Vicarage Catch Up
Brenda and I are working through a book geared to reboot us as artist’s. We are writing extensively about it over at our other blog Notes From the Vicarage.
But I did want to share a few quotes from the book here:
“Every Child is an artist. The trick is remaining one as a an adult.” Pablo PIcasso
“It is solved by walking.” Augustine of Hippo (note this means if you have a problem take a walk!)
It is important to be very gentle with yourself, especially in the early days of a transition.- Julia Cameron
As I prepare my heart for what lies ahead I am learning that silence is a powerful ally in the war for my spirit. Our world is to fast and loud and the Holy Spirit is calling me away from it to just sit at His feet and listen.
Here are some of the things I am hearing and meditating on today.
There is a sense as we humans go into prayer that the momentary is lost…falling victim to the eternal. We, who are so caught up in time, struggle hard with the loss of the momentary and in so doing we sometimes give up on prayer before it can establish its eternal ends.” J. Lillie
The terrible threat against life is not death, nor pain, nor any variation on the disasters that we so obsessively try to protect ourselves against with our social systems and personal stratagems. The terrible threat is that we might die earlier than we really do die, before death has become a natural necessity. The real horror lies in just such a premature death, a death after which we go on living for many years.” Viteslav Gardavsky
This day began with a rehearsal of where I have been in my spiritual journey up to this point and with a meditation on some of the influences that have contributed to my spiritual formation. This rehearsal was not done in the privacy of my own prayer closet. It took place as a conversation over a meal.
It is interesting to me that this year’s spiritual trek is being done as much in community as it is being done in personal reflection. I have been practicing the disciplines of confession and guidance as much as I have practiced the disciplines of prayer, fasting and study. That’s new. That’s a change. That’s uncomfortable. That’s good.
The future…I think… is going to include a challenge to deeper transparency and connection that I have ever practiced before. I think this deeper level involves more than just me. It is a corporate thing for the whole church. That means the future is going to require more vulnerability and trust than I have ever practiced before. It’s honestly a little scary and then a little exciting.
WHAT DOES THE WORD TRANSPARENCY DO TO YOUR INSIDES?
Here is what I have been listening to in my opening prayer time.
I guess it helps me to know that Jesus knows all our stuff anyway and He still offers us an open invitation to intimacy.
Our congregation has embarked on a 21 day corporate spiritual journey of seeking the Lord for the coming year using the ancient disciplines of the church.
Our pastor has asked us to begin to seek God for a greater excellence, a leaving behind of mediocrity and luke-warmness. Already I have been challenged in many areas of my life.
I have chosen as my study, in addition to the Bible, Eugene Peterson’s book RUN WITH THE HORSES.
Here is the day one quotation I am dwelling on.
The more the gospel is offered in consumer terms, the more consumers are disappointed. The gospel is not a consumer product; it doesn’t satisfy what we think of as our “needs”. …life… is not an American ‘pursuit of happiness’. It is more like God’s pursuit… (of us)” Eugene Peterson itallics mine
Today we continue our discussion about the Fall of mankind from the stand point of Genesis chapters 2 and 3.
If you missed our previous discussions you can catch them
Here is today’s discussion topic
As we stated yesterday, in the fall we lost our Assurance but we also lost our “Authority”
Psalm 8 explains how we were meant to be when it says,
What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?[c]
5 You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e] and crowned them[f] with glory and honor. 6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their[g] feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, 8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
But the writer to the Hebrews states the obvious truth,
What are mere mortals that you should think about them,
or a son of mana that you should care for him?
7Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.b
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority.
You see God intended that the Earth would be under our authority. But it is not! We lost control at the fall and now we are at the mercy of the Earth. Anyone who has ever lived through an earthquake or a tornado knows that truth. Controlling the fish of the sea?… just talk to all the people who have lived through being half-eaten by sharks this summer. Ask them how much control over the fish of the sea they feel they have.
We lost our authority at the fall and from that point to this we have been desperately trying to get back what God intended to be ours.
How does Psalm 8 make you feel in light of the knowledge that we have lost authority?
What if the recurring theme in all of our stories was the search for beauty rather than the resolution of conflict?
What kind of world would that be?
What if our first response to conflict was to ask God for help rather than trying to solve it ourselves?
What kind of world would that be?
What if the first question to our lips was “How can I help?” instead of “What’s in it for me?”
What kind of world would that be?
What if instead of guarding our hearts from hurt we could assume that people would be kind?
What kind of world would that be?
Well that world is coming! But it won’t be created by any work of man or any world religion.
That world can only and will only be created when Christ comes to take His rightful place as ruler of the world!
6For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this. Isa. 9:6,7
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearlinga together;
and a little child will lead them.
7The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. Isa. 11:6-9
10This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”c
Men can deny it but God said this was going to happen and He said this is how it would happen.
The governments of Earth can’t accomplish this.
The education systems cannot teach utopia into existence.
But Christ will bring it!
What kind of world will that be?
Today we continue with Pt. 4 of “Little Heroes, Big World”.
If you missed any of the previous installments of this study they can be found by clicking on:
Now here is the next installment for your consideration
In our previous installments we have seen that Haggai has some great advice for people who are feeling like little Heroes with little power in a big world. If the work God has called you too is bigger than you are. If life is a little overwhelming just now God says to you three things through the prophet Haggai.
The first things he recommends is Be Strong!
“But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord,” Hag. 2:4
The word used for “Be Strong” here is the word “chazaq” and the idea behind it is to strengthen yourself by having or taking hold of, retaining, holding up, sustaining or supporting yourself.
The Bible tells the story of David living among the Philistines. While he was with them he acquired a city for himself and his people called Ziklag. One time while he was away on campaign fighting, enemies broke through the gates burned Ziklag and kidnapped all the wives and children of the city. When David and his armies returned to find their homes burned and their wives and children kidnapped the men turned on David and began speaking against him but David refused to give up. The Bible tells us that “David encouraged Himself in the Lord.” He then organized his angry men and set off on a rescue mission that ended up bringing the restoration of all the wives and children and many of the possessions they had lost. David had chosen to “Be Strong”. He held on. He didn’t give in to despair. He sustained himself IN THE LORD. And as a result he won even when everything stood against him.
We are called to Be Strong like David was and there are things we must do to accomplish this task
First we must encourage ourselves in the Lord…BY
Praying over everything and I do mean everything.; And once we have prayed let us worship God that He is about to bring and answer!
Second, start thinking positive. Christian, It’s not over! It is just a new beginning! You aren’t dying! You are entering newness of life. You haven’t lost! You just have another battle to fight, and you are going to win!!!!
Finally, we have to refuse to believe the evil in the report. Don’t ignore the facts but refuse to accept that those facts are God’s final word. The battle you are currently facing is not God’s final word. It is only a sentence in the book, and God hasn’t written “The End” yet. There is a lot more of your story still to be written but you and God have to determine to write it together.
So what do you need to do to be strong? Pray more? Think positive? Stop believing the evil IN the report? I would love to hear your thoughts on being strong!
Today we are stepping into part three of the sermon series, “Little Heroes. Big World”. If you have missed Pt. 1 or Pt. 2
Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak,[a] the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2: 2-9
You see, God knew the struggle going on in the hearts of the Israelites. He knew that the people or at least some of the people, realized exactly how much greatness they had lost. He knew that while the temple they had built was a restoration, it was also a reminder of just how weak they had become. God was calling the people of Jerusalem to do some pretty heroic things at that particular time and the people were realizing that their strength would not be enough. They were little heroes with little power in a big world.
Today God is in the business of restoring many of us as well and He is telling us about big plans He has for us, for our families, for our lives. And like the Israelites of Haggai’s day, we are coming to understand that while God has restored us the plan of God is bigger than us and that we are little heroes with little power in a very big and very scary world.
Frankly, that is just how God intended it. He knows we are little heroes with little power in a very big and scary world. Still, He intends that we should move forward with His plans no matter how big, no matter how scary, no matter how impossible those plans seem.
How does that seem to you?