屬靈操練

This is part of my Sunday school class notes.

什麼是屬靈操練?

  • 屬靈操練 Spiritual Discipline
    • 習慣而刻意的屬靈活動。Intentional habitual practice of spiritual activity.
  • 傅士德 Richard Foster 把屬靈操練分成三方面:
    • 內在操練:默想、禱告、禁食、讀經
    • 外在操練:簡樸、獨處、順服、事奉
    • 團體操練:彼此認罪、同心敬拜、門徒訓練、與眾同樂

錯誤的屬靈操練

  • 把屬靈操練當成律法
  • 不明白屬靈操練的社會影響力
  • 以為屬靈操練是德行
  • 注重屬靈操練,不見耶穌
  • 只注重一種的屬靈操練,不明白整全屬靈操練
  • 以為屬靈操練的專家可以明白所有屬靈操練的途徑
  • 只學習屬靈操練,不認真實踐

 

聖經對屬靈操練的教導

  • 申命記 5:12-15 (安息日)
  • 申命記 6:4-9
  • 哥林多前書 9:24-27
  • 提摩太前書 4:8
  • 歌羅西書 2:20-23
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Blackberry poisoning

Perhaps we remember the thrill of getting a company issued cell phone – we are now important enough that the company is going to pay to allow us to communicate. That delusion is quickly replaced by unrelenting assault that little device perform against our personal lives. In 2008, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that employees with company phones often worked more than 50 hours a week, with 62 percent saying that having the gadgets triggered demands that they work more hours; 38 percent said that the demands increased “a lot.”

European companies have started to wake up against this invasion. For example Volkswagen has banned email to employees outside work hours – with the exception of senior management. Here in the “highly productive” U.S., we probably will never follow the examples of those “lazy” Europeans. We love our Blackberries, even when they are poisoning us.

Let us wake up to the fact that having a company issued phone really does not mean that you are important. When your company downsize, you’ll be gone regardless. To the contrary, the more your business is conducted over the network, the easier it is for your job to be outsourced to India.

“No!”, you might say, “if I miss my message, the company will suffer a great loss!”

Let’s look at this from another perspective. In the computer industry, we all know the value of having backup systems. Every system fails sooner or later – human beings included. To survive failures, we need backup plans. Those backup plans need to be up to date and exercised – that is why we have to have fire drills regularly. A well designed system cannot have a single point of failure, just as any building needs multiple fire escapes.

If your company suffers loss when you miss a phone call during your dinner, you are the company’s single point of failure. A well run company should have arranged for backup staff, and those backup staff should be well trained and authorized to make decisions in your place. In a well organized company, there should be no one who can hold the entire company hostage.

So if you get a lot of emails and phone calls after hours, or when you find yourself having to interrupt your family life to attend to business, do not rejoice and think that you are indispensable. You are just working for a dysfunctional company.

2012 in Review

Looking back at 2012, the year ended with sad news. Here on the US east coast, we were first struck with Super-storm Sandy, which killed at least 135 people, and then with the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, which took away 26 innocent lives. If I were to make a bold prediction, I would say that among baby girls born in 2013, “Sandy” will not be a very popular name. To make these events specially tragic, both tragedies occurred a few weeks before major holidays for US families. We had a chaotic Thanksgiving and a Christmas with broken hearts.

In the political world, even though the three largest economies (US, China, Japan) had elections and/or leadership changes, the entire world is still living on the edge of fiscal collapse. Political change means very little true reform, and instills little hope.

In such times, we often doubt God. Is God spiteful or incompetent? Are we being punished by God? or is God incapable in helping us?

My friend Bill Peel reminded me that at the time of the birth of Christ, God’s people were asking the same questions. They were under uncertain leadership, they were displaced from their homes, and their children were brutally massacred.

To quote my favorite book title from Francis Shaeffer, “He is here and He is not silent”. God was present inside every storm of our lives. He was there when the innocent were slain. He grieves with every parent the same way He grieved at the Cross.

Our Lord asked in Gethsemane, “Is there is another way?” The answer was “No.” The Cross is the only answer.

When we see that Cross, every question is answered. He gave us his Son, what other proofs of His love do we need? If God is for us, who can be against us? This world is not the best of all worlds, but this is the best way to the best world.

The Cross prove that He is not spiteful, the Resurrection prove that He is not incompetent.