Posted in Authentic Freedom, Divine Revelation, Faith, Spiritual Practices, Truth, Virtual Church

Follow that Star – the Journey of Faith

Dear readers, please note that this is the last FREE issue of the Agape Meditation Newsletter, supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church.  Starting next week, the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service and accompanying meditation newsletter will be available by subscription only for a very nominal fee.  For the price of one large cappuccino a week, you will receive the service, newsletter and the bi-weekly Superhero Academy Report.  To secure your subscription, subscribe HERE:

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Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service – Feast of Epiphany

 

Scripture Readings:

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Mt 2: 1-12

 

Additional Readings:

Is 60: 1-6

Ps 72: 1-2, 7-8, 10-13

Eph 3: 2-3a, 5-6

 star-of-bethlehem-large

Following a Star

“ A prophet is not someone who first had an idea.

A prophet is the one to first believe in it – and take it to its conclusion.”

– Taleb

The story of the three magi is ultimately a story about faith. Legend suggests that the magi were astronomers – learned men who were taught how to read and interpret the movement of the stars. In watching and observing the stars, they saw something that suggested to them that something magnificent was happening. There was no way of explaining how, why or what the “something magnificent” might be, but whatever it was the magi saw, compelled them to follow the star. They had no idea where the star might lead them or what the outcome of their journey might be, but what they discovered at the end of their journey was far beyond what they could have imagined themselves – the birth of LOVE in the world.

The magi provide for us a model and an example of faith. Each and every one of us are gifted at least once (but for most it is MANY) in our lifetimes with a STAR – something that shows up seemingly out of nowhere – twinkling and sparkling and urging us on in search of something. Often, we don’t know what that something is – only that we have to follow our urging. Following that urging brings us through many life experiences – easy pathways and some that seem treacherous. But like the magi, we are compelled to continue on. Faith is what compels us and what allows us to continue searching in spite of the many obstacles to the search that may arise. We may take a detour from our path because the path feels fearful, or we are not yet ready to let go of the things we cling to that would allow us to receive the gift at the end of the star. But Faith, eventually draws us back on course and toward the destination – ultimately of our Soul. Faith is not something that happens by our effort, but is instead the imprint of our Soul’s Purpose leading us home. Yes, we can deny the calling of our Soul – but there are consequences to this choice – desolation, despair, loneliness and even physical illness and pain. Faith will win in the end and we have a choice as to whether we experience the gift of the star in this life or if we have to wait until the moment of our death.

What is the star that has shown up in your life?

How are you following the star that is leading to the birth of love in your own life?

What role is faith playing in your journey with the star?

 

Spiritual Practices – Time Line

Chances are that you have already experienced one, if not many, stars in your lifetime which have shown up to lead you to greater and greater experiences of love, meaning, purpose and fulfillment. As hindsight is 20/20, it is often helpful to look back in order that we may look forward to the current stars which are calling to us and leading us toward even greater joy.

On a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line. Place a zero at the beginning of the line and your current age on the end of the line. Reflect back on your life and take note of where “stars” showed up in your life. What were the situations, experiences, conversations that awakened you to a new sense of calling, that provoked you to explore making a change in your life, urged you to begin a new search. Mark those situations, etc. on the line and the age you were when they appeared. Choose one of the stars and go back and imagine in detail all the circumstances that surrounded the appearance of the star and the journey it took you on. Take the story all the way to its conclusion and all the details surrounding the process of getting there (if it has been concluded). If the story has not yet come to its conclusion, bring it into the current time and imagine for yourself what the outcome might be – or better yet, invite God to show you what the outcome might look like.

Write down the story of this star and its conclusion or imagined conclusion.

Reflect on what you have written and experienced. What role did faith play in this journey?

 

Authentic Freedom

This week, instead of expounding upon how the story of the magi fits into Authentic Freedom, I am offering you an opportunity to experience a two living examples of Authentic Freedom as experienced through modern-day individuals – Mahatma Gandhi and The Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Two spectacular movies have been made which represent the way in which both of these men lived Authentic Freedom – Gandhi and Kundun. This weekend, go to your local library or video store and watch one of these movies, or watch them on Amazon Prime or YouTube (links below).

 

Gandhi – http://www.amazon.com/Gandhi-Ben-Kingsley/dp/B00190N4E4/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1420032966&sr=1-2&keywords=gandhi+movie

 

Kundun – Part 1 of 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8auIjicuK-U

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Virtual Church

Virtual Church Service – Merry Christmas

The Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service for Christmas is LIVE.

The theme, of course, is Christmas.  At Christmas we commemorate the birth of LOVE into the world through the person of Jesus.  Jesus came to know his Oneness with God which he experienced as love and came to teach us how to know this love so that we can be this love for one another, turning the world from fear into love. Transcending religious, political or even personal agendas, Christmas is about LOVE.

Attend this week’s service HERE.   

Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Christ Consciousness, Empowerment, Jesus, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Love is all you need – Authentic Freedom Christmas message

Special Christmas Edition of the Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter, Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service:  In lieu of a Sunday service, this week, I am offering one in celebration of Christmas – the day LOVE was born into the world through the person of Jesus.  LOVE is the message of Christmas, thereby transcending religious, political, personal agendas.  How are we all called to follow Jesus’ example by knowing the love that we are and embodying it in our lives so that the world itself may be transformed?

 nativity

 

Scripture Readings:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Is 9: 1-6

 

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 Lk 2: 1-14

 

Additional Readings:

 Ps 96: 1-3, 11-13

TI 2: 11-14

 

 

The People Who Walked in Darkness…

… Have Seen A Great Light!  

THIS is who Jesus is. Beyond any political, religious or even personal agendas one might have, Jesus came to know the light that shined within him and sought to reveal that light to others, thereby giving light to the world. The light that Jesus came to know was the light of his intimate connection with God that he experienced as Oneness. In this state of light, in this experience of Oneness, Jesus discovered the remedy to the perceived darkness of the human condition. Darkened by perceived separation and its resulting fear, humanity felt (and still feels), the human experience as if one is “dwelling in gloom.” Jesus learned another way and tried to teach this way to his disciples and all those who found themselves in his presence. And through his Spirit, Jesus continues in these attempts.

THIS is what we celebrate on Christmas – the birth of one who came to know the light and who is attempting to help us to also know this light. If we look at Jesus from this perspective, the celebration of Christmas transcends beliefs, dogma, doctrine and the perceived separation between religions. Jesus came to know the light and wanted all of humanity to also know this light so that we too might be free as he was free. Free to live in peace. Free to enjoy a life of meaning and fulfillment. And most importantly….FREE TO LOVE.

On the day that Jesus was born, which we commemorate on Christmas day, LOVE was born into the world. How are you, like Jesus, called to know this love and live it fully in your own life?

 

Spiritual Practices – Music Meditation

Christmas is either the busiest or the loneliest time of year – depending on our particular life circumstance. This Christmas, I invite us to transcend the busyness and the loneliness and set aside time to simply be with God – to celebrate the birth of Love into the world in the person of Jesus and in doing so, to give ourselves an opportunity to get a glimpse into this love. I can think of no better way to spend this time with God than through Handel’s Messiah. If listening to Handel’s Messiah doesn’t give us a glimpse into the love of God through Jesus, I can’t imagine what would! So…..for your Christmas meditation, I have provided two links…..a short link and a long link. The short link is a excerpt from Handel’s Messiah, the long link is the Messiah in its entirety. Set aside 15 minutes or two hours and 45 minutes to immerse yourself in God’s love as it was manifest in Jesus who some call The Christ.

 

Short Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS3vpAWW2Zc

Long Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r68P8TBWiIQ

 

Authentic Freedom

As we celebrate Christmas – the day we commemorate the birth of Love into the world through Jesus and the invitation to accept Jesus’ invitation for us too to birth love into the world – I have only one thing to say about Authentic Freedom and how it relates ——

At the end of the day Authentic Freedom is about one thing and one thing only – LOVE. The love of God that dwells within us. The love of God that Jesus (and others) came to remember within himself. The love of God that we are called to remember, fully embody and life in the world.

How are you called to know Love within yourself and to be that LOVE in the world?

 

And one final music meditation – all we need is love!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9_vhYpR9xo

Please note that beginning, January 1, 2015, the meditation newsletter, Virtual Church and Superhero Reports will be available by subscription only.  To continue to receive these life-giving resources, subscribe HERE for a very reasonable monthly fee (about the price of one large cappuccino a week).

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Discernment, Divine Revelation, Grace, Virtual Church, women

Honoring the Divine Mother – Virtual Church

In this week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service, we give honor to the Divine Mother.  Mary, set aside her own will in order to accept God’s call for her to be the Mother of Love in the world.  In doing so, Mary provides for us a model of faith, courage and spiritual obedience.  God’s call may not be easy, but the outcome is always far greater than what we could image for ourselves.

mary-mother-jesus

Attend this week’s service HERE. 

Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Discernment, Divine Revelation, Faith, Jesus, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Let it Be Done to Me According to Your Word

Perhaps the most challenging thing we will ever do in our lives is to be open and obedient to Divine guidance.  When we open ourselves to God’s direction in our lives, we are led to the path of our highest good and the outcome far exceeds anything we could ever have imagined for ourselves.  In order to do so, however, we first have to give up our pride – our desire for perceived security and perceived surety, and the need to be in control and in charge.  Surrendering our pride and accepting God’s will takes great courage and often requires great risk, but in the end, it is always worth it.  Just ask Mother Mary who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through her son Jesus.

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, December 21, 2014. Fourth Sunday of Advent.

 

Please note that beginning, January 1, 2015, the meditation newsletter, Virtual Church and Superhero Reports will be available by subscription only.  To continue to receive these life-giving resources, subscribe HERE for a very reasonable monthly fee (about the price of one large cappuccino a week).

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Scripture Reading:

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Lk 1: 26-38

 

Additional Readings:

2 Sam 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14A, 16

Ps 89: 2-5, 27-29

ROM 16: 25-27

 mary-mother-jesus

Honoring the Divine Mother

It is appropriate in this Sunday before we commemorate the birth of Jesus, to give honor to Mary, the woman who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through Christ. In honoring Mary, it is important to understand the great risk she took in accepting her call. Scholars surmise that Mary was somewhere between the ages of 13 and 16 when God’s herald, Gabriel appeared to her. In saying yes to God’s call, Mary placed herself in grave danger. Agreeing to become pregnant when she was unwed made her a “sinner” in the eyes of the Hebraic law. Also by law, her betrothed, Joseph, and her father Joachim, had the right to stone her to death for committing adultery. Through God’s intervention, neither her husband nor her father chose this path. Instead, Joseph agreed to take Mary into his home and fulfill their original betrothal contract by making her his wife.

Mary’s journey invites us all to take a look at the way in which we respond to God’s call. God’s call is rarely easy, and often comes with great risk – if nothing else than to risk the change that comes in obeying God’s will. Let Mary’s response be our prayer as we ponder the way in which God is calling us to birth God’s love into the world:

May it be done to me according to your word.

 

Spiritual Practices – Mantra Meditation

Mantra is a spiritual practice in which we repeat a word or a phrase over and over and over – either silently or aloud. In repeating the phrase and reflecting on its meaning, we are drawn into a deeper state of relaxation. Also in repeating the phrase, we are allowing its meaning to sink deeply into us where it can facilitate great healing and transformation. In the simple repetition and reflection on the phrase, we are transformed.

Set aside 15-30 minutes. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and in that silence, repeat the following phrase over and over in your mind (or say it aloud):

May it be done to me according to your word.

After the meditation period, record your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or journal.

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, pride is the compulsion we indulge when we have forgotten our Oneness with God in love. Pride keeps us from being open to God’s guidance and direction in our lives and makes us believe we are alone and that we have to do it on our own. When we set aside our pride and connect with God, we are once again able to receive God’s guidance and direction for our lives, along with the ability to surrender to this call and accept it through spiritual obedience. Humility is the virtue that arises when we are able to set aside our pride, our fears, our need to be in control and in charge. Exercising humility and spiritual obedience we find a place of contentment and ease in our lives as we allow God to lead while we obediently follow, trusting that while God’s ways may not be our own, the outcome is always far greater than what we could ever have imagined for ourselves.

Where are you aware of the compulsion of pride as active in your life – in your need to control, to have the answers, to know the answers, thinking you are alone and have to do it yourself?

How are you being invited to more fully surrender your life to God as Mother Mary so boldly did?

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Non-Practicing or Recovering Catholic?

 

The second largest religious denomination in the United States is made of up 42.7 million non-practicing Catholics – men and women who were raised Catholic but, for whatever reason, no longer practice.  42.7 million – this is a staggering number and is only the tip of the iceberg as this number does not include those who no longer identify themselves as Catholic.  If you are one among those numbers, read on, this might be something of interest to you:

Are you looking for:

  • A spiritual home?
  • A convenient way to be nourished, comforted and inspired spiritually?
  • A way of being spiritual without being dogmatic?
  • Freedom from doctrine?
  • Support for your own spiritual views which might be very pluralistic (accepting of many faiths and beliefs)?
  • A relevant Jesus?
  • A way of being Christian that doesn’t judge or condemn other faiths?
  • A spiritual community that walks the talk?

(or are you one of the 42.7 million non-practicing and recovering Catholics looking for a home?)

Then you might enjoy participating in the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church.

jesusThe Authentic Freedom Virtual Church is 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.

The Authentic Freedom virtual church is not about doctrine or prostheletizing, but is instead focused on being a resource for spiritual formation which then leads to 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?

Abraham Maslow called this process, self-actualization. Bill Plotkin calls it the birth of the Soul. Through the process of 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 Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service available on this site through paid subscription.  Please view sample services through our YouTube channel HERE.

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.  This is available as part of your paid subscription to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church.

Access to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church services and Agape’ Meditation Newsletter are available through subscription at a very reasonable fee of $20.00 per month.  Subscribe HERE:

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Thank you for being a part of our online virtual community…..the new way of being Community in the 21st century. 

Sincerely,

Lauri Ann Lumby

Pastor and Spiritual Director of the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church

Posted in Jesus, Virtual Church

Looking for a Spiritual Home?

 

Are you looking for:

  • A spiritual home?
  • A convenient way to be nourished, comforted and inspired spiritually?
  • A way of being spiritual without being dogmatic?
  • Freedom from doctrine?
  • Support for your own spiritual views which might be very pluralistic?
  • A relevant Jesus?
  • A way of being Christian that doesn’t judge or condemn other faiths?
  • A spiritual community that walks the talk?

(or are you one of the 42.7 million non-practicing and recovering Catholics looking for a home?)

Then you might enjoy participating in the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church.

jesusThe Authentic Freedom Virtual Church is 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.

The Authentic Freedom virtual church is not about doctrine or prostheletizing, but is instead focused on being a resource for spiritual formation which then leads to 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?

Abraham Maslow called this process, self-actualization. Bill Plotkin calls it the birth of the Soul. Through the process of 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 Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service available on this site through paid subscription.  Please view sample services through our YouTube channel HERE.

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.  This is available as part of your paid subscription to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church.

Access to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church services and Agape’ Meditation Newsletter are available through subscription at a very reasonable fee of $20.00 per month.  Subscribe HERE:

subscribe botton

 

 

Thank you for being a part of our online virtual community…..the new way of being Community in the 21st century. 

Sincerely,

Lauri Ann Lumby

Posted in Authentic Freedom, End of the World Prophecies, Virtual Church, world changes

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired – Virtual Church Service

The Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, December 7, 2014 is LIVE.

The theme of this week’s service is “I’m TIRED!  Aren’t you tired?”  Specifically of a world rooted in fear, being controlled by manipulation and power?  I know I am!  The good news is that we have the freedom to CHOOSE what kind of world we live in.  The choice begins with ourselves.  When we choose love instead of fear, our world changes and the world changes with us.

Attend this week’s service HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Virtual Church

What Were You Thinking God?

This week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service is LIVE. In this service, we ask the questions, “What were you thinking God?”  Specifically, what was God thinking when God allowed us to try-on the human condition?  What kind of parent lets their child leave the comfort and safety of their spiritual home to venture forth into a fearful, dangerous world?  One who loves us enough to let us grow, that’s who.

Attend this week’s service HERE.

NOTE:  Starting January 1, 2015, the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church services and accompanying newsletter will be available only by subscription.  For the price of a large latte per week, you will receive the service, newsletter and the bi-weekly Superhero Report.  Secure your subscription HERE:

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