Sermon for 3-19-17

The reading we worked with from the Lectionary are:

OT Exodus 17:1-7

NT Romans 5:1-11

Gospel John 4: 5-42

 

My hand out Random Thoughts:

The word of the day: SPIRIT

 

Developing Patience Romans 5:1-11 MSG

1-2 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!6-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

9-11 Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

1.“Facts” are simply habits of thought we’ve been thinking so long that they now seem normal. When we invest in them over and over again, we validate them. We create more of them. “Facts” fill in around those beliefs.

Quantum physics has proven it’s impossible to observe anything without affecting it. Sadly, we’ve been seeking (and therefore affecting) things that no longer serve us. We’ve been seeking “facts” that were perpetuated long before we evolved to the place where we realized we have the power to change them. And, yes, they’ve picked up quite a bit of momentum. Pam Grout Blog 3-16-17

  1. In the United States our politics have devolved into divisiveness and partisanship. Think about it: You feel passionate about your party and your issues. Your co-worker or neighbor backs the other political party with equal passion.

The way we live so much of our lives stops right there. Someone takes position A, and someone else opposes them in Position B; they exist in rivalry and antagonism, world without end. This is precisely the behavior we’d expect in a binary system—a place of “two-ness” in opposition. At best, when we’re finished yelling at each other, we might try to compromise and form some kind of “synthesis” position out of our dueling dualisms.

If the universe is created in the image of the Creator and the Creator is a Trinity, it begs the question: What if we don’t live in a binary universe, but instead in a ternary universe? CAC from Richard Rohr Blog 3-?-17

 

3.As we “tune our hearts” [1] to greater perception, we’ll begin to experience God almost like a force field, to borrow a metaphor from physics. We’re all already inside this force field, whether we know it or not, alongside Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims and every race and nationality. God doesn’t stop or begin at the Mexico/U.S. border, the Israel/Palestine border, the border between North and South Korea, or any such line in the sand. The divine force field is all-encompassing. Rohr blog 3-10-17

4. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ONE OF MY FAVORITE’S and ties in with today’s message.

 

Sermon 2-19-17

Scripture for the day:

1st reading: Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18

2nd reading:1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

Gospel: Matthew 5 38-48

My handout for the week:

1.As Ken Wilber so brilliantly says, “Religion starts elitist, but ends egalitarian(s a trend of thought that favors equality for all people). Always!” Richard Rohr

2.Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached. Simone Weil

  1. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

 

  1. The word “prayer” has often been trivialized by making it merely into a way of asking for what you want or making announcements to God, as if God did not know (see Matthew 6:7-8). But I use “prayer” to mean any interior journey or practice that allows you to experience faith, hope, and love within yourself. It is not a technique for getting things, a pious exercise that somehow makes God happy, or a requirement for entry into heaven. Prayer is much more practicing heaven now. CAC Rohr 2-7-17

 

 

  1. “The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.”
    Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

 

6.Every person has immense light and love inside them (no exceptions) and the only reason we cannot see it is because of the lens we laid over it. We covered it up with our beliefs and expectations, with facts that we just KNOW are true. We made a judgment and assume we know what that Republican is up to or that Democrat wants to do to destroy our freedom.

Nothing is as it appears. All we see with the limited five senses is a hologram of our beliefs and expectations. And it’s flawed and it’s getting us in trouble.

I heard about an amazing man yesterday who is doing his part to bridge the divide. His name is Daryl Davis. He’s a black musician whose early years were spent overseas in diverse classrooms. When his parents moved back to the United States, he, like most of the boys in his sixth grade class, joined Boy Scouts. One day, while marching with his troop, people started throwing rocks and sticks at him.

His first thought was, “They must not like Boy Scouts.”

At that point, his parents sat him down and had the race talk with him.

He was stunned.

“How could they not like me?” he thought. “They don’t even know me.”

Since that time, he has taken on the hobby of getting to know white supremacists and, instead of yelling at them, berating them, he sits down and asks questions. He genuinely wants to know what they think.

As he says about engaging his “enemies,” “When you are actively learning about someone else you are passively teaching them about yourself.”

In other words, he gets back to first generation reality. Some black activists call his methods crazy, but as he likes to say, “I’ve got dozens of retired hoods and robes in my closet. How many do you have?” from Pam Grout’s blog 2-14-17. How is that for a take on Matthew 5-44??????

  1. “Love is giving up control. It’s surrendering the desire to control the other person. The two—love and controlling power over the other person—are mutually exclusive. If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all the desires within us to manipulate the relationship.” Rob Bell

 

Do you know what love is, I want you to know.

So I was talking to a friend of mine a week or so ago, and she startled me by asking me to help her LOVE more, to be honest, we were talking about GOD and spiritual things, so it might not be as random as it sounds. I thought for a minute, and said you need to forgive more to love more. You need to start with yourself, it always starts with you- all this spiritual work, always starts with you.
You need to forgive yourself, for being you, for the harm you have caused yourself and others, and then let it go!
I decided to preach about my thoughts on Love Sunday, so I was pondering it all week, I spoke to a friend of mine who is a therapist, his first thought was , tell her to get rid of the anger! So I said isn’t that the flip side of the forgiveness card?
So I started re-reading Anthony De Mello’s “The way to Love”, it’s a awesome little book that I would highly recommend to everyone, to help refresh myself on the differences between Love and Attachment. See many, if not all of us , at least some of the time confuse Love and Attachment, if it has a condition to it, its attachment. That can be a very difficult thing to separate, we are conditioned in our lives to think they are the same thing most of the time, they are not. She didn’t do the laundry the way I like, he didn’t cut the lawn the way I told him to(the secret is ladies, we screw up on purpose, so you don’t ask us to do it again) she knows I like the house cleaned “my way”,  that’s Attachment.
Love has no conditions, to truly forgive and love, especially those who you persecute you, that’s the key, its also the hardest past for many of us. That’s the only way to Truly be free, is to get rid of your attachment to any out come, what ever that is. Let others be free to do as they wish without judgement or thought to outcome on your part. Love them enough to set them free.

 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 From 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 :Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I cant improve on that!
I also get into Revelation 21, where the author gets into the “New Heaven and a New Earth”, I love it, because like all scripture, you can understand it on many levels. Of course, I think he is talking about a new conscience, a new understand of God, of course God doesn’t change its our understanding of HIM\HER that changes. A great read on the subject is Eckart Tolle’s book, a New Earth, well worth the time to read .
Take a listen, let me know what you think.

 

 

GOD IS DEAD

I saw a bumper sticker on a car the other day, outside of a local tattoo parlor, and it read GOD IS DEAD!
I can imagine the car belonging to a cool 20 something with “tats” all over her body thinking she has it all figured out, there is no God , right, how could there be , just look around- don’t you see the mess the world is in?

It’s all just chance, there is no God, there can’t be.
I use to think that way when I was in more pain; I got just enough God to make me miserable, if I believed in him on any certain day , he was mad at me for sure, and the whole world in general.

Just look around the world is in chaos, ISIS beheading westerners, Global Warming, white supremacist and cop’s killing blacks- COPS. Total and utter CHAOS!
Or is it?  Is that just the surface, the general back ground noise that so pervasive in today’s world.

All those issues do deserve our attention, and something needs to be done- we need to LOVE more- that’s right I said LOVE.

A few Sunday’s ago  when I preached, I brought up the poor lost kid that killed those SOULS in that Church in Charleston SC. What’s your take away from that tragedy? The 9 people that lost their lives in that horrible moment, or that most of the families of the victims forgave him, the next day. The few that didn’t knew that they would have to work on it, to get there, that’s Radical Grace!
That’s the face of God showing HERSELF – through LOVE and FORGIVENESS. You don’t have to like the person, you don’t have to invite them to dinner, just forgive them and LOVE them. That’s  the kind of LOVE that comes from GOD, a LOVE most of us don’t understand, it’s a total out pouring of LOVE towards us. Our job is to just clean the receptors off so we can receive the signal from her.
I think we take to small of view of the world, we tend to look at it to close, we don’t see the big picture, most of us including me many days, buy into the background noise, we buy that we are separate, we think others exist to please us, not the other way around. We get so caught up in the petty bull shit in our lives we lose sight that we are from GOD.
GOD is big enough for that kind of relationship, we humans are not!
So we dull the pain in a myriad of way; drugs, drink, sex, endless spending, vacation after vacation. We lose the connection that keeps most of us close to God, it’s a shame SHE is an out pouring of LOVE, but we have to learn to see with new eyes.
When we don’t see God, it comes from our side, God is a constant out pouring of love and light.

I remember going to an island in the Caribbean, I was disappointed “it was just like home”, or so I thought, I was kinda honked off waiting all those years to get “there” and it was the “same” as the States. Then in the midst of feeling sorry for myself (not too sorry, I was on a beach with a rum drink in my hand) I thought instead of looking for the things that were the same, I needed to look for the things that we different- that’s new eyes! It changed the rest of the trip; I started “seeing” the wonder around every corner.
Are you willing to try to find new eyes, a new perspective on the world, a new way to see; EVERYTHING. Or are you just going to follow the herd- seeing “THEMS” everywhere you go. Those Muslims-Jews-Hindu’s, they’re all going to rot in hell- RIGHT! Or is the black’s taking all the jobs us white folks should get, or is it all those immigrants they let into this country.
Thomas Merton said “the God you find says more about you than it does about God.” What does your world look like? What God do you see? That relationship is just like our personal relationships, much of what we see in others, good or bad, is a reflection of ourselves.
Your view of God and the world cannot be larger than your view of yourself.

The way to see yourself is  “THE” limiting factor in all areas of your life. Do you see a miserable world full of conflict and war, It’s there for all to see. Or do you see the joy of a new sunrise, or butterflies playing in your yard, or stare in wonder at the stars?

What you seek you will find, that scripture. Be careful what you go looking for, I have come to realize we do find it much more than we realize!

Is GOD dead, to some people, she was to me for awhile, I had to come back around, work out my issues, find her again. She was there waiting for me, with open arms, smiling a knowing smile.

We all have different journey’s to take, we all have different things we need to grow through. We just need to remember that God is always there waiting for us, like Motel 6, she keeps the light on for us!

PEACE!

“The Chair”

The Chair

“The Chair”

I was watching MLB Quick Pitch this AM and looked into my office and saw this chair of my Mother’s from when she was a kid. As you can see it broken. One of my sons brought it down stairs a few weeks ago, and asked me what to do with it, my first reaction was to trash it, but then I caught myself and said put it in my office, I will try to fix it! This morning I was looking at it looking at the chair and thought, that how most of us live our lives, we hold on to the past, even if it broken?

Many things in life are worth fixing, but we have to watch what we hold onto, most times we would be better served if we left the past in the past. Most of us hold onto the past with a vengeance, most of the BAD, and some of the good, mostly the BAD. Many of you can remember verbatim, some long ago hurt inflicted upon you by some other unconscious soul, LET IT GO! I see most of us hold onto the past, our past, and we think it’s real- HISTORY, but it’s not, it’s subjective at best, but most of us don’t realize that, we think our history is true?

For example, when my parents were alive about 10 years ago, my sisters and I were talking with my Mom and Dad about Christmas’s when we were children. So we were all reminiscing about the days of our childhood, and I was struck by how different our memories were, five of us all in the same house, all remembering things differently. Obviously, we usually remember things from our personal point of view, but the problem is we think that’s “history” or “true”? It’s subjective at best, and can be the source of much pain, at it’s worst.

The past is gone, can you hold onto the good memories, sure, but you hold on to the bad memories as your own peril. I see that much of the pain in this world comes from past slights, miss-spoken words, and the need to right all the time.

Jesus talks about living for today, and seeing with new eyes, the narrow path, all pointers to show us how to live in the here and now, for tomorrow has enough worries of its own!

Jesus calls us to Radical Love and Radical Forgiveness, the kind of Radical Love and Forgiveness that can only come when your operating from your highest best self, that part of you that comes from God.

That radical love and forgiveness that asks nothing in return, that’s when you’re working from your highest best self. I also know it has to starts with you, you must trust the system enough to know you are forgiven and loved yourself. It has to start with you, if you’re not good for yourself, you can’t be good for anyone else, PERIOD! I also know if you can’t let go of the past, it will be very difficult to forgive yourself and others!

The past as you know it only exists that way in your mind, no one else! How you see yourself is the major factor on how you see others and how you see the world. The smallest, shallowest part of that equation is your limiting factor, you cannot be or see any larger than your smallest thought. So sometimes we just need to throw that chair out, and move on with our lives, the past can be wonderful, but it can also be the chains that keep us tied to where we are!

Peace!

Required reading for this post:

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and read them!!

My take on the “wages of sin”

So I have found that it’s much more difficult for me to post when the weather gets nice. Between yard work and baseball and wanting to spend more time outside, it’s been harder to sit down and write a post.
This week I found some inspiration, I was speaking to a friend of mine and she said something like, you know back when you use to sin! I just started grinning, laughing on the inside, when I use to sin, hell I sin every day! It’s that on good days the sins are different than you might think. I have had this thought in the last few months, I have this idea of “soft sins” or the small sins we tend to over look, the big boy sins tend to take care of themselves don’t they, usually if they made the top ten list, you must deal with them, they will force you to, one way or another.
It’s those small buggers we tend to miss; they’re the ones that do the most damage?
You know the ones like being passive aggressive, or with holding love because you are pissed off, or judging yourself or others. Usually the way you treat others is how you feel about yourself on the inside.
So when I use to sin, like today, or every day. I know what my friend meant; we were talking about how I am working with my kids to make sure the first comment out our mouths is a positive one, unlike the usual negative ones we start with! The interesting part is that I now realize that they got that habit from me, I had help, but it starts right here, at the top (lol, its Fathers Day, so I will pretend i am at the top of the heap here at home).
So of course my friend thinks I am better than I really am, we are all works in progress, not works of perfection, but I do try, sometimes I don’t get very far, do I do try to make my life and those around me a better place!
To me sin is missing the mark, like an archer misses the bulls-eye, but we are still on track. God doesn’t keep score, ever! Most of the time I think the bigger problem is that we keep score for ourselves and for others! It’s not your job EVER!
So free yourself, and others, sin is missing the mark- when we choose to move out of God’s grace, God never moves away from us, EVER!
God is always there broadcasting the same message to the world- Grace-Peace-Love- Forgiveness-Joy.
If that’s not what you see at least some of the time, you need to get the corrosion knocked off your receptors. Remember in the beginning, this Jesus movement was called the good news, if it doesn’t feel that way to you; you need to do some internal cleaning!
Peace, love, joy to you.
I have a game of backyard football to get to!

Audio from 6-21-15

My “False Self”

I am taking a online course with the Center for Action and Contemplation, based on the book “Immortal Diamond” by Richard Rohr. I highly recommend anything by Richard Rohr, his body of work is fantastic! Below are 2 questions the course asked us to ask ourselves, and my answers. I thought you might enjoy. Get the book!

The false self is the part of you that’s fully in this world, you need it to develop, but if life works right you move into more of your true self. The die before you die is about learning to let “this world” and its cares go so you can experience a “truer” life while your here in the dimension!

What have I learned from my false self?

I learned I built a damn good container for my second half of life. I learned that sometimes, or most times, its tougher to have “tasted” a small piece of my true self, but not be able to stay in that place….

It can be a terrible longing to get back there, but I know its a process, God comes at us disguised as our lives, but its easy to lose sight of that in the day to day life we live. I learned I don’t want a FALSE SELF any more, I want to live in a “world” that doesn’t exist.  I want to snap my fingers and create “heaven”, the problem is I know I can, I struggle when I “fail” to get back there. I am learning to deal with that too.

How have I died before I died? Apparently not well!

I catch glimpses, when my kids say your nicer now, or when I can lose myself in someone else. Or the times I can only see the joy and beauty in the world, or in others. When I can be on my “A” game more, and see less “them’s” and more “us’s.” This too is fleeting, like a mist that disappears with the morning sun.

I struggle on knowing that its on “me” to get back there, God is just an outpouring of love, the rest is on me, how do I stay in the “zone” longer? How can I continue to see others, all others, as loved children of God? Their problems -more a reflection of me, than of them… My lessons to learn, to grow through, to help others with on our journey. I am working on the “soft sin” of perfection, in myself, or more importantly projecting it to others!

So I try to die a little more every day, look for the beauty and wonder in everything, know its a dream- and a joy to be here, experiencing the wonder of it all.