Lent: Repent, or Work Resting

“Repentance is deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god;
it is deciding that you were wrong in thinking that you had, or could get, the strength, education and training to make it on your own;
it is deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbours and your world.

And it is deciding that God, in Jesus Christ, is telling you the truth.

Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts. Repentance is a decision to follow Jesus Christ and become his pilgrim in the path of peace.”

-Eugene Peterson

“Jesus said over and over again, ‘Repent’: re-evaluate the whole way you are living your life in light of this great fact: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand.’ … You see, the kingdom of the heavens has been made available to you and to me. God has made himself available to human beings.

It is the renovation of the heart we are after… This inward work is much harder than mere outward conformity. It is harder because we cannot see it, test it, control it. We cannot program the heart of another human being. We cannot program our own heart.

But this is also what makes it easier. God is the One who sees the heart. God is the One who tenderly programs the heart, always allowing time and space for our will to turn, turn, turn – responding in a thousand ways to God’s divine Love.

We are part of God’s great renovation project for human beings. We work, but we work resting. We worship and labor under God’s abiding grace.”

– Richard Foster

Advent Quote

Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath,
when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second,
and the Word, who had called it all into being,
went with all his love into the womb of a young girl,
and the universe started to breathe again,
and the ancient harmonies resumed their song,
and the angels clapped their hands for joy?

– Madeline L’Engle

Understanding ‘Soul Care’

I’ve been exploring spiritual formation and leadership development resources lately and have come across several great resources. One of them is the concept of ‘Soul Care’ and the accompanying resources that their site/training provides.

I appreciate the link that Mindy Caliguire maintains between soul care and leadership, and how she points to the truth that havingn a healthy and intentionally cared for soul is what then lets us be healthy in ministry. There are resources and articles related to serving others, spiritual friendships, prayer, solitude, the Word, and other so-called “soul care pillars.” And below, a summary of why this is needed in the first place (found on their webpage):

“Soul Care helps you live from a healthy soul and wisely lead others towards authentic transformation–Spiritual Formation–into the character or likeness of Jesus Christ. Our resources and events are experiential and relationship-minded, built on a foundation of seven core spiritual practices.

Like all of us, on the road of your spiritual journey you need to stop occasionally – for conversation, the chance to read, to rest, to enjoy the view. These breaks – these times of sitting still — allow us to grow in ways both big and small….

So what makes a soul healthy? Quite simply, a soul is healthy to the extent that it experiences a strong connection to and receptivity to God. Jesus was clear: ‘If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing’ (John 15:5, TNIV). However, connecting this spiritual reality to how we actually live is another matter. ”