Am I Living a Meaningful Life?

Today’s lectionary readings: Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a

“… I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus; to bear witness to God’s grace…”

The ministry that Paul received is the same ministry that I have received, “to bear witness to God’s grace…” Is this more important than life to me?

Paul “did not shrink from proclaiming… the entire plan of God.”

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus also bears witness of this notion of mission to the Father, “I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do…”

The best way to show my gratitude for the gift of life I’ve received is to live a meaningful life. I want these things that Paul and Jesus said to be real in me. This is the purpose to which I am called! This morning, in response to this reading and my desire, I wrote the following prayer in my journal.

Lord, many come to the end of life with regret; many, at the end realize that they merely survived. I do not want to do that. I want to say with Paul, “I have fought the fight; I have run the race…” I want to be able to say that I have proclaimed Your name in this world, I have bore witness to your grace; I have been faithful with all you’ve given me — all I have is yours and I am grateful for it all!
May it be, Jesus, that I live because you live, and that when I die, I die in you, knowing that I have not squandered this gift of life you’ve given me.

Amen.

Of Church Growth and Metastasis 

Very good thoughts from a friend.

smoke for light


Richard Rohr, the renowned Catholic thinker and writer, wrote, “Most Christian ‘believers’ tend to echo the cultural prejudices and worldviews of the dominant group in their country, with only a minority revealing any real transformation of attitudes or consciousness. It has been true of slavery and racism, classism and consumerism and issues of immigration and health care for the poor.” It is easy for Christians to, all at once, verbally affirm the words of Christ’s gospel and, through their actions, utterly repudiate the same words. How is this kind of Orwellian double-speak possible? It is possible because Christians tend to be lazy about their faith. The contemplative Christian, one who takes to heart the content of the faith, sees in the world around them values that are antithetical to the very goal of the Gospel. Rohr elsewhere writes, “Contemplation is an alternative consciousness that refuses to identify with or feed…

View original post 582 more words

Are You Willing To Give Your All?

Tags

, ,

Lord, I desire to leave a mark of love on this earth. I want to be remembered for how I loved.

Lord, help me feel your love this morning. I love because you first loved me. You opened my heart to receive the gospel. It was your love that saved me. It is your love that sustains me.

Lord, let me inside your heart.
May the sufferings I suffer only serve to lead me deeper into your heart.

Thank you for your love, the love that comes from you is you. You hold nothing back for me.

Oh, That I give my all for you!

What Does Satan Have to Do With Creativity?

Tags

, ,

Satan is the adversary.
His name means adversary.
He is adversarial to your creativity.

Satan is not a creator; he is the exact opposite of creativity.
He is the anti-creator.

Your creativity may lead you into the heart of God; the Kingdom of God.
Your creativity is a way God can bring forth His Kingdom to the earth.

Creativity is the window to possibility.
Satan seeks to darken the window.

And yet there are glimpses…

If you can see it, Satanic activity can actually help facilitate your creativity.

You see, Satan doesn’t take into consideration the fact that creativity works best in the context of conflict and resistance.

Resistance is the soil where the fruit of your creativity grows.

Are You Creative? Yes You Are!

Tags

, , , ,

God is creative, God is love.
To be creative is to love.
Creativity requires action, it cannot just be words.
Love requires an action.
In the beginning God created.
God’s first act was to create.
God loves and from his love comes creation.
God’s love for humans led to the creative act of the incarnation, which was bringing forth Christ from the Blessed Virgin Mary.
God’s creativity is enacted by his word.
He says, “Let there be light.”
Faith is creativity.
Jesus said, “If you had the faith of a mustard seed you could move mountains.”
A mustard seed holds within it everything needed to grow into a large plant. Creativity enacts possibility.
Your creative thoughts are the seeds of possibility, act on them.
So what if you get it wrong? You’ve created another seed of possibility.

Say this out loud, “I am creative.”
Gods name is “I am” and is intertwined with who you are.
You cannot be creative without God.
He is the source of your creativity.
Fear will kill creativity.
Perfectionism is also the enemy of creativity.
God is perfect. That means He is complete.
Complete love cast out fear.

You are creative.
You are loved.
You are complete in Him.

Are You Listening To Him?

Tags

, ,

Gospel reading: Matt. 17:1-9

Christ is the culmination of all things.
The Old Testament finds culmination in him.
History finds culmination in him,

The life of every human being culminates in him.
To be a Christian is to realize that culmination now,
and dwell there in this life.

On the mount of The Transfiguration, Peter wanted to set up dwelling places for Jesus, Elijah and Moses.
But the voice from the cloud said “listen to my beloved.”

To listen is to dwell.

O Lord, let your words construct a dwelling where I find rest for my soul this day.

Have you ever been perfect? Will you be?

Tags

, , ,

What does it mean to be perfect? Is it even possible? My friend, Mike explained it to me this way, “Think of a number scale from 1 to 10,” he said, “most of us would say that to be perfect in any endeavor is to always be a 10; to be any less number is to be slightly imperfect.”

I know, for myself, as I look back over my art; the drawings, paintings and prints I have done over the years, there were a couple 8’s a few 7’s and lots of other much less numbers, but I cannot say there has ever been a 10. Does this mean I’m imperfect as an artist? Will I ever be a 10?

Mike went on to say, “What if we looked at it from a biblical perspective? Perfection then looks like this: showing up. Biblical perfection then, is to show up everyday and not quit, and over time you will see yourself becoming more and more who you were created to be.”

Jesus says that we should “be perfect… as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) What does he mean by this? How is my heavenly Father perfect? Earlier in the passage Jesus is telling his followers to not only greet their friends and people who are like them, but also to show love to their enemies and those who are less desirable. Jesus knows we are all works in progress. Every one of us. Our heavenly Father always shows up to us. He always shows up to give love and grace to every one of us.

To be perfect like my heavenly Father, then, is to always show up.

To be perfect in exercising is not so much about the results; a perfect body, really? Show up to exercise every day (or at least every other day).

To be perfect in art, I must show up to my easel, my sketchbook every day.
To be a perfect writer, I must show up to my notebook or keyboard every day.

I really don’t like for people to look at my art while it’s still in progress. The beginning of the work is often full of energy and excitement, so I don’t mind people seeing that. I am often pretty stoked about it so even the start of it looks pretty good to me. But there’s a place where the work becomes tedious and I start to lose momentum, it can sometimes look pretty ugly. It can become like an enemy to me; something less desirable. I may even want to give up on it at this point. That part of the work I often want to hide, I don’t want people to see it, it is far from where I envisioned it to be.

I counsel myself during this stage, “Don’t judge an unfinished work.” There will come a day when the piece will be finished and put on display for all to see. That is when the work is judged or evaluated, this is the time when the work is open to interpretation or critique… or purchase. Perfection for me in this is to show up to my art every day; to not give up on it.

We are all works of art, God is the creator and he has a vision for us in mind. He is fashioning us into the image of his son (Rom. 8:29). But we are incomplete; we are works in progress. And God shows up to us every day.

This world we live in is like the easel or the drawing table or the pottery wheel or whatever metaphor you want to use. God, the master artist is working on us to bring us into completion. We will one day be put on display for all and this world will see the completed image of Christ; the one that God shows in every day.

Are You A People-pleaser Too?

Tags

, ,

What do I hunger for?
Yesterday’s Gospel reading was from Matt. 4:1-11, The Temptation in the Wilderness; the part where the tempter said, “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread…” and Jesus responded, “Man shall not live by bread alone…”

In response to that, I wrote this prayer.

Lord help me to know my real hunger. Help me to be honest about it. Surely, somewhere along the line I have made a vow that said something like this, “I will do everything I can to make people happy with me; I will not upset anyone; I will always defer to them.” Somewhere in all of that I lost myself. I don’t really know my true desires. I am always deferring to others. I know that sounds like I am selfless, but it is really the most selfish thing I can do. My deference to others is some kind of self protective thing in me. It hurts too much to let my true feelings be known. It’s hard to let them be known because, first, after all these years of people pleasing, I’m not really sure what they are. And, second, it is scary to let them be known; what if people get mad at me or don’t like me after they know my feelings and desires?

Lord, I want to live by every word that comes from your mouth. The temptation to turn stones into bread in my case, relates to things I could make happen for myself. I have constructed my “people-pleasing” self to the point where I don’t even know what I want or what I am really hungry for. Lord, during this Lenten season please show me what I really hunger for. As I hunger for snacks, help me to look inside to my true hunger. Of course, my deepest hunger is for you but it seems I have been satisfying that hunger by trying to make others happy with me.

Brutal honesty is the way forward, help me to be brutally honest with myself and with others and with you.

Have You Arrived?

Tags

, ,

You’ve been here waiting all along
My heart has arrived;
Brought where it belongs.

To my true self, this path I’ve trod;
It begins and ends in the heart of God.

As my soul lands in this sacred space,
I see you’ve come to prepare this place.

The table is set where we will break bread.
The wine is poured for after we’ve been fed.

The chairs are arranged, we sit face to face;
Your every word I wait to embrace.

Your smile so bright sends shadows racing out,
Fear all gone, you’ve removed all doubt.

We sit in silence your eyes light my soul,
No words spoken, just your gift to make me whole.