One Minute Meditation Psalm 123





What are you thankful for? I am thankful I had time to make this week's One Minute Meditation! Whatever is going on, why not take a minute (I know you have at least 1!) and give yourself time to meditate on God's Word from Psalm 123 today? Do it!
For more videos, check out www.tinyurl.com/jedipastorkentv!

Shut Up....Please, I Do Not Think You Know What Empathy Means.

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I keep my rules on my Facebook page and social media sites very minimal.  Through the years I have had to remind people that when I introduce a controversial topic, I expect everyone to honor other people, not just opinions.  If anyone...ANYONE...begins to cross that line, I shut it down. Period.  I have multiple reasons I suppose, but mainly, there are lots of pages where a person can go to get into arguments, degrade others while maintaining that you are only trying to persuade them, and basically shout to your heart's content that you are right and others are wrong.

This is not going to happen on my pages.  Period.

I have only blocked a very few.  A few I have asked simply not to post anymore.  Recently, a post generated some discussion and someone, someone I have never had a conversation with before, stopped by, addressed me with labels and then sought to tell me they empathized with me.  


My pages, across social media and the internet, are intended to foster people on their spiritual journey to know God.  It does not take much time to read a few of my posts, watch a video or two, read breath prayers, to pick up on this.  I don’t go to other pages to engage in the debate much either.  One thing I seek to avoid doing at any time, above maybe anything else, is to label another person.  Period.  Precisely because it does with Soren Kierkegaard notes, you are negating another person.  

Empathy does not do that.  In fact, I do not think we even know what it means anymore or how our words, written within the context of opposing opinions, must be carefully chosen if we want to convey or express empathy.  I want to note where the issue breaks down looking at a simple definition of empathy:
the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else's feelings.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy)

Simple, right?  Not once you apply a label to a person.  A label is for noting the size of an article of clothing.  A label identifies something.  When you label another, in the course of conversation (especially debate), you remove the “person,” the “someone.”  I think it is worse than creating a “strawman” because labeling is directed at another human being, a person, directly.  

Yes, of course, you and I might apply labels to things we believe.  We might identify ourselves with a religious belief, a political party, a profession, but labeling removes the person from the equation of conversation.  And once you remove the person, you are no longer sharing their experiences and emotions.  You are negating them.  You are negating the person.

I am a Christian pastor, a spiritual director, a writer, a Star Wars fan, a hunter, a backpacker, and many other words with which I identify myself.  Those can be used to describe me or they can, and in a conversation, easily twisted and tainted with condescension.  In a civil discourse on a controversial subject in social media?  Don’t insult any of us...it is VERY tempting to do this and sadly, it is.

On my pages, I won’t accept it.  Period.

While at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, I recently picked up a book written by one of the monks there, Elias Marechal, entitled, “Tears of An Innocent God.”  I am slowly making my way through his writing as part of my daily time with God.  One of the words he introduces is one very foreign to the Christian faith, maybe even shunned because of its origin and connotations are given.  

The word is “Namaste.”

In his chapter, “A Beggar’s Final Words,” Brother Elias tells the story of a beggar who is dying and shares his last words with a nun, present with him, and comforting him.  As he takes his last breath, she folds her hands in the direction of the beggar and offers a gesture of “namaste.”  What is it?  In Brother Elias’ simple explanation, it is an honoring of the sacred energy of another person.  In essence, we are giving respect to the heart, soul, and mind which our Heavenly God has granted everyone with.

Namaste is not an Indian or Hindu term alone, though it might be labeled that.  It is just as confusing when anyone tries to tell a Christian from the Middle East they shouldn’t call God, Allah, though that is the word for God in their language.  

Namaste is more than a gesture, it is a way of viewing others as a person, in the way God, in the person of Jesus, looks at us and came to us.  This is one more reason I love the name, Immanuel, for Jesus, for it means, “God with us.”  God thought more of us than to label us lost, God came to us in the greatest gesture of namaste.

I will strive always to offer to you namaste, to try to live as Immanuel.  When you are with me in person or on my websites.  I will try to share your experiences and emotions and I ask you seek to give the same courtesy.  Just know, if you cannot, I may simply ask you, in the nicest way, “shut up...please, I’m trying to love you.”

Namaste.  Lord have mercy.


60 Second Sermon: Who's Got Your Back?


This week's 60 Second Sermon is up and JediPastorKen asks the simple question: Who's Got Your Back? Anyone? And for that matter, who are YOU standing with? Hmmm.... Remember, "birds of a feather flock together!"



Check Proverbs 27:17 and John 15:12-13 on http://bible.oremus.org/



#60secondsermon #goodquestion #leadership #friendship #ironsharpensiron

One Minute Meditation (Psalm 78)





Learn a simple way to meditate with this One Minute Meditation on Psalm 78. Take a minute for yourself today...really, just 60 seconds to reflect and then move forward toward a more meaningful life!  Psalm 78 encourages you to pass on the story of God in your life.  When was the last time you considered what God has done in your life and who you would share that with?



Consider reading the whole chapter of Psalm 78 this week.



Click this link to Psalm 78 http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=377753547

For more videos check out www.tinyurl.com/jedipastorkentv

God Doesn't Care About Young People...Just Saying.


Stop believing the narrative. God doesn’t care about young people.  God cares about all people.  
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I was a youth pastor for nearly a decade.  I love hanging out with children's ministries and youth ministries.  I love being involved with Scouting ministries too.  But the way society creeps up on us and influences the Church is often so subtle we’d miss it.  And, we usually do.

I have read for years about the “greying of the church” and lamentations about the pews growing older.  I have heard in every church, of every size how what is keeping the Church of Jesus Christ growing is the lack of young people.  And, yes, I do grieve the lack of young people.  I do wish there were more.

But the man who threw the great banquet in Jesus’ parable didn’t waste much time when people didn’t come.  Take a moment and read his solution...

But when you give a feast,  invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid  at  the resurrection of the just.”
15When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him,  “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”16But he said to him,  “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.17And at the time for the banquet he  sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’20And another said,  ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’21So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in  the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’22And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’23And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.24For I tell you,  none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” (Luke 14:13-24, ESV)

We often observe how Jesus grew the Church starting with some fishermen, a tax collector and a traitor.  He hung out with drunks and prostitutes.  Yes, Jesus was concerned people would turn children away BUT even Jesus did not say the future of the church is dependent on young people.

The future of the Church is dependent on lost people being found by the grace and love of Jesus Christ.  Nothing else is going to “save” the Church...that is, even IF the Church needs saving.  My friend, Morgan Guyton has a great title for his book: “How Jesus Saves the World from Us.”  Morgan has an important prophetic voice and I encourage you to read it and prepare to be challenged but sometimes a title says it all. Maybe the Church simply needs to be saved from us.

We need to stop coming up with solutions based on false narratives about what the Church of Jesus Christ needs. I'm glad Jesus' solution to the world's problem was never dependent on an age group or ageism. There are many issues worth addressing in the Church.  I tend to not think the greying of the Church is an issue.  While I learn from young people, the mentors I trust are older people, greyed people and wrinkled folks. As a spiritual director, I have found my own life challenged and renewed by being in the presence of those older and truly wiser.  Jesus never seems to have an issue with older people.  I wonder why it is we seem to?  



The One Thing You Aren't Doing to Know God Better


We are a generation of doers.  Doing things ranks high on our list.  Now, those things don’t have to be actually productive, in fact, it may well be our doing has little to show for it.  There are easy targets to pick on, such as Netflix and Facebook.  And there are those we take for granted because they are part of society, like spending a day watching football all the way through or watching soap operas.  Are there more?  Of course, there are but this is merely a starting point, a place meditate…


What are you doing regularly that has nothing to show for it?


What does this have to do with the number one thing keeping us from a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with God?  It's this, for all our excuses for not having time for God, we fill our lives with empty hours, time spent on lesser things.


I am convinced the number one thing keeping you from the kind of relationship you say you want to have with God is you are filling your day with lesser things.  You and I are influenced in the most subtle of ways, to do “our things” we only give God time, maybe, for one hour each week.  Some of you won’t even do that.


Simon Tugwell, monk and author, wrote, “If the basic reason why God is crowded out of our lives is simply that we want to be God ourselves, then it must be so, that the very first point of conversion will be, in however small a way, to stop being God, and so leave room for God to be God.” (Prayer: Living with God, 34). It seems to me, the greatest battles of spiritual warfare are not regarding demonic possession but the ones between our “old self” and “new self.”


I am convinced making time with God is the first-best step of spiritual formation.  It is a response to God’s grace and it is a concrete way to put your trust in God.  Making specific time with God is something Jesus did as a regular habit.  Mark writes, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35, ESV)  The pattern of the early church and godly men and women through the centuries is marked by a similar attentiveness to setting aside time for God.


So if you are ready to make this simple shift in your day, don’t wait till New Year’s, do it now.  Here are three helps to guide you as you make time for God:


1. Pick a time of day.  
What time of day works for you? When do you have the most flexibility and when you are the most rested?


2. Find a spot.
I’ve have found spots like my office, my recliner, on my patio, at a campfire, and more.  You need to pick where it works best for you.


3. Use the clock.
Keep the time short, even 5 minutes can be plenty.  I make 1 minute meditations every week on YouTube that you can use too.  Don’t feel like you need an hour! The goal here is set aside the time.


You won’t grow spiritually until you make time for the Spirit to grow.  If it is your desire to take the next step, then don’t wait.  There is no better time than right now to reorient your life to God.  Make time and make it right now!


May I Suggest?

Pull out your calendar, whatever one you use the most and make a spot for an “appointment with God.”  You could write “phone call with the big guy” or something.  Get it in your calendar and reminder for the next month and see how things are working.  If you need help, feel free to email me at jedipastorken(a)gmail.com

Can't Hear God? 5 Ways To Hear God's Voice Better

I will never forget the tone of voice of my parents when they called out to me.  It was easy to tell the difference between concern, love, and frustration.  The latter usually included the use of my entire name with extra syllables added!  My own children know those differences too.  Even though they are young adults and going their own ways, our text messages even have a sense about them.

Lately, I find myself wrestling with how I am doing when it comes to listening to God.  As a pastor and spiritual director, I have had the question of listening to God posed to me many times.  It may well be one of the most common hang-ups people have with their spiritual life.  Are you having this difficulty?  If so, you are in good company.  Even those of us in the practice of knowing God struggle too.

So what is the answer for it?  My observation in reading from different faith traditions is teachers and religious leaders also have a conviction or expertise but acknowledge their tradition has acceptable differences.   It seems in Christianity, there tends to be a one-size approach taken by pastors and teachers, usually, this is unique to a denomination.  The “wrongness” or “rightness” of a practice is often judged.  I am going to try not to do that if I can help it. It isn't about a "tradition," it is about God.


Here are five thoughts I have to offer you on the subject of listening for God…

1.  Are you connected with other followers?  (Hebrews 10:25)
One of the most valuable ways we learn is to be with others in the process.  Being in school and in a classroom is a primary example of how we learn and can learn very effectively.  Working with others in our class can reinforce this.  The Bible says specifically don’t give up meeting together!  We don’t just need to meet together for rituals, we meet together because we can meet God and hear from God in the midst of being with others.


2.  Have you made time for God in your day?  (Luke 5:16)
I heard this one a long time ago and never forgot it.  It is the reminder that if Jesus needed to take time to be with God alone in prayer, then we surely do too.  Are you making time to meet with God daily?  Are you reading the Bible or sacred text?  Are you praying?  Do you have a devotional to read?  You are NOT going to get to know someone by osmosis...you MUST make time for them.  This includes giving time to be with God.  (The Upper Room is a great help).


3.  Do you experience an assurance of salvation?  (Romans 8:16)   
This is a tricky one and as I describe it, it comes to be a connection between heart and head: do you have a consistent sense of peace when you reflect on your relationship with God?  Is there contradiction or conflict in your life regarding you and God? A sense of stress or worry?  Romans seems to indicate there is a deep contentment that is more than a feeling or simple knowledge of a fact.  


4.  Do you have other “senses” in tune with God? (Psalm 34:8)
The Psalm writer points here to the idea of “tasting” to “see” that God is good.  Well, that is two different senses at play that are not connected.  John Wesley writes that we may have “had ear, but heard not,” and now we are “made capable of hearing,” but in a spiritual sense.  God’s voice we hear in commands AND invitations as well as promises and corrective words.  We hear them ALL gladly and apparently they come in different ways!


5.  Is there someone to help you? (John 3:1-21 and 4:7-19)
Jesus took time to speak one-on-one with both a religious teacher and a woman he met who was getting water.  The model of the Pastoral letters (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) give us instructions about those who are to guide people on their faith journey.  Often we need someone farther on the spiritual journey to help us.  Even those of us who are trained as spiritual directors are to be in spiritual direction!  Having someone to help you listen for God can be one of the best things you can do for your soul.

I am far from done with this topic, listening to God.  I have heard God’s voice in varying ways throughout my life.  Contrary to some teachers, God’s voice does not lead us always to great financial blessings or fewer difficulties.  Certainly, for some, this is the case but nearly every one of Jesus’ disciples was martyred as were thousands in the early church (and in the 20th century the Church experienced its greatest period of martyrdom).  Listening to God may lead people into full-time ministry but may also lead some to other places to serve God too.  

Ultimately though, listening to God ought to lead us to self-examination and transformation of our soul so we might be more like Jesus and help lead us to transform the world into the Kingdom of God.  
May I Ask? How is listening to God changing you?  How are you changing the world?  Even the smallest signs offer us hope we are on the Way.





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