Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Student or Disciple?

Are you a disciple or a student of Christ?

Disciple, right? That's the term we use because that's the term used in the Bible. But a disciple is much more than a student, even more than a follower. 

I've been learning T'ai Chi for a little over a year. I'm picking up a few hints about Chinese culture along the way. Discipleship and lineage is very important in the Chinese culture. Our T'ai Chi school is the Yang-style of T'ai Chi, which refers to lineage. Those who started the school were disciples of Master T.T. Liang.

Master Liang's daughter, An-Le, writes an introduction to the book, "Lessons with Master Liang," by Ray Hayward. In it she says this:

"My father explained to us how a discipleship/family relationship works. After passing through a formal ceremony, Ray became my brother. The "Old Chinese" way was that disciples would take care of family members. Ray was closer to my father than Joseph and I, closer than a son or daughter...People will dispute the facts, but I know who my father's disciples are...[Ray]was always there for my dad...My father had many good students, but he only had two disciples, Ray Hayward and Paul Abdella."

There are several things we can see in An-Le's account that teach us about discipleship.
   *Disciples are counted as family.
   *Disciples can be closer to the master than family members.
   *Disciples are to care for the master's family members.
   *Disciples are devoted to the master.

Are you a student or a disciple of Christ?

Ponder this with me today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Brain Cleanse

Do you ever get distracted when meditating or praying? I'm sure it never happens to you, but I often stop and realize my thoughts have gone off on their own journey to no place in particular. I have to stop and refocus. But aren't there ways to curb our thoughts, at least a little?


Here's a great tip: Keep a notebook close by and jot down every stray thought as soon as you recognize it. Writing it down will allow your mind to release it. Then refocus on your meditation.

A great habit to adopt is to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness thoughts every day. You can do it in the morning before an early meditation to clear the mind before beginning. Or you can do it each night before bed. You'll be amazed how peaceful you sleep when wandering thoughts are first put to rest.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

10-Minute Meditation for Christians

Here's a simple practice of Christian meditation that can be done in 10 minutes. Or you can linger and allow a little more time. A short practice of meditation once or twice a day (at the beginning and end of the day) can focus our thoughts throughout the day and avoid the stress caused by cluttered minds which are unable to process things as they come.

-Find a comfortable place to sit, a place you won’t be interrupted.
-Sit up straight, alert, but comfortable.
-Breathe deeply, filling the stomach, then up into the chest. Release the breath from the chest first, then slowly allow the stomach to sink toward the back as you are emptied of all the air. Do this a few times then continue deep, slow, but natural breathing.
-Focus on any noise outside of you for several seconds. Once you acknowledge them, you’ll be able to forget about them.
-Focus on your breathing for a moment. Feel the breath flowing in and out. Feel it tickle under your nose.
-allow your focus to turn to Jesus, the Word, alive and active, who created all of life, and continues to sustain it—upholding all things by the Word of His power.
-Be still and know He is God.
-Take a verse or phrase from the Bible and ponder its meaning. 
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ~Philippians 4:13
-Allow thanksgiving to flow from you.