Cultivating A Deeper Connection

It has been said that our ’special sauce’ as a church is our authenticity. This speaks beautifully to a deeper connection that is forming among us, a deepening trust that has been emerging over time as we’ve shared our stories, mingled our lives together, and developed a growing love for one another. This is a core part of the church and yet this is not the whole of the church. This is not the fullness of the depth of what is possible. The true deepening of connection happens when we go on mission together. When together we step out to make a difference in the world around us, sharing and exposing the goodness, the sweetness, the love of the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.

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Bonus Episode: Centering Prayer

Every week as a community we work to challenge ourselves in our Sunday gatherings through Scripture, through song, and through practice. One of our goals as a community is that when we gather together on Sunday, you leave with something you can put into practice throughout the course of the week. Something you can put into practice in your life. We believe this is a space that can lead to transformation in our lives.

Every so often through our podcast we’ll produce these Bonus Editions, sharing with you one of the practices that is transformative for us as a community. Something that you can come back to time and again, to cultivate a deeper life of transformation in the ways of Jesus. 

Today’s bonus edition is from last Sunday’s gathering. It’s the practice of Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer where we can experience God's presence within us and all around us. This method of prayer cultivates both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

May you be blessed in the stillness, as you reflect on the passage from Psalm 46 - “Be still and know that I am God.”

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Cultivating the Upward Life

Distraction is a normal part of our culture. We busy ourselves with and worry about so many things and yet feel truly satisfied in our everyday lives. Our great paradox is that we are both busy and bored at the same time. This restlessness eats away at and destroys our sense of God in the ordinary life. As a result we measure our expectations of God, reducing God to something other than He truly is. Rolheiser wrote, “The God who is met in the measured expectations of our own desires and imagination dies in his own impotence and irrelevance.”

What does it looks like for us as a people to cultivate an upward life? A life that experiences God regularly, daily, moment-by-moment? How can we begin to experience a God that is beyond our measured expectations and desires, a God that expands our very imagination?

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Cultivating a Heart for the City

We live in a transient world, a transient country, a transient city: wandering from place to place, job to job, unrooted. Simone Weil once wrote, “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul." So how can we cultivate a rootedness here in Seattle as a spiritual practice? What does it look like for us to cultivate a heart for the city and root ourselves deeply into the fabric of the city for our own spiritual health?

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Cultivating the Inner Life

"Retreat!” is that not what it sounds like to say that we must begin the work of cultivating our inner life? That to begin this work is to say that we must quarantine ourselves off from the rest of society in a monastic community or at best to begin the work of disengaging ourselves from the world. Doesn’t it feel as if a call to cultivate the inner life is a call to escape from a world on fire, keeping all the buckets of water to ourselves? To cultivate the inner life is not escapism, it is not a call to passivity, but rather to action. Cultivating the inner life is an invitation to discover the abundance of the life lived for God. It opens our eyes to the possibilities of the inner land of the invisible where our spirit can find the roots of its strength. Only there will we find the clarity of vision we need to win the daily battle that is this life, and the inner anchor without which we will lose our moorings amid the mass emotions and follies of this modern age.

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The Power

"For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen."

The doxology to the Lord's Prayer occurs in only a few manuscripts but yet has some profound Biblical roots helping us to see the rule and reign of Christ in our lives and throughout the world. What does this mean for the church? What does this mean for us? What does this mean for you?

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Lead Us; Deliver Us

n the Lord’s prayer we’re asking God’s heart, God’s mind, God’s ways to become a reality on this earth, in our lives, in our communities, in our relationships. We are exposing our need and trusting God to meet our needs with love and care and generosity. We are asking to experience the power and freedom of forgiveness as we forgive and receive forgiveness. And then in this last statement we are acknowledging that no matter how much we want those things to be a reality, we are tempted to and do work against them. It is an acknowledgement of our limitations and a plea for God to bring us back into alignment with God’s heart, God’s mind, and God’s ways when we are unable or part of us does not want to live into these realities and this prayer.

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Forgive Us As We Forgive

“Forgive and forget” is the trope we’ve been sold over and over again about the true nature of forgiveness. Articles abound in Success magazine, Forbes, Oprah.com on the 4 ways, the 8 ways, the 12 ways to 'Forgive and Forget’. This is not forgiveness. This is forgetfulness, and it does not honor your story and how you are being formed. Forgiveness is different from forgetfulness. Forgiveness is about remembering, but in the remembering an ability to wish someone well and let them on their way.

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Give Us

What do you need? Deep down in the very depths of your being, what do you need? This is a question that begs us to know, to truly know ourselves deep within in order to truly answer. This knowledge of self is found in a God who loves us deeply, and who wants to lovingly give us the gift of life.

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Mass Shootings: A Prayer of Lament

As a church community we gathered together to pray a prayer a lament in response to the 3 mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton this past week. As a community we believe in prayer, we believe in lament, and we believe in taking action beyond these important moments of reflection and grief. The words of our prayer of lament can be found in the episode notes.

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Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven

What does it mean to pray “Thy will be done”? How does one actually begin to release that control and have a new vision of what is and can be despite the pain and suffering that is cascading down all around us. How can we be a people of prayer who actually pray ‘Thy will be done’? In this section of the Lord’s Prayer, Tracy Monts leads us through the text with her own story and the stories of others.

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Thy Kingdom Come

To pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is an act of vulnerability. To pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is an act of lament. To pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is an act of hope. These postures of prayer open us up to a profound new understanding of our relationship with God. May we be a people who pray in this way, and who pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come!’

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Whose Side Are You On Anyways?

This revolution does not come cheap. It will cost you everything, and for some that will be too steep of a price to pay. For others, the dream, the hope, the possibilities of what Jesus offers to this world, to change this world, to create within this world, is not only beautiful but all they have. This revolution is not for the faint of heart. You will experience betrayal, unimaginable pain, suffering, and at times the loss of hope. Is it really worth it?

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The Upside-Down Revolution

Death is life; a little is a lot; what goes up...: The kingdom of God is an upside down revolution. This Revolution does not work the way we would expect it to work, nor in the ways that everything else in this world “works”. It is a different way, a way that questions what has been deemed “normal” and instead turns everything upside down. All of this upside down revolves purely around love—love of God and love of others. But love of God and love of others is way more radical than we have been led to believe.

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The Revolution will Not be Instagrammed

“Give me a sign!” is what we always clamor for, and it was no different with Jesus. Despite what he had been doing, it was never enough. We need a sign! “Picture or it didn’t happen!” The revolution of Jesus, the insurgence that the kingdom of heaven is about, is not instagram-able. It is about the way of the cross. Of denial of the self for the greater cause of Christ.

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