Shownotes: Episode 012: What Rev Dr Mark Crist Can Teach You About the Importance of Holistic Living—Interview with Rev Dr Mark Crist, Pastor at First UMC, Wahoo, NE
Living from God’s Center and a Holistic Lifestyle
For Mark, living from God’s center has to do with a holistic lifestyle. All the information from his Masters and Doctorate degrees started to converge and he was overwhelmed, feeling disconnected from God and church. This affected his leadership in the church. It became overwhelming.
Once Mark began to assimilate all the information he had acquired and began to see that his life was not as it should be along with health issues along the way, he came to an awakening. It didn’t happen all at once. It took a long time. A lot of the stuff has been years in the making. Now it feels good to be at the place he is at, which is practicing holistic health which is living from God’s center because everything he is doing now points back to God instead of it pointing to him.
Mark is more intentional. Part of it is being patient. He has had to learn patience again and again as against the societal emphasis on “now.” That is not the way it works with God.
Living from God’s Center—a Life of Dependence
Living from God’s Center, this holistic lifestyle, means that Mark is literally depending on God for everything—the air he breathes, food he eats, clothes on his back, roof over his head, the ministry he is a part of. He doesn’t believe ministry is done in a vacuum. It is always with others in the church, the community or wherever. Those components were all there, but they were piecemealed together. There were different mini-discoveries.
Now, he feels more connected to God than he has ever felt in his life because he realizes that his physical, emotional, spiritual, social health are all connected to God. These are things God has given him just like the grace God has given him to guide him through this journey.
Holistic Practices for a Holistic Lifestyle
- Coffee, Upper Room Devotions—email and FB (God wants you to know). Mark also checks out FB notifications while waiting for coffee. He does 3 devotions interspersed with coffee making and drinking.
- 30 minutes writing morning pages, puts them on a flash drive and carries it with him. He puts down his emotions and spirituality pieces while writing. It is a clearing, analysis, purging.
- Next he goes to Bible with prayer guide and spiritual practices you could apply. He does lectio divina and then writes that out.
- Then he either exercises downstairs or he will go on a bike ride from 5 to 10 to 15 miles. After that he might do other exercises.
- Then he will have breakfast.
- During the day he’ll do a brief devotional around 11.45 and 4.45. Alarm on phone to remind him at those times.
- There are also days where if he has a little bit of time he will take a book that feeds him spiritually and he’ll go to the bookstore or coffee shop and read. Reading is an incorporation of spiritual discipline.
The Path to a Holistic Lifestyle
Mark didn’t take the path to get to Living from God’s center, to holistic living. The path was chosen for him. God’s hand was in it all the time. 3 years ago he had a major cardiovascular health episode that could have been fatal. It was life-changing. It was a scary time as he recovered. As he recovered physically the emotional aspect came on. He was a spiritual and emotional wasteland. As he started to deal with the physical and emotional, the spiritual came into play. From those three, the social also came into play. He began to step out of his comfort zone with interactions with people.
Last year, Mark had gall bladder surgery. That surgery was endemic of all the problems he had for years. As with the heart surgery, it was an immediate change. He was beginning to see how God had taken him from where he was to where he is now. All of these things have worked together: “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to Gods purpose” (Romans 8:28). It is the mystery of God for him.
Advice to those seeking to live from God’s center on moving to holistic living
- Trust in God with all your heart and do not rely on the things you think you know. Proverbs 3:5–6
- If you find yourself in that place, look at everything that has brought you to that point so that you realize that you have the tools at your disposal to let God work through those tools to bring you out of that place.
The 3 most important books
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
- The Four Vision Quests of Jesus by Steven Charleston
- Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holliday
- Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright
- Transformative Leadership: Developing the Hidden Dimension by Eloy Anello, Joan Hernandez and May Khadem
- Breathing Underwater: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr
- Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions by Gerald May
- Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception by Abraham J. Twerski
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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Music: “A True Friend” by Josh Molen
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