Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Importance of Pain

From Father Richard Rohr's daily meditations- he says things so well. He went through each of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Steps and related them to our walk of faith. This is today's entry.

Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

Only people who have suffered in some way can save one anotherexactly as the Twelve Step program discovered. Deep communion and dear compassion is formed much more by shared pain than by shared pleasure. Only those who have tried to breathe under water know how important breathing really is, and will never take it for granted again. They are the ones who do not take shipwreck or drowning lightly, who can name “healing” correctly, who know what they are being saved from, and who develop the patience and humility to ask the right questions of God and of themselves.
You see, only the survivors know the full terror of the passage, the arms that held them through it all, and the power of the obstacles that were overcome. Those who have passed over eventually find a much bigger world of endurance, meaning, hope, self-esteem, deeper and true desire, but most especially, a bottomless pool of love both within and without.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Life of a Leader

This past Wednesday through Saturday was our Cal Poly student leaders' retreat, and all 45 leaders and the 5 of us staff met in LA to pray, plan, and prepare for this upcoming school year. In some ways it feels like FUI deja vu, because a lot of the new leaders are introverted, which definitely creates a particular group dynamic. They are an awesome group though, and although they are scared, they are very eager and open for whatever God has for them.
One part of the leaders retreat (we call it Chapter Camp) that I led was the Friday morning devotion and Bible Study. When I was preparing, Genesis 15 really jumped out at me. I think since I have learned a lot about the ups and downs of leadership the past 2 years especially, I was drawn in by Abram's experience in the chapter.
The first verse says "Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield, and your very great reward." So God is the ultimate reward, even though God promises Abram descendants as numerous as the stars and a whole lot of land. But Abram has to do a lot of waiting: waiting for God to show up in the Chapter, and then another 25 years of waiting for a son. Not to mention he is promised that his descendants will have to wait 400 years before they are freed from slavery. Abram battles it out with God, and he has a lot of doubts, and even experiences depression (v. 12). But the one time Abram believes God, it is credited to him as righteousness!
We studied the passage as a group, and I wanted them to see how leadership means ups and downs, and waiting, and sometimes depression, and doubts, but also God's promises and encouragement, and how He honors the times we do trust Him and hold to His promises.
I was kind of afraid of being a downer, but I think it is so important to realize that leadership DOES have a lot of ups and downs, but the point is to keep pressing into God, and realize that He is our reward, not an amazing small group Bible study or fellowship. I hope that came across to them.