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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Week of February 25, 2024

Monday, February 26, 2024

Weekly Blog

 

                

               As we engage with Jesus as He turns His attention to the cross that awaits Him, we are challenged as to whether we draw near to Him, or we begin to pull away.  The disciples were quite confused as He began to talk about leaving and going.  For the last nearly three years they we used to Jesus dropping out for short periods of time (for prayer), but He always came back and then they were off to the next place never sure where or why, but they were always invited along.

               As the focus for Jesus changes His language changes as well and He begins to bear down on yet inexperienced terrain for them.  He begins to talk of things that were confusing for them.  Yet, we know the rest of the story, but like the disciples Jesus is asking to join Him in these days and join Him closely.  Join Him using your imagination and opening our hearts to Him so that we actually join Him in the story.

               I confess that I have never opened myself to the experience of The Passion Week, I have only thought about it at best.  As followers of Jesus, we naturally let the centuries separate us from His presence in the story.  We think about it as an event, but not an experience.  If we will allow ourselves to consider what He was thinking and feeling to the degree that the text may allow us, I suspect that He will draw us into a new environment with Him and we will be the better for it.
 
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Week of February 19, 2024

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Weekly Blog


                

               With the advent of Lent, the journey with Jesus takes both a deeper cut and a darker swath as we head to the cross.  The cross is about sin and sacrifice and love and the path to real freedom in Christ.  It is such a “heavy” road and one that we often need to be reminded of.  Substance is often hard and requires a greater engagement from us.  The deeper we experience the darkness of our sin, the greater the glory of forgiveness, love, and freedom.  Seeing the ugliness of sin is not morose but choosing to move more intimate with Jesus.

               No wonder those who have gone before us saw this season as one in which we would genuinely fast as we become more fully aware of the seriousness of the encounter with Jesus’ love for us that would lead Him to the cross, not flippantly but through a well thought out submission.  It is in His humanness that He would fight the good fight for us.  The cross is a serious spiritual moment a grievous moment that made not only atonement for our sins, but also an entry into the life Jesus came to offer to us.

               If we are seriously going to invite the transformation of our lives into the shaping presence, heart, mind, and will of Jesus, then we ought not draw back from heart heaviness of Lent.  The historic practices of fasting (not just abstinence), pray (with lament), and alms-giving are meant to lift us up out of our endless self-referenced living and in a renewed Christ-referenced way of living if only for 40 days.  What an unspeakable blessing!
 
 
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Week of February 12, 2024

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               On the one hand the journey is so very simple and on the other it is so very difficult.  What Jesus has put before us is simple, “Come follow me.”  But the following is so very difficult because we would rather lead than follow.  The problem is we cannot do both, they are mutually exclusive.  As is made clear in the series, The Chosen the disciples of Jesus had to get used to the fact that they rarely knew where they were going, how long they would be there, and what they were to do while they were there.

               It is so very difficult not knowing and not having clarity ahead of time.  Jesus simply called them to follow Him.  Ultimately it was a matter of trust, would they trust Him when they didn’t have all their questions answered?  They had to deal with “soon” or “not now.”  How are we then when it comes to following Him, our followership usually requires trust, patience, and simple obedience with what He has already told us.            

               We are about to enter the season leading up to the Passion Week.  The spirit of this season takes us into a deeper dive of engagement.  If we learn to walk with Jesus, the path is meant to transform our hearts so that we can join Jesus at this time heart to heart.  I suspect that we are hesitant because our comfort is so important to us, but it seems to me that He offers us the same Source and the same comfort that He experienced as He walked this line.  Maybe it is time that we experience the comfort that comes to us in the midst of fellowship with the Trinity, not from a painless life but one rich in love. 
 
 
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Week of Febuary 5, 2024

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               As followers of Jesus, it is imperative that we learn how to live out our purpose in life by watching Him.  In a way the journey of life is so simple, just follow Jesus.  We have the story from the perspectives of His first followers.  These are first person accounts of what He did and how He did what He did.  I think the way has become somewhat vague to us because we are not like what He first spoke of, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

               Apparently, what is most common to us fallen creates is that we are not naturally poor in spirit, yet read from right to left, “the kingdom of heaven is populated by the poor in spirit.”  I suppose in our contemporary vernacular, the kingdom of heaven is populated with those who live a Christ-referenced life and for the most part the kingdom of earth is populated with those who live a self-referenced life.

               We have put a lot of emphasis in our lifetime on getting people converted, but sometimes I wonder.  Maybe we haven’t challenged our spiritual family to embrace the way of the kingdom of heaven.  It begins with being poor in spirit.  If what Jesus said is true, maybe the kingdom of heaven is what Jesus showed us what it was and our natural lifestyle is our problem, a big problem.  Maybe we haven’t known that we have been converted from accumulation of wealth, seeking honor, and control of all things.  If I understand the word, conversion spiritually speaking is to be converted from something and converted to something.  I suspect simply following Jesus takes away from what has been and to what hasn’t been.  

 

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Week of January 28, 2024

Monday, January 29, 2024

Weekly Blog

 

               As we track the movements of Jesus this week, He takes us with Him to the synagogue in Simon, Andrew, Big James, and John’s hometown, Capernaum.  Rabbinically-trained, Jesus stands to explain the Old Testament text and suddenly the audience is exposed to authoritative teaching.  Not the same “humdrum, mind-dulling” expose’ of the sacred text.  Jesus stands out in the most elementary way.

               In the words of William Manson, British theologian, “The rabbi taught, and nothing happened, Jesus taught, and all kinds of things happened.”  I suspect that when we are truly open to the Spirit who has inspired the text and when we are hungry for God, then the text comes alive to us, and we are transformed little by little.  Being shaped by the Word is a glorious experience in the adventure we live.

               Jesus audience is often taken with the phenomenon that attends His words, but when we are truly open in our minds and hearts to truth, the truth stays with us.  It is the nutrition for the soul.  The phenomenon is simply the packaging.  It is meant to get our attention.  It is meant to illustrate the power that lies in the truth.  It is through the Word in our hearts and souls that creates the light of Christ in us.

 

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Week of January 7, 2024

Monday, January 08, 2024

Weekly Blog

 

               As we track the movements of Jesus this week, He takes us with Him to the Jordan River and His encounter with His cousin, John, the one we have come to call “the Baptist.”  The point of John Mark’s description of that day is that the way of Jesus is the way of humility.  I turn to Paul for the most direct definition of the term when he wrote to his brethren in Rome when he said, “… rather think of yourself with sober judgment….”  I think that is an excellent definition of humility…sober judgment.

               In my vernacular I describe this humility as being “comfortable in your own skin.”  There is no deceiving oneself, no “kidding ourselves.”  Humility is based on the truth of things, on reality.  It means living without inflating oneself or deflating oneself.  Humility only truly exists when we can see ourselves as beloved sinners.  God sees us for who we are not who we are not.  And yet His love for us remains consistent.

               Jesus begins His work with a clear-cut declaration by His Father as beloved and a delight.  All before He begins to function in the assignment that He was given…the Savior of humankind.  Like Jesus our creation is a beloved delight in the heart of the Father.  Being beloved delight is meant to set us free to love Him more nearly and walk with Him more clearly day by day.  We are meant to start the day with affirmation not living the day striving for affirmation.  It is ours but we have to receive it.  Living for our glory is the perpetual carrot on a stick.  The carrot never becomes ours.  

 

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Week of December 31, 2023

Monday, January 01, 2024

Weekly Blog

 

               Today we celebrate the first week of Christmas.  The journey leads us through the “showing” of who Jesus is to the beginning of His official incarnational work.  Jesus said early on “I must work the works of Him who has sent Me while it is day for the night comes when no one can work.”  Ironically, that became my life verse about age 10 or 11.  It still describes what each day is about.  Along with that comes a meaningful life purpose.

               The principle and foundation for those of us who follow Jesus was stated in Isaiah’s prophecy, “… for you have been created for My glory.”  The point is we are here for the sake of the Other – the glory or shining of God.  We are here to make Him shine throughout the planet.  The life that we have been given is a gift that we can choose its shape and substance.

               Jesus has given us the freedom of partnership with Him.  He made that concrete when He described our role as a yoke, designed to keep us aligned and in cadence with Him.  As we enter a new calendar year, this is a great time to evaluate our alignment and reflect on the speed of our cadence.  Often, we push ahead of Jesus but at the same time we are often speed by the opportunities that He places before us.  Stopping to reflect is a grace, the pure unmerited favor of God where God is at work. 

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Week of December 24, 2023

Monday, December 25, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               The candle for our celebration of this fourth Sunday of Advent is the angels’ candle.  The lectionary gospel readings highlight the experience of the shepherds (the lowest class of folk) out doing the dirty stinking cold and lonely work of attending to flocks of the wealthy.  It is to these people on that night that the angels of the Most High came and announced the salvation story.

               The conversation the angels brought was the announcement of what had happened.  The physical reality could be discovered in a “trailer park” of sorts in the midst of farm animals.  The encouragement was to go and see for yourselves and then tell everyone.  It is a message from the ground up not the top down.  It has remained that way.

               The message becomes reality as the shepherds confirm what has been told them.  The message becomes Good News for everyone.  God only waits for us to come to grips with the importance of the Good News – news that lasts, that never loses its dynamic.  Maybe we live fast asleep needing an angel of the Lord to reawaken us to the Good News of Bethlehem.

 

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Week of December 17, 2023

Monday, December 18, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               The candle for our celebration of this third Sunday of Advent is the shepherds’ candle.  The lectionary gospel readings highlight the conversation John the Baptist had with the Jewish leaders.  John’s conversation entailed what the Baptist had said about himself and how he referred to Jesus as one among them that they were blind to.

               The conversation regarded light in the midst of darkness.  Unless one recognizes one’s own bent toward darkness, it is hard to recognize the light.  It always has been, and I suppose it always will be.  I’m reminded of something Jesus said later in John’s gospel when He was describing the arrival of the Spirit and announced His task.  “… He will convict men of sin, righteousness, and judgment.”

               The purpose of the Light is to reveal itself in the midst of the surrounding darkness.  I think that an important posture for us as we anticipate the Advent celebration and the second Advent event it is a good time to make space for reflection on the light of Christ within us.  The purpose of the light is to shine.  As it takes up residence within us our work in this Advent Season is to shine the light on the Light.

 

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Week of December 10, 2023

Monday, December 11, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               The candle for our celebration of this second Sunday of Advent is the Bethlehem candle.  The lectionary gospel readings highlight the prophecy of Isaiah regarding John the Baptist.  John Mark was most likely a teenager in the Baptist’s day, and he recalls his experience with the Baptist from his youthful perspective.  The prophet impacted Mark in a way that prepared him to respond to Jesus.

               The Baptist’s message prepared a dry spiritual climate with the vibrancy of confession and repentance.  We probably minimize the connection between confession, repentance and salvation faith, but it seems from God’s perspective since this was His plan from centuries before that as fallen people, we would need a message and action of preparation before we would be ready to receive from Jesus.

               I think that an important posture for us as we anticipate the Advent celebration and the second Advent event it is a good time to make space for reflection on the condition of our souls.  Are we living in the vitality of Jesus’ way, truth, and life or have we lost the edge of our spiritual openness to the conviction and work of the Holy Spirit.  Make this Advent Season one for a greater intimacy with the Prince of Peace.

 

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Week of December 3, 2023

Monday, December 04, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               The candle for our celebration of this first Sunday of Advent is the candle of prophecy.  The lectionary gospel readings highlight Jesus’ conversation with the disciples just before the beginning of what turned out to be the Passion week.  They we about to lose Him in flesh and blood and yet they could not conceive of such a thing, so I assume much of what He said about His return escaped their comprehension.

               How could it be that you are leaving, you just got here as far as they were concerned and yet here is Jesus describing something they would not experience in their lifetime.  That would suggest to me that He was talking to them for our sake as much as for their sake.  The main thing in all that He says seems to me to pay attention. Learn to live alert!  Not only in order to be ready for His return in power, glory, and judgment, but also to simply live well.

               Living in light of Christ and living with a sense of accountability for that which is beyond oneself is to live well.  Living life for ourselves is dead-end living.  Maybe that is why there is so much deadness around us.  Someone wrote a book about that with the descriptors of “terminal thinking” and “relational thinking.”  Relating the events, experiences, and knowledge for the sake of others breeds vitality and dynamic.  Acquiring accomplishments, experiences, or knowledge as an end in itself is terminal or death creating.  Make this Advent Season one for the sake of others.

 

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Week of November 12, 2023

Monday, November 13, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               I was struck with the contemporary importance of the Protestant Reformation this week.  I had coffee with a Catholic brother, a true brother in Christ.  I have no doubt as to the genuineness of his faith in Christ, but I so disagreed with his theology.  One of the things that the Reformers did for us was to call us to certain certainties call sola or “alone.”  Not everything that is popular is true.  There have always been traditions that enter our frame of thought that “fit nicely” but are not true.

               The spirit of the Reformation was one of pushing away from certain traditions and embracing true truth claims.  Traditions form around taking our earthly definitions of God instead of God’s biblical definitions of Himself that can be observed in the scriptures in how He reveals Himself.  Inevitably in time man’s ideas of reality trump truth, especially when man’s sentiments digress from God’s way.

               It was a good experience for me as I had to consider how I responded in the midst of the conversation.  I am clearer about the theology than I am about myself.  The conversation was greatly fruitful for me in that it caused me to face myself and what the issues are that God would have me face.  I saw in myself one of the “sins of the fathers” that I was somewhat aware of but ignorant of its impact in how I relate to others.  The net is, it was a very healthy conversation for me.

 

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Week of November 5, 2023

Monday, November 06, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               In the rhythm of the church that some are aware of and others not so much, but I think it is a worthwhile celebration.  It is usually referred to a “All Saints Day.”  I think it is worthwhile to remember those who have gone before us that God used to lead us to faith in Christ.  God used some to explain the gospel of Christ to us and others he used to show us the way through their lives.

               Many times, in modern history there have been multitudes of efforts to draw attention to the salvation message.  In my lifetime whether it was a Billy Graham Crusade or other evangelist or the “I Found It” strategy or simply sharing the Four Spiritual Laws with fellow college students.  We are a very media savvy population, but in my life, it was the influence of those who were living out the character of Jesus in one way or another that had the most impact on me.

               When I think of saints, I think of those that grasped the way of love and sacrifice to provide a path with clarity in pursing the Jesus way, truth, and life.  Since childhood I have had the grace of spiritual writers who speak to the deeper issues in discipleship.  These writers who have passed on to glory continue to speak to me of what the way of the greater glory of God is.  I have discovered true saints from different theological stripes who grasped God’s love and His ways from biblical days throughout the following history.

 

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Week of October 29, 2023

Monday, October 30, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               Today we celebrate an event in history that makes a great difference in the lives of those who follow Jesus.  Reformation Sunday is a commemoration of a time of choosing the Word over tradition, truth over supposition, faith over works, grace over penance, Christ over the Church.  The practical point is that to be a disciple of Jesus is to focus in on the “freedom of the Christian.”

               As followers of Jesus, we have a heritage of courage, not just courage in the past but the way of courage in the present.  Standing on the truth of Christ and standing up for the truth is part of our DNA. As is often the case we tend to depend on the work that those in the past did for our sakes while the challenge is to do the work to refresh and sustain the truth in the present.

               Truth separates fact from fiction, but the learning to live Jesus’ truth is an expression of compassion, not judgment.  Judgment is God’s bailiwick not ours.  But we can and are called to hold to the truth.  In both the heavenlies and on earth truth is always under attack.  As disciples of Jesus we are called to step up and fill the gaps all around us with truth.  

 

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Week of October 22, 2023

Monday, October 23, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               I’m thinking about the “wisdom of stability” these days.  Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove wrote a book by that name to describe the work that God had given he and his wife to do in Walltown area of Durham, North Carolina.  A group of believers made a commitment to live in a run-down area of Durham and bring the way of Jesus through their personal and communal lives.  It required staying put and living out the gospel of Christ.

               In our faith community we have been studying the attributes of God over the last several months as we seek to learn to know who God is and how He is different necessarily than ourselves.  Our final theme focuses on the immutability of God, a God who does not change.  What occurs to me is that God knows that the immutability of God is important for us.  Everything in temporal life is on the move usually in dissipation.

               The stability of God is life, eternal life.  His staying the same is anything but boring.  The stability of God as He enters our lives is the source of a dynamic life.  His immutability when we embrace Him allows us to be the creatures that He created us to become.  Steadiness of life is the environment for profound change.  I am thankful that the unchanging God of ours is continually present and accessible.

 

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Week of October 14, 2023

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               One of the great dilemmas in living as humans is our natural bent toward fulfilling our own will while we live in a universe governed by God’s will.  It some ways we are simply kidding ourselves when we think we have power over the will and ways of God.  I suppose that the very nature of sin is to think we are who we are not and to think that we have power over all circumstances of life.  I think about that when I hear someone say, “I’m never going to let that happen again” as though they have the power over every uncomfortable circumstance.

               The fact is we live under the umbrella of God’s sovereignty.  Only God is totally free, and our freedom is rooted in Jesus.  Our self-protective instincts can control our actions.  It is only when we receive our freedom from Him and in Him that we have any semblance of true freedom and yet it is freedom to find ourselves safe under the will of the One who loves us most.

               God’s sovereignty becomes our friend when we make space to reflect on the many showings in our lives where God showed up with goodness, beauty, and truth.  Seeing God go before us is a way for us to embrace His sovereignty.  I’m so glad that God is sovereign that He has always known what was good and He has always had the power to work within His will of “prosperity” of spiritual goodness for me.  Learn to pay attention to His ways with each of us is the path to so much joy.

 

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Week of October 8, 2023

Monday, October 09, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               It is God’s job alone to maintain the wholeness which is the healthiness of the universe.  That is why He gets angry over sin.  Sin disrupts and destroys our wholeness and the universe’s wholeness because we are part of the universe.  That is why we need to tune into holiness.  Holiness maintains our wholeness as well as the universe’s wholeness.  Holiness is our friend because it is for our good.  Unholiness robs us of our well-being.

               God is always interested in our good.  It would seem that we aren’t always.  Why would I choose that which is to my detriment?  Maybe the fact is I have been tricked by the evil one and frankly, I trick myself.  That is the hard thing to keep in mind.  Often, I don’t know what is best for me and I am willing to settle for less than God is willing to do.

               My point is holiness is our friend.  If we don’t hold out for it in our world, who will?  There is a beauty in holiness, and we need to learn to see it that way.  It is up to us as followers of Jesus to hold fast to holiness.  That is our first assignment.  Gordon T. Smith makes a great case for the fact that our main work is vocational holiness in his book, Called to Be Saints.  

 

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Week of September 24, 2023

Monday, September 25, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               We have officially entered the autumn season and with it a different rhythm.  Along with the weather in this season it is like a reprieve before winter.  It is a perfect season to notice, attend to, and wonder.  I think we are okay with noticing, not as good at making the space necessary to attend to, but utter failures at wondering.  Wondering requires stopping and allowing ourselves to enter into awe.

               Awe speaks to our souls and our souls provide the sacredness of our lives.  If we make empty space to notice that leads to wonder, we need the space to use our imagination as well as our thinking.  Our imagination brings color to our lives.  It helps us see beyond the surface of reality and engage the depths of life.  Wondering leads us beyond our self-referenced thinking in order to see God behind all that is.                                                                                                                                                                                                

               Autmn is also the season for preparation.  Though it never last as long as I would like, it does provide enough time to take on the richness, the spiritual calories if you will that will be needed for the natural transitions and challenges that no doubt are ahead for us.  Preparation takes time and it is a process of good labor that enriches the soul.  I think the challenge of autumn is to make empty space that is not distracted so that we can receive what God has to give us.

 

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Week of September 17, 2023

Monday, September 18, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               This week I am giving thought to the compassion and mercy of God.  What is difficult for us is that according to the scriptures (Ex. 33:19) God chooses who He has mercy for and who He is compassionate toward.  What God does is governed by His own will and His actions are not according to a principle.  I think we want life to be governed by impersonal principles so that we can be assured of what will happen.  But in fact, that is on us, not on God.

               On one hand we are quick to confirm that God is Person and relates to us personally, yet we are not ready for what that means.  Our first error in our thinking is that we know what God’s attributes mean and how they will be expressed in our “earthly” life.  It behooves us to study the scriptures to see how God’s ways have been with His created ones and how it varies in accordance with His purposes.

               What is consistent is that in compassion and mercy God came to earth to provide a way for our salvation.  That is available to all who believe.  We can choose to place our lives in His hands for His purposes (Isa. 43:7) and that is a compassionate path.  In His compassion He offers to shape and form us in the way of Jesus.  Compassion and mercy is all around us, but always on His terms.

 

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Week of September 10, 2023

Monday, September 11, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               This week I am giving thought to the justice of God.  Our most common distorted attachment is that we have a tendency to think about justice from the center of ourselves out.  Such as if it seems just to me then it is just.  If it doesn’t seem just to me then it isn’t just.  I suspect that most of our practical theology is not with God and His Word and actions, but with our “take” on things that fit our way of thinking.  Thus, when it comes to our understanding of life we live with a distorted perspective.

               When we look carefully at how God looked at things through His story with us, we see that the notions of righteousness and justice stands apart from our normal human self-referenced perspective.  It would seem that with absence of God as the center of reality we are particularly at a loss to come to grips with the fact that reality defies our sensibilities.

               We can glibly declare that we need to let God be God, but are we ready for that?  To let God be who He is requires that we live in submission to Him, how He thinks and how He acts.  The scriptures are replete with story after story of what God says and what God does.  Can we learn to let Him define the meaning of the words that we are given.  If we choose live what He says and if we accept what He does our lives become more of what we were created for.  

 

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Week of August 27, 2023

Monday, August 28, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               If we learn God’s way and if we walk in the light as He is in the light we will stand apart as odd, irrelevant, and out of touch.  Things have come to that in our world!  Living tossed to and fro by the ever-changing mood of our day has come to be known as an in-step, progressive mindset.  No wonder there is such a stressful spirit that describes ordinary life in our contemporary world.  To stand apart has never been acceptable.  It wasn’t in Jesus’ day, and it isn’t in our day.

               The Chosen has informed us that Jesus was mostly known as a “rogue preacher” to the establishment.  To walk in the light as He is in the light continues to identify us as radical or revolutionary.  Our greatest challenge is to stay the course to the end and not bend to the forces that surround the followers of Jesus to “not be ridiculous” and “find a middle ground” in which to carry our “religion.”  Among the many influences that his solitary life revealed, Jesus’ “centeredness” was and is the most powerful.

               I think our challenge is to learn the cadence that Jesus set for us and walk in it.  It becomes a personal choice and in the vocabulary of Ignatius of Loyola, it is a matter of our election, our choosing a deeper way and fuller path.  Doesn’t it seem that our days are more like Jesus’ day than the day into which we were born.  These are the days of Elijah.  The days of meaningful separation, separating our hearts to Christ.  We can lament the direction of our days or we can embrace the unique call of Christ in which we are daily called to “carry our crosses” and thus live for His glory alone.

 

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Week of August 20, 2023

Monday, August 21, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               I confess I grew up believing propositional truth and doubting human personal experience.  My misunderstanding came from believing that in my fallenness everything about my humanity was distorted except for my brain and if I were to think rationally, logically, and in a linear way that we be the only path to reality.  What I didn’t recognize was some of the very truths that I believed.  For instance, as Moses wrote in the Genesis, that we were created in God’s image with all the human capacity that we would need to obey the will of God and to experience Him as Adam and Eve did.

               I’ve come to see in the writers of the Text of God’s story with us, they wrote out of their experiences with God that we have come to see as truth.  From Genesis to Revelation God has been speaking and working and listening to those who tell us the Story.  I think one of the reasons that the film, The Chosen, has connected for so many people is that the text that we are so familiar with has “come to life” through the imagination of the writers of the screen play.

               The disciples have come to life with real character depth.  We can see ourselves in them and their personal stories speak to us just as Jesus’ words and way speaks to us.  We are able to see that the message is in the experience.  Words on the page are certainly true, but they are more than words on the page.  They are realities to be experienced.  Each character models a common human experience in coming to follow Jesus and that is the point – coming to follow Jesus.  We each have obstacles to overcome for the sake of our genuine discipleship with Jesus.  Their story spurs me on!

 

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Week of August 13, 2023

Monday, August 14, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               I’ve been giving thought to discernment as a way of life.  For a follower of Jesus there is both knowledge to be gained and wisdom to be acquired and a present sense of openness to be experienced.  The reading I have been doing goes to great lengths to make discernment a practice broken down into numerous rules of discernment.  But as helpful as they might be it seems that specific awareness and attentiveness spiritually provides the necessary spiritual intuition.

               There are three categories of knowledge that fill our spiritual base: what is God’s way for us in the Jesus, “way, truth, and life.”  What is the evil one’s way for us, “to steal, kill, and destroy.”  And what is the way of the flesh, “lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life.”  All three of these influences are part of the discernment journey.  If our core question is, what is God’s will for me in this or that situation that needs to be our beginning question.

               As the Apostle warned us, “we war not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in heavenly places.”  The evil one’s main goal is to disrupt our journey of walking with God.  He is the great disrupter.  He uses pride and deception to distort the journey always wanting to “steal, kill, and destroy.”  Spiritual discernment is meant to be part of our daily story of life, living with God in the atmosphere of the fruits of the Spirit.           

 

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Week of August 6, 2023

Monday, August 07, 2023

Weekly Blog

 

               Ignatius of Loyola has had a significant influence both in his lifetime and since his death.  His experience of conversion has provided humankind with fruitful path to be wholly converted to Jesus.  The journey begins with a vivid engagement with the love of God for each of us personally and intimately.  The journey includes walking with Jesus through each phase of our conversion story.

               The preparation for the journey leads us to encounter the gracious created reason for our existence on earth, created for the glory of God.  If we can learn to hold that truth in the reality of our souls and not let go, it becomes a beacon that continually draws us into it and sheds light on the way before us day by day.

               The pursuit of God is our life-long cadence.  As we engage the way of Jesus we are faced with the continual process of praise, reverence, and service.  It is meant to lead us to a life of greater and greater intimacy with Him.  As we draw close to Him, His radiance transforms our souls so that we might follow the Teacher even above the teachings.  In this God separates us into a relationship with Him above any religion.

 

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Week of July 30, 2023

Sunday, July 30, 2023