Saturday, February 28, 2009

Creating Space for God by Henri Nouwen

Oh man, did this ever hit me where I live. Enjoy...

Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.

Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God's gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.


These reflections are taken from Henri J.M. Nouwen's Bread for the Journey.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

At A Stop Light In Surrey

I was driving around being "Real Estate Rod" yesterday when I looked over at the car next to me. The woman in the passenger seat was reading one of those little devotionals like "Our Daily Bread," or something, to her husband. I have to admit I had a twinge of judgment thinking they looked a little too religious for my liking, but right on the heals of that thought, the beauty of what was taking place in their car struck me. I know that sounds a little over the top, but somehow I immediately sensed the presence of God as I could see how attentive and absorbed they were in what they were reading.

My dad does his morning devotions with a little book like the one they were reading, and he often sends them to his four kids. When I take the time to prayerfully read what he e-mails us, and I connect with it in that mysterious, but now familiar way, I have to admit, it has a God affect on my day.

Another way to say it is: this type of good old fashioned devotional grounds me in God's presence and helps to inform my day. It helps me to fulfill Saint James' plea for faith and action in an inside out sort of way, which is one of the things all of us who follow Jesus are hoping for, isn't it? I know many of us have had this experience where I read a passage of scripture and then that same day I have a chance to apply it. Maybe, I have the opportunity to comfort someone with it, or give hope, or make a personal decision, or take a stand when tempted or opposed.

See what a beautiful thing this is? Inevitably, I experience more joy, more love, and more life when I read scripture, or our one of my various devotionals, and I allow it to sink in and then cooperate with God and apply it during the day.

Allowing it to SINK IN has to be one of the keys to all this type of devotional discipline, doesn't it? In Colossians 3:15 it says "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..." The word "Let" means to "allow" the peace of Christ to rule in my heart. I could also say it means to "dip into" the peace of Christ, like a bucket being lowered and then dipped into the water at the bottom of a deep well. I LOVE this way of saying it, “dip into” the peace of Christ!

Maybe this is what I saw in one brief moment with the couple in the car next to me yesterday. I had the privilege of seeing someone else "dipping into"" the well at a stop light in the middle of Surrey, and the beauty, and the wonder of it all drew me in, and allowed me to take a dip too.

- Rod

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In learning to pray, I am learning to let go. Through Spiritual Direction I am learning to let God save me, instead of trying to save myself. What a huge paradigm shift this is. I never realized what a striver I am when it comes to my own salvation and ongoing relationship with God.

Letting go is also one of the ways I can "pray continually," and all of life becomes prayer. This is an element of being poor in spirit, and, of course, it's all a gift, not something to be striven for.

Like usual, Richard Rohr says it way better than I ever could, so enjoy!...

From Richard Rohr


Question of the day:
What is God asking me to surrender?

Risk all for love, Jesus tells us, even your own life. Give that to me and let me save it. The healthy religious person is the one who allows God to save.

If this is the ideal Christian attitude toward God, then Mary is the ideal Christian of the Gospels. She sums up in herself the attitude of the poor one whom God is able to save. She is deeply aware of her own emptiness without God (Luke 1:52). She longs for the fulfillment of God’s promise (1:54); she has left her self open, available for God’s work (1:45, 49). And when the call comes, she makes a full personal surrender: “Let it be!” (1:38).

from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 322, day 333

Current mantra: Let go…let God

Friday, February 13, 2009


From Richard Rohr

Question of the day - When do I most feel I'm inside God's love?

"The deepest level of communication is communion. When we know and love someone we are simply happy to be near them. We feel power and energy passing between us. That is the power of prayer. That is what we must do to bask in the sunshine of God's love. The word to us is, "Don't just do something; stand there!"

To receive the love of God is to recognize it is all around us, above us and beneath us; speaking to us through every person, every flower, every trial and situation. Stop knocking on the door: You’re already inside!"

from The Great Themes of Scripture, p.383

Current mantra - I know and believe the love God has for me

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Simple Metaphors

"As you listen to the examples and the metaphors of Jesus, they're much more nature based, lifestyle based, relationship based, much more than church based or religion based. He simply says "Look at the lilies of the field."

"He's using normal language that everybody can understand – not highfalutin theology, not highfalutin philosophy. Just look at things as they are and see what's real and see what's unreal."

Richard Rohr
from the CAC webcast, Nov. 8, 2008:
What is The Emerging Church?