about anything will work. You see, Seminary is structured to accept and train people from any higher educational background. But, you need some sort of BA/BS degree to get in.  Good news is, you can have a degree in whatever you want!  Bad news, it is a gate you have to pass through to get there.

Please understand, seminaries are one of the traditional “professional” schools out there. Just like Law School and Medical School, it is supposed to teach you to do a job.

That job is of course, to minister in a church.

Sure, there are other flavors of what ministry looks like. Seminaries have adapted through the years to offer courses for these flavors of ministries….such as Missions, Chaplaincy, Communication, Counseling, etc.

But, the core mission is still there. To prepare ministers for ministry in the local church.

Whether or not seminary actually does that is up for debate.

For me, I received a lot of biblical training. I can draft up an exegesis with the best of them!

However, Seminary didn’t teach me how to pastor a church.  It didn’t teach me how to sit with a family while they are hearing the words that their child is dead.  Seminary didn’t teach me how to deal with small church volunteers that think they run the place.  Seminary didn’t teach me how to be responsible for everything, but have power over nothing. It didn’t teach me how to stay connected with the Lord; that was just an expectation.

I will give them this, they did warn against the aridity of the soul. It’s that dryness that comes when your spirituality becomes professionalized.  They just didn’t give me any thing to hold onto when the desert wind blew across my soul.

Be ready to become a student of Lifelong Learning.  You’ll need it.  There is a lot you’re not going to learn until you actually get on the job.

Welcome to the Ministry.

More to come…

Tim

If You’re Not Called

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I’ve heard it many times before. “If you’re not called, then don’t do it.”

There have been other variations of it through the years. It’s also been said this way, “If you can do anything else, then do it.”

What are they talking about?

Ministry in a church.

There’s something to it. I actually agree with the statement. I would qualify it a little bit.

You have to understand, just because you’re called to something doesn’t mean that you will actually want to do it.

The poster child for this is Jonah.

Just because you’re called to something doesn’t mean you’ll be successful, popular, or esteemed.

Take a look at the life of Jeremiah, Amos, Hosea…or even the Apostles of Jesus.

You might end up being killed, both figuratively and literally, based upon your calling.

For me, I can’t do anything else.

God won’t let me do anything else.

Are there times when I want to do something else?

You bet.

Are there times when I can’t see myself doing anything else.

Yep, that too.

That’s why it’s a calling.

That’s why it’s a vocation, and not an occupation.

Even if I was being paid for something else, my central calling would be the same. I would still function out of the core of my calling.

I can do nothing else.

Tim

7 Years Blogging on WP.Com?

I’m a bad blogger. Meaning, I don’t post consistently. I don’t have a narrowed niche topic that I speak into.

Instead, I randomly post based upon what I’m feeling at the time.

Look what I found in my blog dashboard from July 7th!

 

7yrbloganniv

Aparantly, I’ve been doing it for 7 years on the WordPress platform!

Who knew?!

Sometimes the only thing that matters is showing up.  I think I’ll continue to show up here (at random and various times) to put my thoughts on the digital paper.

Tim

LFM Twitter Community

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Tikes Tweet Feed copy

I have two twitter accounts. Both are personal in nature, but are different in some interesting ways.,

One is connected to this blog. It is one that my “real life” friends have the most access to. These are probably the same people that have access to my facebook account as well.

It is also the most “Christian” of my twitter accounts. I followed my Christian mentors, favorite authors, news sites, faith related blogs, etc.

What I see is this: People speaking into the space “at” those who may be following them.  They are spamming “resources” (blog posts), inspirational quotes, bible verses, and etc. Every now and then I see a picture.

What I don’t see is Community.

My second twitter account is anonymous and hobby related.  Most of my “real life” friends don’t have access to it.  I follow some of my favorite related bloggers, news sites, and “famous” people.  I’ve also followed some others that I’ve found related to the hobby.

What I see is this: Some people are speaking into the space “at” those who might be following their feed. There are some people putting “resources” out there as blog posts.  But, more than that…I see Community.

I see people talking to each other, not simply “at” them. I see people sharing. I see people using Twitter as a means to connect in other areas as well.

I see Community.  I experience Community.

I’m going to pair down who I’m following on Twitter. It’s time to start interacting more. I can’t seriously expect to interact with hundreds of people.

In this case, less is more.

I wonder how many of us in the “Christian” space are just speaking at people, and not fostering Community?

I’m not talking only about Twitter, but in the space around where I sit, eat, breathe and have my being.

We think that “effective communication” is “me getting my point across.”

Maybe effective communication is the kind that leads to a community being effectively lived together.

Maybe?

Or, am I just talking at you?

Tim