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Missing Christ

Until high school, I was a struggling student, caring more about fitting in than getting good grades. This immaturity caused me to surround myself with individuals with questionable character. By the time I reached junior high school, I was somewhere between amoral and naïve, going through the motions. This spiritual condition led me to miss Christ’s role in Christmas as presents distracted me from the true meaning of Christmas.

Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us, Romans 5:7-8.

Perhaps, I was hindered by Catholicism, going from point A to point B. After celebrating my first communion, my parents enrolled me in CCD, the Catholic version of Sunday School. Unfortunately, adult Sunday School classes were fun, CCD was more like going to school, but more boring. Instead of simplifying this process, the pursuits of sacraments, theology and traditions staggered my faith.

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [[g]endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness], 2 Corinthians 5:21.

The most important aspect of CCD is preparing 8th graders for Confirmation. While I still didn’t grasp Jesus’ role in the mass of Christ, I was exposed to God’s free gift of salvation, Romans 6:23. Looking back, going through the Confirmation process laid a foundation for my current faith. As you unwrap your gifts this Christmas, don’t miss the spiritual truth of a Savior born to save mankind from sinful desires that wage war against human souls.

by Jay Mankus

The Breathe Prayer

John Michael Talbot’s music career took an unusual turn in 1977 as he withdrew from the world to study Catholicism.  This new direction inspired albums like The Lord’s Supper and Come to the Quiet.  Today, John Michael has become an author, motivational speaker and pioneer, blazing a trail a faith for others to follow.

One of his more popular teachings today is on the Breathe Prayer.  Following a prayer of one of the earliest Christian Churches, Talbot has  created a series of youtubes to guide others as they follow this traditional prayer.  However, Talbot incorporates Christian meditation to empower and enhance a believers prayer life.  As you call on the name of the Lord, you breathe in.  When you say, “have mercy on me” you believe out.  Like a chant, you continue this for several minutes.

The word Lord is derived from 2 old English terms, Loaf and Warden.  Once these 2 words are combined, you get the meaning “the Keeper of the Bread.”  The Jewish process of making bread is listed below:

1) Wheat is cut off at the base.

2) A community of workers gather the stalks together.

3) Threshing the wheat off the stalk at the threshing floor.

4) Letting the wind, separate the wheat from the chaff, usually on a tarp, throwing each up in the air.

5) Crushing the wheat into fine pieces with a grinding stone.

6) Adding water and yeast to the flour you made.

7) Kneading the dough, placing it in a pan.

8) Baking and poking the loaf 3 times so it doesn’t explode.

Since Jesus is called the Bread of Life in John 6:25-40, the breathe prayer serves as a visual exercise, reminding hearts and minds of the identity of Christ.

Although I am an amateur in the field of Christian meditation, its refreshing to see someone develop these prayers and practices.  Since the modern church has sat back and watched as yoga has hijacked the practice of meditation from the Christian faith, there is a place for this lost art, Joshua 1:8-9.  May John Michael Talbot’s material draw you closer to God.

by Jay Mankus

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