sync your heart with God’s heart

Dwelling in the presence of God just makes us more open to the God surprises in each day. It moves us from an analytical, theological and intellectual approach  to a more experiential place where we can encounter God’s activity around us.

In Genesis 18, Abraham receives his guests in a traditional yet authentic way. He bows low to the ground not to worship them but to express his genuine receptivity to unexpected guests. His greeting says I receive you, I value you, and I respect you. We don’t really know if he recognized initially that they were indeed messengers from heaven.

I often wonder how many God encounters in my life I have all together missed due to my lack of dwelling in the presence of God. Read more

The Enchanted Forest?

Well not exactly, at least not in the way that our pop culture would describe it. Most of us are familiar with the term “enchanted forest” that appears in folklore, fairy tales and Disney movies. The idea being that the forest is where strange, magical and transformational things might occur or unusual people might appear. In Abraham and Sarah’s forest, strange and transformational things did happen. Meeting up with the three visitors from heaven changed the direction of their lives and caused them to live differently. So in this case, you might really say it was an enchanted forest.

I am reminded of the recent Disney movie that came out several years ago called “Enchanted”. In the movie, Princess Giselle leaves her cartoon world to visit earth. During her stay she meets up with a lawyer from New York City. At first, her strange behavior of always looking on the bright side, naively believing in true love and inviting others to sing and dance with her in the park seems, well, psychotic and dangerous to him. But as the plot unfolds, he is drawn to this strange and wonderful way of viewing life and his heart is warmed.

As Christians, we are also invited to live in an enchanted world… Read more

Finding the place

Today, we may not be able fill our cars with camping gear and head for the trees when we feel overwhelmed, but we can with practice find that place of meeting within us.

I’ll never forget the time we were camping in a remote town in Sicily. We were needing some rest from our work in the Mennonite Churches there so we had  packed the car and headed for the trees. This particular morning, my husband, Harry, had decided to purchase some cream-filled doughnuts for us to enjoy for breakfast. Our youngest son, only three at the time, didn’t want his so Harry ate that one too. It turns out that he became violently ill with some potent bacteria growing in the cream… a risk that you sometimes take dwelling in remote villages..  Read more

driving the stakes down deep

Abraham pitched his tent near the Great trees of Mamre. He didn’t just think about a special time when he felt close to God, instead,  he literally drove his stakes down into the ground to stay a while.

Sometimes in life, I feel like I am breathlessly running from one place to the next; one thing to the next. I can quickly lose my bearings and sense of purpose. So many times I feel inundated with a subversive desire to pursue anything except God; clothes, gadgets, a better life, the hippest restaurant, cars, coffees, computers… I am exhausted just thinking of the things that seem to direct my life. However, it is not all about things… there are also noble pursuits like my health, my kids’ sports, music lessons, school projects, volunteering at little league, and many other wonderful things. It feels so disheartening that sometimes I barely have space at the end of the day to even notice God.How do I pitch a tent in the presence of God in the midst of such a busy life? Read more

Wondering

There are times in my life when I feel full of life and inspiration… where I feel connected to something greater than myself. That sense of connection can be directive and generative… creative fuel for this thing we do called life.

There are other times when I feel stagnant, lonely, lost and disconnected. I long for meaning again. I long to reconnect.

Abraham experienced similar things as he tried to follow the Most High God. He faced familial challenges, disappointments, disillusion, and loneliness. It seems that during this time, he had a habit of returning to a special place; the great trees of Mamre. This was a place where he heard God … just being there reoriented him and seemed to help him reenter the story where he had left off.

We all need places of reorientation… places and memories that help us connect to the greater story that God is weaving with our lives. When was the last time you felt part of the great story God is telling the universe?