We read “His mercies are NEW every morning.” We hear “You learn something NEW every day.” We know He is doing a NEW thing and right now it is springing forth! NEW. Everything is made NEW! Today is a NEW day! We want NEW clothes, a NEW car, a NEW house, a NEW job! We…
— Read on notesfromthevicarage.com/2020/04/21/the-trouble-with-new/
So I spent 19 of the last 36 hours in meetings of one kind or another. It feels like every last ounce of glory and strength has been drained out of my body. Amanda and Brenda are no better off. Brenda was out even longer than I was by about 6 hours.
When people used to ask me what I did I used to tell them I was a “professional meetinger”. That period of my life was annotated by a long series of meeting minutes and action items I had to get done in order to build the Kingdom of God.
The last 36 hours has made me realize that I am not a “professional meetinger” anymore. I still have a deep passion for the Kingdom of God but I realize my job is not to “meeting” the Kingdom into existence any more (if it ever was). I am going to try really hard not to meeting myself into a stupor ever again.
Today when people ask me what I do for work. I am not exactly sure what my answer will be…artist, prophet, pastor, caregiver? What I do know is that I will never again tell people I am a “professional meetinger”. That is a part of my past. It doesn’t fit me anymore.
What do you do when life shifts from march time to a waltz? What do you do when the rest of the world is still marching and you’re waltzing? What do you do when the rest of the world starts noticing that you aren’t marching to their rhythm anymore?
Since returning from The Philippines, my life rhythm has changed radically. There are days when the world still pulls at me and I am tempted to march again. But, most days I am pretty much settled into the slower waltz rhythm that was put on me by God at the end of 2019.
The rhythm is pretty repetitive: My morning’s go one way. My afternoons go another and my nights…well they are still a work in progress but even they have done some major shifting. The framework around all of it seems to be breakfast, lunch and supper.
I am not good at the waltz rhythm yet. I haven’t got all the nuance down, but clunky as I might look, I have changed pace. What I know is that I will not be going back to marching for a while.
People are starting to notice that I am not on the same foot as them anymore. I am OK with that. Everyone else may need to march. I need to dance in order to accomplish what God needs me to do at Cornerstone.
I was praying about it this morning and I felt impressed by the Lord that much of what I am waltzing through is preparation and discovery for the next phase of ministry.
No I am not leaving Cornerstone, people, so don’t worry. God has made it clear that I have work to do in this city still.
But God is changing the nature of the ministry I do. I have known that for a while and have been very open with the whole church about this. He started changing me three years ago and He isn’t finished yet. The change is going at His pace. As with everything else at the church, God has it firmly in hand and He is in charge of the results.
So…What do you do when life shifts from march time to a waltz? What do you do when the rest of the world is still marching and you’re waltzing? What do you do when the rest of the world starts noticing that you aren’t marching to their rhythm anymore?
You figure out how to be the best dancer you can be …and brother you dance!
The Bible says there is a time to every purpose under Heaven. I know you thought it was The Byrds, but actually ….no… The Byrds liberated it from King Solomon and his book of Ecclesiastes.
For all those who follow this blog, you know that God has been changing up my schedule rather severely over the last few months. He’s been causing me to ask what it’s time for in my life. He’s been asking me to discover what is important to me at this stage..and what is not. It’s been harder than I thought it would be. I thought I would just easily slide from one gear into the next, but this has not been so much a shifting as it has been a process.
Part of that process has been an evaluation of what my life is supposed to become. I said yesterday that I knew my life was supposed to include both more prayer and more creative connections with art. I also know that this time with my mother, as her health declines, is something that I will value forever, Her situation is the fulcrum which gives power to this whole movement of life. As I press into the situation with my mother, I am also discovering I do really value time spent relating with people.
Over my many years of ministry I have gotten so involved in the act of ministering to people and being an event coordinator to bring people together for the act of relating that at times I found myself loving people but being really sick of being with them…Too much of a good thing I guess.
Now as I am being pulled out of the middle of everything I am finding that I really do crave relationship with people. I so enjoy just being with the staff on Tuesdays. I love seeing the congregation on Sundays. I love sitting with people one on one just having a good chat. And I love having to go home to Mom so I can resume the quiet lifestyle I need to process all that comes out of those times of relation.
There is a time to every purpose under Heaven: A time to write, a time to draw, a time to take photos, a time to do house work, a time to take care of Mom and a time to be with people for a good chat.
I feel like I am becoming more balanced than I have ever been!
My motto for this year is SHIFT YOUR FOCUS TO WONDER. In sharing that with my artist’s group back in January one of our artists wondered what God meant by wonder… that is, was I supposed to shift my focus towards looking at awe-inspiring things? Or was I supposed to shift my focus to ponder things more?
Now that I am in my third month of “SHIFTING”, I think God meant a little of both. On January 13th my sister and I embarked on a 10 day journey to The Philippines to attend my son’s marriage to Kristine Bernadette Causing Barrameda.
Those 10 days filled me with awe for sure.
I was awestruck by the fact that I was being privileged to witness such a sacred moment in the life of someone I had actually helped bring into the world.
I could not be prouder of the man he has become. I could not be more honored that a family a world away has entrusted us with the care of their beautiful daughter. I am awestruck that God has chosen to add another godly young woman full of talent and power to our family.
During that time I was often struck dumb by the overwhelming beauty of my daughter-in-law’s homeland. And I was floored by the total otherness of this place called The Philippines. Kristine said in the wedding video that she and Joe were from different worlds and she was completely truthful when she said it.
But during those 10 days in the developing nation that is The Philippines I was more than awestruck. I was left to ponder what God was and is DEVELOPING in me. Honestly, to my way of thinking what is transpiring inside of me is as foreign to my knowing as The Philippines was to my experience.
I am daily aware of the fact that my current spiritual reality is new ground for me. I have no memory of this place and precious little context to explain it.
I have often said to my boss that what God is going to do in our church may leave us looking somewhat unchurchy. If that is so for our congregation, it means that as individuals we are going to experience things that take us out of our understandings of who and what we have been. That is certainly something that might require some wondering.
I am mindful that historically, most powerful moves of God leave the people involved scratching their heads. As those moves DEVELOP people are left to fall back on the only thing that doesn’t change in the midst of life-altering change. That would be the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Well I am wondering at what God is doing in my life this year and I am wondering what to do about it. In all the wondering I am securing myself to God who is showing me through prayer, through the solid ground of His Word, the Bible and through the fellowship of believers. In that security I am DEVELOPING into the new thing that God wants me to be, in order to do the new thing that He expects from me as a part of Cornerstone Church.
Now what has God shown me in the midst of all this wondering……
The term “All In” has been coming up a lot over the Easter season. We have the example of Jesus being “All in” for us. We are asking our congregations to figure out what being “All in” for Jesus means to them. I thought it would be a good idea for the ministers of the Vicarage to sound off with their definitions of the term “All in”. Maybe it will spark some interesting conversation with our on-line community.
Amanda spoke our prayer devotional for early morning prayer this week at Cornerstone. She told me then that I should listen because in it were her thoughts concerning being “All In”.
She took the devotional from the story of Joseph in Genesis 37:1-11
Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Being “All In” means not being like Joseph’s brothers. God had given Joseph a dream that he would be given authority over his brothers. Joseph was being elevated by God. Joseph’s brothers did not take that very well. If you remember the story they beat Joseph and sold him into slavery after debating whether or not they should kill him.
Two things exemplified in this story keep us from being “All In”. The first thing is, not being willing to accept God’s plan. How often does God make His plan plain to us and still we reject it? Rejecting God’s plan is most definitely an “All In” killer.
The second thing that kills the “All In” mindset is not being willing to submit to God’s rightly delegated authority. Joseph was being put into authority. His brothers would have none of that especially coming from a younger brother. How often do we buck against someone God has placed in authority because we do not like them or we think we could do a better job.
Our liking or not liking someone in authority must never dictate our submission to that authority or the carrying out of God’s plan. Our feeling like we could do a better job is not a license to pull out of a plan God has put us in the middle of. As John Bevere says in his book “Under Cover”, “There is no submission until there is disagreement.”
Being “All In” requires us to submit to God’s plan and God’s rightly delegated authority regardless of whether we like it or even agree with it.