From the Pulpit & Into the Garden: "Grow Where You are Planted – Scatter Seeds of Inspiration!"

Posts tagged ‘Ministry’

Working with Others

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There are times in life, when working with others, one may feel exasperated. With these feelings burnout can follow when sailing in uncharted waters.

Jesus exercised patience trying to bring others along when his ministry was young. Through his example, I am reminded to see a commitment or situation all the way through. If I do not, I will meet the same person or problem down the road. We are to grow where we are planted.

All ministries, churches or groups, when young, have rocky beginnings.

If you find yourself in the midst of such change, ponder these questions taken from an anonymous text. It will give you food for thought as you move forward on your spiritual journey:

“Could this large group successfully meet and work together? Would there be quarrels over membership, leadership and money? Would there be a struggle for power and prestige? Would there be a schism to cause the group to split apart? They were beset by these problems on every side.”

Out of dysfunction, a common understanding emerged: As a group, they had to “hang together or die separately; unify their group or pass out of existence.”

We are not required to go to battle over any person or situation. We “Let Go and Let God” do the heavy lifting.

Be encouraged this day, as you forge ahead with conviction and purpose.

“Be strong; be courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for YHWH, your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Heaven is not Separated nor Segregated

Maybe it was the sight of St. Therese’s lovely roses gently swaying in the wind or the fragrant bloom of the Jasmine that caused my head to turn.

God was once again calling me to him, in the garden.

Nature is ‘the’ place where God and I meet on equal and holy ground.

As one steps into this heavenly setting, we are invited to participate in the sacred dance of all life. We are called as children of God to come closer.

There is such synchronicity in nature and one should be allowed to walk in unity regardless of one’s station in life.

God is calling us to step up, or as Jesus put it, “I must be about my Father’s business.”

When one is beckoned into a life of service in ministry, there should be no barriers, no segregation or separation in the process; allowing those who are answering the call to breathe in and breathe out the beauty of life.

If you encounter such an experience, take heart this does not come from God. It is the error of religiosity and dogma that causes such disrepair and lack of balance in our spiritual communities. In essence, the precepts of God or the teachings of Christ are abandoned in the face of ego, power and control.

Stand tall in honor and truth; remain hopeful in the midst of any oppression. Do not be dismayed, nor discouraged; God is with us wherever we go.

Remember dear ones, it is God who invites and calls us into this wondrous time of life.

Let us continue to pray and work together and believe: “Heaven is not separated nor segregated” and neither are we.

Looking in the Rearview Mirror- The Ugly Side of Church Splits

What happens when members leave your church community or group?
Several years ago, I was on the receiving end of such an event.
Have you ever sat in church thinking this is going to be a beautiful day?You just said the Lord’s Prayer and shared a sign of peace.
Suddenly, you are lifted out of your state of serenity. Voices amp up and they are not praising God.
Jesus’ teachings are thrown out the window, and you may have to run fast, because you could get tossed out the window as well.
The food may be flying if it’s fellowship time.
Is this really happening? Yes! This toxic, dysfunctional behavior happens all the time.
Individuals enter a state of discontent. Bitterness begins to fester like an old wound.
Suddenly, the area is all inflamed, and anger rises to the surface. “It’s her fault.” “It’s his fault.” The chatter begins to spread and the lion is looking for its prey.
Lines are drawn down the center of the sanctuary, and if you don’t agree with the powers that want to be top dog, their fangs begin to show.
If you are a pastor or trusted servant, you or members of your family may come under attack; placed in the line of fire, by the people who were just praying with you, praising God.
For those members who are caught in the middle, it is like being like the crème in a Oreo Cookie. The cookie falls to the floor and is crushed by someone you once considered a friend.
Church splits happen because everybody is clamoring or struggling for a false sense of power and control, not recognizing it is God’s power and direction that we need most.
Recently, I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch such an event from the sidelines, involving a friend of mine.
Unfortunately, there are no winners in the ugly claw for dominance. Hurting people always hurt others.
Those who are disgruntled carry a deep resentment, and spread more sewage; never taking personal responsibility nor repenting for the harm that has been done.
Just hearing about this event brought up feelings of déjà vu. I resolved to pray for all involved.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about myself and what is acceptable in my own ministry walk.
As I looked in the rearview mirror, remembering dark periods in my time of formation, I recalled God did for me what I could not do for myself. He lifted me up by encouraging me to shake the dust from my feet and told me, “Don’t look back, look up and see all the greatness I have in store for you. Amen!”

Women and the Priesthood

There are Clergy Women of God who share in the celebration and love of the Holy Eucharist; including the mystical traditions of Catholicism, who were not ordained in the roman ecclesia.

The number one question I get is “How can this be possible?”

Doors closed and doors were opened by the male clergy who were ordained in the Roman Catholic Church that left the unit, and are now part of small independent or contemporary Catholic communities.

There are also members of the Episcopal tradition that joined the ranks, as well and other Christian denominations.

There are those beings in the Body of Christ who cling to power and control. They are not able accept the reality that “Women Priests” can and will bring about a great healing to the church as whole, as well as fill a need in a local parish.

We have to thank those who embraced the vision and began the process of opening the doors to ordain women.

We know from scripture Jesus treated women as equals, and not as second class citizens. “Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.”

Jesus’ mother, Mary was with him for his entire ministry, and continued to minister to others after her son’s death.

It was the women who walked with Jesus to Calvary and stood with him at the cross loving Jesus, never leaving his side.

On the third day after his death Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene with a promised message.

A fine cloth merchant named Lydia assisted Paul in his ministry.

Phillips’ daughters preached in the Book of Acts.

Many women, laity and religious, have been serving behind the scenes, in local parishes for years.

Married and single mothers raising their own families and working with others who are often viewed by the church as marginally unfit, spreading the Spirit of Christ all along the way.

This same giving and loving Spirit is alive among those brave women who have stepped out in courage, accepting the mantle of ordination as “Women Priests” as Jesus eloquently stated for all to “finish the work he sent us to do.”

We are the midst of great changes, spiritually, on our planet, and the church as a whole is swept up in these changes.

There is a growing need for healthy women to serve in the priestly role, filling in a vacuum left behind by those who are unfit to minister to the needs of God’s children.

Women’s ordination is bearing good fruit and will continue to move forward. There are many fine women serving as priests in small faith-based communities/parishes, counseling centers, outreach ministry, nursing homes and so can you.

I have come to understand it is not what makes us different, but what makes us the same.

As women, we love Jesus and have been called to into his service.

Glancing in the rear view mirror and moving forward, all Catholics and all Christians are our sisters and brothers in Christ, whether we walk the same hierarchical road or take a different path.

Helping Others When Times Are Tough!

Everyone who works in ministry knows that funds are tight right now.
Members of “Helping One Family at a Time” are partnering with other ministries to help provide a little relief for families in need this summer.
We were asked to help out with milk.
Right now, the price of milk in our local “Save A Lot” is $3.09 per gallon.
One of our members suggested powdered milk, so I did some research.
Here is the breakdown:
I visited “Sam’s Club” on-line and found they are carrying “Augason Farms”, Morning Moo and Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk by the case.
To order 2 cases of 6, #10 cans, the shipping to our area would be $19.29.
Each #10 can would make approximately 5 gallons of milk, $2.26 gallon;28 cents per cup. This is not a bad deal. The cans increase the shelf life of the product after it is opened.
I checked out Walmart. They sell 10 quart size pouches in a box for $8.98. This was not such a good deal as far as price, but the pouches are nice.
I went to Sam’s Club and they have a cardboard box of “Member’s Mark” Instant Non-fat Dry Milk, 4.5 lb box, 22 quart servings, 5.5 gallons, $2.16 per gallon and 27 cents per cup.
A little milk can go a long way and God will always help you find a way to help others!

Where do I fit?

The focus of ministry to ponder in your Spirit for the month of January is:
How do I best fit into this situation? Can I be of maximum service or will I be a hindrance?
Pray about it!

Welcome to “A Gathering of Friends”

If you are visiting this blog for the first time, welcome to “A Gathering of Friends!”

Keep coming back each week for the next inspirational message.

May you be blessed on your journey!

Do you want to know more about “A Gathering of Friends” and who we are?

For more information http://www.sacredwalkhome.com/

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