Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A prayer

I read a prayer today that I can't resist quoting:

"Dear Lord,

Thank you for your church.

Forgive us for not knowing very much about what it means to be the body of Christ.

Forgive us our professionalism, for spending so much time on dressing up the church and make it presentable to the world, respectable to the world, or worse, marketable to the world.

Forgive us our perfectionisms as we forgive those who are perfectionistic against me.

I pray for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Help me to understand that though I may (am) not able to align the earth to your will, I can (by God's grace) align the small part of this world that is my heart, my mind and my will.

Align my thoughts so that they become your thoughts, Lord.

Align my ways so that they become your ways.

And align my questions with the questions you would ask of me.

Help me to realize that in answering those questions with my life, I am helping to establish your reign on this earth and doing my part with great tenderness to ease the pain of those who are suffering here."

Ken Gire
North Face of God (pg. 155)

This piece alone could be the the beginning of life altering journey with Jesus -"Align my questions with the questions you would ask of me."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

One, two, three...

I was sitting here thinking about everything that has happened the last two weeks. So much of it seems like the culmination of a lot of praying.

Most of the monies we need to go to Kenya have been raised. (many thanks to those praying and giving)

The list of what's next for me this summer and then into the fall is coming together.

Watching God protect and work in my immediate and extended family.

Seeing a practical way for this white middle aged suburban lady to be an encouragement in Urban Hispanic teenage Ft. Worth.

Real things, not hoped for in the future things, are happening. Some fun surprises too. Never would have thought to put it on the list surprises! (Safari in Kenya)

Letting go of my own agenda for my life has been, and I'm not being dramatic, agonizing at times. It reminds me of the feeling I got when I was nine or ten and someone talked me into jumping off the high dive at the community pool. Seemed like a great adventure on the way up the ladder. Then your at the edge... The agony sets in.

Retreating is agony. Letting go of the fear is agony... which hurts less seems to be the most important question at the time. Will I jump into the pool? What if I break my neck? How did that happen to the lady who travels around the country telling her story? (Joni) Or, look at them down there, just sure I wont jump and will instead climb back down the ladder. Wont hear the end of that for a while. Might have to give up coming to the pool. Agony.

The little girl decided to trust she wouldn't break her neck and jumped. A training day for the big girl now.

Okay God, I did say I wanted an adventure. One, two, three... jump!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

"I have learned to be content." Paul

I think one of the biggest hindrances to this being true for people is our association of the words good and comfort.

Is it really good to be comfortable? I can certainly think of ways it hasn't been good.

Is is good to be always uncomfortable? I don't think so.

Is it good to think about the kinds of good that come from uncomfortable situations and relationships? Yep, I'm thinking it is.

If God seems remote and life seems uncomfortable and your not sure if good can be found there. Check out The North Face of God by Ken Gire. I think it is possible that it will be helpful.

I am learning to be content. Cheri

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

God of the City - Frisco, TX

I went to a worship and prayer service last night called God of the City. Outside on a a beautiful spring evening. (Which by the way was no small thing, given the weather report at 8am that same morning.)

I'm grateful I went.


A call to worship - A think it was a Ram's Horn. Chills when down my back... not hard to pictures being in a desert encampment and being gathered together with this sound! It's a courageous sound. Humbling. Reverent. To powerful to be ignored. Does not belong inside a building.

The Drummers - pounding, pounding, pounding in unison - smiling from ear to ear! Incredible. A vision of unity.

Worship leaders - beautiful skin colors, dancing with joy, playing instruments with passion and joy! Leading others into the presence of God.

Participants - permission to be passionate, arms raised, heads bowed down. Brave. Praying... Repentant... Hopeful... Exhausted by lukewarmness... Ready for the church to be different.

Lyrics - Words straight from scripture set to music that reflects the mood and power of the words. Closest thing to heaven for me.

Remembering God... so much to remember!

Veronica, thanks for inviting me!

Monday, May 04, 2009

What is Spiritual Direction?

This has turned out to be a very important question in my life.

I was first introduced to Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Directors while in Seminary. My own initial reaction to these terms was not particularly positive. But I trusted the people who were wanting to define and explain these terms to me. The more it was explained to me the more curious I got.

Eventually, I was invited to participate in a Spiritual Direction group. A year or so after that I decided to ask the Lord to lead me to a Spiritual Director I would be comfortable meeting with. The Lord provided one in California and now again in Texas. I'm about to share a few quotes from a book I'm reading by Alice Fryling. The title is Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction. These quotes may help you to understand what I mean when I refer to these terms in the future. In some ways I am already interacting with people in this way. I believe the Lord is leading me to some additional training.

"The Beginnings of Spiritual Direction - Spiritual direction is a way of companioning people as they see to look closely, through the eyes of their hearts, at the guidance and transforming work of God in their lives. It's a practice that began in the early years of Christianity when people followed the desert mothers and fathers out to the wilderness to ask them how to know God. Over the years, spiritual direction has appeared in many faith traditions. It was kept alive in the Christian faith mainly through the Roman Catholic Church, but today the Protestant church is rediscovering it. People throughout the Christian Church, including those of an evangelical orientation, are experiencing again the gifts that God gives to his people through the loving listening and gentle guidance of spiritual directors. This gift is usually offered in the context of individual spiritual direction, but the potential for spiritual direction in small groups is a growing and promising expression of the ministry of spiritual companionship." pg. 11

My comments: The Spirit of God is the one who does the directing. A spiritual director believes God does this and is moved by God to sit there with you as you explore through words the dynamics of your relationship with God. Always grounded in the Word of God and relationship with God. Listening for questions that God may want the directed to explore more. And providing encouragement through faith in the One who is able to provide all that we need.

"Group spiritual direction provides a unique opportunity in the life o the church or community of believers. It is different from more typical conversations such as the superficial (but necessary) hi-how-are-you encounters or those that go a bit deeper but sill require out best-dressed presentations. It's also different from our conversation and groups that revolve around meeting needs (casseroles for those who are sick, babysitting for those who are tired, mission work for those who are needy). It is different from teaching Bible Study adult education classes, seminars and workshops. All of these are very good things to do. (Cheri- Essential things) But they do not provide the unique opportunity given in spiritual direction: the opportunity to be heard to have someone listen to us as we describe the milestones, detours and questions of ours own spiritual journeys." pg. 12

My personal experiences, encounters with the Lord and other believers in Group Spiritual Direction meetings and one on one times, have been life-changing encounters with God for me. Among other things they have fueled courage and faith in my time alone with the Lord and as I interact with others.

I continue to receive confirmation through the Word of God, my time alone with Him, and conversations with people in the body of Christ that I am to continue to offer a ministry of listening and spiritual companionship with others.

I wish I could convey to you how much faith it has taken to write this post. And how delighted I am to be following God on this adventure of faith!

I'd appreciate your prayers for True Hearts: Nurturing souls in Grace as I continually ask God to show me what is next for me to do. I'm attending a training program introduction night here in Dallas on the 15th and need to decide about applying or not by June 1st.

Thanks for listening!