Glory Coming Home [SSL116]

Welcome to another Wednesday audio delivery of Spark My Muse. This is Soul School Lesson 116 [SSL116]

Find all the EXTRAS for this episode HERE.
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CORRECTION: The audio contains a mistake.
The Holy Spirit (God within) was given to the disciples Jesus at Pentecost during the Festival of Weeks. It happens exactly 7 weeks after Passover.  It refers to the harvesting of grain. First, the come the harvest of barley and in the final seventh-week, comes the harvest of the first wheat.
Also it celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
(The Jewish Feast of the First Fruits happened fifty days after the Feast of the Weeks. The Feast of the First Fruits was a first-harvest celebration day when grapes (and probably other fruit) were enjoyed.)

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Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Question

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Here, just the Father's beard could wipe out planet Earth
(Hey, God doesn’t have a body.)

Shownotes for the Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Questions


1. It’s hard to pray to God as Father when you’ve had a bad dad. What should I do?

• How do we think about God? (usually like a human person or institution)

• God is Spirit not an old white man in the sky with a long beard.

What adjectives will help you connect with the Being typically called “God”


Hebrew word for God is a description too (yahweh “I am” a verb) that was not used. Adonai  was substituted and that simply means “Master/Lord” and is a term of respect.


It’s misguided to think that God can be contained or described well using a “Proper Noun”. God can’t be called a proper name/noun…like “Billy” (and that would make Jesus “Billy Jr.”).

Hebrew names are descriptive when referring to people (not how we use names to address people today).


YAHWEH (Hebrew word), means I AM (or “is”) and works like a verb denoting Presence an Love in Action. It defies typical proper names and descriptions.


2. On Forgiveness

“What should I do to forgive when I can’t forget?”


Forgiving is a continual process.

Thinking of forgiveness as transactional–a debt clearing mechanism. Be an accountant and don’t worry about your emotions being on the same page.


Remembering that you are not your thoughts.


What Justice is actually (Shalom). Making things right and reconciliation.


3. What to do about envying others (in this case writers in the field) and being jealous of their success.


Seeing the negative emotions as tools. Reframing them to use them to find our calling, gifts, and passions.


Not getting caught up in “should” and “oughts” and comparisons.


When you can say of your work, “Wow, I get to do this!” you can have enough gratitude to be comfortable with the success of others.


It’s common and normal to get feelings of jealousy. It’s only when the take over our hearts and mind do we need to reevaluate and recalibrate what we are doing and thinking.


Deciding that the options of other people and the opinions should have huge power is a choice we can change.


4. Getting over feeling guilt and shame that keeps resurfacing.

Daring Greatly Brene Brown (the difference between guilt and shame.

• Guilt is important so we can learn and correct and grow and become better people.

• Shame is a belief that something, un fixable, is wrong with you.

Shame whispers lies in your ears. Shame becomes a decision of who we are as person.


Being put to shame by parents and others.


A mistake isn’t part of who you are.

Redemption is always possible. You can start anew.


My caveat.


5. Church isn’t working for me anymore and I feel guilty leaving the church, but I don’t feel fed.

In the U.S. we often go to church as a consumers and look for what we can get out of it. Church can be piss poor.


Look for ways to give and minister and find connection in other ways.


For me, small groups were a starting point that lead me to seminary.


Bringing back the potluck and sharing life with people.


Sometimes we sense church isn’t “working” when meaningful connection is lacking.


“we” is better than “me”.

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Prayer, Prostitutes, and Unmet Expectations

antichi mestieri...
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Fabio Pierboni via Compfight (brothel menu)

On Sunday, I heard someone say, “Sometimes when I pray, I don’t feel anything.”

Has this happened to you? It has for me.
There’s no magic. It’s like talking to the wall.

“Blah blah blah. meh.”

Sometimes we approach prayer and other spiritual practices with certain expectations, right? We want an experience or we hope for some immediate return for our effort. It shouldn’t be dull, we think. It shouldn’t be lifeless.

In trying to connect with God we wonder if it’s really a two way street.

Maybe it’s the same thing we wonder in our other relationships. Am I doing all the rowing on this boat?

In this, I’m reminded of the lessons from my seminary professor who made a point to tell us that Yahweh switched things up on his people–most of the time. No victory was won the same way twice. Was God pushing the limits of their expectations? Probably.

I wonder if these variances happened precisely because God is personal. I wonder if God is always the same by way of consistently changing: A characteristic of a living God and ongoing relationship. Usually personal beings resist manipulation, right?

What happens when we want something to be predictable…a sure thing? A wife and a prostitute can do the same horizontal function, but there’s something about doing it for cash changes the whole thing…a lot, I assume. The latter is less a relationship and more of a phlegmatic transaction with the veneer of allure. The outcome is very predictable. Hence, relationship as a commodity has a dehumanizing (or depersonalizing) consequence. (Refer to the above image posted outside a brothel. It’s a menu.)

Isn’t it spiritually healthier for us when God shows us that he’s not coin operated or predictable, but rather relational and multifaceted? We wouldn’t want to be treated like a vending machine either, so maybe it makes sense that God would “keep things fresh”. Strangely, God risks frustrating us to foster growth.

If you’re feeling like you’re “praying to the wall” lately, realize that you are the verge of a growth-enhancing switcheroo…better named: a new movement of the divine. Be on the look out for it.

Oh, and when you spot it then it’ll change again soon.

Through this God shows us that he’s intricate and personal, not static and mechanized. He draws us into something deeper. He gives us something for an advancement of faith, sight unseen.

Where are you right now?
On the verge of change or knee-deep in a fresh one?

Thoughts or comments?

Are You Discouraged?

Oswald Chambers



Oswald Chambers meditation:

. . . when Moses was grown . . . he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens —Exodus 2:11


Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After he launched his first strike for God and for what was right, God allowed Moses to be driven into empty discouragement, sending him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared to Moses and said to him, ” ’. . . bring My people . . . out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ’Who am I that I should go . . . ?’ ” (Exodus 3:10-11). In the beginning Moses had realized that he was the one to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in his individual perspective, but he was not the person for the work until he had learned true fellowship and oneness with God.
We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and yet when we start to do it, there comes to us something equivalent to Moses’ forty years in the wilderness. It’s as if God had ignored the entire thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged, God comes back and revives His call to us. And then we begin to tremble and say, “Who am I that I should go . . . ?” We must learn that God’s great stride is summed up in these words— “I AM WHO I AM . . . has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). We must also learn that our individual effort for God shows nothing but disrespect for Him— our individuality is to be rendered radiant through a personal relationship with God, so that He may be “well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We are focused on the right individual perspective of things; we have the vision and can say, “I know this is what God wants me to do.” But we have not yet learned to get into God’s stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.

Have you thought about discouragement in this way?

Your thoughts or comments are encouraged.

Prayers of Adoration (Praying the Names of God)

At my school, if you have ever taken Dr Mellinger, then you have engaged in this particular prayer form.

Praying this way, is a way of praising and worshiping God–a useful spiritual practice.

It’s quite simple, and may take on variations, or adaptations. It’s helpful for individual prayer time, or in a group setting.

I’ll present something simple here.

If you use it, or come up with something else, I’d love to hear from you.

Art work – Names of God

Prayers of Adoration/Praying the Names of God: A “How To”

1. Make a list of 10-20 words for God (Encouraged is including names for all 3 parts of the Trinity: Creator, Redeemer, Spirit, etc.).

Adjectives are fine, or names of God found in the Bible.

(Examples: Savior, Father, Light of Lights, Lamb, Protector, Reconciler, etc.)

For Prayer in a Group:

Pick a name from your list that seems to  stand out as be more meaningful, and take turns praying your selections in adoration to God, calling God by the name, and saying something of your own, similar to the following:

“God, you are Savior. I thank you that you are a Savior to us, and you’ve given yourself up for us.”

Everyone then may respond together in agreement:
“God you are Savior”

(or whatever name has been selected)

It’s amazing how 5-10 minutes of this will change the whole atmosphere in the room. Truly. amazing.

For Individual Prayer time:

• Work down through your list, in a similar way.

• Rest, and consider each name, as your finish adoring God with that name.

At the end, jot down some observations, thoughts, insights, feelings, associations, etc. that came to mind during or after your prayer time.

GROUPS: Take turns sharing some of these.

Individuals: May read over your observations again; and later come back to them, and re-read them.