Let the Training Begin

 A few hours after I was baptized, way back on February 20, 1977, I read the New Testament book of James in it’s entirety and offered a brief prayer to God asking for help in living this new life I had just been given.  Thus began my quest for spiritual formation.  In the 34 years since that day I have experimented with many spiritual disciplines and exercises seeking to know how best to cooperate with God’s Spirit who is working to form me into the image of Christ.  
In my early years we talked about Spiritual Growth instead of Spiritual Formation and the tools offered were few.  In addition to weekly church attendance the Christians I associated with strongly urged me to develop the practice of a daily Quiet Time.  The first activity of each morning was thus spent in intercessory prayer and Bible reading.  This practice of Quiet Time served me well for a number of years.  Eventually, however, I realized that my daily habit had been taken over by Satan and continually led me into guilt (for not doing it enough) or pride (for my successful accomplishment).  After a great deal of struggle I just had to let the practice go away.
In it’s place I’ve developed a number of other “habits” that have served me well.  As our series of sermons (and Bible Classes) continue I will be sharing with you some of the disciplines that have been well tested by many believers over the centuries.  After today’s sermon a woman in her 60’s told me that just this morning she had been praying, “Lord, I’m so tired of trying.”  When she heard in the sermon the encouragement to “stop trying and start training” she knew the Lord had heard her prayer and was answering the cry of her heart. 
I’ve put Amazon links to some additional resources for those readers who want to go deeper.  I’ll be saying more about these books in the future.  Each of the ones listed here has been personally helpful to me on my journey.  Let the Training Begin!
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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

Comments

6 Responses to “Let the Training Begin”

  1. avatar stevenmaxa says:

    I look forward to following you with this sermon series! Does being a “cool PaPa” give you more insight?

  2. avatar Byron says:

    The proper name is “Cool Pops”, but becoming a grandfather has given me any additional spiritual insight yet. Glad you're going to be following along. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    Studying the Bible had been taken over by Satan?

  4. avatar Byron says:

    Anonymous,

    Never underestimate Satan's ability to use good things for destructive purposes.

  5. avatar tommytwotoez says:

    Amen Byron! It goes without much saying that I'm extremely excited about this upcoming TRAINING series; I don’t really want to call it a lesson series because lessons are sometimes only heard and often never practiced. But training is for the long haul!

    I feel very blessed to be added as an assistant in our class with this series and I pray that I learn much and train greatly. And I feel it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the season of Lent is right on our door step. This emphasize on training will help focus my mind on my relationship with Christ and digging deeper into my spirituality. I wonder if this timing was planned.

    When you asked us if there was something deeper we were craving, as if something was missing, Byron the answer is yes-yes, a thousand times yes! I love God with every fiber of my being, but lately I’ve craved a missing deepness to Jesus. There are so many disciplines that I’ve ignored as well, such as fasting and quietness. As the great Jedi Master Yoda once said, “Do or do not…there is no try.”

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Well – take a step back. You're saying that the ultimate good message of God is being used by the ultimately evil being against you.

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