Hammering and Silence Do Not Go Together...Or Do They?

Sep 07, 2016

Pound...pound...pound...what is that sound? I awake from an afternoon nap. Someone is hammering nails loudly into thick wood. Don't they know I'm taking a nap? Er, I mean, enjoying solitude and silence. I worry that the other retreat participants will dislike the noise during their afternoon with God.

As I rouse, I realize that there are two gentlemen continuing to add to the stations of the cross at the retreat center. Each vignette depicts an aspect of Jesus' crucifixion. They are...

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Psalm 84: The Presence of God

Aug 24, 2016

Psalm 84 is one of my favorite Psalms. I’m inspired by verse 10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” (See the entire Psalm below).

A thousand days in one of the greatest places I’ve ever been does not compare to the value of a simple day in the presence of God.

I love the deep feeling captured in this psalm prayer:

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord.”

“Yearn” is already a strong desire...

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Are You a Reservoir or a Canal?

Aug 17, 2016

We like to think of every person as a leader. We all have influence with others. But what enriches that leadership? What gives it substance? We love an ancient word of wisdom on being a reservoir from Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th century French abbot who worked as a reformer of the Cistercian order:

“The [one] who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it...

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Five Gifts I've Received from My Spiritual Director

Aug 10, 2016

“…the spiritual director is not to be regarded as a magical machine for solving cases and declaring the holy will of God beyond all hope of appeal, but a trusted friend who, in an atmosphere of sympathetic understanding, helps and strengthens us in our groping efforts to correspond with the grace of the Holy Spirit, who alone is the true Director in the fullest sense of the word.” (Thomas Merton, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, p. 5-6)

My spiritual director...

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SLOW | A 5-Minute Retreat

Jul 19, 2016

https://youtu.be/k9svSXgl6Yw

Unhurried Living. Our name resonates with many people. We know, because we often hear, "Oh, I love that idea," or "I really need that," or "That sounds so inviting." It resonates because we are usually moving at a fast pace. In between day retreats or weekend retreats or vacations, we all live real and full lives. So, today, we offer a 5-minute retreat entitled, SLOW.

Take a few minutes, breathe and remember that God is with you. That is...

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Prayer: Are You Stuck in a Rut?

Jun 22, 2016

A while back, I taught on the theme of “Prayer Ruts I’ve Found Myself In.” I wonder if any of these sound familiar to you.

More Monologue than Dialogue

First, I sometimes get stuck seeing prayer as more monologue than dialogue. I forget that prayer is a relationship, and that relationships are conversational. I learn to allow space when I pray for silence and listening. I don’t fill the air with and endless barrage of words, making the mistake of thinking...

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Psalm 27: An Unhurried Heart

Jun 01, 2016

How do we learn to live an unhurried life in such a busy, anxious world? How can I cultivate an unhurried heart when there is so much on my plate? I recently found some wise guidance reflecting on Psalm 27. Let me share what I learned.

Remember Who God Is

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
      whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
    Ps 27:4

David begins with God. Sounds...

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My First Experience of Unhurried Time with God

May 04, 2016

I’ve often told the story of my first experience of solitude and silence on January 19, 1990. It was led by one of my mentors, Wayne Anderson, as part of a class I was taking at Fuller Seminary. I tell a little of that story in An Unhurried Life (p. 20f), but I have never shared the full journal entry from that day until now. It is page 1 of my journal that today, 26 years later, runs over 8,700 pages.

That journal has captured my attempt to practice a long obedience in the same...

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A Choice That Can Reduce Anxiety

Jul 13, 2015

I have found a way to reduce much of the stress in my life. Actually, let me re-phrase that: A way to reduce much of the stress in my life found me. I wasn’t looking for this stress reducer, but it hit me like an 18-wheeler and set me on a new path.

Much of the stress in my life is caused by my expectations,as well as my trying to controlsituations so they turn out the way I think they should. This happens consciously and unconsciously. Lovely.

For example, a few years ago I took...

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The Importance of Listening to God

Oct 23, 2012

I lead a lot of day retreats that have at the heart of them a number of hours to be alone and quiet in listening prayer. I led one on Friday. Earlier this year, one participant shared a conversation she had with a pastor who suggested that “There is no biblical precedent for listening prayer.” I found that an interesting comment. Below are some “bullets” of initial response I journaled later that day:

  • The whole of the scriptures are an extended story of conversation...
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