About Me

Christ follower, husband, father, minister, musician.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

When has this happened before?

When has this happened before?

I'm sitting in my living room.  Reese is asleep.  Nicole and her girlfriends have just headed out garage-saling for the morning.  I'm alone with my coffee and an unfortunate access of Tastefully Simple cinnamon mini melts.  There was a great storm last night, and has lingered into this gray morning.  The dampness is seeping in through the open windows with the fresh new air.  Birds and critters are adding their songs to the atmosphere.  I wonder if they're rebuilding nests, scavenging for food, or just excited about the new day. Anyway, it's nice to be sitting in a quiet place (sans distant traffic and jet sounds) for a change.

I'm sure my Mentor Gathering friends can agree - as can any of you who have gone to a great retreat, conference, or even vacation - I've not had much time to put into practice what I was so hoping to adopt from my time away from "life."  When I returned from Ocean Grove it was back in the groove, back in the swing of things, back on the horse, back to life back to reality.  So today, 3 weeks later, this unexpected margin is a very welcomed change of pace.

To not lose any more precious time, I'm gonna log off quickly and I'll expand on the idea of Silence & Solitude later.  A few thoughts for now:

Brennan Manning stated over and over again that the most important spiritual discipline in his mind was silence and solitude.  It was spending time in quiet reflection and meditation on God, His Word, and His character.  I know we've all heard that before.  However, I think (hope & pray) it really sunk in this time.  Even in the hustle and bustle of married life, full-time ministry, and parenting a 2-year-old, I am compelled to do this.  It may not be for an hour a day.  But even 10 minutes of quiet will do me good.

My hope is (if I get a full night's sleep) to get up at 6:30 and find some time then.  I was able on the retreat to get up at 5:30 and catch the sunrise.  So 6:30 shouldn't be to difficult, as long as Reese sleeps like she is right now!

OK, more later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Abba, I belong to You

I got the great privilege of spending a few days with some amazing people last week at Ocean Grove, NJ.  About 30 worship pastors, artists, and leaders got together to encourage, retreat, study, and worship.  That alone was a blessing.  Being with folks who have served faithfully for decades, who have blazed trails, who have scars and chevrons.  I was truly humbled to sit and learn of how God has used them and continues to do so.

We were blessed immeasurably to spend a few mornings with Brennan Manning, who was honestly the reason we all signed up to go on this retreat in the first place.  Knowing his books and a small part of his story, we all anticipated God to speak through Brennan in an amazingly profound way.  Our time together was profound, indeed.  To describe it is to describe the Grand Canyon.  Words will fail.  Pictures revive memories for those of us who were there.  And though a picture is worth a thousand words, it still does not do justice to the SMILE that fell over our time in Thornley Chapel, the Great Auditorium, and the streets and porches of OG.

"Abba, I Belong to You" was from Brennan.  It is the prayer he prays "100 times a day."  In his words,
It gives me a core sense of identity, a core sense of belonging, I belong to the Abba of Jesus...When you pray, you are to say ABBA. What an extraordinary intimacy we are called to with the living God. 

As I try to figure out where I'm to go with all of this, I plan on starting with this prayer.  There is so much to "unpack" from mountaintop experiences like these.  We all want to find the application, to find the "take-home," to see that we've grown a few inches taller than the notch on the door frame.

If I learned one thing this weekend, it was slow down, listen, ponder, wait, and be loved.  We were allowed the opportunity to do that with Brennan and each other.   He graciously loved us.  We together, broken & bruised, our pride removed, worshiped.  And it was all possible because of the Grace & Love of Christ.