For those discerning God’s will for their lives and those guide and mentor them, Building Faith’s Discernment Toolbox is a mix of activities, reading lists and tools.
Posts Tagged ‘discernment’
She’d stopped going up for communion the last few weeks. I knew she was experiencing serious doubts about the existence of God and the relevance of the church and it’s liturgy. So her question, and the answer I needed to give her, carried a lot of weight.
Monasteries are great places to go if seeking a quiet place, spiritual direction, or retreat. Often placed in the midst of cities and a busy world, they are a place and time apart to “listen to God.”
As he continued to speak, it was quite apparent that refraining from self-harming behavior wasn’t just an act of will. He had learned to will himself out of doing that years ago. This thought, this conviction, was much deeper than an act of will. It was an understanding of who he is. It was an acceptance of his wholeness.
What we want is but a glimmer of what we want.
What percentage of our life do we spend thanking God, praying, rejoicing, and spreading the Good News through word and action?
Jesus says whenever people welcome you, the kingdom of God is near and whenever people reject you, the kingdom of God in near.
We often think of participating in God’s dream by volunteering at homeless shelters, stocking food pantries and donating money to agencies that help the poor. And these are important and necessary. Ministry does not stop there. Our very career choices are ministry too.
As teenagers graduate high school and go on to work, college, or both, we can prepare them in their journey of being Christ’s hands and feet in the world by helping them see that all that they do – not just at church or in youth group – is ministry.
I always thought retreats were a good idea, but had trouble pulling them off. The first time I tried it, I was a depressed teenager longing for the peace and joy that was supposed to come with one’s faith. I read some spiritual heavy-hitter who talked about how the desert fathers took off for days of fasting and solitude, and figured that was what I needed to overcome my sense of distance from God.
“Resurrection” declares that on the third day after his death on the cross, on that first Easter morning, Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God in such a way that he now lives forever beyond the power of death and of all else that separates humanity from God.
I began asking lots of questions, of myself, of God, and of others. Who am I in this other world? Who are you, Other World? What’s important here? What have I thought was important that’s not important at all? How have my perceptions of God, humanity, and the planet been limited by where I live, what I’ve been taught, and who I hang around with?
We keep trying to get something or somewhere, like God’s love and approval, and we already have it. The voice that spoke to Jesus at his Baptism is the same voice that speaks to us. “You are my beloved. I am well pleased with you.”
If we are going to be present to Jesus’ real presence – and not just virtually present – we need to find practices for “being there,” living life as an ongoing invitation from God. Lent can be a great help to retrieve, recover, redeem what is most important to us, yet may have gotten lost along the way.
Our need for order and structure may be stressed but we are at our best when people in the faith community are known by name.
If you cringed just reading that word…waiting…you have lots of company, including me. Waiting has been a big theme in my life, so I have tried to embrace it. Most days it is still like trying to embrace a porcupine. If you know any people who say, “Oh, I just love waiting!” please have them contact me. I want to interview them.
Do I nip at the hand that is feeding me, loving me, nurturing me, providing me sustenance on many levels? Do I tempt that hand, seeing if it will indeed go away?
When wanting to scale back a notch, it becomes easy to get overwhelmed by the processes and products that others suggest to “simplify” our lives. A new way of meal planning, the best calendar “ever” or setting up that financial software your accountant-friend recommended tend to take up time and energy.
Many churches have vision statements. Many have mission statements. What’s the difference? Does a church need both? Is one better than the other? It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, as well as what you’re trying to communicate with others – in your congregation and beyond.
I’ve become a person who spends way too much time just dealing with the next big event and never finding the time to stop and reflect on that event, on the larger picture of why. I sped like a soccer mom late for carpool right up to the front doors of last weekend’s retreat.