Posts Tagged ‘Angels’

Talking with Angels?

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Abraham Lincoln, with the Civil War looming, offered these words in his first innagural address…
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”.
One must love his phrase … “touched … by the better angels of our nature.”
Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about that “touching” by the better angels of our nature.  For him, he found that connectivity centered in three “standards” he wrote of in “Secrets of Heaven” 1680.
    1. Offering our best intentions towards others

    2. Thinking only good thoughts about others

    3. Doing good things for others whenever we can
He believed that these “standards” connected us with angels.  With heaven. Live that way right.  Live that way and we experience heaven on earth, and we talk with angels not with human words but a love born of care.

What are the three gifts of Opportunity Makers? Thoughts on one picture. Seven Words.

Friday, November 7th, 2014

In a recent TED talk by Kare Anderson, she noted that Opportunity Makers carry three traits…

  1. Opportunity-makers keep honing their top strength and they become pattern seekers.
  2. They get involved in different worlds than their worlds so they’re trusted and they can see those patterns
  3. They communicate to connect around sweet spots of shared interest.
A beautiful list.  And the list is more than a guarded skill set available solely to a narrow slice of humanity innately gifted with the right code, temperament, cognitive gifts and outlook to practice it.  There is something, frankly, angelic about it as corny as that sounds.  What else would angels or angels-among-us want to create than opportunities for others?  So heaven, maybe, is then this cosmic opportunity making matrix, out of which eternity springs along with the joy and passion of lives fully engaged.
And so thoughts on a picture, posted below. 8 of us.  Working at St. Francis Inn serving the homeless dinner.  Opportunity Makers.  Mary runs our small groups with Rob.  Bob and Kelly are thinking of how to run a summer retreat for teens to work repairing homes in Appalachia.  Lisa, art teacher, works with kids to see bigger worlds filled with beautiful expression. Walt created the whole opportunity … responsible us even being there.  The dude even drove!   Isaiah, in high school, a spark showing through as he talks about Cinema.   And Dave’s passion, sharing the church, supporting pastors who struggle and move and work in days blessed and broken.
And the 7 words?  ”I did not know any of them.”  With the exception of Dave, 5 years ago I did not know one single person in that picture.  Amazing what happens when you hang out with 7 Opportunity Makers!

Every Angel Adds to the Perfection of Heaven

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

I love the New Church concept that every angel adds to the perfection of heaven. Yesterday, I quickly scanned through a spreadsheet outlining our sermons for the past calendar year.  We hosted 26 people who spoke as part of a NewChurch LIVE service.  This is a simple thanks to all those who spoke and to a congregation willing to take the necessary risks in having speakers.

It is easy in opening the door to speakers to unleash a race to mediocrity as the message of one’s church gets muddied, gets watered down.  It can become so overly identified with inclusion that all sense of purpose is lost. That has not been my experience.  As a matter of fact the opposite has been true.   It has been wonderful to witness inclusion with purpose.

That approach can continue to bear fruit as we focus more and more on the very nature of commitment.  That commitment is God centered, embracing of blessed unrest, asks us not just to give our approval but more importantly our time, treasure, and talent.  It is real commitment we are called to.

What could commitment look like for us?  (A sermon topic in 2013)

  1. Community Service
  2. Baptism
  3. Prayer
  4. Devotional Reading
  5. Volunteering on Sundays
  6. Life Group/ Small Group
  7. Tithing
And yes …. maybe even sharing part of your story at NewChurch LIVE sometime!

No Where vs. Now Here

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

“No where” vs. “Now Here” is one of the transformative shifts of life.  We can see our lives and the opportunities essentially as “no where” or we can see those opportunities as “now here.”

The “no where” perspective is fear driven, blinded to the God given opportunities before it.  As with anything, we can actually practice it and that is where the “no where” perspective can become increasingly a shut down, increasingly life into blindness.  In “Divine Providence” Emanuel Swedenborg writes that unless we act on our intentions eventually our real intention becomes unwillingness.  That was an eye opener for me – imagine if my intention was not just the lack of willingness of actual unwillingness!

The “Now Here” perspective, stated simply, is the perspective of angels.  Angels “desire nothing more than to perform useful service.”  (Secrets of Heaven)  Restated, angels life is about the opportunity – seeing it and filling it.  They fill it on their “own initiative on behalf of God.”

Love then is point – not love that grabs and points towards ourselves but love that we allow to flow through our selves.  That is work, no question.  But it is highly practical.  As Seth Godin noted in his recent book “Linchpin”, the future belongs to those who offer “unasked for gifts of emotional labor.”  Welcome to “Now Here.”