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Kingdom Practices

Sunday Reflections, May 17, 2015

By | Eucharist And Mission, Kingdom Practices, Reflections, Sunday Reflections | No Comments

Our time of worship, prayer, and Eucharist last night, ending our six-week journey called Eucharist and Mission, left me feeling encouraged and strengthened both in faith and in community. Like so many things, the closeness we all felt as we left is a bit of a mystery, but my sense of it was that really listening to the story of healing in a person’s life and heart and body like we all did as Sarah so courageously and openly shared, reminds us that restoration is happening all around us all the time whether we know it or not. And this is such good news for us because maybe, just maybe, it’s happening to each one of us slowly and by God’s gentle hand through our gathering, our worship, our prayer, and our receiving and remembrance of Christ’s body and blood.

As Jenna shared the recap of where we have been this last six weeks, I think we all stood in awe of how much we’ve learned, yes, but also how our eyes have been opened to Eucharist’s urgency and relevance in the actual world, not just in buildings on Sundays. One of the images I can’t quite shake this morning is all of us standing and singing May Your Kingdom Come as we watched the pictures of deeply loved people so often enemies of one another, or suffering greatly from sudden tragedy or chronic poverty and pain, move across the screen. I would love to practice the kind of prayer we practiced together last night more often, refusing to be numb to the constant barrage of pictures of suffering, pain, and conflict and instead humming in prayer over each life, whether deemed a sufferer or an oppressor: “May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done. May Your kingdom come in us. May Your love be shown, may Your nearness known. May Your kingdom come through us.”

If you’d like to incorporate this prayer practice in your life, here is the framework we used last night:

  • Collect a series of pictures of events happening in the world today or this last week that show faces of actual people (many news organizations have “pictures of the week” that they post);
  • Review the faces seen and unseen in the picture and the broken or beautiful systems and governments that make the scene depicted a reality;
  • Pray
  • for each person, deeply loved and made carefully by God in His image, that you see in the picture and for those unseen, but represented in some way;
  • for the broken systems and governments that underlie what is depicted;
  • for the way God’s kingdom is and will break through in the midst of the suffering, pain, or conflict represented in the picture; and
  • Seek God’s mercy over the situation:

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

We will meet again in three weeks, on June 7th, and, in the meantime, may you practice Eucharist in the world.

Grace and peace,
Kellye Fabian

Stations of the Cross

By | Holy Week, Kingdom Practices, Resources, Uncategorized | One Comment

What is this practice? 

The Stations of the Cross, are typically 14 stations that prayerfully mark the path of the various scenes and sites of Jesus on Good Friday. Many Churches celebrate by setting up physical crosses in different locations and walking from one cross to another to mark the journey of Christ, whilst reading key biblical texts and prayers.

Where did it come from? 

You might be interested to know that back in AD 313 emperor Constantine made Christianity legal, causing many Christians to flock back to the Holy Land to visit the historic sites and homeland of Jesus – in particular to find solidarity with Christ by walking the journey of Christ through Holy Week.

Over the years, this practice became more and more prominent in the Church, with pilgrims desiring to stop prayerfully at all the sites associated with Good Friday. The practice of visiting the historic sites in the Holy Land became restricted around the twelfth century, when the land fell under Muslim rule. Saint Francis and followers then encouraged believers to walk through the same journey by creating replicas of the stations of the cross with your own church. This is the way in which many churches practice this today.

How can you practice?

Whether or not you are able to attend a stations of the cross service today, it is still helpful and meaningful to walk the path of Christ wherever you happen to be today. Below we have provided the 14 different stations along with key passages from scripture to help you trace the journey of Christ to His crucifixion.

This is a powerful practice that allows us to deeply contemplate the great mystery of Jesus’ sacrifice of himself for us. By moving through these texts we invite you to embrace the gift of Christ’s sacrifice in both your mind and heart. By walking from location to location to read, you may involve your body in the worship as well.

Good Friday is a sober, sorrowful day, but I am also overcome by the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice in a way that brings me to my knees in both grief and awe.

May you be moved and ministered to by the footsteps of Christ,

Jenna and The Practice Team

 

The Stations Of The Cross

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:36-41

Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, Is Arrested

And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him.

Mark 14:43-46

Jesus Is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”

Luke 22:66-71

Jesus Is Denied by Peter

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Matthew 26:69-75

Jesus Is Judged by Pilate

And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Mark 15:1-5, 15

Jesus Is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.

John 19: 1-3

Jesus Bears the Cross

When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.

John 19: 6, 15-17

Jesus Is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Mark 15:21

Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Luke 23:27-31

Jesus Is Crucified

 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 

Luke 23:33-34

Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

John 19:25-27

Jesus Dies on the Cross

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Luke 23:44-46

Jesus Is Placed in the Tomb

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.

Matthew 27:57-60

A Tool To Help Us Notice, Pray, and Live.

By | Kingdom Practices | One Comment

This week Jenna and John Perrine created this useful tool for our tribe to use at home and throughout the week in light of Steve’s teaching on the Now and the Not Yet.

This past Sunday Steve invited us all to notice, pray, and live out the Kingdom and Will of God in our daily lives.

In order to help all of you as you practice throughout your week, we wanted to offer you this personal prayer litany to use at home as  you notice and pray for the Kingdom of God. We hope you can use these guiding words to continue identifying any invitations from God in your family, work or world where you can create cracks for the kingdom of heaven to break through.

As my husband and I were writing this prayer litany for you, we wanted to offer some of the pictures that Jesus shared throughout his ministry that described the Kingdom so you can better picture how it would look in your life. Jesus would often use simple stories called parables to help illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, and throughout the Gospels there are many parables that he used to talk about The Kingdom and God’s Will which we will lead you through below.

We also thought that a beautiful way for you to respond throughout this prayer litany would be to use the practice of breath prayer that Joan taught us about last week, you will breathe in “May your kingdom come” and breathe out “on earth as it is in heaven” to help align yourself with Christ’s Kingdom Purpose.

So sit back at your desk, your favorite chair or wherever you are – play a song (perhaps by our dear friends The Brilliance) or enjoy the silence to help quiet your heart as you read and pray through the following words.

 

A PERSONAL PRAYER LITANY FOR
GOD’S KINGDOM TO COME AND HIS WILL TO BE DONE

 

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field; though being the smallest of the seeds, when it grows transforms into the largest of trees. (Matthew 13:31) The Kingdom of God comes through Jesus in small and unexpected ways, silent, soft, and slow to rescue, but even now is growing and will one day be fully realized in his reign.

Lord may you help me to see the mustard seeds of your presence in my work, relationships, learning, parenting and the rhythms of my daily life.

Lord, I yearn for the day when your kingdom is fully realized into the mighty oak of Christ’s reign.

Breathe in: May your Kingdom Come
Breathe out: On Earth as it is in heaven

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a sower who sowed good seed in his field, only to have his enemy sow weeds among the wheat.  (Matthew 13:24) Though both grow side by side, the master waits to harvest so that the weeds might be distinguished from the wheat.

Lord may I flourish as I work, compete, converse, learn and grow in this world side by side with those who do not love or know you as the Master you are.

Lord, I yearn to be the wheat of your good harvest, distinguished in your sight from the weeds of this world to be in eternal communion with you.

Breathe in: May your Kingdom Come
Breathe out: On Earth as it is in heaven

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a servant, who after being forgiven insurmountable debt by his king, refused to forgive his fellow servant over the small debt he was owed, and so was imprisoned by the king until he could repay his own debts.  (Matthew 18:23) The kingdom of God comes when we, recognizing our own indebtedness, forgive our brothers and sisters of their debts against us.

Lord may you help me fully understand how deeply you have forgiven me so that I may forgive my parents, friends, coworkers, spouse, family, brothers and sisters of their wrongs against me.

Lord I yearn for the day when we all come face to face with the fullness of your forgiveness so that we may live in mercy and peace together. 

Breathe in: May your Kingdom Come
Breathe out: On Earth as it is in heaven

 

The Will of God is like a good Samaritan, who seeing his enemy stripped and beaten on the side of the road, stopped to take pity on him, and to care for his needs. (Luke 10:25-37) God’s will is done when we act as neighbors to those whom we are taught to ignore, by uncomfortably sacrificing our time, efforts and resources for those who are in need.

Lord, may you reveal to me my prejudices and give me eyes to see the invisible people in my life, the homeless, the disenfranchised, the racially different, the immigrants, who need my love, resources and care.

Lord I  yearn for the day where all prejudice is stripped away and we embrace and care for all your sons and daughters with greatest abandon, sacrifice and love.

Breathe in: May your Will be done
Breathe out: On Earth as it is in heaven

 

The Will of God is like a man who finding treasure hidden in a field, with joy sold all he had to in order to purchase what he knew to be of greatest value. (Matthew 13:44) God’s will is done when we joyously release all that we have in this world in faith that our greatest treasure is found in Christ.

Lord, may you give me freedom from my money, possessions, home, pride, titles, positions, idols and all that chains me to this world that I would be free to take up our cross and follow you.

Lord I yearn for the day that I am no longer tethered to the riches of this world and am instead free to rejoice fully in the greatest treasure that is eternal life through your Son Jesus Christ.

Breathe in: May your Will be done
Breathe out: On Earth as it is in heaven

 

The will of God is like a prodigal son, who after squandering his father’s inheritance, returns home to be lovingly embraced as the lost son who has now been found.  (Luke 15:11-32) God’s will is done when we, though far from God are embraced by him as our loving father, and when we, as fellow brothers and sisters, graciously receive with God those who too have been lost.

Lord may you help me to know that in spite of my wandering, lusting, lying, self pursuit and manipulation of others, you stand with arms wide open in loving acceptance of me as your child.  

Lord I yearn to one day be a part of your great feast, when all of your prodigal sons and daughters return. 

Breathe in: May your Will be done
Breathe out: On Earth as it is in heaven

 

Now, perhaps take some space to write down or reflect on the following questions…

Are there any specific invitations from God for you right now to help His Kingdom come in your family?

Are there any specific invitations from God for you right now to help His Kingdom come in your work?

Are there any specific invitations from God for you right now to help His Kingdom come in your work?

Father may I be your child on earth who creates cracks for your Kingdom to break through into the here and now. May your Kingdom Come. May your Will be done. On the Earth you have created as it is in Heaven where you are.

Amen.

 

 

Becoming Aware

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Guest blogger Joan Kelley lends us her reflections on breath prayer in light of our time together last Sunday.

Listen to God’s invitation to practice His presence.

I give you the gift of peace. In the same way the Father sent Me, I am now sending you.  Now He drew close enough to each of them that they could feel His breath. He breathed on them.”  –John 20:21-22

What if this is how I lived my life – so close to God, that His presence filled me like oxygen?  What if with each breath I was actually aware of His presence?

The frigid temperatures in Chicago last week actually reminded me of my breathing. When I did go outside, I could feel every breath I took.  It was raw and fresh and full. I could feel the capacity of my lungs. I could see my breath. I was fully aware of my breath.  I breathe oxygen every day.  It’s happening all day long but last week I became aware.

For me, one of the foundational keys of the spiritual life comes down to awareness…awareness of self and awareness of God.  John Calvin says “There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God.” It’s this glancing back and forth between God and me as I become aware of who He is and who I am in Him.  It’s much like the rhythm of breathing as He’s calling and wooing me into relationship.  And it starts with awareness of His presence.   He’s been there all along like the oxygen I breathe but I need to become aware.

Sometimes this concept of being aware of God’s presence can feel kind of lofty and out of my reach.  How do I practically do that?  How do I, on this side of heaven, create space and then engage with God in this intimate way?   How do I do it in a daily way, a tangible way that aligns me with God’s constant closeness?  How do I close this gap that I can sometimes feel between me down here and “our father in heaven” up there?

I think spiritual practices are the gift that God gave us to build our relationship with Him on a daily basis.  Spiritual practices can help me break down the gap and allow me to take steps toward God and feel His breath on our face.   For me, spiritual practices are simply on-ramps to my relationship with God – ways to engage with God, listen to God, be heard and known by God and allow me to become more of who He created in me.

Breath prayer is a powerful yet simple spiritual practice focused on using the rhythm of our breathing to become aware of God’s presence in your day.  As you breathe in, you voice a name of God that is significant for you.  As you breathe out, you name a deep desire for God.  You continue to repeat this prayer with the rhythm of your breathing.   It’s a simple way to practice the presence of God throughout your day. As you grow in this practice you will begin to move toward praying without ceasing.

My desire is to be not just a follower of Christ, to not just be in the vicinity of Christ.  I want to be in Christ in such a way that He’s closer than the air I breathe.  This is how I want to live my life in the here and now, and the now and not yet…to practice His presence in such a way that I’m so close to Him throughout my day that I can feel His breath and in turn receive His peace in the midst of my day.

Grace and Peace,
Joan Kelley

 

Three Advent Resources

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Hello friends.  As Advent begins, we invite you to Practice with us.  And not just on Sunday nights in the chapel.  Each and every day, please join us into the deep longing, humble preparation, and joy-filled anticipation of this holy season.  May our words and lives daily declare “O Come O Come Emmanuel!”  Three ways to dive in…

(1) A Short Video. What is Advent and why should we care about the Christian calendar?  Brian Zahnd, one of my favorite bible preachers, explains it well…

(2) A Blog.  Kellye is writing daily Advent reflections at Willow’s Care Center Blog, and as you know, she has a wonderful gift for articulating the beauty and mystery of God.  Each day, she’ll share a scripture passage, short reflection, couple questions, and a closing prayer to help anchor us in this holy season.

(3) Advent Music.  Our friends The Brilliance have created two stunning Advent albums – Advent (vol 1) and Advent (vol 2) – and we highly recommend using them as a holy soundtrack this month.  (It’ll also help you appreciate the music they lead on December 14th!)  Check out one of their most beautiful songs, “May You Find a Light”…

Practicing Centering Prayer

By | Kingdom Practices, Reflections | 2 Comments

On Sunday night, we learned from two contemplative activists – Phileena Heuertz and Lynne Hybels – about the discipline of Centering Prayer.  As you practice this week, here are a few more wise thoughts.  So helpful!

(1) After The Practice, we sat down with Phileena to ask her advice for those of us who are giving Centering Prayer a try this week…

 (2) A few years ago, Lynne wrote a letter to her dad about Centering Prayer.  This is a wonderful, loving, and humble explanation of the ancient practice…

Centering Prayer
Lynne Hybels

In 1999, my father had a heart attack.  Though he eventually recovered fully, his recuperation was slow and accompanied by extreme anxiety.  While praying for him one morning, I decided to share with him a spiritual discipline that had been helping me.  I wrote him a lengthy letter, explaining this discipline.  I think the letter served him well, but I know it has served me well, for each time I get careless in this discipline I reread this letter to remind myself why I started this to begin with and why I need to continue.  

Read Lynne Hybels’ Letter to her Father

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Finally, please remember to be compassionate with yourself as you begin this practice.  Centering Prayer is not something to achieve or conquer…but simply a way to allow ourselves to get swept up in God’s unforced rhythms of Grace.  It’s all Grace!

Blessings as you get swept up…
Aaron and The Practice team

Sunday Reflections, September 14, 2014

By | Kingdom Practices, Sunday Reflections | 6 Comments

What a powerful night we had last night as Phileena Heuertz shared her story, taught us the history of contemplative prayer, and led us in the practice of centering prayer.  I am still thinking about these words:

Solitude teaches us how to be present.

Silence teaches us how to listen.

Stillness teaches us how to act.

Phileena taught us that centering prayer is rooted in the doctrine of the divine indwelling and is a process of interior purification.  And, if and when we consent, a union with God.  How beautiful.  One of the key teachings for me was that centering prayer is really not about listening for God’s voice or seeking an experience with him that we can talk about later.  Rather, it is to rest in his presence.  The evidence of God’s movement and presence in our time of centering prayer will be seen in the life that we live.  Over time, we will become more grace-filled, more at peace, less angry, more like Christ.

Download Phileena’s Teaching

The eight minutes of centering prayer was about what I expected.  The first couple minutes were, well, excruciating.  I couldn’t settle in and my thoughts flooded the space.  But then I said my phrase, “Here I am.”   More thoughts came.  As Phileena said, “the mind has thoughts like the heart has beats.”  So true.  I must have said, “Here I am” at least 250 times during that eight minutes.  Nothing magical happened in those moments, at least not that I felt.  I have a sense though, that God was at work.  I trust that he was.

Our time at the table, receiving communion, reminded me of the restoration Jesus offers and throughout that time, I said my sacred phrase again and again, “Here I am.”  “Here I am.”  I watched as we all lined up to receive, our collective, “Here we are, Lord” demonstrated, although not uttered.  There is not much else to say.   “Here we are.”

I can’t wait for my centering prayer time tomorrow.  Solitude.  Silence.  Stillness.  Here I am.  Would you be willing to join me this week?  Let’s just try 15 minutes every day this week.  (If you want to ease your way in, that’s okay too, but by Wednesday or so, try 15)  Here’s one way you might try:

one.  Sit in an upright, attentive posture and place your hands in your lap.

two.  Close your eyes and bring to mind your sacred word or image as your way of consenting to the presence and action of God within you.  Choose a name for God, a characteristic of God, or a word that symbolizes consent.

three.  With your eyes closed, recall your sacred word or image to begin.  As you notice your thoughts, gently return to your sacred word.  Do this each time your notice your thoughts.

four.  When your prayer time is over, transition slowly from your prayer practice to your active life.

If you want to know more about centering prayer, check out the many resources at Gravity Center’s website.  Thomas Keating’s book Open Mind, Open Heart, is also a must-have.

Last thing, Phileena reminded me that she just started a new blog series that will explore the themes in her book, Pilgrimage of the Soul, so take a look at that to follow along.  

Peace to you all,
Kellye

A Four-Week Summer Experience

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A Taste of Listen to My Life

Four Weeks of Practicing Spiritual Listening

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A Four Week Journey

We are so excited to invite you into a four-week summer experience — A Taste of Listen to My Life.  This experience was specially compiled for our community by the authors of Listen to My Life, Sibyl Towner and Sharon Swing, and offers us a way to practice one of the most important aspects of community — spiritual listening.  I keep thinking about the night Sibyl taught us and how much I learned in such a short time about how to listen well!  Imagine how we will feel after four weeks practicing this kind of listening!  Sibyl and Sharon created a packet with two of their life maps, a suggested way to spend the time when your tribe meets, some listening guidelines, and additional information to help your tribe practice together.  We love the idea of our community meeting in living rooms to engage in this experience together.  But we also know that some of us are in the Sunday-night rhythm and enjoy coming to Willow.  So, we will have a great team leading a facilitated experience at Willow in Room B207 from 7-9 p.m. on July 13, July 20, July 27, and August 3.

If you weren’t able to make our Feast last night and would like to purchase the A Taste of Listen to My Life packet, they are available for purchase at Seeds Bookstore for $15.00.  (But again, if money is an issue, please let us know.)

Don’t forget that we’ll gather together again on August 10 in the Chapel from 7-9 p.m. for a night of worship, liturgy, and holy communion.

I’ll be checking in with you as we move ahead and I can’t wait to learn together!

–Kellye

Kingdom Practice: Reflecting on Relationships

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Mindy Caliguire

Introduction.  This week we are continuing to grow in what it means to be in community.  Last night, Mindy Caliguire shared with us her vision and understanding of spiritual transformation in relationships, something she seeks to live and breathe.  In particular, Mindy shared her heart about the difference between “life on life” relationships and “life on curriculum” relationships, challenging us to “give a flying rip” about the life of another person!  What do your small group relationships look more like?

Mindy walked us through her diagram of what transformation can look like in a group as we move from learning together, to journeying together, to following together.

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She asked us to reflect on these four questions:

  • Who was (or is) pivotal in getting you established in your faith?
  • Who has helped (or is helping) you identify and practice the spiritual disciplines that bring you closer to God?
  • Who is the tribe or group that you are “following with”?
  • What is your desire in and for your relationships?

I have been thinking about these questions, and especially the last one, since last night.  As we move into our July and August “living-room Practice,” let’s spend some time thinking and praying about the last two questions in particular.

Reflecting on Relationships

(1) Lectio Divina.   We invite you to practice Lectio with Ephesians 4:11-16 and 1 Thessalonians 5:14 and listen to what God is speaking to you. 

(2) Reflection Questions.  Spend some time reflecting and praying about these two questions:

Who is the tribe with whom I can learn, journey, and follow?

What is my desire in and for my relationships?

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Additional Resources

Books:  STIR: Spiritual Transformation in Relationships, Mindy Caliguire.

Spiritual Friendship, Mindy Caliguire.

Video: Why I Love Small Groups, Mindy Caliguire.

—Kellye

Kingdom Practice: More Spiritual Listening

By | Kingdom Practices | 3 Comments

Introduction.  This week we are continuing our spiritual listening practice as we grow in what it means to be in community.  Last night, Dr. Bilezikian, “Dr. B” as we know him, taught us the theology and the reality of community out of the first three verses of the Bible.  Three things Dr. B said are still ringing in my ears:

  • “before there was anything, there was community”
  • “it takes plurality to create oneness”
  • “as a result of the fall, community was replaced with hierarchy”

These words compel my heart to dive deeper into an understanding and experience of community.  This week, we invite you again to practice three-way listening as a way to participate in community the way God intends it in his kingdom.

Spiritual Listening

As a reminder, here are the elements of spiritual listening…

Participation is invited, but not demanded

Invite the Holy Spirit

Confidentiality

Focused attention

Unconditional acceptance

No fixing, advising, or rescuing

Listen to the silence

Affirm the gift of the story

Last week we tried two small steps.  Let’s try these two this week…

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(1) Listening in the Silence.   So often when we listen to a friend, we seek to fill whatever silence there is with words to ease any awkwardness.  This week, try allowing the silence to be, listening in it for what the Holy Spirit might be whispering.  As Susan Shadid shared with us, there is “power in the pause” — something holy and creative happens in the midst of silence. 

(2) Affirming the Gift of the Story.  When someone shares with you, try saying something to affirm the gift they have given in sharing their story.  You could say, “Thank you for sharing that with me,” or “I am so grateful you shared that story with me.”

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Additional Resources

Books:  Community 101, Gilbert Bilezikian.

Articles:  3-Way Listening, Sharon Swing.

—Kellye