tree

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me…If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here.” Exodus 33:12, 14 Any leader who cannot endure profound levels of loneliness will not last…

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Lent-2017

Lectionary readings for Fourth Sunday of Lent Cycle A: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 Guidance on using the lectionary. “Spiritual masters often refer to a kind of “dread,” the nagging sense that we have missed something important and have been somehow untrue—to ourselves, to others, to God. Lent is a good…

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Ash-Wednesday-Lent

Lectionary readings for Ash Wednesday Cycle A: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; II Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Guidance on using the lectionary. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating…

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“I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness, from the great congregation.”  Psalm 40:9 The practice of noticing Those of you who have been through a Transforming Community remember that on the last retreat there is a…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for January 6, 2017: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 “A good journey begins with knowing where you are and being willing to go somewhere else.” Richard Rohr Today we celebrate epiphany—the “showing forth” or “the revelation” of Christ in the world. Epiphany takes its themes…

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Announcement from Ruth Haley Barton

Dear Friend, It is hard to remember a time when the topic of leadership and character has been more pressing on our minds and hearts. The most oft-repeated sentiment I heard during the recent presidential election was some version of “Since I can’t vouch for either candidate’s character I am going to vote for their…

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What is Spiritual Leadership?

Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  Those who are spiritual discern all things…  1 Corinthians 2:14-15a A pastor told me that his church had outgrown their facility, so they were asking,…

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Advent Week One

Lectionary readings for November 27, 2016: 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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Election Dat 2016: Teach us to pray today

“Lord, teach us to pray…”  ~ Jesus’ disciples in Luke 11 Ok, I admit it.  I’ve been discouraged, grumpy and even a bit depressed this election season, as I’m sure many of you have been. Perhaps the most accurate way to describe my state of mind and heart is that I have experienced desolation, in…

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Practicing What we Preach

“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him/herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership do more harm than good.” –Parker Palmer By the time you get this, I will have begun an eight-day silent retreat.  During this time, I will not have access…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for the Liturgy of the Palms: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-20; Luke 19:28-40 Lectionary readings for the 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 “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?” Matthew 26:40 Holy Week is a bizarre juxtaposition of…

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Dr. M. Robert Mulholland Jr., 1936–2015

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, the saying goes, and that is certainly what happened to me with Bob Mulholland. When I first encountered his book, Invitation to a Journey, I was in my early thirties and experiencing the limits of what typical “evangelical” discipleship models had to offer. I had already begun seeking…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for March 6, 2016: Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 God, help us find our confession; The truth within us which is hidden from our mind; The beauty or ugliness we see elsewhere But never in ourselves; The stowaway which has been smuggled Into the dark…

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Guidance on using the lectionary. Lectionary readings for February 10, 2016: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-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…

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Lent

Oh God, let something essential happen to me, something more than interesting or entertaining or thoughtful.  Oh God, let something essential happen to me, something awesome, something real.  Speak to my condition, Lord and change me somewhere inside where it matters.  Let something happen which is my real self, Oh God. —Ted Loder This year,…

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Lectionary readings for November 29, 2015: Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Psalm 25: 1-10; 1 Thessalonians  3:9-13; Luke 21: 25-36 Click for complete Advent calendar (Cycle C) and guidance on using the lectionary. “Unto you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.  O my God, in you I trust.”  Ps 25:1, 2 “Hurry up and wait!” Usually this statement is laced with…

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“Wherever there is something in our life that is not conformed to the image of Christ, there is a place where we are incapable of being all God wants us to be with others … a place where our life with others is hindered and limited and restricted in its effectiveness and in its fullness…

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Part 4

You can also read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this Beyond Words series. Then he said to them, “How foolish you are, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26) If you ask…

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Part Two

Part 1 of this Beyond Words series can be found here. “While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’” —Luke 24: 16, 17 Just think! If the disciples…

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Click for guidance on using the lectionary Lectionary Readings for Ash Wednesday Year B: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Today is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season.  At some point throughout this day, many of us will experience the symbolic gesture of receiving the…

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Lent

Click for guidance on using the lectionary Lectionary Readings for Ash Wednesday Year B: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-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 This year Ash Wednesday comes early! Whether we feel ready…

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For the last few weeks I have been pondering what one journalist calls “The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill Church.” For those who may not be familiar, Mars Hill is a mega, multi-site church in Seattle whose high profile pastor, Mark Driscoll, resigned in October amid “an avalanche of allegations, ranging from charges of bullying, to…

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Epiphany

Click for guidance on using the lectionary. Epiphany of the Lord: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 “The incredible gift of the ordinary! Glory comes streaming from the table of daily life.” – Macrina Wiederkehr Today, in the rhythm of the church year, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany—the manifestation of…

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Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH WHEN IT COMES TO SPIRITUAL FORMATION IN CHRIST? Barton: The Church (capital C) is the body of Christ on earth now and it is the primary context in which we grow up in every way into him who is our head (Eph. 4:15). In Pauline writings, instructions about…

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Christmas Eve:  Isaiah 9:2-7 Psalm 96 Titus 2:11-14 Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) Christmas Day:  Isaiah 52:7-10 Psalm 98 Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12) John 1:1-14 Click for complete Advent calendar (Cycle B) and guidance on using the lectionary. “Christ is born to us today, in order that he might appear to the whole world through us.” -Thomas Merton…

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With gratitude for pastors everywhere

“On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.”  Psalm 138:3 Several years ago I went to a particularly difficult memorial service with my daughter, Haley. It was the funeral for one of her friends from high school who died in a complicated way from causes that were not entirely…

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Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, and the apostle John stayed near the cross and kept watch as Jesus suffered and died.

Scripture for Good Friday (April 18, 2014): Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42 “Who can stay awake in this night of God? Who will not be as if paralyzed by it? Christ’s struggle was with God. This was his real agony. He overcame it through his self-surrender. That was his victory, and our hope.” …

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Winter's end

“Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea!” —I Kings 18:44 I love the way the rain comes at winter’s end hosing down the sooty earth, washing away the dirt that comes from who-knows-where. Oh God, I need a cleansing rain in my life, sullied as I…

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Invitation to Walk with Christ on Good Friday

Prayerfully walking through the stations of the cross is one way we can keep vigil with Christ during these holy days, and as a part of our Holy Week observance we are inviting you to keep vigil through our Stations of the Cross Prayer Guide. Traditionally, there are fourteen Stations of the Cross—most of them taken…

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crucifix

Scripture for Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-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 that are set apart for…

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Scripture for Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 “Lent is a time of returning to God.  It is a time to confess how we keep looking for joy, peace, and satisfaction in the many people and things surrounding us without really finding what we desire. …

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Prayer

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.  Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation.  This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.”…

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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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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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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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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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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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