Many years ago, when I was working at Community of Christ in Chattanooga, Tennessee, we had a woman come in the center with her three boys, all elementary age. She had never been to the church on the corner of Glass and Chamberlain but had passed by many times. The center is located in the heart of the old part of the city that was now ravaged with poverty, drugs, and gang life. The church had a reputation for being a safe place among the violence surrounding it. This woman just felt the need to stop in and share with us.
The woman said she had made a lot of bad decisions in her life including drug use, relationships, etc. which had impacted her and her kids. While sobbing she said, "I somehow lost sight of God and today I realized I needed to make time for him starting now." She raised her wrist and had her boys do the same. On each wrist laid a watch they just purchased as a symbolic action of making time for God today and everyday moving forward. Looking at the watch was a reminder for each of them to create time for God.
After she shared we welcomed each one of them and gathered up in a circle. Each one of us gave a prayer of blessing for this family and what this new journey would be for them. They ate lunch with us, the kids played basketball and then they headed out into the world again knowing there was a place they could turn if it becomes too much.
Life can be stressful and overwhelming as we juggle the various responsibilities we have. Sometimes we lose sight of the journey God has for us. Have you lost sight of where God is taking you? When you make time for God you further your spiritual journey. How are you finding time for God in your life? What does that look like? Let's explore further what this means for each of us.
How to Make Time For God
Life is busy! There are multiple commitments and for some people they are running from one thing to the next. So how do we take time to find God in our lives with so much busyness? It seems to me that we have to be intentional about what we do and why we are doing it. It also means we have to find practical ways for us to connect with the divine.
Here are 5 practical ways to make time for God:
1. Assume God is Always With You - Thinking this way changes our perspective and our internal voice. Sometimes we put such high expectations on creating certain moments to heighten our spiritual senses that we miss the everyday divine spirit that walks with us. Incorporate your prayers, questions, and internal dialogue with God throughout the day and seek God in the actions that happen around you and the people you meet.
2. Seek Silence - Find times to be quiet and void of the noise that surrounds us. These moments of quietness are essential to focus thoughts and senses on what is really happening within us and how God is speaking into it.
3. Use Apps/ Podcasts - There are apps and podcasts out there for everything. Maybe you want one to assist with meditation or one to help focus on some new spiritual thoughts. You can also find some to help prioritize your time.
4. Make time for a Spiritual Practice - Spiritual practices are specifically designed to help us focus ourselves on our own spirituality. Check out the spiritual practices I have blogged about already and see if one might fit you. It's about finding what helps you connect with the divine more.
5. Set Yourself Up - Reminding ourselves by putting things in place gives us a greater opportunity to create moments for us to heighten our focus. This may be setting your bible on your night stand, leaving your guitar in the living room, putting a scripture next to the TV, or hanging a cross from your rear view mirror. When we intentionally set ourselves up with reminders or easier access we will be more successful.
However you chose to make time for God just to start small. Set realistic, accessible goals for yourself that creates balance in your life. Going overboard on will only cause you to burn out and become unsuccessful in reaching your goals. I wish you the best as you make time to be with the divine on your faith journey.
Happy New Year! I hope all of you have started the first few weeks with an excitement for what may come this year.
This week evaluate your priorities and how much time you are making for God in your life.
A few weeks ago my middle son Lucas asked, "Is Jesus in the moon?" It seemed like a strange question at the time as we were just driving down the road. My wife asked more questions to understand what he was asking. He said, "We learned at Sunday school that Jesus is the light and the moon gives light." I sat in amazement as he also named various other things that emit light. You see in his eyes and from his perception, Jesus is everywhere. It’s always incredible when children provide godly insights into our lives.
Jesus is everywhere! He resides anywhere in this world where freedom is present and those trying to break free from oppression. He is the light that shines in darkness. He moves through the hearts and souls of anyone willing to listen to the gospel. In this world where we find ourselves alone and isolated from others Jesus is the voice calling us to community. Calling us to loving relationships where justice and peace are upheld.
This Christmas season we get to celebrate the coming of that light known as Jesus. We get to understand that this light changed and continues to change this world. Let's look closer and uphold the light of Jesus this Christmas.
O Holy Night
"O Holy Night" is one of those songs that speaks to the power of light which comes in Jesus. This version is by Gentri, The Gentlemen Trio. Check it out and enjoy the music!
Jesus is the Light
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12
Often there are times in our lives when we feel alone. We may feel lost and are traveling through darkness hoping to find the path that's right for us. But we just don't know what that is or even where to start. We begin to question whether God is still present with us and if the Holy Spirit is still active in our lives.
God doesn't leave his children. The divine continually works within your presence whether you are aware of it or not. Despite our actions and misgivings the Holy Spirit is there continually calling us to a deeper relationship and greater spirituality with the divine.
The Christmas season is about receiving Christ in our lives. There is no better time to reunite with the light that is ever present and always with us. So seek Jesus this season. Go to the places where you have found him in the past. Talk with those on your journey. See the light that is guiding you through the dark places you find yourself in. For God is with us!
Merry Christmas! May you find the light of Jesus this Christmas!
I remember very clearly the Christmas pageants when I was growing up in Stewartsville, Missouri at Community of Christ. Though I hated drawing any attention to myself it was kind of fun dressing up as someone else. We would run through the Christmas story, sing songs, and the most important part grab a bag of candy after the production for our hard work and devotion.
My mother told me after I was born, I played little baby Jesus as she and my dad played Mary and Joseph. Unfortunately for Christmas Pageant roles, there is nowhere to go but down after playing Jesus. That very next year I was a some type of livestock like a sheep or cow. Either way it was an animal roaming about while the rest of the parts were played.
I eventually became an angel and a shepherd where I remained to what seemed liked forever. The wise men seemed to have the premium role, which I aspired to be, but they were always reserved for the older kids. However, my day finally arrived many years down the road where I could show my wisdom to all those that arrived to church that Sunday. As I grew older I also played Joseph and was able to watch others interact in the story giving their own unique perspective to each part. I learned that each role had its important part in the birth of the King.
The last few years I have been able to watch my sons participate in the Christmas Pageant. It’s unlike my childhood as there were no prescribed parts but a variety of inclusive roles no matter what age. I do remember my oldest being a sheep a few years back and eating cheerios off the ground during the play. This year I played Joseph again as my 4 month old made his opening debut as baby Jesus.
The memories I have from the Christmas Pageant are precious because it made me part of the Christmas story. The story is what is truly amazing when we take the time to stop and read it. You see we each can be active participants if we just choose a role to play. This role may not be the traditional ones we all know but one that fits our own discipleship and journey. It is to this we are all called. May the Christmas story remind us all of the blessings that abound when we receive the Christ into our heart this season.
Reading The Story With New Eyes
Sometimes hearing something over and over again dulls our senses, reducing the meaning and impact it can have on us. The Christmas story along with other gospel stories can fall into this category. It's unfortunate because the magic of the story continues to reside in it if we but open our ears and hear it.
Blogger Shauna Letellier wrote a blog post titled, "How to Read the Christmas Story as if for the First Time." She gives 5 tips to assist us in reading the story so we can continue to be impacted by it. I find these tips very helpful so we can rediscover new meanings in the story.
I encourage you to read the story yourself this year. If you do not know where to find all the story, the blog by Oretha Winston titled, "Bible Verses That Tell The Story of Christmas" identifies all the scriptures of the Christmas story and provides the words for you to read. Check it out and read through it to rediscover additional meanings from it.
Wherever you find yourself this Christmas season, take the time to reunite yourself with the story. Ask the questions you haven't asked and see with new eyes the miracle that resides in it. Find what your role will be in this day and time that brings you to the light of the world.
I hope everyone is able to participate or watch a Christmas Pageant this year. Thank you to all those who have or are directing them.
This week I encourage you to read the Christmas story out of the Bible.
Craig Hidy like the majority of ministers in Community of Christ is a bi-vocational, self sustaining ordained minister. He is a member of the Midlands Mission Center Emporia Team and an ordained Seventy. He and his family, live in Topeka, Kansas.
What is a Seventy?
The Seventy carry out missionary work for the church in close association with other missionary leaders. They represent Christ primarily as ministers of evangelism through witnessing, inviting, and church planting. They especially proclaim and promote Jesus Christ’s invitation to faithful discipleship through vibrant witness, and train individuals and congregations in witness and invitation. They particularly minister with seekers, individually and in groups, to share the gospel in relevant ways and to invite response. They support sacramental ministries by preparing people for baptism and/or confirmation, presiding at sacramental services, and performing most sacraments. They promote community by inviting individuals, households, and families to respond to Christ’s call to discipleship. They promote justice and peacemaking by inviting people to experience all aspects of Christ’s peace through active discipleship. They create ministry partnerships with mission center officers, apostles, elders, and evangelists.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.