Learning to Love Well

Yesterday we spoke about our vision for 2009. (It would be good for us as a church to take some time and focus on the fundamentals this year…)

  1. Our vision for this year is simple and to the point: Learning to love well. (Pete Scazzero states this as his thesis statement in the book The Emotionally Healthy Church – p. 18)
  2. Loving authentically and honestly – and venturing below the waterline to those places that hinder true and godly intimacy in the scope of all our relationships.

I also provided a snapshot of contemplative spirituality, which we will be focusing on later in the year…

  1. My (current) understanding of contemplative spirituality is that it is about building spiritual and holy rhythms into our lives (sometimes it’s called a “rule of life”).
  2. It is also about growing a quiet center in our hearts — where we enjoy communion with God (Did you get a chance to read the My Heart, Christ’s Home booklet by Robert Munger?).

What does communion with God mean? It means that we are creating space in our lives to be with Christ. This is where Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer , reminds us of an excellent perception of the fundamentals/basics…

  1. Nouwen said, “To pray is to listen…” To encounter Christ is to learn how to listen. The work of prayer – or growing intimacy with Christ — is to create that space and to learn how to listen.
  2. What are we listening for? (Nouwen says it so well…) To pray is to listen to, or for, the One who calls you, my beloved — “my beloved daughter,” “my beloved son,” “my beloved child.” This is what Jesus heard from his Father when he came up out of the water at his baptism.
  3. To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being. Who am I? I am the beloved. That’s the voice Jesus heard throughout his life and his ministry.
  4. If you can’t hear that voice above the tapes that are already playing in your head then seek out some prayer and help…
  5. If we can hear God’s voice saying we are beloved we can deal with an enormous amount of success as well as an enormous amount of failure without losing our identity.
  6. True ministry (and evangelism for that matter) starts when we operate out of the understanding that we are beloved. We claim our belovedness and use it as a response to all the voices and tapes that play in our heads.
  7. When we discover our belovedness by God, we see the belovedness of other people and begin to call that forth.
  8. What we are talking about is the definition of obedience… (The Church has made “obedience” a “religious” word, not a spiritual word.) The primary action of Christian obedience is for us to make room in our lives to hear God call us beloved.

Click here for an excellent article by Nouwen entitled Moving From Solitude To Community To Ministry. Thanks to all the people who are stepping up to get things done and make things happen — you help make this fun!!

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