Archive for 2013

Christmastide: From Waiting to Wonder

Advent candles

Lectionary Readings for Christmas Eve: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) for Christmas Day: Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98, Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12), John 1:1-14 Advent Calendar (Cycle A) and guidance for using the lectionary “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given.”—O Little Town of Bethlehem Christmas Eve marks the end of Advent…

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Advent 4: Joseph And The Walk Of Faith

Joseph and his walk of faith

Lectionary Readings for December 22, 2013: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7,17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25 Advent Calendar (Cycle A) and guidance for using the lectionary “Sooner or later, if we follow Christ we have to risk everything in order to gain everything. We have to gamble on the invisible and risk all that we see and…

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Is this all there is?

Is this all there is?

IS THIS ALL THERE IS? This question unsettles us when it bubbles up inside us, especially when we ask it at church! In an online article written for Christianity Today entitled, “Is This All There Is?,” Fritz Liedtke dares to explore the question that makes church leaders squirm. Liedtke is not ungrateful for his faith…

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Advent 3: Gifts In The Wilderness

Desert Sand

Lectionary Readings for December 15, 2013: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11 Advent Calendar (Cycle A) and guidance for using the lectionary “The desert of which I speak is a desert of the spirit: a place of revelation, conversion, and transformation… It involves being ‘made over’, being made new, being ‘born again’… In…

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Advent 2: Joyful Preparations

Baby Jesus

If you are joining us for week 2, you might want to also access other eReflections in this Advent series: Read Advent 1—The Importance of Waking up Lectionary readings for Dec 08, 2013: Is 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Rom 15:4-13; Matt 3:1-12 Click for complete Advent calendar (Cycle A) and guidance on using the lectionary. “Our spiritual life depends…

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Advent 1: The Importance of Waking Up

Daybreak

Lectionary readings for Dec 01, 2013. Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Rom 13:11-14; Matt 24:36-44 Click for complete Advent calendar (Cycle A) and guidance on using the lectionary. “God comes to us like the sun in the morning—when it is time.”—Carlo Carretto, The God Who Comes My favorite time of any day is the pre-dawn moments before the…

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A Different Kind of Calendar

“When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s.  God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.”  – Eugene Peterson I can still remember the first time I heard…

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Sabbath in Late Fall

Sabbath in the fall

For everything there is a season… Sometimes on the Sabbath all you can do is settle into the soft body of yourself and listen to what it says. Listen to the exhaustion that is deeper than tiredness the hunger that is for more than food the thirst that is for more than drink the longing…

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Part 5: Leading in Rhythm: Discerning and Doing the Will of God

beach path

If you are joining us for Part 5, you might want to also access other eReflections in this series, Leading in Rhythm: • Part 1—Beyond the Bondage of Busyness  • Part 2—Rhythms of Work and Rest • Part 3—Solitude and Community • Part 4—Three Moves in Self-Examination “Spiritual leadership springs forth in grace from our very…

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Part 3 Leading in Rhythm: Solitude and Community

Sunlight breaking through clouds

“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community…But the reverse is also true: let him who is not in community beware of being alone.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer In this paradoxical statement from his book Life Together, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer articulates one of the…

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Pursuing God’s Will Together: Review from the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care

Pursuing God's Will Together

Kent Carlson, Co-Senior Pastor of Oak Hills Church (Folsom, CA), reviews Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups, by Ruth Haley Barton (InterVarsity Press, 2012) Ruth Haley Barton, in her book, Pursuing God’s Will Together, has presented a vision of a spiritual leadership community that if taken seriously, would drastically and in severe…

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Part 2 Leading in Rhythm: Rhythms of Work and Rest

sunset

“A Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God…Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest.” —Hebrews 4:9,11 Sabbath-keeping is more than just a day of rest; it is a way of ordering one’s entire life around a pattern of working six days and then resting on the seventh. It is an…

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In Honor of Dallas Willard: Why Bother with Discipleship?

Dallas Willard

Early yesterday morning Dallas Willard, beloved teacher, philosophy professor, author and spiritual formation guide lost his battle with stage four cancer and entered into the full experience of transformation in Christ’s presence. There is no doubt that Dallas’ passing is a great loss for us and great gain for him. Through the years when people…

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Ruth Haley Barton Signs Six-Book Contract with InterVarsity Press

Ruth Haley Barton

Krista Carnet | 630.734.4013 | kkcarnet@ivpress.com WESTMONT, IL—Award-winning author Ruth Haley Barton has signed a six-book contract with InterVarsity Press. Barton, president of The Transforming Center, a spiritual formation ministry to pastors and Christian leaders, will release Invitation to Transforming Community, the first of six books in the Transforming Church series, in Fall 2014. “I…

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Spiritual Direction with Pastoral and Corporate Leaders

“A spiritual director is one who helps another to recognize and to follow the inspirations of grace in his life, in order to arrive at the end to which God is leading him.” —Thomas Merton    It was almost twenty years ago now when, as a young leader, I crept into a spiritual director’s office…

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He is Risen! Hallelujah!

Resurrection of the Lord Acts 10:34-43 OR Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12 Song of Praise Psalm 118 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His steadfast love endures forever! The Lord is my strength and my song; and he has become…

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Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday: 
A Prayer for Entering into these Holy Days

Maundy Thursday Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14; Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35 Good Friday Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42 Holy Saturday Job 14:1-14  OR Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24; Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16; 1 Peter 4:1-8; Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42 “Stay together, friends, don’t scatter and sleep. …

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Week 6 An Invitation to Walk with Christ

Sixth Sunday in Lent Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Luke 19:28-40 Liturgy of the Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49 “The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is…

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Week 5 Suffering: Dying That We Might Live

Lectionary Readings for Fifth Sunday in Lent Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8 “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”                              …

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Week 4 Confession: Leaders in Lent

Lectionary Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent Joshua 5:9-12, Psalm 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32  “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord…’”  Psalm 32:5 I have many big dreams, but there is one dream I have…

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Week 3 Repentance: Cleaning Our Messy House

Lectionary Readings for Third Sunday in Lent Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let us return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on us, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  Isaiah 55:6-7…

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Week 2 Self Denial: Setting Our Minds on Things Above

Lectionary readings for Second Sunday in Lent (Cycle C) Genesis 15:1-12, 17-28; Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1a; Luke 13:31-35 Come my heart says, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord, do I seek.     —Psalm 27:8 Most years I don’t feel quite ready for Lent with all its demands and disciplines—especially the call to self-denial and fasting. I…

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Week 1: Crossing the Threshold into Lent

Scripture for First Sunday in Lent: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13 The season of Lent derives its structure and its themes from Christ’s forty days in the wilderness, where he fasted, prayed and faced Satan’s temptations.  This was not punishment; in fact he had just experienced God’s public affirmation of his true identity as “my Son,…

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Lent: A Season of Returning

Stations of the Cross

Scripture for Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; II Corinthians 5:20-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 “‘And yet even now,’ says the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart . . .’” —Joel 2:12 Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season—six weeks set apart for the purpose of drawing…

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Pursuing God’s Will Together Chosen for 2012 Leadership Book Award

Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups (InterVarsity Press/Formatio) by Ruth Haley Barton was chosen for a 2012 Leadership Book Award in the category of “The Leader’s Outer Life.” Leadership Journal editors and contributing editors narrowed the awarded titles down to the ten “books that are too good to miss.”     In Pursing God’s Will…

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Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

“I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land!” —Martin Luther King, Jr. Is it possible for a leader to have encountered God so richly that no matter what we are working toward here on this earth, we know…

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Epiphany: A Dangerous Journey

Lectionary readings:  Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Lectionary Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary This Sunday officially marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the season of Epiphany—the “showing forth” or “the revelation” of God’s presence to unlikely people in unlikely places.  On this…

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