Outrageously Open

THE FULL ABUNDANCE CHANGE ME PRAYER

If you feel drawn, let it enter your Being, releasing any old ideas of constriction or limitation and returning Your true essence as expansive, radiant Light.

“God, Change Me into someone
who can give with complete ease and abundance,
knowing You are the unlimited Source of All.

Let me be an easy open conduit for Your good.
Let me trust that all of my own needs are
always met in amazing ways
and it is safe to give freely as my heart guides me.

And equally, please Change Me into someone
who can feel wildly open to receiving.
Let me know my own value, beauty and
worthiness without question.
Let me allow others the supreme pleasure of giving to me.
Let me feel worthy to receive in every possible way.

And let me extend kindness to all who need,
feeling compassion and understanding
in even the hardest situations.

Change me into One who can fully love, forgive
and accept myself… so I may carry your Light
without restriction.

Let everything that needs to go, go.
Let everything that needs to come, come.
I am utterly Your own.

All is well.

(adapted from Outrageous Openness, by Tosha Silver)

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Loving one Another and other Matters of the Heart

We’re called to love one another. Jesus said so-it’s our second commandment.

Matthew 22:36-39 New King James Version (NKJV) 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Flip on the news (you pick the cable network depending on the spin you’re in the mood for).  In the end it’s all the same-we mostly stink at this. On a global scale-as a whole-we’re failing rather miserably. It can be disheartening in the least.

Scrolling through my Facebook news feed one morning this last July I came across this posting of a fellow “Heart Mom” (as we affectionately refer to one another-another mom whose child, like yours, was born with heart disease).

On July 28th, 2014 Liz Tauer wrote~

blog photoThis is Willliam’s heart friend Luke. They attend Camp Odayin together and have been bunk mates for years. When Luke was 8 months old he was abandoned in a train station in China. He remained in an Orphanage until Mayo offered him a medical visa. The doctors in China thought he had Pulmonary Stenosis (narrowing of the artery) which would explain why he was alive. Upon arrival to the U.S. the doctors learned he had multiple severe heart defects including the one William has. It was and is unexplainable why he survived. The doctors here fixed him and today he has amazing parents and a family and we are blessed to know him. Luke hounded his parents to get to the hospital to see William. I foresee a lifelong friendship. –with the Nassif Family.

I couldn’t shake this photo or the story behind it-I brought it into my day. I thought about all the beautiful ways that in this story people chose to love one another. What an awesome contrast to the “globally-we stink at this” stories that fill up the network news.

Luke’s birth mother abandoned him at a train station. Yes, she walked away from her child-but possibly this was a selfless act-her only option to give him a chance at survival. -Loving one another

The Chinese orphanage, Mayo clinic’s medical visa, pediatric cardiac doctors, nurses and surgeons -Loving one another

The Nassif family opening their hearts to Luke (yes-Rob and Carol, I already hear your humble rejection to this one. Yes-I know you have been blessed beyond measure by having Luke in your family, yes-I hear you-it was nothing-he’s your son) Yet stillLoving one another

Camp Odayin-this beautiful organization that provides so much for these kids with heart disease and our families, their donors-both corporate and individuals, staff and volunteers who all make it happen Loving one another

The most remarkable example from this post-the way these two young men (and their caring families) choose to support each other. -Loving one another

May we see ourselves in this-recognizing a similar way in which we can love one another in our own lives.

“Jesus, all that surrounds us in this broken world can leave us feeling disheartened. Help us to honor your commandment. Help us to recognize ways in which we can love one another-in the way that you have called us to. Amen”


Please Note, Photo and subject matter shared here was done so with the knowledge and blessing of both the Tauer family and the Nassif family. Thank you for allowing me to share. Oh, and yes-that little unexplained bit about why Luke survived, I might need to tuck this gem away for a later post. ~Mindy

As Long as I Have Breath

What is the reason to pray? We come to God in prayer for many things. We ask for wisdom, for guidance, for understanding, for others’ welfare, for peace, for acceptance. We share our blessings, our gratitude, our love, our humility. Sometimes our prayers seem to be answered and other times ignored. So what then is the purpose for prayer? If we don’t get the results we expected for our prayers, what makes us keep praying?

For me, prayer is not about outcomes, but about a relationship with God. Prayer is a way to keep my heart open to all that God displays around me and sends into my path. When I pray for someone to be cured, I don’t know for certain if that will happen. But what I do know is that God heard me. And that God’s love will surround that person no matter what outcome.Scripture Because he bends down

Prayer is the foundation of my relationship with God. I empty my heart to him and he pours his spirit into me. Through prayer, I can be reflective about my life and my choices. Through prayer, I can hear the needs of others and respond. Through prayer, I can see the God in someone else. Through prayer, I can bring his heart to this messy world.

My prayers are not a child’s list to Santa for all that I want in this world.  It is my way of letting God know I will keep listening for him and know he is listening for me.  As long as I have breath.

What is the reason you keep praying?

A Spiritual View of Change

[Editor’s note: Below is a reflection from Pastor Kris Capel from the September, 2014 newsletter (reprinted with permission)]

DSCF3248mod1-SMALL-200x300It has certainly been a couple of months filled with big news here at Easter Lutheran.

In rapid succession you received two significant announcements: Pastor Paul’s retirement in a year, and Pastor Kevin’s new call in Hibbing, MN.

We will miss RevKev and all of the energy he brings to Easter. Over the 14 years Kevin has served this community, he has poured his heart into the lives of so many people, shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ and worked tirelessly to “grow in faith and carry on the work of Jesus Christ.” There will no doubt be a hole left at Easter as Kevin follows God’s call.

Pastor Paul is around for another year, so we get to love him a little longer.

And you might be asking the question — “Is anything going to stay the same?”

It’s a great question! Some people love change. Some people hate change. As we navigate through this change together, I want to remind all of us of a few very important things.

First, this is God’s church. Easter Lutheran has gone through a handful of pastoral transitions over the years. Each Pastor who has served Easter has brought their own set of gifts and blessings to this community. Because of those pastors, we have grown in new ways, served in new ways and built relationships with people we would have otherwise never known.

The call of Pastor is a call to the whole church, and we are always encouraged to be open to where God may be calling next. But the bottom line is that this church belongs to God. There is a great hymn in the Lutheran Book of Worship called “The Church of Christ, in Every Age.” As I write this, the first verse rings in my head:

The church of Christ, in every age
Beset by change, but Spirit-led
Must claim and test its heritage
And keep on rising from the dead.

This hymn, penned in 1971, reminds me that from generation to generation the church is no different from the world in that we are “beset by change” in every aspect of our lives. God dreamed up Easter Lutheran Church and has set our course in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Change is inevitable but our mission is not. It is connected to God’s enduring love which NEVER CHANGES.

Second, we will grieve, and that is OK.  Just as people grieve, communities also grieve. We grieved when Jim retired. We will grieve when Kevin leaves and when Paul retires. It is important to talk to one another about how we will move forward and honor where everyone is on our own journey. And as we grieve, it is important to remember that God is in the middle of our community.

As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:15-16:

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Third, we are EASTER people. As our name boldly announce, we are people who celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In all of life there are little deaths along the way. But after death, there is always resurrection. There are always new hopes, new dreams, new visions and new beginnings. So as people who proclaim the resurrection we move forward in the confident hope that God through Jesus Christ goes before us.

In other words, we do not grieve as people without hope. Just as Kevin is called to new adventures, God is already working to prepare the perfect Pastor for this time in the life of Easter Lutheran Church. We will faithfully work to discern God’s call in the midst of this change, and we will embrace the future into which God is calling us.

In the meantime, there is work to be done. There are ears that need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. There are hungry people to be fed. There are children who need love. There are babies to be welcomed through the sacrament of Baptism. There are broken hearts that need love. There is a community that gathers around Word and Sacrament to proclaim to the world that Christ is Risen.

We give thanks to God for this incredible church — that is the Christ of Christ in every age. We give thanks to God for the resurrection, remind us that God is always at work making all things new.

Wall at Easter Lutheran Church 2014

 

Pastor Kris Capel is the lead pastor at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan, Minnesota.