Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Borden’
Top Ten Posts and Pages Viewed for 2011
The most viewed posts for the year are totaled! I always find these trends interesting…what I think might be a “good” post isn’t always as popular as I thought it might be. Conversely, sometimes I’m surprised by what you like and receive a great amount of encouragement for what I have written as I continue to just “write what I hear.”
I wasn’t surprised by the top “hits” being spiritual direction and book reviews. Both of these pages get numerous hits faithfully each month. I appreciate your support and interaction with my book reviews and pleased that I am able to provide a ministry of “recommended reading” for folks with busy lifestyles who might not be able to know what books are available. I’m also thankful for being supplied with a steady stream of books from several publishing agents who trust my reviews.
A quick note about spiritual direction: The amount of page views for this ministry is surprising to me; the sheer number of curiosity seekers shows there is a huge interest in this type of relationship. If you are one of these persons interested in a spiritual direction and life-coaching relationship, contact me and let me know. We can talk about this in more detail and I can answer any questions you might have. If you determine you’d like to pursue this means of spiritual growth for a season, I have openings available.
- Spiritual Direction
- Book Reviews
- You Can’t Handle the Truth
- Spiritual Practices – Imaginative Prayer
- False Gods
- Pentecost Sunday
- Anyone with Ears
- While We Wait
- Silence, Solitude, and Alphas
- Hearing God and Plugged Ears
Thank you again for visiting my blog!
Top Ten Popular Posts — October 2011
October was another big month for Book Reviews, so I’ll start out with a link to the whole list of reviews and follow that with the most popular reviews from this month. Thanks again for all the views, comments, and encouragement. I always appreciate your interaction with comments and emails. Without any further ado, here are your top-ten visited posts the month of October.
1. Book Reviews:
- Speaking of Jesus
- Dictionary of Christian Spirituality
- Not a Fan
- The King Jesus Gospel
- Renovation of the Church
- Holy Listening–The Art of Spiritual Direction
- True Self / False Self
- Sanctuary of the Soul
2. About (The page that tells a little “about” Jeff)
10. It’s Coming!
Routine Buzz Kill: MoJo – No Go
I know I am one of “those people” who can be, and often is, dominated by routine. When my “flow” is interrupted, my day ends up being an unscheduled holiday… that is, for all intents and purposes most everything productive stops because my rhythm or daily MoJo has been broken.
I’m in a rut of broken routine at this very moment… Like a record with a scratch, it seems every time I start to play my song on the “phonograph of life” or begin my normal routine, just as my song begins to play and before the verse reaches its first chorus the needle of life hits a scratch and the verse begins to skip into infinity. Interruption takes over and demands my full attention. Invariably, I find myself stopping, skipping, and scratching my way through each day… beginning with hopeful plans and usually ending with frustrated, partially completed things I had hoped to accomplish.
I know my heavenly Father is aware of this attribute in my character. I also know there is something to learn in this lesson of self-awareness. I wonder sometimes though; will this be a “thorn in my side” or will this trait be something I will overcome and be healed of. I can hope, although I know that even if I am not freed of this “thorn” I can learn to function well with it. Truth be told, I think the nature of this trait is also responsible for the ability I have to engage in deep focus and intense reflection upon life issues as they relate to God’s Word. The “thorn” I call a curse is also a blessing… such might be true for many things and for many people I suppose.
I know that I should endeavor to learn and try to become more flexible…easily adapting to changing situations and circumstances. If I choose otherwise, it can lead to a dangerous place of false dependence and unhealthy addiction. If there is nothing else that my life has taught me, I am susceptible to this type of behavior. Chapter fifty-eight from the Rule of Benedict teaches about stability, obedience, and fidelity; however, in the midst of stability and obedience is interwoven an understanding that we must be willing to change. The heart of this willingness to change is the vow of “Conversion of Life” or Conversatio Morum. Here follow some excerpts from the www.osb.org website that lend more color to my thoughts:
Conversatio is another commitment that is closely allied with stability and unique to Benedictine monastics. This Latin word means a commitment to all practices oriented toward the search for God. By practices we do not mean a rote, rigid adherence to regimen.
Sister Joan Chittister, in her book Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, says: “To live community life well is to have all the edges rubbed off, all the rough parts made smooth. There is no need then for disciplines to practice. Life itself is the discipline.” I believe that a community life that is filled with opportunities for mutual mentoring is a life that will truly smooth out our rough edges and bring us closer to Christ.
The commitment to conversatio morum leads us to welcome Christ to turn us in His direction in every situation and to know that His direction for us is the best.
I don’t like it when my routine is broken. I like it even less that I am so adversely affected by broken routine and when my MoJo is No Go. I don’t want to idolize my routine and I don’t want to be ruled by it or paralyzed by obedience to it either. I want to be free to flow where the Holy Spirit would lead and open to His use in whatever circumstance may arise… and then, capable of returning to the work I may have left without disruption or broken stream of thought. I’m fairly certain the Gospels reveal Jesus walking in this way, always surrendered to the movement of the Father through the Spirit. If He walked this way, He has made provision for me and for you to do likewise. May Conversatio Morum and willingness to change be my new MoJo. I will pray and be reminded that when routine gets buzzkilled my response will be turning my heart and my attitude to the will of God as He transforms me into His image for His purposes…. Giving my MoJo GoGo. Amen.
Book Reviews were a big hit this month because of some of the awesome titles that were released. I would suspect that the same could be true for the month of October considering some of the great reads that I have on deck for the coming weeks. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up my reading schedule.
Here are the top posts you liked for the month of September. As always, thanks for visiting the site! Also, don’t forget that you are able to subscribe via RSS feed or receive the notice of a new post on the icrucified blog in your email box. Just sign up!
Top 10 Popular Posts September 2011:
Monastic Notes (Pt.25—July 17th 2011)
Find a complete file (pdf) of the Monastic Notes here
(Pecos: Day 28—July 17th 2011)
And so… my month in the School for Spiritual Direction is officially ended. I leave for the airport shortly following the mid-morning meal. Although I can say unequivocally this has been one of the memorable points in my life, I also know that I will be unraveling this experience for quite some time. I’m glad for notes I’ve taken and the discipline of journaling that have recorded many of the things I have learned, seen, and heard. It will be good to read and reflect on my memories once I’ve returned home.
God’s Word Speaking to Me as I Prepare to Depart for Home:
From Him and through Him and to Him are all things… Therefore, by the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36-12:2)
This is an incredibly high calling. It would seem the “bar” is set too high to reach or if we accept the challenge that there is the greater possibility that our lives will be filled with frustration because the measure of godliness is too high for human beings to attain. We push back against these thoughts: the ability of men to discern the will of God, the ability of men to be able to definitively define what is good and perfect, the ability of men to have transformed minds so they may be acceptable to God. It seems near impossible at a glance. But…God gives us hope we can believe in.
“I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33)
“I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me” (Jeremiah 32:40)
“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
I am encouraged. I have been blessed to have my heart replaced and my mind transformed. I am more than able to center and focus my attentions and affections solely upon the God who has saved me, Jesus Christ, the One who lives and reigns supreme through the guiding empowerment of the Holy Spirit who resides within my heart.
A Prayer of Psalms—
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a barren and dry land where there is no water. So I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your Name. For you have been my helper, and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice. My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast (Psalm 63:1, 4, 7-8).
“Spiritual direction is a relationship initiated by a spiritual seeker who finds a mature person of faith willing to pray and respond with wisdom and understanding to his or her questions about how to live spiritually in a world of ambiguity and distraction.”
The purpose of spiritual direction observed by Thomas Merton, “is to penetrate beneath the surface of a man’s (or woman’s) life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul. This is entirely a supernatural thing.”
Every human being who has embraced the redemptive, reconciliatory, and restorative work of the Lord Jesus Christ is called by Him to become transformed (re-imaged) into His likeness (John 12:26, Romans 8:29, Eph. 4:13, 1 John 2:6). A spiritual director partners with the person seeking to mature in this transformational process and works alongside them in their journey toward Christ-like maturity and holiness.
In a spiritual direction relationship, we will meet regularly (typically every four weeks) for approximately an hour or so. Although spiritual direction is best if conducted face-to-face, we can facilitate our meetings via telephone, email, and video conferencing (Skype ®) when necessary. When meeting in person, I prefer to meet in a mutually agreed upon location as free of distractions as possible.
Spiritual direction is a primary part of my vocational calling; as such, I do charge for direction. My fees are quite reasonable and are negotiable where necessary. Most importantly, the cost of direction should not be a factor in whether you decide to enter into this type of relationship.
Qualifications and Style of Direction:
I am an Ordained Minister of the Free Methodist Church of North America
Studied at the School for Spiritual Direction in Pecos, NM at the Pecos Benedictine Monastery
I have received training and have studied extensively (and continue to study and train) in the ways of Spiritual Formation in a number of major Christian traditions:
- Benedictine Spirituality
- Carmelite Spirituality
- Ignatian Spirituality
- Spirituality in the Wesleyan-Holiness Tradition
- Spirituality in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Tradition
- Spiritual Direction in the Roman Catholic Tradition
- Spiritual Direction in the Social Justice Tradition
- Spiritual Direction in the Episcopal Tradition
- Generalized Pastoral Counseling
- Marriage and Family Counseling
Attended Bible College at the Jimmy Swaggart Bible College
Ministerial Credentialing through Ministerial and Educational Guidance of the Free Methodist Church
- I will pray for you always and strive to hear what the Spirit of God is speaking to you and through you for your life
- I will not judge you, nor will I tell you what to do. Our relationship is a “three-way” partnership between you, me, and the Holy Spirit. We will try to discern what God is speaking and how He is directing the steps in our lives. You will ultimately be in charge of how you proceed.
- Our conversations will be held in the strictest confidence. You are free to share what we discuss, but you can trust that our conversations will never venture outside the circle of “you, me, and God.”
- I listen a lot and ask quite a few questions to help me understand and hear where God is leading and what He is doing in your life. I expect feedback, but I will never pressure you for information. If you want to talk or not talk, that is your prerogative and I will always respect your choice. Remember, I will never judge you.
- Occasionally, I may ask you if I can take a few notes. If you are uncomfortable with this, it is okay to decline.
- I am authentic and I try to live as transparently as I am capable. If you have questions for me, I will do my best to answer them as candidly and honestly as possible where those questions and answers do not infringe upon someone else’s privacy.
- I believe that God wants you to be wholly restored to the person He originally conceived you to be. I believe through the indwelling Spirit of God and the empowerment of Jesus Christ, this restoration is completely available to us and entirely possible to achieve on this side of eternity. I will always cheer you on and I will never give up on you.
- I do not believe in duality of life. I believe that all of life is sacred and there is nothing profane or secular. I believe that God is always present and through the cultivation and maturity of our own spirituality we are capable of walking in unbroken relationship with Him. The daily life is where God is most actively and most powerfully at work.
I am very comfortable with all streams of Christian spirituality and consider myself highly ecumenical. As much as I might be able to partner with you and be a helper and coach, I believe there is much I can learn from you. I am a life-long learner and continue to expand and broaden my knowledge as opportunity provides.
If you are interested in exploring a spiritual direction relationship with me, feel free to contact me direct for additional information and/or setting up an appointment to talk more.
Well, it’s been almost a week since I’ve returned home from the month I spent with the monks in the School of Spiritual Direction at the Pecos Benedictine Monastery. It doesn’t seem like it has already been a week and I’m still unpacking, decompressing, and remembering things that have significantly impacted me during the past month. Although it’s only been a short week away from the monastery, I’m already missing the prayers of the community. I miss hearing Sister Helen sing out, “Let us pray…..” and “O Lord, Open my lips” with the community singing back, “And, my mouth shall proclaim your praise!” I loved, loved, loved gathering with the community and praying the liturgy of the hours every day. One of the things Laurie and I have started since my return is spending time in evening prayer together and somewhat incorporating this prayer of the Psalms together; it’s not the same as I experienced at the monastery, but it is a start in the right direction I believe.
A couple of other steps I am taking involve direction I believe I have received while I was away. I am in the process of developing a Spiritual Retreat ministry and also offering Spiritual Direction for anyone who might desire this type of relationship. I plan to have both of these offerings available with additional information on my website in the coming week or so, but in the interim if you are interested please contact me direct with your questions.
I’m also venturing out from my sabbatical time… I’m looking for employment and could use the prayers of my friends and family for wisdom and clarity with God’s direction in this area. I’ve contacted my denominational leadership about opportunities that might be a fit for me and I’m looking locally as well. We shall see what and where the Lord leads.
Finally, here are a couple of Scripture passages that were speaking to me today as I spent some time in meditation and Lectio Divina this morning.
“Listen in silence before me… Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am He.” (Isaiah 41:1, 4)
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble… Be silent, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:1, 10)
“Anyone who has ears for listening, should listen! To you is granted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God…” (Luke 8:4-15)
And this from St. Benedict—“Let us open our eyes to the light that can change us into the likeness of God. Let our ears be alert to the stirring call of His voice crying to us every day: today, if you should hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”
“The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us! The God of Israel is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:7, 11)
A Meditation in Personal Devotion [14NOV2010]
Consolations and desolations; these are the ebb and flow of the spiritual journey. These “Seasons of the Soul” are the growing pains experienced as we follow the path of growing in maturity of God’s grace and knowledge. Recognizing these seasons and learning to discern God’s shaping and leading through them is imperative to our following the path and Will of God in our life, or so I believe.
It is part of the core foundation of my faith that God speaks to us, God is always with us, God has a destiny for us (here on this earth and not only ultimate), and God wants us to be fully conformed to the image of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Real belief in these tenets and not just lip service affirmation has significant, life-changing impact on a person; I know it has on me and my family. I have learned to trust the leading of God… and continue to be tested so I learn to trust Him even more. I have learned how to discern the “Voice” of God to me… I have learned with humility how to test my discernment and I have learned (and continue to learn) that humility is purified and further refined through the testing of our obedience to God as we learn to discern His Will for us and follow Him with complete trust.
I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (Psalm 16:8)
The past several years have been an incredible exercise navigating the labyrinth of consolations and desolations. It seems that praise, ridicule, doubt, and faith are some of the typical mainstays of the spiritual diet through this faith maze of life. While it is not for the faint of heart, I am convinced it is the ultimate path of every true believer… at some level and measure, to forsake their safety in the security of their own making and completely abandon themselves to the ownership and leadership of their God in whom they profess to believe, follow, and obey. A large number of “believers” never do this… at least “believers” that I have known do not. At the risk of beginning a soap box rant, I’ll toss out my theory of why this is so for the people in my own backyard, the good ole USA. Many American Christians equate pursuit of the American Dream (the pursuit and right to life, liberty, and happiness on earth) with the Will of God for their lives. Personally, I believe this is a false presumption; and I’ll stop there.
No one, has a call simply to a particular place, as good as it may be. The call of God is to the Will of God. Consequently, though every institution mediates the call of God for us, every vocation transcends any particular institution. The question is always: is this group, this place calling out the best in me? Is this where I fit? Is this the place where I can most become what God created me to be? Is this the path on which I see the footsteps of God most clearly in front of me? It is not a matter of one place being better than another. It is a matter of finding our way through life with an eye for turns in the road. It is a matter of always taking the right turn when settling for less would be so much easier. It is a matter of seeing change as a creative possibility in life. –Joan Chittister; The Rule of Benedict: Insights For the Ages
It seems not many days escape me that I do not hear one or more of a number of questions spoken by God (in the Bible) to my own soul. Hearing them makes me fidgety and uncomfortable; I think they are meant to make me feel that way as I consider my truthful responses to them. The questions number more than these, but a few that I seem to hear more often follow:
- Don’t you understand even yet? (Matthew 16:9)
- Do you love me more than these? (John 21:15)
- Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:15)
The way we respond with our words, and subsequent actions, speak volumes to these questions. Sometimes the response can lead to consolations and other times desolations. I was consoled with the words of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest as I considered some of these this morning.
I being in the way, the Lord led me… (Genesis 24:27)
We have to be so one with God that we do not continually need to ask for guidance. Sanctification means that we are made the children of God, and the natural life of a child is obedience – until he wishes to be disobedient, then instantly there is the intuitive jar. In the spiritual domain the intuitive jar is the monition of the Spirit of God. When He gives the check, we have to stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind in order to make out what God’s will is. If we are born again of the Spirit of God, it is the abortion of piety to ask God to guide us here and there. “The Lord led me,” and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design, which, if we are born of God, we will credit to God.
We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never allow that the haphazard is anything less than God’s appointed order, and be ready to discover the Divine designs any where.
Beware of making a fetish of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God. I shall never do that – in all probability you will have to, if you are a saint. There never was a more inconsistent Being on this earth than Our Lord, but He was never inconsistent to His Father. The one consistency of the saint is not to a principle, but to the Divine life. It is the Divine life which continually makes more and more discoveries about the Divine mind. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God. –Oswald Chambers; My Utmost for His Highest
“There is a meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler…” writes Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I think this is a great thought to help us remember why it is so important to “pay attention” to how we “pay attention.” The Spirit draws and the Spirit teaches to those who have ears to hear. There is much that goes on in our life that we just breeze past and never pay attention to… many of which are whispers and nudges of the Spirit drawing us closer to His path for our life.
And finally, a few closing “one-liner thoughts” from my journal and recent Scripture reading:
–Matthew 16:23-26 :::::: Beware of thinking with the mind of man… Reformation of the soul cannot come without repentance.
–Nehemiah 13:1-30 :::::: Radical reformation follows repentance.
–Revelation 20:1-6 :::::: There is a second death…and it is forever.
Dear Jesus… My name is Jeff and I’m a recovering sinner; I WILL FOLLOW YOU.