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Showing posts from May, 2014

The ascension of Jesus -- mythological or fundamental?

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Have you ever found parts of Scripture to be just plain weird and only marginally believable? And then you dig into it and find out it’s more fascinating and meaningful than you could have imagined? Today I want to talk about a biblical story that has been that way for me – the ascension of Jesus.
What’s the ascension? That’s when Jesus, after he had been raised from the dead and spent time with his followers, gave a final blessing to them and was taken up into heaven right in front of them. Here’s how Luke tells the story of that day. When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:50-53)  As it turns out, yesterday was Ascension Day – 40 days after Easter. In honor of Ascension Day, and to finish out “body month” (Luminous Fridays durin…

What if God's voice is so obvious that you don't hear it?

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[For my Friday posts, May is “body month.” It’s about how we relate to our bodies as spiritual people. This is in keeping with chapter four of Luminous, Being Present with Our Bodies…]
If God is speaking, it would be great to hear what he is saying. I think a lot of us feel that way. But most Christians are resigned to disappointment: hearing God is tricky – maybe too tricky for me. I want to challenge that idea. What if God is too obvious rather than too subtle?
I’ll give you an example. I’m tired. I have been tired a lot lately. Based on what I hear from people I talk to, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Are you one of the Tireds?
Now we could ignore our fatigue and push through it, making life happen at the pace our culture says we should go. Or we could ask, “Is there something God might be trying to say in and through our fatigue?” Might it be something as obvious as, “I didn’t create you live at that pace. Let’s start exploring a more sustainable pace of life.”
Side no…

Is suffering proof that you didn't hear God correctly?

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Is the American church willing to accept the path of the cross?
That's what I have wondered after having an article recently published in the May issue of Leadership Journal on discernment. The article is an unvarnished account of the joyful and painful journey Sanctuary underwent in moving our small church from a suburb of Sacramento to the heart of the city. We went through an extensive discernment process and believed we heard God say "go." So we went. The year that followed had sparks of new life, but it almost led to the church's death. Within the first year we lost about 40% of the people we moved with. Half of the ones who departed moved out of Sacramento to other parts of the world. The other half simply decided they didn't want to do this new mission with Sanctuary. 2013 was an ordeal for those of us who are deeply committed.
Is suffering an ordeal proof that you didn't hear from God? That's the feeling I have gotten from a few people who have com…

Unhurry your body and soul: play the Resting in God Game (Luminous Friday)

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[For my Friday posts, May is “body month.” It’s about how we relate to our bodies as spiritual people. This is in keeping with chapter four of Luminous, Being Present with Our Bodies…]
The other morning I got out of bed, made my usual cup of tea, and settled into my special spend-time-with-God chair. I must have slept funny, because my lower back felt tight and hurt a little. As I sat down, I remembered that at Sanctuary as part of our move to become unhurried Jesus-followers, we are playing the Resting in God Game. It means taking a set amount of time and doing nothing other than just that – resting in God. The Resting in God Game sounded like the perfect way to start the day. So I sat down, leaned all the way forward to stretch out my back, and just stayed there for… I don’t know, maybe 3-4 minutes. Now that’s the way to start a day!

In fact, most of this week I have been starting the day with the Resting in God Game. The one day I didn’t, I was in a bad mood all day. Coincidence?

What people are experiencing while playing the Slowing Game

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Last Sunday at Sanctuary I asked whether people have been playing the Slowing Game and if so, what they are experiencing. People talked about driving slower and walking slower -- and being reminded in their slower-than-normal pace that they can use that activity to connect with God.

One person said she had stood in line at the grocery store and resisted the usual habit of immediately getting on the cell phone to see what's happening. Not being preoccupied with the virtual world made her more aware of what was going on in the real world. She seized the opportunity to be neighborly, and she engaged in some idle chit-chat with a couple of other people in line.

She said the conversation was nothing profound. Yet I see it as very profound. Look at how the ubiquity of web-based technology threatens to turn us all into cell-phone-holding drones who barely see each other. It threatens to choke out the deep-seated longing in each of our hearts to be seen. You never know -- being seen, in e…

Taking Paul seriously: "Your body is God's temple" (Luminous Friday)

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[For my Friday posts, May is “body month.” It’s about how we relate to our bodies as spiritual people. This is in keeping with chapter four of Luminous, Being Present with Our Bodies…]
“Abs aren’t made in the gym. They’re made in the kitchen.” That’s what my friend Meg says. She’s a fitness trainer, and I recently started working out in her bootcamp program. It has me rethinking how I have been treating my body. Sleep, water, food, and exercise – being fit and healthy includes them all. I have always been active, but I have never really taken care of myself. This is a whole lifestyle change.

The Bible makes some strong statements about the body too. One we don’t think about very often is: “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God” (1 Cor 6:16). That one verse is loaded with radical implications. It’s not just about keeping yourself from sexual immorality as Paul urges in that passage. It’s also about observing wellness for your body…

The joy of driving in the slow lane

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Are you playing The Slowing Game with us? (See Monday's post.) I have enjoyed it a lot more than I
expected. It is uncomfortable, but every time I experience the awkwardness of doing something like driving in the slowest lane, it reminds me to be still on the inside and connect with God. Even in the slow lane, you're still going 65. It's amazing how you can be hurtling down a road at 65 miles per hour in a metal cage on wheels and at the same time be utterly at peace in the inner sanctuary of your own heart. Deep within you the stillness of God resides.
Patient. Constant. Joyful. Peaceful.  Always there.  Being with God shifts your perspective. By the time you get to where you are going, your frame of mind reflects more of God's character. I'm not sure why we think rushing around is such a great idea when consciously slowing gives us the chance to be with God while we are doing other things.

Our culture worships at the altar of speed and efficiency. If you dri…