Friday, March 30, 2018

If This Bird Could Talk, What Would It Say?

This is from the Friday Freewrite by Julie Bogart at Bravewriter:

So here goes. Just for fun. I will just do a 10 minute one this morning. 

This is the bird talking:

The sunrise was brilliant this morning, and it got my heart to singing praise to God for the dawn of a new day. I see those people inside their houses with the lights on. They are busily rushing here and there getting ready for their work day. I am just looking at the sunrise. Why will they not look up and out the window at this glorious display of God's brilliance right out their window? It would really be great if they would even open the window and hear me singing my song! Oh those humans, they just do not look UP, and they "labor and spin" about all sorts of things. Oh, there is mother yelling at her kids at the breakfast bar. Barking orders like a drill sergeant. She really needs to look outside.

Oh well, I will just fly. The Oregon rain has cleared and I am soaring, soaring, soaring through the blue sky from one tree to the next. Oh, the brilliance of Oregon in the spring! Look at that ornamental cherry tree at the H's house! It is a little later than last year, but it was worth the wait to see it popping with pink!

I know there are some people sneezing in this sort of season, and it is a shame that they cannot come out and walk because of their allergies. I am so glad that birds like me do not get allergies like some people do.

Oh I am singing, singing, singing. It is a new day. In fact, it is not just any new day but Good Friday. The rooster crowed and Peter wept, and I will sing because it is Friday but Sunday is coming. The dawn of a new day and era.

I wonder what happened to that turkey that was in this neighborhood making all that noise for months on end. He/She seems to have disappeared. I am sure the neighbors here are so happy to see that bird gone. My song is so much more melodic. That bird was annoying to all of the birds in the neighborhood.

I know this is Friday so that tall lady at 910 is going to be coming out in the afternoon and bringing bread to another neighbor. There are some new people on the block she has not brought bread to these days. I wonder if she will bring more than one loaf. Maybe she will bring bread to the lady who lost her husband about 6 weeks ago.

Well, I must be flying on to other places beyond this neighborhood. A birds work is never done. Have a wonderful Good Friday one and all. Remember: IT IS FRIDAY BUT SUNDAY IS COMING!

I will be tweeting again very soon. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

10. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Nouwen

This is a simple book but powerful. Nouwen looks at the three temptations presented to Christ and likens them to the temptations we face as leaders and their remedies:

2520TEMPTATION: To be Relevant
QUESTION: Do you love me? (from John 21)
DISCIPLINE: Contemplative Prayer

TEMPTATION: To be Spectacular
TASK: Feed My Sheep
DISCIPLINE: Confession and Forgiveness

TEMPTATION: To be Powerful
CHALLENGE: Somebody Else Will Take You
DISCIPLINE: Theological Reflection (Which means "thinking with the mind of Christ. Theology's original meaning was "union with God in prayer.") 

It was a quick but good read. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

9. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Another fabulous read doing it with the Renovare Book Club. An expert on C.S. Lewis is guiding us through it with a Spiritual Formation lens. It has been really good! 

Screwtape clarifies the Enemy's intent:
   "Of course I know that the Enemy also wants to detach men from themselves, but in a different way. Remember always, that He really likes the little vermin, and sets an absurd value on the distinctness of every one of them. When He talks of their losing their selves, He only means abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boast (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever. Hence, while He is delighted to see them sacrificing even their innocent wills to His, He hates to see them drifting away from their nature for any other reason. And we should always encourage them to do so.

Another good quote:

"The great thing is to prevent his doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance. Let the little brute wallow in it. Let him, if he has any bent that way, write a book about it; that is often an excellent way of sterilizing the seeds which the Enemy plants in a human soul. Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able to ever to  act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Freewrite to Freedom Fifteen

Yesterday morning was great. Here is what I wrote to my "Terrific Ten" Prayer Team (Ten friends who are so committed to praying for me that I cry. It is a mixture of my hubby, college best friend, four women who graduated from our training, three local buddies (one of whom also graduated from our training), and a woman I used to mentor): 

This morning was so lovely. I met with a girl going overseas. She had listened to talks by my friends, and when she contacted them, they referred her to me. I sat with this lovely woman and listened to her doubts about hearing the voice of God, her second guessing, her fears, her false narratives, and then we went to prayer; creating space for her to just listen, recording the journey so she can see God's pattern, unique to her. 

God gives perfect calm going into these times for I know he always shows up. I just go with no expectation of how he will speak or how he will move: but he always does.. He gave her such strong pictures of Himself - smashing the false narratives, gently leading her beside quiet waters. And he even gave her words regarding her belovedness and an identity name. Today was the beginning of something so beautiful for her. There is no doubt that there is a God. Another God miracle on the crying couch. Heaven touching earth. I am in awe.

At the end, I gave her a copy of my Renovare Institute monthly assignment on hearing God's voice (if you want a copy I could send it to you) and a little handout on examen prayer  that will help her in the upcoming cross-cultural move.

As usual, as the hours have passed I have become more and more pensive. I cannot explain it, but this happens to me sometimes after sweet breakthroughs with people. I am listening to Elevation Worship (does anyone else just love them?), but I am still pensive. That is not necessarily bad. 

I would just appreciate prayer. I cannot even explain it. Just feel like crying pensive tears. A breakthrough for me is on the way. I just know it. So I would appreciate prayer.

Pushing the button of vulnerability. 

I got such a sweet response back from one of the friends:
Thank you for sharing this… I will be praying for her, and for you too! What a powerful encounter… My first thought when I read it was I completely resonate… After times of intense and exciting breakthrough I often go through a similar time of “valley” I never know if it is good/bad/otherwise but definitely a pattern I know from the inside… but when I read your account my mind thought of Jesus and his encounter with the woman with bleeding who received healing when touching His hem…. “I felt power go out from me…” I wonder if Jesus experienced similar times of depletion (?) or as you put it pensiveness after times of great encounter? Just something I’m thinking about. I’d love a copy of the assignment you mentioned and of course will pray for you to be able to rest and restore after giving out to this young lady.
I had just meditated on the story of the women who touches Jesus' robe the day before. I think I was a bit depleted. The good news is, I didn't turn to overeating or watching TV to avoid the pensiveness. I just let God minister to me in my pensiveness. This is huge for me. I think it would have been different had my friend picked me up for lunch right after like we had planned, but she had the death of a friend. I think I was so looking forward to some face-to-face connection with her and debriefing with her (of course not giving any details of the encounter with this woman), and I didn't get that. I use my time wisely by reviewing some reading and writing my academic assignment for Renovaré Institute, but then night came, and I felt so pensive. It was really good though. I was vulnerable, and my besties responded with promises of prayer, and I think it really did lift. I also got a sweet response from one of the fellow members in my Renovaré Cohort who said he was praying Proverbs 11:25 for me:

A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Then I wrote the young woman and said, "God did a good thing today." And she replied, "Yes, definitely. A lot of confirmation. :)"  

I love my life. It all was wrapped up in a big bow at bedtime. I woke up this morning so refreshed and alive Proverbs 11:25 style, and it followed with two fast-paced Pilates classes. I had such good classes this term. They were really life-giving for me and many are returning for next term. I love this age group. (I did have one 60 year old faculty member that was delightful too.)

Tonight feels so lovely. :) 


8. Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard

I thought I had already written a review of this, but I don't think I did! This is my second time through. This is an updated version of the original that was called In Search of Guidance. I think this is THE best book on hearing God's voice. This is one to give to people who doubt that you can hear Him. Willard gives a scriptural base for his thesis. It is a great book. The updating and expanding did not make it too different from the original. The exercises written by Jan Johnson were nice, but I didn't find the outstanding. I also have the DVD series by the same title, and I realized I never finished it. I may do that tonight! 

Having a conversational relationship with God is the bomb! I highly recommend it! TTFN! 

7. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

34090816I read this again for the Renovaré Book Club. It is great! 

Here is a link to my previous read in 2014 after I went to her home in Holland:

Here is a link to ALL of my pictures from that visit:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Freewrite Fifteen - Been Too Long

I have not posted here since February 17 and have not done a freewrite since February 10. That is a whole month! So, this is a FREE SATURDAY, and my sleepy men will be in bed for a while. YAY! 

OK, I love Alexa. OK, everyone thinks Amazon is taking over the world. I still think they are not terrible like Walmart (read Big Box Swindle if you don't believe they are), and they are going everywhere, but I find these Alexa really wonderful for worship. I listen to music, and then I have made a Praise and Worship Playlist, and I love, love, love it. I am not one to make the efforts to look for music or even buy it (I have a $1 digital credit from Amazon right now and have to think of a song to buy - decisions, decisions). So, I can be having my time with God and a song will come to mind, and I ask her to play it for me during my time with Him. Worship has been great. 

Speaking of worship. We interceded seriously for Syria on Thursday night, and one of the guys broke into spontaneous song, and there was such hearty oneness as we sang. AND, the next day, 13 aid trucks made it into Damascus after many attempts having failed. I love this group in so many ways, and their commitment to pray for the world warms my heart. When we pray for the world, we have to repent of our "first world problems" that trip us up all the time. We could be in Syria right now wondering if a bomb was going to drop or in a hot refugee camp on the border. We must be thankful. We must care and pray. One of us will be going to one of those camps in the next year and living near there to provide medical care. We must be the change we want to see in this world. 

So we pray. 

I have not done a freewrite about my time in Sumas, Washington. First of all, YAY, I drove up there in snow, ice, traffic, and I made it! YAY! It was calming to have the recordings of the guides for all the weeks of the Online Retreat. It was so good to review all the things that I learned on the three months journey with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I loved that. 

The residency was good. I made deeper connection with a few more people, and learned to not be afraid of one of them. They are a nice group of people. The content is very basic, but the cumulative effect of the full curriculum is very powerful. It is a lovely review of all I learned at the Navigator Summer Training Program at Multnomah School of the Bible in 1981. I like my new small group, and I can tell we are already going to get deeper more quickly than my other group that took a while to click but ended up being really nice. This group is pretty vulnerable and older. (I was the oldest person in the last one.) They are so different and both lovely. I love the sincerity of the people in the whole cohort, and the leaders have great hearts. This residency was much better, but I never know what to say when people want me to tell everyone in the group what we learned. I liked that we didn't have to speak into microphones for this one, and I liked the setting so much better. There were great trails, and there were no statues to other gods at this retreat center. That made it much easier for me to enjoy and focus. 

I wrote a poem, and I will post it here if I get up the nerve. I learned that Jesus is with me even when I feel very insecure. I had too high of expectations for this group of people, and now I have adjusted them. It seems like the more I adjust them, the better it is. It is filled with many introverts. I am an introvert who has been trained to be outgoing and inquisitive. I am so thankful for my parents in that regard. One woman really helped me understand the dynamics that go on when many people in leadership get together. That was really helpful for me to understand. :) 

So, I am done with my fifteen. Now on to my prayer of examen. 

Sunday Seventeen Freewrite

  New Tea Pot and One of the Cups I have not written a freewrite for so long. I thought I would write in a different font. I am going to try...