Leslie’s Learnings: I thought a thought last night that I’ve never thought before. As my precious Frank and I climbed into bed, I thought, “I don’t want to say goodnight to today.” It was the most wonderful day. Full of memories for daydreaming moments. I close my eyes and smile picturing Tiffany, Heather and Danielle boldly standing on the altar and wooing our hearts as they share about their first week as minimalists. The need for new hangers sparks the realization that the need is not for more hangers, but less clothes.. The cleaning out of a forgotten drawer reveals a thought-to-be-lost-forever diamond earring. And money earned to buy more for self is given generously to offer hope for another. Together, we celebrate getting rid of the old stuff. Then almost in the same breath, our breath is taken away as our Ms. Opal walks down the aisle to meet her future husband in a church decorated by her great granddaughter. “Morning has Broken” fills the air, and together, with weepy eyes, we honor and stand in awe of the old. Heads bow reverently. The words to an old poem are put to song by young Alejandro and a prayer is prayed for our precious couple. Holy happens. It’s true. I didn’t want to say goodnight to yesterday. But oh what delicious memories I have for today. For this, O Lord, I give you thanks! [Today is Day 7 in our minimalist journey. If you want to join us, PLEASE give us a call and we would love to send you a thirty day prayerbook/journal, which you can begin on any day. Blessings!]
Learning’s from Luke…. By Rachel Roussel “I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’ But your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:18-19 Each day we each struggle with worries that can produce anxiety and fear. Maybe it’s personal or the economy, jobless rate, murder rate, or other problem. But recently I heard a pastor say, “worry is meditating on words that are not God’s word.” What can we meditate on instead? God’s word tells us to think on good things, to fear not and be anxious for nothing. God’s word says that he’s our provider, our fortress, our shield, our present help in time of need. God’s word says that when you cry out that you are slipping that he will grab you and hold on until you get back on your feet, and he gives us renewed hope when all hope seems lost, and renewed cheer. Cheer? This simple word at the end of the verse can easily be overlooked, but it’s important to remember that God always comforts us and carries us through times of trouble back to the place of joy. In Matthew 6:25 God tells us to stop worrying about our lives. Instead, focus on what God is doing today, and on what we can do today to help bring his plans into being. Because as Romans 8:39 says, “Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.”
A learning at Luke 10:27 By Becky Walding In a world of uncertainty I often find myself looking ahead and wondering about all the what if’s and things to come whether they are good or bad, most often bad. I get so caught up in the unknown that I allow myself to get to a state of worry and then fear enters without even realizing it. Once in that place I become so frozen that I can’t or won’t allow myself to savor all that life is offering at this moment. I become so fearful it literally stops me from seeing anything good in my life because I am so focused on the if’s. This morning in my quiet time with Jesus, I asked him a question, “What do you want me to learn today?” this is what I heard.. “Be content- live for today, enjoy each moment. Do not worry about things to come, instead put all your trust in ME and I will guide you and keep you safe. I just love how he knows just what we need and when we need it. Feast on these verses. Philippians 4:11 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 37:24 …though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord upholds them with his hand. Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. So today I am leaning into these truths and trusting. Father God, I want to savor each day with you and cherish every moment with the people in my life. Thank you for your sweet way of talking to us and reassuring us that you are right there with us every step of the way. I pray that as I savor all you have to offer that I will continue to grow closer and closer to you each day. Love you so much. Your servant, Becky
It was a Freudian slip. An error in speech due to an unconscious wish. His prayer during our worship service was coming to an end. “in the name of Jesus we play. Amen.” We play?! I love it! Praying is playing with God. Wow! That’s no Freudian slip. That’s divine revelation. God wants to play with us. I’ve prayed with prayer shawls and prayer books, but never with play dough. The unconventional thought seeped into my soul. Pray with play dough? Preposterous. Call out to God with a crayon? Absurd. Seek the Lord in sand? Strange. But not according to recent research in the field of Social Sciences . Studies of the brain prompt Neuropsychologist R. Joseph to say, “The limbic system (of the brain) may well be the seat of the soul or may serve as the neuro transmitter to God.” We are wired to connect with God. Creative arts heighten that connection by offering a “slow-paced setting conducive to reflection.” John Berryman, author of Godly Play, encourages us to be in the presence of Godly laughter. “Godly laughter,” writes Berryman, “is that of creation and play.” So, here’s to pink play dough, a pack of colored pencils, a sack of sand and a box of crayons. Teach us to pray, Lord. Teach us to play. . . . . with You! We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.
I wish you could experience my daughter-in-law, Kathryn, tell this story. She’s such a gifted storyteller. During Sunday School this past Sunday I wanted our children (ages 3-12, a most amazing, delightful blend) to experience the omnipresence of God, i.e. God is always present everywhere. As a part of our exercise Kathryn took three different age groups to play Hide and Seek in the sanctuary. First, they entered the sanctuary like little, noiseless ninjas. Next, they silently sought their hideout while the “seeker” counted. When the seeker was ready to seek he/she whispered the scripture, “If you seek me, you will find me.” After a couple of solo rounds the seeker said softly “If you seek Me,” and the hiders gently joined in, “you will find Me,” until all had been found. The following point was to be made: Even though we can’t see God, God is here. When Kathryn got to the “God is here” part, she heard an audible gasp. There stood her stunned daughter, Caroline, age 3. Body motionless. Eyes as wide as saucers. Disbelief refusing to flee from her face. S-l-o-w-l-y . . . three very BIG words came out of her tiny, petite mouth. “G-O-D is H-E-R-E?!!!” Incredible! Unbelievable! The Big guy?! The One I talk to every night?! He’s here?! WOW! Utterly, totally amazing!! No wonder Jesus said, “Unless you become like a child you will not enter the Kingdom of God.” Help us get this, Lord. Grow us younger, Grow us smaller. Grow us into a deeper understanding that wherever we are, You are. Y-O-U are H-E-R-E!! Incredible! Amazing! What are You seeing? What are You hearing? What are You longing to be for us? We adore You, O Christ, now and forever.
Unhurried intimacy with Christ. Like a salmon swimming upstream it’s a daunting task. Why? Why is it so difficult to linger in God’s presence? Why is it so hard to just hang with the One who knows us better and loves us stronger than anyone? When I was growing up my Mom had a mantra: “Leslie, slow down!” I wish I had been a better listener. Have you ever noticed how the beautiful things in God’s creation take their time? Slowly, insistently light defies darkness as the sun rises. A baby is born. A flower blooms. An oak tree looms large in our yard. Each formation takes the path of gradual growth. Each formation experiences barely perceptible change from one day to the next. I think God likes unhurried. Today, Lord, help us linger in Your Love. Give us the courage to challenge “busy” and “not enough time” by spending gentle, relaxed time with You, the One who saves us from ourselves. We get that it’s going to take us time to learn how to take time. So, bless us with persistent patience, Jesus. We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.
Today, Lord, How many faces will we see? How many words will we read? How much time will we spend with our family and friends? As our fingers type and swipe Bring us, Love, into Your Light. Yours is the Face we want to see when we strike a messaging key. Love listens. Love learns. Love forgives a wrong turn. Love seeks to always find something good – something kind. Love never wants to turn away from what His people have to say. Love gives us space to make a fuss refusing to give up on us. So, today, Lord, may Your Face fill the space between us and our friends. May Your Love from above be our button marked “Send.”
“I want to pray, but I don’t know how.” “Who has time? I sure don’t.” “I just do it while I’m doing things.” Common thoughts for an uncommon practice. Uncommon because prayer is a sacred encounter with the One who created us. A listening for holy whispers. A transforming power to change direction, change one’s heart, and change the world. It’s God’s way of intimacy with us. It’s One being one with us. Leading us. Convicting us. Loving us. So let’s learn about it. I’m SO excited about the series we’re doing at Luke on Sunday mornings: Being with Jesus to be sent out. Each week, along with the sermon, we’re receiving a WayCard. The WayCards contain specific ways to experience intimacy with the One who thinks we’re His best idea ever. For these first ten weeks we’re learning how to be with Jesus. Our being with Him informs out doing for Him. If we don’t get this order right, being before doing, we end up like a chicken running around with her head cut off. Busy, but dead. The following weeks we’ll experience being sent out in ministry of service, finances, and relationships (with particular focus on strengthening our marriages). It’s a breathtaking experience to be with Jesus and to be sent out by Him to help build His kingdom. So, let’s learn how to do it together! You are our King, Lord. We stand in awe that you want to come close to us. Help us create space in our busy lives to love You,. . . to serve You, . . .to just be with You. We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.