The Spiritual Life: 1. How to Create the Conditions for the Holy Spirit to Work in our Lives.

In “The Spiritual Life” by Evelyn Underhill, we find the following excerpt:  St. Paul did not want to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He wanted to be a clever and appreciated young Jewish scholar, and kicked against the pricks. St. Ambrose and St. Agustine did not want to be overworked and worried bishops. Nothing was farther from their intention. St. Cuthbert wanted the solitude and freedom of his hermitage on the Farne; but he did not often get there. St. Francis Savier’s preference was for an ordered life close to his beloved master, St. Ignatius. At a few hours’ notice he was sent out to be the apostle of the Indies and never returned to Europe again. Henry Martyn, the fragile and exquisite scholar, was compelled to sacrifice the intellectual life to which he was so perfectly fitted for the missionary life to which he felt so decisively called.

In all these, a power beyond themselves decided the direction of life. Yet in all we recognise not frustration, but the highest of all types of achievement. Things like this – and they are constantly happening – gradually convince us that the overruling reality of life is the Will and Choice of a Spirit acting not in a mechanical but in a living and personal way; and that the spiritual life does not consist in mere individual betterment, or assiduous attention to one’s own soul, but in a free and unconditional response to that Spirit’s pressure and call, whatever the cost may be.

In spiritual direction, we listen closely to the Holy Spirit. Oftentimes, having a companion helps us listen more intently or in an unexpected way. As I meet with Pastors and Ministry Leaders, I find simply listening unlocks blocks and foggy areas as I ask careful questions.

At the beginning and and end of sessions, I try to stress the importance of fully creating the conditions in which the Holy Spirit can work in the person’s life. Finding ways to de-clutter our lives is more difficult than it may first appear. What spiritual disciplines do you employ to create space for the Holy?

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Sacre Bleu! ChatGPT on Evangelism & Christlikeness

I entered the following into ChatGPT: “Evangelism should be the natural result of seeking Christlikeness.” What follows is completely written by AI. What are your thoughts?

Evangelism, in its simplest definition, refers to sharing the good news or the message of Jesus Christ with others. It involves spreading the teachings, love, and grace of Jesus and inviting others to enter into a relationship with Him. It is considered a vital aspect of many Christian faith traditions.

Seeking Christlikeness, on the other hand, entails striving to live in accordance with the example set by Jesus Christ. It involves imitating His character, values, and actions, with the ultimate goal of becoming more like Him.

In the context of these definitions, one could argue that evangelism naturally emerges as a result of seeking Christlikeness. When individuals genuinely pursue a closer relationship with Jesus and aim to reflect His love and teachings in their lives, they often develop a desire to share this transformative experience with others.

For many Christians, the experience of knowing Christ and the positive impact it has on their lives becomes a powerful motivation to introduce others to Him. As they grow in Christlikeness, they become more attuned to the needs and struggles of those around them. They recognize the significance of sharing the good news with others who may be searching for purpose, hope, or spiritual fulfillment.

However, it is important to note that evangelism is a personal and individual calling. Not everyone may feel compelled or equipped to engage in evangelistic activities in the same way. Different individuals may express their faith and share the good news through various means such as personal conversations, acts of kindness, serving in their communities, or participating in organized outreach efforts.

Ultimately, the connection between seeking Christlikeness and evangelism is deeply personal and can vary among individuals. While seeking Christlikeness can inspire and motivate evangelism, it is important to approach evangelism with respect, sensitivity, and a genuine desire to share the love of Christ, allowing each person to respond to the message in their own way.

Breaking the Cycle: My 2 Friends

“My family has long held onto *insert destructive behavior* but I plan to be the cycle-breaker.” Breaking the Cycle seems to be a simple thing. Why do we struggle with it?

Many of us grow up observing the life-giving and life-taking influences of those around us. As teenagers and young adults, we quickly enter into evaluation of those closest to us – parents/guardians/others. We absolutely know the buttons to push to activate rage dad or defensive mom or rage mom and defensive dad. We know the expected paths to take to be accepted by our tribe, town, or community even when those paths are akin to entering a never ending-vortex of sameness and decay, yet with the promise of renewal and progression.

Mom, Dad, Community, Tribe constitutes the strongest mesocyclone of influence reaching much further into the future than our strong-willed younger years. The swirling winds of control are accompanied with occasional straight-line winds of force strong enough to destroy any sense of foundational growth in determining one’s own future. Family pull is real. Family pull is strong. It is a vortex of its own making.

Try breaking from the expected projection for your life – Families that are stuck in generational cycles (whether known or not known) will exert immense pressure to conform to spiritual, political, geographical, and psychological means of expression. Those that don’t conform undergo an alienation that leaves one feeling lost, untethered, and without shelter. Psychological homelessness oftentimes leads to dark places. Let me share the story of two friends.

Friend #1 Story

I was talking to a friend the other day at lunch who is from the US south. Although he has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the majority of his life, his family continues to expect a return to ‘home.’ There is no consideration given to freeing him to live in a part of the world where he has made a home. There is little reverse consideration to moving to him.

Friend #2 Story

Conversely, another friend enjoys a completely different way of enjoying family. Though his job moved him from the west coast to the south, his extended family chose to move with him to be near him. Though the extended family was retired, it was more important for them to be a family unit with the friend who was still in his working years. This dynamic is more difficult but allows for a continued fostering of traditions, love, and the passing of legacy.

How do we break the cycle of abuse, decay, and destruction?

Not every family is mature enough to see the value friend #2 experiences. Most families are limited physically or financially, divorced multiple times, or simply stuck in personal vices. Breaking the cycle starts with you. There is no other way.

Raising one’s Ebenezer in a call for help requires humility to gain ultimate help in this step. Today is the moment to seek bedrock on which to establish a shelter from abuse, decay, and destruction. Here is calm. Here is strength.

The calm is strength.

There is a calm before the storm, a calm amidst the storm, and a calm after the storm. It is our choice to focus on the storm or the calm. The storm is expected and brings a focus to self. The calm is whisking away from self beyond the stratosphere.

Solitude, silence, the mundane, listening, and beauty are moments that rise above. Seek these strengths even in the midst of the storms of generational cycles. It is in these moments that we see creation from the eyes of God Himself. Culture and false self in family instinctively grab for control and conformity. Doing something counter-cultural or definitively unique from past generations in the family will be questioned, mocked, met with a building storm of passive aggressive talk, and even belittled. It is OK. You will be OK. Breaking the cycle is a necessary event as it moves the focus from self to the bringer of calm. The one who is peace.

Interested in discussing this topic more? Contact me.


“Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking our words more seriously and discovering their true selves.” – Henri Nouwen

What is Spiritual Direction?

Simply put, spiritual direction (or soul care) is a partnership or companioning to seek the Spirit’s direction in your life. My aim is to demystify this much-needed relationship in order to open space for individuals. In this space I utilize spiritual discipline practices specific to your journey as we seek transformation.

Spiritual direction is not professional counseling. Spiritual direction is not pastoral counseling. Spiritual direction seeks to partner with individuals who engage in professional counseling and pastoral counseling. We all work together to provide for anyone seeking help.

“Although the language of ‘spiritual direction’ may sound modern, possibly even faddish, its practice has a long and honored place in Christian soul care…The English phrase ‘care of souls’ has its origins in the Latin cura animarum. While cura is most commonly translated ‘care,’ it actually contains the idea of both care and cure. Care refers to actions designed to support the well-being of something or someone. Cure refers to actions designed to restore well-being that has been lost. The Christian church has historically embraced both meanings of cura and has understood soul care to involve nurture and support as well as healing and restoration.” – Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner


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