My Peace I Give You...

solitudeI recently read an article by John Ortberg about soul-fatigue. In the article, John explains that this kind of fatigue happens when we stay up too late and rise too early; when we try to fuel ourselves with coffee and donuts and refuse to take time to exercise; when we push unpleasant emotions under the surface and keep going as if nothing were wrong. The result is that we feel separated from God, ourselves and others.

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Attending is the Key to Hearing God

thumb_servant-bellsOkay, I'll admit it, I'm hooked on Downton Abbey. I've watched all four seasons and look forward to each new episode with great anticipation. And I guess I'm not alone, as the series was awarded a Golden Globe and is one of the most widely watched television dramas in the world.


Okay, I'll admit it, I'm hooked on Downton Abbey. I've watched all four seasons and look forward to each new episode with great anticipation. And I guess I'm not alone, as the series was awarded a Golden Globe and is one of the most widely watched television dramas in the world.

thumb_servant-bells

One of the things I find fascinating about the show is how it gives us a glimpse into what it would be like to be a butler or maid in a great English manor. I love the little bells mounted in the kitchen and how each servant responded immediately to the sound of their bell. Graham Cooke writes about these bells in his book, Keys to Brilliant Focus. He says that the servants could distinguish the particular sound that would summon them into the king's presence. They could pick out their own sound above all others, much as a mother knows the sound of their own baby in a nursery full of crying children.

Graham goes on to write that the practice of listening for the bell is called "attending." The servants attended the king or queen by responding when they were summoned.

When we attend God, we discern His voice about all other sounds. We learn to wait on Him. We are present for Him. When we make time for Him -- like at ALR -- we are cultivating a place of rest in His presence. We clear away the distractions and go to a solitary place for the purpose of attending our King. It's a beautiful thing. And it's something that brings so much joy to God's heart.

As wonderful as it is to spend a weekend set aside for being still and hearing His voice, attending our King is something we need to do every day. Only then will our ears be trained to hear when our bell is rung and we've been summoned into His presence. I've been working on this, and let me tell you it isn't easy. Life is so full of distractions and deadlines. My wife Druci has been getting up in the middle of the night because it's the only quiet time she can find. I told the Lord if He wants to wake me up I'll do my best to respond. So far it hasn't happened.

Graham says a few other things about attending:

Be delighted in the process of creating room in your heart and your day just to sit and listen. You don't have to hear anything. That's the point. We are practicing stillness. We clear away all other sounds. We mute the world around us. We relax and allow our hearts to go out to Him. Adoration is best done silently. Minister to His heart in quiet gratitude.

That's my desire. I want to go deeper with Him. I want to know Him like I never have before.

See you at the next ALR!

Rick

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He Takes Me to a Quiet Place

beach-walk

Someone sent me this adaptation of the 23rd Psalm the other day. I think it's perfect for ALR...

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Healed from fibromyalgia

We received a report from one of our Spring 2012 attendees:

For the last 6 years I have suffered with the effects of fibromyalgia. The main issues were pain in my low back and legs and very low energy with no endurance.

Because of your faith filled prayers Jesus has healed me. I have had no pain since I woke up the Monday after ALR. I have energy to do all kinds of things. I worked in my yard for the first time in years, I can stand at the stove and cook for us. I have lost 5 pounds just from being off the couch so much.

This was not the first time I have been prayed for but this IS the time all the prayers were answered. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.

Sue Crawford

God is so faithful. His healing power is available to all of us who believe. When we prayed with Sue, we were simply doing what Jesus modeled for us: the prayer of faith makes the sick person well. Thank you Jesus, for your healing power in Sue's life. Thank you for all that you did in our hearts during this weekend in April. Can't wait for the Fall!

Register now for Fall 2012, Oct 19 - 21

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Freedom Reigns!

Spring 2012 groupFrom the very beginning, there was a special anointing on our spring 2012 retreat. Friday evening's worship time was highlighted by Madison leading us in Jason Upton's song, Freedom Reigns. It was a powerful time of worship...

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Seek the Stillness

My friend Jane Hansen Hoyt wrote a wonderful little book called "The View from Above - Living Life from God's Perspective." Druci and I have been reading it as part of our devotions. This morning's passage applies directly to ALR, so I thought I'd share it with you.

The View from AboveSeek the Stillness
"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength" (Isaiah 30:15). This is God's promise. The quietness of the morning is a special time for me. I love to sit silently in my favorite blue rocker with a cup of tea in my hand and the Bible open on my lap. My mind is still; my heart is open; and my spirit is expectant as I center my thoughts on the Lord. A sense of peacefulness and worship surrounds me as I sit in the stillness of my soul. It is a place in which I love to linger.

In today's fast-paced, ever-changing world with its many demands, quietness seems like a luxury we must purposefully seek. Yet, it is one of the most needful and profitable exercises of our souls.

Technology and social networking have linked us instantly to the global community. Cell phone capabilities make it possible to feed us our emails and text messages wherever we are. We are never "disconnected" from the demands for our attention. Everyone needs an answer or wants a response, even if it is only a few words. Most days, the atmosphere seems filled with the noise of these demands.

Jesus modeled something quite different for us. It is a lesson of great value. When the crowds pressed in around Him, when the demands of ministry and distraction of many voices stirred around Him, He simply took time to turn away from it all and find a place where He could be alone and quiet, a place of solitude and prayer. He talked to His Father. He was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works. This is why He said, "I can of Myself do nothing...I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 15:4).

It is in this place of quietness that we hear His voice more clearly and learn His ways.

We need silence and solitude. Take time for these luxuries today.

I have to admit, silence and solitude have been in pretty short supply in my life lately. That's one of the reasons why ALR is so special to me. It's a reminder of how important it is to set aside regular quiet time in my daily routine. And spending a weekend -- twice a year -- where the focus is on silence, is so good for my soul. Have you registered for the retreat yet? Hope to see you there!

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Join us for ALR this Spring

yellow daffsSpring is a wonderful time to get away and spend some time with God. At ALR, our spring retreat, which will be held April 20 - 22 this year, is always well attended. You'll enjoy the beautiful setting of Fort Flagler this time of year -- the trees are blooming, the daffodils are out, and there's new life everywhere. After a long, cold, winter, it's great to be able to spend a weekend in a beautiful setting, listening to God's voice and enjoying some quiet time before the business of summer begins.

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Our 25th Anniversary Retreat is Next Week!

group_2001It's hard to believe that it was 25 years ago that Steve and Sharon Schell talked with my wife Druci and me about doing a "silent" retreat out at Fort Flager. We certainly had no intention at the time of making it a twice-yearly event for the next 25 years of our lives!

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