How To Connect With The Spirit Of God While Meditating

Connecting with the Spirit of God is like falling in love. You have to create space in your life for it to happen.

You will experience the holy in your own unique way. There is no magic recipe to make it happen. You don’t need to be part of a church, mosque or synagogue. You don’t have to believe in a particular dogma. You just need to be open.

Here are eleven ways to help you create space for the spirit of God in your life:

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1.     Choose a form of meditation that works for you:

I am using the term meditation in its broadest sense. It is any spiritual practice that can help you to quiet the mind.

Prayer is a form of meditation. When you pray you become open to the wisdom of God through listening with all your senses.

With intention, we can turn many life-giving activities into meditation.  What do you enjoy doing? Do you love to work with the soil? Do you like to create things with your hands?

Today there are apps out there to help you meditate. The App I like the best is called “Insight Timer” which is available at The App Store or Google Play.

One of my favorite types of meditation is called Centering Prayer. First, you choose a focus word. Just be silent for a few moments and see what word comes to your mind.

Start with a few minutes gradually increasing the length of your meditations to between thirty and sixty minutes every day.

Just allow your thoughts to pass through your head and when you start to focus on an idea go back to your focus word to bring yourself back to the present.

Over time you will look forward to your daily practice and notice the difference when you miss a meditation.

There are many forms of meditation that include chanting, yoga, mindfulness, circle dances and more.

 

2.     Practice:

Learning to meditate takes practice.  The more you do it, the easier it will be.

There is no telling when you will experience those holy moments with God. But the more you practice, the more likely you are to notice the sacred moments that happen every day.

Learning to meditate is all about quieting your mind.  Learning to meditate is all about becoming freed up to notice the wisdom you have been given through your body, heart, and mind.

You are not only to practice meditating but to improve your observation skills. Spirit is sharing wisdom with you every day. As you strengthen your ability to notice what is going on within you and around you, you will be rewarded with a depth of spiritual wisdom that will change your life.

 

3.     Journal:

Journaling is a great way to observe and name what is going on in your daily life. If you don’t like writing you could do an audio journal recording it on your smartphone.

Take time every day to name what you are learning through the sensations of your body,  your emotions, and your thoughts. Write this down whether that be in prose, poetry and/or drawings.

Give yourself time to fully experience the ups and downs of your day to day life.

Honor whatever you come up with. It is all good!

 

4.     Listen to the feelings of your body:

Your body is full of wisdom. The spirit of God often communicates with you through the sensations of your body.

In the beginning, these sensations may feel intense and overwhelming. But the good news is that the more you can be with these feelings the less power they have over you.

Often when trauma is not treated, the energy will get stuck in your body. So every time you get stressed out this physical memory gets activated. But the more you can be with your feelings and release those old memories you become more open to the present.

As you live more and more in the moment, the spirit of God will be able to better communicate with you through your body. God working through your body will help you know if you are on the right path.

When your body is entirely online, you will inwardly know how you need to live your life. You will know without any effort.

 

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5.     Checkin with your heart every day:

The spirit of God is within your heart. Meditation and journaling help you to get in touch with your heart.  It is a beautiful and vulnerable place.

Are you aware of your emotions? Meditation will help you to name what you are experiencing whether that be sadness or joy.

Meditation will help you see the difference between what you think you feel as compared to what you are experiencing in your heart.

Meditation will unlock in you the truth of the heart. This is God’s desire for you to reflect the love of God back to those you meet every day.

Your own heart connects with the heart of God.  Your heart in alignment with God will show you how to live in the world. It will show you where you need to share God’s divine love in helping to build up a world where all can live with joy, hope, respect and good health.

 

6.     Pay attention to your intuition:

You have your intuition. Intuition is that inner knowing of something you need to do. You might think of a friend or family member and know you need to call them. Then you call them, and you discover it was important.

Your intuition might tell you that you need to leave your job. It knows that your job is hurting you and your family. You leave your job and find a happier life.

Your intuition comes from your body wisdom that is able to notice problems well before our mind becomes aware of it. It will know that there is something or someone better out in the world for you.

God speaks to us through our intuition. The more you are present to the moment the more you are attuned to the many subtle ways that God informs your choices.

With practice and experience, you will become more aware of whom is speaking to you. You will notice the difference between your ego speaking and God.

 

7.     Act out of faith:

This is where faith comes in. Your inner-critic will try hard to stop you. It will come up with all sorts of excuses. The inner-critic likes the devil it knows better than the devil it doesn’t know.

The inner-critic wants you to be safe. This was important when you were a child, but now an adult, you are capable of making your own choices; choices that are congruent with your emotional, physical, and spiritual well being.

With practice, you will be able to quiet your inner-critic.  As it calms, you will get more and more hungry to risk doing God’s work. Tasks that you once thought you were incapable of doing become possible. Actions that frightened you no longer overwhelm you.

There comes the point where you need to make it happen. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. But take a step forward declaring to the universe that you are ready to make changes in your life.

Listening to your inner wisdom, the spirit of God, you will find a joy in your life that you never dreamed of was possible.

 

8.     Live in the Moment:

As move into faithful living meditation will help you to live in the moment. Too much of your life you have probably spent too much time living in the past or future.

With practice, you will be able to focus your attention on the moment with access to all your internal wisdom. This gives you all the tools you need to make any choice in life no matter how small or significant.

As your life gets busy again, you may be tempted to let go of your daily meditation. You will notice a difference if you give up your spiritual practice. Daily meditation is crucial to staying in touch with the spirit of God.

You will find that you will have a lot more energy when you are living in the moment. You don’t get caught in unnecessary worry. You don’t fear for the future.

The decisions you need to make become clear because you inwardly know what is in your highest interest as an individual and as a community.

 

 

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9.     Find a community to encourage, support and hold you accountable:

If you are part of a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, you already have a built-in community.

If you are not part of any religious group, you will need to find a  group of people who can support, encourage and challenge you into being all you can be as you do the same for them.

As humans, we are not meant to be alone. You have been given unique gifts to share in the world. We need each other to bring out the best in each of us.

The spirit of God’s wisdom is often revealed where at least two or three people gather. We can help each other to see truths that, maybe, we can not see ourselves.

Each of us reveals the face, heart, and mind of God to each other. We become mirrors of the divine for ourselves and the world we live in.

 

10.Take care of your Self:

Daily meditation helps you to make room to take care of your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs.

Taking care of all your needs frees the spirit to work with you. When you have a healthy mind, body, and heart, there is little to get in the way of your relationship with the holy.

 

11.Manifest the spirit of God in your daily life:

Your body is your spiritual home! When you take care of your body, it becomes a welcome place for the spirit of God to reside.

When the spirit of God lives within us, God will become manifest in all you do.

 

Practising daily meditation has the potential to help you connect with the spirit of God.

People who meet you will notice it in how you treat other people. People will see it in how you care for others. People will see it in how you care for the earth.

You will experience the holy within you and around you. There will be a joy in your heart that will carry through the many challenges you will face.

With practice, meditation helps us to live intimately with God. When you live intimately with God, everything we do becomes a reflection of God’s love for all of creation.

When you are rooted in God, you naturally help to bring out the best in each other.  Be that best for yourself and all you meet.

 

Roland Legge offers life/executive coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, 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.”

 

Originally post at REL Consultants Blog

 

Nine Powerful Tips for How to Manage Transitions

Conceptual tree in summer and autumn

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

 

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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 Call to Heal

Sermon – September 27th 2015

18th Sunday after Pentecost

By Roland Legge

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
James 5:13-20 
Mark 9:38-50

Jesus’ disciples are feeling good about themselves. They were a part of very important ministry with the Messiah.  How good can it get? Yet they were threatened by someone else healing in the name of God.

They tell Jesus about this impostor.  But to their surprise Jesus was not upset and says “Whoever is not against us is for us.” His followers cannot comprehend why he wasn’t upset.   Jesus has to explain to them, that as the strangers were healing in the name of Spirit, he had no issue with their ministry.  As far as Jesus was concerned the more the merrier.

Jesus demonstrated through his life that he was more concerned with what people did rather than the background of the person who did it.  So for Jesus the act had more importance than the reputation of the person who did it.  A person’s actions were far more important for Jesus than their nationality, gender, religion, color of their skin or abilities.  We still struggle with prejudice today.

Last week we were talking about what it means to be Christian.  Over the centuries people have answered this question in many ways.  Still today the challenge is for us to be open what Scripture is telling us today.

Many of us have a tendency to make God into our own image making the holy a weapon rather than a blessing. Our personal demon tricks us into thinking that we are one of the saved while the people we don’t like will go to hell.  Most of us realize that this is a too simplistic way of thinking.  Yet it still hard to motivate ourselves to risk turning our belief systems upside down.

For me the miracle is that our inspired Scriptures have new things to say to each new generation.  Our Scripture reminds us that we believe in a God of surprises who keeps challenging our prejudices.  Much to our annoyance there is no place that the Creators love cannot go!  The only person we can hold responsible is our selves.

What do we do when we have no person, religion, nationality or belief system to blame?  So for example instead of blaming Muslims, or some other groups, we need to look at ourselves.  We all have shadow sides, that part of us which can be mean, close minded, exclusive and demeaning.  Whether or not we want to admit it we all have it.  The question is are we able to acknowledge that part of ourselves so we can be free from it.  Are we able to allow God’s love to shine on our hurts, anger and greed so they can be transformed into generosity and love?   I believe that with the Creator’s help through each of us we can be changed people building people up rather than tearing them down.

James reminds us that our heart is changed when we to get to know people who we do not feel comfortable with, such as people of the Muslim faith.  I think we would find just as many amazing Muslims as Christians in the world.

The Spirit has shown me the goodness in so many people from all walks of life.  Sometimes it has taken longer than I would like to see people in the eyes of God.  What helped to change my way of thinking was getting to know people I had up to then looked down upon.

In fact James shows us how important hospitality is for our faith.   We are here on this earth to care for each other through prayer, helping each other out in tangible ways, encouraging each other through the hard times and challenging each other through the good times.

The only way we can care for each other is by really knowing each other.  How well do you know each member of our congregation?  Why is it such a challenge for so many congregations to take the time to get to know each other well?  Imagine if a new person arrived in our congregation.  How are we to get to know each other if we don’t create time for this to happen.

James wants us to do more than hospitality.  He wants us to create a healing ministry.  Jesus spent much of his time healing those who were suffering.  Healing begins to happen when we take time to be with a hurting person.  When we risk touching a person by shaking hands, hugging, and just being in their midst barriers are broken.  When we participate in the ancient rituals of anointing a person with oil, sharing prayer and invoking the spirit through the laying on of hands there is transformation.  When we really listen to another person’s story and share our own we become closer.  When we help a person out in need not only with our time and attention but with our physical resources fear is released.

For me there is a big difference between healing and curing.  When we participate in the healing ministry we can make no promises other than the Spirit will be with us.  I believe that we will be healed in some way.  But it may not be the way we would like the healing to happen.  Yes extraordinary healings do happen with cancer being there one minute and gone the next.

But more often the miracle is a change of heart.  It might be a family coming back together in forgiveness.  It might mean discovering what their life is really about and taking whatever time they have left to live out their life mission.  Healing comes in many ways.  It is a gift to be welcomed.  It is the knowledge that God loves each of us unconditionally.  Whether we are cured or not is no determination of the efficacy of the healing.  It simply is.

Thank you Jesus for showing us the way.  God’s love for each of us is much broader than any person could comprehend.  So let us learn from Jesus and welcome each person we meet, knowing they are a person of God.  Let us celebrate with Jesus as the walls crumble and we are reminded that we are all part of a great family.  Whenever we do something that enhances God’s creation, no matter how small or big, God is celebrating saying well done good and faithful steward.images

A Courageous Woman!

Sermon – September 6th 2015

15th Sunday after Pentecost

By Roland Legge

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17

Mark 7:24-37

I love the story of the Syrophoenician woman!  This is the only story in the Christian Scriptures where Jesus is challenged and the other person wins the argument.

Many people don’t feel comfortable with this Scripture because Jesus does not look good.  He is having a bad day.  I can only imagine that he is tired from all the traveling and people he helps every day.  He just wants some peace and quiet.  I think we can all relate to that.

Yes Jesus was an amazing man, but he was still a person of his time.  He was impacted by the religious and cultural values of the time that required Jews to have no contact with foreigners, especially women.

Jesus, besides being tired was annoyed by this woman because she was breaking taboos.  For one thing women were not to speak to men.  Even more so that foreign people should not even be recognized as they are believed to be unclean.  I think Jesus was feeling grumpy.  Jesus was having a bad day.  Most men of Jesus time would have reacted this way all the time.

Then there is this amazing gutsy woman who had the courage to ask for Jesus to heal her child.  She had the courage to demand justice.  This was a very risky thing for this woman to do.  She was risking her life.  Yet she had a strong faith that Jesus would come around to her point of view.

What is also momentous is that Jesus had a change of heart.  He could not argue against her come back, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs”.  He could not refuse her and still follow God. It was her courage and faith that brought healing to her child.

We don’t know how the end looked and felt like. Was Jesus moved to compassion or did he reluctantly agree to do what she asked.  I would like to think that Jesus was able to give her a big hug at the end.  But we will never know.

I feel empowered by this story because Jesus shows me there is nothing wrong in saying that I am wrong when I am.  Experiencing Jesus imperfection in this story gives me hope that I can follow in the way of Jesus.  Not many men in Jesus time could admit they were wrong, especially when it was a women who is challenging their perspective.

Who are the marginalized in my world whom I need to be transformed by?  This week the tragic death of a young child in the Mediterranean Sea has woken the world up to the continuing terrible tragedy of thousands and thousands of people who are trying to escape from war torn countries such as Syria.  It is sad that it takes the picture of a young drowned child on a beach that finally wakes up the world.  Then how long will it stay in the memory of the people of the world after some other big news story comes along.

One of the largest groups to help refuges come to our country is the church.  I believe that the voice of people of faith across our country and world need to speak up even louder putting pressure on our government to welcome more refugees who are leaving their homelands to survive.  Congregations and parishes such as ourselves are being called to sponsor even more refugees.  Yes it is a lot of work, but I believe we are called to help our brothers and sisters from around the world when they are distress as we would expect them help us if needed.

I remember when I was growing up how the Vancouver Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends welcomed a large family Vietnam, one of the families of boat people.  It was a rich experience for the congregation to get to know them and learn of their story.  It took a lot of courage for them to find their way to Canada.  We helped them to learn how to live in Canada and they offered us their friendship and appreciation.

There are many marginalized people in our country.  It is not only people of different races and nations but it includes the mentally ill, people living with disabilities, gay, lesbian, transgendered and bi-sexual people.  The Syrophoenician woman shows us how the Spirit keeps on calling us to recognize all people as children of God.  There is no such person as an enemy.

I have been blessed by people who have challenged my prejudices and racist views.  I once had qualms about same gendered couples having children.  Some friends of mine challenged me on this, just like the Syrophoenician woman did for Jesus.  After conversations with them I could no longer hold the same point of view.

What do you think the Syrophoenician woman would say to us at Foam Lake United Church?  I wonder if she would call upon us to accept all people even if we don’t agree with all the choices they have made in life.  I wonder if she would call upon us in the United Church of Canada to never divide the world into the good and bad, the sheep and goats because the Spirit never does .  Instead of wanting to blame others, she would want us to look at our own shadow side, the parts of us that are need of healing.  I wonder if she would call upon us to really listen to each other.  To take a risk of being transformed by another person as Jesus was transformed by this woman.

I pray that we can all learn something new from this courageous woman to care for those we would otherwise walk away from.  I hope we can learn from Jesus that to admit, when we are wrong, is a sign of courage.

Sometimes we do need to take a stand like the Syrophoenician woman when our hearts burns with love.  Sometimes we need to admit it that we got it wrong.  We all need to keep expanding our understanding of God’s love. God’s love is always much bigger than we think or want to admit.Syrophonecian Woman

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

Hope in the Midst of Suffering

Easter Four: April 26th 2015

Reflection on Psalm 23:

By Roland Legge

 

 

How many times have you heard the 23rd Psalm?  I expect many of us have heard this hundreds of times.  But what does it mean?  Fred Craddock says:

Regardless of how one interprets the psalm, the general picture of what is stressed is quite clear.  One who has known trouble or experienced life-threatening situations has also experienced the protection of the Divine.  The psalm exudes confidence that God protects so that whatever life brings to his people, they will not be overwhelmed.

Preaching the New Common Lectionary Year B Lent, Holy Week, Easter by Fred Craddock, John H. Hayes, Carl R. Holladay and Gene M. Tucker P.G. 190

 

But, how does this prayer make you feel?  Does it make you feel safe?  Does it help you to feel God’s presence?  Does it help you to remember that God promises to never abandon us? Does it give you comfort?  Does it help to free you of your pain?

For me it does all of what I mentioned except take the pain away.  I like how Craddock shows how the author of Psalm 23 honestly presents the human predicament:

This psalm presents the human predicament without any illusion about persons beings superhumans and above pain, loneliness, and lostness; yet the symbol of God as protector and even corrector affirms the potential of a tranquil life lived amid adversaries and the harsh realities that are the ingredients of every life.

Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary P.G. 190-191

While it does not take our pain away it gives us more confidence to move ahead even though there will be times of pain and difficulty. It helps us to stay more attuned to the spirit present and available to each of us in our own bodies, minds and souls.  Do you have that connection with the Divine, the Holy, the Sacred that the author of Psalm 23 seems to have?

The language of shepherding may not be a useful image for us today, because most of us don’t know shepherds. To give us a sense of Shepherding in Ancient times in the Middle East, Matthew Penny says this on The Worship Place, a United Church on-line community:

In fact Shepherds were often hired hands who were indentured to a rich landowner almost in perpetuity.

They were not popular.  They were looked down upon as being less than whole. Knowing this about shepherd what metaphors would you use today that we are familiar with?

Today this very day many people have written their own interpretations of the 23rd Psalm.   I share two with you today as one of many tools to deepen our understanding of this awesome Psalm.   The first is written by Julia Esquivel who opens his heart to us and showing us what Psalm 23 meant for him on that day he wrote it.

When the hour comes,

you shall change my desert into a waterfall,

you shall anoint my head with fresh oil

and your strength shall overcome my weakness.

 

You shall guide my feet into your footsteps

and I will walk the narrow path

that leads to your house.

 

You shall tell me when and where

I will walk your path totally bathed in joy.

In the meantime,

I ask you, Lord, you who awaken

in the most intimate place in my soul

the Feast of Life!

That of the Empty Tomb!

That of the Victorious Cross!

 

Let your voice mistaken as the Gardener’s

awaken my hearing every morning

with news that’s always fresh:

“Go and tell my brothers and sisters

that I have overcome death,

that there is a new place for everyone

there where the New Nation is built.

 

There, where neither earth, love, or joy

can be bought or sold,

where wine and milk

are shared without money and without price.”

Julia Esquivel, Threatened with Resurrection, The Brethren Press.

 

Then on the lighter note but yet powerful is Jim Taylor’s version:

Blessed relief

God keeps a cool café. What more could I ask?

She provides a comfortable chair to take the weight off my weary feet;

she puts up an umbrella to shade me from the sun;

she serves me iced tea.

Though I have battled with the crowds at the bargain counters,

though I have suffered the scent of too many sweaty bodies,

I don’t care.

I know what’s waiting for me at the end of the day.

An ice cream cone. It drips over the edges, and I lick it up gratefully.

I close my eyes;

the sound system plays the gentle chuckles of waves lapping on a shore.

I am content.

I would love to sit here forever.

In God’s cool café.

James Taylor, Everyday Psalms, © 1994 Wood Lake Books. Used by permission.

 

Which of these two different versions speak to you most today?  For me they both focus on the presence of God through the Holy Spirit.

I hope that our congregation can become more and more the place where we will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  I hope that it will become so abundant that it will spill over into the rest of our lives.  But we all need to keep sharing our love, talents and time.  God can not do it alone.

God needs each of us to do our part.  That might mean we need to call someone up to see how they are if we have not seen them recently at church.  It might mean that we need to invite someone to a church service or some other activity.  Probably one of the most profound ways to share God’s love with another person is to simply spend time with them being fully present to them, whether that be sitting quietly next to them, possibly holding their hand, and listening to what ever they need to say. The story I am going to talk later about on the hospitality shown through the two cups of coffee are perfect examples of what I am talking about here.    I can think of many times when people have given me exactly what I needed at the time.  These were people who were following their calling by listening to their hearts, minds and intuition.

In the end God’s promises us is to journey with us and give us the signs we need to know the direction that God calls us to be going.  But what is even more amazing is that when and if we make a mistake God will use that to bless the world and give us countless more opportunities to turn our lives around.

 

 

 mycuprunnethoverwater

Resurrection Happens Everyday!

Reflection for Easter Sunday

April 5th 2015

Acts 10:34-43

Corinthians 15:1-11

John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

By Roland Legge

Let’s imagine what it must have been like for the disciples on that first Easter morning. It was bad enough they had lost a good friend. But they had lost much more than that.  The hope that Jesus gave them for a better world was dead now too. I expect you would be feeling down, depressed, angry and sad in their situation.

When have you felt despair?  Remember the times in you life when you felt little hope.  Sometimes we need something dramatic to happen to wake us up into seeing that God has something better planned for us.   This is what happened for Jesus followers on Easter Sunday long ago.

God broke through this hopelessness and despair through the disciple’s encounters with the risen Jesus.  Resurrection came real when the disciples new for sure in their hearts that what Jesus had stood up for, was not dead.  It was resurrection when they could feel the spirit of Jesus alive in their hearts.

No one will ever know exactly what happened, other than something amazing and awesome took place.  Jesus disciples were blessed with experiencing the presence in such a powerful way they could no longer stay in their depression.  They could no longer over look the truth that God had great plans for them.  These were Holy plans to keep on with the journey of faith that Jesus came to begin.

This was truly an amazing event.  But I think we need to be clear that this was not resuscitation, but a resurrection.  What is the difference?  A good example of resuscitation would be the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead.  But Jesus story is different.  Remember how the disciples at first did not recognize Jesus when they met because he was changed.  It took Mary to hear his voice before she new who he was.  This was a spiritual body that while real looking to the disciples was not a mortal body.  Jesus could walk through doors.  One moment he would be there the next he wouldn’t.

I believe in the resurrection of Jesus.  Why?  I do because I have experienced resurrection many times.  For me resurrection happens when a person or community finds new life despite the difficult struggles they are facing.  I found new life after a very difficult first marriage.  I found new life when I decided to give up a career in Accounting which led me to discovering that I had a call to ministry.  I experience resurrection when I overcome a physical, emotional or spiritual issue with the aid of tools like the Enneagram.  I feel resurrection when I discover I am able to do something like Ballroom dancing that I once didn’t think I was capable of doing.

Also, I hear countless stories of resurrection when ever I visit and provide pastoral care.  We all have our times in life when it feels very bleak.  Resurrection takes place when we are able to move on in hope despite the struggles we are facing.  I can remember a family I worked with that faced such adversity.  First the Mom of the family fought cancer and died.  She left her loving husband, two children and mother-in-law.  Then the Mom of the daughter who had died also succumbed to cancer not many years later.  She had been caring for the children while their Mom was sick and then later supported her son by helping to raise the young children. You would think for the father and his children there wouldn’t be any hope left.  Yet this family held strongly together.  There was an amazing love between them that propelled them to new life, resurrection.

Resurrection comes alive in our natural divine nature to shine no matter what the world throws at us.  One of my favorite authors is Anne Lamott who through her books tells of all the ups and downs of her life.  She tells of how God keeps breaking through into our life leading her from resurrection to resurrection.  I want to leave you with a short quote from her in her book “Traveling Mercies”.  I will set the scene. She is going to be a single mother. She tells this to her congregation when she is seven months pregnant.  I sense this must have taken some courage for her to announce this at her church, St. Andrews in Oakland California.  One can never know how others will react.  But she was blessed:

When I announced during worship, that I was pregnant, people cheered.  All these old people, raised in Bible-thumping homes in the Deep South, clapped.  Even the women whose grown-up boys had been doing time in the jails or prisons rejoiced for me.  And then almost immediately they set about providing for us.  They brought clothes, they brought me casseroles to keep in the freezer, they brought me assurance that this baby was going to be a part of the family.  And they began slipping me money.

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott Anchor Books 1999 Toronto, New York page 101

This was resurrection for Anne because she now new for sure that  she and her son Sam could count on their St. Andrews family to journey through all the ups and downs of life with them.

I invite you to begin naming your resurrection experiences in life.  I invite you to reflect on what gives you hope.  I ask you to make everyday a celebration of Easter because God is always working God’s love in our lives and world.

Van Deusen Botanical Gardens Vancouver B.C. August 2012 (5)

Grounded in Faith

Sermon – March 29th 2015

By Roland Legge

Palm/Passion Sunday (Year B)

Isaiah 50:4-9a:  Philippians 2:5-11:  Mark 14:1—15:47:

 

I am indebted to William Willimon for the idea of today’s sermon.

How many times have you heard this story?  Anyone want to venture a guess?   In all the times I have heard this story I have rarelly focused on the woman in the story who challenges Peter.  So I invite you to join me on reflecting on the importance of what this woman did.

Willimon summarizes the story like this: “It is late at night, toward the end of this Holy Week. It is after the last supper when Jesus had gathered with his disciples in an upper room. The Passion of Christ has begun. The soldiers have seized Jesus and have led him away to the palace. At the palace, Jesus stands before Pontius Pilate and is on trial. But out in the darkness, in the courtyard, down below, another trial takes place. Judge and jury at the trial is a servant girl. And though we don’t know much about her, if she is only a girl, but also only a servant, we know that she is small, insignificant, powerless person. She is not only a woman in a patriarchal culture, but she is also a servant woman. And she is young and you know that also means you are powerless, on the bottom. And this little, powerless girl is the one who puts Peter, the premier disciple, through his paces.

Pulpit Resource Vol. 36 No. 1 Year A January, February, March 2008 by William H. Willimon Published by Logos Production Inc Inver Grove Heights MN Page 46

This oppressed, simple girl challenges the faithfulness of Peter, the one Jesus is to call the rock of the church.  She challenges him and he fails miserably.  He claims to her that he never knew Jesus.  He does this to save his own life. But soon Peter realizes the terrible error of his ways and begins his healing process.  In effect this girl is the one that challenges Peter into being the person he claims to Jesus and the other disciples to be.  This girl was challenging Peter to walk his talk.  It was a tough lesson for Peter to learn.  It was even harder to learn from a person that society had impoverished, oppressed and ignored.  But he had to move on.  Why?  Jesus wasn’t going to let him off the hook!

We all need people in our lives to ensure we remain grounded in our faith.  We all need people to challenge us to walk our talk no matter how hard or easy life seems to be.  Willimon tells of this student:

A few years ago a student was telling me that he and his roommate were not getting along too well.  I asked him why, and he said, “Because he is a Muslim and I’m not.” I asked him how that made a difference.  And he said, “When we moved in together, he asked me what my religion was. I told him that I was a Christian.  A Lutheran—I  told him that my family wasn’t the very best of Christians and that we only went to church occasionally and it wasn’t that big a deal to me.  My roommate has this nasty habit of asking embarrassing questions.” “What sort of question?” I asked. “Well after we had roomed together a few weeks, he asked me, “Why do you Christians never pray?”

“I told him, ‘We pray a lot.  We just sort of keep it to ourselves.”

“He said, ‘I’ll say that you do.

I’ve never seen you pray.’ He prays like a half dozen times a day on his prayer rug in our room, facing the East.  When I came in last Saturday morning, and he asked me, ‘Doesn’t your St. Paul say something about joining your body with that of a prostitute?”

I told him, “Look, she is not a prostitute, she is Tri Delta. I told you I am not the best Christian in the world.  You shouldn’t judge the Christian faith by me!”

And I, hearing of his torment said, “Well how should he judge the Christian faith?  I think I need to write your Muslim roommate a thank-you note.  If he keeps working on you with these questions, he may make you into a real Christian.”

Pulpit Resource page 47

I hope this person learnt from his Muslin roommate.  He was giving him the opportunity to grow in his faith.  If he engages his roommate by choosing to learn more about his own faith this relationship could turn from being a curse to being a blessing. I wonder if Peter was ever able to look back and see the encounter he had with the young girl as a blessing.  What do you think?

Most of us have had experiences with people who drive us crazy.  There are people out there who will push all the “buttons” we have.  These are people who have much to teach us; if, only we would listen.

When I was training for ministry I was in a class called “Basic Christian Beliefs”.  Every week I was part of a seminar group.  We were made up of Seventh Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Anglican, United Church and possibly Mennonite. We were definitely a diverse group. What has stuck in my mind from my seminar group was the Catholic sisters understanding of communion and why open communion was not acceptable to them.

This was challenging for me because I believed as I do today that communion should be open to everyone.  For me it is so tragic that Roman Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox cannot have communion together on a regular basis.  I say how you can break up the Christian family! But by the end of the seminar gatherings I could respect my Catholic sisters in the group.  You see the Roman Catholics believe that in the bread and wine is the real physical and spiritual essence of God and Jesus.  This is one of the main ways for Catholics to connect with the Holy,   So to have Communion with Protestants, who understand communion as an active remembrance of Jesus, takes away some of sacred power for Roman Catholics.  While I do not agree with my Catholic sisters I came to understand them much better and learned a lot more about my own understanding of communion.  I am thankful for my encounter with them even though it was not easy.

Who have been the people in your lives who have challenged you into being more the person God calls you to be, just like the young woman did for Peter?

God will always ensure that there will be irritating and challenging people in our lives to challenge us to be even more authentic Christians and people of planet earth.  May God give each of us the wisdom to learn from these occurrences.  May we never fear the light of God being shone on us by people like the woman who challenged Peter.1-donkeyhttptheblogthatwasthursday.wordpress.com20120403a-two-day-late-palm-sunday-reflection

The Power of Intention

Sermon – January 11 2015

Baptism of Jesus Sunday (Year B)

By Roland Legge

Genesis 1:1-5

Acts 19:1-7 Mark 1:4-11

 

Today we mark the day of Jesus baptism. It was an important day for Jesus! He felt compelled to follow in the way of John the Baptists. He wanted to start afresh again through the repenting of his sins. He wanted to publicly profess his faith in God! He also wanted to make clear that God was God and Caesar wasn’t.

The story goes that when Jesus is baptized a dove appears, a sign of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus. Do you remember when a dove appears in another Biblical story?   If we go way back to the book of Genesis a dove is sent out to find dry land and finally it returns with a leaf in its beak. I think Mark wants us to connect Jesus to Noah. Hence he has a special relationship with God and he is to be trusted.

I believe in the power of intention! Jesus made his intentions known to God in how we was going to live his life. This was his strong desire to spread God’s love and stand is solidarity for justice. However this is much more than our annual New Year’s resolutions. How many of us hold on to our resolutions for more than a month. I don’t think many of us do. Do you?

When we set our intentions we are using all of who we are in mind, heart and body in connection with the Holy. This becomes a powerful force for change. How do we do this? It comes out of our prayer, mediation, and worship, all within community. It comes out of listening to the Spirit within us and around us. It comes from the cries for justice from our brothers and sisters from around the world. It comes from the teachings of Jesus and other wise people. The miracles is that the more we live it out the more right it feels. However it is often not easy.

In the United Church of Canada we mostly baptize our children. I am probably one of a few of you who was baptized as an adult. For most of you the equivalent would be your Confirmation or Re-Affirmation of Faith. It is the time when we proclaim to God and our community of our choice to live in the way of Jesus. It says to ourselves and those around us, that everything comes from God. We have been put here on earth to be good stewards of amazing Mother Earth to whom we are just one small part of.

As follower of Jesus we choose to try out a very different understanding of how humans and Creation are to live in harmony with each other. We say NO to the Domination system that says only the toughest and most violent people will survive. We offer the radical understanding of power through vulnerability and weakness. We follow in the way of Jesus that gives this world an opportunity to pass on this amazing planet and gift of life to many future generations ahead.

Sadly Christianity has been terribly influenced by the Domination System. This had led to horrible violence being let loose on many vulnerable people. Millions of people have been killed in the name of Jesus. If Jesus could speak to us today he would be very angry and sad!

The Jesus Movement is one of compassion! It is also has a peculiar concern for the vulnerable and oppressed! This makes many of us in the West uncomfortable because we have so much. Yet Jesus cares about us all.

His call is for us is to be more generous with all we have been given. It doesn’t matter to God who paid for it or made it. It does matter how it is being used. It does matter that those who are in greatest need benefit from the technology; production of food, clean water, affordable housing. People who are sick such as the thousands of people in Africa who are suffering from Ebola should get the medicine they need whether or not they have money to pay.

God calls all of us into ministry. Ministry is all about spreading the Good News of Jesus. This is not about capitalism, materialism or militarism. In fact it goes against any ideology that gives the power and privileges to a few people. The Good News is that we each have enough! The Good News is that we can all enjoy life when we share more equitably with each other. The Good News is that no one needs to suffer from poverty, violence and or war. The Good News is that there is a better way to live on this planet.

So go and keep spreading the Good News! Jesus has abundant life planned for you! Jesus knows that you have important things to do in this world that will help to make it a better place for all. Jesus has given you everything we need to live well in this world.

 Jesus and Discipleship