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Learning to Prayer


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My time at Nashotah House has begun!

This week is orientation. All week, all the time! It’s a lot, but there is a lot that goes on at this place. Most notably, every day starts with morning prayer at 8 am, then bells ring at 12:30 pm for mid-day prayer, and then we gather again for evening prayer at 4:30 pm.

Everything revolves around this rhythm of prayer. Our life, our community and our learning all are rooted and sustained by this practice of prayer.

If nothing else is formative at Nashotah House, I know beyond a doubt this will be (even though I am quite sure many other things will be as well).

I thought I would share a prayer all the students and faculty pray every day at evening prayer.

11891237_10153607230635956_4106079202307804684_nA Prayer for Nashotah House

Bless, O Lord, this House, set apart to the glory of your great name and the benefit of your Holy Church; and grant that your Name may be worshipped here in truth and purity to all generations. Give your grace and wisdom to all the authorities, that they may exercise holy discipline, and be themselves patterns of holiness, simplicity, and self-denial.

Bless all who may be trained here; take from them all pride, vanity, and self-conceit, and give them true humility and self-abasement.
Enlighten their minds, subdue their wills, purify their hearts, and so penetrate them with your Spirit and fill them with your love, that they may go forth animated with earnest zeal for your glory; and may your ever living Word so dwell within their hearts, that they may speak with that resistless energy of love which shall melt the hearts of sinners to the love of you.

Open, O Lord, the hearts and hands of your people, that they may be ready to give and glad to distribute to our necessities. Bless the founders and benefactors of this House, and recompense them with the riches of your everlasting kingdom,
for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Know that Andrea and I are also praying for you—our friends and supporters. This will be a challenging chapter of our story, but one we are excited about because we know it will shape and mold our family for the ministry God has before us. And we know we have a great team of friends who are praying for us and supporting us every step of the way! Thank you!
Grace and peace
Erik

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If you’re following along…


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If you’ve been following along on my web guide, connected to my Ordinary Time book, SORRY! I know the that last week or so has been a bit spotty when it comes to timely posts. I think i’m all caught up, that’s the good news. Also, this is the last week! If you’ve tracked along this far, awesome! You should let me know, I’ll figure out a prize to send you!!! (seriously!)

But things have been crazy for the last couple weeks because my family has been on the move!

If you’re interested in hearing more about that go over to our family website and check it out!

www.TheWillitsFamily.com

But no fear! We’re back on track and almost to the finish line!

Thanks for following along! I would love to hear how the book has helped your life with God over these 9 weeks of Ordinary Time!

Grace and peace
Erik

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FOLLOW // Music Monday


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Over on the Ordinary Time Web Guide we’re looking at the idea of “FOLLOW” all week. After all, one of the most ordinary parts of being a Christian is following Jesus. With that in might I spent a couple hours scrolling through my iTunes library and scrolling through Spotify to find some classic song with the work “follow” in their title. Some of these are Christian some are not, but they are all great songs!

I hope you enjoy! I sure had fun finding them.

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Fundraising opportunity


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To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited when I realized I was going to need to be a fundraiser for the foreseeable future. I’ve done bits and pieces in the past and always struggled with asking people for money.

At this point, my family is three months into raising funds for the first year of the vision we believe God has given us. We’re trying to raise $56,843.00 to cover our seminary and living expenses. Throughout this process, I have read several encouraging books and had numerous encouraging conversations. And the biggest miracle of all isn’t that we have raised over 60% of our funds, or that in the process I find myself growing and learning because of this difficult task, but that my aversion to fundraising is nearly gone! It’s still hard, and I realize that I’m only beginning. But to see how the Lord is providing and how our community of friends are coming around us and believing in what God is up to in our lives has been a truly amazing thing!

Like I said, we’ve raised a little over 60% of our goal. All in all, we need $11,218 more to meet our goal and be fully funded for our first year of seminary, with church planting in mind.

Our prayer is that we are fully funded by the end of the August!

We’re still looking for a few partners. Is that you?

One cool opportunity we have right now is the Nashotah House Matching Funds Scholarship. You fill out THIS FORM :: Seminarian Support Donation Form and send it directly to Nashotah House with your attached check. When someone gives in this way, Nashotah will match up to $4,500 in seminary tuition and expense. For example, if you give $50 directly to Nashotah House, they will match it and we will receive $100 toward our seminary tuition. (Get more information on this opportunity here).

Andrea and I have also set up a giving / partnership page on our website www.TheWillitsFamily.com. If you’ve been asking, “What is he talking about?” as you read this blog, you can find all the details there.

I’ve always struggled asking people for money—really, asking people for help. But in the Kingdom of God we participate together in God’s work, always willing to help and partner with each other for the good of the Kingdom and good of the world.

Sometimes asking is really hard.
Sometimes giving is really hard.
Sometimes receiving is hardest of all.
But asking, giving and receiving free, unmerited, unearned, 100% grace is something we must all learn—most importantly in our relationship with Jesus, and also in our relationships with one another.

I’m learning, growing, receiving and, with God’s help, living every day more fully in the Kingdom of His Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

Here’s a bit from one of those books I mentioned. So good!!!

“We may think of fundraising as a necessary but unpleasant activity to support spiritual things. Or we might believe that fundraising reflects a failure to plan well or trust enough that God will provide for all our needs…
From the perspective of the gospel, fundraising is not a response to a crisis. Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. Vision and mission are so central to the life of God’s people that without vision we perish and without mission we lose our way…
Fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission.”

From A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen

Thanks, friends!

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REAL :: A life of transfiguration


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Icon_of_transfiguration_(Spaso-Preobrazhensky_Monastery,_Yaroslavl)Every once in awhile I will share a bit form my book Ordinary Time. This week the big idea was REAL, talking about the reality of the kingdom that sometime we can’t see but is always and already there. It is this reality that should shape and guide our lives, even in the face of the dark and negative realities that scream for our attention and smack around with fear and despair.

We also experience the feast of the Transfiguration this week. One of my favorites! The Transfiguration is a guiding story in this conversation. I wanted to share this Saturdays meditation and couple quote from this week to help you engage this story and to encourage you to begin to live a life of transfiguration.

DAY 70 // Luke 9:28-36

Transfiguration always seems to be followed by difficulty and darkness. It’s as if the higher we climb on the mountaintop, the further into darkness we descend on the other side. For a moment, we have glimpsed or tasted the beauty of the Kingdom, but we are soon reminded of our broken and bent world.

Maybe this is not such a bad thing. Instead of feeling disillusioned when we encounter darkness in or around us, one of the best things we can do is to take some simple steps to live as Kingdom people. To live as people who participate in the Kingdom of God breaking into our present age in big and small ways. We see, experience and participate in the in-breaking of the Kingdom every time we care for the sick, sit with the lonely, lift up the poor and broker peace.

Don’t make the highs what you live for. Don’t numb or distract yourself from the problems around you. Instead, let’s become a people who help answer the prayer “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” in all our ordinary moments. This requires living a new kind of reality, one we caught a glimpse of on the mountain and now bring crashing into our everyday lives.

What is your response to the darkness and difficulty you face in your ordinary life? Do you shrink back and look for distraction, or do you figure out how to help the Kingdom break in?

A few meditations

“The world around us tells us that life is about money, security, power, success. Yet the Gospels tell us that life is about something completely other. Real life, the Gospels tell us, is about doing the will of God, speaking for the poor, changing the lives of widows and orphans, exalting the status of women, refusing to make war, laying down our lives for the other, the invisible, and the enemy. It is about taking everyone in instead of leaving anyone out.”

— from The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life by Joan Chittister

“The Transfiguration reveals and outlines the whole mystery of salvation. And his transfiguration invites us to transfigure with him.”

— Andreas Andreopoulos: This is My Beloved Son

“[The Transfiguration] stands as a gateway to the saving events of the gospel, and is as a mirror in which the Christian mystery is seen in its unity. Here we receive that the living and the dead are one in Christ, that the old covenant and the new are inseparable, that the Cross and the glory are of one, that the age to come is already here, that our human nature has a destiny of glory, that in Christ the final word is uttered and in him alone the Father is well pleased. Here the diverse elements in the theology of the New Testament meet.”

— Arthur Michael Ramsey: The Glory of God and the Transfiguration of Christ

 

 

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The Prayer of Examen


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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.

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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

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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?

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An Experiment in Virtue


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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!)

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The Welcome Wagon // Music Monday


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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

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iPhones & Early Adopters…


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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

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Today’s prayer…


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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)

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