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  • Life Together | Conversations Journal
    How Quiet Service To Community Became Real Life Together Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 13 1 Spring Summer 2015 Section Life Together Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Sanctuary A safe place A shrine A setting for worship To a refugee or a person fleeing violence or oppression the word sanctuary captures a sense of hoped for safety and provision To a birder it s a specially set aside area on which a long sought after species just might be seen even if at a distance To a person in a religious community the word conjures up images of stained glass icons men and women in robes and vestments sacred texts and hymn books in the backs of uncomfortable wooden seats But the seat of a John Deere lawn tractor Can that be a sanctuary To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store Flourishing in Unhurried Community Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Life Together Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Before I was given this gift of a leadership community of grace my ministry had been more about gathering a crowd than about cultivating a community of the committed following Jesus together with them My style of ministry was hurried and frantic My goal was to fill the calendar with more events and fill the seats with more people I would never have said it that bluntly but it would have been hard for an objective observer to come to a different conclusion I felt satisfied and important when the number of college students coming to our meetings was growing I felt frustrated and worthless when that number decreased or even stayed the same In conversations among our church staff at the time we would say We count people because people count I don t think that kind of math made anyone but us feel important Read More Post a comment 0 The Call to Flourish so that our Neighbor can Flourish Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Life Together Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT While on a long flight I finished listening to my favorite pieces by John Coltrane then opened some music I had recently downloaded but not yet heard It was a recording of Vivaldi s Four Seasons played by Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields The piece intense and passionate has been very important to me over the years I hadn t noticed that this recording included a short video excerpt of Bell and the orchestra during a recording session playing an especially dramatic passage When I opened the file the video suddenly began to play Read More Post a comment 0 Living Like We

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  • Intentionality Of The Heart | Conversations Journal
    FIRST TO COMMENT Joy levels are like the temperature of an oven We can choose our ingredients carefully but the oven temperature will determine what our careful preparations will yield Consider the effect of angry or joyful parents on family prayer and Bible reading As joy increases so does the chance that transformation will go in a positive direction Joy levels have huge effects on whether our efforts will be productive and lasting Why would a factor that powerful go unnoticed by most of the church Read More Post a comment 0 God Where Are You What Are You Doing Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT The practices that had been so dear to her so life giving were dry as dust Those specials places of connection with God those times of receiving consolation from God were gone dried up and she was left wondering in a barren wasteland lost and alone She felt abandoned forsaken of God even in danger of losing her faith As she stood before me her despair was palpable Here I was a seminary student her adult Sunday School teacher but I did not know what to say Read More Post a comment 0 The Crisis of Mentorship What Young Leaders Desperately Need From Those Who Have Gone Before Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT I was on the edge of giving up deserted doubtful depressed and done At this point in my faith journey I questioned everything my trust in God my love for the church my mentoring relationships and my call to ministry Never had I considered the possibility that I wasn t actually called to vocational ministry but a turn of events within the context of the church left nothing off the table of scrutiny Read More Post a comment 0 Aging Maturing A Purposeful Movement Towards Teleious Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Greeting card slogans and our age phobic culture color the incessant but natural process of aging emphasizing its challenges limitations and frustrations But because we are spiritual beings God s Spirit has the power to bring to our consciousness some alternative responses to aging ever reminding us that we are made for more than an earthly existence Read More Post a comment 0 The Journey from Innocence to Character Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Intentionality Of The Heart Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT As with many new mothers whose bodies have gone

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  • Features | Conversations Journal
    with open space with the hunger to be in relationship with God Right from the womb we search the eyes around us for connection We cry to be held We reach out to know that we are loved And we are right from the beginning Even the fact that we came to be is proof enough that God desires for us to know him to be loved and cared for by him Children have a natural openness to God Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to them Children arrive slippery and screaming and ready for relationship Their interior space has not been filled with disappointment pain habitual sin or any of the other junk that clogs up our ability to seek God with a pure heart They are seeking and connecting The toddler who sings in her bed before she goes to sleep and as soon as she wakes up is echoing the song sung to her The boy who gently caresses the hurt family pet is echoing the gentle caresses of God C S Lewis said we know God exists because we know that there is good in the world Read More Post a comment 0 The Grand Essentials Old School Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT For the early Christians the Wisdom literature particularly Proverbs was the launching point for their consideration of human flourishing The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom Proverbs 9 10 NIV is the persistent theme of Proverbs This wisdom is necessary for the practical realization of human flourishing that is a life lived well Furthermore it is a wisdom that originates in God and makes God known to us The following selections illustrate early Christian reflections on wisdom Jerome c 347 420 the fourth century Bible scholar best known as the translator of the Latin Vulgate writes Read More Post a comment 0 Conversations Guide by Robert Rife BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Robert Rife on Steve Summerrell s Avoiding the Trapdoor in Transformation Steve Summerrell summarizes the possible pitfalls to the spiritual life of what he calls the trapdoor and how to reverse such a trajectory In essence he is exploring as St Paul did in many of his epistles the temptation toward works righteousness in which we believe ourselves to be in control of outcomes The result Unhealthy pride Discouragement Even despair Read More Post a comment 0 Conversations Guide Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Download PDF Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Features Download PDF Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Click the image to download a free Conversations Guide Front Page Lessons From A Snake Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 2 Fall Winter 2013 Section Front Page Features Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT

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  • Classical Spiritual Exercises | Conversations Journal
    love that is deeper than my knowing I feel fully alive in those moments Then I leave retrace my steps and noiselessly climb through the window and back into my own bed Read More Post a comment 0 Practicing God s Presence for the Next Ten Minutes Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Classical Spiritual Exercises Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT The d word in spiritual disciplines makes it sound like spiritual formation is for those who like a well ordered routine The message seems to be If you want to become Christlike if you want your life to flourish then you need to do these things regularly consistently and without fail And certain structured ways are more preferred than others Read More Post a comment 0 A Season of Mystery Spiritual Practices for the Second Half of Life Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Classical Spiritual Exercises Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT I am studying a photo of my mom in Barcelona a picture taken twenty five years ago in it she is the age I am now A slim brunette sitting in the shadows of a Moorish hotel garden beside my handsome dad she could be thirty five forty or even a young fifty but surely not what she actually is about to begin her seventh decade She has never been to Spain before they are here to celebrate their anniversary and there is no hint on her calm and happy face that within four years of this culminating moment she will be a widow and that life will have changed forever Read More Post a comment 0 Listen to My Life The Wisdom of Recognizing and Responding to God in My Story Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Classical Spiritual Exercises Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Go stand at the crossroads and look around Ask for directions to the old road The tried and true road Then take it Discover the right route for your should Jeremiah 6 16 The Message I arrived at this particular life crossroads after an exhausting three year run that included a challenging hair on fire job while parenting a preschooler I loved the purpose behind the work and the people but the way I went about engaging in it left me depleted In leading I had isolated myself Professionalism discretion and pride led me to that lonely place where busyness was worn as a badge of honor and spirituality was reduced to looking to God for marching orders My soul had not been well tended and it was evident to the people around me This particular situation was not familiar to me but I thought I knew what to do at

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  • Back Page | Conversations Journal
    among the offerings unfurled upon my screen it became clear to me that more than enough has already been written about method and that I was drawn to something deeper So after the Web I turned to my faithful Webster s The very words contemplative and contemplate have mystery at their heart in ancient times the templum temple was the space where soothsayers practiced divination seeking signs and omens There is something uncanny here a suggestion of otherworldliness a sacred precinct set apart in the busy marketplace for a different kind of study and knowing Read More Post a comment 0 Back Page Casting Out Fear Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 2 Fall Winter 2013 Section Back Page Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT How do we deal with our fears How do we let go of anxiety and trust the Lord moment to moment whatever the twists and turns of the journey I sit in a sunlit parlor and ponder these mysteries reflecting on the continual movement of time Nineteen women have gathered to study Dietrich Bonhoeffer the German theologian who gave his life for the sake of Christ Jesus and his church His execution came at the end of World War II So many decades later we are attending a study group in the cool green wetness of central Louisiana The rooms are large and handsome tables decorated with books and flowers windows Read More Post a comment 0 Jet Fuel and Candlelight Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 11 1 Spring 2013 Section Back Page Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Tonight I enjoyed several hours of conversation with a cohort of missionally focused church planters in Kansas City After opening our time with a reading from the Book of Common Prayer our leader invited a follow up discussion to the prior session s topic A Rule of Life While this topic may be familiar to many readers of Conversations Journal or if it s not you can read more about it in Chris Webb s excellent article it was not as familiar to many evangelical church planters in their twenties Until about a decade ago it wasn t familiar to me either You may think Oh that s how spiritual formation can be the idea du jour a new fad in church planting circles Let me reassure you this was a very real substantive conversation that was about more than just a Rule of Life It started with some of these honest questions and observations I tried silent prayer but haven t gone back to it because it felt so weird Why do spiritual formation practices and people just make me feel guilty I feel overwhelmed at the thought of mapping all my times with God for the next year into my calendar I m not sure I can have a Rule of Life

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  • Buy Article | Conversations Journal - Part 3
    these words with a mixture of sadness and joy This Front Page contribution for Issue 12 2 will end my formal editorial involvement with Conversations and I will join my friends David G Benner and Larry Crabb in retirement to the masthead as a founding editor of this publication I love the design phase of new start up projects much more than the administrative grind that follows For me the cycle for actually working with an idea once it has been hatched has typically been about three to five years But engagement with Conversations has been so much fun over the years that I broke that mold I wanted to stay involved long after my attention had been diverted to other new ideas But now that I ve passed two perfectly good biblical numbers as possible stepping away points I need to call it quits with Issue 12 or else I d have to wait for Issue 40 to roll around It seems appropriate on many levels that this issue is built around the theme flourishing It is a term that comes to us from the relatively new fi eld of positive psychology and implies living in an optimal range of human functioning that includes goodness happiness love creativity and growth A flourishing plant is well rooted vibrantly alive growing and fulfilling its life mission It is the same with human beings I remember sitting around a table in a restaurant of a hotel in Atlanta Georgia just over fourteen years ago Larry Crabb and David Benner were my tablemates and we were lamenting that psychotherapy was much more focused on remediation than flourishing Of course we were not using that particular word at the time as it was still years away from notoriety in the field To read the rest of this article you can purchase the entire issue or just this article through our Journal Store Soul Discovery Flourishing in the First Second Halves of Life Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter 2014 Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT A journey into the second half of our own lives awaits us all Not everybody goes there even though all of us get older and some of us get older than others A further journey is a well kept secret for some reason Many people do not even know there is one There are too few who are aware of it tell us about it or know that it is different from the journey of the first half of life So why should I try to light up the path a little Why should I presume that I have anything to say here And why should I write to people who are still on their first journey and happily so Read More Post a comment 0 Flourishing in Unhurried Community Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 2 Fall Winter

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  • Buy Article | Conversations Journal - Part 4
    have a wide readership from lay leaders to pastors from parents with small children to those with great grandchildren people who are single and married and divorced They come from all the streams of Christianity One of the big questions many of our readers are struggling with when it comes to this topic is how to age well how to live out their older years with grace Other readers are asking how to find wisdom in a world that seems to require it of us at younger and younger ages Read More Post a comment 0 Living Like We re Dying Reflections and Exercising for Wise Aging Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Life Together Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Change can be hard especially when we are unprepared for that change Remember puberty for example So much was happening in your body mind and emotions Ideally loving adults help teens prepare for those changes in advance Yet as we hit our twenties and thirties most of us are left to navigate life fairly unprepared What do you wish someone had helped you prepare for in the season of life you are currently in Is there someone you could mentor through a season of life you have already been through Read More Post a comment 0 Well Seasoned How Spiritual Companioning prepares us for our Death Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Life Together Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Who do you know that is dying like I am Her feet are a step or two away from leaving earth and I ve come to say goodbye This is her hello to me We aren t wasting time for she has no time left to waste Are there others our age that are almost done like me Jill is about my age We go way back about forty years worth In our twenties we married within a few years of each another Since then we ve traversed decades of work and play questions and faith prayer and vacations babies and toddlers teens and college kids weddings of now grown children celebrations and heartaches Amid the flood waters of my long ago divorce she and her husband Peter one of my college classmates waded in beside me Six years ago they celebrated the joy of my new marriage We ve cried and prayed over the years We ve laughed and talked over the miles between us Now I walk with her for a bit to the end of her earthly road Read More Post a comment 0 Older Wiser Seven Attitudes for Sustaining Love and Relationship Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Honesty About the Journey Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO

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  • Buy Article | Conversations Journal - Part 5
    We give them diagnostic labels that sometimes serve only to relieve us of the more subtle and arduous effort to interpret the logic of the dreams they inhabit Certainly clinical evidence attests to the literal tragic loss of brain function that afflicts many elders But it behooves us if only to err on the side of dignity to honor the humanity and inquire into the hopes that underlie their foolish mistakes Some of them speak more than they know Some of them know things that cannot be contained within the limits of convention Read More Post a comment 0 Growing Older Struggling with Doubt Alive in Community Moving Toward Wisdom Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Life Together Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Years ago noted behavioral psychologist B F Skinner then in his eighties presented a speech at the American Psychological Association s annual conference titled Growing Old Gracefully as a Psychologist Skinner s understanding of the human condition reflected clearly in his remarks revolved around two assumptions the empty box and control by reinforcers Read More Post a comment 0 Journey Into Joy Celebrating the Wisdom of Dallas Willard Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Transformational Theology Section Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT The question began a journey into joy Dallas had asked me to comment on The Divine Conspiracy as he wrote it Every few months there would be a newly finished chapter in the mailbox The explosive themes of the first two chapters the invitation of Jesus to experience external living right now the integration of our little kingdoms with the big kingdom of God the limitations of the gospels of sin management challenged me deeply But the opening theme of the third chapter did not It evoked tremendous resistance Read More Post a comment 0 The Blessings of the Bitter Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume Volume 12 1 Spring Summer 2014 Section Front Page Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT A few weeks ago my husband attended a workshop on Scottish food and drink It was a recreational class and he went to enjoy new cuisine and learn a little more about the culinary history of the Scots for example how in the world did haggis come about After an afternoon of learning about the geography and its effects on the various products that come out of Scotland the instructor said something fascinating Our palates don t fully develop the ability to appreciate a range of bitterness until we re in our late thirties or early forties Read More Post a comment 0 Contemplative Prayer for Everyone by Margaret Guenther Download PDF Volume 4 2 Fall 2006 Section Back Page Purchase Article PDF Format Purchase Print Volume Purchase PDF Volume BE THE

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