Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Food Forest


What a truly interesting concept...I do believe the last time this worked it was called the "Garden of Eden"!
Information from the Global Coherence Initiative.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Storms!

The sights, the sounds, the electricity in the air! We've all experienced thunderstorms but I must admit this one filmed in Germany makes you feel as if you are in the middle of it...

Follow this link...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Contemplation

Due to circumstances which couldn't be helped, I have been unable to go on retreat so far this year...and I feel it in my soul! Hopefully this is something that can be remedied in the near future...but until then, I am relying on Thomas Merton...

“Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep, inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding. For every gain in deep certitude there is a corresponding growth of superficial "doubt." This doubt is by no means opposed to genuine faith, but it mercilessly examines and questions the spurious "faith" of everyday life, the human faith which is nothing but the passive acceptance of conventional opinion. This false "faith" which is what we often live by and which we even come to confuse with our "religion" is subjected to inexorable questioning… Hence, is it clear that genuine contemplation is incompatible with complacency and with smug acceptance of prejudiced opinions. It is not mere passive acquiescence in the status quo, as some would like to believe – for this would reduce it to the level of spiritual anesthesia.” 


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Beauty

This was filmed over a period of 7 days from the highest mountain in Spain, El Teide. 



Make sure your sound is on....the music is called "Nuvole Bianche" by Ludovico Einaudi (my absolute favorite modern day composer).

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Newsletter...

Sparta FUMC Members,
If you're looking for the article from my Newsletter post this week, just click (Nadia Bolz-Weber), and it will take you there! Enjoy!
amanda

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sunday Morning Worship

Something has been missing in my life recently. Now I could load you up with all kinds of excuses...my husband has been incapacitated and is still recovering, one of my children and her family have moved back home and are staying with us while they get things in order. The usual end of the school year business. My "real" job. The work I do with the Youth. Bottom line, while searching to find what is different I have come to realize that I've not been fully present in Worship for several weeks now. Looking back, I can now see that what was wrong was me. I was there to be entertained. In fact, I've become quite lazy! Perhaps I wasn't crazy about a couple of the hymns one Sunday. Another Sunday, someone was sitting in MY seat! Did the Pastor really use different words to the "Great Thanksgiving"? On each of these Sundays, I've entered not with a humble and contrite heart but knowing it just had to be "All about Me" and what I want!

Church is a community of believers. Worship should never be about just what I GET out of the service, but rather also, what I ADD to it. Has the experience been more fulfilling because of my presence? Have I been unselfishly giving of myself? Singing with gusto or at least devotion?  Following the verses read in my Bible rather than just listening? Greeting a visitor or spending time with a fellow member I haven't talked to in a while? Truly lifting up to God those whose names have been read during the Prayer Request time? 

We should be a gathering of individuals who, through praise and worship, form a whole body.

And, although I shouldn't have to, I must watch that I don't try to be a member of an audience. God is the audience. Going to church isn't like going to the movies. I am not there just to receive the Word that is spoken...God is there to receive our love and praise and HE is the object of our affections. If we believe it to be a "worship service", then we should be as much a part of it as the organ, the Pastor or the special music.

We're supposed to be the givers. And if we give, God will be blessed and we will receive what we need from Him and not the sound system.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Control

Most of us envision our lives as being orderly with all things happening the way we want. We make plans and have dreams, some of them divinely inspired, that we want to see through to completion. We want to be happy, successful, and healthy, all of which are perfectly natural and perfectly human. So when life takes us to places we don’t want to go, we often feel as if something has gone wrong, or we must have made a mistake somewhere along the line. Although this will repeatedly happen in all our lives we rarely understand the reasons...at least in the beginning. Eventually we all come to realize that trials are designed to strengthen us, teach us and mold us.

It may take something major to wake us up. After all, it's very hard to turn our lives loose, to feel out of control...even though control is a huge illusion! It is loss of control more than anything else that humbles us and enables us to see the big picture. It reminds us that there is someone else in control. Hopefully, this awareness will help us release our resistance to what is. Joy exists within our lives whether things go our way or not. And when we don’t feel it, it is because we choose not to.
 

Learning to release our imagined control to the One who truly IS in control is life changing...and it's oh, so much easier!