“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.  Only in the fellowship do we learn to be rightly alone and only in aloneness do we learn to…

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The Transforming Center exists to guide pastors and Christian leaders into life rhythms that will help them be healthy and vibrant for long haul of ministry. If you recognize that you are coming into the fall season still exhausted, we offer this blessings and encourage you to take O’Donohue’s wisdom to heart. It will be…

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“Cowardice keeps us ‘double minded’—hesitating between the world and God. In this hesitation, there is no true faith—faith remains an opinion. We are never certain, because we never quite give in to the authority of an invisible God. This hesitation is the death of hope. We never let go of those visible supports which, we…

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For many pastors and Christian leaders, the beginning of summer signals a change of pace (hopefully a slower one!) and time for rest and replenishment. On this, the first day of summer, we bless you and encourage you to receive every good gift of God that summer brings. Thank you, Lord, for this season of…

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I remember the first time I noticed that some people arrange their lives to see sunsets.  It was summertime in the Gulf of Florida when the days were hot and the nights were balmy.  During the day, crowds of people were lying in the sun and playing noisily on the beach, but in the early…

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Editor’s note: In this article, guest author Peter Giersch reflects on some of the oldest traditions of the Church for celebrating Holy Week. As he describes the various ways that the Church gathers during these holy days, we are reminded that Easter is not just a day. It is a season of remembering and entering…

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?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 to hose down the sooty earth, and wash away the dirt that comes from who-knows-where. Oh God, I need a cleansing rain in my life, dirty…

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“While the truth that we cannot escape God’s all-seeing eye may weigh us down at times, it is finally the only remedy for our uneasiness…Only under God’s steady gaze of love are we able to find the healing and restoration we so desperately need.” Marjorie Thompson, Soulfeast Confession is good for the soul because it…

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“The things we cannot accept in ourselves we project upon others. If I do not admit my shadow side, I will unconsciously find another who will carry my shadow for me. Once this projection is made, then I need not be upset with myself. My problems are now outside and I can fight them “out…

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“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Psalm 51: 10 In her book Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris tells the story of working as an artist-in- residence at a parochial school, teaching children how to write poetry using the psalms as a model. One little boy…

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“We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.” Meister Eckhart In the fourth week of Advent we begin to move beyond waiting and preparation to a deeper sense of joyful anticipation. We are moving closer to the birth of our Lord and the Old and New…

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“The house of my soul is too narrow for Thee to come in; let it be enlarged by Thee. It is in ruins. Do Thou restore it.” -Augustine In this week’s Gospel reading (Luke 3:7-18), John the Baptist is on a rant. I guess we could describe it more delicately by calling it a prophetic…

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“The word of God came to John in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of Isaiah, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” ~from Luke 3:1-6 Recently I started writing a new book which…

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“God comes to us like the sun in the morning…when it is time. We must assume an attitude of waiting, accepting the fact that we are creatures and not the creator. We must do this because it is not our right to do anything else. The initiative is God’s, not ours. We are able to…

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“On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.” Psalm 138:3 This week I went to a funeral with my daughter, Haley. It was the funeral for one of her friends who died in a complicated way from causes that were not entirely clear. An Eagle Scout, a disciplined athlete,…

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“Stay together, friends, don’t scatter and sleep. Our friendship is made of being awake.” Rumi In her book Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris comments that in a monastery, Holy Week is “a total surrender to worship.” This surrender allows for a greater focus on the events leading up to and moving us through Resurrection Sunday—Jesus’ gathering…

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“While the truth that we cannot escape God’s all-seeing eye may weigh us down at times, it is finally the only remedy for our uneasiness. Only under God’s steady gaze of love are we able to find the healing and restoration we so desperately need.” –Marjorie Thompson I remember an experience with a church elder…

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“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. It is a space in time in which we are called to stop whatever we are doing, no matter how important it might be, and…

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“On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.” Psalm 138:3 Long ago, a wise spiritual director said to me, “Ruth, you are like a jar of river water all shaken up. What you need is to sit still long enough so that the sediment can settle and the water…

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“Discernment in its fullness takes a practiced heart, fine-tuned to hear the word of God and the single-mindedness to follow that word in love. It is truly a gift from God, but not one dropped from the skies fully formed. It is a gift cultivated by a prayerful life and the search for self-knowledge.” –Ernest…

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“No one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4 The seasons of the church year are meant to teach us something about the spiritual life that we need to learn. Beyond mere information about the spiritual life, they…

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“Calls are essentially questions. They aren’t questions you necessarily need to answer outright; they are questions to which you need to respond, expose yourself, and kneel before. You don’t want an answer you can put in a box and set on a shelf. You want a question that will become a chariot to carry you…

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“For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16:26 (NLT) I want to talk to you about the soul—your soul, my soul, and the soul of our leadership. When I refer to the soul, I am not talking about…

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What does your soul want to say to God?

“It is not enough for the priests and ministers of the future to be moral people, well- trained, eager to help their fellow humans…the central question is, Are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God’s presence, to listen to God’s voice, to…

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“When the wise men saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage.” –Matthew 2:10, 11 Today is the day when Christians celebrate Epiphany—the journey of the wise men to find the Christ…

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“When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” Matthew 1:18­25 “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 taste and feel. But we know the…

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“Waiting is the hidden preparation through which God puts his ministers. We neglect it to our own peril.” –Richard Foster The seasons of the church year are meant to teach us something about the spiritual life that we need to learn. Beyond mere information about the spiritual life, they offer us the opportunity to “live…

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“Spiritual leadership springs forth in grace from our very desire for God’s presence. This does not take effort or striving.    It takes courage, a kind of showing up, attentiveness.” –Gerald May It was a very humbling moment in my life as a person in ministry. I was on staff in a church where, like most…

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“I didn’t want to be the leader because the leader always gets voted off the island.” Gary Hogeboom Survivor Guatemala A couple of years ago, our family watched a season of the reality T.V. show Survivor because we were acquainted with one of the participants—former NFL quarterback, Gary Hogeboom. He emerged early on as a…

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Then Jesus came to his disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray…” Matthew 26:40, 41 It is a custom of the Christian church to keep vigil with Christ at different times and in different ways throughout Holy Week.…

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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 Growing up…

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“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’” Matthew 2:1 Arise! Shine! for your light has come, and the glory of…

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“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb… And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her…

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“As the people were filled with expectation and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘One who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals…’” Third Sunday of Advent Luke 3:7-18…

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In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee…during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah in the wilderness…He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of…

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“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among the nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the wave. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then we will…

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Editors Note: The poems of Pastor Ted Loder have accompanied us on many Transforming Center retreats, guiding us into moments of quiet reflection. During this Thanksgiving season, we offer you this prayer from Guerrillas of Grace to guide you in a moment of quiet gratitude for all of God’s good gifts. Glorious God, how curious,…

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“We are blessed with inner rhythms that tell us where we are, and where we are going. No matter, then, our fifty and sixty hour work weeks, the refusing to stop for lunch, the bypassing sleep and working deep into the darkness. If we stop, if we return to rest, our natural state reasserts itself.…

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Editor’s Note: The Transforming Center takes very seriously its mission to equip leaders to guide their churches in becoming spiritually transforming communities. If you are like most pastors and Christian leaders, many people who are longing for something more in the midst of their complicated lives come to you looking for guidance. One way that…

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“For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world and forfeit their soul?” —Jesus Recently, I made a comment to a friend that surprised us both. In the quietness of listening to each other’s souls, these words slipped out: I’m tired of helping other people enjoy God; I just want to enjoy…

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“The soul is like a wild animal—tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, self-sufficient. It knows how to survive in hard places. But it is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush. If we want to see a wild animal, we know that the last thing we should do is go…

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