Praying the Psalms

Wellspring Mini-Retreats through the Summer

 

Join Wellspring Ministry  the third Mondays of June, July and August for a time of solitude and refreshment in the Lord through praying the Psalms.   This is a time to walk, to sit under a tree, to pray…

Eugene Peterson – “When we pray the Psalms and are trained in prayer by them, we enter into this centuries-long experience of being the people of God.”  … “The Psalms come from a people who hear God speak to them and realize that it is the most important word they will ever hear spoken.  They decide to respond.  They answer.” 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer  – “Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure is lost to the Christian Church.  With its recovery will come unexpected power.”

Walter Brueggeman  – “The agenda and intention of the Psalms is considerably at odds with the normal speech of most people” … ”Most Psalms can only be appropriately prayed by people who are living at the edge of their lives, sensitive to the raw hurts, the primitive passions, and the naïve elations that are at the bottom of our life.”…[praying the Psalms] asks us to depart from the closely managed world of public survival to move into the open, frightening, healing world of speech with the Holy One”

Location:

Heil Valley Ranch Open Space (West of Longmont on Lefthand Canyon Rd. – Meet in the main parking lot)

 Time:

6:30-8:00 PM

 

Dates: 

3rd Mondays of the month through the summer

June 21, 2010

July 26, 2010 (Note the new date for July: 4th monday)

August 16, 2010

 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Ps 63:1

 For information contact Dave Gifford or Scott Toillion at Wellspring Ministry  Http://wellspring1.wordpress.com.  Feel free to leave a question with this blog.

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Stations Flyer 2010

Click on the above link for information on the Stations of the Cross walk in Longmont Colorado.

Wellspring Ministry will host a walk through the Stations of the Cross on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, 6:30-7:30 PM at Rogers Grove in Longmont.  The Stations of the Cross mark with scripture reading, prayer and art the path that Jesus walked leading to the cross.   This will be a reflective and meditative time in preparation for Easter.  Rogers Grove is located south of the St. Vrain River on the east side of Hover Road.  Friends, neighbors, family are welcome.  

Scott for Wellspring copyright 2010

“Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.  He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on.  He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.  Then he became angry and refuesed to go in.  His father came out and began to plead with him.”–Luke 15:25-28

What do you do when you discover that you are the older son in the Parable of the Prodigal son?  I don’t like it, not even a little bit.  Could this really be true about me? 

If you have spent any time in the bible at all or even if you haven’t, it’s likely that you may be familiar with the story of the Prodigal son found in the 15th chapter of Luke.  Here’s the short version:

  • Younger son decides he is entitled to get his inheritance
  • Younger son demands that his father give him his inheritance…………..now!
  • Younger son leaves to pursue the high life of glitz, girls, and excess
  • Younger son squanders all his money and wealth
  • Younger son realizes he made a mistake…………(A bit of an understatent)
  • Younger son hits the bottom of all bottoms…….. (Oink oink)
  • Younger son becomes broken…………external circumstances to an internal reality
  • Younger son runs out of options
  • Younger son with nothing to lose, returns to his father
  • Younger son is welcomed with unmatched love and acceptance………..party ensues
  • End of story…………all is well………..happy happy joy joy.

These are the highlights that most readily come to mind, but there is more to the story, a sub plot if you will, but nevertheless there if you are looking.  I wasn’t really looking for this aspect of the story, but it found me anyway.  It found me because I have been living this part of the story myself.  I don’t like to admit it, but I can’t deny it.

Often I find myself wishing that I could be the younger son instead.  (There I go again)

I tell myself that it would be easier to admit that I have struggled with lust and greed, squandered all my cash and now I am completely broken?   I made some very poor choices, I’ve paid the price, become broken and now I’m reaching out in the hopes that someone will be there to catch me.  I’m already at the bottom so I have nothing to lose.  A classic story of redemption.  Why can’t that be my story?  (There I go again, being the older son)

I guess it can’t be my story, well,……….because it isn’t my story.  Maybe it was once, but it isn’t now.  My bottom was many years ago, and even then it wasn’t that flashy, though no less real.  But right now my story is aligning itself more with the older son.  Yes, I have been cast in the role of party pooper, kill joy, and all around sore loser rolled into one.  I am the only snag in an otherwise great ending to an amazing story.  Now you can see why I might prefer to play a different role.  Can I audition again?  Do I really have to play this role? 

Well, actually no I don’t have to play this role, but right now I am so good at it.  I guess that’s why I was chosen for it in the first place.  I don’t like being the older son.  Okay, maybe I do, I must, why else would I play the role so often?   But I really don’t like this being true about me. 

Who wants to be known as self-righteous, petty, jealous, envious, prideful, dirty…..please stop me before I reflect myself all the way to hell itself.  I have had to utter those words to myself, to God, and even to some of my friends recently in describing some of the tendencies of my heart. 

I feel inadequate and weak coming to the realization that I identify with the older son in this story more often than I care to.

Why can’t I have some politically correct sin like pornography or alcohol addiction?  (Okay I don’t really mean that, but I suppose part of me entertains the possibility that those might be easier do deal with.  Oops there I go again, being the older son)

Here’s the reality:

  • I have all my needs met on a daily basis……and then some 
  • My family loves me and we enjoy great times together
  • I have many friends who add joy to my life
  • I live in Colorado (nuff said)
  • I have opportunity after opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other people
  • I am still young and healthy enough to climb mountains
  • God loves me more than I can even grasp

What could possibly be my problem? 

I struggle wanting more, wanting significance, wanting what others have, wanting what I don’t have, wanting recognition……….please stop me again before I go back to hell. 

I struggle not being content with what I have, which is pretty much everything.  Sounds filthy, just saying that again, but as I’ve told so many other people, being honest with myself is the beginning of growth and healing. 

So there you go, I’m the older son.  I don’t like it.  I’d rather not admit it.  I don’t want it to be true about me, but I’m afraid that more often than I’d like it to be, it is.

Dave for Wellspring       Copyright 2010

  

Patience is one of those gifts that is difficult to acquire without a hard journey.  It is even more difficult in the society we live in that expects instant satisfaction and gratification.  Who really likes to wait?

In Thessalonians, there is the exhortation to be patient with everyone (not just those easy to be patient with).  And shortly after this there is the call to be joyful always!  (I Thes. 5:14-16).  James wrote in his letter about the suffering of Job and to consider him as a model for our own patience in suffering.  The letter to the Romans connects patience with affliction (wouldn’t you come to expect this?).  Paul, the writer of Romans wrote “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”    

We see through these passages that patience is well acquainted with pain and suffering.  Interestingly from the passage in Romans, patience is between the words joyful and faithful.  As we wait with patience (for deliverance, for something good to happen, for the end of suffering…) we must not lose our joy and our faith.  Joy is built up in the hope that comes through Christ and faith through the power of prayer.

Henri Nouwen had a particularly insightful notion about patience.  He wrote, “Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else.”  (from Bread for the Journey)

Isn’t that our trouble?  We have difficulty living life in the present with joy and faith.  We spend a great deal of energy dwelling everywhere but the here and now.  We think if we could just get to tomorrow things will be better.  Patience calls us, even in the midst of great suffering to endure with joy and faith in the now.  When we can do this, the chains of discontentment are broken.  The load is lightened.  We can live free knowing Christ is present and accessible to us now, not in some distant future time and place (though He will be there too).  We can begin to experience real peace.

As you wait, know that Christ is there waiting with you.  He will give the strength you will need. 

Blessings as you wait,

Scott for Wellspring © Copyright 2010

C.S. Lewis wrote, “the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it.  It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.  All your wishes and hopes [and I might add fears] for each day rush at you like wild animals.  And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.  And so on, all day.  Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings, coming in out of the wind.  We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system:  because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us…”  (from Mere Christianity Book IV, Chapter 8 )

C. S. Lewis is speaking of a contemplative life.  A life that quiets down enough at the very start of the day to listen to that still, small voice.  Psalm 143:8 gives us that wisdom for waking up.  “Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust.  Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”    This is the way we must start our day instead of focusing on all our fussings and frettings.  We must make the effort to hear and listen for His steadfast love in the morning.  He is there to greet us as we wake.

Blessings Scott, for Wellspring, Copyright 2009

 

Making Space for God

Disciplines for Life

November 6th and 7th, 2009

Retreat Schedule:  Friday night, 6:30-9 PM/Saturday morning, 8:30-Noon

Northern Hills Church, Brighton Colorado (1.5 Miles East of I-25 on Hwy 7 – Exit 229)

Solitude and Silence/ Preparing to Hear the Word

Scripture/ Taking in the Word

Prayer/ Responding to the Word

Simplicity/ Removing Distractions to the Word

  • The retreat  will be a blend of small group gatherings & individual time around these four themes for the purpose of spiritual formation in Christ, the true Word of God (John 1:1).    
  • Participants will come away from this retreat with a renewed connection to God and tools for deepening their relationship with the only One who is Life – “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

Hosted by Wellspring Ministry, Retreat Leaders:

Dave Gifford  – an ordained Pastor and M. A. Counselor at Northern Hills Church in Brighton Colorado.

Scott Toillion –a spiritual director and current student in the Christian Spiritual Formation and Soul Care Program at Denver Seminary.

RSVP to Dave Gifford at Northern Hills @  720-685-1717 or at daveg@nhcc.cc

https://wellspring1.wordpress.com

Recently I was listening to a relatively modern day psalm.  It probably wasn’t written as a psalm but it sure sounded like one of those laments for someone who can help.  “Help! I need somebody, Help! Not just anybody, Help! You know I need someone, help.”  Yes it is by the Beatles and most likely is sung for a girl or a friend, or someone earthly who can help out a lonely, confused person.

HELP!

HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY,

HELP! NOT JUST ANYBODY,

HELP! YOU KNOW I NEED SOMEONE, HELP.

 

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, SO MUCH YOUNGER THAN TODAY,

I NEVER NEEDED ANYBODY’S HELP IN ANY WAY.

BUT NOW THESE DAYS ARE GONE, I’M NOT SO SELF ASSURED,

NOW I FIND I’VE CHANGED MY MIND I’VE OPENED UP THE DOORS.

 

HELP ME IF YOU CAN, I’M FEELING DOWN

AND I DO APPRECIATE YOU BEING AROUND.

HELP ME GET MY FEET BACK ON THE GROUND,

WON’T YOU PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME.

 

AND NOW MY LIFE HAS CHANGED IN OH SO MANY WAYS,

MY INDEPENDENCE SEEMS TO VANISH IN THE HAZE.

BUT EV’RY NOW AND THEN I FEEL SO INSECURE,

I KNOW THAT I JUST NEED YOU LIKE I’VE NEVER DONE BEFORE.

 

HELP ME IF YOU CAN, I’M FEELING DOWN

AND I DO APPRECIATE YOU BEING AROUND.

HELP ME GET MY FEET BACK ON THE GROUND,

WON’T YOU PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME.

 

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, SO MUCH YOUNGER THAN TODAY,

I NEVER NEEDED ANYBODY’S HELP IN ANY WAY.

BUT NOW THESE DAYS ARE GONE, I’M NOT SO SELF ASSURED,

NOW I FIND I’VE CHANGED MY MIND I’VE OPENED UP THE DOORS.

 

HELP ME IF YOU CAN, I’M FEELING DOWN

AND I DO APPRECIATE YOU BEING ROUND.

HELP ME, GET MY FEET BACK ON THE GROUND,

WON’T YOU PLEASE,

PLEASE HELP ME,

HELP ME,

HELP ME, OH. (The Beatles)

But in it I hear the call to the One who can truly help.  The line is right that it is not just anybody we need. It is Jesus we need.  When you are down, when you are trying to get your feet back on the ground, when your independence has vanished and you feel so insecure, when you just need someone to be around, He is there. 

So if you are singing this song of lament you are not alone.  Centuries of people have sung the same kind of song.  Some have sung it out in desperation to no one in particular.  However, there is someone to sing this song too who really cares.  The true Author of the 150 psalms of the Bible has given us permission to cry out to Him for help.  He will listen.  Psalm 121 speaks of this One who can help.

Psalm 121 A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

 Sing to the ONE who can Help!

Scott for Wellspring © copyright 2009