Tag Archives: via de cristo

Spend Your Time on Today

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This is not something I wrote, but something I was given on my original Via de Cristo retreat weekend and kept. It seems appropriate for our theme of “spending time.” The author is unknown:

There are two days in the week upon which and about which I never worry–two carefree days kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension.  One of these days is Yesterday.  Yesterday with its cares and frets and pains and aches, all its faults, its mistakes and blunders, has passed forever beyond my recall.  It was mine:  now it is God’s.

The other day that I do not worry about is Tomorrow.  Tomorrow, with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its perils, its large promise and performance, its failures and mistakes, is as far beyond my mastery as its dead sister, Yesterday.  Tomorrow is God’s day:  it will be mine.

It isn’t the experience of Today that drives us mad.  It is the remorse of what happened Yesterday and fear of what Tomorrow might bring.  These are God’s Days–Leave them to Him.

What is Via De Cristo?

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I just came back from serving on a weekend with the ladies & gentlemen of the Vineyard Via de Cristo movement and was asked to write something about my experience. What should I write? It is a lot harder than you would think because there are so many things that go into a weekend and contribute to the experience that is shared by all.

But what I can tell you without any hesitation is what it is not. It is not a cult – we do not try to change your beliefs, initiate you into some kind of weird teachings, or brainwash you. It is not a weekend of rest, relaxation, maincures and pedicures.

It is a 72 hour immersion into the word of the Lord. There is a lot of singing (I managed to lose my voice this weekend, much to the delight of my fellow weekenders), food, talks on tools that can help strengthen your walk, tears, laughter, clapping and the list goes on.

Whenever, either my husband or I participate in a weekend, we always ask each other – What did you bring home from your experience? This time I told him that I needed to show the world more of God’s love in the way I live and talk.

This experience will change you, I guarantee it, but YOU have to be willing to change. To all me fellow walkers – Thank you for all the support you give and the love I feel.

God Loves You And So Do I (GLYASDI)

Michele

And All God’s People Say Amen

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This poem was written for me by a dear friend on a very special weekend:  it was the Via De Cristo Women’s retreat that was held just a few days after 9/11.  I think it’s appropriate to our theme of change and also the Easter season.  Changes can be frightening and unsettling.  They don’t always seem to be good or even understandable;  but God is in control and He has the last word.  Many thanks to Martha Moore, the writer, who has also agreed to become one of the Lutheran lady bloggers.  I hope we’ll be hearing more from her.

In ancient times, at a horn’s blast

The walls of the city of Jericho

Shattered into shards,

And God’s people rejoiced.

In more recent times, in the hands of a jubilant mob

The wall dividing Berlin

Crumbled into rubble,

And God’s people rejoiced.

Today we are haunted by the vision

Of the disintegration of walls

Raining chaos on an incredulous earth,

And God’s people are weeping.

But we believe in the one who said,

“Destroy this temple and I will raise it up”—

The one who died to prove it,

Out of the dust we shall arise–

Out of the dust of our disasters, national and personal,

Out of the dust of our lost desires,

Out of the dust from which we were formed—-

Resurrection comes.  Amen.

Dem Dry Bones

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Image result for the dry bones of ezekielHave you ever felt like a pile of dry bones?  I know I have.  There was a time when I became totally exhausted and burned out.  The children were young and my husband had a long commute;  all the responsibilities for the household and everybody in it fell upon me;  my job became increasingly unrewarding and even my relationship with God seemed distant. I kept going, just putting one foot in front of the other, but I wasn’t happy with my life or myself.

What happened?  All I can say is God changed things.  Not in an instantaneous flash of lightening, but through a slow, steady working in my life.  I went on a Marriage Encounter weekend which did a great deal to revive my marriage;  a few years later, I attended a Via de Cristo weekend which revived my soul. Both of those experiences led to small groups and deep friendships that grounded and sustained me. The children grew older and more self sufficient, jobs changed and life turned around.

Have dry bones times come back?  Sure.  However, now I have the experience and  confidence of knowing that if I stick with God, they will pass.  When we’re faithful to Him, He changes things.  Sometimes He changes us!  It’s amazing to see what God can do.  He can even make dry bones live again!

“Behold, I am doing a new thing;  now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:19

What’s Your Story?

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I’ve heard it called friendship evangelism.  In the Via de Cristo movement there is a phrase to describe it:  make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.  Here’s one story about how that works.

When our older daughter, Beth, was in second grade she asked if she could have a sleep over party for her birthday.  Boy we were surprised to find out that the first person she invited was a little boy named Sean who was her friend at after school daycare!  We used to joke that it was our first and last co-ed sleepover!

The party was on Saturday and we told all the parents that we would take the children to church with us on Sunday morning and then drop them off at their homes.  On the way home Sean just kept saying over and over, “I love that church.  I wish I went to that church.”  I was touched and told my husband, “He lives right around the corner from church:  we could bring him with us every week.”  So Terry asked Sean’s mother if he could come with us, and she said yes.

People kept telling Sean how happy they were to see him visiting our church.  Sean’s answer was, “I don’t want to be a visitor, I want to be a member!”  After some time passed, Sean’s mother and brother showed up at church, too.  And then, finally his dad started coming.  They became active members, and eventually Sean’s dad was elected President of the congregation.  I heard him say that he had been loved into the church by the acceptance and friendship of the people he met there.

Friendship evangelism takes time.  It requires listening for the nudging of the Holy Spirit.  It means building relationships.  For many people, it’s the story of how they became Christians.

How about you?  What’s your story?

Not an Option

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My friend, Michele is giving a talk on an upcoming Via de Cristo weekend.  The title of her talk is “Apostolic Action” which is defined as anything we  do with the sole purpose of influencing others to develop a relationship with Christ;  in essence, witnessing.

When Michele gave her talk at a recent team meeting, the idea that stood out most for me is this:  witnessing to others is not an option.  Let me repeat that:  WITNESSING IS NOT AN OPTION.

If we examine the words of Jesus in Acts known as the Great Commission, we see how true this is.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

This is a command, not a request.  Jesus did not say, “some of you will be my witnesses,” or “you may choose to be my witnesses,”  He said, “you will be my witnesses.”  Like it or not, it’s a simple fact.

There’s a story I’ve heard that goes something like this:  when Jesus returned to Heaven, some angels asked Him how He intended to spread the gospel throughout the world.  He replied that He had trained and sent out 12 disciples.  The angels responded, “what if these disciples fail?  What will You do next?”  Jesus replied, “There is no other plan.”

The disciples were the first witnesses;  we are His witnesses today.  It’s not an option.  There is no other plan.

 

Seek The Kingdom

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“And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your  Father knows that you need them.  Instead seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:29-31

Yesterday I spent most of the day with a group of ladies who are preparing to conduct a Via de Cristo Women’s Retreat weekend.  The leader gave us an ice breaker question.  We were tell the group what was the most important thing to us about our original weekend.  It was interesting to hear because there were so many different answers.  For one person it was the music;  for another a particular talk;  for another a conversation with a Pastor.  Women spoke about the love they felt, the acceptance they received and the people they met.  I heard comments like, “God must have planned that weekend just for me” or “I knew I was there to hear that one talk.”

What I got out of this was how different we all are.  Everybody needs something.  Not just food and drink, or money to pay the rent, but things like peace, friendship, mentoring, uplifting.  How amazing that God knows all our needs, physical and spiritual, and when we seek Him genuinely, He provides not only provides it all, but we get it at just the right time!

The key is for us to remember to seek His kingdom always;  to rest in His presence and His provision every day.  He knows our every need!  He’s taking care of things.  If we learn to seek Him, not just on retreat, but in the press of daily living, our lives would be so much easier!

So, I’m asking our readers, have you been on a Via de Cristo weekend, or any form of Cursillo retreat?  How did God provide for your needs that weekend?  I’d like to hear more answers.

A Prayer of Personal Dedication (Obedience)

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This prayer is from the Via de Cristo Pilgrim’s Guide, so some of you will recognize it.

Lord of my life, I know that my life is not my own.  By your death and resurrection you made me your own.  Help me to live under your direction, always ready to hear the call, “Follow Me;”  always aware of your presence;  always knowing that I have received the gift of your Spirit;  always living so that others may receive your love and mercy through me.

It is not easy to ask for these things, Lord because I know I have much to give up.  I can no longer pretend that my life is my own.  My prayer is my surrender to your care and direction.  I want to follow, Lord, but it is very hard.  I will get very tired.  I will make selfish mistakes.  I will fail time and again.  I will fall.

Show me again that there is love and mercy in your hand.  Use me in spite of my reluctance, doubt and disobedience.  Pour into me your good Spirit, so that I am not afraid to follow and fall and follow again.  Amen

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Refiner’s Fire

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Years ago my sister went on an Emmaus weekend (this is the Methodist version of the 3 day Lutheran Via de Cristo retreat).  This song was the theme for her weekend, and it came to me last night.  It’s a good reminder that sometimes obedience is achieved through the fires of refinement.

“For who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?  For his is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them lie gold and silver, and they will bring offerings of righteousness to the Lord.”  Malachi 3:3