Posts

The Examen

Image
Praying the Examen I grew up singing a hymn that went like this:



Coupled with this hymn was the monthly celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  My dad put such a mortal fear in me of ‘partaking in an unworthy manner’ I would repent of every known possible sin during the distribution of the emblems.  But, in all honesty, that was the extent of my confessing.  I’ve since become aware of and use liturgies of confession.  I believe confession is now part of my spiritual walk, but we seldom hear of it, unless we worship in a liturgical setting. Enter The Examen. The Examen is a historical practice of setting aside a specific time for examination.  This is an intentional setting aside sacred space to hear God, and receive from God. Now don’t think of The Examen as only a test.  It’s not so much a test as a time of reflection.  What the Examen is meant to provide is an opportunity for you to purposefully and intentionally look for God—in action in your life.  This is more than evening or morning devot…

Is Church the place I do my spirituality?

Image
As a certified spiritual director I spend time with clients on a one to one basis.  The one common thread I find in all my ministry with clients (directees) is as follows.  Most have difficulty on the ‘relationship’ level with God.  Now let me explain briefly.  This doesn’t mean they are not followers of Christ, are not saved, not born again, not a Christian—or whatever introductory level of commitment language you choose to use.  But what it does mean is that after the initial conversion experience, outside of a couple of basic things, people are stuck.  The basic things most of my directees get are going to church and stopping noticeable sins.  But after that…they are stuck.
Hello coronavirus!  This now presents a HUGE problem to us in every conceivable way.  Most are watching the news channels to find out the latest concerns.  This coronavirus is affecting us powerfully!  Forced closings, financial issues, sickness, and a plethora of issues and difficulties are arising out of the co…

Chasing after the wind

Image
Pursuing Christ









Ecclesiastes 1:17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly.  But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind. 
Lord, deep within there is a settled peace and understanding— pursue only Christ,  pursue God— and all will be well. Jesus, you said, Seek FIRST the kingdom of heaven.
But Lord there is another voice— It is the voice of culture,  It is the voice of my flesh, It is even the voice of demons… This is what they are saying:
Pursue knowledge. Pursue possessions. Pursue success. Pursue position. Pursue relationships. Pursue advancement. Pursue money. Pursue security. Pursue contentment. Pursue bigger. Pursue better. And here Solomon screams at me—-pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.
Those things do not satisfy.

Giving as worship

Image
Learning to be a giver—is just that—a learning experience.



We begin with learning to give consistently…working our giving up to a tithe of our income as we noted in Am I required by God to Tithe:

http://pwcusick.blogspot.com/2019/12/am-i-required-by-god-to-tithe.html
Then our next step is understanding the idea of Sowing Seed. http://pwcusick.blogspot.com/2020/01/sowing-seed.html Again it is the idea of learning to give…moving into the realm of generosity.
This last step in giving elevates giving into the realm of worship.  
Giving As Worship.
This realm of giving elevates giving into a new realm.  There are a couple of scriptural texts that tell stories of this kind of giving.
The Tabernacle.
When the tabernacle was being built—it required items:  gold, silver, garments, and various items needed for construction.   Exodus tells us two significant things.
# 1.  People gave from their hearts:  Exodus 35:21 (NIV) “…and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offer…

Sowing Seed

Image
Sowing Seed
Think of everything you do as planting seed.  You go through life casting seed —and either expecting a harvest, or being surprised by the harvest.  Our culture uses other terms to describe this:
What comes around goes around
Karma
The idea is simple—you reap what you sow.  It however, is a Biblical principle that God set in motion the moment he created the world.  Genesis 1:11 (NKJV)  “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’ ; and it was so.”  Simply put—oranges have seeds.  Those seeds, if planted will grow oranges—not bananas.  Everything has the capacity to bear seed according to its kind.
Think then of your life and the seeds that you keep sowing.  You are a person of integrity, working hard and diligent—then your company takes notice.  You are then in line for a raise, a job promotion, etc.  
Everything you have— Everything you do— Every way y…

Will you experience grace in eternity?

Image
At present EVERYONE is experiencing some degree of grace--common grace.  Grace is manifested in any and all things that are kind, loving, caring, beautiful, pleasant, enriching--all those kinds of things.

In eternity--your present choice during this era of  'common grace' will determine where you will spend eternity.  In eternity 'common grace' will end.  Only 'special grace' will exist.  Special grace is a free gift extended during this era only!  

In eternity you experience limitless grace or no grace.  The choice is yours--but only prior to death!  I plead with all my readers---run to Jesus in 2020!  Receive his awesome grace.
I am now reading C H Spurgeon's morning and evening devotions---here is January 1 morning reading:
__________________
JANUARY 01 — AM “They did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” — Joshua 5:12 Israel’s weary wanderings were all over, and the promised rest was attained. No more moving tents, fiery serpents, fierce Amalekite…

This is how the Lord works

Image
This is how the Lord works:

In special circumstances:  Independently of humanity.  Only Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension is a means of substitutionary atonement. In usual patterns:  Dependently THROUGH humanity.  The moving ahead of the kingdom of God universally, nationally, provincially, within our county, within our city, within the church of our city, within our congregation, within our families, within our individual lives—-requires our cooperation! God’s usual pattern for evangelism is us speaking and preaching the gospelGod’s money comes from our walletsGod’s teaching comes from our mouthsGod’s love comes from our loveWe pray—God listens.  We pray—God acts.God’s hands are tied if we are loveless, if we don’t serve, if we don’t give money, if we don’t do something, if we don’t pray.In an era where the average Christian is giving less and serving less, God is being put on the shelf in our churches as a relic of the past. We are wondering where he is and why doesn’t he do so…