Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This and That

I spent most of yesterday with some really wonderful people from Hope Today Magazine(check them out at www.hopetodaymagazine.com). It's a very cool publication, and they're doing a story on me that will be featured in their July issue. They flew in and came straight to the church to do a great interview, and a photo shoot in my office, in the Sanctuary, in the Cafe and at my house, and we really had a beautiful time together. They totally got (and loved) our church and our ministry (I showed them Curtis' "Bishop's Wonderful Life", which they thought was hysterical), and we talked about everything and laughed a lot and had lunch together. I even took them all down to Mom and Dad's "parsonage" to hang out for a little while. I've done interviews for other magazines, but this was, by far, the most positive experience that I've ever had doing this kind of thing.

I'm glad that you enjoyed the post on the prayer of St. Francis yesterday, and I enjoyed reading your responses to it. It took a long time to put the pictures together, but I was blessed to do it. The guy with the injuries was a victim of gang violence, and the woman crying was a mother who had just lost her son to the same thing. Here's another famous prayer that is in some ways similar...one is about peace, the other is about serenity. You're no doubt familiar with the first four lines of this one, as they are used in AA and in other 12 step programs, but here is the entire prayer, written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:


The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.


What are your impressions of this one?


One more thing...I want to leave this with you today:

ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!(Isaiah 60:1 - AMP)

And, also, for those of you who heard the message Sunday, and are looking forward to Part II, these two images are for you...









Enjoy your day...

42 comments:

Laura said...

The prayer is so true for me.
Living one day a time & using hardships as a pathway to peace.
As for the last two pictures all I can say is
Rain on me
Rain on me
Holy Ghost shower
Rain on me.
Ya know last Sunday He poured on me
Looking forward to this Sunday to see where He's going.
Ya know We gotta have faith
Without faith hardships just keep getting harder.
With faith we can see the better side of life.
Pour on me
Pour on me
Holy Ghost shower
Pour on me

Laura said...

Oh Ya Congrads on the magazine interview. Can't wait till it comes out.

dgm2007 said...

crazy that you put up the rain picture. and talked so much about God and the holy spirit coming as rain. theres this paramore song called when it rains check it out anyone its really cool how the lyrics go along with the holy spirit.
here are the lyrics
When It Rains
Album: RIOT! (CD/Digital)
VERSE ONE:
When it rains on this side of town it touches
Everything
Say it again and mean it
We don't miss a thing
PRE: You made yourself a bed at the bottom of the blackest hole
Convinced yourself that it's not the reason you don't see the sun anymore.

CHORUS:
Oh oh how could you do it?
Oh I - I never saw it coming
Oh oh I need an ending
So why can’t you stay long enough to explain

VERSE TWO:
And when it rains
You always find an escape
Just running away from all of the ones who love you
From everything
You made yourself a bed at the bottom of the blackest hole
You'll sleep till May and you'll say that you don't wanna see the sun anymore.

CHORUS:
Oh oh how could you do it?
Oh I - I never saw it coming
Oh oh I need an ending
So why can’t you stay long enough to explain

BRIDGE:
Explain yourself
Take my time
Take these chances to turn it around
Yeah take these chances and make it somehow
Take these chances to turn it around
Just turn it around

CHORUS:
Oh oh - how could you do it?
Oh I - I never saw it coming
Oh oh I need an ending
So why can’t you stay long enough to explain

OUT:
You could take your time
And take my time.

Anna said...

Bishop, now that is just totally aawwwsome. How exciting!
This is going to be a great day!! Will blog later after I sleep & think. I love "Singing in the Rain". When I worked in private school we celebrated 'April Showers Day' and that was our theme song. Some of my favorite memories. Good night.
Our God is an awesome God...

Scribe38 said...

I'll take that prayer for myself and many more to go along with it!!!. So timely and riveting. The pics are awesome though. I ask all of you to forgive me as of late because I just haven't been myself and have not been thinking / seeing clearly while I'm in the midst of these trials and adversity. Yet I know that there's nothing but love here at
BITN, and truly appreciate all your prayers for my family. Thanks and love you all. And Thanks Anna, I got your message.

DoubleBack Alley said...

Great Sahib,

The serenity prayer is not one that I pray aloud, but it is one that I believe in. No drugs for a two to three years now, the desire is still there, but the ramifications are enormous. I leap like a lemming from the ledge when I do the grass, mary jane, happy smoke, or any other moniker by which marijuana is known.

Wasn't really a conscious decision, more of a "why the hell am I doing this?" decision. Just stopped. No help, no prayer, just an inner calling to move on. My God, how I empathize with folks who can't do that, for you see I struggle in areas that take no habitation in the souls of the surrounding. What would it be like if we walked in fellowship and could admit our faults and have the empathetic response, "I hear ya man" and then admit what we were going through and by doing so, we walk away from that exchange knowing and loving the person even more. No judgment, no reprisals, nothing. I'm not ready to do that and am not encouraging anyone else to either. More of a "consider this" from my dad.

I suppose this is still fresh from when I heard your take on mind altering drugs Sunday and it called to my remembrance that James D. Watson, the discoverer of the DNA Double Helix, envisioned the twisted ladder while on an LSD trip which led to his theories on paired nucleotides. Speaking of LSD, watched the Producers for about the tenth time, featuring Lorenzo St. DuBois. Selah.


What a trip.

Ain't God Good?

ronnieleewest said...

I beleive "The serenity Prayer" is one of the most powerful prayers.
I was talking to my mother on the phone this morning as I checked into BITN, she has been rapidly declineing with dementia...as I awkardly try to make conversation around that disease..I read the prayer while she is rambling on...and tears run down my cheeks(she does not know i am crying). My son and his wife of only three years inform my husband and myself as well as the family that they are going to seperate with the purpose of divorce...I look at my 20 month old grandaughter and silently speak the prayer...it is posted in my home, all around me...the older i become, the more life unfolds and evolves, the more needful I am of its words...I love the Barbara Striesand song "Everything must change" it is healing for me. Life will continue to unfold..blessings and trials..what a gift it is. Courage..Serenity to me are the wrapping and the bow.

Sweepea said...

The rain falls on the just and the unjust...

Thanks for sharing your good day yesterday, and looking forward to reading the article. Isn't it wonderful to be celebrated and understood? What a feeling!

Gotta go!

Lisa said...

The pictures are not comming through here hoping they will eventually! I feel that prayer for serenity is so timely for us all. I need to plaster it all over the house to catch myself much quicker when things look not so good with my 5 senses!
Too call on the interview. Can't wait to read the article.

tracy said...

Bishop- sounds like a powerful exchange took place yesterday-love today's pics in lieu of Sunday. Still feelingg the rain myself!
DBA- we had hoped my brother would have a "why the hell am I doing this moment", but it did not happen that way. I know you read my post because I got your response-Tyron has bee in ICU since yesterday so looks like his journey may be different from yours, but still worth it and still with a story to tell when all is said and done. I also relate to the struggles you speak of, except last year I had a moment where God called me to be very vulnerable and open to those around me. It sucked at first because I am very private- been compared to a hermit.I am still walking out this openness every day and it is still not very comfortable- even to be on this blog is HUGE for me. I say all of that to say this, in this year I have been blessed to open my eyes and see the relationships before me for what they are and I honor and treasure them for their lack of judgements and unreachable expectations. I am better for it. my only question I ask anyone who knows me is always give me the benefit of the doubt and I will do the same for you-you are safe here DBA.

Donald said...

Congratulations Bishop on the report about the magazine article/interview.
While reading the Serenity Prayer it is obvious that it is used often by people who are battling some difficult times.
I just finished “The Innocent Man” by John Grisham. I’m not really a Grisham fan but this book is nonfiction and concerned a man who was put on death row for a crime he did not commit. It is really a sad story about a young man who started out with a promising career with the New York Yankees and wound up on death row and quite mentally disturbed. He didn’t handle adversity and rejection well at all.
But beyond the fact that he was wrongfully accused of a crime that he did not commit, his life was really not that different from anyone else’s as far as having hopes and dreams shattered. His response to difficulty was really what caused his rapid decline. I suppose that no life is void of difficult or even devastating circumstances. We all have to make a choice as to how we will deal with those difficulties. Frankly, I believe that how we choose to deal with difficult situations will either make us or break us.
I actually believe that adversity is what makes us worthwhile. Can you imagine how lazy and useless we would be if everything went as planned and there were no problems with which we had to contend? Don’t get me wrong, I love the good times, but the bad times are the ones that really builds character.
I am reminded of an interview that was in our local newspaper a few months ago. One of our most prominent citizens, who is well past the normal retirement age was asked why he didn’t just slow down and start taking it easy. He replied that he looked forward to being overwhelmed by something everyday. It was tough decisions and difficult times that kept him excited about living. And believe me, it has w-o-o-r-r-k-k-e-d for him.
Sometimes when I have to assign a difficult task to someone who works for me and they comment about the level of difficulty, I just tell them that if the job had been any easier I would have hired a less qualified person. I’m not a mean man but I’m not too sympathetic when it comes to having to fight through some stuff to reach the goal.
If you’ve been through tough times or are still going through them and haven’t given up, believe me, you are the cream of the crop. Hang in there! There’s a good chance that what you’re dealing with would have already killed the average person.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Laura…

…and DGM 2007…and Anna…and Scribe38

I watched it (again) too, last night, DBA. Gene Wilder…what can I say? There is none like him…and I watched the Alec Baldwin (born on the exact same day as me) interview with him…very interesting…

Ronnie Lee…wow, I really felt your post. I think that I can speak for everyone here in saying that you are surrounded by prayer today…

Sweepea, I hadn’t thought of that Scripture in that context…things that make you go “hmmm”…and, yes, it was a good feeling to be celebrated and understood…

Check the pictures now, Lisa…

Tracy, it may be HUGE for you to be here, but I’m really glad that you are…Tyron is in my (our) prayers…

And where the gehenna is Avatar?

Scribe38 said...

Good Morning Family:

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'm going through a few "melt-down" moments and want to thank everyone in advance for praying for me. Just as I was listening to the song on the playlist called "STAND" by Donnie McClurkin, which states after you've done all you can, just stand." What do you all do when you reach the point where you don't have the energy or strength left to stand anymore due to battle fatigue? I come and ask that everyone would hold me and my family up in prayer. thanks...

Lisa said...

Wow 2 of the pics came through and wow! Can I say that I actually felt the deluge of water only it was power jump out of the computer screen. All I can say is bring it on Holy Spirit Bring it all on!!!!!!

Lisa said...

Scribe That is when God can finally do what he had wanted to do all along. Just rest and let God do what needs to be done. I will be praying for you

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Good stuff, Donald...

Scribe38...The Lord will perfect that which concerns you - Psalms 138:8

Anonymous said...

After Israel...next stop...Stockholm?

Is that an awesome thought or what?! I'm just sayin'...it could happen...all things are possible...especially during the "rainy season". And besides that...why not? Ultimate reconciliation is, after all, about peace. Things that make you go hmmm...

anna said...

scribe38, hang on!!! I'm lifting you up, holding your hands, helping you to stand. I'm praying for you my friend!! Though you may not 'feel' my prayers nor see my tears for you at this moment they are real. Our God is real! Our God is now!
You just stand & let us be your strength, your intercessors, whatever you need us to be for you & your family we are!!! Lots of love today.

Anonymous said...

Reading about the great interview and feeling happy for you, I thought about how there is a season for everything! I visualized the Amazon Rain Forest and all the areas of the world where there is a rainy season. Many of us have had dry desert seasons, but then….God in His infinite wisdom and timing just pours out His rain, dousing us with His water. Spattering the ground around us, it fills the valleys and the deep places of pain and frustration that exist in our hearts and flows down, saturating the very fiber of our being! Hallelujah! How beautiful is the rain of His Spirit! Bishop, it’s raining in your life for all the desert time you spent! It’s time for the rain! I receive the rain into my life!
We receive it Lord! Let it flow! Let it flow!

4 May flowers

linda said...

Love the prayer, I never knew the second part existed, but it is greater than the first. Wow the pictures are extreme, I was just thinking that I especially hate to get wet when it rains, always putting my jacket over my head or bumming an umbrella but now I'm ready for the rain, I am going to pull the best Gene Kelly at the very next deluge. Soak me to the bone Holy Ghost, wash away all of the junk and stuff that gets in my way of knowing who I really am, all of the negativity and past conversations where I have down-graded myself or believed a bad report about me. because once I know who I am then I can see who He Is and then we can rain on all those around us.
Bishop thanks so much for the visit Monday nite at Mama's viewing, it meant the world to me. You and Pastor Avery gave me strength.
Per Pastor Debye,
I'm the big one :)

Mystic said...

(Oops...I clicked a different option and posted under Anonymous...oh well...I still say Get Ready, Bishop! Stockholm/Oslo will be knockin'!)

Bishop...the recent messages are some of your best...and that is staying something because you have some AWESOME stuff already. Just keep on keepin' on...it's pretty amazing when you come to a sudden realization of the "whys" you've had in the past, isn't it? When God shows you the reasons things happened and the pieces begin to fit so very well...it's stunning.

Singing In The Rain has always been a favorite of mine...Debbie Reynolds always said the two most difficult things she'd ever done in her life were childbirth and Singing in the Rain with Gene...he was a tough taskmaster and expected everyone put in the same amount of effort that he did. It was well worth it for those of us who enjoy the movie so much.

Hmmm...Amount of Effort + Faith = MOVING FORWARD...whoda thunk that Singing in the Rain could be so provocative.

Laura...lovely and timely as always.

dgm...cool

Anna...April Showers Day...I like that.

Scribe38...you have our prayers.

DBA...I totally get that...I had the same experience with a drug...after years of imbibing, I just walked away from it...it was a sovereign work because I could never have done it alone. I also empathize with others who have not or cannot walk away yet and they have my prayers. I know how blessed I am to be here at all.

Love Power, Baby...it's gonna rule the world.

Ronnielee, Tracy...my heart and prayers go out to you.

Sweepea...new paradigm for me too...thanks.

Donald...when I read the statement "I look forward to being overwhelmed by something every day"...well, I stopped and read it again...and again. What an amazing statement...it has caused my spirit to react on a deep level and I must examine it more fully...thank you.

4 May Flowers...Amen.

Blessings Blog Fam...

famman87 said...

Bish,

The article is just a continuation of you bombarding the world with salt and light. There's been so much emphasis on the international stuff lately it's good to see that He is still working right HERE, right NOW as well.

Such a great prayer, and truly very timely for so many of us it seems....

Donald, that is an awesome word. Most of us don't often see the hard times for what they are, burning out the impurities and making us better and stronger for it. I'll admit I don't always or often.

DBA, I hear ya. Went through that quite a while back. Stay strong, and know that we are all here with ya. I think that most of us here can somehow feel and empathize with what others are going through. Talking openly about our faults and problems is not an easy thing to do, even with those whom we are closest, I think because typical folks are so quick and easy to judge. That creates a fear factor in letting others know what's really going on. What a shame.

Thank God that I can come here and find a NOW word for myself every day from someone. He certainly does work in mysterious ways.

Scribe, DBA, RonnieLee... Prayers particularly with you all today. Please reciprocate. I'm right there with ya...Remember(note to self as well): Head, not tail. Above,not beneath. More than conquerers.

Bish, thanks for the Psalm reference, will put that one to good use today.

BTW, Gene Wilder was the better Willy Wonka, don't ya think?

"He sprinkles it with love and makes the world taste good." (GOD, not Wonka)

Much Love... and agreement

Anonymous said...

Good morning and good afternoon Bishop and friends!

That's great about the magazine and the time you spent with them. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy somehow. I'm still thinking about Curtis' "Bishop's Wonderful Life", that was great, but is there any way that copies could be made? I'm sure there are many, including myself who would like to purchase one?

The serenity prayer seems very fitting as I have read several blogs here for prayer and for peace.
What can I accept today that I CANNOT change?...something of myself, others, circumstances, truth maybe.
May the Lord strengthen us and give discernment of things that CAN be changed...about ourselves, persuading others, circumstances and perceptions.

Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. Phil 3:13
Remember your goals and heavenly callings and citizenship in heaven.
I pray this sows strength into you today, where you feel no strength. Together let us lift up one another's arms when they become weary, and so help each one come out victorious from the battle.

The Lord is NEAR to those of a broken heart, but remember the Lord's joy within you so you can sing in the rain!
Let us continue to encourage one another with the words of "don't worry about anything, but in everything through prayer AND petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God"-Phil 4:5

God will make ALL things right, for ALL things work together for good.
The prayer also mentions "one day/moment at a time." Too much brain multitasking only leads me to nervousness and unrest. In the words of christian artist Chris Rice;
lead me in better ways
help me to make the day count
and teach me the POWER OF A MOMENT.

Bishop, thank you SOOO much for all the pictures, they really do speak, especially when combined with the Word and spiritual lessons/matters!

Gene Kelly here makes me think...he just had to jump up on that lightpost and be illuminated and seen after already folding up his umbrella of "resistance" and realizing that its no use, he's just going to get drenched in the downpour anyway...so you might as well LET GO, jump in the puddles..., if you're going to get wet...GET WET!!! Make it complete. Sing and tell everybody about it. Wisdom cries in the streets!

The 2nd picture is like the rain is just going right THROUGH this guy!
Exhilerating, letting go, releasing/receiving at the same time, so open, hands outstretched, like wanting to be "one" with the raindrops pouring down, with light shining on his face.

In closing here now, may everyone be blessed...
and in the name of Jesus Christ I say to you...
ARISE to new life, rise over depression, rise over your circumstance, and as light has ALREADY come shining on you, so has the rain ALREADY come to wash you, drench you and refresh you! The glory of the Lord is shining and working all over you and through you.
Let go, receive, jump in...sing!

Thank God for the rain falling on us in the pasture today.
Love you guys!-Karl Cobos

Donald said...

Scribe, hang in there. Living ain’t for the faint hearted.
I don’t agree with a lot of the things my dad has said over the years, but one of his old sayings applies to tough situations. I’ve heard him say many times, “When times get rough you gotta’ have a backbone like a saw log. You just gotta’ stand firm.”
And we’re all praying for you.
We’ve all had our backs against the wall at some time or another. It seems that when you’re in the midst of the storm that it will never end. Believe me, no storm lasts forever.
I’m reminded of an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Opie had been bumming an extra nickel for milk money at school everyday. It turns out that a bully had been meeting him on the street every morning and making him pay him a nickel so that he could be allowed to walk on HIS street. Andy found out about the problem and rather than show Opie up or run to his rescue he just shared a similar situation he had had when he was a boy. It turns out that Opie faced his storm which he had been afraid of before. When he found out that his dad had been there and done that and lived through it, it sort of gave him the courage to go through with it also.
I guess I should point out that Opie did get his ass kicked but he was so proud of his black eye that he would just sit and stare at it in the mirror. WHEN you get through this thing, you’ll sit and stare at that black eye and be just as proud.

Dennis Caldwell said...

Psa 143:6 MSG Stretched out my hands to you, as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain.

Psa 126:4 GNB LORD, make us prosperous again, just as the rain brings water back to dry riverbeds.

1Ki 17:14 MSG This is the word of the GOD of Israel: 'The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before GOD sends rain on the land and ends this drought.'"

As I look out at the parched and dry land of the peoples of the world; my heart goes out to them and My God answers me with wonderful hope and blessings. I see the rain clouds forming; I see the silver lining, I see the wind of the Spirit began to pick up. And I know it is going to RAIN!!!

Psa 65:9-10 MSG Oh, visit the earth, ask her to join the dance! Deck her out in spring showers, fill the God-River with living water. Paint the wheat fields golden. Creation was made for this! (10) Drench the plowed fields, soak the dirt clods With rainfall as harrow and rake bring her to blossom and fruit.

God has promised and I see his word coming alive in the now. Not just a beautiful old prophecy to be quoted for its eloquence and rhythm. But a real word for TODAY!!!

Psa 84:4-6 MSG How blessed they are to live and sing there! (5) And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; (6) They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!

Hos 14:4-5 GNB The LORD says, "I will bring my people back to me. I will love them with all my heart; no longer am I angry with them. (5) I will be to the people of Israel like rain in a dry land. They will blossom like flowers; they will be firmly rooted like the trees of Lebanon.

Hab 2:14 MSG Meanwhile the earth fills up with awareness of GOD's glory as the waters cover the sea.



Shalom,
God & Dennis

DoubleBack Alley said...

Dearest Tracy.

Tyron, not Tyrone (I love that story), will have a moment. Not sure when, not sure why, but come it will. Some are infinite steps like mine, some are baby steps (Dr. LEO MARVIN!!) like Tyron's and you will feel exasperated beyond belief more times than will you feel victory.

But when the victory comes, the pleasure of the treasure will be impossible to measure. But try. Try knowing that you can never plumb the depths of the joy that your brother has made it. Relive each tough day in the scales of the exhaustion against the beautiful days that it took to get him there with the realization that the days to come are endless. Tyron is searching. The good news is that he hasn't stopped. God is pleased that you are his guide.

Sahib, what would we do without each other on this blog? God bless the innkeeper. Good to see you interact a little more. Was concerned you might be tiring of this. Glad you are not weary in well doing.

Glad there is room in the inn.

Ain't God Good?

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Hey, Anonymous…I’d be down with Stokholm…Jimmy Carter’s visit to Israel has bumped our dates back a couple of weeks (I’ll explain in tomorrow’s article)…

Thanks, Anna…

Anonymous, honest to God, when I got in the car and cranked it up this morning the radio was tuned to the Broadway channel on Sirius, and “Singin’ In the Rain” was playing! I don’t know why it was on there because it was never on Broadway. Hmmmm…

Linda, trust everything went well with the service…your family and your sister’s Pastor were all very sweet…Debye doesn’t remember saying that…maybe there was a misunderstanding (?)…

Mystic, Famman…awesome as always…

Karl, several people have asked for that, but we have some copyright issues with the material, so we can’t sell it…don’t want Curtis to go to jail… we weren’t even supposed to show it on streaming…thought we had blocked it, but DBA saw it, so it must have aired anyway…

Donald, thanks for The Gospel According to Andy Griffith…each of those shows was a parable…

Thanks, Dennis…Rene’ is contacting you today…

DBA…tiring of this? Child, please…

Avatar said...

I am soooo behind!

Bishop, is there some kind of limit on covenant? I mean, I'm asking for one. Can we say we want to be in covenant for one thing but not another?

Seriously. I've been challenged with computer connection issues of one type or another. Blackberry, too! Never mind. I KNOW the answer. I was just hoping. Not really. But sort of. (smile)

Will be back asap after catching up reading, but y'all this is cool. Go back to "Greetings from the Big Apple." [I told y'all I'm REALLY behind!] On the last post ronnielee said:

"I keep getting God winks about Boston...I also had a dream with Boston in it and I know God speaks in riddles". ["God winks", very cool ronnielee.]

So izjoy reveals today (yesterday?) she was in Boston! We WERE putting out APBs--and it looks like to me that God was getting in on it! God winks! "Boston!"

You are so cool, God! I love that you want to play too. I hope you enjoy waiting on your dust-buds to find your hints. Oh, right, we're the ones that have to learn patience, not You! (smile)

tracy said...

mwahh, I love ya'll. I AM glad I'm here. It is such a stress reliever and I so appreciate the encouragement, the sharing of battles, the prophetic, the silly,the hilarious, the songs, pics, stories it is A Wonderful Life. P.S. DBA that was AWESOME.

el ojo y la luz said...

Still here. Been blurking(is that right) a lot lately. I have so many things I want to say about several things that have happened but I don't have the time right now. I will plan to write after church tonight. Love you all and I have missed being here.

peacemaker said...

Hope Today has probably never seen anything quite like you, your family, ministry, or church. I'm sure it was an exhilarating breath of fresh air to really interview someone that is actually offering "hope today". This is one of many venues now and in the future that will perceive and honor who you are.

The Serenity Prayer...I can relate to those who have struggled with addiction. My twenties, into my early thirties are a blur. Just let me say I helped bolster the economy of South America for quite a few years. I listen to my Dad and brother quote the prayer in their encounters with AA and I have quoted it during my time with CA (Cocaine Anonymous). I've announced more times than I care to remember:" Hi, I'm ..., I’m an addict". Telling myself to just accept that as an unchangeable fact. I guess it helped at the time.
But you asked what my take on the prayer is now. Oh God...I probably shouldn't write this...I feel like Simon Cowell giving my opinion after Paula and Randy. But it is after all, just an opinion, and not a claim to truth.
Serenity and peace are synonymous. And if praying the prayer helps someone reach that state then it has done its job. As a manifesto for peace though, the prayer of St.Francis is superior because its focus is spreading peace, not asking for peace because we have been victimized by life's circumstances and accepting them because it's "just the way things are". Gandhi's famous quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world", implies change is possible. I believe that as well.
The lines, "Living one day at a time" Enjoying one moment at a time" speaks of living in the Now. "Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace" is universally true. Ask anyone who has brought peace to a hostile region. I feel Niebuhr's heart there. The lines following after though resonate with victimization and escapism.
Bottom line: we CAN change things. We don't have to wait for someone "up there" to rescue us from anything. If we have been given the power to forgive sin, then it's only logical we have been given the power to change circumstances, and ultimately, the world.
I promise I'm not being confrontational and I still have a heart for those still in bondage. I know from experience, the prayer is useful at a certain stage of recovery (of any kind) only if I had stopped there, and not allowed myself to evolve, I would still believe I am only one bump away from falling into hell again
I’ve probably put way too much thought into this but it’s kind of where I am today, so thanks for indulging me.
Tracy, Scribe 38...
Great words have been spoken over you, your family and the circumstances surrounding. I add my agreement to them. Scribe, yes, God will perfect that which concerns you. Just stay in the present moment. No regret, no dread. Tracy, I can’t add anything to what DBA said. Tyron is on his own journey. You are a key to his evolution.

God grant us the serenity…to change the world.

PM

Ebony said...

That is one of the most powerful prayers I've read. One of the hardest things for us to do is to let go and let God (even when we say we do, we're still trying to tell Him what to do) when he has the best plans for us, even when it doesn't seem like it at first. I'm sure as butterflies undergo their metamorphosis, there are days when they wish someone would let them out, but they also know the pressing through builds the strength in their wings, to be cut out would kill them. So they fight, and at the right time they emerge, beautiful and able to fly.

peacemaker said...

BTW...
Since I made an American Idol reference, did anyone see the AI top 7's performance of "Shout to the Lord" either on Idol Gives Back or Thursday's show. OMG!! It really was awesome. On Idol Gives Back, they started the song with "My Shepherd, My Savior...". On the Thursday night's show they used the name of Jesus.
It was a very powerful performance and has risen to the top of Itunes song and video charts.
It can be seen on either American Idol.com or Itunes.com and can also be downloaded in your ipod.

Peace
PM

peacemaker said...

Bish...
Dr. Lovelace recently told me Kim contacted Carlton Pearson by email. In the letter he praised Pearson for his stand on inclusion and added his agreement to that belief and that he wanted them to get together at some point in the future.
This may or may not have any bearing on your decision to have him at the church but it is pretty interesting, and your theology may be closer than you think.

PM

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

“Hello, Avatar, well, Hello, Avatar, it’s so nice to have you back where you belong…”

Thanks, Tracy…

El, stop blurking and get to writing, already…

Peacemaker, I don’t see your comments as confrontational at all…it’s just the other side of the coin, and an equally valid point that needed to be made…I haven’t seen the Idol clip yet, but I’ve heard about it…remember what that song meant to us at one time? Kind of ironic considering what B.Tommy is going through right now…I talked to Lovelace yesterday, but I didn’t know that about Kim…very interesting…

Great point about the butterfly, Ebony…

ronnielee said...

Thank-you all for your prayers. It is so great to be connected in the spirit to all of you!

peacemaker said...

Bish...
Yes, I remember. That's a good part of the reason that song evokes such an emotional response when I listen to it. I reacted with the same emotion when you reminisced.

On the prayer...thanks for discerning my heart.

Man! Are you feeling it exceptionally strong today?

Peace and Wisdom in all your decisions.

PM

Avatar said...

Thanks, Bishop! [big C.Channing smile] Your welcome song brought forward warm memories of seeing her perform Dolly in person--not saying how long ago [small Avatar smile]. And also brought a pressing to check out wiki. Found this Vandergelder quote, which was a sign from Ephram to Dolly: "Money is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread about, encouraging young things to grow."

I didn't have ears to remember this famous quote [not consciously anyway]; just remembered the hats and the giant smile you could see from the back row of the theater! Thanks wiki. And thanks, Father, for the pressing.

Speaking of pressing, I keep being pressed--impressed? no, I think its pressed--to re-visit blogs, read postings I missed from this week and revisit teachings. Wanting to stay in the blognow, but like you mentioned last night, Bishop, God is saying so much! [Willie Wonka! Where do you go first?] I want to get it all, too. So, though it seems like the past, I think "now" for me will be found in blog review and pondering "The Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy".

Which brings me to this morning and recalling Dolly but hearing this song line, "Bill Bailey won't you please come home" interchangeably with one from Celine's "Prayer": sybolo di pace, di fraternita. [Symbol of peace, of brotherhood] and though I could not recall the Italian, the previous line I was remembering as "the extended hand". I'm taking a cue from you Bishop not to overthink it. Just posting it.

Anonymous said...

Whew! (I mean that in a good way), and have definitely felt something very strong here today reading these blogs. Each one has not only spoken to me but I just feel water flowing, water gushing, water showering the earth of me.
God is like rain in us today.

All of your words and The Spirit in me has led me to a brook to drink. I am made of dust and He knows I need a drink, so here I am both gulping in the water from this stream here with you and realizing that He also leads me to the bubbling wellspring of water that is already within me, and your words have helped me to see it and tap into it. I just want to jump in the lake! I just want to soak it in and bubble up, germinate and blossom!

Thank each one of you and the Spirit and you, shepherd, for this wonderul brook of a place to be led beside and drink. Ahhh...!

So MUCH more in my heart to say but I do have a few errands to run...still have thoughts about tower of babel/pentecost and thoughts on other entries.

Remember...everyone's important, no matter how small. - from Horton hears a Who!

"Open up and say ahhhh!!!- your doctor.

The Spirit and the bride say "come!",...let everyone who is thirsty come and drink...freely...
-from Revelation

There's room for everyone,
ALL COME!!!
-Karl Cobos

Anonymous said...

rYou have all given me a cup of water to drink, in the name of Jesus, and you will be rewarded as Christ has said!

Thank you Holy Spirit for the words that I have drunk, and for the reminder (and actual showing me) of the brook in my soul that you lead me beside. Help me and teach me to drink of it often, and keep myself hydrated. Why do I go so long without drinking? It is so refreshing. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Oh I've got a golden ticket!!!
-Charlie and his grandpa
(from Willie Wonka)

Avatar said...

BTW, famman 87, on your comment "its good to see that He is still working right here, right now". In case it matters, I had not read your post before I posted with a Wonka reference. I don't know if that's covenant connection or God playing again (smile).

anon, woohoo, a GOLDEN ticket!