Soul Rain ... Kelli Sorg

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Tag: Holy Spirit (page 2 of 4)

Breathing In – Inspiration – June 5, 204

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Breathing In – Inspiration    ….the foundation for the great adventure that is life with God living in faith, hope and love.     read more

Take and read..again and again

This review of Steve Harper’s new book, Fresh Wind Blowing: Living in God’s New Pentecost, was a test I did not intend to set for myself. I highlighted and made notes all through my Amazon Kindle edition of this book. I liked this book so much I promptly lent it to my son. I did not realize my notes and marks would no longer be accessible to me until he returns the book. This may turn out to be a good thing, because here is what I really think with my pseudo-academic wording stripped away.

Steve Harper’s 86 -page book may seem small and innocuous. It may seem even more so to those of us who have been in ministry “doing” Christian discipleship. Many of us have yards and yards of book shelving that is filled with all kinds of tomes about discipleship: organic, organizational, small group, accountability, Wesleyan and the antithesis of every one of those. What Harper has managed to do in this project is holy in its very simplicity.

Figuring out how to follow Jesus Christ is nowhere near as complicated as being able to use a smart phone or program your television. Following Jesus isn’t complicated, it’s just difficult. It becomes increasingly difficult when we fall into the two major pitfalls-doing it alone and doing it our own way.

There is a fresh wind of God’s Holy Spirit flowing through the world today. Not surprisingly, it is manifested in the new monasticism that relies on communion, community, commitment and creativity (my words not Steve’s).

This book not only takes us back to the historical and resonant practices and voices of true Christianity but also casts us forward into the future with an anchor holds. I recommend this book to anyone who is listening for God’s voice speaking into the chaos that is the modern Western church and is humbly discerning God’s way into the future.

The Monday Morning Mindset

8:33 AM on a regular Monday morning.  For many of us, it is the beginning of the work week.  The weekend is over and 5 or 6 days of 8-5 workdays are staring us in the face.  What is your mindset this morning? Around coffeepots and water coolers, standing in line at Starbucks or driving through the loop to let kids out of the car for the beginning of their week, what’s the temperature of your heart this morning?  Here’s something that this morning caught me up short in a good way.

Complaining is the acid that shrivels our souls and the souls of the community around us as well. Complaining is what shapes our mental mindset….complaining, in other words, undermines the hope of a community and smothers possibility in a group…What we accept wholeheartedly that fails, we can always correct. What we condemn to failure before we have ever tried to accept it, is not corrected, it is doomed to an untimely, and more likely, an unnecessary death.

{Can we}open our hearts and our minds to let grace come from unlikely places without pre-planning and pre-judgments? Joan Chittister

Our days and weeks and live will be much more fruitful and peaceful if we will stop complaining altogether. Perhaps the first step is simply not to complain out loud and pollute the air around us. Over time, God can change our minds and our hearts so that possibility and new creation are the order of the day. Our Monday Morning Mindset can do a complete 180 degree turn if we set our minds and hearts to it.

Climbing out of the pit

It is so easy to think of ourselves as being resigned to living in the ‘pit’. In the 1970’s we used to talk about life being ‘the pits’, as if there was some big hole just ahead of us that we invariably fell into, like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet trying to catch a Heffalump.  The ‘pit’ is a real place, a combination of stress and hopelessness and tragedy where we see nothing but slick, un-scaleable walls all around us and the mocking promise of blue sky unreachably high overhead.

The pit doesn’t have to be our permanent residence.  There is a ladder leading upwards. Thanks to Mike Breen for defining the ladder as having the side rails of grace and truth and the rungs of time.  Because of the nature of our chronological time, the ladder is being built while we are climbing it. That doesn’t seem very helpful when we think we need a hook and ladder truck and have been handed a kitchen-sized step stool.

Truth and grace are the handholds along the sides that hold time and forward progression and weight bearing movement all together so that creative change is possible and measurable.

So, if you are in the pit this morning, don’t have address labels made…shape your worries into prayers, St. Paul tells us in Philippians (4:6ff)..it’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life…you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice everything you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

God’s got this

The kingdom, as Paul implies, is Christ crucified which is neither an escape to a world of virtue without difficulty or deliverance of a miraculous kind from our problems but in living with them with God and redeeming the world. That’s the program of the parables.  Father Thomas Keating, Where is God (italics mine)

The kingdom is living in the tension, pain and broken-ness of the world while being in relationship with God and each other reaching out in mission and ministry to bring others into the kingdom’s knowledge and practice.  It’s living knowing that GOD’S GOT THIS.  In that way, that positive alignment of life and energy expands and the world is transformed, redeemed and resurrected. This doesn’t happen “When we all get to heaven” or “In the sweet by and by”. It is here, now, in God’s hands and in ours. When will we individualistic, idolatrous people begin to make the sacrifices it takes to really get to know and love the people we have been given?  History shows us it takes tragedy, war or economic instability to get our attention.  There’s plenty of that.

God has given us the path that is the way forward. For that to work, we have to give up our personal agendas, come together in a group as a family on mission and move forward together.

That’s the only way things are going to change.

The work has already been done through the cross of Jesus Christ and the real time presence of God’s Holy Spirit for us to be able to do this. When will our lives together with God and each other become more important than 1001 things we do to distract ourselves from the tension and pain of living?

 

I Corinthians 1:18-21 (MSG) The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,

I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,

I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.

So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation. While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”

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