The following is a spiritual imperative from Henri J. M. Nouwen book titled The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people’s response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule.
You have to close yourself to the outside world so you can enter your own heart and the heart of God through your pain. God will send to you the people with whom you can share your anguish, who can lead you closer to the true source of love.
God is faithful to God’s promise. Before you die, you will find the acceptance and the love you crave. It will not come in the way you expect. It will not follow your needs and wishes. But it will fill your heart and satisfy your deepest desire. There is nothing to hold on to but this promise. Everything else has been taken away from you. Cling to that naked promise in faith. Your faith will heal you.
We are starting a new series at our Church this month called, In The Beginning: Diving into Genesis Ch. 1-11.
In this series we are going to look at what God can show us through these amazing stories found in the beginning of our Bible. These stories are too often skimmed over or debated between scholars and theologians. Our goal throughout this series is to dive into the heart of these stories and see what they reveal to us about the Nature of God and humanity.
The book of Genesis is a beautiful part of our Bible and can teach us so much if we are willing to sit with the text. Allowing God to show us more than we can imagine as we sit with them and reflect on the things happening in our world when God inspired these Holy scriptures.
We would love for you to join us on this journey as we practice our value of Going Deeper with Genesis Ch. 9-11. You can stay up to date with our sermon by either checking out our YouTube Channel or Podcast (which you can find details about below). We will have weekly blog post and Midweek Devotionals throughout this series going deeper into the book of Genesis.
Our series kicks off this Sunday May 2nd, and feel free to attend our service at Geham SS from 9:30am to 11:00am followed by a light morning tea.
Listen to our Good Friday Message and may God’s grace and peace be with you.
Check out our recent Midweek Devotional about Showing Love First.
This is from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation
| You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. —T. S. Eliot,
Everybody looks at the world through their own lens, a matrix of culturally inherited qualities, family influences, and other life experiences. This lens, or worldview, truly determines what we bring to every discussion. When Jesus spoke of the coming of the Reign of God, he was trying to change people’s foundational worldview. When Francis of Assisi described his “marriage to Lady Poverty,” he was using a lovely metaphor to explain his central thesis for life. When Americans identify money as “the bottom line,” they are revealing more about their real worldview than they realize.
We would do well to get in touch with our own operative worldview. It is there anyway, so we might as well know what this highly influential window on reality is. It’s what really motivates us. Our de facto worldview determines what catches our attention and what we don’t notice at all. It’s largely unconscious and yet it drives us to do this and not that. It is surely important to become conscious of such a primary lens or we will never know what we don’t see and why we see other things out of all perspective. Until we can allow the Gospel to move into that deepest level of the unconscious and touch our operative worldviews, nothing substantial is going to change. It will only be rearranging the furniture, not constructing a new room. Conversion is about constructing a new room, or maybe even a whole new house. Our operative worldview is formed by three images that are inside every one of us. They are not something from outside; they have already taken shape within us. All we can do is become aware of them, which is to awaken them.
The three images to be awakened and transformed are our image of self, our image of God, and our image of the world. A true hearing of the Gospel transforms those images into a very exciting and, I believe, truthful worldview. When we say Christ is the truth, that’s what we mean. Christ renames reality correctly, according to what reality honestly is, putting aside whatever we think it is or whatever we fear it is. Reality is always better than any of us imagined or feared; there is joy associated with a true hearing of the Gospel.
All together, we could put it this way: “What should life be?” “Why isn’t it?” “How do we repair it?” When these are answered for us, at least implicitly, we have our game plan and we can live safely and with purpose in this world.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder (Franciscan Media: 2001, 2020), 135–138.
I have been thinking lately about our journeys through life and the Unexpected Detours that change our direction. If you have ever had one of these detours that force or give you an ability to change directions, you are left asking yourself a question…… This is a question that repeats like a trending pop song you just cannot get out of your head, and only contains 6 words…
“Did I make the RIGHT choice?”
This question is asked because often in these detour moments we are left to choose the direction forward. If we are followers of Christ, we lean into God…. Attempting to find the direction God wants us to go, and very rarely do we hear a voice from heaven guiding our steps. This leads to us making the best decision we can and trusting it is in step with what God wants for us. Coming to this decision after countless hours of prayer and reflection with God. We sometimes know shortly after if the decision we made was correct but often we are left with a 6-word question.
“Did I make the RIGHT choice?”
I know this question has repeated in my head numerous times, and I have often struggled with knowing if I made the right decision throughout my life in these Unexpected Detours. If we are honest this question rings louder at times when what we expected does not happen. We wonder if our life journey would be greener if we made a different choice, so we ask ourselves…….
“Did I make the RIGHT choice?”
What if this is the wrong question to ask ourselves? In the story of Jonah, we read of a prophet who consistently rebelled against God. When he did listen to God, he only does the bare minimum required. Throughout his journey though we read of God meeting him and those around him. Pagan sailors turn to God and are welcomed by God’s divine grace. A city called Nineveh, known for its dominance and violence, turns to God and are embraced by his divine grace. God consistently meets Jonah on this journey regardless of his decision making. Jonah creates detour after detour and God simply continues to move and show more people his divine grace. We should not ask ourselves the question that repeats in our head about these Unexpected Detour moments, and instead ask ourselves another 6-word question.
“Do I lean into God’s grace?”
by Pastor Matt George
Sin is Personal.
We far too often forget that Sin is personal.
It is something that affects each of us different as an individual.
Sin separates us from God’s love and leaves us feeling alone.
Sin is personal.
We must take an inward journey to discover our sin.
Too often we avoid this by diagnosing the sin of others.
What if we stopped looking at others and focused on our sin?
Sin is personal.
Christ points us towards this truth by telling us to remove the log
From our own eye before getting the speck out of others.
Let us be brave and go on our inward journey addressing the sin within.
Sin is personal.
Sin stops us from showing love, grace, mercy, compassion,
And moving with God’s Spirit.
Let us be brave and address our sin as individuals, remembering that
Sin is personal.
Our Church is taking on an Apophatic Prayer Challenge this year. In Western Christianity we tend to only use our Cataphatic Prayer abilities.
Cataphatic comes from a Greek word meaning ‘with form or images.’
Cataphatic Prayer is prayer we do using our minds.
Examples: Praising Prayers; Repenting Prayers; Thanking Prayers; Meditative Prayers; some forms of Contemplative Prayers.
As a Church we want to use another important form of prayer which is vital for our spiritual growth. This form of prayer is known as Apophatic Prayer and we aim to grow in this form of prayer.
Apophatic comes from a Greek word meaning ‘without form or images.’
Apophatic Prayer is where we empty ourselves and we lay words aside to experience union with God.
That is why we are taking on an Apophatic Prayer Challenge and aiming to do it four times a week throughout the year. Please feel free to join with us but remember to have grace for yourself.
Check out this video of the Highfields Youth & Kids explaining the Christmas Story. They also attempt to say, “Hey Y’all,” which is how Pastor Matt kicks off must emails and messages to the Church.
Check out this video about Rev Ed Dobson
Become the kind of person who can find hope in the midst of difficult circumstances. In It Ain’t Over, the first film in the Ed’s Story series, Ed Dobson reminds us that life isn’t over yet and that we don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the struggles we’re facing today. Difficult news can sometimes make us feel like our lives are over. Ed shows us that we don’t know the future, and that things may turn out quite differently from what we expect.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 from Center for Action and Contemplation by Richard Rhor
Jesus’ life offered an example of humility and self-emptying, but he chose an additional model for his disciples: that of little children. Despite what we see depicted in so much religious art, it was not meant as a “cute” or sentimental gesture! As Albert Nolan shares, it was a radical revaluing of human dignity, based on nothing that society could see or quantify! Taken seriously, it is still a profound message for us today.
Jesus was uncompromising in his belief that all human beings were equal in dignity and worth. He treated the blind, the lame and the [sick], the outcasts and beggars with as much respect as that given to those of high rank and status. He refused to consider women and children unimportant or inferior. This turned a carefully ordered society of status and honor upside down—even more so when he advocated moving down the social ladder instead of striving to reach the top. 
When his disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, Jesus put his arm around a little child (Mark 9:36–37). According to Jesus, the least or most insignificant persons in the society are the greatest (Luke 9:48). In the society and culture of the time, the child had no standing or status whatsoever. The child was a “nobody.” The implication is that Jesus and those who want to follow him are “nobodies,” right at the bottom of the social ladder. For Jesus, the child was a model of radical humility (Matthew 18:3–4) [or what I am calling “self-emptying” this week]. Those who wish to follow him will have to become as humble as little children. 
Richard again: It’s difficult to hear, but Albert Nolan is simply quoting Jesus from several contexts—usually when the Twelve are all in their heads arguing. We cannot become humble by mere intellect or willpower. Pretending to be humble only makes us more self-absorbed and self-referential. All we can really do is become more aware of our pride or vanity by noticing how we respond to even minor slights or humiliations. That will be more than enough to let us know how self-centered we are and how meaningless our taking offense truly is in this infinite universe.
Check out this Midweek Devotional from Pastor Matt.