I Could Use Your Help...


Friends, I need your input and help.

I am getting into some deep work that God has been working on in me for some time now. It is in regards to my calling and how I am called to live out as a pastor the unique way God has called me to do ministry.
A big part of it is in my writing and publishing. I am so excited to get my book on Breath Prayer done for you all! Your support of my Breath Prayers has been amazing!  

It is also in my presence on-line and how I can be an encourager for everyone on their journey of faith. So, as I am working on my writing, I am also working on how I handle video production. You all have really been supportive in what I've been trying to do and especially in my 60 Second Sermons! Thank you! Those won't go away!

But there is more work I am trying to do on YouTube. I want to be addressing the things on your heart - where you are looking for God's guidance.  But don't worry, what happens there, resonates here in my writing!  THIS is my home page!  Many of my blogs, are going to be part of what happens next on YouTube.
 
If you are looking to me for some of that guidance, then what is it? If you go looking for my input - what subject are you looking for me to tackle? What are you dealing with that it seems no pastor is talking about? When it comes to your spiritual journey, what could I help you with best?

Here is my BIG ASK? Would you go over to my YouTube channel and subscribe and find a video you like and comment? And if that spurs something more - then let me know that too!

I want to be the BEST JEDI PASTOR I can be - There is no time for trying - it is time to do!
Here is the link to my YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVmuUqgV9rAc_n4mia7zoOw

Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God....THIS is the WAY!


Stop Hiding Behind Your Bible Study - Go Do What Jesus Said




Photo from Pexels
I am so glad I am out of the classroom. My learning style didn’t fit well there but you know, I made it all the way to graduate school and beyond. And yet...I wonder how things might be different if I had gone a different route?

Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, is a big supporter of trades education. There is such a great need for many of those jobs now because of the focus on college degrees and white collar careers. But these aren’t always the best careers for everyone! I can’t help but think this has been one of the most damaging things to the Church and spiritual growth in people’s lives too - that somehow - only the rightly educated can be clergy and pastor and care for people.

I cry “bull.”

“Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do,” wrote author Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (It sounds a bit like Yoda, I think).



Knowing isn’t enough for the spiritual journey if application isn’t part of that journey. Wishing you were like Francis Chan or Timothy Keller isn’t going to cut it - we must do. I grew up with an old southern phrase: “God ain’t go grandchildren.” Your faith - my faith - must be our personal faith, though it isn’t private. What we have got to do is live it out.
Jesus doesn’t need a whole bunch more Bible studies - Jesus needs more folks inclined to do what is simply put forth in the Scriptures we have. It is well and good for clergy to know the original languages and the nuances of exegesis BUT what is really needed is for each and every one of us to spend some time talking to God. God isn’t looking for us to vote for the right candidates but to give voice to Kingdom of God and the Good News of the Gospel, namely there is a place for ALL people at the Table.

Jesus was interested in people becoming more than experts in the Bible, his interest was in you and me following what He said...

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NRSV, emphasis added).

You may need lessons in Hebrew and Greek to study the Bible in the original languages but you don’t need a graduate degree to talk with God or buy a value meal and give it to a hungry person.

Now go do good, do no harm and stay in love with God.


How to Practice Stillness and Centering Prayer | Methods of Methodism

Methods of Methodism is a four-week series starting with How to Practice Stillness and Centering Prayer. Pastor Ken Hagler joins up with Pastor Lisa Talbott to talk about the history, meaning and practices of Stillness and Centering Prayer. We'll unpack some of the mystery and misunderstanding, but more than that, Ken and Lisa will talk about the Scriptural basis and history and how these spiritual practices fit into our lives.


When we start talking about spiritual practices and disciplines, I have found there is sooooo much misunderstanding or misinformation.  As we tackle the subjects of Stillness and Centering Prayer, Lisa and I tackle some of these points.  Christianity is an ancient faith (not sure how much more I can emphasize this) and our Scriptures and traditions go back centuries!  Pop-Christianity has a tendency to only look at the current century or maybe go back two or three centuries.  We aren't talking of the heresy of Quietism or Eastern meditations - Stillness is a call to be in the presence of God - to be at peace, as the Psalmist writes to us:

He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[a] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
    Psalm 46:9-10

Take to watch or listen and stay tunes for the our next episode!

Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God!
Jedi Pastor Ken


A Prayer for Today

 Hey God,

Today is a new day you have made,
so today, we rejoice in it!
Today is a day of new beginnings,
so today, we start anew.
Today is before us with opportunities galore,
so today, may our vision see what you see.

Yesterday is behind and tomorrow is not here.
Today, is what we have been given.
We are Easter people and resurrection is our truth!
In this day, make the message of our lives be hope to the world!

Where we have sinned against another, 
show us, so we might make amends.
Where we have sinned against you, God,
show us, so we might turn from our ways.

God, you moved into the neighborhood when you came in human form.
You know the mess we’ve made of things, and still you came.
You are still here.
Today, is a new day you have made,
so today, we rejoice you are with us!
You are Emmanuel!
AMEN.

When the Valley of Suck Won't Let Go We Need Faith, Hope, and Love All the More!

So you know what it is to be in the valley of suck now, at least a little.  This whole past year sucked and it is still sucking, isn't it?  No doubt!  Nobody wants to hear someone say, "We're in this together," because, truth is, well, we aren't.  It is different for ALL of US even if there are some similarities.


This past week, for whatever reason, the valley of suck (the nasty, dark side of grief), grabbed ahold of my Achilles tendon and tore it.  I mean, come on, it has been so long now since Heather's death, right?  Well, guess what? It doesn't matter and it never will.


But there is another part of it.  I am stronger now.  I have intent I didn't have before.  I don't write about the valley of suck and grief and widowhood, all the time, not because they don't matter but because I do not want those labels to be the defining aspects of my life and work.  If you look at my themes in my video creation and various projects, hope and faith have taken a front seat.  Right now, as I am writing and working on my book on Breath Prayers and my next project on Chrisitan Spirituality, it is about faith for everyday.  

I am leaning into a deep desire to be an encourager.  While I have befriended grief, I will not be defined by it and its nasty offspring that is the valley of suck.  I so own my first book, "Life Sucks, Seek God," because it needs to be named and the antidote needs to be promoted and preached!  


Life does suck!!  Seek God!!  When 1 Corinthians 13 states, "Faith, hope and love remain but the greatest is love," it doesn't ignore the truth that faith and hope DO indeed remain.   We need faith and hope to seek God!!


That faith and hope are counted with love should be noted and not neglected.  While the greatest is love, we need faith and we most assuredly need hope!  For in these days and times when we are all in this together, we need to keep faith, hope and love together so might be altogether Christians, little Christs, in the fullest sense of the meaning!


Do No Harm, Do Good, Stay in Love with God. This is the Way.

Jedi Pastor Ken



Do One Thing to Change the World...Add Value


Albert Einstein once said, "Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value."  That really resonated with me.  It resonated so much, I had to use it in one of my Wisdom with Master Yoda videos on YouTube!  Yeah, Yoda pretty much butchers every quote I give to him, but it is fun bringing him to “life” again.


Still, it is important for us to consider, what value are we adding to the world or are we just obsessed with success?  I can’t help but view this as a slippery slope in our day and time.  I have seen and heard politicians so obsessed over their “successes” they don’t care about whether what they have done has added value.  Run down the list of any celebrity, athlete, preacher, banker, doctor, store clerk, and we all need to ask it - are we bringing value?

That can be simple.  My son tries to give everyone he meets a compliment.  I think that is awesome!  He constantly adds value - he lets people know they are noticed!  I try to always call people by name and use the name tags in the store.  If you know me, you know I usually wear a nametag pretty regularly too.  It is said that the most beautiful sound anyone hears is their name.

Those are simple things but there are so many more ways to add value!  What is more, the Book of Proverbs (2:7) tells us, "God holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless."  It seems if we will pivot one step, and focus on the value we are adding to the world, we will start becoming the good we wish existed.  Don’t just try. Do good!

Do No Harm, Do Good, Stay In Love with God!
Jedi Pastor Ken




How to Be Spiritual and Be a Christian


I cannot help but be perplexed by the amount of material and commentary regarding Christian spirituality being unChristian.  It is an oxymoron!  How can Christianity NOT be spiritual is what I am confused about more than anything.


There was one passage that stuck with me about the Spirit of God I have never been able to shake.  It refers to the promise from Jesus, in part, he would not leave us to our own devices and on our pilgrimage of faith, there would be one sent from God to be present with us, to guide us.  Let me share it from two versions, so to be sure we get the gist.  Here is the KJV and NRSV of John 16:13:

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  (KJV)”


“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (NRSV)”


What is consistent here and in all translations is that the Spirit will come, “pnuema” is the Greek transliteration. This isn’t a text where anyone seems to pick a fight and it is clear, the Spirit of Truth is, in Orthodox, classical Christianity, the Holy Spirit.

Paul, in Romans 8:16, declares to us this same Spirit, “...itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (KJV)  And so the Greek refers to the “pnuemati” of us - our spirit.  This, my friend and reader, is clear throughout the Scriptures of the Church, Christianity is a spiritual religion.

For us in the Wesleyan-Methodist tradition, it is not possible to escape though we seem to have tried to separate ourselves from the content of John Wesley’s heartwarming experience on Aldersgate street.


Wesley wrote in his journal on May 24, 1738:

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading [Martin] Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”


That “heartwarming” has long been identified with Paul’s Roman 8:16 passage.  From this spiritual event, come many denominations long identified as Charismatic and Pentecostal - “Spirit-filled” churches if you will.  Our’s is a VERY SPIRITUAL CHRISTIANITY and we dare not lose sight of it nor should the Church of Jesus Christ, anywhere lose our connection to our spirituality.


For me, it seems we have failed to understand the richness and depth of our Christian tradition which has led us to this point of flushing out the spiritual for fear, at times, of New Age beliefs.  There are real reasons to be concerned for certain but we dare not tar and feather all that we do not care to research or understand.  We are a spiritual faith tradition that traces the lineage through 2,000 years of church history and 2,000 more years of Jewish heritage and spirituality.  Ours is an ancient faith steeped in more spirituality than the past century.

To walk away from spiritual Christianity is to walk away from the hope of transformation.  It is walking away from inspiration.  It is walking down a path of humanism once again, elevating humanity to the status of God and builders of Babel.

“What landed Jesus on the cross was the preposterous idea that common, ordinary, broken, screwed-up people could be godly!” wrote the late Mike Yaconelli.  This is Christian Spirituality at its heart and root.  Not that in our works or practices we can become perfect, but that on the Cross of Jesus, the gift was given so we could be godly by the grace of God, not by someone’s personal to-do list of perfection.  Repentance is a vital component to this spiritual journey that began in the cry of the prophets and led to John the Baptist and Jesus, as well.


I can no more be a Christian who is not spiritual and using spiritual practices than I can be a motor vehicle that doesn't have a motor or use gas, diesel, or electric power. To be a Christian is to be on a spiritual journey. It is to be a faith journey. We own up to our need for Jesus. We own up to the mess of our lives, too.  And there, in the place called repentance, we turn from the way we’ve been headed with our lives and find the Spirit of Truth, waiting patiently to join us in the mess and ready to journey with us toward a Christ-likeness that can only be fulfilled by being spiritual.


Do no harm. Do Good. Stay in Love with God.

Jedi Pastor Ken



Faith or Works? Why the Season of Lent is Important to Faith for Everyday



There is a story of a horse groomer who would spend much effort everyday combing and rubbing down the horse in his care, but at the same time, he stole from the oats intended for the horse and sold them for his own profit. One day the horse had enough. “Hey!,” said the horse, “if you really wish me to be in the best condition, you should groom me less, and feed me more.”


I am struck by one particular aspect of the story, and that is the importance of balance in our care. For the horse to be at its best, both the food and the combing must be done. To neglect one or the other would leave the horse unbalanced. The horse knew it and could keep silent no longer!


In our own lives, we find aspects of this very story. But I think it is more telling of our spiritual lives even more so. It is a troubling thing for you or me to get so wrapped up in our yearning for spiritual growth that we neglect the concern for our fellow humans. Likewise, we can get so obsessed with doing good, we fail to care for our inward souls. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Revival, rejected faith by works as well as “spiritual solitaries.” Throughout Wesley’s life and ministry he looked at “classical Christianity” and made sure all understood, that though we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, this same faith would be lived out in the works we did for our neighbors and needy.

Wesley would preach and teach affirming Paul’s words that it is, “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).” And Wesley would also affirm James’ challenge to a mere solitary life, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26).”


As we enter the season of Lent in the church, the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, it is a time for us to turn our attention that care of our inward souls, to come to faith in Jesus once again, to reflect and ruminate on the messiness of our lives and the messy we have made. Here, in these forty days, we take time to do what I often call, “The Inner Work,” and prepare for the outward works in the days after Easter.

https://www.umc.org/en/content/lent-photo-a-day-2021


The Church is not retreating into itself. This is OUR calendar year for we live according to the Kingdom of God. We are, as the groomer, responsible for caring for this inward condition of our souls, not merely for ourselves but for others.

What are you doing to care for your soul? How is your church helping? How are you helping others? Do you find yourself staying in love with God? Do No Harm. Do Good. Stay In Love With God. Jedi Pastor Ken

God is NOT Like Us and It Is OK!

 




Confession time. I have been saying and teaching something for years and it isn’t true. In fact, pretty much most pastors have been doing it. Is it an evangelical Christian thing? Eh...no, I don’t think so. “Buddy Jesus” seemed to come out of the progressive side of the Church.  Does it really matter where it came from? No...


Here it is: You can’t have a personal relationship with God like God was your friend.


God is not like us.

I have been thinking about this since I produced a recent video entitled “How to Know God” on YouTube and taught about Gary Thomas’s 9 Spiritual Personality types in his book, “Sacred Pathways.” We can know God, just not like we have been led to believe.


God did make you unique AND God really, really does like you and me, and loves us!

But God ain’t like us and we need to get that out there.  And I confess, I have felt so impressed upon to make God “real” to people that I have many times forgotten just how important it is to remember God is God (and in the most basic Christian theological understanding of God - it ends there, though some will want to ask about where God comes from but that is philosophy and not Chrisitan theology or Christian spirituality.  In the beginning, was God - no other being(s) (Genesis 1 and John 1)).


These words from Numbers 23 are foundational to this understanding God isn’t like us at all...


God is not a human being, that he should lie,

    or a mortal, that he should change his mind.

Has he promised, and will he not do it?

    Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Numbers 23:19 NRSV)


God has revealed himself not so much in the Bible as God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ (so the whole New Testament unpacks this idea. Jesus is both GOD and human.) and then, shared with humankind, the very presence of the Divinity in the Holy Spirit.  Even more, God offers to be present with our spirit as we journey this life IF we want. 


For me, I don’t want a God like us. Oh, man! No wonder we all have such issues and hang-ups with God - if God was really like us, how terrible would this God be after all. I have come to understand if I really understand and comprehend God, then maybe it is me who has created this God in my image.  God has made you and me in ways we can know God but not like we think; not like us.  This is good.  What is far more important is to know God knows us and “...even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30)” 

Prayer is not like talking to a friend. Listening to God involves so much more of our attention than we are willing to give most days! Spending time with God doesn't mean we're sitting in the deer stand together swapping stories or taking long walks on the beach. These and so many more practices point out this relationship is DIFFERENT. It is NOT a bad thing just a different thing because GOD IS NOT LIKE US!!! So let us stop treating God just like a buddy, stop ghosting on God and take God at his word - God is not a human being...thanks be to God!


Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay In Love with God Jedi Pastor Ken



Four Things To Do To Get Unstuck


How do you get going again when you feel stuck?  I have been reading and ruminating over the past few years.  I have listened to TED talks, articles and books.  I kept finding they all said the same things over and over again.  

Here is the truth:  We are NOT the same!


Yep, you and I and everyone else is different and when you or I get in a rut, we don't need to do what everyone else is doing.  Look at this blog and my writing.  I have been stuck for a while, and now it seems, I can write again.  What happened?  I really have NO IDEA!!!!  Still, as I look back at things, at my life these past few years, I think I can say I've learned a little bit about getting out of the rut I've been in.  Here are my four things that have helped me get unstuck.


1.  Be Patient.  No one seems to say this because, I think, folks just are so wrapped up in being busy, they think they just have to be doing SOMETHING!  I think this is just BULL!  You need to be patient.  Don't try and put an end date on it because you really don't really have control.  Remember, patience is a virtue and it will help you get unstuck.


2.  Do Old Things.  Do what brought joy in the past.  Find some of those old books you love.  Go on a walk you enjoyed or visit a place that has fond memories.  Look at old pictures.  Call up an old friend.  Do things you know, in the past, inspired and helped you find meaning.

3. Veg A Little.  Kinda like being patient again, ya know, wash - rinse - repeat?  Seriously, waste some time intentionally.  Do some things you "shouldn't" do because, well, you shouldn't.  I don't mean illegal but, ya know, eat dessert first for a change.  


4. Add Some Flavor.  Now, start doing new stuff, start trying to move forward.  Don't do a lot.  It is like my wife, Lauren, says about salt when cooking, "Add a little.  You can always add more but you can't take it out!"  Don't try to do too much, just a little and see what happens.

I am FINALLY done with my first draft on my new book on Breath Prayer.  It has taken a long time since I started and looking back, this is the pattern I followed without even knowing it.  You know what?  I am ready to start writing my next book already!  I know, crazy, right?!  And you know what, it isn't just about writing, it is about my relationship with God.  It has been personal in other ways too.  Whatever in your life that has had you stuck, you can move forward but don't just listen to the experts. Take some of the pressure off and try these four things that have helped me get unstuck.  They may just work for you too!

Let me know what you have tried to do that has helped you!  I'd love to know what has you stuck too.  Share below or send me an email!


Do No Harm. Do Good. Stay In Love With God - This is the Way!

Jedi Pastor Ken



A Tale of Two Crabs or "It Is Me O Lord, Standing in the Need of Prayer"

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash


 “Why in the world do you walk sideways like that?” said a mother crab to her son one day.  She had seen him do this his whole life.  “You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out.”  “Okay, mom, show me how to walk correctly.  I want to do it right,” replied the little crab.  So, the mother crab tried and tried, and tried again to walk straight forward.  But of course, like her son, she could only walk sideways.  When she did try and turn her toes out, she then tripped and fell.


There is no shortage, it seems, of people telling others how to live and seeking to justify a point of view.  I was reading this week about the ongoing investigation of the late Ravi Zacharias’s ministry and how it concealed and enabled his abuses.

(https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/you-are-one-step-away-from-complete).  It is, of course, one more reason for people to dismiss Christianity and most certainly hastens the collapse of the evangelical moniker of the church.  It has been “par for the course” for Christianity for centuries has it not?  


What are we to make of this?


As we come to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the words echo from the ye-olde-english: “Rend your hearts and not your garments... (Joel 2:13).”  It is time for the Church Universal to come to grips with its many failings and faults.  More importantly, it is time for you and me to do the same. 

I think it is most easy for us to do just what I did...hide in “group” and make “straw-Groups” as opposed to “strawmen.”  I do it when I write many times and have to check myself.  It is easy to cast stones at “Those people,” or “them,” or “they.”  I can right about “us” and “we” and that tends to be easier than saying what is really at the crux of the problem…


Me.  Just me.  I did.  I did it.  I do it.  I fail.  I fall.  I sin.  


The words of Jesus apply to me, first.  When I read them.  When I reflect on them.  As I prepare to preach them...

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:17-20, ESV


But how do I really handle it?  I think we have to go back to some of the other ancients of the early centuries.  As Dr. Roberta Bondi, who has written extensively on the Desert Fathers and Mothers, “they saw judgementalism as just about the greatest sin.”  Bringing the ideas of cancel culture into the church is so deadly.  There is no justification for it in the Church and both the so-called “left” and “right” should be listening.  Classical Christianity as John Wesley saw it, could not pick sides in these arguments. The idea such division was abhorrent to Jesus in his mind. 


Like the mother crab, it starts with me - I cannot tell another to do something unless I can set the example.  And, we must also listen to the words from the mouths, even from Balaam’s donkeys (those unlikely prophetic voices) that challenge us to “rend our hearts,” for you and I are sinners.


5 Things I Learned In 2020 (and still apply in 2021)

 

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Nobody has time for a big intro here.  The title kinda sums it up doesn't it?  Let's dig in then...

  1. Be Present.

This is kinda fresh on my mind because of The Upper Room Daily Devotional yesterday.  Still, when Jesus saw people and talked to people, he was right there - present with them.  I get distracted.  I start thinking about what I need to do next, heck, I even forget whether I told someone something and think that I did!  Maybe I am just getting old but I have learned how important it is to be present with the person in front of me. 

  1. Actively Listen.
    This goes with the first one but it goes a bit deeper.  Do you actually process what you are hearing???  I think about cooking.  All those ingredients are fine on their own but when you put them together, something totally different comes out and if not done correctly, we get something else altogether.  When you listen to someone else in an active way, you don’t add stuff that doesn’t belong but just what you get.  Then, you confirm, in your own words, what the person said they can confirm you got it or if you missed it.

    Throughout 2020, there has been a WHOLE lot of talking and not enough listening.  Ok, it isn’t just 2020, I’ve observed this happening for a long while. 


  2. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

My mom taught me this one long ago and it seems pretty clear, some of us have missed the lesson or forgot it.  In 2020 it seemed like no one could come up with anything nice to say about anyone.  So far, 2021 isn’t fairing much better from what people keep saying on TikTok.  This doesn’t go for just political posts but religious ones and most certainly Covid.  There is another saying that is much like this one...two wrongs do not make a right.


  1. Corporations are not people and neither are political parties.

Yes, this is a political statement.  In my opinion, if one is true, so is the other.  Joe Biden won 81,283,098 votes and Donald Trump got 74,222,958 votes.  Those are a lot of people who  voted for the winner and the loser of this election.  These votes are people and if you paid attention to first two things, you might recognize the many voices and the many reasons people voted as they did.  There is no doubt things will be different in the United States when it comes to voting in the years ahead but how “we the people” get along is up to us.


  1. Remember Three Simple Rules

They go like this

One: Do No Harm,

Two: Do Good,
Three: Stay in Love with God.


When John Wesley introduced those three simple rules, they weren’t intended to be the end all for the journey of faith but a minimum reminder; the starting place where a follower of Jesus can find their footing.  (David Watson has a great blog on the topic here: https://davidfwatson.me/2016/12/05/wesleys-caution-about-the-three-simple-rules/).  These outward signs should be experienced in an inward transformation.  That “Stay in Love with God” is a good reminder of what should be happening in us.  Really, that meme isn’t wrong, because if your religion is teaching you to hate, you are doing it wrong.  And it ain’t Christianity if you are being taught to hate.  That doesn’t mean Christianity is all about rainbows and unicorns and Kum-ba-yah, Jesus actually does challenge us and convict us regarding hate and all kinds of other nasty stuff in our souls.  Dealing with it isn’t easy.


But…


If there is one thing 2020 taught me and 2021 is encouraging me to continue it is that God doesn’t turn away from us because we are a mess.  God’s grace is more than enough!




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