Thursday, October 25, 2012

Prayer

I recently read that you should not try to make time for prayer you should just pray.  As a child I was taught that in order to pray that you have to have your eyes closed, your hands folded and be ready to talk and listen to God in a quiet space.  I have come to learn that that kind of prayer is only one type of prayer.  Some of my best prayer times happen while I am doing something.  I guess you could call it multitasking prayer.  I pray when I am working out, especially when it gets hard.  I pray when I am folding clothes or making dinner.  I definitely am in conversation with God when I am gardening or walking my dogs, which I unfortunately do not make enough time in my week or month to do.

This morning as I drove into Central El Paso to the church, I prayed.  And I thought about how if my prayer does not result in some action, then I probably wasn't really listening to God.  (Which prompted me to write this blog about prayer and also to make some phone calls to members today.)

Some people feel the need to only pray when things start to spiral out of control.  I have been there, but what I have noticed in the last couple of years, is that life often times is spiraling in some direction that I would rather it not.  My family had just finished up dealing with a pretty serious situation when my son was diagnosed with ADHD.  And what I have found is that his diagnosis is an answer to prayer in so many ways.   We now have a mountain of resources to help him and to help our family live with a little boy that is so full of energy and insight and at times hard to transition into much needed focus onto something else.

So what I find myself praying for, among so many other things for the people in my faith community, is the strength and endurance to deal with the variety of situations that life throws at us, with the grace, forgiveness, mercy and compassion of our God.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Living in the Neighborhood

There has been for some time a movement to live in the neighborhood where you find your ministry to be located.  While that isn't always a possibility, (and you may ask why isn't it and I would answer because of the housing market, uprooting my family, changing schools, and maybe those are lame excuses) I don't think it needs to be an either/or kind of situation.  Meaning that where ever you live, you need to find a faith community there and dig into ministry right there.

I live on the west side of town and find that to be one of my ministry focal points and I serve a congregation that gathers in the central part of El Paso.  A part that once was an affluent part of the city which now sees many homes as multi-family dwellings and lower income housing.  It too is a focal point of my ministry and every time I enter into the neighborhood a voice in my head (perhaps God's) says "welcome home."  I love this neighborhood and I am blessed to be part of a congregation that does as well, some of us that live in the neighborhood and others that drive to get here.

This neighborhood helps me to stay grounded in my ministry much more so than I think I would be if I served a church on the west side of town, not because there isn't need there for gospel living or because people there already have it all together on the west side, but because I need to be here, because I have room for growth.

Temptation

Matthew 4:1-17 Back in the early years of my ministry, I led a group of senior high youth through a 30 hour fast. It was a trend a...