Eight Ideas for How to use the Enneagram for Business Success

No matter what type of business you run you want it to be successful! You want to make a difference in the world. You want to do what you enjoy. You want to make a comfortable living.

There is a great tool available called the Enneagram to help you to bring out the best with owners, management, and staff. The Enneagram for business can help you and your organization to be at its best.

The Enneagram is a tool to help you to learn more about yourself and your colleagues. It helps you to understand yourself. To answer the question, what makes me tick? Why do I see the world the way I do? Why do I get along better with particular people? Why do others annoy me?

The Enneagram shines the light on your habitual patterns which become a problem when you act them out unconsciously.

There are nine different personality types.  At an early age, you are given a personality to survive in the world. You could not survive without an ego. The trouble begins when you become an adult and remain unconscious of your automatic patterns. The Enneagram can help you to discover your personality type, giving the tools you need to move beyond the limitations of your personality.

The Enneagram points to where you get stuck. It is not an excuse to behave a particular way. The good news is that it shows you a way to freedom helping you to get stronger in all nine personality types.

The healthier the people in your business are, the more profitable your business will be. Here are eight ways for how you can use the Enneagram for business success:

 

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1.     Self Awareness:

Self-awareness of each member of the organization is crucial to the well-being of any group. If you are not self-aware, you are more likely to make poor decisions.

The Enneagram can help you to become aware of habitual patterns that no longer serve you. Here are some patterns that each type can identify.

Type One: The Reformer: You always need to get things perfect.

Type Two: The Helper: You have a habit of Ignoring your own physical and emotional needs

Type Three: The Achiever: You are preoccupied with the need for approval

Type Four: The Individualist: You often  get stuck in a favorite emotion

Type Five: The Investigator: You have a tendency to isolate from those around you

Type Six: The Loyalist:  You have the challenge of seeing problems where there are none

Type Seven: The Enthusiast: You get bored quickly and have trouble finishing what you start.

Type Eight: The Challenger: You can come across as overly forceful

Type Nine: The Peacemaker: You need to watch out for your tendency toward passive-aggressive behavior

 

2.     Communication:

The more you learn about your type and the types of those around you the better you are able to communicate. As you get to know yourself better, with compassion, the more you are able to do this with others.

The Enneagram helps you to understand why each of us sees the world differently. Getting to know what another person’s type helps you to become aware how that person sees the world. It helps you to understand the struggles they face when they are feeling under pressure.

The Enneagram helps you to be more present. It helps you to let go of your fears of the past and future. It helps you to open up your three brain centers, the body, emotions, and mind. This helps you to be a better listener.

The Enneagram gives you clues to how you can best communicate with each other. For example, if you want to talk with a type eight personality you will need to be upfront and honest with them. It will be important for that person to know that you are there to help them achieve their goals.

If you want to talk with a type six, it would be helpful to emphasize your loyalty to what they are doing. It is essential for you to take the concern of your colleague for safety in the organization seriously such as physical, relational, and spiritual health.

Working with the Enneagram helps you to own your own issues. It helps to prevent you reading into other people’s behavior. It reduces the chance of serious conflict. It challenges you to focus on yourself rather than blaming another person for your own insecurities.

 

3.     Conflict Resolution:

Anytime you have people in a room with different ideas you have conflict. The challenge is to use conflict constructively. The Enneagram points each type to see where they get stuck. It gives you tools to free yourself from your own stuff that often get in the way of resolving issues.

Think of a time when you were misunderstood. So much conflict arises from poor communication. Part of it is that we need to communicate our ideas in an open and nonjudgmental way. The other is that we need to become better listeners. When we are in our world of our personality, it is difficult to hear what are the issues.

When you are stuck in your personality, it is difficult to resolve any conflict because our bag of tools is limited.  Imagine that you only have one-ninth of the tools available to you when you are stuck in your personality.

As you get healthier in all nine types, your life toolbag expands to deal with the complexities of interpersonal conflict.  You get more able to hear what your colleague is trying to tell you. You have the skills to deal with difference of opinions and find win-win solutions that benefit everyone.

 

4.     Self Care

Have you ever wondered why you have such a difficult time balancing your needs and obligations in life?  The Enneagram can help you to understand why you have particular challenges in finding balance in your life.

For example, if you identify with the type two personality called the helper you can become so focused on helping others that you forget that you have your own needs.  If you recognize with type five personality, you might remember your need to take care of your body with exercise and good food.

Self-care requires you to find harmony within your three intelligence centers. Your body needs you to pay attention to it because it will tell you when you are out of balance. You need to pay attention to your heart because it will guide you to love yourself and those around you. Your quiet mind will help you learn to trust your inner guidance system.

 

5.     Organizational Structure:

A healthy organization requires people to use their gifts. Most jobs in an organization relate closer to a particular Enneagram type or at least one of the tri-types such as body, heart or head.

The specific type of jobs requires people with particular personality types. For example, you probably don’t want a person doing customer service to type eight personality. They might quickly overwhelm the customer. A type nine the peacemaker or a type one who is really good at details might just be the best for the job.

This is not to say that only specific types can work in different jobs. A healthy person who has strengths in all nine types could work in just about any job position.

Each person will find different jobs more appealing because the position requires the skills that come most readily to them.

A healthy business requires a diversity of skills and personalities to help the organization work as a whole. Then the Enneagram provides you with tools to help people get along with each other.  When you have the right people in the positions, the organization is more likely going to work together harmoniously. A harmonious team is a more profitable firm.

 

6.     Management Style:

A healthy manager is one that knows themselves well. The Enneagram helps each manager to be at their best. This tool helps you as a manager to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It provides you with suggestions as to what you need to work on to be a more productive leader.

A manager who knows his or her team well will find the best ways to encourage each of their employees.  A manager with a type three worker will want to draw on their ability to be a great mentor in the organization. A manager with a type four worker will want to connect with their sense of heart and beauty. Type fours are some of the most creative people in the world.

When you are able to live in the moment, all your three intelligence centers will be open. Thus giving you the tools to help bring out the best in each of your employees. When you are stuck in your personality, you will miss much because you will be so preoccupied with yourself.

With the help of the Enneagram, you will learn to find the best ways to work with each of your employees. Each person, depending on their personality and their emotional health will need different skills. You will discover the strengths of each of your employees and be able to encourage them to continue working on issues that are holding them back.

 

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7.     Bottom Line:

All businesses are concerned with the bottom line. A company that has a group of healthy of leaders and workers are going to be ones who make the most money and have the satisfaction of making a difference in the world.

Healthy and satisfied employees will require less sick leave. They will be more efficient. They will do great work. Customer service will get stronger.

Employees will stay with your organization longer because they are happy and satisfied with the work they do. You will lower your need to find new staff as often as you have before. Fewer new staff require less job training.

A healthy staff that does excellent customer services is going to become popular with customers. Return customers always add to the profit line. They become your most significant advertisers because they recommend you to friends and family.

 

8.     Visioning:

The Enneagram helps you to vision with a body that is present, a heart that is open and a mind that is calm.

Visioning requires you and your staff to be present. Anyone that is stuck in personality is going to get in the way of the company’s health.  Team players who are stuck will allow their own personal issues get in the way of their ability to do their work.

The Enneagram helps you to connect with your higher self. When you are open to the wisdom within you, and around you, new ideas emerge that have the potential to take you and your company in new and exciting directions.

The Enneagram for business can help you and your organization to be healthier, happier, meaningful, responsible and productive.  The Enneagram will help you and your management and staff with self-awareness, communications, conflict resolution, self-care, organizational structure, management style, bottom line and visioning.

When you and your staff are bringing their best forth into the organization self-confidence improves, creativity is brought to the forefront, conflict is more easily resolved, mutuality is honored, and work becomes a fun place to be.

When you use the Enneagram in combination with coaching, it becomes a productive long-term program. It helps owners, management, and staff to be self-aware, and also to be in the best position for them, and the company.  It supports all in the business to have excellent skills in communication.

With time and dedication, through working with the Enneagram, you will help you and your company a happy place to work, and it will enhance your profits. It improves your earnings through increased productivity, enhanced creativity, honest and helpful feedback from all staff and excellent customer service.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

Originally Published by REL Consultants http://www.relconsultants.com

Nine Incredible Valid Reasons Life Transitions are Hard By Roland Legge

Life is full of surprises!  What was your first significant change? It was probably your birth into the world.

Life transitions are hard. The moment, you arrive in the world you experience your first significant change.  It must be a shock to all the senses being forced out into this alien world. The process of birth is just the beginning of your adventure.

Life transitions include:

 

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Birth:

Can you imagine being in the comfort and safety of your mother’s womb? It is nice and warm. With all your needs met, you are secure. Then imagine suddenly without warning being pushed out into a foreign world.

For the first time in your life, separated from your mother you are alone. Can you imagine the sense of abandonment you felt? You have to cry to get your needs met.

If you could remember this part of your life, it might leave you with some unsettling dreams. Coming into the world Is a massive change. Any change takes a period of adjustment whether or not you label the transition as good or bad.

It might be like being kidnapped and thrown out of a plane with a parachute into a jungle where you have no idea where you are. How would you be feeling?

 

Childhood years:

How much of your early years do you remember?  Some of what you remember may come from stories that your parents told you. Now imagine what it was like for you to learn to walk? What was it like to learn to ride a two-wheeler bike? What do you remember?

You are learning to become more independent. These are never easy years. Imagine how many times you fell over before you were able to walk on your own. Learning to walk, is like most new things you learn to do, takes a lot of practice.

Do you remember learning to ride a two-wheeler bike? Did you first start with learners wheels?  How many scrapes did you have before you were able to ride down the street without falling off the bike? Give your child self-lots of appreciation for all the risks they took to take their place in the world. Learning new skills is not easy!

 

Teen Years:

Take a moment to reflect on all physical, social, emotional and hormonal changes that happen during these exciting years. Your body changes so quickly it can be confusing for you to know how to behave.

Sexual desire in you comes to life! You enjoy these new feelings, and yet they baffle you. You pick up from the adults in your life that this is something to feel ashamed.  You are mixed up. How can something that feels so good be so wrong?

You might even feel growing pains in your bones because you are changing so fast. You are not quite sure if you are still a child or an adult.

Peer pressure at school can be challenging. You want to be cool with your mates.

Life transitions are hard. If you are not one of the cool kids, you can feel very isolated. You can feel invisible. Bullies can make your life difficult. Anxiety can overtake your life because you feel like there is something wrong with you.

 

Moving away from home:

Do you remember moving away from home for the first time? It probably is one of the most exciting times in your life? Yet, leaving the safety of home is perhaps one of the most stressful times in your life.

For the first time, you have to take care of your own needs. You need to wash your own clothes. You need to cook your own meals. You have to manage your own schedule. Even if this feels good, change of this magnitude takes a lot of energy.

If you moved to another city, there is the stress of learning to get around a new place. Where do I need to go to get groceries? How are you going to get around?

Then there is the stress of money. When you lived at home, your parents took care of most of your needs. You will have to learn to budget. You might even need to find some part-time work to help you to make ends meet.

 

Marriage:

Marriage is one of the most significant decisions you will make in your life. Once you get past the falling in love stage where everything seems exciting; the success of your marriage will depend on your commitment to growing individually and as a couple.

Your relationship will find strength, depending on how well you are able to know your own needs, show a willingness to compromise, seek to bring out the best in each other and communicate well. Communication is probably one of the most significant challenges you will face.

It takes time to get used to living with someone else. You need time to find your new rhythm as a couple. You will need to find ways that honor the needs of both of you. You will need to experiment until you find a balance that works for you both.

One of the many challenges of marriage is that you get to see each other in the worst and best of times. You get to experience each other’s peculiarities. Maybe the things that you once thought to be amusing is now annoying.

Do you like conflict? I am guessing you don’t. There is guaranteed to be conflict in your relationship. Conflict happens when there are two people with different opinions. You as a couple need to find a way to talk so you can see solutions that will work for you both. Trying to impose your point of view may fix things for the short time, but it will eventually backfire when the person who was imposed on pushes back.

 

Having children:

If you think getting married is complicated, then having children is even more challenging. When a child arrives into your life your world dramatically changes. It is your child/children who are the center of your attention.

There will be a time when you get little sleep. You will no longer be able to do as you please. If you want to have a date you need to find someone to care for your child or children.  Your children will be on your mind for the rest of your life no matter what they do good or bad.

If you haven’t had any conflict about the division of labor in your family having children will likely raise it. Hopefully, you have thought about it before the child arrives. Are you going to equally share the work including child care, cooking, cleaning, shopping, outdoor work and more?

Sharing the labor doesn’t mean you have to divide all tasks in half. But you need to come to an agreement that is fair to both parties.  Watch out that the women don’t take on more than her fair share.

Life transitions are hard. Make sure you take time to care for yourself, besides caring for your children and partner. A healthy you is the best gift you can give to the family.

 

Divorce:

There is no such thing as an easy divorce. Even the most respectful ones take a lot of energy. There is nothing shameful about getting divorced. I hope you would have tried to resolve the issues before you made the final decision.

Sometimes your relationship needs to come to an end for many reasons from the loss of trust, affairs, domestic violence and sometimes people just grow apart.

Divorce impacts the relationships you have with the friends and family you shared with your partner. Depending on how well the relationship ends will determine who you are able to stay in touch with.

Divorce impacts your children. No matter how well you do it, the children’s lives are going to be changed forever. If you are your partner were not getting along,  the divorce will still be better for the children.

All your routines get changed. Tasks you used to share you have to do yourself. There is no one to ask about your day. There is no one to share something important that took place at work or at home. Money can be a problem if you are the one that stayed at home with the kids or you had the lowest paying of the two or more jobs.

During times of divorce, your emotions will be up and down. There will be days when you will find it hard to get out of bed. One moment you will be crying, the next laughing and the subsequent angry. It is like being on an emotional roller coaster.

 

Death of loved ones:

Grieving takes a lot of energy. When someone that is close to us dies, it is never easy. It especially tricky when a person dies young from disease, accident, murder and/or suicide.  Even when a person dies after a beautiful long life, we all must go through grief.

There is no way around grief. The only way is to go through it. It can take up to a year to go through the cycles of loss. Our lives will never be the same, but you will find a way to move ahead in life. Here is the process we go through, not always in this order:

·         Denial

·         Anger

·         Depression

·         Bargaining

·         Acceptance

You may be tired. You may be moody. You may be angry. You may have a hard time accepting what has happened.

Give yourself lots of time to move through this. This is not a time to make big decisions. Find friends, religious leaders, counselors and coaches to help you to explore these intense feelings. Grieving is hard work but so worthwhile.

 

Retirement:

Retirement is all about transition. Do you know what you are going to do when you retire? You might decide to start your own business and work, only, when you want. There may be organizations that you have always wanted to volunteer for and have never had the time.

If you are one of the people who has spent the majority of their working life focussed on their job, retirement could be a very stressful time. You may feel a loss of identity. You might feel depressed. So it is better for you to start volunteering and finding other interests before you retire.

You are likely to have more time with your spouse. This may be great, but you may find your spouse driving you crazy. Does it feel like they are under your feet too often? Each of you will want to discover your own interests so that each of you has time apart.  You will also have different experiences to share with each other.

You might find it challenging to organize your day now that you are retired. There is no longer any requirement for you to be at work at a particular time. You might want to set a regular schedule for yourself each week. Like when you are going to get up?  What are you going to do?

It is at these times of significant changer in our lives we are more likely to face depression and other mental health issues. If you are getting down don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Give yourself time to get used to your new life. Remember life transitions are hard. Make the best of this season by seeing this as an opportunity to re-focus on what is really important to you.

 

Your life is full of transitions. No matter what change you are going through it takes time and energy to make the adjustments.

You may be one of many who do not realize the energy it takes to go through:

·         Birth

·         Childhood

·         Teen years

·         Moving away from Home

·         Marriage

·         Children

·         Divorce

·         Death of Loved Ones

·         Retirement

 

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Life transitions are hard! So during these times of change, you may feel like you are going crazy. I assure you, you are not going crazy.  The only way to get through these times of change is to fully experience the ups and downs that your body, heart, and mind will take you through.

Give yourself space to make your ways through these vulnerable times. Let others know what you are experiencing. Allow yourself more time to sleep. Eat well. Enjoy time with good friends and family. Cry when you need to. Laugh. Seek support when you are feeling alone.

Congratulations, you have made it this far in life. You have been through a lot!

You have become a stronger and more compassionate person through all of your life experiences.  You are the amazing person you are because of all the ups and downs you have faced.  Go and celebrate each moment of life. Be kind to yourself, with gentleness, when you are facing difficult times and truly celebrate the good times.

Roland Legge offers presence based life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online at   https://www.relconsultants.com/coach-roland-legge  Please click on “Discovery Call.”

 

Originally Published by REL Consultants  http://www.relconsultants.com

 

A Fascinating Overview of How the Enneagram Personality System Works

Seven years ago I began learning about the Enneagram Personality System. It has changed my life for the better. I am much more compassionate and forgiving of myself. I have a lot more patience and compassion to work with people who experience the world differently from me. I am a healthier and happier person. It has helped me so much I want to share it with others.

This is a story of how the Enneagram the Enneagram personality system works.

Ennea means nine, and gram means figure in Greek. So together it means a nine-pointed figure. What is its history?  Here is a short synopsis:

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The symbol dates back about 2500 years. The actual date of its beginning or where exactly it started is unknown. It is a coming together of the wisdom of many different spiritual traditions. Much of it has come from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam (especially Sufis) and Judaism.

Much of this spiritual wisdom, was forgotten for hundreds of years. In 1875 Gurdjieff re-discovered the symbol in his search for the knowledge of the esoteric religions of the past. He formed a group called Seekers After Truth.  He and his friends traveled through Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece, Persia, and India.

Gurdjieff used the Enneagram as a tool to help his students to find their way in the world through dance and movement.

He explained that the Enneagram has three parts that represent the three central laws that describe divine law which governs all existence.

The circle represents unity, wholeness, and oneness and symbolizes that God is one (Hudson, 1999).

The next symbol is the triangle. In Christianity, this is referring to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in the Enneagram world, the Law of Three. This symbolism found in the Kabbalah, an esoteric teaching of Judaism. The ancient traditions do not see the world as a place of opposites but of non-duality. Hence the world is full of many hues of color rather than black and white (Hudson, 1999).

The third part is the hexad, referring to the Law of Seven. It demonstrates to us that nothing is static. Our world is continuously changing, recycling and evolving or de-evolving. The Periodic Table and the Western musical octave are all based on the Law of Seven (Hudson, 1999).

The modern Enneagram as we know it came to life in California in the 1970’s under Claudio Naranjo.  Naranjo and many others since him have woven psychology into the Enneagram to bring it into the modern age. He used panels of each type as one way to teach the Enneagram.

Today the Enneagram teaches that when you are born into the world, your ego chooses one of the nine fundamental ways to survive in the world. These represent the nine Enneagram types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

You could not have survived without the ego type your inner self chose. No one knows why we choose the type we do. It is probably a mixture of genetics mixed with early life experiences.

Our personality can begin to get in the way when we become adults if we do not become aware of the limitations of our nature.  When you are stuck in your personality, you are only using one-ninth of the tools given.

All the things you do without thinking are your personality speaking. When you begin to be aware of your limited pattern (type) talking, you then become open to responding in new and different ways.

I always say to my clients that when you can notice your personality acting out, you then have the option to respond in ways that are more appropriate for the situation in which you find yourself.

The Enneagram is like a map. It shows you when you are healthy, and not so healthy. It points you in the direction you need to go to get healthier. It warns you when you are getting stuck in old habits that no longer serve you.

When you look at most Enneagram images, you will see arrows pointing in the different directions of integration and stress (disintegration).

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The Enneagram is never static. The health of your personality is never static. Each day you go up and down depending on how much stress you are experiencing.

There is movement on the Enneagram as you move to ether your integration point or your stress point.

The integration points you toward the functional aspects of another type when you are dealing with life well. When you are integrating, you are living beyond the trappings of your personality.

There is nothing wrong moving towards the stress type. The stress point is a safety valve. It prevents you from moving down to a lower level of health than you have ever been before.

Just to learn the types can be a fun thing to do. It can be a great party conversation. But it is only of use if you commit to learning through this tool through workshops, reading, reflection, counseling, and coaching.

The only person who can tell you who you are is yourself. For many people, it takes time to discern what type you are. It is easy to misidentify when you are not self-aware.

The Enneagram is no excuse to behave in a particular way. The gift of the Enneagram is that it points out to you the personality box in which you find yourself. A healthy person will develop strengths in all nine types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

Learning the Enneagram together with someone that knows you well such as your spouse can be a lot of fun. Your partner can help you to see who you are. When we are so close to ourselves, we can easily deceive ourselves into believing our desired image of our self when in reality people around us experience us differently.

The Enneagram teaching is an excellent tool for any group such as spouses, a whole family, congregation or business to learn how to get along better with each other. You begin to understand your differences because of how you see the world through your different lenses.

I expect at some time in your life you assumed that everyone thought the same as you did—until you got a rude awakening.  We all have different ways of seeing and experiencing the world.

You will discover that most people don’t want to annoy you. They just see the world in different ways and have different priorities.

The nine Enneagram types divide into a triad of gut, heart, and head. These are our three energy centers. Your type suggests which one of these energy centers you either avoid or overuse. It just means this is where you are most comfortable but to be healthy, we need to keep all three of these wisdom centers open.

You can also use another triad of assertive, withdrawn and dutiful.

The assertive types of people move out into the world with force and conviction. They are a force to be taken seriously.

The withdrawn types when under stress like to withdraw into themselves to recharge. They are usually great observers of what is going on around them. They are easy to get along with.

The dutiful types when under stress feel responsible for taking care of everyone around them and making sure everyone stays safe. The dutiful types can often feel overly responsible.

The Enneagram is all about finding ways to live with as much presence as possible. Presence is the ability to stay open to the wisdom of your three energy centers: the gut, heart, and head.

The Enneagram is meant to help you move out of the fog of life. When you are stuck in your personality, it is easy to go to sleep to your true self. You live out your image of yourself without any self-awareness. Your life becomes more and more limited unless you find the courage to discover who you indeed are.

Using the Enneagram takes time and intentionality. It is a tool that will give you new things to learn each day no matter how old you are. It is no quick fix.

If someone claims you need fixing with the Enneagram, run away as quickly as you can. These teachers are dangerous!

I love the Enneagram! I hope it can help you as much as it has and continues to help me. I learned that being a type six explained why I had had lots of anxiety issues through my life. I have a lot more compassion for myself. I have learned how important meditation is for me to quiet my mind.

The Enneagram can change the world!

Learning that I am a type six has helped me to acknowledge my strengths such as my ability to look for problems before they become serious.

It has been a blessing in my relationship with my wife, Jen. She is a type five (the investigator). She thinks everything through before she says anything. She finds it difficult to express herself especially when she doesn’t feel that she has enough information.

I am the opposite. I think out loud. I learn through my conversations with others. We have had to learn much. I have learned to give Jen lots of time to think. She has learned that she needs to tell me what she is thinking, especially when it is a decision that affects both of us. We now laugh together instead of cursing each other.

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I invite you to try out the Enneagram. It is a productive tool that reflects the complexity and holiness of each person.  It shows you where you are right now and where you need to go to get healthier.

This fantastic tool helps you to find your true self or God self. The Enneagram shows you a way to be aware of your sensations that are full of wisdom. The Enneagram shows you a way to remain open to your emotions through your heart. This is how the Enneagram personality works.

You learn that your feelings shine the light on how you are experiencing the world in each moment. Then your mind, when quiet, helps you to connect with your intuition.

Please join me on this journey to new life. May it be full of surprises, wonder, and hope.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

Originally published at http://www.relconsultants.com/blog

Author: Roland Legge

 

 

Nine Powerful Tips for How to Manage Transitions

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Life is full of transitions. Right from the beginning of life, you experience change. Your life changed when you left home for the first time. Your life changed when you graduated from College or University.

Your life changed when you got married.  Your life changed when you had your first child.  You experience these changes throughout life. The challenge is how to manage life’s transitions.

I am going through significant change. I left the full-time congregational ministry position in the United Church of Canada to start a Life Coaching business in my mid-fifties. I have been a minister for twenty-five years, and so much of my identity is with congregational leadership. I loved my job, but I had come to a ti

me when I was experiencing a  call to coaching. I had been feeling this for a while, but fear of change prevented me from acting until recently.

Changing my career is one of the most difficult things I have done.

I want to work with people who want to better their lives. It is such a thrill to experience people growing through coaching. My job in the congregation was no longer meeting my needs.

For the good of my health, I needed to make a change.

But this new path is requiring me to learn a lot of new things from going to coaching school and learning the tools to become an entrepreneur. It is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

Not everybody understands why I am doing what I am doing. I keep having to tell people I have not retired, I am merely going into a new field.  I am learning to be okay with it.

This experience taught me Nine powerful tips to manage life’s transitions.

 

1.       Ground Yourself:

Grounding yourself is all about the practice of living in the moment.

What do you find helpful to relax your muscles? Do you like to practice yoga, play a musical instrument, walk, get a massage? When your muscles are relaxed, help you to enjoy living in your body. Get comfortable with paying attention to your body. Your body offers you great wisdom every moment of the day.

What are you feeling in your heart? You need to be careful that you don’t confuse thinking with sensation. How do you know the difference? You might ask these questions: Does your chest feel open or closed? Does your chest feel warm or cold? Are you feeling happy or sad? Are you feeling hopeless or hopeful? Are you feeling calm or frazzled?  With practice, you will notice the difference.

To stay grounded you need to acknowledge your emotions without any judgment and let them go. There are no bad feelings. They come and go. Each different reaction will give you a clue about your well-being and how you need to respond to staying fully present in the world. A healthy person will be aware of the many different emotions you feel each day. You are not your emotion!

There are many ways to quiet the mind. Have you tried to guided meditation or breath exercises?  An excellent meditation App is called Insight Timer and is available on Google Play and at the App Store.

Listening to classical music can calm the mind. Going for a walk is great for our mental wellbeing if we treat it as a form of meditation. If you love gardening, this is an excellent way to become more present. Do something you enjoy doing that helps you to calm your mind.

2.       Pay Attention:

When you are grounded, it is much easier to pay attention to your inner and outer world because you are living in the present.  You have been blessed with vast spiritual knowledge if you just pay attention.

Stay attuned to your body. If you are feeling sore, tired, uptight, and strained are signs that you need to make changes in your life. Maybe you need to rest more. Perhaps you need to get more exercise. Maybe you need to spend more time with family and friends.

These sensations may be pointing out more significant concerns.  Maybe you need to get help for your relationship or end it.  Perhaps you need to get a new job that is more suitable for your well-being. Possibly, you need to see a doctor, a counselor or coach.

When you are grounded in the sensations, emotions, and thoughts of our bodies, there is much wisdom to be learned. The knowledge from our inner selves can help us to make smoother change throughout our lives.

 

3.       Share what is going on in your life with a friend, spouse or family member:

As human beings, we are intended to be in a relationship with others. You might think you can do life all yourself, but this is impossible. We need each other.  We need each other for companionship, play, work, and survival.

Your friends, family, and colleagues are often able to see things in yourself that you can not see yourself.

When you are going through challenges in life, it doesn’t seem as dark when you have someone else to walk with you through the ups downs.

In the end, a good friend is a person who over a period of years is there for you as you are for them. If someone consistently is sucking the life out of you. You either need to define some boundaries or end that relationship.

 

4.       Exercise:

Exercising helps you to remain connected with your body, heart, and mind. It helps you to move into the present. Being focused at the moment,  helps you to stay open to the universal wisdom of the earth.

When you honor your body, your heart and mind, everything begins to work in harmony. You know what you need to be about in life. Life becomes one of a surprise because you never quite know where each day will take you. The big difference is that you find this exciting instead of scary.

If you are driven to exercise, you are probably not living in harmony with yourself. But if exercise becomes a daily practice of caring for yourself then you are moving in a healthier direction.  You will not feel forced and desperate. You will feel satisfied each day even if you are not feeling at your best.

Exercise will just feel right!

 

5.       Play

Can you imagine a world without play? When you were a child, this naturally came to you. Games were how you experienced the world. The game is how you worked out conflict. The play is how you stayed fit.  This how you enjoyed the company of other people. Playing is how you learned.

Managing life’s transitions through play is an excellent way for you to weave your way through the ups and downs of life. How do you like to play?  Here are some ideas that you might enjoy?

·         Golf

·         Tennis

·         Bowling

·         Painting pictures

·         Photography

·         Singing

·         Dancing

·         Hiking

And much more!

I encourage you, along with me, to reclaim the gift of play. Life will become more fun and enjoyable. You will be more fun making you desirous to others. You will stay healthier. Moving through life’s transitions will become easier. When you are working, you will probably be more efficient, happy and satisfied.

 

6.       Befriend Your Fear:

You are programmed to be fearful of dangerous things that can hurt you. If you were a hunter in the early human era, you were afraid of wild animals who could kill you. Mothers in ancient times stayed attuned to their physical environment with its many dangers.

You were fiercely protective. The trouble is that we have moved so quickly into the modern age to a sedentary way of life our nervous system has yet to adjust.

So today your nervous system is activated when you don’t need it be. With breath work, bodywork and exercise you can manage this old automatic response by befriending your fear. All you need to do is allow yourself to feel the fearful sensations, emotions, and thoughts. When you can be with these painful vibrations,  emotions, and beliefs, they gradually begin to lose their power over you.

Claim your freedom and roar like a lion!

 

7.       Learn Valuable Lessons:

You are always learning!  When you stay as present as you can there is so much to learn each day. There are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn more about yourself and the world. When you can learn through the trials and tribulations of life each day gets a little more comfortable.

Your ego is always trying to protect you. The trouble is that the ego usually likes the status quo. So if you still listen to your inner critic, that part of you that wants you to stay safe through staying with the tried and true; you are going to miss a lot in life and have great difficulty dealing with the surprises.

When you do try on new learnings, it takes practice to live them out. Be gentle with yourself as you try living in new ways. Celebrate every achievement no matter how small it may seem to you.

The more you practice lifelong learning in your life the easier and more exciting it will become!

 

8.       Take Time for Rejuvenation:

You live in a busy world. With all the time-saving devices you are given the illusion that you can do more. Finding balance in your life is an on-going learning. A right place for you to start is to learn how to say NO  to activities/jobs that are not in your best interest. Life is short, so you need to use each moment well.

No matter whether or not you are introverted or extroverted you need to find the right balance of time for yourself or with companions.  Locate the balance for you that is regenerative.  You need balance, and you are the only one that will know what you need.

Slow down and smell the roses!

 

9.       Be Yourself:

Most of all,  be yourself!  Don’t try to be anyone else but yourself.  You are the supreme gift to the world when you bring your particular gifts and skills to the world.

When you can be yourself, you do not need to be in any competition with others. All you need to do is allow others to be themselves and don’t let your ego trick you into thinking you need to be someone else.

You are the most fantastic person in the world! But don’t forget every person is the most amazing person in the world.

So go out and be you in all the fabulous you can be!

 

How to manage life’s transitions is one of the most critical skills you learn.  We do it by grounding ourselves, paying attention, sharing with a friend or family member, exercising, playing, befriending your fear, learning valuable lessons, taking time for rejuvenation, and being yourself.

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With perseverance, you can begin to name the habits that are no longer benefiting you. Once you become aware of patterns that are no longer serving you, then have the choice to develop healthier ways of being. The more freedom you feel helps you to manage life’s transitions with greater ease.

There is a better way to live! Go and enjoy your life.

 

Roland Legge offers presence based life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online. Please click on “Discovery Call.”

 

This article was first published by REL Consultants  

 

What It Means To Connect with God or Your Internal Source

 

spiritual

Finding the Truth Within You 

Are you feeling alone in the world? When you are amid feelings of despair it can be hard to see your way out. The good news is that there is a way out of hopelessness. Often the answer is right within you.  I want to help you to discover the wisdom and strength that is within you. This is what it means to connect with God.

Reconnecting with Source

How many books have you read that promised you peace of mind and happiness and it didn’t help? The problem is that these self-help books are what someone else needs.  Not what you need. I invite you to check out that place within you, that knows you best.

As you connect with Spirit, the darkness will gradually begin to fade as you become open to the wisdom of your body, emotions, and mind. It takes time and practice to become present enough to stay aware of the wisdom that comes from your three body centers. But every time you become a little more present it makes a positive difference in your life.

Your body, heart, and mind have been trying to communicate with you since the day you were born. What have you learned from your gut, heart and quiet mind? You have probably had gut feelings leading you in a certain direction. You have most likely felt love. When have you experienced intuition?  If you have experienced any of these you are already connecting with spirit!

Listening to your internal source will shine the light on your life. The light will reveal what you need to hold on to and what needs to change.

Your process will be unique to you. Learning to love and honor yourself is a long-term process. The light within you will reveal sensitive places in your psyche that you have been repressed for years. It will be months and possibly years of healing to overcome the pain you experience. Yet, with practice, these parts of ourselves will become lighter and healthier.

Quieting Your Mind Down

Getting in touch with your inner self-sounds great but how do you do it?  A good place to start is to quiet the mind. Here is what you can do:

  • Practice some form of meditation gradually adding to the length of it as you gain confidence.
  • Sit and be quiet or go for a walk in a quiet place.
  • When a thought comes to your mind just acknowledge it and let it go.
  • Do something you love such as gardening that does not require a lot of thinking.
  • Often deep intentional breathing can help to settle your mind down.

 

Find a Practice to Help You to Go Deeper into Yourself

There is no one way to get in touch with your inner self. Each of the great religions has practices to help this to happen. If you are part of a church, synagogue, mosque or temple check to see what they can offer you.

If you are a Christian, you might like to check out Centering Prayer. It is a simple practice to get in touch with the Holy within ourselves through saying quietly to yourself a simple mantra to release your mind from being in the past or future. If you are interested, check out this website from Contemplative Outreach http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org).

Learning yoga is one way to get in touch with your inner spirit through breath and bodywork. This is has come out of some of the Eastern Spiritual movements but is not considered a religion. You will find yoga studios in most towns and cities.

Mindfulness and Meditation use breath work to connect with what is going on inside yourself. Using guided meditations can be helpful if you struggle with quieting your mind. There are some great apps available in the App Store and Google Play.  One I use is called “Insight Timer” and it available at both App stores.

Check out what is available in your own community. There are many groups to choose from whether you consider yourself religious, spiritual, or secular. You are more likely to make these changes in your life if you do it with others. When you do this in the community you have people to support you and hold you accountable.

Going on The Journey

Enjoy the journey as you learn for yourself what it means to connect with internal source. What it means to connect with God, Spirit or Oneness. Remember the answer is no further than yourself.

Life is full of challenges. You know how easy it is to get caught up in hopelessness and despair. But once you begin the journey to wholeness there is no turning back. While this journey is never easy, it is a journey worth taking.

You have all you need! Go forth and live it!

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 (306) 620-7478 or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com. 

 

This article was first published on REL Consultants  https://www.relconsultants.com

 

 

 

Jesus an agent of Transformation

Sermon – April 24th 2016

5th Sunday of Easter

By Roland Legge

Acts 11:1-18

Psalm 148

Revelation 21:1-6

John 13:31-35

 

 

It seems to be the rage today to talk about the need for change.  Some say “change is inevitable”; others say “change or die”; even others say “change must come”.

 

Yet most of us do not want change.  We get used to our routines.  Our routines help us to stay calm through all the ups and downs of life.  What are your routines?  When I get up in the morning I shave and take my shower, eat breakfast, give Abby attention, brush my teeth and kiss Jen.  Somehow this daily routine gives me comfort and helps me to face the day.

 

We have our routines in our churches too.  We get comfortable in the ways we operate as a congregation.  Every Sunday each of you have a good idea of what worship is going to look like.  Our order of service does not change much.  We have our favourite hymns.  We all have our favourite places we like to sit in the church.  We are used to coming to church at 10:30 am on Sundays.  Some of us are used to going out for brunch after church.

 

The way we do the church business has not changed for years.  We trust that certain people will do the work of the church so some of us don’t have to worry about it.  If something needs to be done, we form a committee. We run our meetings in the way we have been used to for many years.  Most of us don’t want to be at the meeting, and yet we spend a lot of time talking. We have our regular social and fund raising events that seem to magically happen every year.  We like our routine.  But we can not seem to understand why the younger generation often does not want to take part in the life of our church.   Too often we want to blame them for not being there.

 

In the early church the followers of Jesus were also fixated in their old ways even when they were not working well.    Peter was struggling with whom he should be ministering too.  He had been brought up to only care for the Jews.  Jesus had pushed him to love the foreigner, but he was being tempted to go back to his old comfortable ways.  Many of his friends and colleagues were being tempted to go back to separating the so called “clean” Jew from the “un-clean” Gentile.

 

If it hadn’t been for the dream that Peter had he might never have changed.  This is what he experienced in his vision:

There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me.

 

11:6 As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.

 

11:7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’

 

 

11:8 But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

 

11:9 But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’

 

11:10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.

Acts 11: 5b – 10

 

 

So Peter takes a major turn in his ministry.   After his vision, he is invited to the home of Simon, a Gentile, to baptize his whole family which he does.  When he was there he would have had table fellowship, a meal, with them which was a big NO for the majority of early Christians. Many would see Peter as now being “un-clean”.  Yes, Peter was breaking away from the routine.  This made a lot of people uncomfortable.   It even made people angry.

 

So in the early times in the new Christian movement there was a lot of conflict between the different Christian groups many whom remained strictly Jewish while others began a growing ministry to the Gentiles until eventually Christianity became a separate religion.

 

There is nothing wrong with routine and traditions.  But it can become a problem if we get too stuck in our ways.  In the United Church of Canada, we have become too comfortable with our routines in our style of worship, the way we see ourselves and in the way we organize ourselves.

 

The world is changing at a phenomenal pace these days and the church is being left behind.   Most young people can not relate to us.  We are using a “language” that most young people do not understand.  It is going to take a lot of courage to re-think who we are, in the context of the time we now live in.  I think we need to get back to our routes which is the great commandments.  The commandments to love our selves, to love our neighbour and to love our God.  Then to reflect and act on how the Spirit is calling us to live this out in our modern times.

 

In Foam Lake United Church, we are being called to love our selves, to love our neighbour and God.  Many young people want to be part of movements that help them to live this out in their day to day lives.  Our challenge is to create a worshiping community that brings us together to spread God’s love in real ways.  It is a lot more than sitting in a pew every Sunday.  This requires us to create opportunities to grow together, to care for each other, to celebrate together, to walk our talk in our communities and to always remember that we are part of something much greater.  We are not only part of the whole Christian church we are part of the human family on planet earth.

 

In order for this to happen we must welcome all types of people into our community.  We must be willing to invite people who are openly Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Trans-gendered. We must be willing to invite people who hold different beliefs than we have.  We must be willing to invite people who are physically and/or mentally disabled.  We must be willing to invite young families with noisy children.  We must be willing to invite people who don’t seem to fit in e.g. The guy with the colored hair and earing and the women with pink hair in a short skirt. We must not only tolerate this we must be able to welcome the holy diversity of God’s creation with openness, welcome and love.

 

Are you ready to embrace the wondrous, awesome, incredible diversity of God?  I am!  Are you?

Embracing Change

What is this Jesus Really About!

Sermon – September 20th 2015

By Roland Legge

Proverbs 31:10-31 
James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

What does it mean for you to be a Christian?  Right from the beginning the Disciples struggled with what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.  In today’s reading from Mark the Disciples do not want to hear what Jesus had to say.  They are still living in denial.   They want Jesus to be the great leader who will fix their problems.  They want him to fix their problems without them having to make any changes.  What are your expectations of Jesus?

I have a lot of sympathy for the Disciples.  Jesus was asking a lot of them.  But what I love about Jesus is that he invited them to join him.  He used no coercion. He lays everything out so there are no surprises.  If people are to follow him they must be willing to turn their lives around and put their faith into the love of God.  They must put wisdom of God before anything else.  They must be willing to find strength in vulnerability.  They must be willing to mix with those on the edges of society who are living in poverty, violence and all forms of abuse.  Jesus was challenging them to walk their talk.

It is ironic that the first people who really understood what Jesus was about were the people who were threatened by him such as Pilot.  So why was it that the people who were trying to kill him understood who he was while the Disciples who followed him did not?  I think they understood because they could grasp the huge cost the Jesus movement was going to have on, them.   It took Jesus disciples a long time before they fully understood.  They didn’t get it until well after Jesus death and resurrection.

Jesus struggles to get our attention today.  Many of us don’t want to hear what he has to say.  We like the disciples, metaphorically, don’t want to get our hands dirty.  We want someone else to fix our problems.  But yet Jesus never gives up on us.  He keeps calling us to true discipleship.  He does without judgement always hoping that one day we will be ready to be transformed.

Are we ready to be transformed?  Are we ready to be born again?  There is nothing magical about this process.  It is all about finding the Christ self, our higher self within us.  The Christ self is a gift from God and we all have within us.

There are many ways to access the higher power within us.  It is always helpful to quiet our minds so the Spirit can mold us.   Reading scripture in community can help us to discern our call to heal the world.  For me the Enneagram is a great tool to reveal our Christ self because it helps us to release behaviours that are not of service to the world. It helps us to see the difference between our egos, our fake selves, with our truth that comes from wisdom and true presence.  Presence coming from when we are able to release all our insecurities, greed, fear and hopelessness and fill that void with the love of God.

The Good News is that we don’t have to wait for anyone else to join us in our mission to transform the world.   One person can begin to make a huge difference just by changing the way they act.  In Systems theory it shows us that one person can begin to affect change in any organization by acting in ways that they expect their colleagues to act.  One person, destructively acting out, can show us where the organizational system is not healthy by asking these question.  Where is their discord?  Where in the organization are people not having their needs met.  Where in the organization are the members not being heard and respected?  Often once these problems are resolved the person will ether change their behaviour or leave.  Have you ever experienced this?

What will be most surprising are the people who we will meet on our faith journey. Sometimes they will be the people we least expect.  Maybe a person from another faith will want to join us.  Maybe it will be wealthy business person who is wanting to make the world a better place.  Maybe it will be a person who has a criminal record who is eager to help.  God has called us all to transformation, are we ready to receive those who are hungry for experiencing the Kingdom of God?

How are we at we at Foam Lake United Church trying to transform the world.  Individually many of you volunteer in our community.  Know that your dedication really does make a difference. But what are we doing as a congregation?

There are people in our community who are eager to make a difference in the world.  I believe that part of our mission is to invite community members to join us in some community mission that will do something positive for our community and world such as services for children and young families, cleaning up the environment, ending prejudice, building relationships with first nation brothers and sisters. This would strengthen our community, giving us a purpose and encourage those in our community who are looking for a spiritual home where they get to live out their faith.  A place where people get to make a difference.

When we allow our maker to engage us in ministry our lives are changed for ever.  The things that used to bother us are no longer giving us sleepless nights.  We no longer worry who is better or worse than us.  We no longer worry about who is good and who isn’t good.  We no longer worry about who has the right doctrine because we are living out our faith.  We no longer worry about having enough money because we will receive whatever we need to do God’s work because of the Creators abundance that there is enough for all. We no longer need someone else to tell us what to believe because our faith is now etched in our hearts.  You cannot help but know what we believe by what we do and say.

While being a follower of Jesus is not easy.  It also brings us great joy and purpose in life that nothing else can replace.  It is what guides us in what we choose to do.  It gives us amazing community to help us celebrate life and people to help us through the rough times.  It gives us a safe environment to grow beyond our personality.  It brings us together with other people to make the world a better place.  Most importantly it helps us all around the world to come together in peace, love, justice and harmony. To be the new world wide community of love, justice, generosity, and hope that both nurtures people and all of the Created order on this planet and throughout our galaxy.

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Jesus and Healing

Message:

Sermon – June 28th 2015

5th Sunday after Pentecost (Year B)

By Roland Legge

Mark 5:21-43

A big focus of Jesus’s ministry was all about healing. How comfortable are you with it? I continue to grow in my understanding of healing. It happens in so many ways through prayer, touch, anointing and all the different medical interventions we can make today. It also happens through economic justice. What do I mean by economic justice? I believe that Jesus calls us to share our resources so that the people who have a lot do not have too much and those who have too little have enough.

In today’s epistle reading Jesus is in a big crowd. There is a woman who has bled for years seeking healing. In the crowd she finds the courage to touch Jesus. Jesus is moved by the determination of this woman that he tells her that her faith has made her well.   This was very risky for the woman because she was never to touch a man unless he was her husband and especially because she was sick. She could get into a lot of trouble. It was also risky for Jesus to acknowledge that this had happened because he could be labeled as unclean forcing him to go into hiding.

How she is healed is a mystery. What did happen? She found the courage to touch Jesus. She believed that Jesus could heal her, and that Jesus accepted her touch. Touch can be so healing when it is welcome. Through Jesus’ compassion and openness this woman was slowly welcomed back into community. She was no longer isolated.

Jesus did have a healing energy that came from the centre of his being. Whenever people were able to access this healing energy whether close or distant something amazing happened. We all have the same potential to heal in the way of Jesus.

A number of years ago I took healing touch training. This is a healing modality that helps to smooth out the energy of our bodies to enhance our health.   Jen is the only person I have done it with, but it seems to help her whether she has a headache or sore muscles. Think about a time when you felt the energy of another person. Have you ever noticed that when you visit some people you go away exhausted and while others you come away full of life. Each of us gives off energy. Illness is often caused when energy is being blocked in our bodies.   So by freeing the energy to flow in our bodies we can be healthier.

I think we have lost touch with the healing ministry of Jesus. I don’t believe we should allow the charlatans to get in the way of us doing this important healing ministry. I know I have been turned off by people claiming to heal you from illness through elaborate schemes that earn them a lot of money and celebrity.

Early on in my ministry I remember being asked by a paid care giver to come and heal this man from his illness. I discovered this was more about what this woman wanted him to do than what the ill person was really wanting. I was not comfortable with being asked. I discussed what we could do through the ancient practises of prayer, anointing with oil, and the laying on of hands. I also talked with them that healing is a mystery. We do not always get the healing that we would want. To not get healed in the way we would like does not mean that we are not good enough. In the end I never got to do it before the man died.

Later on I did get the chance to work with a woman who was dealing with cancer. We spent time getting to know each other, and then we had a healing circle of friends at the hospital. It was a beautiful and meaningful service. This woman still died of cancer but there was the presence of the Spirit that brought us all together in a very intimate way. In that brief period of time our grief both deepened and yet was transformed into a love that filled us with gratitude for life.

The Good News is that we can be healers every day. We heal ourselves and others by providing healthy food, by exercising, by taking time to play with friends and family. We heal ourselves and each other by doing things that feed our soul whether that be cooking, drawing, painting, gardening, carpentry, writing, singing and the list goes on.

We heal each other by taking care of the planet earth we have been blessed with to live on. Every time we love the Creation we love God. Think of all the things we are doing to keep Foam Lake a healthy place to live. We do this through:

  1. Planting Gardens
  2. Recycling
  3. Polluting as little as we can
  4. Walking when possible
  5. Treating animals both tamed and wild with respect
  6. Providing opportunities for service in our community
  7. these are but a few of the things we can do.

We heal by working to end poverty and greed. Jesus calls us to address these difficult and troubling questions. For example why do Aboriginal children receive less money for education than the rest of us do? Why do we have so much poverty when we are such a wealthy country? I think most of us know the answers.

It happens because of the choices we make. It happens because of the policy of our governments. It happens because many people like to blame the people who are already suffering suggesting they are poor because of who they are. Our capitalist society likes to think that anyone can get ahead if they try hard enough. Yet there are plenty of studies to show that life is not that easy. Yes a few move from poverty to wealth. But the majority do not. We can help to heal the world by being more willing to share the wealth that we have been blessed with and show more compassion to those who do not have enough.

Jesus spent most of his ministry working with the poor and oppressed. He still loved the Goliaths of the world but he did have a soft spot for the poor. He knew that by challenging the world to share resources so that all would have enough could heal many people.   This is what Jesus spent the majority of his life doing. How are we trying to alleviate poverty here in Foam Lake?

Let us be a force for healing change in our community and world. Amen!universal-love

Calling the Imperfect

Sermon – June 14th 2015

3rd Sunday after Pentecost

1 Samuel 15:34—16:13 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (11-13) 14-17 Mark 4:26-34

 

 

God is not happy with King Saul. So God decides to be subversive. Yes subversive! God decides to choose another King without Saul knowing about it. In our world most of us don’t feel comfortable with subversive acts because it forces us to see the world in new ways.

Why was God so upset with King Saul?   The story tells us that God was upset with Saul because he wasn’t completely obedient. Samuel tells Saul to kill all the Amalekites. But Saul kills doesn’t kill the king and leaves some of the best cows. So God is angry and declares he will choose a new king.

Thankfully today we know that God wouldn’t call on anyone to kill any people. In some ways Saul showed a tiny bit of compassion by not killing the King and some of the cattle. But to follow the story God sends Samuel on a mission to find a new King.

So I find it interesting what God is looking for in his new leader. He gets Samuel to interview all the members of a family that Samuel came across on his travels. He knew this was the family, but which family member to choose. God seems clear that God is more concerned about the hearts of each of these men. While God was more concerned with the heart, the story tells us David was very handsome. God did see a lot of potential in David. So David is chosen as the new King. Then Samuel, David and God come together and conspire to take over the Kingship. So Samuel on behalf of God anoints David with oil to be the messiah, the chosen one. David eventually become the new King after Saul kills himself in battle.

This is not a nice story. It is about power, war, and violence. We may find it hard to understand but this is how the people of this ancient time experienced their world. The change of power from one king to another often was not peaceful. Even though our so called democratic system is full of problems it is much better than it was then. Thankfully we still have peaceful changes of government.

This story is really all about discipleship. God calls David to be the new King. God calls each of us to be disciples. God saw in David a great leader. God see’s great gifts in each of us.

So God calls us to be bearers of Good News! What does it mean for us to be bearers of Good News? For me an important part of this is that God works most effectively through community. That is why we have churches. In our community here at Foam Lake United Church we are called to encourage each other in doing God’s work. We come together to listen to God because we can help each other discern each other’s callings. We come together to care for each other. We come together to celebrate life. We come together to help our neighbour.

Living in community gives us great courage to live faithfully in the world. Many of you care deeply about our town. United Church people tend to be very involved in our communities and you are no different. I invite you to name out how you support our community………….   All this is part of your ministry. All of this is about our churches ministry.

One thing we can all do is help people discern their calling. Did you know that most ministers became aware of their calling when someone asked them to prayerfully consider it? Did you know that very few of us have direct experiences with God like a voice in the night speaking to us? This is how I experienced my calling to ministry. Linda Irvin and others invited me to consider a call for ministry. If it wasn’t for her and other friends I might not have ever thought about it. When I did start to reflect on this it just felt right. I have now the same feeling about teaching the Enneagram personality system which just feels right. So what is God encouraging you to continue or begin? Being minister is not the only profession people are called to. All of us are called to something and that could be a parent, teacher, engineer etc.

I believe that when we are grounded in faithful community we find a courage to live that we didn’t realize we have. For some of us this might mean that we have the courage to take another path in life. This could mean moving. This could mean changing jobs. This might mean taking better care of ourselves. This might mean a rapid change in diet. It might mean working with people that you don’t feel comfortable with. It might mean going out of your way to help another person. I might mean standing up for another person who has been silenced. It might be to call to raise children whether they are your own, adopted or foster children. Only the Spirit within and around you can help you to know what is right for you.

Sometimes we are called to extraordinary courage. Here is one such example as told by MacKinlay Kantor:

In the middle of a terrible airline crash, an ordinary stewardess named Frankie returned again and again to the crashed plane to retrieve victims. Then the plane exploded, killing this ordinary hero. Her story was described by the author, MacKinlay Kantor: Frankie lies on a hill now. Toward the north is a hill where Central High School looms and where her principal used to talk about heroes. Maybe three miles away to the southeast is the house where she spent the first nine years of her life – and that is on a hill also … You might imagine that Frankie was up there somewhere, waltzing; she’d always loved to dance.     She could be, too … Except that something made her go back into that airplane cabin 11 times, and 11 times was just one time too many.     A crashed airplane is strictly for stalwart men and asbestos suits and masks. It is not for the petite little Miss Pretty – not unless she is a Mary Frances Housley. Then she had such love in her heart that no high-octane explosion can ever blast it out. – MacKinlay Kantor, “A Girl Named Frankie,” Reader’s Digest found on Pulpit Resource http://www.logosproductions.com/content/june-14-2015-god%E2%80%99s-messiah 

 

Most of us don’t have these dramatic experiences. But what each of us has been called to do help to help bring the world a little closer to the Kindom of God we have been promised. A place where all will have enough food, shelter and love.

 

Where two or three are gathered httpywmovement.orgwhere-two-or-three-are-gathered

Happy Birthday United Church of Canada

Sermon – June 7 2015

2nd Sunday after Pentecost (Year B)

By Roland Legge

1 Samuel 8:4-11 (12-15) 16-20; (11:14-15)

2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1

Mark 3:20-35

 

 

On June 10th the United Church of Canada will be 90 years old. We are really a very young church that was birthed out of our Canadian context. We have much to celebrate about our denomination. Up to now we have been a very courageous church taking strong stands on issues of social justice before most other churches confronted the issues.

  • It was miraculous that the United Church came into being. This was a very controversial topic in the time. As many of you know many Presbyterian chose not to join the United Church. I can’t imagine three denomination coming together today.
  • Then the United Church decided to ordain women. Lydia Gruchi from Saskatchewan was the first woman to be ordained. Many people left the United Church because of saying that women should be able to be ordained.
  • In 1962 ministers were given permission to marry divorced people. More people left the United Church over this issue.
  • In the 1960’s the New Curriculum came out and portrayed God in a much more human way. This again was controversial and more people left the church.
  • In 1988 the United Church was asked to prevent those who are homosexual from being able to seek ordination and commissioning. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit the General Council decided to change nothing thus allowing any person to test their call for ministry. We all know how hard this was for many church communities. Again more people left the church.

There continue to be changes to this very day. But people often forget that there are many new people coming to the United Church because of the United Churches strong stance on these social justice issues. I am one such person. So while it is sad we have lost many people we can rejoice because we have gained many more.

Back in the days of Samuel Israel was going through rapid social change just as we are today. The country was moving away from being a tribal society to a monarchy. Samuel, one of God’s prophets, felt called to remind people of their unique relationship with God. Samuel felt his people and his government were getting caught up in greed and too hungry for power. The story was intended to provoke questions of morals and ethics. Here is what William H. Willimon has to say:

The story is surely meant to provoke tension in our settled arrangements with the powers that be – to make each of us ask, in whom do I trust for my protection? Which god is the real object of my worship?

     In Walter Brueggemann’s commentary on this passage (Interpretation: 1 and 2 Samuel) he reminds us, “From its inception at Sinai, it was understood that Israel was chosen by Yahweh and that this chosen community of covenant was not to be like the other nations. Rather, Israel was to order its life in the odd and demanding ways of torah and to rely on the inexplicable love and remarkable promises of Yahweh (Ex. 19:4-6; Deut. 7:7-11).”

Pulpit Resource Classic by William H. Willimon

http://www.logosproductions.com/content/june-7-2015-everybody-else

Today our United Church among many other denominations are facing difficult times amid huge social change. This summer our General Council will be meeting in Corner Brooke Newfoundland.   Our church is bringing in much less money through the Mission and Service fund so we need to dramatically change the way we run the church. Over the past couple of years a committee have been working with people all across our church to make a suggestions that will help our United Church to get back on our feet again. I invite all of us to pray for our General Council Commissioners who will have some hard work to do this summer. Just like congregations the General Council has put off change for many years and we are now paying for that inaction. So what we have been used to will look very different in the next few years which will impact all of us in the United Church be it good or bad.

Many congregations across our country are suffering too. Foam Lake United Church is not alone. At our Council meeting last week we began talking about what we are going to need to do as we only have enough money to have full time ministry for another year. Ether we will need to get more people involved in sharing their talents and increasing our financial giving’s or we will need to go to part time ministry. Next year will be a challenging year. I hope we can see this as an opportunity to grow rather than a curse.

Just like back in Samuel’s time we need to hold on to traditions that continue to be life giving and that keep our roots strong.   But we must learn to reach out to people in a new way as our culture and technology have dramatically changed. Think for a moment as how many things you could have done this morning other than going to church.

I think God is calling us just like in Samuel time to find new ways of being church that will enable us to pass on the story of faith to our younger people of today. One way to start is by asking what our younger people (people 60 and under) would like. What type of worship experiences would they appreciate and not necessarily on Sunday mornings?

I end today’s sermon with this video from Rachel Held Evans. Rachel is a young evangelical woman who has moved over to be in the Episcopal Church in the United States. I think she offers a fresh perspective on what young people are looking for in church. I invite you to reflect on what she says. What questions does she raise for you? Is there anything that we can take from her reflections to re-inspire our church community.

I hope you will begin to reflect personally and together as to what is important for you in our congregation. Would you rather increase giving’s and participation or reduce the hours of your minister and take on the responsibility for the things the minister will no longer have time to do. How much energy do you have to experiment if any? Does it feel like the best option is to keep going as we are and keep the church open as long as we can? There is no wrong or right answer. It is more about what God is calling us to be about in this community.Crest_2012