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    Consider your ancestors

    Friday, July 3, 2015, 6:05 PM [General]

    I've been pondering this little mathematical statistic about ancestry. When we think of our ancestors, we most often think of our parents and grandparents. We might be able to go back in our thoughts to great grandparents. If we go back 20 generations, we have more than 2 million ancestors.

    You can work out the math for yourself. You have 2 parents, who each had two parents, that’s 4 more ancestors, or together 6. Your 4 grandparents each had 2 parents (8). Add that to your 6 ancestors and in just three generations you have 14 direct ancestors in your gene pool.

    Now think of the worst think you have ever done or the thing you are most ashamed of. Once you have it in mind ask this question: Do you really think you are the first one in your gene pool ever to have done that?

    I get interesting reactions when I share this. One person immediately said, "You mean we don't have to feel guilty!" (That's true, but our cultural DNA has an influence on us, too. So, we might continue to feel guilt.) One father put his hands over the ears of his 6 year old son, "Don't pay attention to that!"

    When we consider that each of us has a 20 year line of ancestors of more than two million, it’s hard to imagine that each one of us doesn’t have someone in that gene pool that has not done just about anything a human being is capable of doing. We all likely have murderers, thieves, addicts, abusers, pedophiles in our history.

    The figure of two million ancestors assumes that each parent had two distinct parents. Of course, human nature being what it is, it is likely that somewhere along the line there was some incestuous breeding which would say that one or more person was involved more than once in the number, cutting the total.

    We also all have some pretty incredible ancestors in our past who have done amazing things making amazing contributions to the world.

    Despite all the positives and negatives in our history, the incredible tenacity of life moved forward and now manifests in you. Like a seed planted in a garden, life continues to grow, push forward, and produce.

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    Spiritual practice: Say “Thank You”

    Sunday, June 28, 2015, 7:53 PM [General]

    I structured the worship service for my final Sunday around giving thanks. I used the sermon time to say thanks to a wonderful group of people. As part of the sermon, I included this spiritual practice: Say “Thank You”

    If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
    Meister Eckhart

    During this week, pay attention to every time you say “Thank you.” Remind yourself each time that you are saying a prayer. You may be surprised that the number of times you say “Thank you” might increase.

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    spiritual practice: significant events; steppingstones

    Sunday, June 21, 2015, 6:30 PM [General]

    Today I reflected on 34 years of ordained ministry int he United Methodist Church. In connection with my reflections, I suggested this spiritual practice: significant events; steppingstones

    What you are right now is the result of your life experiences. The places you have been, the people you have known, the work you have done, the challenges and successes you have experienced all have contributed to your life at this present moment. From time to time it can be helpful to look back over these events.

    One day this week make a list of “stepping stones.” On a sheet of paper make a column of numbers 1-10. Quiet yourself for a few minutes, then write one thing beside each number that has shaped your life. Reflect on each of these items silently, with a friend or in your journal. What has your reflection revealed to you?

    I have published a collection of 52 spiritual practices. You can get a copy by following the link.

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    Spiritual practice: Let go; Let God

    Sunday, June 14, 2015, 4:23 PM [General]

    The seed sprouts and grows,
    but the farmer doesn’t know how.
    The earth produces crops all by itself.  

    Each morning brings a newness that we need only step into.
    Let the God of hopes and dreams,
    wash you,
    lift you,
    heal you,
    hold you.

    Take a few moments each day this week to simply let go and let God work the healing and renewing work of life in you.

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    Spiritual Practice: Be Yourself

    Sunday, June 7, 2015, 4:33 PM [General]

    Jesus demonstrated personal authority

    It came out his own authenticity.

    As our model he show us how to live out of our own authenticity,

    with confidence in who we are.

    This week as you practice,

    “Be yourself today.

    Just be.

    Without explanations or definitions.

    Take notice of the person you are.”

    — Terry Bookman, The Busy Soul


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    Spiritual practice: Feel the wind

    Sunday, May 31, 2015, 5:10 PM [General]

    Jesus said, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    If you can sit outside, do so. Relax, listen to the sound of the air, feel the air around you, and at the same time recall the words of  Jesus.   Describe what happened to you in this experience.

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    Spiritual practice: Breathe with your problem

    Sunday, May 24, 2015, 9:37 PM [General]

    Richard Rohr writes:  “Prayer is not the avoidance of distractions, but precisely how you deal with distractions.”

    St. Paul writes:  "Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words."

    During this week as problems arise, simply breathe.  Sit with your problem without trying to solve it.  The moment you become curious and watchful, dopamine is released in the reward center of your brain and your irritability is instantly replaced by pleasure, contentment, and inner peace. Do you sense the Spirit’s intercession for you?

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    Pentecost Sunday

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 2:18 PM [General]

    On Pentecost Sunday,
    we pause to remember the coming of the Holy Spirit,
    who was with us from the time of our birth
    and before
    and who will be with us at the time of our death
    and beyond.
    The Spirit gives us life,
    The Spirit teaches us
    The Spirit prays with us,
    for us,
    and through us.
    Rejoice in the Spirit’s presence and work
    in your life.

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    A Spiritual Practice for Ascension Sunday

    Sunday, May 17, 2015, 4:43 PM [General]

    The ascension of Jesus put us into the surreal world of mythic cosmology,
    though physically unverifiable
    nonetheless awe inspiring.
    In our baptism like his,
    we were affirmed to be the children of God
    and commissioned for service.
    We were incorporated into his death
    so that we died to our old self;
    and incorporated into his resurrection
    so that we rose to new life.
    In his ascension, he is given power and authority that makes him victorious over all obstacles.
    In our identification with him,
    we have been seated with him at the right hand of victory.
    Let these bigger than life images inspire you to live
    a productive, victorious, full life.

    During this week take the story of Jesus’ ascension into your awareness and let it inspire you to live

    … from a “high” perspective. “God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus.”

    … with a victorious attitude.  “In all these things we are more than conquerors through the one who loved us.”

    … with a plan to live creatively, approaching each situation with freshness.  “As Christ was raised ..., we too can walk in newness of life.”

    … with awareness that you are part of the body of Christ, displaying God’s wisdom in the world.  “God’s purpose is now to show the rulers and powers in the heavens the many different varieties of his wisdom through the church,”  “which is the fullness of Christ.


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    Spiritual practice: Expressions of God

    Sunday, May 10, 2015, 4:45 PM [General]

    Love is a verb and not a noun.

    God is love.

    Is God a verb?

    Wherever you see love, you see God.

    Some places may surprise you.

    Some lovers may surprise you.

    Whenever you see love, you see God.

    This week be on the look out for expressions of love.

    Remind yourself every time you see one that you are seeing God.

    This week, be yourself an expression of love.

    Let God be seen in you.

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