Tag Archives: Christ

She Leapt and Walked

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Today I walked.  I mean I really walked!  Outside…for a long time as the sun was just beginning to embrace a new day.
I walked because of an invitation from someone this past week.  She said to me “Come and walk with us” and then told me about the group she walks with.  She told me the time and place to meet.  Something about her invitation reminded me of Paul’s invitation to the lame man in the 14th Chapter of Acts: “…Stand upright on your feet and walk.”  But as soon as my friend issued her invitation my inside gargoyles got busy with their discouraging voices.  “It’s too early!  It’s too far! You’re too old!  You’re too busy! What if it’s too hot, cold, rainy, snowy, storming, freezing,” and on and on and on went the chorus inside my head.  But my voice (and my faith) responded, “OK, I will see you there.”  I thought again about the lame man’s response to Paul’s command.  The scripture tells us “he leapt and walked.”  I knew my response was very different.   No, I wasn’t leaping at this opportunity to walk with a friend and to meet some people in my community.  Last night, as I set my alarm to go off at “way-too-early” o’clock I reminded myself that I could always hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.  It would not matter if I chose not to go.
But something amazing happened!  I woke up twenty minutes before the alarm was set to go off.  I mean I REALLY woke up!  Wide awake…and ready to go.  I think my gargoyles must have still been sleeping because there was no inner discouragement or negativity.  I was dressed and out the door with coffee in hand just as a sliver of sun peeked over the mountain.  I paused to take in the cool air and dawning light, offering a praise prayer for this moment of joy before continuing on to the meeting place.
This morning, only one other walker came…someone I did not know.  After some brief introductions we set out on our journey together.  She led the way as our conversation flowed and our feet strolled along paths strewn with autumn leaves.  We talked and walked.  We talked about our families and homes.  We talked about our community.  And we talked about our faith and love of God’s Word.  I learned from my new friend a new way of making scripture alive by telling the sacred stories as if they were my very own.  And I was reminded that we all share similar struggles and joys along this journey of life.  All that in a single morning walk in autumn!

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As we returned to our cars and shared good-byes I thought of a quote by Karen Kimsey-House in her book Co-Active Leadership:  Five Ways to Lead.  “When someone is walking beside us, we have more courage to walk into the unknown and to risk the dark and messy places in our journey.”  As these words passed through my mind I silently offered a prayer of gratitude for my new friend and sister in Christ AND for the lame man’s example of leaping and walking by faith at Paul’s invitation.
This evening as the sun has traveled throughout its course and is sending out it’s last rays of the day I am reflecting on that sweet, simple invitation to walk. I am glad to have been invited. I am also glad for Christ’s invitation to come and walk with Him.  My prayer is that in the coming days I will be wide awake and ready for opportunities to pass along the invitation to “walk in love, as Christ has loved us.”  (Ephesians 5:2).  Whether that invitation is to share a morning moment or a lifetime of discipleship may it bring the renewal of spirit of a fresh, cool autumn dawn.
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Photo: Timothy Hernandez

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” -John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

If you would like to more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our web site at gracestonesanctuary.com

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A Timeless Mission

“The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom—a surefire way to accomplish more for the glory of God.” ― Brett Harris

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My father was a minister for more than sixty years. Sharing Christ in Community was his mission. After he passed away I was given the briefcase he carried to church every Sunday. I consider this one of my “holy belongings” that has found a new home in the Peace Chapel here at GraceStone Sanctuary. In it are all kinds of papers.  There are prayer lists and ministry plans, worship services and lesson outlines.  I found articles about the Kingdom of God and old church bulletins from the 1950s.  But what I am most drawn to are the hand written notes…his words recorded on paper….his thoughts for a sermon or class or for congregational needs. As I read the words on the pages he wrote, I realize how the message of mission is beyond the limits of time.
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My Father’s Writings

To me his old leather briefcase is a sanctuary, a holy place, containing a sacred story. What is contained within it reveals a deep and somewhat hidden part of my father.  I knew him as “Dad” and all those things, good and bad, that go with that relationship.  But when occasionally I pull out one of the random papers from this sacred satchel I feel quite in step with the minister side of my father.  It holds a history of one man who had a desire to understand God’s message and mission, who had a desire to share the love of Christ in his community.  My father wrote about it decades ago. I write about it now. Jesus’ disciples wrote about it thousands of years ago. The Good News is eternal. The call to mission…timeless.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.  Psalm 145:13

If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

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Dog Days of Summer

 “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.” ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894
IMG_0881These are strange and breathless days, the dog days…” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
It’s August.  Hot, humid, sticky August.  It’s the “dog-days-of-summer” and everyone is just trying to stay cool.  Lemonade and iced tea flow through the kitchen like a river over shiny, cold stones of ice.  Even the occasional rain shower is cause for celebration.  The heat of summer begs us to pause in the shade and be still.
As I sat on the porch this morning and looked out at the flowers struggling in the heat I was reminded of a scripture in the book of James.  It says, “The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed.” (James 1:11)    Sounds fairly hopeless, doesn’t it?  But a little later James talks about tests and temptations and gives a message of hope… “Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a temptation, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.”  (James 1:12)
As I sat there in the morning summer heat pondering James’ words I heard a swift strong breeze rustling the leaves of the trees as it approached.  It’s coolness blew through me and went on its way.  That is when I found my own hope for the day.  That “pneuma” or Holy Spirit is what keeps me refreshed when the going gets tough and I find myself in some sort of heated challenge or trial.  When I am open to the wind of the Holy Spirit I am refreshed and renewed.
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So just for today, grab your tall glass of lemonade and a friend.  Find some shady spot to strengthen one another in faithful living.  Remind someone today of God’s promise of love and the Holy Spirit’s refreshing gift.

If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

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The Seeds of a Sanctuary

sanctuary%20(2)When I was a little girl my momma planned a perfect surprise birthday party for my sixth birthday.  It was the first party… and the last one… she ever gave me.  That was not because she was mean nor uncaring, but because she realized all too late just how terrifying the whole ordeal was for me.  I was a shy child.  This may be difficult for some of you who know me now to believe.  But I was. It didn’t matter what size or age they were. All people seemed to me to be the monsters, ogres, and evil queens come to life from fairy tales.  People came with expectations that I didn’t understand and rules that I didn’t want to obey.  People.  I didn’t like them and I believed they didn’t like me.  So that day, at party time, when I opened the door to a room full of ghouls shouting at me I turned and ran.  I don’t remember exactly how far or how long I ran, but I do remember after all that running finding myself tucked safely away in the extra quilts at the back of my closet, far away from the sights and the sounds of my surprise birthday party guests.  Long before that day I had created this little place of sanctuary in my closet.  I loved the colors and feel of the soft quilts and blankets momma had stored in there. Under them, I had tucked a paper from Sunday School. Printed on it was a picture of Jesus carrying a little lamb.  He was standing on the words I LOVE YOU.  Behind The Shepherd were dark mountains, but he stood there loving that little lamb, surrounded by rays of light.  That picture made me feel safe.  Other things had become part of this safe place, too. I had gathered a small rock that fit in the palm of my hand that felt strong and cool and also a handmade paper fan that I used to stir the air of the musty dark space.  And on that day with the party celebration raging outside my window I felt safe with Jesus in my closet.  I did not know then that I had created a sacred space, only that I felt loved and safe and I could breathe.  I also did not know that this little space would be a seed of what my husband and I have now joined hands with God to create as our home, as GraceStone Sanctuary.

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As an adult I have a very different attitude toward people.  Simply put, when I am able to see beyond the wounds and scars of someone’s life  and see the beauty God perfectly created in that person, I love through Christ’s eyes.  His view has no fear, no running away, no hiding.  Instead His eyes beckon us to come into the safe surrounding of His love and care.  My hope for GraceStone Sanctuary is that it will be a sacred and safe place for all people to come in, to be loved, to be renewed, and to celebrate.  That birthday long ago taught me something important.  That is – sometimes we all feel burdened, weary, and afraid.  And sometimes we just need to find a safe soft place to rest with The Shepherd, holding firm to The Rock, being renewed and revived by the cool breeze of the Holy Spirit.  And then we can once again go out into the world carrying with us a spirit of joy and celebration.
GraceStone Sanctuary c.1930...a long history of celebration!
GraceStone Sanctuary c.1930…a long history of celebration!
This is when it was known as Greystone Lodge.

 


One Picture Tells the Story

Day 310  November 8, 2013

“The cross of Jesus tells a story with one single picture.”  -Daryl Evans

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“Work only with items that would be found in a hardware store today.”  from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“Love, not anger, brought Jesus to the cross.”  ― Richard J. Foster

“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross.” ― Elisabeth Elliot

“In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life.”  ― Thomas à Kempis

“When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died; my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.” Isaac Watts, 1674-1748


Thanks For the Gift, God!

Day 305  November 3, 2013 

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:15

SHARE THE GIFT!
SHARE THE GIFT!
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Original Magazine Cover

“Transform a piece of advertising so that it has a new message.”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”– Anne Frank

 “…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  -Romans 6:23

“If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” -Acts 11:17

“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.”   ― Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer


Special Micro Saint

Day 287  October 16, 2013

 “My soul magnifies theLord,  And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Luke 1:46,47

Missional Practice Special Micro Saint

Missional Practice
Special Micro Saint

“Create an anagram of your name and illustrate it in some way.”  from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”― John Wooden

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”  -1 Philippians 1:20

“Our actions are seen by people, but our motives are monitored by God.”  -Franklin Graham


Blessed!

Day 269  September 28, 2013

“I will only add, God bless you.”   ― Jane Austen

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I spent the past weekend with a group of women who carry within them the most beautiful and courageous souls.  I appreciate the deep sharing, vulnerability, and caring you each shared among us.  I have truly been blessed in ways only known by God and his angels because of each of you.  THANK YOU!

“Make a pie chart, flow chart, Venn diagram, or other business graphic in an unexpected way…”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”   ― Steve Maraboli

“May we be strengthened with the understanding that being blessed does not mean that we shall always be spared all the disappointments and difficulties of life.”   ― Heber J. Grant

“Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.”  ― William Arthur Ward


Invited and Welcomed

Day 250  September 9,2013

“All of Christ’s commands are invitations and all of His invitations are commands.” ― Andy Davis

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“Narrow your focus.  Pick a small area indoors or outdoors and inspect it very carefully.  Ue the details you would normally overlook to inspire you.”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

TO INVITE: appeal to, attract, call, draw, encourage, lead, propose, 

request, suggest, welcome, bid, entreat, petition, pray, 

supplicate, give invitation, have in, have over, 

include as guest, send an invitation

“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28″

“You are constantly invited to be what you are.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Popcorn Smile

Day 249  September 8, 2013

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This is Kyaire.

Wonder why he is smiling?

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He’s smiling

because he has a

bag

full of

popcorn.

Caught ‘cha!

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Hmmmm?

What did he do

with his popcorn?

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He remembered JESUS!

Good job, Kyaire!  Thanks!

“Make something out of or inspired by popcorn-popped, unpopped, or both.”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“Sometimes I think that all anyone needs in life is lots of popcorn”   Sam Savage