Wednesday, September 22, 2010

HOPE . . .

The "world", especially the western world and American culture give us no reason for hope in this life. And, the church often does no better, teaching that we can get our "ticket" punched for Heaven, but again offering us no hope in this life. Leaving us with the modernist lament, "Life's a bitch, then you die." But Jesus taught us differently. He told us the Kingdom is here and now! If we would but have "eyes" to see and "ears" to hear we will encounter the living Lord in our seemingly mundane daily lives, and discover the "abundant life" He promised. "Seek first the Kingdom,and all else will be added." This IS the HOPE that is missing from our lives, from the lives of so many disenchanted, even nihilistic, young people. This IS the REALITY, not the paltry, shallow nonsense pedaled by the media and our pathetic culture. We do have a choice in this life . . . choose the Way of the One called Jesus. Not talking consumer Christianity or pop religion here, but the path of the "ancients" . . . the tried and true Narrow Road. It's there and you will find it if you seek it. The "road map", the divine GPS unit if you will, is the Bible. And, there are "guides" to assist you along the way as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Please be careful with your relationships . . .

Infidelity is a large, invasive and destructive weed that grows from the most seemingly insignificant seed of indiscretion. Anon E. Moose

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Celtic Pilgrimage

Celtic Pilgrimage - love to do this someday, and it's on my "bucket list". St. Patrick to Columba to Aidan . . . from Armagh & Clonmacnoise to Iona to Lindisfarne. Tracing those Watters family roots . . . they that did dwell by loch and sea.

some "openings" over recent days

As we have come alongside others in their times of struggle recently, God has shown us His Kingdom . . . the here and now Kingdom in Christ.

Healing ministry - our own presence as God's Presence to others . . . may we not only be "living sacrifices" but also "living prayers" for one another.

Our lives seem filled with despair and hopelessness lately, but its a result of coming alongside others in their dark times. Being "present" to one another as God's Presence is often not easy, but being light and salt is always a blessing. We are called to be "messengers" of a HOPE that surpasses both darkness and world, and as Henri Nouwen would say, "In the Name of Jesus".

My wonderful wife, Patti, has been "hearing" "healing ministry", and sensing God's voice in that for her (us?) Lately, we are finding this is not so much a "ministry" or program, but a life lived in His Kingdom, here and now. The best example I can think of right now is that of the Northumbria Community and their "ru...le" - Vulnerability & Availability. I think Larry Crabb (Connecting) would agree? Lord have mercy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vulnerability and Availability

Vulnerable and Available - These two traits are keys to true fellowship in Christ, AND to healing as well. Yet, we resist being vulnerable, even fear it. We keep our own brokenness to ourselves where it is useless to heal us OR others! And, what about availability? We exercise this trait in token only, because, without being vulnerable, we cannot be truly available. So we walk around reflecting the world, instead of Christ.

Let's GET REAL in Him! Not just self deprecating "humor", but real vulnerability and availability. In Christ we can do all things, even express truthfully our own brokenness, then be a healing instrument in God's hands.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mystic Revolutionaries . . .

Jesus followers - mystic revolutionaries who believe that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.

Generally speaking, pastors/shepherds in our time have become unfamiliar with, and even somewhat afraid of, the deep and significant movements of the Spirit.

Preaching must be the careful and sensitive articulation of what is happening in the community so that those who listen can say, "You say what I only suspected, you clearly express what I vaguely felt, you bring to the fore what I fearfully kept in the back of my mind. Yes, yes -- you say who we are, you recognize our condition."

Maybe it is past time for the "priesthood of all believers" to step up and be those Christ has called and is calling to "Go" into His inbreaking Kingdom?!

If there is any posture that disturbs a suffering man or woman, it is aloofness. The tragedy of Christian ministry is that many who are in great need, many who seek and attentive ear, a word of support, a forgiving embrace, a firm hand, a tender smile, or even a stuttering confession of inability to do more, often find their ministers distant people who do not want to "burn their fingers."

The beginning and the end of Christian leadership is to give your life for others. Are you prepared to do that? It is requires your all . . . is it your "season" in the LORD?!

Are any of you prepared to accept your role as, to be, "wounded ministers", and hence, "healing ministers"?!

[inspired by Henri Nouwen in Wounded Healer and other works . . .]

Thursday, September 2, 2010

from the Links Fellowship & Randy Wolf

Increasingly in our time, people assume that all that is needed for spiritual growth is Bible study, or church attendance, or a prayerful walk with God under the shadows or along the banks of His creation. But some issues in life will never be changed by Bible study, church attendance, or even prayer alone. God uses people. He wants us to grow together.
This is best described by Henri Nouwen in his book, Ministry of Presence:

More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their door steps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence.

Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress.

But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but you truly love them.

You cannot grow to Christlikeness in isolation. We must be around others and interact. We all need to be a part of a Christ-honoring, people-loving community--not only for what we can get but what we can give.