Transformation

Transformation

Friday, October 30, 2009

Holy Spirit prayer

Holy Spirit come
Open the walls of life

Holy Spirit come
Relive us of daily strife

Holy Spirit come
That we might learn

Holy Spirit come
That our hears may burn

Holy Spirit come
Allow your people praise

Holy Spirit come
Being us into your gaze

Holy Spirit come
Look deep in my heart

Holy Spirit come
May my life never part

Holy Spirit come...come.

Looking Forward!

I call this blog "looking forward" because it reminds me that our task is to be horizon people. We look to the future and think about possibilities. At the same time we depend on tomorrow to bring a fresh day and a brighter future. [I pray for those who look to tomorrow with a knowledge that the next day will likely be more difficult than this day.] I pray because the horizon is a significant point for our vision focus.

Each time we drive a stake to identify the future, we begin to make our way to reality. When we arrive, the horizon shifts...it never moves back...it always moves forward. For good or for bad, it moves us forward. Otherwise we are captured by the present and immediately locked into the past. The future is the only place that brings us hope because the future is filled with the reality of Jesus Christ.

God dwells in the present...in this very moment...so we can know that God is real and walking with us at each moment. But God is also firmly planted in the future. Each step forward gives us a clearer image of God and his will for our lives.

Walk in faith, know that God is good, understand the Jesus inhabits the praise of his people, and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit for the core elements of your life.

Worship in your favorite church this week...Walk with God...perhaps you will encounter him like the disciples on the Road to Emmaus!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reading List

I had a warm conversation yesterday with a young UM pastor from the Dakotas. We shared a bit about the places where we serve (some of the joy, and some of the challenge) and then shifted into personal "how are you doing" conversation. In the process he asked me what I have been reading lately.

The book that is on our coffee table or that sits beside the bed is always a good indicator of our mind set, our personal interests, and a statement about how we are growing in our faith and personal relationships. It can also speak volumes about how have fun.

Lately (in the last two weeks) I have been reading a bunch of Thomas Merton stuff. I visited Gethsemani Abbey two weeks ago so he is fresh on my mind. Merton lived within the walls of Gethsemani for 27 years before his death on December 10, 1968. His writings continue to impact many people who are searching for the inner realities of spiritual growth and discovering how to live "in the world but not of the world."

Once again (I am embarrassed to tell you how many times this has happened) I read Michael Mott's very complete biography of Merton. In addition I read Merton: A Biography by Monica Furlong. I also enjoyed a Merton biography by Jim Forest called Living With Wisdom. Both the Forest book and the Furlong biography have been updated and revised in recent years. The three books together provide a comprehensive picture Merton's life, thought, teaching, and struggle.

Here's a nutshell of what I gleaned from my Merton reading: Spiritual life is an up and down process! There is no constant experience that continues to move upward from left to right. In fact the growth curve (or sprirtual life chart) often looks a lot like a graph of the contemporary stock market. It has upward spikes, downward trends, and a roller coaster appearance. But like the stock market (which I understand always eventually -we pray- goes up) our spiritual lives that are focused fully on God will move through the cycle with an over all upward reality.

It is the Romans 8:28 principle in action! God (who is always good) will use our dedicated desire, our willingness to live by faith, and our committed discipline for ultimate good. It will be good for us and it will be a blessing to others. Our personal growth is always directed to the lives of others. It is never for our sake alone. We benefit, but our growing faith is really for the needs of the world and for people who do not yet know the joy of personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Bottom line...your personal journey may be on an upswing or you may feel like you are about to touch bottom...either way there is good news. God is faithful and wants to use this day to bring good into your life. Stay faithful, move forward, seek God...it may not be easy but the journey is good.

Honk if you like Merton!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome Back...

Well, here we go again. I originally launched this blog to provide transitional connections during our move from Wilmore, Kentucky to Colorado Springs, Colorado. That transition is still unfolding but it is essentially complete. Therefore, it is time to get back into action.

I want to celebrate the Wilson United Methodist Church. Located in the north-west corner of Colorado Springs, it is near the Air Force Academy, ten minutes (or less) from the Garden of the Gods, and right in the heart of Flying W Ranch country. In short, we are blessed with a beautiful location.

But congregations are not really about location...they are about people. Some of the people are already a part of the church body while many others still need to connect to the Good News of Jesus Christ. Loud speakers will never do the trick! We can't blast our way into the lives of people. God doesn't work that way. We can only love our way into their journey and invite them to respond. Fortunately, God does most of the work. We just establish the relationship, God's prevenient Grace has already been working, ultimately transformation and joy are the result.

That is the world-wide task of the church and the Wilson community is geared up to get it done!

Blessed are those who serve the world by putting their faith in action.
Blessed are those who put their hearts on the line for the sake of others.
Blessed are those who consider the needs of others before seeking their own pleasure.
Blessed are those who seek God and respond to the faithfulness of God's Word.

Bottom line...we could sum up the Wilson community with one word...servant!