Author Archives: Scott Morin

4.18.16 ~ Jeff’s Weekly Post … Prayer

Well here it is Sunday evening sitting on the patio beginning to think about this week’s post. As I sit I still reflect on my writing of last week from Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline. “ Of all the Spiritual Disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father. Meditation introduces us to the inner life, fasting is an accompanying means, study transforms our minds, but it is the Discipline of prayer that brings us into the deepest and highest work of the human spirit.” Prayer, the activity that takes me into a never ending or changing sharing and exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings with God and calls me into the deepest and highest work of my spirit. .

This still fascinates and intrigues me, what about you? It has peeked my curiosity as well as challenged me in my current prayer. So let’s move on in this journey of prayer.

Foster continues with this, “To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ” Man it just keeps getting better. The way that God moves change in us is by active communication between us. This I think might be what causing many to abandon a consistent and persistent time to visit with our Lord and Savior. Let’s break this down a bit.

First, to pray is to change! Change what? My lifestyle? My thought life? My dependency? My faith? My inner being? Yes and even more! I think that this is the same for all of us as well as different. Let me explain. First, the change that is the same is to continue to allow God to transform our inner being, our core. To bring us all to the conformed image of Christ. What moved Christ in scripture and what moves him today need to move us. I’ve learned that no matter how good of a person I am, I cannot, in my own work do this change. It is so much deeper than me. As Christians, young or old in this journey we are all changing to the image of Christ as we pray. Now, how is it different for each one of us. Well, that comes in the day to day practical things are lives are made up of. Jobs, families, friends, decisions in life and the list could go on and on. What I know for sure is, as I change and my life changes, I would rather do it with God through prayer than without.

Foster goes on to say that if we really don’t want to change our lives and be transformed, we will ‘abandon’ prayer as a noticeable characteristic in our lives. To just give up and take control back of our life. I really believe that is a lie Satan tells us.

Interesting word Foster uses, ‘noticeable’. Can people tell those who are and are not actively involved in a prayer life. I think so! We can go into more of this at a later time, but I really believe that as we are transformed through prayer, people will take notice! Change will happen! We will be transformed!!

So as we continue to practice both mediation as well as prayer, come join me in getting minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day closer to the heart beat of God. Here’s to seeing and believing that he is changing us.

Until next week……..remember the words of my dad, “Practice makes Perfect”!

4.11.16 ~ Prayer

Greetings! This journey of writing weekly has been a bit tougher than I thought. I’ve missed a few weeks and that bothers me. Spent some time rereading one of my first writings. Three things struck me….First my dad reminding me that practice makes perfect…. Second the definitions of practice being To do something again and again in order to get better at it, and third what discipline is…. To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially self-control  and habits and ways of acting that are gotten through practice. I won’t say I’ve failed by any means, but I will say I still have a long ways to go. There may be many of you out there who are struggling also. What I say is don’t give up! Stick with me as we continue to walk our journey together.

So, let’s wrap up our short visit to meditation. The journey and experience to stop all the busyness and noise that surrounds us, to center down through quiet and start to listen. In this study I was reminded that the giants who do this well, both in bible times as well as now were not special. They were doers, they made this happen and they longed for an experience with God! As we move to our next inward discipline I want to encourage you to not leave mediation behind. This practice when done over and over becomes a refreshing part of our Christian walk every day. Remember the words of Foster in the book Celebration of Discipline   “Christian meditation , very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word. It is that simple.”

As we continue the journey our next discipline is prayer. What a cool next step! Continuing with Richard Foster and his book he starts off, “Of all the Spiritual Disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father. Meditation introduces us to the inner life, fasting is an accompanying means, study transforms our minds, but it is the Discipline of prayer that brings us into the deepest and highest work of the human spirit.”

There are a couple of phrases that jumped out at me. First, “It ushers us into”. I immediately got this vision of someone who is leading me to my seat. Prayer takes me there! Second, “perpetual communion”! I headed back to the dictionary to capture the words. Perpetual: never ending or changing; occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted. Communion: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.

 WOW! Things stir in me as I read and reread this. Prayer, the thing I have been doing all my life, just went deeper. Were you moved? Doesn’t this lend itself to even greater curiosity? To be ushered into the sharing and exchanging intimate thoughts and feelings that are never ending or changing. Come on, if that does not excite you to continue learning and practicing I don’t know what will.

Then finally the third phrase,” brings us into the deepest and highest work of the human spirit”. This made me wonder why he says this? Work of the human spirit?? Then this popped into my head. Prayer is so much more than just about me. It’s about communing with God! It’s about communing with his Spirit!  It’s about others! It’s about plans for my life as well as the life of others! It’s about implementing change! It’s about changing our towns! It’s about changing our churches! It’s even about changing the world!

It’s what really brings all the other disciplines into play. As we slow down, study, interact, provide service…………It the glue that binds it all together. Foster points this out, “The apostle Paul gladly announces that we are “colaborers with God”; that is, we are working with God to determine the outcome of events (1 Cor. 3:9).

There you have it, the basis for our next steps! Stop, reflect and get ready to go. Our great adventure continues!

 

3.31.16 ~ Song of the Week

Last week during the Holy Week Luncheons one of the local Homedale pastors shared the song, “The Love of God” with us.  Although I had heard the song before, I’m pretty sure last week was the first time singing the song with a group.  Please enjoy this version, the version I have used to worship in private, by the group 4Him.

3.29.16 ~ I Don’t Know

I’m not sure what happened to the audio recording of the message from Sunday.  The file shows the message was recorded, but no sound  was present.  I apologize for not having something to share with you today from this past Sunday.

We had good worship together, and I appreciated all of the different opportunities to celebrate and worship during Holy Week and on Resurrection Sunday. The two highlights for me were  the Good Friday service, and the half marathon I ran on Saturday.

The Good Friday service confirmed in me the need to utilize multiple senses and learning styles as we interact with God.  My oldest son helped me see this as he was first in line to experience the different stations we had set up.  As I sat and watched him I was overwhelmed with the sense of what it means to worship and connect with God.

On Saturday I ran a half marathon after months of training.  When I am planning and taking part in worship from a leadership perspective I don’t often feel like I really truly engage in worship.  Running helps me in this department as I take time to worship, pray, or interact with God while run.  Saturday was no different as ran and prayed my way through the course.  The race was just what I needed.

3.28.16 ~ Meditation Snippets and Thoughts……….

Here we are heading into the end of March. This brief look into the first discipline I hope has challenged you as it has me. I must admit, this discipline is not an easy one for me in the pace in which daily life comes and goes. I continue to struggle to make time to sit and be silent, but I reflect on those words of my dad, “Practice makes perfect”, so I will continue to grow this discipline one day at a  time.

This week I want to share a few quotes from Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline and then my thoughts I had as I read them. My hope in sharing is that it will cause you to think also, deeper about the discipline of meditation. Here we go….

“In meditation we are growing into what Thomas à Kempis calls “a familiar friendship with Jesus.” We are sinking down into the light and life of Christ and becoming comfortable in that posture. The perpetual presence of the Lord (omnipresence, as we say) moves from a theological dogma into a radiant reality. “He walks with me and he talks with me” ceases to be pious jargon and instead becomes a straightforward description of daily life.”

A friendship with Jesus…. What do you do to build a friendship with someone? Spending time ……. listening …. trusting …… sharing …. just spending time? I’m reminded of a quote I heard from a guest speaker at our church a few weeks ago, “got to versus get to”  I don’t have to do this, I get to do it. Foster says ” No, not “have to” but “want to,” for our desires and aspirations will be more and more conformed to his way. Increasingly, everything within us will swing like a needle to the polestar of the Spirit.” WOW!!!

“What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart.”

In my relationship with Christ, I must create the space for him to work. Drop my guard, put my feelings aside and give Christ the opportunity to build my inner sanctuary. From the inside out I will see Christ work as I take the time to STOP!

“Inward fellowship of this kind transforms the inner personality. We cannot burn the eternal flame of the inner sanctuary and remain the same, for the Divine Fire will consume everything that is impure. Our ever-present Teacher will always be leading us into “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Everything that is foreign to his way we will have to let go. “

Transformation! We can’t remain the same. As we spend time to stop and listen like those giants we wrote about in the last post, the Devine Fire will change us! If this doesn’t create an excitement to move into the quiet, well I don’t know what to say.

Finally for this week……….Our day to day will also be impacted!

“Often meditation will yield insights that are deeply practical, almost mundane. Instruction will come on how to relate to your wife or husband, or how to deal with this sensitive problem or that business situation. It is wonderful when a particular meditation leads to ecstasy, but it is far more common to be given guidance in dealing with ordinary human problems. Meditation sends us into our ordinary world with greater perspective and balance. ”

Here’s to a great week of listening!