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Showing posts from 2011

Love and Gifts of the Spirit

My world over the past few weeks has been fascinating.  I attended a Theology on Tap led by Catholic Priests in St Cloud, a local Assembly of God Church in town that runs a homeless shelter, a Covenant Church in Monticello, Firestarters Church in Ottertail and a Spirit-filled Bible Camp in the Rocky Mountains.  You guessed it, I am one of those spiritual mutts common in this current world.

One of the common ideas that has been surfacing for me is the idea that gifts work through love.  It seems as if that would be a given considering Jesus command to love God and love one another.  Last October I was meeting with some people from a church in CT who were moving in the gifts of the Spirit.  I was asked to participate.  Crying out to God, I asked for help... God spoke deep inside my heart these words, "the gifts of the Spirit work by love." I almost stopped the car and pulled over realizing that my task was not to conjure up a "word" or move in some "gift" b…

Follow me, let the dead bury the dead.

The great word I have been dwelling in in my spiritual life is this, "follow me." It's kind of a fuzzy word that is full of depth and surrender. Jesus first invited his disciples to follow him. He later sent them out to do the works that he did. Then Jesus asked his followers to count the cost of following him. In Matthew 8: 18-22, some of the costs are having no place to lay one's head... homeless so to speak and letting the dead buy the dead. Curious.

     I think the cost of homelessness has some interesting implications. It involves not hanging on to place. How often do we hold on to a place where we have felt significant, loved, useful... or where we have had our children baptized, confirmed, married. I wonder sometimes if the invitation to let go of having a place is a part of pursuing the mission of God in this world. We might have to let go of "place" and all that "place" means to us. I find myself needing to do this today... a surrender …

Where I am seeing God

I don't know if I can blame all incidents gone wrong on a "devil" or all things going well as God's goodness and providence. But I am incredibly grateful that my car broke down in the church parking lot with Dave the snow plow man nearby verses on the freeway heading to MN. I am also glad that my little saturn broke down before we left CT as we have decided to leave it here and gift it to our friend. And I would be sad if the first thing the Saturn did was break down for my friend and cause her all manner of difficulty.

I am grateful that our trailblazer accident happened four weeks ago instead of today... it looks like a new car and the body shop did an amazing job. And I am glad the tree did not fall on our house when the home was empty and had no one to act as quickly as my husband did. and I am glad the tree did not fall when I was here entirely alone. And I have come to appreciate snow plow drivers, mechanics, body shops, and carpenters for their quick work and…

more on seeing God

I saw God in a lot of unexpected places. I noticed the missional mind in my personal trainer who doesn't go to church much but coordinates events for kids, people in need. I saw God in a bar at Picker's night each week as the group leader invited people of all skills into an accepting musical community. I saw God at Adrienne's prayer group, a gathering of eclectic people with strong opinions and deep love for one another. I saw how she could reach women of all faiths and draw them closer to God and the knowledge of his power and love. I saw God in my neighborhood as we got to know our neighbors. When the tree fell, we had offers of hospitality and welcome from several neighbors. And when we crashed the car... many offered us the use of theirs.

Many of the above did not attend church much or ever... but we saw goodness and kindness and welcome and acceptance. Each of those attributes are gifts of the Spirit who is present everywhere.

We also became friends with a mu…

How did I notice God?

One of the questions I know my spiritual friends will ask me is this: how did I notice God?

One of the ways I noticed God was teaching at Pivot Ministry in Bridgeport. There was so much joy in preparing lessons for men who were experiencing God and his healing in their lives. Some of the men had Christian backgrounds and some did not... there was so much curiosity and so many questions. I saw and experienced the Spirit's movement within the classroom setting many times.

Being with Pivot is a memory of a time when I saw God so at work.

Final week

I have many thoughts running through my mind as I pack up and head back to MN. I risked... we saw the challenge before us when we made the decision to come East. It was a challenge from the beginning. I learned so much. Namely that hard, radical strategies are not my strength nor is confrontation. And I discovered how much I had to learn about being in the midst of an emotional system. I knew the head stuff... read the books... but had not been tested personally.

I am hoping that adventures of trying and risking are honorable. And I return to MN with mixed feelings, broken dreams and an ache inside that will need time to process fully.

God did much here and we are grateful for all that happened and all of the people we met and came to love.

I don't know what the future will bring... or if other calls will come or if I need to just be and let it all go for now.

But it is interesting to notice the way I am packing my books. Leadership books and system theory books, strategy books and ch…

Follow Me... and I will make you...

One of my friends in CT shared a story with me last night and I was touched by what I saw as Jesus making her a fisher of people. I think that becoming a fisher of people is clouded by our modern day concept of line fishing. One throws out a line, with a hook and some bait in hopes of "catching" a fish. And we get tripped up by finding the right bait, the right fishing technique or the right method of fishing so we can catch fish.

But what if becoming a fisher had less to do with technique and more to do with following Jesus and becoming that which he is already making us. Jesus said, "follow me and I will make you a fisher of men." Back to the story my friend was telling.

My friend was outside shoveling snow when she and her neighbor talked briefly about his need to go to the laundromat. Wondering why he did not have his own washing machine and dryer, she asked him about why. Her nieghbor just said, "we are struggling." This led to a sense of compassion an…