the blog

title

The Prayer of Examen


content

One of the greatest tools I’ve encountered for my ordinary life is St. Ignatius’ Prayer of Examen.
Here is a version I created, pulling from a handful of places.

THE PRAYER OF EXAMEN

BEGIN :: Become aware of God’s love and presence. Remind yourself

that God is with you. There is nothing to fear; you are safe and loved.

THANK :: Bring to mind the good things that God has brought into your life, and let gratitude begin to bubble up. What gifts, big or small, has God given you today? Thank him for every good and perfect gift.

REVIEW :: Ask God to show you where you have failed, fallen or sinned in the past day. We’re talking about sins both known and unknown. Ask God to bring to mind any and every time you turned from his leading.

NOTICE :: Look back on your day again, each and every thing you did. Relive what you thought about, wanted and felt and desired during those moments. Begin to sense God’s activity. When were you cooperating most fully with God, and when were you not?

FORGIVE :: With confidence ask God, the one whose loving presence has been with you and is always with you, to forgive you for all the moments you went your own way. Remember the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

RESPOND :: Ask yourself, “Going forward, how can I receive and participate in God’s grace, resolving to live as a cooperative partner with God for his glory and the good of my neighbor?

END :: Saint Ignatius recommends you end with The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13.

=====

This week in the Ordinary Time devo is on EXAMEN. And of course, The Examen of St. Ignatius is a big part of that. We need to examen our lives on a regular basis and do the work of daily discipleship in the way Jesus!
I also post this examen here for the student I’m hanging out with in Texas! I hope it helpful!!!

Peace

====

Here are the questions for South Texas Small Group Leaders…

Day #2 :: EXAMEN

Do you ever look at your inner life, your life with God and ask “how’s it going?”
Read Psalm 139 – now make it your prayer.

Have you opened the deepest parts of your life to God?
Do you let the Spirit of God love and lead you on a daily basis?

Do you believe that you are loved by God?
Examen your life and action, now ask that question again.

What are you ambitions and desire about?
How could you turn your ambitions and desire toward God and for God?

Discuss

title

An Experiment in Virtue


content

The following are some virtues you may feel lead to incorporate into your life this week.

My hope is that the virtues and vices listed here and that you see on the corresponding  cards can be helpful tools to identify areas in your life that maybe you want or need to grow in. Or maybe you see the vice that opposes the virtue and realize this is something you struggle with and now you know what virtue you need to begin to pray about and cultivate in your life with God’s help and grace.

Print out the card if you want. Stick it somewhere prominent to help you remember what you’re focusing on.

Remember, virtues are holy habits. To develop these virtues, these holy habits in your life you will need to be intentional, prayerful and relentless in your pursuit of Jesus, who perfectly lived each of these virtues.

NT Wright say that learning to live the virtious life is like learning a new language. Yep, it’s hard but will be exactly what you need in order to feel like your primary citizenship is in heaven, which it is if you’re a Christian.

* Virtue Banner

NOTE: Over this past year a team of folks at the Church I worked at lead our 6th grade students through a class we called Virtues.  A group of women who have been studying Christian Virtue for years developed this curriculum and we spent the year walking students through it. It was a smashing success! Room to grow and things to dial in but it was great. Most of what I will share here (specifically the cards) was taken from this resource.

I won’t give a really through explanation here. Do some more research, look up some scripture and thing about how these virtue play themselves out in your own life. And then most importantly, pray about God helping you to develop these virtues in your everyday, ordinary life!

Virtue Courage vprintVirtue Courage Back vprintCourage / Fear

We see this all over the scripture but I don’t think courage often crosses our mind as a virtue. But we think about fear A LOT!

This is one of those vices that might more properly highlight your need for the corresponding virtue, in this case courage.

So what are you afraid of? Are there fears that dominate you life? That freeze you and keep you from being bold in your faith, vulnerable in your relationships, committed in your community? Do you feel unsafe and insecure because of fear. Maybe it’s time you let Jesus begin to help you withthe virtue of courage!

Another note on courage. I don’t think courage is the absence of fear but it is the ability to stand in the face of fear and feel safe, secure and empower by the Holy Spirit of God. More on fear soon (it’s next week theme)!

Scripture to check out
Deuteronomy 31:61 John 4:18, Joshua 1:1-18

 

Virtue Forgive vprint

Virtue Forgive Back vprintForgiveness / Grudges

I remember reading Matthew 6:14 & 15 for the first time and looking up (as if God is up in the sky or something) and saying, “really”. It’s so harsh and emphatic but it’s there. Forgiveness isn’t something that is optional. NT Wright says that forgiveness is like breathing. We first must breath in the breath of God, the forgiveness and grace of God and then we are able to exhale forgiveness to other, even people who it may be hard to forgive or don’t deserve to be forgiven. But Jesus seems to tell us that forgiveness isn’t an optional virtue, it’s one we must constantly be developing in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness is also nuanced.
Forgiving isn’t necessarily forgetting.
It seems often forgiving  is more about the forgiver then the forgiven.
Forgiveness is something we have all been give but it’s also something that has been withheld from us at times. It would be helpful to think about how you feel when a friend forgave you and when a friend withheld forgiveness. Meditate on those feelings and see what it prompts in your heart and mind.

Then there is the vice = the one who holds a grudge.
Are you more know for forgiving or for holding onto a negative emotions and hurt feelings. Do you have a running scorecard in your head of all your friends and enemies. Tallying up wrongs against you and nice things done to you.
If you live by the scoreboard this is a virtue you need to learn to live and practice.

Scripture to check out
Matthew 6:7-15Luke 23:34Colossians 3:12-17

Virtue Prudence vprintVirtue Prudence Back vprint

Prudence / Impulsivity

Prudence was a fun one for me to dig into. It’s not a word we often use in our everyday vocabulary but it is something we do practice one way or an other. Because prudence is essentially wise and Godly decision making.

We are called to make wise and Godly decision in big things and also in the small things. I think we often forget about the small things and think we can save our relying on God, seeking God, being guided by God’s word for the big things, the real big things in life. But the virtue of prudence is about building a habit of seeking God in every decision, especially the small things so that when the big decisions come you already have a holy habit of practice a Godly, Spirit lead path of discernment and decision making.

Here are 2 tips I share with my students to practice and grow into the virtue of prudence in your everyday life.
#1. Know where you live, where your primary residence is.
If you were driving a car in England you but forgot and were driving like you were in the USA you would be in big trouble! Car would be honking and driving straight at you! But if you keep in mind that your in London, know that cars driving on the “wrong” or other side of the street you  would make the wise decision to drive like they drive. Or if you were in Mexico on a mission trip you wouldn’t go the kitchen sink and pour a glass of water. You’ve got to keep in mind where you are when making even the most normal everyday decisions.
Our primary citizenship is in heaven we are told. And when make decisions we must remember that. Let the rules and ethics of the Kingdom of God be our guide in how we treat people, how me eat with people, how we work with people, pretty much how we do everything.
#2. Know who your king is.
Your king is Jesus! No other rule or authority is more important that him in your life. We respect, honor and pray for our countries president or queen or ruling officials (depending on where you live) but always and every time we make our final decision based off what our king has told us through the scripture, community, tradition and Holy Spirit. First and foremost we live under the loving authority of King Jesus and all we say and do should be influence by that reality.

You will run into some of these idea in the weeks to come but if you want a sneak peak and great resource to growing in prudence or wise and Godly decision making skip ahead in your Ordinary Time devo to page 80 and check out the 8 steps for discerning the will of God and making good decisions.

If you want to go deeper into this I would suggest reading the following scripture and talking with some friends about how prudence and discernment was made in these Bible stories. Think about how the 2 tips above may have been implemented in these stories.

Mark 10:17-22 // Mark 1:16-20 //  Luke 10:30-35 // Luke 15:11-32 // Matthew 25:14-28 // Acts 5:27-42
(These stories all include some decision making, some prudence. But in some of these stories the decisions made are difficult and maybe not what we would have chosen. But in each of these stories prudence is exemplified in one way or another and we can learn from each story.)

Scripture to check out (more specifically on prudence)
Matthew 6:1,  Deuteronomy 6:31 Corinthians 2:12-14, (pretty much all of the Proverbs but these specifically) Proverbs 10 & Proverbs 14 (especially verse 15),  Amos 5:13

(I wasn’t planning on giving such through suggestions for the virtues above. For the rest of these I will just give the cards, a thought and a few verses to go with them. If you have question or want to have some conversation about these verses post a comment, I’d love the hash em’ out!) 

 

Virtue Generosity vprint

Virtue Generosity Back vprint Generosity / Stinginess

I might say closed handed living. I love the picture of a person living with their hands open, receive all the gifts and graces of God but also giving as freely as they have received.
If you read the early chapters of Act and pay attention to the these early Christians and the kind of community they were participating in, you will see this virtue of generosity on display in some amazing ways. Act 2:42-47)

Scripture to check out
Romans 12:6-8, Luke 6:38, Leviticus 19:9-10, Isaiah 58:10-11, Luke 3:10-11, 1 John 3:17

Virtue Gratitude vprint

Virtue Gratitude Back vprint

Gratitude / Unthankful

Dictionary.com say the opposite of gratitude is ingratitude. In our culture I thing corresponding vice to gratitude might be entitlement. This sense that you deserve certain rights and privileges even if it is at the expense of other. Gratitude tries to help us see that everything is a gift. Thanks be to God!

Scripture to check out
Genesis 17, 1 Chron. 16:8, Hebrews 12:28, Psalm 100, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 95, Philippians 4:4-9

Virtue Humility vprint

Virtue Humility Back vprintHumility / Pride

I think humbly is a tricky one. If you think you got it you probably don’t and if you think you don’t you probably do. Hmmm. It’s one of those virtues to be cultivated in community and really rooted in love for God and love for your neighbor. When you do those things well through the power of the Holy Spirit you will them be able to love yourself in healthy and Godly ways. Humility isn’t hating yourself it’s Philippians 2, “counting others more significant than yourselves”.

Scripture to check out
Philippians 2:1-11, I Peter 5:5-6, Matthew 18:4, Matthew 23:12, Proverbs 15:33, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 25:9, Proverbs 3:34, Matthew 11:29, Ephesians 4:2, James 4:10

Virtue Joy vprint

Virtue Joy Back vprintHappiness & Joy / Sorrow

Some old timers like John Wesley often used the word happy as an equivalent to joy. Most time these days we would frown on that because of the shallow modern notion of being “happy”. This is also why I’m not sure sorrow is the best vice to connect to this virtue. Maybe a hopeful sorrow or a despairing sorrow. Think through this yourself, what is the vice that keeps you from a deep and profound joy, the kind of joy you can experience in the midst of difficulty and sadness.

Scripture to check out
Psalm 68:3, Psalm 21:6, Proverbs 12:20, Isaiah 35:10, Ecclesiastes 3:12, James 5:13, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 1:8

Virtue Integrity vprintVirtue Integrity Back vprintIntegrity / Dishonesty

If there is a virtue that Christian leaders need to embrace and grow in these days it the virtue of integrity. We see pastors and leaders falling into sin and scandal around every corner. All of us have influence and leadership in some capacity, we all need to always be growing in integrity and honest. What we do in private should line us in an increasing way with what we do in public.

Scripture to check out
Romans 12:2, Philippians 3:12-21 (19), Colossians 3:1-17, Psalm 143:10, Matthew 6:1-4

Virtue Love vprint

Virtue Love Back vprint

Love / Selfishness

We just spent a week talking about love, growing in love and letting real, authentic, Christ centered love be a growing part of our life. This kind of growing, authentic love is a virtue, a holy habit we are all called to grow into. If you need some refreshers turn back a few pages in your Ordinary Time book but spend some time thinking about how love might be a growing holy habit in your life.

Scripture to check out
Deuteronomy 6:5-10 & 7:9, Romans 8:35; 37-40, 1 Corinthians 13 (of course), John 15:1-17, 1 John 2:1-17 & 3:11-24

Virtue Meekness vprint

Virtue Meekness Back vprint

Meekness / Uncontrolled Anger

I might put the vice to meekness as “last word-itis”. It’s kinda like arthritis but instead of your bones hurting you pride hurts if you don’t get the last word. There are a lot of nuances to meekness and a lot of interpretations as to what it means but my favorite and the one I think lines up the best with the sermon on the mount and the beatitude of  “blessed are the meek” is the interpretation that meekness is all about proclaiming you truth and not needing to have the last work or for everybody to think you are right about any given issue. Jesus was said be meek by many of the biblical authors. My perspective on this is that Jesus proclaimed his truth and with confidence and security in his fathers love, he left it at that. He didn’t need to win the argument or beat people over the head with this truth. He stated is, giving it to the hearer as a gift and then let them do with it as they will. This was his exemplification of meekness.

Scripture to check out
Matthew 5:5, 2 Corinthians 10:1, Matthew 11:29-30, Ephesians 4:1-2, Titus 3:2, Psalm 22:26, Psalm 37:9-11

Virtue Patience vprintVirtue Patience Back vprintPatience / Impatience 

It was pointed out to me that the scripture says more about patience then any other virtue, excluding love. I take that to mean patience is a pretty important virtue. I think that is only increasingly true in your fast-food, tech world. This idea that we must wait on the Lord, seek him and his will instead of just going out and getting and doing what we want when we want it. Patience is truly a virtue we all should desire to grow into. Sabbath would be an important part of this conversation. And if you’re a parent, try and see your kids as a gift—patient producers even—in your life! Lines and traffic could be seen the same way!

Scripture to check out
Exodus 34:5-9, 2 Peter 3:1-18, Colossians 1:9-14 & 3:12, 2 Corinthians 6:4-6, Luke 21:19, Romans 8:25, Revelation 1:9
(The scripture of patience are endless… just do a little searching on Bible Gateway and you’ll find a ton!)

Discuss

title

The Welcome Wagon // Music Monday


content

Over on my the Ordinary Web Guide I posted a song entitle O Christ, Our Hope by The Welcome Wagon. I haven’t listened to The Welcome Wagon in awhile but I really do like them.

Welcome_to_The_Welcome_Wagon_(album)_cover_artFolksy, singer song writer, husband & wife duo. GOOD STUFF!

I’m listening to their more recent album on Spotify right now it’s pretty good but not NEARLY as good as their first album. I might be partial to it since it was produced by Sufjan Stevens. Yea, it’s really good!

Here are a couple cool video’s of them but make sure to check them out today!

 

 

And here is a link to a video that shares a bit of their story
ENJOY

Discuss

title

iPhones & Early Adopters…


content

If  you’re reading this you probably know about my book Ordinary Time that is out. (You can buy your copy here if you’d like).

But connected to the Ordinary Time book and all the books I have out so far is a web guide. The web guides are essentially just blogs (Tumblr pages) that host extra supplemental content connected to the books. So if you have the book and at the bottom of the page you are reading you see a little icon, that means there is content on the web guide that is connected to that days reflection / devotion.

You can read the book without ever clicking on the web guide.
And you can even check out the web guide without having the book. Although that might be a bit harder or disjointed. Yea, you might need some context but some times it won’t matter.

Anyway. Today’s web guide is full of stuff and I put this little extra ditty up that I thought was pretty cool.
It’s my proof of early adopter status. Check it out…

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 12.19.39 PM

Just as a way of proving myself and having a little fun… I found this picture of all the iPhones. This is every generation of iPhones that has ever existed (I added the iPhone 6 myself).

I’ve had them all!!!!

I’ve waited in lines, stayed up till odd hours of the night to order 1st thing, and have haggled with many a craigslist companion in order to sell my old phone to pay for the new one.

I’ve actually only paid for the very first iPhone. Since then I have always been able to sell the old and get the new. AT&T is making that harder with the 6 and i’m sure they will with the 6S as well but i’ve got a system, it’s fun and feeds my Apple addiction yearly.

No really spiritual value here but as I mentioned in todays reflection, i’m an early adopter. PROOF!

And in case you are interested here is today devotion from the Ordinary Time book.
If you like it, you should buy a copy today!

 

.:: From Ordinary Time: A Journey of Counting, Conforming and Embracing God’s Presence in Everyday Life. ::.

FRIDAY // DAY 41 READING
Daily Scripture Reading :: Luke 14:25-35

I’m an early adopter. That means I get the new gadget or sign up for the new website when everybody else is still weighing the pros and cons. I’ve waited in line for the better part of a day for a first generation iPhone and have beta-tested several social media websites. I only know one person who signed up for Twitter before I did. (You can give me a high five later.)

Not only am I an early adopter, but I am also an evangelist—that person who loves what they’ve got and has to tell everybody about it. Did you know that Apple actually has a job title “Chief Evangelist”? Sign me up; I’m in!

But one thing that comes with being an early adopter and gadget evangelist is that I am also a fickle friend. I have the capacity to jump from one love to the next at the drop of a hat. I love something one minute and the next have forgotten about it.

Love, by its nature, calls for a certain type of exclusivity. For example, you can’t really love an iPhone and an Android at the same time. Matthew 6:24 says it all, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

Our Scripture reading today is a hard one. People go round and round about what Jesus really meant when he said you must hate your father, mother, wife, children. Beneath the multiple layers of this passage, one thing it definitely gets at is the exclusive nature of love.

I believe the love I have for my wife, my kids and my friends and enemies is somehow enabled by the love I have been given. Only because I have been given it, am I now able to give it. And maybe the exclusive love from a person is a beacon, a sign post of the love God has for us in Jesus, inviting us to participate in it through the Spirit and calling us to share it in community.

What is competing for your exclusive, action-evoking love for God?

Check out the web guide as I mentioned above for some supplemental content

www.OrdinaryTimeWebGuide.com

Grace and peace
Erik

Discuss

title

Today’s prayer…


content

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 11.45.29 AMPray as you go was good today.

But what really has stuck with me was the meditative song that accompanied the prayer.

Here are the lyrics…

“The Kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your kingdom.”

I’ve sung this song before, I can’t remember the setting but it’s a great little prayer and thought to guide your day.

The scripture reflection was on Matthew 10:7-15

“The kingdom of heaven has come near.”

This missional participation God is inviting us into. A great prayer and reflection for the day. Check it out.

(Here is a link to today Pray As You Go meditation)

Discuss

title

The Trinity


content

Much ink has been spilled on the doctrine of the Trinity. And rightfully so. It’s important and beautiful and formative and at the heart of who we are as Christians.

Here is a great quote by Bishop Kallistos ware on the Trinity
(you can also find a youtube video of B. Ware talking about the Trinity.)

“There is in God genuine diversity as well as true unity. The Christian God is not just a unit but a union, not just unity but community. There is in God something analogous to “society”. He is not a single person, loving himself alone, not a self-contained monad or “The One”. He is trinity: three equal persons, each one dwelling in the other two by virtue of an unceasing movement of mutual love.”

The Orthodox Way, by Kallistos Ware

 

And the classic Trinity icon by Rublev for vision pondering and prayer.

Rublev Trinity

Discuss

title

Trinity Sunday / Music Monday


content

The journey of Ordinary Time has kicked off!

The 1st Sunday after Pentecost / The 1st Sunday of Ordinary Time is Trinity Sunday!
Maybe you spent some time talking about that in your church on Sunday, maybe not. We’ll be spending the week in the Ordinary Time book pondering the Trinity and you can also follow along on the Ordinary Time Web Guide with a bit of that conversation.

But as I do from time to time on this blog, I shared some tunes today over on the web guide.
Thought I would share them here as well.

trinity_sessionsWell today is a music Monday!
And to make it even more awesome, the music is FREE!

If you aren’t familiar with Noisetrade, now you are and you’re welcome! It’s a site of legally free music! You can tip the band for their tunes (which is always nice to do) but really all they ask is that you spread the word. Pretty easy!

The Verses Project has a few pretty good albums out and one of them happens to be devoted to verses (Bible verses that is) that are Trinitarian in nature.

The Trinity Sessions

PERFECT!

So enjoy!

Discuss

title

The Ordinary Time Journey has begun…


content

The Ordinary Time Journey has begun.

The posts over on the web guide (www.OrdinaryTimeWebGuide.com) have started rolling. And hopefully you have picked up your copy of the book and are reading along!

This book is created with 2 tracks in mind…

#1. Start today! Following along with the liturgical calendar and Sunday lectionary readings. Ordinary Time is pretty free flow but there are a few days that commemorate certain folks and some special days. But those things are super minimalistic and lend to a bit more liturgical freedom for this season of the year.

#2. Go with it! For those that are like, “liturgical calendar what?” or “lectionary readings who?” – YES! This book is for you! You can really jump in at any time and following along. I’m setting up the web guide so you you’ll know which posts go with which days.

This book is 13 weeks worth of devotions. Start at any time and track along! Learn the rhythms of abundant life and the ordinary ways of Jesus and his followers.

Discuss

title

Pentecost Sunday | We’re close


content

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, which marks the culmination of the Easter season. It’s a pretty big Sunday on the church calendar because it’s the day that marks the birth of the church. That’s a pretty big Sunday! Here are a couple images and prayers to help you think about Pentecost and what God has done through His Holy Spirit. (And click the link above to read a bit more about Pentecost. CRI is a great resource.)

Holy Spirit DoveOfPeace pentecost-icon-coptic-6

It is also the Sunday before Trinity Sunday, which is the first Sunday of Ordinary Time! 

So we’re getting close. Our journey is about to begin.  

JOIN THE JOURNEY



Ordinary Time, as you will learn if you haven’t already, is simply a counting of Sunday. We get the ordinary of Ordinary Time, not from the ordinary, boring, mundane nature of this time of year but we get it from the word ordinal. Which is a particular way of counting (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). Ordinary Time is the way we count the Sundays from Pentecost to Advent. They are ordinary Sundays, not much special goes on during this time of year but the focus is really on growth and the learning of what it means to follow Jesus each and every day. If you’ve read the intro of the book you’ve picked this up already. If you haven’t, get a copy today and join the journey, you’ll probably even get it in time for the first Sunday of Ordinary Time.

—–

And here are a couple prayers or Collects for your Pentecost week…

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

or this

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Discuss