Daily Riches: Stability–Looking for God Where You Are (Paul Wilkes, Lynne Baab, and Amy Peterson)

“The first vow laid out in Benedict’s Rule is stability. To a monk or sister, it means being committed to stay in this particular monastic house with these particular people. It means being willing to look for God here in the constancy of this place in this rhythm of life, rather than seeking God in ever-changing places and varied routines. In Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life, Paul Wilkes calls stability a ‘sense of where you are,’ and he believes that our disjointed lives and fragmented society present ample evidence that we desperately need to embrace stability. ‘What was needed, Benedict taught, was maddeningly simple. It was a commitment to trust in God’s goodness–that he was indeed there, in that very place; and that holiness, happiness, and human fulfillment were to be found, not tomorrow or over the hill, but here–today. . . . Stability’s goal is that we might see the inner truth of who we are and [where] we are going. That we might be still long enough to be joined intimately to the God who dwells within . . . . It is difficult–no, it is impossible–to find and maintain that center if our waking hours are a blur of mindless activity, without the presence and practice of stability in our lives.’” Lynne Baab

“I begin to wonder if I, like the brothers at Taize and the desert monks, need to learn the discipline of stability. Do I need roots, when this earth is not my home? That third instruction from Saint Anthony sinks like a seed into the dark recesses of my heart and lies dormant for a long time: ‘In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.’” Amy Peterson

“So Boaz said to Ruth, ‘My daughter, listen to me.
Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here.
Stay here with the women who work for me.'”
Ruth 2:8 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you tend to give up too easily on a place? . . . a call? . . . a relationship?
  • Will you determine to “wait for the right moment?” . . . to wait for God’s permission before you decide to “move on?”

Abba, slow me down when my instinct is to flee.

For More: Beyond the Walls by Paul Wilkes

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Peterson, Amy. “Wanderlust: A Personal History.” Essay in The Other Journal: Geography, No. 24.
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Wilkes, Paul. Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

Daily Riches: Your Priesthood in Christ’s Church (Barbara Brown Taylor)

“After a very long engagement, it had finally happened. I was a priest in Christ’s Church. Even now, I would prefer a more user friendly word like pastor, but the truth is that an ancient word like priest captures the risk of this vocation as well as any word I know. In my lexicon, at least, a priest is someone willing to stand between a God and a people who are longing for one another’s love, turning back and forth between them with no hope of tending either as well as each deserves. To be a priest is to serve a God who never stops calling people to do more justice and love more mercy and simultaneously to serve people who nine times out of ten are just looking for a safe place to rest. To be a priest is to know that things are not as they should be and yet to care for them the way they are. To be a priest is to suspect that there is always something more urgent that you should be doing, no matter what you are doing, and to make peace with the fact that the work will never get done. To be a priest is to wonder sometimes if you are missing the boat altogether, by deferring pleasure in what God has made until you have fixed it up so that it will please God more. …being ordained is not about serving God perfectly but about serving God visibly, allowing other people to learn whatever they can from watching you rise and fall.” Barbara Brown Taylor


“You are royal priests,
a holy nation….”
1 Peter 2:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

Every member of Christ’s church is a priest. Whether you are a professional or amateur, God’s expectations are daunting.

  • Can you stand between God and people and help connect them love?
  • Can you call people to a higher place who often don’t want to go there?
  • Can you love things as they are, not as they’re supposed to be?
  • Can you accept that no matter what you do, the work will never be done?
  • Can you be open enough to let others learn from “watching you rise and fall?”

Abba, strengthen me and every one of us who labor in your holy, royal service.

For More: Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others! My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: What Jesus Did (Bill Gaultiere, Marcus Halley, and Carlo Carretto)

“Jesus’ response to aggression is revolutionary. It’s so wise, so beautiful, so strong, and so different from what is normally done. In tense and angry situations, when he’s being judged, baited, or hit, look at how he responds. He tells a story, asks a question, calmly explains, heals people, wiggles out of traps, walks away, prays, or silently accepts the mistreatment. In all cases he holds his ground, de-escalates the conflict, and speaks the truth in love.” Bill Gaultiere

“God is a gathering god and insomuch as God gathers all sorts of people unto God’s self, we are challenged to offer our own imperfect love in sacrifice to God. Christian love challenges each of us to open our arms wider than we think we should to embrace a community exceedingly greater than we could possibly imagine. Just when we think we’ve stretched as far as we can, we hear Jesus say ‘wider … open wider.'” Marcus Halley

“God loves what in us is not yet. What has still to come to birth. What we love in a person is what already is: virtue, beauty, courage, and hence our love is self-interested and fragile. God, loving what is not yet and putting faith in us, continually begets us since love is what begets. By giving us confidence, God helps us to be born, since love is what helps us emerge from our darkness and draws us to the light. And this is such a fine thing to do that God invites us to do the same.” Carlo Carretto

“let us run with endurance the race God has set before us …
keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
Hebrews 12:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Wouldn’t you love to be able to routinely respond as Jesus did in conflict– calmly, cleverly and with love?
  • When you’ve “stretched as far as you can” welcoming others into your worshiping community, or your circle of friends, are you willing to imitate the love of Jesus, and stretch some more? …who might God be nudging you to include?
  • How can you learn to love in a manner that helps others “be born … and emerge from [their] darkness?” How can you practice doing such a “fine thing?”

Abba, show me how I can practice loving with arms wide open.

For More: The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: What Can’t Happen in The Group (Calvin Miller, Brother Lawrence and John Philip Newell )

“The intrigue of the table in Psalm 23 has marked my life as a pastor. The metaphor mixes itself in glory. The shepherd becomes the sheep and God becomes the shepherd. There is no flock. There are only two. The shepherd and his love walk along and uninterrupted from the pleasant fields through the threatening chasm and back again. Their glory is not the path they walk but their togetherness. And how do we come to the table in the wilderness? Exactly as we would to any other table – hungry. Our hunger is for him whom we really can never know fully in a group, no matter how religious that group is.” Calvin Miller
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“He lays no great burden upon us — a little remembrance of him from time to time, a little adoration; sometimes to pray for his grace, sometimes to offer him your sorrows, sometimes to return him thanks for the benefits he has bestowed upon you and is still bestowing in the midst of your troubles. He asks you to console yourself with him the oftenest you can. Lift up your heart to him even at your meals, or when you are in company — the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to him. You need not cry very loud: he is nearer to us than we think. To be with God, there is no need to be continually in church.” Brother Lawrence

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”
Psalm 23: 1,2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you seeking something from God at church, which you “can never know fully in a group?”
  • Does being “continually in church” seem to you like the key to being near to God? Can you imagine how it could actually be a major hindrance?
  • During a typical day, do you “console yourself with [God] the oftenest you can?” Have you considered setting specific daily times to recalibrate your relationship with God? to remember who you are to him? to remember to be aware that God is “nearer to you than you think?”

“Amidst the tiredness that overcomes my body and the tensions that linger in my mind, amidst the uncertainties and fears that haunt me in the darkness of the night, let me know your presence, O God, let my soul be alive to your nearness.” John Philip Newell

For More: Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter by John Philip Newell

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks for reading and sharing this!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Unfriendliness That’s Killing Your Church (James Emery White)

“The Technical Assistance Research Program study for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 96 percent of unhappy customers never complain about rude or unfriendly treatment, but 90 percent of those unhappy customers will not return to the place where that unfriendliness was manifest. Further, each one of those unhappy customers will tell nine other people about the lack of friendliness and courteousness, and 13 percent will tell more than twenty other people.  …Now, we all know that every church thinks it’s friendly. I’ve never met a church yet where the people said, “Yeah, we’re mean and proud of it!” No! Every church thinks it’s friendly. But what that means is …they are friendly to each other …to people they know …to people they like …to people who are like them. That’s not friendliness; that’s a clique or, at best, a club. To prove the point, another recent LifeWay Research survey found that while three out of every four churchgoers say they have significant relationships with people at their church, they admit they don’t make an effort with new people. In fact, only one in every six even try. That’s not very friendly. …If you are going to reach the nones [the religiously unaffiliated], they are going to come to you as a none. That means they will come as couples living together, as gay couples, pregnant outside of marriage, addicted, skeptical. Is that going to raise an eyebrow? Or is it taken in stride in a way that makes the person feel instantly at ease? At Meck [the author’s church], it’s just another day of normal.”

“I was a stranger,
and you invited Me in.”
Jesus in Matthew 25:35

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Stand back and watch people interacting before and after the worship service. Are people being ignored by others? …gathering in familiar cliques? …”stranded” – standing alone in silence, during the time of greeting?
  • Do you make a point of regularly speaking to people you haven’t met?
  • When you attend church are you looking for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to others – or just for your friends?
  • Have you been included – or even worse, in the “inner circle” – too long to remember what it’s like to “break into” a new church?

Abba, use me, and all your people, to embrace others with your love.

For More: The Rise of the Nones by James Emery White

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Hanging on to Joy (Henri Nouwen, James Martin and Francis de Sales)

“Do not become upset when difficulty comes your way. Laugh in its face and know that you are in the arms of God.” Francis de Sales

“Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.” Henri Nouwen

“Remember that your environment doesn’t define you. One of the most difficult things about living in an environment (home, workplace, religious community) lacking in joy is that you may gradually assume that (a) you should not be joyful; (b) you are not naturally joyful, since you’re experiencing so little joy; or (c) the world is a joyless place. Joy-free persons sometimes seem to be joy vampires, sucking the happiness out of everyone’s life as well. In these situations, it’s important to remind yourself that (a) it’s okay to be joyful; (b) you do in fact experience joy in other areas of your life; and (c) there is joy in the world, though it may be outside of this house, workplace, religious community. It requires an inner strength similar to what’s required in being a believer among those who might scorn your beliefs. Hang on to your joy as you would hang on to your belief in God.” James Martin

“Dear brothers and sisters,
when troubles of any kind come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
James 1:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does “joy seem hard to find?”
  • Review Martin’s list of unhelpful assumptions and necessary reminders. Which of these reminders is for you?
  • Isn’t it dreadful to think that you or I could be a “joy vampire” to others?
  • Can you “choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise?” …to “hang on to your joy” as you would hang on to your faith?

Abba, help me to bring joy to you and others.

For More: Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

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“Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”