An Invitation to Journey

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The snow is gone

Ice crystals

Last week it snowed in Seattle almost bringing the city to a standstill. Schools closed, people stayed home from work and Greenlake almost froze over. For many of us it was a great excuse to slow down the pace of our lives for a few days and enjoy the simple things of life. Most evenings the Rosarios who live in our basement apartment came upstairs and we sat round the fire in the evenings to keeping warm, reading, laughing and talking. It was a great time of community closeness.

The sad thing is that we think we need an excuse to slow down like this. The pace of all our lives is so hectic and our focus is so much on work that many of us no longer have time to enjoy the simple things of life. Many of us don’t even have time for friendships and we feel guilty if we do take the time. Jesus placed tremendous emphasis on community building. In fact from what I have read this was as high if not a higher priority for him than healing and preaching were. Our God is a god of relationship and if we don’t have time for relationships then I think we probably are not really aligning our lives to God’s priorities. I think that it is good for all of us to use times like this when we are forced to slow down to think about God’s priorities for our lives. Where does God want us to be spending our time? Are we too busy and if so what can we do about it?

The Meaning of Discipline

I just found this great quote from Henri Nouwen in Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith. I think that it is the best definition of discipline that I have ever heard. Rather than emphacizing the rigours of repetitive action that many of us struggle with it focuses on the result – time & space for God

Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond to God’s guidance. Thus, disicpline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God – a time and place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.

A happy New Year

Hands

Tom & I just returned from Urbana – the huge IVCF missions conference that was just held in St Louis. It was quite an experience to worship together with 22,000 others in a huge stadium but what I particularly enjoyed was the opportunity to get together with friends we have not seen for a long time. Friendship is an amazing thing. It often endures across both time & space in ways that really defy understanding. Even when we don’t see people for years we still seem to be able to pick up as though we had been together with them just a couple of days before. When we have opportunities like this I often think of that line from one of the Narnia books – something like “There’s nothing like a good joke that has not been used in 400 years”. The stories we share may not quite be as old as that but reminiscing & sharing together is very special. It not only stregthens our friendships and builds community but often seems to build our faith as well. What does friendship mean to you? I would love to hear from others who have also had the opportunity to get together with old friends this Christmas season