Let Go, Live Now – Good News for January 1

1 01 2011

Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The Daily Path: Reading Luke’s account of the shepherds visit to the Christ child at his birth is a fitting way to begin 2011. Jesus birth was also our re-birth. The beginning of the promise that God holds for each of us: Eternal life in Him.

In this new beginning we look forward, not back. I want 2011 to be about living in the moment. Like the reborn Ebenezer Scrooge, I want to keep Christmas (Christ) in my heart EVERY day, embracing the joy that is Christ’s love in the now. Let’s allow that love to heal so we can remain in the present.

My friends, a Joyful New Year to each of you. Let go and live now!

Image “Beginning 1” courtesy of Rudi Seitz





Advent Day 9 – Good News for December 6

6 12 2010

Luke 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

The Daily Path: What hurdles would I leap to bring healing to another or for that matter, myself? I believe that each of us has the power to heal. Not the same way that Jesus did in curing lepers or making the blind see and the lame walk, but by providing strength to believe in what is possible. To offer courage in times of great need. To demonstrate faith that may offer hope to another. But we have to want to do it. I know that there are many times when I don’t feel up to offering the support I know is needed. Sometimes you just have to dig deep – like a runner approaching the finish line – and extend your arms to bring some light.





Advent Day 6 – Good News for December 3

3 12 2010

Matthew 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

The Daily Path:Son of David, help me retain my sight.” I’ve come to understand that the spiritual journey is a moment to moment trek. Sometimes we have great clarity, feeling a high voltage connection. Other times it’s stumbling along in the dark, unaware of what’s taking place before us. Imagine having 20/20 all the time and the strength to act on what you see.





Courage in the Face of… Friends? – Good News for November 24

24 11 2010

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd, “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

The Daily Path: I’m reminded of something that I have touched on here in GNTG and among the fellowship of my men’s spirituality group. How often are we afraid to bring up our faith in the midst of those we consider to be “friends”, let alone people we interact with to a lesser degree?

Even some of my best friends would give me the eye roll and move quickly to a conversation transition. I accept this and would never hammer them with the evangelical thunder of a tent revivalist. (Actually, now that I think of it, that would kind of funny to see the look on their faces as I chase them around the room, out the door, and down the street, bellowing, “Hallelujah, brother! Don’t run from the LORD! Come back!” LOL)

My point here is that while we may never have to face physical pain or death for upholding our faith, perseverance is needed through other more common trials. Perhaps more painful than imprisonment is the isolation that might be caused for our willingness to openly give testimony to our faith and spiritual journey. This is where another of Christ’s promises comes into play: I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.





Not Just Coin – Good News for November 22

22 11 2010

Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

The Daily Path: We can give from our wallet or we can give of ourselves. Certainly both types of giving are needed. Jesus points to monetary giving in this example but I think the message is broader than just coin. I’ve found that “being there” for someone in a time of great need can provide incalculable value. I’ve been on the receiving side and can tell you from my own experience that when things seem darkest receiving a note from a friend, an invitation for coffee, or a friendly call, can dig you out of the depths like nothing else. This type of genuine outreach keeps you going when the weight of the world feels squarely on your shoulders.

This week, as we prepare to gather as family and give thanks, perhaps it’s time to think about making one of those calls. Who can we share our spiritual wealth with? Who’s feeling alone or bearing the great weight of worry? Who could benefit from a little joy? Friends, I think our horn of plenty comes in all shapes and sizes. See what can be shared from your pantry of love.





Jesus Passing – Good News for November 15

15 11 2010

Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”

The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!”

Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”

Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

The Daily Path: Is Jesus walking through your life? I believe that God is always in the house, but it’s up to us to shout out to Him.

I want to share a short video that was created by Doug Foxworthy from Castro Valley, CA. Doug recently passed away, losing his battle against colon cancer. But he leaves us with a powerful message. Please watch it. I guarantee it will have an impact on your outlook (and a far greater impact than any of the television you were exposed to this past weekend while watching football).

(Click to view) ETERNITY by Doug Foxworthy





Giving Up – Good News for May 25

25 05 2010

Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.”

Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

The Daily Path: I have been blessed with the company of many fellow travelers on my spiritual journey home. A good number of them are right here in my parish comprised of two spirituality groups I participate in. We gather together on a regular basis to openly share what we are experiencing along the way. Some of our discussion focuses on the challenges we all face in living the teaching of Christ and following his example.

Some of the most poignant moments in our gatherings relate to “giving up” the false self to embrace or enable the true self. We live in a fairly affluent area and are surrounded by the trappings of wealth and material success. With that comes some heavy baggage and pressure to uphold a certain image. Despite outward appearances many in this community are deeply wounded inside. Part of the fellowship the men in our spirituality groups share is based on allowing ourselves to give up the facade and expose our wounds to each other. I believe this is also part of what Jesus is explaining to us in today’s Gospel when he talks about giving up.

Yesterday, when I chose to openly share with GNTG readers the fact that I suffer from a disease, I was giving up the pretense of invulnerability. By giving up the lie – that I was in control – I was freed from a great burden. I started to feel lighter as I accepted my weakness and saw how others accepted my woundedness. I grew stronger as I received amazing signs of support throughout the day. The death of one thing brought new life to something else. My story is just one tiny example of how “giving up” the false self brings us closer to the one truth – God.

As Christians we uphold the ultimate symbol of woundedness – Jesus on the cross. After his death, when Jesus returned to his friends, did he say “Hey, look at me! I’m the almighty Son of God who can overcome everything, including death!”?

No.

The first thing Jesus did was to draw them close, open his robe and reveal his wounds.

Giving up draws us closer.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for inspiring so many to live your commandment of love. The outpouring of genuine support I’ve experienced in the past week has been nothing short of miraculous. Though sometimes we walk in valley of the shadow, we are never alone. Truly, all things are possible through you.