Happy Friday! Isn’t it fascinating to watch the light change? Can you feel it? I know it’s not time for spring yet but if you are in Tulsa today it certainly feels like the beginning of something spring-y!
House Church In-Person and on Zoom
We are on a roll back in person and on Zoom! I plan over the next few weeks to make significant improvements to sound and video for our online folks. In order to get the best equipment we need additional funds, if you can help me level-up our online presence for broader distribution that would be great, because I know right now it is difficult to hear and see on Sundays if you’re watching from home.
The Main App: Prayer Wall
Did you know there is a “Prayer Wall” within our HCT app? You can post prayer needs and then others can indicate that they are praying with you. I would love to see this section overflowing with requests and praises! Download the app, if you haven’t already: https://tithely.app.link/
I decided to take more space in this week’s email to encourage and share with you from my heart, instead of making it all about the announcements. I am looking forward to being with you the next couple of Sundays but in between, I am going on a retreat. Usually when I take time off I stay connected to emails and texts for church, and for my other jobs and projects. But, a unique opportunity has presented itself to me next week where I get to completely unplug in a way I don’t usually do - so I am humbly, gratefully receiving the space for myself!
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others
from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
My friend and House Church’s spiritual advisor, Rev. Bishop Jim Swilley, writes a daily meditation and some of his words about soul-rest, and accepting yourself, really spoke to me this week and I thought it might speak to you, too. He frames much of what I’m experiencing right now and offers beautiful words about accepting yourself in all your unique ways of being in the world.
He writes, “Give, but don't let it empty you...
You have to know when to replenish yourself, and not feel guilty or defensive about it...self-care isn't optional...you either take care of yourself now because you WANT to and know you NEED to, or your spirit, soul, or body (or all three) will force you into self-care (the kind that isn't fun) down the road, because you absolutely HAVE to...you either do it now or later...
Don't wait for an illness or an accident to persuade you to give yourself the time and care that you really need to live the life that you have created...when you're stressed out, self-care is often the first thing you let go of...that's partly because your brain goes into fight-or-flight mode, and your perspective narrows, or you're so busy trying to solve problems that you get stuck in “doing mode", and can't find a justifiable off-ramp from it...
You have to stay focused on the big picture, and love yourself enough to maintain a “go to” list of self-care activities...never apologize for spending a day just following your bliss, or avoiding doing things that drain you emotionally...you don't owe anyone an explanation for however you practice self-care...take the time you need...listen to the music that makes your heart happy...connect with people who inspire you...unplug from social media if you need to...become comfortable with just being quiet…”
He went on to minister about fully accepting and loving yourself in all your unique glory.
"The heart of most spiritual practices is simply this: Remember who you are. Remember what you love. Remember what is sacred. Remember what is true. Remember that you will die and that this day is a gift. Remember how you wish to live."
- Wayne Muller
Jim writes: “Being yourself without compromise is a spiritual practice...(wow!)
It is, in fact, one of the most spiritual things you can or will ever do...you have to intentionally remember who you are every single day of your life, in spite of the relentless and often exhausting expressions of disapproval you may be hit with from those in your world who constantly demand that you be who they think you should be...you have to stay in touch with where you've come from, regardless of how misunderstood your journey may be by those who want to control you, or otherwise you will never have a clear sense of where you are going...you have to stand your ground in refusing to apologize to anyone - not even in the smallest way - for just being yourself...
The world will try to change you into someone else...don't let it...society, religion, belief systems, tradition, antiquated theories, and many other constructs will try to restrict and reform you, and demand that you fall in line...don't allow yourself the remain under their spell, or be hypnotized by the comfort that they promise you...there is nothing more beautiful and rare than your own uniqueness...never forget how special it is...guard it with your very life...live in the joy of manifesting your own personhood, and celebrate it shamelessly in everything that you do...don't compromise for anyone, or for any reason...know your truth, and live it...live the hell out of it...
Being yourself is sacred...
Being yourself is holy...
Being yourself is spiritual...
Anything that comes against that is blasphemy... “
Wow! This challenges me in all the right ways and I pray that it does something inside of you, too. I look forward to being in service with you the next couple of Sundays to hear and learn what is happening with you in your unique life with God.
Announcements and Thank Yous
House Church will be on Zoom this Sunday and in-person at 10:30 am.
Thanks for your generosity to keep the ministry financially healthy! We are able to keep the bills paid and give hospitably to those in need inside and outside our church. Together we bless so many lives. The ministry and message of our church will outlive the pandemic for generations to come!
Coffee & Theology (CAT) Wednesdays at 8am. Recordings available on the app afterward. This is a time to get deep with spiritual concepts and ask difficult questions. Video call link: https://meet.google.com/iwe-