Shownotes: Episode 035 Interview with Rev Lennie Maxwell, Pastor at Great Bend First UMC, Great Bend, KS
When Living from God’s Center, God Is All
The idea of living from God’s center wasn’t new but Lennie hadn’t focused on this metaphor so he was glad Claire introduced him to it through the Living from God’s Center Program. Living from God’s center is simply a statement that God is all. God surrounds us, God encompasses us and there is nowhere that we are not with God.
The other metaphors seemed to put the emphasis on his faith and life. Living from God’s center is really what our Christianity should be about—surrender and live fully in who God is and wants us to be.
Surrendering, for God is Awesome
Rule #6 in business management is, don’t take yourself so seriously. Hard for Lennie and his ego. When he is living in God’s center he has to realize he shouldn’t take himself too seriously; that God is awesome. God’s willingness to ask him to be any kind of partner is very humbling. He has to remember he can find hope and joy regardless of the results of his or church’s actions. Real hope and joy come in the midst of trial.
If he is truly living from God’s center, Lennie will not let despair, fear and worry get him down. Have faith that God knows what God is doing whether he, Lennie, knows it or not.
Impact of Living from God’s Center on a Ministry in Transition
- It has helped Lennie to realize that it is not up to him. If he gives himself to God, God will direct God will lead them.
- Lennie is not in ministry by himself. The real power of being a church is when everyone is involved by practicing their gifts and call. Important to Millennials, the idea that they have a purpose. They feel that their lives are important and have purpose. This fits well with his ecclesial understanding of the priesthood of all believers.
- It has boded well that he has been able to reconnect with the Holy Spirit, give the Holy Spirit the control and allow God to work within their congregation. The only way they will move forward in this changing culture.
Path to Get to this Way of Living from God’s Center
Lennie felt he couldn’t connect with God in all the traditional ways. He had always struggled to sit through a traditional worship, that meditation wasn’t working, writing . . . Through the Living from God’s Center Program, Claire helped him realize there is not only one way to connect with God. Experimented with movement. He found praying while walking, just being present with God and who he is in himself . . . that helped relieve the pressure re whether or not he was being a good Christian. It helped him realize that God is not just available one way. God is there for us.
Lennie always struggled with trying to control the outcome of his actions. It helped him realize that God has better plans than what he can dream of. By confessing his need to control, embrace this intimate relationship of this awesome God who is also all forgiving.
It is a daily process. Lennie tries every day to find his way into the realization that God is God.
Advice to Someone Desiring to Live from God’s Center
Right now, Lennie and his colleagues have a tendency to feel beat up either by local church or a leadership structure that is reacting to the difficult times, or the divisive world that doesn’t see the importance of Christianity.
The best thing is to remember that God is in this messy place right here with us. Purpose of the incarnation—Jesus wanted to participate in our messy world. The reason it is such a mess is because he tries to control it. Let go of that need and don’t take yourself so seriously. Lighten up.
Wesley’s Covenant Prayer
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven.
Photo Credit MatanVizel /Pixabay.Com
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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Music: “A True Friend” by Josh Molen
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