Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lent - my take and a challenge

The Lenten season is about to begin, a time for repentance and preparation for the sacrifice of Christ for our sin. It is many churches tradition to focus on three spiritual practices - prayer, fasting, and alms giving (compassion and justice ministry towards neighbors.) Many in the Catholic church make a point of giving up a "vice" in honor of the sacrifice of Jesus. However you look at it, Lent is a 40 day period that causes us to reflect on our lives in relation to Christ and the magnitude of His gift.

Each year during Lent I like to add something to strengthen my faith and also add a physical discipline to be healthier. I like to give something new a try, a spiritual trial run so to speak. Usually I am only marginally successful in the physical area (as evidenced by a host of gear to tone and strengthen), but I seem to have better luck in the spiritual endeavors. This year I am resolved to improve my prayer life and am using a book by Phyllis Tickle (real name - she's brilliant) called The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime. This is a book that uses a practice called keeping the hours or saying the offices - prayer that is done within certain hours each day. The prayers in this book are both ancient and modern, mixing spoken creeds with old hymns. This is real old school and being the type of guy who sees no need for an organ or many church traditions, I need to touch base with these practices. As for the physical, I am going to add some more strength training - to keep it all working (as I try to keep up with all my staffers.)

My challenge to you - seek to know God in some new way this Lenten season. Scripture, prayer, service, kindness, reaching out to a neighbor, whatever it is - commit yourself to it until Easter. Ask God simply to reveal himself to you in some new way and chronicle your time in a convenient way. This will help so that in the future you will remember the way God moved in and around you. Have a great Lenten season and I bet all you spiritual giants will be better at this than I am - but I keep trying...

Let me know what you are thinking and how it's going.

Portage Dave

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Practice the presence of God

Lately, I have learned to love "The Office." Each week I am amazed at how this office of co-workers can behave in such strange and embarrassing ways -- especially when they know they are on camera. What idiots - don't you know the whole world is watching?

As odd as the characters behavior is on the Office, it seems most of us act much the same way. I mean God is watching each and everything we do yet we still act like idiots. Shouldn't the presence of the father mean something to us? Shouldn't we be altering our behavior more often? It seems that many believe that being a Christian is about heaven and to get there we will 'put up' with a meddling God. We see the Father as an inconvenince, someone who crimps our style but the reward is worth the hassel.

IF you look in the bible, God's presence is a blessing. He looks out for us, protects us, keeps our feet on paths that are worthy of taking. The presence of God each day is a gift we need to recognize and embrace. This week, become aware of the eyes of the Father and try to let that thought saturate your day. Look at the world from a fully loved perspective - and trust that God (who never sleeps or slumbers) can handle the tough stuff. (Even if we do not understand each situation.)

Have a great week and know that I am praying for all of my family and Portage Dave friends.
Hakuna Matata