More videos can be found here and here.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."This verse does not conclusively tell us that the opposite of fear is love. No! This verse basically says that true love is without any fear. If love is likened to a giant cream cake, fear will be the smudges wiped carelessly on the lovely creation. Making fear the opposite of love gives fear too much credit. In the same way, we can misinterpret the meaning of sin. Sin is not a matter of doing right or wrong. Sin is essentially 'missing the mark.' The opposite of 'missing the mark' is 'hitting the target.' We cannot see sin as the target itself. John Cassian in his Conferences writes perceptibly about the spiritual life by distinguishing the goal (scopos) and the end (telos). The 'scopos' is hitting the target like an archer that hits the bulls-eye. However, the 'telos' is something better. It is the prize of hitting the mark. Using similar logic, the opposite of fear is not love, for love is the ultimate union with God. The opposite of fear is something more like the 'scopos' rather than the 'telos.'
Matt. 14:30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”Thus the opposite of fear is 'have faith in God.' Faith in God leads us on the path of faith-hope-love, of which the greates of all is love. Thus, the opposite of fear is not another four letter word. It is instead a five-letter word: F.A.I.T.H.
Matt. 14:31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:32-34)Just before this exhortation to bless others, Jesus reminded the disciples not to worry. As much as the sparrows and the lilies are cared for, without them having to worry, how much more will our heavenly Father care for us? This is what I understand as "From Empty --> Full"; upon transformation of our focus from things to the kingdom of God, we move from "Full to Emptying of ourselves."
A) FROM Possessing Nothing TO Having Everything (Luke 12:22-29)The key verse in the Luke 12 passage is this:
B) It is not about things. It is about God's kingdom. Seek kingdom first, these secondary things will be ADDED unto us as we glimpse and receive the kingdom (Luke 12:30-31)
C) Having received the kingdom, we felt blessed to bless others (Luke 12:32-34)
“It is impossible ultimately to embrace the Christian account of humanity without embracing the Christian account of God. When we do, we find that true wholeness in life’s journey happens when God’s hopes become our hopes and God’s dreams become our dreams.” (David P Gushee, Only Human, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2005, p200)When we put more faith in our own abilities or skills, we risk moving to either extremes of over or under-doing anything, even the things of God. We talk more when we should walk. We run faster than our heads could think. Either way, we have to constantly pause from what we are doing in order to re-set our bearings. Running headlong quickly does not give us any head start if it is in the wrong direction. Procrastinating on the good that we ought to do when we are able to do so, wastes precious time and resources. Only when we are constantly mindful of Christ and discerning the movement of the Spirit in our hearts can we evidence our faith through good works.
When Death Comes (excerpt)Be mindful that as Christians, we remember that whatever we do, we work at it heartily as for the Lord, not for men. This applies the same in the educational arena. We teach, we learn, we help one another as to the Lord.
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
~ Mary Oliver ~
As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.This is one US Election that garners not only the attention of so many Americans, but world-wide interest. The Press continues to harp on the skin colour of Obama. People continue to see him as a beacon of hope in this world that does not seem to get better each day. Any references to his deep religious faith in God is merely given a passing mention. The smoke of hype and elevated ecstasy can unwittingly cloud the real-time struggle for hope amid the despair that is falling upon Wall Street and Main Street. Some observe that Obama inherits a world that is more problematic than any US President has ever faced. Others have doubts about his ability to lead, due to his youthfulness. I think there are many reasons for hope rather than gloom.
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.
To those — to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.
That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
“World unity is the wish of the hopeful, the goal of the idealist and the dream of the romantic. Yet it is folly to the realist and a lie to the innocent.”Yes. We need to pepper any thoughts of world unity with some reality check. We can however confidently say that as long as we maintain that hope for world unity, we have a chance.
“I get the feeling we are a tired generation. Evidence of that fatigue abounds in a multitude of articles about health problems related to overwork and exhaustion. Workaholism is a modern word. No matter how hard we are willing to work in our competitive world, there always seems to be someone willing to put in a few more hours than we are. What is strange about our general fatigue as a people is the fact that we are such a leisure-oriented society. We actually have what is called a leisure industry, and it is among the most profitable in our economy. Whole companies, organizations, and retail chain stores are committed to providing the goods with which people can pursue fun and good times.” (Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World, Tennessee: Evangelical Publishing, 1984, p163)More than twenty years later, we are nowhere better than the 80s, despite having better technologies and more advanced medical knowledge, and sophisticated health curriculum. The huge success of the ‘Chicken Soup’ series highlights the modern cry for comfort and emotional therapy. Thanks to the increasing worship of technology, treating the human condition is fast becoming more of a science rather than an art. Supplementing this first technological sweep are attempts at inspiring a tired generation. Current books like Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture,” and Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” regularly top the bestseller charts. I have mentioned both works here and here. Both of these books are considered ‘inspirational’, to help one to attain one’s dream and versions of success. (I do not have a problem with Pausch, but I cannot say the same for Byrne.) Whether it is psychotherapy or emotional drugs; chicken-soup stories or inspirational ideas; suppressing one’s mood or delaying any fall toward depression, one thing is clear: An exhausted generation needs not relief but healing. Lance Secretan, in his book “Inspirational Leadership,” tries to bring some sanity and hope into such a need. He correctly identifies inspiration as coming from the Latin word spirare meaning ‘spirit.’ I am not comfortable with his ‘source’ of inspiration, (Secretan is a Shamanism-inclined spiritualist). Moreover, Secretan’s work smacks traces of Gnostic beliefs, that the spiritual is far better than the material things. This is in complete opposition to Christian theology which recognizes that every good and perfect gift comes from God, both spiritual and material. Hence, I will compare and contrast motivation and inspiration according to my understanding. Below is a table I made, highlighting the differences:
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of
meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk
looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story
you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or
how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where
or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
From: Oriah Mountain Dreamer, "The Invitation" Harper Collins San Francisco, 1999