Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the next (big) step in following Christ . . .

August 12, 2010 (drafted), August 23, 2010 (revised and sent after ten days in prayer)

Fremont Presbyterian Church Session & Family –

Subject: Patrick & Patricia Watters acceptance of call to discipleship/soul care ministry

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This decision has been a very long time coming, and not without considerable deliberation in prayer, by ourselves, and with others. We have been in a season of “waiting” for about two years, during which time God has spoken to our hearts through His Word, other authors, people and circumstances. It is also not take lightly, as Patti and I have always considered our ties to Fremont to be similar to a marriage covenant.

Many of you may know of our recent “journey” with the congregation of River Life Covenant through the cancer and eventual death of Dr. David Kilmer, our long time close friend and Brother in Christ, who was an elder at River Life. During the past year or so we have ministered to Dave’s family, and to the larger family at River Life, and this during a time of pastoral transition for them. It has become clear that God is “calling” us to ministry at River Life, and that “call” has been confirmed and affirmed by the new pastor, leadership team and many members there.

Again, we have had many “leadings” or “openings” from His Word and Spirit in this time, not to mention wise words from trusted Brothers and Sisters in Christ who know and love us, and the Lord. An example of encouragement (exhortation?!), You have a long tie and affection for Fremont as a thing (Wesley would call it an unholy affection, I think). But the brothers and sisters in Christ, Fremonters or not, are STILL your brothers and sisters in Christ. There is only One Body, One Church, One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism. You cannot leave the church, without leaving Jesus (but it is no problem leaving this or that building or organization or denomination—).”

We have grown in Christ during our time at Fremont, and have raised our family within the community of faith there. But, as our spiritual friend says above, it is the Body we belong to, not any particular “church” or denomination. Many of you also know of our extensive involvement in “para church” ministries; Young Life, E49 Corp. and others. It is that para church experience that has given us a larger vision of the true Church of Jesus Christ, the organism called the Body. And, our sincere intention is to remain closely related to that Body, including that part that calls itself Fremont, as we enter this new season of serving our Lord. It is also our hope to see partnerships continue to be made among area churches, especially in the area of discipleship and discipling (and all those words mean; healing, mentoring, teaching . . . preparing and partnering with God to see His Son formed in us . . . in a word, transformation.)

In closing, we don’t see this as so much a “leaving” as a “going”, much as Abram and Sarah did in faith so long ago. However, we do tender our resignation from the institutions known as the PCUSA and Fremont Presbyterian Church, as we sense this is a necessary part of our going. We have learned to have complete trust in God and His Providence, surrender and submission have become much easier in this season, thanks be to God. We go in the abundant Grace and Love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and wish you all the Peace of Christ as we do.

Only by Grace,

Pat & Patti Watters

Monday, August 23, 2010

more on pilgrimage . . . when heaven breaks in

Inspired from quiet time in Celtic Daily Prayer, 8/23/10:

In 561 Columba arrived on lona with his twelve; in 1938 MacLeod arrived with another band of twelve, half craftsmen without jobs, half students for the ministry. They built a wooden shed to live in by the fallen monastery and began the work of re-building. MacLeod recounts that the group needed money with which to get its project started. 'I wrote to the richest man I knew. He replied that I should go see a psychiatrist at once. Then I asked - me a pacifist, mind you - Sir James Lithgow, a builder of warships at his Govan shipyard. He was interested, but asked if I would give up my pacifism if he gave me the £5,000.1 said "Not on your life." "Then," he said, "I will give you your £5,000." ‘Materials were hard to obtain: 'The war was on and the government commandeered all timber. But a ship coming from Canada struck a storm and jettisoned its cargo of lumber in the Atlantic. The tirnber floated 80 miles, finally landed on Mull, opposite lona - and all the right length! It roofs the lona library today.'

If we are “building” for God, He will provide. However, if we are building idols of and for ourselves then He cannot support it.

It's not my brother or my sister but it's me, O Lord: standing in the need of prayer. We are so warm in our own self-esteem that we freeze the folks around us. We get so high in our own estimation that we stand isolated on a mountain top of self-righteousness. That is why You came: Lord Jesus: not to save the lecherous but to turn the righteous to repentance. And it is me, O Lord. I am the lost who needs saving.

There are “places” where the veil between heaven and earth is very thin, “thin places” where only a tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual. Many people have tried to express the experience of such places, but words escape them, and they can only return to them hoping to regain the experience again. Some will visit physically places like Iona, Lindisfarne or Clonmacnoise, but most of us “visit” in our hearts wherever God has us.

God asks, 'Who will go for me?

Who will extend my reach? And who, when few will listen

will prophesy and preach? And who, when few bid welcome,

will offer all they know? And who, when few dare follow,

will walk the road I show?'

John L. Bell & Graham Maule, The Wild Goose of lona'

May my life be a living sacrifice to you, O God, a pleasant offering in the Name of Your Son.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Discipleship . . . personalized

The journey of following Christ, of discipleship, will "look" different for each person and each season when we choose to follow. The Lord knows each of us intimately and His plans are designed in love and grace with our particular needs in mind. [For me personally, an example of this is how God has given me The Imitation of Christ (by Thomas a' Kempis) as a constant companion because I need the daily reminder of my pride and lack of love for others.] If we are faithful in our devotions (disciplines) He will meet us at our point(s) of greatest need, and by His Spirit will transform us into the likeness of His Son . . . the process and journey of discipleship/spiritual formation. This is the abundant life our Lord and Savior promised.

only by Grace,


P.S. recommending once again The Complete Book of Discipleship and the Renovare resources . . .

better to be a blockhead . . .

Those who think themselves wise and holy are rarely humble enough to allow others to guide them. It is better to be blockhead and a numskull, and to be humble about it, than to possess encyclopedic knowledge and be filled with self conceit. Better to have little than much, if much is going to make you proud. (The Imitation of Christ, Bk. 3, ch. 7)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

worship in Spirit and Truth

19"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." [John 4:19-26]

This was the first instance of Jesus declaring "I AM", an expression of His unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit. In that authority, He indicates how and where we are to worship God the Father . . . Church without walls.

dealing with fear and/or doubt

"You must know that the old enemy tries by all means in his power to hinder your desire for good and to turn you from every devotional practice, especially from the veneration of the saints, from devout meditation on My passion, and from your firm purpose of advancing in virtue. He suggests many evil thoughts that he may cause you weariness and horror, and thus draw you away from prayer and holy reading. A humble confession displeases him and, if he could, he would make you omit Holy Communion.

Do not believe him or heed him, even though he often sets traps to deceive you. When he suggests evil, unclean things, accuse him. Say to him: “Away, unclean spirit! Shame, miserable creature! You are but filth to bring such things to my ears. Begone, most wretched seducer! You shall have no part in me, for Jesus will be my strength, and 97 you shall be confounded. I would rather die and suffer all torments than consent to you. Be still! Be silent! Though you bring many troubles upon me I will have none of you. The Lord is my light, my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Though armies unite against me, my heart will not fear, for the Lord is my Helper, my Redeemer.”

The Imitation of Christ, Bk. 3, ch. 6, paragraphs 3 & 4 - Fear NOT! The dweeb has no power over you because Christ is your victorious Savior . . . it is you who have the Power to put him in his place in Jesus Name.

the longest journey

"The longest journey that a man must take is the 18 inches between his head to his heart."

This anonymous quote is full of God's Wisdom and Truth. It speaks to the dichotomy between head knowledge and heart knowledge, the difference between empirical knowledge and true wisdom that flows from the Father.

We can know much about God (head knowledge), without knowing (heart knowledge) God. It is God's Spirit (the Holy Spirit) within us that attests to the Truth of our identity in Christ, and hence our unity with the Holy Trinity. Without the "second" baptism (to born again as Jesus taught Nicodemus) we can not attain to this divine heart knowledge. It is the baptism in the Spirit, or the release of the Spirit within us that heart knowledge becomes possible . . . where true Wisdom lies waiting to be revealed.

This aspect of our Christian life is nurtured by discipleship, by being discipled and by discipling others. It is the "work" of partnering with God as His Spirit does the work of transformation (formation in Christ) in every believer. All the ancient fathers and mothers understood the necessity of "experiencing God", beyond head knowledge. These experiences often occur during or because of our efforts in the disciplines. God desires to honor our efforts as we seek Him, practicing the disciplines in season as God leads.

This life is for every person who desires to live the abundant life Jesus promised. It is a journey, a process, which has seasons that are different for every person and their circumstances. It looks different for every person, but it has in common the idea of a "journey" we are all on together. This life happens in community, while there are contemplative aspects of it, we are always called to community, to discipling one another. Or, as the Celtic saints called it, Anam Chara (soul care). As Larry Crabb suggests, "connecting" is the soul care we should be craving, that connection of the Spirit in each of us, then the formation we experience as we disciple one another.

Discipleship is THE WORK of the church (whether institutional or the true Body of Christ). Without discipleship there is no Christ, and without Christ there is no "church". (Bonhoeffer)

Are you on that long journey from head to heart, find someone to take it with you; spiritual partner, soul friend, small intimate group covenanted to discipling.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Anthony Cayden DeFazio

Born at 1:23 am, on 8/9/10 and weighing in at 7lb 7oz to the parents, Karly Elizabeth and Philip Anthony DeFazio - Anthony Cayden DeFazio

Celtic roots go deep . . .

I have had time recently to research (and search) my family's humble beginnings, and God has blessed my time as I kept Him always in view in this search. Watters - they that dwell by the loch and sea. My ancestors were from both the Highlands and northern islands of Scotland, as well as the north of Ireland. They were Celts before all else, not holding to any nationality, and being poor share farmers constantly beleaguered by all sorts of both worldly and human oppression. The Highland clearances saw them move out, mostly to the shores of northern Ireland (the majority who remained there live primarily in County Antrim.) Then, the Ulster Plantations forced them out once again, and many took to the seas and North America. Intermarriage to Lakota peoples led to yet another fleeing of sorts during the Reservation days of native American persecution. Through it all I can trace a dependence on God, even among the Lakota/Celtic family that finally settled in northeastern Montana, after a short sojourn in Canada. Pilgrimage . . . always . . .the journey of faith of the "aliens". (to be continued I pray)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Busy season for our kids!!!!

Karly and Phil are expecting Anthony Cayden De Fazio any day now!
Cody showing a hairy armadillo for Pacific Animal Productions at a recent show. He'll be very busy in September at the LA County Fair!
Kyle - former Nikon model, current astrophysics PhD candidate on the cover of Crazy Shirts catalog (black/red shorts.) Soon to be joining sweetheart/wife Laura in their Omahome in Nebraska where she is a resident OB/GYN MD.

Friday, August 6, 2010

PnP Discipleship

Soul Care (Anam Chara), Christian spiritual direction, healing prayer (inner and maybe even outer healing), marriage and family mentoring, mental health support . . . however Jesus leads via His Spirit to the glory, honor and praise of the The Father. All the books and study help, and certainly experiences of God throughout life, but discipleship is a journey that is specifically designed for each person, and there is no quick, "canned" process.

We are all called to disciple one another wherever we're at. And, no matter how old and wise we get, we are always being discipled by others.

Patrick Perching Eagle

Officially appearing at Fairytale Town beginning August 13, Fridays from 11AM to 2PM in the plains indian tipi. Music and storytelling of the Lakota people.

(Also appearing at Short Center South on Tu/Th from 12:30-2PM for the wonderful people there.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What Happened to Discipleship?

I know many fine pastors (shepherds) who love this teaching from Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy, but also know their churches are, at least, uncomfortable with it, and worst, in complete denial or oblivion.

Excerpts from chapter 8, The Divine Conspiracy, on discipleship:

“ . . . we saw how weak a hold the church currently has on the message of the kingdom. We saw internationally known leaders commenting on how little is said in Christian teachings about the kingdom (here and now) and some admitting that they had neither heard nor preached a sermon on the topic.”

“It also becomes clear, in the light of the disappearance of the kingdom and Jesus the teacher, why the making of converts, or church members, has become the mandatory goal of Christian ministers – if even that – while the making of disciples is pushed to the very margins of Christian existence. Many Christian groups simply have no idea what discipleship is and have relegated it to para-church organizations.”

“Nondiscpleship is the elephant in the church. It is not the much discussed moral failures, financial abuses, or the amazing general similarity between Christians and non-Christians. These are only effects of the underlying problem.”

“ . . . division has worked its way into the very heart of the gospel message. It is now understood to be a part of the “good news” that one does not have to be a life student of Jesus in order to be a Christian and receive forgiveness of sins. This gives a precise meaning to the phrase “cheap grace”, though it would be better described as “costly faithlessness.”

“If we cannot break through to a new vision of faith and discipleship, the real significance and power of the gospel of the kingdom of God can never come into its own. It will be constantly defeated by the idea that it is somehow not a real part of faith in Jesus Christ, and the church will remain in the dead embrace of consumer Christianity.”

Discipleship consists of all that Jesus taught and modeled in His earthly ministry time; living in the Kingdom of God (now), applying that Kingdom for the good of others, and even making it possible for them to enter it themselves. Whether we call it spiritual formation, spiritual direction, discipleship, soul care, healing ministry, teaching . . . it is all “making disciples” as He commanded all who would follow Him and take up their own cross. We are all supposed to be doing this (discipleship) among our families, in our marriages, at school, at work, wherever God has us, and of course in our congregations; faith families, small groups, etc.

Without this, Uncle Screwtape has us just where he wants us . . . thinking we are Christians, but not even coming close to imitating Christ.