Archive for 2012

Advent 4: Saying Yes to God

Lectionary Readings for December 22, 2012: Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary In the fourth week of Advent we begin to move beyond waiting and preparation to a deeper sense of the immanency of Christ’s coming. Anticipation is high. The fourth Sunday of…

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Advent 3: A Time for Courage

Lectionary Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis the Pevenzie children undertake a harrowing sail into darkness –“smooth, solid blackness.”  The hungering dark sapped hope, flooding hearts with fear.  There was no future,…

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Advent 2: He Must Increase, I Must Decrease

Lectionary Readings for December 9, 2012: Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary The lectionary readings for this second Sunday in Advent tell the story of John the Baptist. The prophet Malachi describes him as the “messenger of the covenant,” the one sent to prepare…

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Advent 1: Season of Desire

Lectionary Readings for December 2, 2012: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; I Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36 Advent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary Apparently American consumerism has reached a new low. As one news article described it, “The gravy was still warm. The Dallas Cowboys were still in uniform.  Thanks were still being given across the…

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Seasons of Transformation: Advent 2012

The seasons of the church year are meant to teach us something about the spiritual life we need to learn.  Beyond mere information about the spiritual life, they offer us the opportunity to practice some of the key disciplines of the Christian life and to do it together as a community of faith. The Advent season,…

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Dreams and Visions

Twenty years ago, as a young minister in my early thirties, I hit a wall in my spiritual life.  I was exhausted.  I was driven.  I was disillusioned. I had sucked every last bit of marrow out of the dry bones of traditional quiet times, noisy church services, chatty small groups, and Christian self-help books.…

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Re-thinking Success

“If you know you are the Beloved, you can live with an enormous amount of success and an enormous amount of failure without losing your identity. Because your identity is that you are the Beloved… the question becomes ‘Can I live a life of faith in the world and trust that it will bear fruit?’” –Henri…

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Invitation to Discernment in Community

Note: The following case study from the NEW Pursuing God’s Will Together is fictitious and yet it is all true.  Everything that happens at “Grace Church” is based on the real life experiences of leadership groups from various churches and organizations, highlighting some of the questions and issues that invite us to embark on the journey…

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First Review of Pursuing God’s Will Together

Thrilled to share with you the first review from our good friends at Hearts and Minds (Dallastown PA), a great indie bookstore with a great ministry. If you are ever out in PA, it is worth a visit. Byron writes an extensive review and I am just providing an excerpt below. From Hearts and Minds…

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Discernment: The Heart of Spiritual Leadership

Discernment, in a most general sense, is the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and the activity of God—both in the ordinary moments and in the larger decisions of our lives. The apostle Paul says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can discern what…

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Q&A with Ruth Haley Barton about new book

How is Pursuing God’s Will Together different from other books on leadership? Ruth Haley Barton: This book is designed to be a one-stop shop for leadership groups who want to shift their approach to leadership from a model that relies primarily on human decision making and strategic planning to an approach that is defined by…

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Resurrection Joy!

It was a joy to keep vigil with so many of you on Good Friday from around the world. We trust the Stations of the Cross Prayer Guide provided helpful guidance for walking the way of the cross with Christ. Please leave a message below or on our Facebook page letting us know what you…

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Walking with Jesus During Holy Week

Editor’s note:  In this article guest author, Peter Giersch, reflects on his experiences of observing some of the oldest traditions of the Church for celebrating Holy Week.  As he describes the different liturgies and gatherings of the Church that take place during these holy days, we are reminded that Easter is not just a day.  It is…

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Join a worldwide prayer vigil on Good Friday 2012

Editors note: Last year on Good Friday Christians from around the world prayed together using our Stations of the Cross Prayer Guide. A few of the locations from which people prayed include: Malaysia; Sanabu, Egypt; Heilegenkreuz, Austria; Aberfoyle, ON Canada; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Madagascar; Pretoria, South Africa; Auckland, New Zealand; Hong Kong; Philippines; Suffolk, England;…

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Practicing Lent: Invitation to Return to God

Lectionary readings for February 22, 2012: Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5: 20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21  Lenten Lectionary (Cycle B) Calendar “Yet even now, says the Lord, repent and return to me with all your heart.” –Joel 2:13 Today is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season. Ash…

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Our Favorite Resources for Lent

Below are five books we can heartily recommend as you practice Lent and create space for God during this important season of the Church year. You can access the lectionary readings here. Bread and Wine:  Readings for Lent and Easter—Penetrating readings from a variety of spiritual writers offers breadth and depth of insight on the…

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Part 3: Love in Action

Part 3: Martin Luther King series

Part 1: Opposites in Fruitful Harmony Part 2: Inner Strength for Outer Action “Every genuine expression of love grows out of a consistent and total surrender to God.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the most striking aspects of Dr. King’s life and ministry was his commitment to love as the most durable power…

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Transforming Center website nominated for Best Marketing in Wheaton Chamber’s Gamon Awards

We are proud to announce that the Transforming Center website has been nominated for Best Marketing in Wheaton Chamber’s Gamon Awards. You can find our listing and the voting ballot by visiting: http://www.wheatonchamber.com/pages/GamonAwards20121 Scroll down to find the Best of Wheaton 2012 Gamon Awards Voting Ballot. Look for Nathan Lewis Best Marketing of the Year…

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Part 2: Inner Strength for Outer Action

Part 2: Martin Luther King series

Part 1: Opposites in Fruitful Harmony “Admitting the weighty problems and staggering disappointments, Christianity affirms that God is able to give us the power to meet them.  He is able to give us the inner equilibrium to stand tall amid the trials and burdens of life.  He is able to provide inner peace amid outer…

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Part 1: Opposites in Fruitful Harmony

Part 1: Martin Luther King series

We shall meet your physical force with soul force.  Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you… One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves.  We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be…

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Seeing Stars: The Epiphany of Our Lord

Lectionary readings for Epiphany, January 6:  Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2: 1-12 “They set out; and there ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed…

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With Gratitude

Dear Friend, God’s richest blessings to you in this New Year! As we begin 2012, my heart is full of gratitude for the faithful support of our friends in 2011. Through your commitment to prayer and generous giving, God has sustained us and enabled us to keep moving forward in response to his leading. This…

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