Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cleaning up and cleaning out…

Time to get serious...

Viewer beware!  Contents of this photo might be scary!!

Summer fun also brings summer clean up and clean out.  This year is particularly overwhelming as I put away six years of seminary in some type of an organized fashion.

What to keep?

What to purge?

And the major issue is…where do I put it?

Let me just say that this is one corner of the room.  Multiply by 4 plus what is hanging around outside the office…yikes!

Instead of waiting for some lightning-bolt plan, I have to start today.  Otherwise, I will either go crazy or miss some extremely important event in my life.

As I contemplate the OT text for the week, Genesis 22: 1-14 (Abraham and Isaac), I am really struck by the faith of Abraham to move forward knowing that God will provide.  Abraham was really good at this: being faithful, not without questions or doubts, but nonetheless moving forward before there was a certain answer.  I find comfort in that in some way, knowing that I can draw on this biblical story as I move through my office this week.  For I know what I have ahead of me:

putting away some really joyful and amazing times from my internship in a place I can draw from when I need them,

setting aside issues that are burning in my heart  to wait and see what new place God has planned for me,

purging old dreams and projects to make way for new ones.

For is it not the cleaning up that is difficult, it is the cleaning out, letting go, making room to be able to accept new things as I move forward.

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My Father’s Eyes

Happy Father’s Day, friends!

 

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Take 5 and soak in the peace…

Lord, make us instruments of your peace

Lord, Make us instruments of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let your love increase
Lord, make us instruments of your peace,
Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease
When we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred, we will show his love
Where there is injury, we will never judge
Where there is striving, we will speak his peace
To the millions crying for release,
We will be his instruments of peace

Lord, Make us instruments of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let your love increase
Lord, make us instruments of your peace,
Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease
When we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is blindness, we will pray for sight
where there is darkness, we will shine his light
Where there is sadness, we will bear their grief
To the millions crying for relief,
We will be your instruments of peace.

Peace be with you…

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What are you doing with your spiritual gifts?

 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

-1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NRSV)

Whenever I hear this text I think of…Coca-Cola.  You know what I mean, the original advertisement, the one…from 1971…I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.  Go ahead watch and enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib-Qiyklq-Q

When we are using our spiritual gifts we are living in the spirit.  All of our gifts working together for the Creating One is harmony.  They are not the gifts within one community.  They are the gifts of the entire world as shown in the Coca-Cola ad.

What are your spiritual gifts?

How will you be using them today?

Don’t know what your spiritual gifts are?

Ask a true friend… and believe them.

Peace

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Breathe…

It is summer.

So why is the list longer than ever?!?

Kids need this for camp.  House needs that fixed.  Fridge needs to be filled again today because everything I bought yesterday has been consumed.  Kids want to go here.  I need to go there.  What I was hoping to be a laid-back summer is proving to be just more chaos!!!

At least, that’s how I see it.  My kids are totally happy.

How do I turn chaos into something more constructive?

Breathe.  Remember to breathe!  BREATHE!!

Deep breath is the best remedy to chaos.  It is my Calgon moment.  It is Five Minutes Peace in mere seconds.  For in that deep breath, I connect with a center that is stronger than I am.  That center can handle choas, looking past the moment of anxiety changing the moment to peace.  Sometimes it takes two or three breaths…or four…or five.  Whatever it takes to diffuse the moment of choas.

I am so glad my Yoga instructor will be back in the country next week.  I need some shavasna for sure!!  Yoga can be a great spiritual discipline.  I learned so much about the breath in Yoga.  You can find a studio near you.  Or check out an online yoga coach. My friend Sarah has a great one.

Redeeming Yoga

As you learn about the power of the breath, consider the breath of God.  How is God’s breath sustaining you?  If you are seeking healing, check out a great book by Reuben Habito:

The Healing Breath

May you be blessed today as you notice your breath and the breath of God around you.

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Making conscious decisions as Christians…

This is a great reminder for me today.  May you be blessed, as well.

“As members of churches we are also members of other groups and institutions – political parties, economic organizations, regional and national associations.  Each of these constituencies has its vested interests, its value systems, and its authority figures.  We cannot deny our participation in these groups; in fact, it is of the utmost importance that these memberships be acknowledged, lest we become unconsciously possessed by them.  But the challenge before us as followers of Jesus Christ is to make conscious decisions as Christians, honoring our commitment to him above the claims and assumptions of every other authority.

– from Seeking God’s Peace in a Nuclear Age: A Call to Disciples of Christ

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Searching for power…

Acts 1:6-8

6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When my third child was a toddler, he loved the move “Super Baby Geniuses”.  He went through a phase of wanting green food coloring in his apple juice so he could see the “power in the juice”.   (We jokingly called it “Hulk juice” until we realized… there is actually an alcoholic beverage called that!)  Anyway, I was reminded how much we learn visually in the world today.  Green juice = super power, of course!

Being on this side of the Resurrection, the Ascension, and Pentecost, Christians know the power of the Holy Spirit in the church.  Yet, there are days I want the simplicity of green juice = super power.  Since that isn’t true in my adult world, I imagine what my super power looks like from the inside out.  And beyond that, how will I interpret that into witness for Christ?

What I realize in my search is that the power is already within me.  The story doesn’t have to be great to share…just authentic.  Because the Holy Spirit will carry the story and gently place it in the right ears and on the right hearts.  Since I do not know the timing of God, I will simply plant the seed.

As you search for power today, may you encounter the power of gentleness within you.

 

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My peace I give to you…

John 14: 25-29

25“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”

Pentecost.

One more promise.

Imagine hearing this for the first time.

It is a message of peace.

Jesus promises peace. Yet, the peace is not of this world.  It is a new kind of peace that cannot be seen.  It is given that we may believe that the risen Christ dwells with us in a new way.

It is an invitation.

An invitation to be open to the Advocate when the Spirit arrives.  Are you ready to put aside your doubt and fear?  Are you willing to be vulnerable to put aside the peace of this world to accept the peace of Christ through the Holy Spirit?

It is a different kind of peace, my friends.

It is a peace through which doubt and uncertainty coexist with belief and certainty.  Jesus does not say let go of doubt and fear.  He says put it aside.  For it is through the setting aside that the promise if fulfilled.  The “someone greater than I” pours peace into my heart that allows me to live confidently with doubt and uncertainty.

This is my prayer for you today.

Be open to the power of the Holy Spirit who will pour peace into your heart this day and every day.

Thanks be to God.

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The Holy Spirit…

May you be blessed by these words from  Joan Chittister:

Together we pray:

The Holy Spirit embodies the life force of the universe, the power of God, the animating energy present in all things and captured by none. On this great feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit of God, I invite you to pray with me:

 

May the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

bring fire to the earth

so that the presence of God

may be seen

in a new light,

in new places,

in new ways.

 

May our own hearts

burst into flame

so that no obstacle,

no matter how great,

ever obstructs the message

of the God within each of us.

 

May we come to trust

the Word of God in our heart,

to speak it with courage,

to follow it faithfully

and to fan it to flame in others.

 

May the Jesus

who filled women

with his Holy Spirit

fill the world and the church

with new respect

for women’s power and presence.

 

Give me, Great God,

a sense of the Breath of Spirit

within me as I…

(State the intention

in your own life at this time

for which you are praying.)

 

Amen.

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Silence: from fear to fortress…

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

[Selah]

-Psalm 62:5-8 (NRSV)

When I was young, I was afraid of silence.  It was like the darkness of the night for me.  In silence I held my breath, wondering what was lying in the dark corners.  In silence all of my senses became dulled.  I hid from the beauty of the world around me wondering what the silence would bring.  I could not find the gift in silence.

As I read these words of strength from the psalmist, I am reminded how I must put aside my fears to fully trust in God.  When this happens, the most amazing things happen.  I see gifts in silence like  the rose exposing her innermost beauty.

Trust in her at all times, O people; pour out your heart before her; God’s refuge is blooming right before us.

 

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