Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Virtual Church

God Speaks – We Resist

Below is an excerpt from this week’s Agape Meditation Newsletter – supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church:

The first reaction to God’s voice is almost always RESISTANCE.

This week’s Psalm speaks to this truth and uses the Israelite’s journey through the desert as a metaphor for this process. Liberated from a life of slavery, do the Israelites celebrate and look forward to their new life in the promise land with joyful hopefulness? No….they whine, complain and argue. They even go so far as to say they would have been better off if they’d stayed in Egypt. SIGH! This is how we are. We have an opportunity to leave behind a life that is too small for us….and then we ask for our small life back.

In response to this very human response to growth, the psalmist PLEADS with us:

If today your hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.

How are you being called to listen to God’s voice and how are you invited to recognize resistance when it arises and meet it with an open heart instead?

To access the full version, subscribe using the Paypal icon below.  For a low monthly fee, you will received the Agape Meditation Newsletter, Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Video Service and weekly Superhero Report. 

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Spiritual Practices, Truth, Virtual Church

Virtual Church Meditation Supplement – The Power of the Holy Spirit

Please find below “Agape” – the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Meditation Supplement for Sunday, May 25, 2014. The topic this week is getting to know the Holy Spirit – the Power of God that awakens, catalyzes, directs and empowers.  Feel the Power.

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 

Scripture Reading:

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

John 14: 15-21

 

 

Additional Readings:

Acts 8: 5-7, 14-17

Ps 66: 1-7, 16, 20

1 Pt 3: 15-18

 HolySpiritFire

Exploring the Trinity

In this week’s reading, we begin our discussion of the Holy Spirit – the third Divine Person of the Trinity. In regards to the Trinity, Jesus spoke first about “the Father” the part of the Trinity that Jesus experienced as outside of him. Jesus experienced this aspect of God as intimately personal and loving, like a father, but not limited to masculine form. Secondly, Jesus experienced God within him and so much a part of him as if they were One. The Holy Spirit, is the aspect of God that moves and empowers. Jesus experienced the third person of the Trinity as flowing out of the love he knew between himself and the Father and that would inspire and activate those who followed his example and came to know the love that he hoped to implant in the world in the same way that the Holy Spirit had inspired and activated him. The Holy Spirit awakens us, inspires us and moves us to be love in the world and is like a fire that cannot be contained. The Holy Spirit is God seeking to be known in the world through us.

How have you experienced God outside of you, God within you and God seeking to be expressed through you?

How have you experienced the FIRE of the Holy Spirit?

 

 

Spiritual Practices:

In this week’s spiritual practice, you will have an opportunity to have a palpable experience of the Holy Spirit so that you can identify its Presence and Action in your life.

  1. Go you YouTube and find the song “The Power” by Amy Grant. Link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gXn0S3e9dY
  2. Listen to the song one time listening attentively to the lyrics.
  3. Listen to the song again, this time, feeling the song with your body. Feel the rhythm of the music. Allow the music to literally move you…tap your feet, sway your arms, GET UP AND DANCE. J
  4. Listen again and allow yourself to be ONE with the music. Enter deeply into the song – lyrics, rhythm, even the silence between the notes. Feel the music as part of who you are. THIS is the Holy Spirit seeking to be known in and through you. Acknowledge it.
  5. Rest in silence and be attentive to any thoughts, emotions, images that may begin to arise.
  6. Write your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or journal.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Amy Grant’s song, The Power, she speaks of the aspect of God that “drives us crazy.” While Authentic Freedom doesn’t specifically address the topic of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit can be thought of as the place within us that feels frustrated, impatient, angry, depressed and anxious when the truth of who God is asking us to be feels thwarted. When we are not living as the person God made us to be – peaceful, loving, compassionate, purposeful and fulfilled, the Holy Spirit lets us know and will continue to let us know until we do something about it. The Holy Spirit is like the fire breathing life into our truest self, driving it to seek after its fulfillment until it is satisfied. This is why we often feel “crazy” in the pursuit of our path, or as a dear spiritual brother calls it, “angsty!”

Where have you experienced the fire of the Holy Spirit through your own restlessness, impatience, frustration, angst, anger, anxiety and even depression?

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church

Authentic Freedom Virtual Church coming soon!

Coming Soon!

My dear friends, the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church is an offering a long-time in the making and currently under works with a launch date of (no later than) March 12, 2014.  (Breathe….relax…..breathe…..relax….trust….)  🙂  In a nutshell:

jesusWe are a community of men and women who consider Jesus to be our teacher, while honoring the spiritual truths inherent within all sacred traditions.  We recognize the Divine as that which is at once outside of us, within us and present within all of creation and which can be acknowledged by any Name, Image or Presence.  We believe in the inherent potential of all human beings to become self-actualized and acknowledge the spiritual journey as a formative tool in this endeavor. We believe in the law of love and seek to know more fully the love of the Divine that dwells within us and which seeks to be known in the world through us and which then serves to support the betterment of our world. Abraham Maslow called this process, self-actualization. Bill Plotkin calls it the birth of the Soul.

As such, the Authentic Freedom virtual church is not about doctrine or prostheletizing, but is instead focused on being a resource for spiritual formation in support of your journey of self-actualization.  Through sound spiritual formation, you will be empowered to discover the answer to the following three questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I?  (What is my understanding of the Divine and what is my relationship to that? or What is the Source of inner peace and contentment and how do I cultivate that?)
  • What are my gifts and how am I being called to use them for my own personal fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world?

Through this process of spiritual formation in support of our self-actualization, we discover the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives and through which we are compelled to serve the betterment of the world.

Participation in the Authentic Freedom virtual church will be facilitated through:

1)      The Weekly Agape’ Spiritual Practice newsletter where you will be given suggestions on specific meditation and creative practices to help support your own spiritual development.

2)      The Weekly Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service available on this site and through YouTube.

3)      The Authentic Freedom virtual community on Facebook where you have an opportunity to connect with other Authentic Freedom virtual church participants.

Support for this ministry will be facilitated through your choice of a one-off donation or a monthly subscriber’s fee, and all will be welcome regardless of their ability to pay!

Thank you for your support as I continue to discern and construct this offering.

Love,

Lauri

Posted in Agape Project, Spiritual Practices

Deepening Your Spiritual Practice

If you have been enjoying this blog and are looking for practical tools for embracing and applying these concepts to your own life experience, check out the Agape’ newsletter.  The Agape’ newsletter is a terrific value for the price and with flexible pricing options, it is accessible to any budget.  I have been checking out other “meditation” resources, and I have yet to find anything as comprehensive, easy to use or unifying as the Agape’ Meditation Newsletter.  See below for more information or click on the “Meditation Newsletter” tab or the Agape’ heart on the column to the right.  PS  Meditation is not just about silence….it is about creativity and engaging the brain too!  If you have found silent meditation to be a challenge, Agape’ might be just what you were looking for!!!!!

Agape’ – The Greek word used in Christian scripture to describe the unconditional, unmerited, infinite, abundantly flowing Love of God.  Even more than that, Agape’ reminds us that God is LOVE and that we too are that Love in our connection with God, with one another and with all of Creation.  By embracing Agape’, we REMEMBER THE LOVE THAT WE ARE

Agape’ is a weekly resource for contemplative meditation available on a subscription basis.  As a subscriber, you will receive the weekly Agape’ newsletter which will consist of resources for your personal spiritual practice and that could eventually be shared in a small group setting.  Resources included in the weekly Agape’ newsletter:

  • A scripture reading (or two)
  • Some background on the scripture (historical and sociological context, literary genre, author, audience, etc.)
  • A brief reflection on the scripture
  • Suggested meditation/contemplation/prayer activity using the scripture
  • Questions for personal reflection or to be shared within a small group

Benefits to you for subscribing:

  • Provides answers to some of your questions about scripture, Hebrew culture, Jesus’ teachings
  • Makes scripture accessible and applicable to your everyday life
  • Helps you connect with the voice of truth (God) within
  • Helps you find the spiritual practice(s) that work for you
  • Helps you find accessible, approachable methods for meditation and contemplation
  • Helps you to know peace, love and joy more fully
  • Helps you to identify the spiritual fears that might be in the way of you knowing peace
  • Helps you to find healing and release from those fears
  • Helps you to KNOW God, not just know ABOUT God
  • Helps you to find the path to fulfillment and happiness
  • Helps you to find tools to help you make it through life’s challenges

Truly, the list is endless…but that’s a start.

Flexible Payment Options:

To meet the broad range of financial accessibility, you are invited to choose from the following payment options:

$20.00 per month (for those with the financial means or who intend to share these resources within a group of up to 10 participants)

$10.00 per month (for individuals or couples who are on a tighter budget – not intended for group use)

Note:  If even the $10.00 per month is out of your reach, please contact Lauri Lumby at lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to discuss other arrangements. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, Click on this link:  http://yourspiritualtruth.com/the-agape-project/

Posted in Agape Project, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Beware the Ides of March!

This post marks the beginning of a series of posts directed toward the GLOBAL launch of the Agape’ Project – a weekly subscription based service that will be made available through Authentic Freedom Ministries.  This affordable weekly resource will provide tools for sound spiritual formation and for starting and cultivating a sound spiritual practice with the promised result of helping you to Remember the Love That You Are!

Beware the Ides of March

I can’t even think or speak the above phrase, “Beware the Ides of March” without either hearing or intoning a phantomesque Shakespearean accent reminiscent of the first time I heard this quote in high school British Lit.  These are the immortal words attributed to the soothsayer who prophesied the assassination of Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play of the same name and which proved to be true as Caesar met his doom at the hands of Brutus and his fellow conspirators.  Since Caesar’s prophesied demise, these words have become a herald of impending doom. 

My own Ides of March

These words have proven to be no less tragic for me as I joked, but seriously observed that the day I moved out of my home of 13 years and embarked fully upon the journey of divorce was none other than…..MARCH 15th!  God has a seriously sick sense of humor.  But now, after nearly a year, I am happy to say that while yes, March 15, 2011 proved to be a death (or deaths) of sort……I HAVE found new life on the other side of divorce.  YAY!  So in celebration of many many many experiences of new life since that fateful Ides of March 2011, I am dubbing the Ides of March 2012 to be a majorly awesome day of new beginnings and new promises by making it the the official global launch date for the Agape’ Project.   March 15, 2012 will not be a day of doom but instead will be a day of celebration, outreach and joy.  YAY again!

What the Heck is the Agape’ Project?

Agape’ is the Greek word used in Christian scripture to describe the unconditional, unmerited, infinite, abundantly flowing Love of God.  Even more than that, Agape’ reminds us that God is LOVE and that we too are that Love in our connection with God, with one another and with all of Creation.  By embracing Agape’, we REMEMBER THE LOVE THAT WE ARE.   The Agape’ Project seeks to empower individuals as well as small groups to REMEMBER THE LOVE THAT THEY ARE by providing tools for sound spiritual formation rooted in the Western Contemplative tradition.  Each weekly resource will include scripture, historical and cultural background, exercises for meditation, contemplation, personal reflection and group discussion.  The Agape’ Project has been tested by a 12 member pilot group and after feedback on content, pricing, etc. and will be ready for global launch on March 15, 2012.  Another YAY!

What you can look forward to in the coming month

In preparation for the global launch of the Agape’ Project on March 15th,  Your Spiritual Truth will be focussing its blog posts on meditation, contemplation, spiritual formation and the like.  I will be setting the groundwork and building a platform for the Ides of March and why you might want to be a part of the Agape’ Project and why you might want to share it with friends.  So, instead of “Beware the Ides of March” I say, “Welcome the Ides of March!”

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Agape Project, Inspiration, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

What Churches Refuse to Give us, Why and Where we Might Find it

Today’s blog explores the topic of spiritual hunger and the tools that help to satisfy that hunger and why many, if not most, churches fail to give us what we really need.

Our Deepest Longing

In my nearly twenty years of ministry work, I have identified one desire that is common among every single person to whom I have ministered and I suspect is common among every single human being that walks this planet.  This desire is to KNOW they are LOVED.  No matter how confident we might seem to be, or successful, or popular or at peace…there is still a very deep longing to know that we are loved and that we are loved exactly for who and what we are….infinitely and without condition.  This longing to be loved is what drives us to seek fulfillment of this love in our life, our work, our relationships and our life experiences.  We begin by seeking for this love outside of us, but what I have discovered is that we can only find the fulfillment of that desire to be loved when we come to know the Love that we are within ourselves.

The Cause of the Longing for Love

While there are a bazillion books and self-help gurus who profess to know how to help us cultivate self-love, the truth is that the cause for this longing to know love is spiritual.  While books and counseling and inspirational seminars may help us heal some of the outside messages that told us we are not loved and may help us unlearn some of the negative self-talk we have developed as a result of these outside messages, the only place to realize the fulfillment of this longing for love is deep within ourselves in the connection with that which some might call “God.” Here’s where it gets messy.  “God” has become a dangerous word, polluted by religious institutions who out of their own unhealed wounds around love, have made God out to be this gastly beast who is judgmental, vengeful, fickle and whose love has to be earned and can be taken away.  What these institutions have forgotten is that God is the very nature of Love itself and that we are made out of that Love.  Because Love is our very nature and because we are the very expression of God as Love, love does not have to be earned, neither can it be taken away.  Love simply is…..and we are driven by a longing within to remember this truth.  Unfortunately there is no magic pill to remembering this love and there is no predictable timeframe.  The recollection of this love happens in a mysterious and magical way and is nothing short of Grace.   There are, however, things we can do to help facilitate this process and allow us to open to Grace….and that is called Spiritual Formation.

What the churches won’t give us

I am hopeful that there are churches out there who are exceptions to this rule.  But, by and large, Spiritual Formation – the tools for helping us remember the love that we are, is the thing that most churches refuse to give us.  Spiritual Formation is defined by tools that empower us to answer these three questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I?
  • What are my gifts and how am I being called to share them in the world

In a nutshell, sound spiritual formation empowers us to remember the love that we are and to find fulfilling ways to share that love in the world for the benefit of humankind.  You would think that churches would be enthusiastically sharing these tools with us, right?  Wrong.  And here is why:

  • Sound Spiritual Formation empowers us to remember that God is love.  Period.  If God is Love, then where is there room for dogma and doctrine that tells us what we need to do to earn our way into God’s love?  If God is Love, what happened in the Garden with the snake, the apple and the sinful couple?  If God is Love…then what is sin?  Got the picture?
  • Sound Spiritual Formation invites us to seek, explore, discover and challenge.  How many churches are open and supportive of their people seeking, exploring……challenging?
  • Sound Spiritual Formation invites us to KNOW the God within our heart…..and in coming to know God, we learn that there is only one Absolute truth and all other “truths” (especially religious truths) are up for discussion.

It’s getting pretty dangerous, wouldn’t you say?  So you can see why many churches are reluctant to share these tools with the uppity lay people in the pew.  Not to mention, MOST churches are not even aware of these tools because sometime during the Reformation (1500 something or other), these tools were gathered up and locked away in Catholic Monasteries where only monks and nuns had access to them.  Only recently have these tools become more readily available and accessible….but sadly, few of these resources have found their way into the hands of “the faithful.”

The Agape’ Project

Here is where I get involved.   In my ministry training, I had the great fortune of learning these tools and for the past almost twenty years, have made these tools part of my daily practice and shared them in my public ministry.  Now it is time for these tools to be available to EVERYONE!  These are the tools that I have already shared in both of my books, Authentic Freedom and Christouch.  And now, I share these tools through a little venture I call The Agape’ Project.  (agape’ is the Greek word that reflects our understanding of God as Love….infinite, unconditional and without regard to merit).  The Agape’ Project makes these tools available through a weekly newsletter that will include scripture readings as well as tools for sound spiritual formation.  This morning, I launched the pilot release of this product to a dozen brave souls who are willing to make a commitment to Remembering the Love that They Are through adherence to sound spiritual practice.  If you are interested in learning more about this project, click HEREThe goal of the Agape’ Project is to empower people through tools of sound spiritual formation to Remember the Love that They Are and in doing so, to help make the world a better place!

Do you long to remember Love as your original nature?

Do you long to remember your connection to the deepest Source of that Love?

How are you being invited to seek, explore, discover, challenge?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com