A Return to the Valley of Suck and Four Lessons of Faith


 Today I participated in my first interview as an author.  It was a return to my book, "Life Sucks Seek God."  I had no idea what it might mean or how I would feel.  It is hard to believe the book was published four years ago now!  Today, I am looking at life with a new vision of ministry and with a renewed hope for living thanks, in no small part to the new family I am part of with my new wife, Lauren, and how our children are moving forward with their lives.

As Valeria, host of the Fit for Joy podcast, asked questions, I found myself remembering and reliving moments from the days when my late wife, Heather, was living and fighting cancer.  I got to talk about where the Valley of Suck originated and how important my Facebook support group was during those times.  As I reflect on the interview, four lessons of faith came out of the discussion:

1.  You are not alone.  We make the choice to be alone but not only can we find support in person, it can come through online groups.  As I talked about it though, we cannot lose sight, that in the valley of the shadow of death and the valley of suck that caregivers walk, God is there, our shepherd (Psalm 23).

2. The Sacred Space.  Valeria's questions brought me to talk about "thin spaces" and the "time between time," that happens when people are dying.  Being with Heather was sacred as she crossed from this physical world and into the spiritual world.  Teilhard de Chardin said, "We are not physical beings on a spiritual journey but spiritual beings on a physical journey."  So true.


3. Faith can be fun.  That one sounds kind of odd, I know!  How did this come out of the interview?  As I live and wrestle still with the Valley of Suck, it taught me the value of faith and how it gives rise to hope and joy.  Rabbi David Horowitz helped me understand the theology of wine to the Jewish people and how we Protestants have lost it - for it is a sign of God's blessings and God's love for us!  There should be times of joy on the journey!  Party!  Celebrate ALL THE GOOD!

4.  The Journey Continues.  I have been going through a class and course that has had me asking and discerning my call, my passion and my gifts.  As I have gotten feedback, I had no idea how important this part of my faith journey has been and what you, my friends and readers, have been looking to me for in your journey.  I have to ask for forgiveness for not continuing to address this.  So my journey continues and I plan to be more attentive and real and be here for you!

The Valley of Suck is still real to me. In moments when I don't expect it, it grabs my ankles and pulls me down.  Even after all this time. You don't ever get over the grief.  You walk through it and you do it every...single...day.  The Valley doesn't have to win though.  I wrote the book from the Valley of Suck and it proves again and again to be a tested way through. 

Keep going.

Do No Harm. Do Good.  Stay in Love with God.  Even when life sucks! ;)
Jedi Pastor Ken


 





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.


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