Archives For Prayer


When we moved into our first house three years ago, my parents bought us a baby live oak tree as a house-warming present. My dad came over and we planted it in the front yard together. We drove stakes into the ground and tied supports to the tree to keep it from falling over. It was probably 7-8 feet tall at the time.

I was pretty excited.

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Last spring I bought a Groupon for 12 sessions at a CrossFit gym in Dallas. My inspiration was a friend who had dropped more than 100 pounds in 6 months while doing CrossFit workouts three times a week.

If you’re not familiar with CrossFit, it combines elements of rowing, Olympic powerlifting, gymnastics and stretching. And also death. It is not for the faint of heart.

I attended an introductory session called “Elements” to learn some of the basic movements of the workouts. It’s supposed to be an easier version of the full-blown CrossFit training.

About halfway through that hour-long class, as I was sucking wind and grimacing in pain, memories from high school weight training came flooding back. I knew what was coming – the way my muscles were burning. I knew what it meant.

I was going to have trouble walking for a while.

Oh, and I definitely had to run to the bathroom after the workout and puke.

That’s the way it is when you get back into weight training. If you get into it too quickly, and your muscles aren’t used to tearing so much, the lactic acid builds up, and the soreness can be excruciating.

Sure enough, in the days that followed, my body hurt. It hurt to walk on flat ground. It hurt to walk up stairs. It hurt to sit down. It hurt to stand up. It hurt to laugh. It hurt to get in the car. It hurt when someone looked at me.

It’s crazy, isn’t it? Something that’s supposed to be so good for you can hurt so bad!

And, as I think happens more than in just my experience, I didn’t go back. I certainly didn’t feel ready to go back 2 days later. And then a week passed. And then a month.

The initial pain of growth was too great to continue.

I think there’s some truth in this story that can be applied to spiritual training as well.

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This summer the Storyline House Church I’m part of decided to resurrect “Neighbors Lunch” ministry like we did in the “early days” of Storyline (because we’re so old now).

Storyline’s first Neighbors Lunch in June 2008.

The idea initially came to us from Luke 14, where Jesus says something like: “If you’re going to throw a party, don’t invite your rich friends who can repay you. Instead invite the lame, the crippled and the poor. They can’t pay you back so God will have to be the one to reward you.”

We began to wonder: what if we took Jesus seriously and actually did that? I have found that those who ask this question are typically on the cusp of a transformative experience. That’s certainly been the case for us.

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The Key to Knowing God

Charles Kiser —  August 21, 2012 — 10 Comments

I’ve been reading Saint Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle as part of some training I’m receiving from Mission Alive in Spiritual Direction. It is one of the most formative books I’ve read in a long time.

Teresa, a Carmelite nun who lived in the 16th century, describes one’s soul as a castle. Within the castle are seven rooms or mansions (or sets of mansions). At the heart of the castle, in the seventh mansions, is God.

The spiritual journey toward union with God, according to Teresa, is a journey through these seven mansions. Prayer is the way one enters the castle.

My biggest takeaway from the book is what Teresa says is the key to moving through the mansions.

The key to reaching the seventh mansions.

The key to intimate relationship with God and knowledge of oneself.

Again and again she mentions it.

One word.

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A couple months ago Chris Chappotin asked me if I was interested to participate in his “What’s Missing in Missional?” blog series. The deadline came and went, so sorry Chris, but the question has stuck in my head.

My interactions with 3DM over the past 18 months have put the Triangle in the forefront of my mind as an evaluative filter. Simply, the three sides of the triangle reflect the sets of relationships that Jesus balanced in his life rhythms: 1) UP – his relationship to the Father; 2) IN – his relationships to the community of disciples; and 3) OUT – his relationship to the lost sheep of the world. The church, as a community of Jesus’ followers, should balance the same rhythms in its own life.

If “missional” is synonymous with the OUT edge of the Triangle, then churches need to be more than just missional. They also need to have rhythms for UP and IN in their communal life.

To answer the question: What’s missing in missional? The UP and the IN!
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