Thursday, October 27, 2011

I woke up with a sense of sadness that our bible study class, Jesus and the Gospels concluded it's 30 week session last night. I loved the study because of the people who were enrolled and the discussions we had. We wrestled with what the Gospel message has to say to us in our living. At the end of each session we were asked to reflect on the question: "Do you want to become His Disciples Too?". Even after the 30 weeks I am still wondering if I say yes, what am I saying yes to? I came to a new appreciation of the radical message of Jesus to live differently, to make different choices, to keep grounded in my relationship to him. This is a challenge for me because I tend to worry about so many things, and Jesus does not call me to worry about what it means to follow, what I am saying yes to, rather to say yes and trust in him to lead me. That is a life long journey for me to take, and I am glad for the class and their insights to what it does mean to follow, to have faith.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today I am thinking about how my soul is nourished. I wrote this poem to express how I often miss seeing how God is blessing me with wisdom,

There is a well here

You and I can drink deeply
And find our sacred voice

There is a well anywhere

You and I can drink deeply
And find our own true voice.

SPM 7-31-07

Monday, October 24, 2011

I am celebrating the prayer book 40 days of Prayer for those living with HIV/AIDS, you can click the 40 Days link at the website. I have been writing poems for most of my life, but have not really published. So it is a honor to be published in this wonderful resource (day 16) especially since working with Strength For the Journey retreats have been such an important part of my life. Those living with HIV/AIDS have taught me so much about living. It is hard to put into words, I just know I would not be the person I am today without the relationships I have developed. I hope you will take time to pray through the 40 days using this resource. Even with all the advances in medication, people still are dying, even with all the education, people still become stigmatized, even with all the warnings people still take risks with their health. My prayer is that this terrible disease will be erased from the society, but until then will continue to pray, and support those living with HIV/AIDS with all our love.
Wandering through the wilderness dependent on God to lead them, the nation of Israel was on the move. In Deuteronomy 32: 11 the image of an eagle is used as a poetic image of how the people were dependent on God to care for them as they moved into the future. The people did always appreciate God for taking them out of the oppressive life in which they lived, often complaining they would rather be back to the old life, at least they were familiar with that lifestyle. I notice that as I stretch myself to grow closer to God and to the purposes of God, I often resist, I am too tired, too overwhelmed, too scared to try to change. In these moments I wonder if it is all worth it, maybe I was stuck in my life, but at least I was familiar with my routine. Ah the temptation to stay in a rut is overpowering my vision to change and grow. How about you? Do you find it hard to change, to be transformed by the complete dependence on God? I am going to stay awake to the temptations this week of staying stuck, of settling, of making excuses. Dear God, I dedicate this week to growing closer to you and to follow your call to transform the world. I pray for the strength to overcome the obstacles, and to refuse to give into the temptations of the world that distract me from your life. Amen

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today is Thursday, I am aware that I missed posting yesterday, I was in a prayer meeting with other pastors of our community which was important. Most of the time I miss doing one thing because there is something else I see as important that draws my attention. However, I could chose to still make the post, to fulfill my obligations, if I was a bit more creative in how to meet the deadline. I could of gotten up earlier and posted, I could of posted the night before, I could of, but I did not. I made an unconcious decision not to value my writing as highly as other tasks. I wonder how many times I do this unconcious deciding, of prioritizing, of sometimes selling out to lower priorities just because they are more demanding at that moment in time? Just for today, I will be concious about my decisions, what I will do, what I will not do. Dear God, thank you for this day, thank you for your guidance in my daily living, I dedicate all that I do and say this day to your higher purpose of making new disciples for the transformation of the world. Amen

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jesus is often misunderstood, misquoted, and accused of being misguided, missing the point, and simply missing from the crisis of life. I know because I have often been missing a connection to the true and one Jesus the Christ, the good Shepherd, the Savior of the world. To follow Jesus means to be a life long learner, to dedicate time to study, to pray , to connect. I am often guilty of ignoring my spiritual life, in the name of getting stuff done. How can I really be an effective witness in my getting stuff done if I am not grounded in the mission and call of God? Well, I can find all kinds of reasons, I got up too late, I ran out of time, I have an appointment, something urgent came up. All of these excuses and more keep me from going deeper in my faith journey. I have renewed my vow and promise to God to make sure I start each day with devotional time. I wonder what I will discover? Dear God, thank you for you abundant love and wisdom, I pray for those in the world who need care, for those who die needlessly, those who are in pain. I dedicate myself to being an instrument of your care and concern, and open myself to your Holy Spirit to guide me in all the tasks of this day, Amen

Monday, October 17, 2011

I am back from vacation, and as usual work has not stopped cause I was not here! Some amazing things got done while I was gone, our church has a new parking lot, worship led by Rev. Jim and Arlene Brewster, my administrative assistant kept the office humming, the preschool had their open house/back to school night. It is a wonderful witness to the work of the church when the Pastor can be gone, and the work continues. I missed being here, yet the opportunity to celebrate a 30th wedding anniversary with my wife was a priority. We had a wonderful time in Hawaii, and had time to ourselves to talk, spend time walking and taking in the beauty of the islands. Now it is time to work. I started the routine on vacation to ground myself in the principle of D.R.I.V.E. as suggested by Michael Slaughter. D= Devotions,connecting with God before the day of work begins, R= Readiness, that is reading to promote ongoing learning, I= Investing in relationships, those people that guide, energize and challenge me, V=Vision for the future, looking at the world as God does, where are we going, how does God want us to participate in transforming the world, and E=Eating and Exercise. I have begun practicing these each day, to transform myself to be a more effective servant of God, I have also challenged our leaders to look at each of these areas and begin to ground themselves in these practices. We too often become stagnant, stuck, hopeless about the future and our role in it, however, the work of God can only be done by those committed to the mission of making New Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It is work that is worthy of our very best efforts.