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  • Conversations Journal – Jan Johnson
    friend did this because he is an extrovert and that may be part of it But more than that he s very intentional about welcoming people into his life as is my husband When he says How are you to me he waits for a real answer I m having to get used to that since I m eager to get down to business and address the matter at hand What I liked best about my friend s interchange in the line was that he lightened the load not only for the gentleman but also for the clerk who had been so brusque with him He loved both people in front of him Indeed the person in front of me that I might struggle to welcome might be someone who repeats himself a lot or who tries to convince me of a so called biblical idea that I don t think is in Scripture I most often forget that the person in front of me really matters when I m distracted by my own dilemmas or trying to make a decision So the prayer becomes Show me what it would look like to love the person in front of me for the next 10 minutes And God usually shows me what to do Jesus I believe was like my friend Jesus taught people Whoever welcomes you welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me Matt 10 40 Jesus laid aside deep grief over John the Baptist s death to pay attention to the crowd in front of him Matt 14 13 14 This is the essence of hospitality welcoming the person in front of me We pay attention to others inviting them to be at home with us as they unfold themselves before us as God invites us Then we wait for them to be able to do that To merely welcome another to make a place for them is one of the most life giving and life receiving things a human being can do Hospitality is not limited to inviting others to eat with us or stay in our home While cleaning bed making and food preparation are valuable gifts to offer others the core idea of hospitality is being open and vulnerable to another person Invitation to the Jesus Life p 70 The more I welcome people into my life the more I find life to be an engaging adventure in God s company Join the Conversation What signals do you send that indicate to another person that they are welcome That they are unwelcome What About Those Drowning Egyptians By Jan Johnson July 27 2015 in Blog What s on your Heart BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Someone who recently saw the movie Exodus Gods and Kings asked me how a good God could drown the Egyptian soldiers in the sea Here are a few thoughts that came to me God weeps over the destruction of people who choose to do evil not just over those who do good In the Old Testament God sobbed over nations as a grieving parent would sob over an erring child Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer I drench you with my tears Isa 16 9 11 And whom was God weeping for Moab and later Babylon even though these countries oppressed Israel Look away from me let me weep bitter tears do not try to comfort me for the destruction of my beloved people Isaiah 22 4 When anyone rejects the truth and beauty offered to them in the kingdom life into which we are all invited the Trinity takes to weeping All this fits well with what Talmud scholars wrote about God Our rabbis taught When the Egyptian armies were drowning in the sea the Heavenly Hosts broke out in songs of jubilation God silenced them and said My creatures are perishing and you sing praises Read More Post a comment 0 Acceptance Then What By Jan Johnson June 18 2015 in Blog Current Events Formation BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT I recently blogged about accepting people as they are I received many appreciative emails especially about this line Expectations are the early stages of resentment I also received some good questions Here are my responses But isn t it sometimes good to confront people Yes but acceptance is still crucial Talking it out works only if we both have a right heart Even if only one of us has a right heart that generosity of spirit can be contagious How does letting go of expectations of others apply to the work setting and a supervisory relationship What should happen if there are expectations that are not met In The Divine Conspiracy Dallas Willard talked about the difference between condemnation and discernment Read More Post a comment 0 Accepting People As They Are By Jan Johnson June 8 2015 in Blog Faith Through Failure BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Some of us have an inner judge who notices when others don t do what we think they should do Maybe they re not doing their fair share or not following through as promised or they re promoting political policies that we dislike What do we do with that inner judge I m on a learning curve of accepting people as they are I m mindful that your journey might be different that of speaking up but I think this will still make sense Here s what my progress has looked like so far I m part of a group that highly values accepting others as they are but I ve noticed that group members aren t very welcoming toward a certain person in the group who might be described as socially disabled Read More Post a comment 0 Small Things Keep Us from Being Practical Atheists By Jan Johnson April 28 2015 in Blog Wisdom Aging BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Many years ago a friend suggested that when I couldn t find

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/author/jan-johnson/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Books | Conversations Journal
    spouse retreat gave me T he Human Condition Contemplation and Transformation by Thomas Keating and bless me it did just in time for my current life journey Read More Post a comment 0 Reading Roundup By Senior Editor May 27 2011 in Books Although we ll have two more posts next week about reading that has been forming the souls of our blogging community here at Conversations Journal we thought we d give you a Memorial Weekend Roundup of all the suggested reading We hope that you ll pick up one of these books and let the words speak to you about the love God has for you and for the world Happy long weekend everyone Mostly Dead Folks by Jan Johnson Jan says that her reading list these days consists of mostly dead folks and shares a love for rereading She suggests Dallas Willard s The Divine Conspiracy and a classic text The Cloud of Unknowing A Good Book Finds Me by Alice Fryling Spiritual director Alice Fryling shares how books become her spiritual directors She suggests Dr David Benner s newest Soulful Spirituality The Silent Language of Love by Don Simpson NavPress editor Don Simpson talks about one of his favorite books of all time He suggests Into The Silent Land by Martin Laird Glittering Vices by Bob Fryling IVP Publisher Bob Fryling admits a love hate relationship with the seven deadly sins He suggests Glittering Vices by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung In The Pages of a Magazine by Juanita Campbell Rasmus Pastor Juanita finds herself face to face with God when she thought she was just checking out by reading O magazine She suggests an article 6 Steps to See Yourself More Clearly by Martha Beck A Traveler Toward the Dawn by Fil Anderson Speaker and retreat leader Fil Anderson talks about cherished biographies He suggests A Traveler Toward the Dawn The Spiritual Journal of John Eagan S J More Glittering Vices by Valerie Hess Spiritual director Valerie Hess seconds Bob Fryling s book recommendation She suggests Glittering Vices by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung More Than Just Kid s Stuff by Nathan Foster Author professor and dad Nathan Foster remarks on the transformative power and complex theology of children s books He recommends C S Lewis Narnia series Kate DiCamillo s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Frances Hodgson Burnett s classic novel The Secret Garden Caring for A Good Life by Stephen Macchia President of Leadership Transformations Inc Stephen Macchia reflects on a spiritual classic He recommends The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis Where God is Leading Us by Trevor Hudson Pastor and speaker Trevor Hudson recalls a transformative encounter with God through prayer He recommends Jim Manney s A Simple Life Changing Prayer Discovering The Power Of St Ignatius Examen Finding Everything Belongs by Lyle SmithGraybeal Coordinator of Renovaré USA Lyle SmithGraybeal talks about slowly working through books and taking devotional time He recommends Everything Belongs by Fr Richard Rohr Finding Everything Belongs By

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  • Spiritual Formation | Conversations Journal
    as opposed to rich lower paid workers as opposed to highly paid workers less educated as opposed to more educated blue collar workers as opposed to professionals The elderly are easily overlooked When my quiet 80 year old mother in law came to visit our other dinner guests never engaged her in conversation I wept later to think of the many times I had neglected to speak to an older person Or we may avoid pushy people people who talk too long about themselves those who scream and pout for what they feel they deserve know it alls or people who let their kids run wild In any us versus them situation them are the strangers The shocking thing about Jesus is that he did not merely tolerate such different people Jesus offered himself to them in self giving love I am able to do this only when I ask Jesus to reach out to others through me Excerpted from Invitation to the Jesus Life ch 5 Jan Johnson Join the Conversation Who are the strangers in your life What might be some small step you might take in welcoming one of them Knowing Christ Conference Live Tweets by Senior Editor BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Gary Joannah and Tara were all able to be present at the Knowing Christ Conference May 28 29 2014 in Atlanta Georgia For those who weren t able to join us here s a rundown of the live tweets of the event Videos of the sessions will be available in the next few weeks and we ll be sharing those with you as well a href storify com TaraOwens knowing christ conference richmont may 28 29 2014 target blank View the story Knowing Christ Conference Richmont May 28 29 2014 on Storify a Chasing the Greased Pig by Robert Rife 5 comments I have walked and sought to articulate the Jesus Way thanks Mr Peterson for over thirty years Time has a way of being deceitfully generous with the actuality of our personhood If you don t believe me go back and read old journals and then ask yourself the following questions Is real change actually possible or am I merely an older more sophisticated version of my broken self Can one truly change or are we always forced to concede to God s ever expanding grace Is that the point of real change Is that deeper theological concession our most necessary change If so isn t that merely a change of perspective more than a change of habits If real change is never possible what provides adequate impetus toward righteousness and beauty of character Are these all the wrong questions Read More Post a comment 5 Without Me You Can Do Nothing by Lisa Van Engen 10 comments This month Conversations Blog asks the question if the movement toward spiritual formation has produced real transformation in the church I typed spiritual formation into the search bar and pressed enter There are institutes for spiritual growth articles extending into cyberspace theories and practices Read More Post a comment 10 Spiritual Formation by Valerie Hess 1 Comment In the early 1990s I organized a regional Renovare conference at my church Renovare pronounced ren eh vah ray Latin for to renew is the small group movement that grew out of Richard Foster s seminal work Celebration of Discipline The first time I read Celebration of Discipline I was distressed I had just read a profound work that required action on my part but I had no idea where to begin Therefore when I was invited to join Renovare in its early stages I jumped at the chance Renovare gave me specific measurable steps coupled with accountability to tackle my persistent sins and bad habits My life has not been the same since Read More Post a comment 1 The Imperative Marriage between Spiritual Formation and Counseling by Jan Meyers Proett 12 comments In chess the possibilities vary according to the piece Skill at helping people grow spiritually like skill at playing chess depends on understanding and valuing differences John Ortberg I have been a professional counselor for over twenty years You can either applaud or hold your head for how crazy I must be Actually though I want to quit just about every four months I would not trade the joy of watching transformation occur for well anything My graduate training was stellar and over the years I ve particularly appreciated a requirement we had that we enter our own process of self reflection and examination through receiving counseling ourselves Read More Post a comment 12 Unoffendable Like Teflon by Jan Johnson 3 comments What do you do with stinging criticism When it rings in your ears In the past I have held on to it I have gone over what was said why it was unfair or what that person didn t understand the past and what I d like to say in response but never will what I probably will say or how I ll withdraw the future All this past and future thinking about it distracts me from practicing the presence of God in all of life It makes me miserable So I recently revisited Dallas Willard s recommendation to drop it or ignore condemnation The Divine Conspiracy p 226 The purpose for dropping or ignoring condemnation from others is to keep us out of counter condemnation planning what to say thinking about how wrong the person was and maybe demeaning and condemning the person To drop or ignore the condemnation frees us from this preoccupation But how Willard recommends Who is this one condemning me I ask when set beside that One who does not condemn me I think I shall not be depressed about this condemnation of me then especially since I know that nothing can separate me from the eternal love of Christ Rom 8 33 35 And in this context it seems only intelligent just to have done with

    Original URL path: http://conversationsjournal.com/category/blog/spiritual-formation/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Welcoming the Stranger | Conversations Journal
    not have had a conversation with any woman in public but he not only did so but also invited her to enter into a deepened relationship with God Anyone who isn t like me When we see or meet people who differ from us politically ethnically or theologically a little ping may go off in our head that says Ooh Different Step back I wonder what Jesus disciple Simon the zealot thought when Jesus healed and then praised the faith of a Roman centurion Simon would have viewed the centurion as a prime candidate for assassination A stranger may just be someone of a different economic class In a church full of homeowners an apartment dweller often feels like a stranger A disabled person is a stranger in the midst of fitness buffs as is a non reader among well read folks Military kids or missionary kids parolees or drug rehab graduates may all qualify as strangers among those without that type of experience Anyone we re tempted to exclude and ignore Strangers are often people in power down positions children as opposed to adults women as opposed to men minority races as opposed to majority races the poor as opposed to middle class the middle class as opposed to rich lower paid workers as opposed to highly paid workers less educated as opposed to more educated blue collar workers as opposed to professionals The elderly are easily overlooked When my quiet 80 year old mother in law came to visit our other dinner guests never engaged her in conversation I wept later to think of the many times I had neglected to speak to an older person Or we may avoid pushy people people who talk too long about themselves those who scream and pout for what they feel they deserve know it alls or people who let their kids run wild In any us versus them situation them are the strangers The shocking thing about Jesus is that he did not merely tolerate such different people Jesus offered himself to them in self giving love I am able to do this only when I ask Jesus to reach out to others through me Excerpted from Invitation to the Jesus Life ch 5 Jan Johnson Join the Conversation Who are the strangers in your life What might be some small step you might take in welcoming one of them Spiritual Relationships by Valerie Hess 1 Comment I have met weekly with a friend in a spiritual companionship accountability relationship for over a decade It has been a lifeline for both of us We share everything about our lives our children our jobs We know things about each other that no one else knows as we have practiced the discipline of confession with each other on numerous occasions We have rafted the Grand Canyon together cried over and celebrated our children and have done spiritual formation book studies together Read More Post a comment 1 Welcoming the Darkness by Valerie

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  • Conversations Journal – Welcoming The Person In Front Of Me
    helping someone out Quite often such welcoming is no big deal My friend was in line to speak to a collection agent so nobody in that line was happy His previous experiences with the clerk were not pleasant so it was tempting to numb out and just get through it But when he noticed that the gentleman in front of him didn t speak English well which clearly annoyed the clerk my friend quietly stepped in and helped translate for the man It eased the situation considerably Some would say my friend did this because he is an extrovert and that may be part of it But more than that he s very intentional about welcoming people into his life as is my husband When he says How are you to me he waits for a real answer I m having to get used to that since I m eager to get down to business and address the matter at hand What I liked best about my friend s interchange in the line was that he lightened the load not only for the gentleman but also for the clerk who had been so brusque with him He loved both people in front of him Indeed the person in front of me that I might struggle to welcome might be someone who repeats himself a lot or who tries to convince me of a so called biblical idea that I don t think is in Scripture I most often forget that the person in front of me really matters when I m distracted by my own dilemmas or trying to make a decision So the prayer becomes Show me what it would look like to love the person in front of me for the next 10 minutes And God usually shows me what to do Jesus I believe was like my friend Jesus taught people Whoever welcomes you welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me Matt 10 40 Jesus laid aside deep grief over John the Baptist s death to pay attention to the crowd in front of him Matt 14 13 14 This is the essence of hospitality welcoming the person in front of me We pay attention to others inviting them to be at home with us as they unfold themselves before us as God invites us Then we wait for them to be able to do that To merely welcome another to make a place for them is one of the most life giving and life receiving things a human being can do Hospitality is not limited to inviting others to eat with us or stay in our home While cleaning bed making and food preparation are valuable gifts to offer others the core idea of hospitality is being open and vulnerable to another person Invitation to the Jesus Life p 70 The more I welcome people into my life the more I find life to be an engaging adventure in God s

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  • Kingdom of Heaven | Conversations Journal
    at a women s leadership training in China and we were up for a break before we headed on to our next event in another city My friend and I decided that we would take a walk down the pedestrian zone in the heart of this beautiful mega city for our Sabbath day We were feeling like the Kingdom of Heaven was all around us and His Reign was alive and well There right on the edge of a lovely park was a coffee shop of world renown so we purchased our too expensive coffee and pastries and headed up an outdoor flight of stairs to the patio above As we climbed the stairs there she was a little lady about four and a half feet tall Her face was round and red from sunburn wrapped in a scarf She wore peasant clothes that were miss matched and dirty Her teeth were yellow and only partially present Read More Post a comment 3 Where What God Wants Done Is Done by Valerie Hess 1 Comment When the topic of The Kingdom of Heaven was chosen for this month I am sure no one remotely suspected that Dallas Willard would die in May The Kingdom of Heaven and Dallas Willard are linked together in many modern Christian minds because Dallas did so much teaching on The Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth This by the way is where Scripture says it is to be lived out Read More Post a comment 1 The Power of Standing Still by Debby Bellingham 1 Comment Editor s Note This is part one of a two part reflection by a new blogger to the Conversations team Debby Bellingham Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God and saying the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near repent and believe in the good news With these few words Jesus declares his definition of the good news The good news he proclaims is that the Kingdom of God has come near Notice this subtle but very important aspect of Jesus gospel the Kingdom has come near God s promise spoken through Moses is realized in Jesus arrival You don t need to go anywhere or do anything special or religious to access it God is the one who moves close you just need to stand still God s Kingdom will come near to you This is truly good news Read More Post a comment 1 Looking Like Tourists by Debby Bellingham 1 Comment Editor s Note This is part two of a two part reflection by blogger Debby Bellingham Jack and I had just finished our third week in Paris We d unpacked settled into our apartment walked worked rested and made fools of ourselves attempting to speak the language Generally speaking it was going well But being a sort of long term tourist in Paris raised some thoughts in my mind I hate looking like a tourist You can spot

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  • Living Well & Flourishing | Conversations Journal
    prayer becomes Show me what it would look like to love the person in front of me for the next 10 minutes And God usually shows me what to do Jesus I believe was like my friend Jesus taught people Whoever welcomes you welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me Matt 10 40 Jesus laid aside deep grief over John the Baptist s death to pay attention to the crowd in front of him Matt 14 13 14 This is the essence of hospitality welcoming the person in front of me We pay attention to others inviting them to be at home with us as they unfold themselves before us as God invites us Then we wait for them to be able to do that To merely welcome another to make a place for them is one of the most life giving and life receiving things a human being can do Hospitality is not limited to inviting others to eat with us or stay in our home While cleaning bed making and food preparation are valuable gifts to offer others the core idea of hospitality is being open and vulnerable to another person Invitation to the Jesus Life p 70 The more I welcome people into my life the more I find life to be an engaging adventure in God s company Join the Conversation What signals do you send that indicate to another person that they are welcome That they are unwelcome Switching the Focus By Jan Johnson October 20 2014 in Blog Living Well Flourishing BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT Because the Renovare Book Club and Goodreads is studying my book Madame Guyon Her Autobiography I ve been re reading it I ve been particularly impressed by Jeanne Guyon s peace and tranquility in the face of so much persecution She was lied about so much so that her older son and many others were turned against her Certain people mostly religious leaders schemed to get her inheritance and to gain custody of her children for their own gain One group tried to get her 12 year old daughter to marry a well dirty old man shall we say so that it would profit them Such injustice especially by Christians really upsets me How can they do that Read More Post a comment 0 The Good Life Lessons from Brendan the Navigator By Robert Rife October 6 2014 in Blog Living Well Flourishing 2 Comments Shall I abandon the comforts and benefits of my home Shall I take leave of my friends and my beautiful native land King of the mysteries will You set watch over me Christ of the mysteries can I trust You on the sea Christ of the heavens and Christ of the ravenous ocean wave I will hold fast to my course through the dangers I must brave O Lord I pray that in You I ll break ground both fresh and new As a student let me stand

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  • Next Right Thing | Conversations Journal
    hospitality welcoming the person in front of me We pay attention to others inviting them to be at home with us as they unfold themselves before us as God invites us Then we wait for them to be able to do that To merely welcome another to make a place for them is one of the most life giving and life receiving things a human being can do Hospitality is not limited to inviting others to eat with us or stay in our home While cleaning bed making and food preparation are valuable gifts to offer others the core idea of hospitality is being open and vulnerable to another person Invitation to the Jesus Life p 70 The more I welcome people into my life the more I find life to be an engaging adventure in God s company Join the Conversation What signals do you send that indicate to another person that they are welcome That they are unwelcome Guidance for the Next Step By Alan Fadling December 20 2012 in Blog Next Right Thing Sometimes I find it helpful to read journal entries from an earlier leg of my journey As I read one from January 1990 I was encouraged by what I was experiencing by way of a richer sense of God s moment to moment guidance I described the process back then like this Read More Post a comment 4 My Darkest Night of the Year by Sam Jolman 1 Comment A lot of things can cross your mind the day before Christmas those folks on your list you still have to buy for the wonderful feeling it is to be off work what you hope to overeat that evening or the next Buying a six pack of beer to drown my sorrows was not what I hoped to be haunted with on the eve of our Savior s birth I never thirst for a whole six pack of beer But last year there it was an all consuming temptation to drink away my heavy heart Read More Post a comment 1 Tyranny of the Heroic by Chuck Conniry 7 comments I ve been reflecting on the next right thing to do Christian literature is replete with the biographies of men and women who have accomplished extraordinary things for God Just for fun I Googled Christian Heroes and discovered that there s a website bearing that exact URL www christianheroes com Read More Post a comment 7 The New Normal by Valerie Hess 6 comments This has been a tough year Too many hard difficult things have happened divorce and accidents fires and illnesses work projects going unbelievably frustratingly badly To be sure there were moments of joy and goodness but for the most part life has been tough sledding I have had to relearn the meaning of the discipline of celebration Whatever is true whatever is honorable whatever is just whatever is pure whatever is pleasing whatever is commendable if there is any excellence and

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