The colorful “show”

The colorful “show” of beautiful trees is ending, so says the weather man. Here in central Indiana we will be getting wind and rain the next couple days and the leaves will come down. It makes me sad because I have loved the “show” and have enjoyed the bright colors of the trees, bushes and even some shrubs. Sometimes it just takes my breath away, they are so beautiful.

Yesterday I went walking around the wooded campus of Wabash College and took lots of pictures. When the sun shines through a tree or behind it the richest colors of gold and yellow can be seen. But, alas, the time changes this coming weekend and we are headed into the month of November….as I write this it’s 60 days to Christmas!

But the colorful “show” has been wonderful and I think there is great spiritual insight with those colors! I have often thought that:

Green is the color of growth, as God grows us in faith, hope and love

Red to me stands for the passion of our hearts to love God and one another ….following our hearts to God’s call within!

Orange for the fire that burns within us, to discovering that “one thing” God would have us do in the world….perhaps we are doing it already

Yellow (doesn’t show up on the screen well) for the light of Christ within us shining out

Enjoy what is left of the colors of God’s rainbow outside! If you are feeling more gray and dark today, may these colors and the “color” of God’s love be with you to encourage you for today. Just for today, know you are enough, you are loved, and you are okay! DECOLORES’!

COlorful Rooster

Pr. Doug

NLS SD

 

Mooshie

Good Day!

Yesterday Darilicous ice cream store closed for the winter! It’s a sad day in my neighborhood (Crawfordsville, IN). They are a local store located conveniently near me with a park next door for kids to play. Many times as I walk the neighborhood, I would listen to the children play, notice the soccer or baseball team crowded around the store and smile. I think relaxing at a park and having ice cream is a God-given delightful experience! I recommend it heartily!

Darilicious has been in the Crawfordsville community since the 1960’s and they are very well known. They also have soft drinks, some sandwiches and a variety of ice cream treats. I am very pleased that they are successful when there are many other options and places to get ice cream.

Their sign suggested that customers order to stock up our freezers since they were closing. So, doing my duty, I went over Sunday and ordered 6 of their chocolate chip “Mooshies”! I’m not sure who named them, but the “Mooshie” is the equivalent of the DQ blizzard and quite delicious. I will try to enjoy those somehow over the next couple months, but I do not think 6 will last until February when they reopen.

Ice cream is traditionally associated with summer, I know this. I have very fond memories of growing up during the summer and listening for the ice cream truck to come into our street. In those days it was “Mr. Softie” and their ice cream was really good. I guess I’ve never really had any “bad” ice cream if I think about it. But summer has come and gone, fall is under way and soon the time changes and the Holidays are upon us. Time is flying by it seems like.

I once had a friend of mine say that “if you aren’t careful Monday becomes Friday”! And I think that’s true. We need to take heart and give thanks that God is always “in season” and that God is always and forever with us. There is no “closing” as it relates to God and the spiritual life. As these days change, and time goes on and life is sometimes a struggle God is with us. When we lose a loved one or a friend it is hard. Grief and the related feelings of sadness and anger and whatever else are difficult. But we hold onto the God who is with us in the midst of all these things we go through and we give thanks. God in Jesus is “the same yesterday, today and forever”! (Hebrews 13:8).

Pretty soon the Darilicious owner will change his large outdoor sign to read “Jesus is the reason for the season” and he leaves that up through December and into the New Year. And I agree, and I’ll toast that thought with what might be my last “Mooshie” for a while…at least until spring which will be right around the corner!

Pr. Doug

dgivan@stvincent.org

 

Columbus Day

So today is Columbus Day….other than no mail and no banking I probably won’t give it much thought! I did read once that Christopher Columbus was not a very nice guy. I did read once that there is controversy on whether or not he really did discover America and/or prove the earth was flat. I remember, randomly, 1492 the day Columbus sailed the ocean blue! I remember the great trivia question of the names of his three ships: Curly, Larry and Moe! (I know…I know…Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria)

So today is Columbus Day. I think more than anything else what I take away from him and his life is the sense of adventure he must have had. I mean to set sail with some belief you might go over the edge takes courage! To set sail not even sure what is out there takes courage. I am afraid, for me, it seems like I don’t feel adventurous much these days. I like my routine, my little corner of the world that I can control. I like to know what is going to happen, for the most part, and I might feel adventurous when I think about where to go for dinner, or what I need from the store. Isn’t that exciting?

Then, from out of nowhere, I am walking on a beautiful fall day in my neighborhood. I begin to notice things: the sound of the lawnmower, the smell of fresh cut grass, the sun shining, the birds singing, the children playing in a nearby park. And I’m happy. And I realize life is an adventure…every day God gives is an adventure! We “set sail” each morning unsure what we may discover ahead and that takes courage. I especially see that in the lives of patients who are sick or near death. Their sense of adventure and hope for what lies ahead is inspiring.

I prayerfully look for ways to deepen my “adventure awareness” and I invite you to do the same! Take a look around, breathe, and relax, God has this whole world in His hands….God did in 1492 and God does today in 2015!

GLYASDI,

Pr. Doug

NLS SD

 

“God Moments”

Every weekend I serve on team there is always a “God moment”, a very special time in the weekend where something is done, said, felt, sung, and so on. One year it was my taking the golf cart and chasing geese (kidding, but I did do that), another year it was something from a rollo, another time it was the huge weight a man left in the chapel after he confessed his sins. You get the idea! Sometimes, to me, the whole weekend is a God moment. I struggled again coming down off the mountain this past Sunday and Monday …I had a great weekend here in INKY serving on a Men’s weekend.

As you know there is the Saturday talk which our group calls “Day in the Life” and it is the details of the crucifixion of Jesus. Usually in INKY we do that talk in two parts: there is the more difficult stuff of his torture and death, Holy Communion, and then the more upbeat talk on how to live out that grace in everyday life through the sacraments and other ways. At chapel on Saturday a large crucifix is used on the altar that has a large cross and the body of Jesus on it.

On our team this year was a blind man named Phil. I have his permission to share this story. I brought him up to the altar as we all gathered around for Communion mid-way through the rollo. We all shared together, pilgrims and team, our thoughts and feelings on the life and death of Jesus. I invited Phil to physically experience the crucifix. Since he could not see, he put his hands all over the body of Jesus repeating “Oh, Jesus”, “Oh, Jesus” and it was a deeply touching moment for everyone. Tearfully, Phil led a prayer and we had Communion. It was sad time but a joyful one as well because we know that crucifix does not have the last word. God does1

The “God moment” of our lives was sometime on that first Sunday morning, perhaps we call it the first Easter! The tomb was not open so Jesus could get out, it was opened so we could go in! We go in and get our “God moment”, see the empty tomb, the clothes on the floor, and then we go out to follow the Lord. And, maybe, just maybe, we can take in other God moments along the way and provide God moments for others. Whether we can physically see, or not.

GLYASDI,
Pr. Doug
NLS SD

Pray for me…..don’t forget

The Pope has left the country! I really enjoyed listening to him last week, watching him in parades, blessing children, leading Mass, and speaking/preaching. I felt like he brought God up front and center for our country. Those of us who work in Catholic healthcare appreciate his great leadership, his urging to care for the poor and the sick, and all of God’s people.

We all saw the images on TV as he stopped his processional to bless a baby or kiss a child with a disability. He spoke about the importance of family, of service to God, and to care for all of God’s people. We need messages like that to remind us of why we are here and why we have been created at this time and in this place.

Throughout his trip here Pope Francis reminded all of us to pray for him! At his closing of the Mass Sunday evening for almost a million people he said, “Pray for me…..don’t forget….pray for me!” Here is, by all accounts, the most religious man in the world and he is asking for prayer. Let’s use that as a reminder to pray for the Pope and for all world leaders, especially leaders of our country.

And prayer is the lifeblood of our Via de Cristo movement. I call on all of us to pray daily for fall teams/pilgrims and for Christ to be made known in worship, fellowship, study, piety, action and in the breaking of bread for the good of all!

After 20 years of ministry I know people find prayer difficult. How do you do it? What words do I use? How do I know it does anything? All I can say is that prayer brings us in union with God in Christ. It does not matter how or when or what words you use. Our God promises in the Bible to hear our prayers so pray on, friend! “Pray without ceasing…” as the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5: 17.

Pr. Doug

P. S. I personally serve on INKY Men’s weekend #73 this coming weekend, please pray for US!!

Pastor Doug Givan
Staff Chaplain
Clay, Brazil
Seton, Indy
dgivan@stvincent.org

Sunday Morning Priorities

Hi Friends:

This came to me on Facebook yesterday in my news feed and I share it with you! It’s one of those cartoons that makes you think as you look at it and ponder the deeper meaning. In this case, it’s about the priority of God and worship in your life. It is a picture of a young man in football uniform telling his coach he can’t make the game Sunday morning because he is going to be an acolyte at church (an assistant for a worship service).

Sunday morning I was with a delightful group of people at their church as the substitute pastor. They have a long history in the community but have struggled lately and do not have a full time pastor. Attendance was about “half full” Sunday and as I drove home I went by a soccer fields and I had to look twice! It was two fields put together and it was packed! There were kids running every which way and parents on blankets and lawn chairs. The church I attended was half empty, the soccer field was full! And I thought how sad that the soccer people have finally found an opening in the week when practice and matches can be scheduled: SUNDAY MORNING! And it’s not just sports that have long infiltrated Sunday morning….it has become just another morning in our world. People work, the retail world is open and ready for you, youth sporting events are scheduled, people sleep in, and life carries on. (Now, to be fair, any number of those soccer families could have attended earlier that morning, the night before or another service at another day/time!)

I remember “back in the day” when stores were closed on Sunday. It used to be a day of rest, where you went to church Sunday morning, had a home cooked meal and then rested for the week ahead. We do have one of the Ten Commandments teaching us “Remember the Sabbath (rest) day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath.” (Exodus 20:8).

So I celebrate the Sunday (or other day) gathering of God’s people for worship! I love a cartoon that gives us a solid reminder of what is important. And I want to add that whether you have a church home or not, God is still love, and God still loves and forgives you. It’s just nice to hear about that love and forgiveness in a Sunday morning church service!

Peace to you,

Pastor Doug
NLS SD

P.S. Don’t forget “altar call” as part of the 4th day spiritual life! Go to the altar to be altered before or after church, or even better when not many are around in the building, and have your prayer time. You will feel the spirit of God.

“War Room”

Friends:

I love to see movies and I would like to recommend “War Room” to you! I saw it over the weekend and it is part of Hollywood’s renewed interest in putting together specifically Christian movies. There have been several out over the last couple years and I always enjoy seeing them. I couldn’t help but be moved by this beautiful story and movie while also hearing the “explosions and gun fire” from the next door movie theater! That seemed to be very symbolic of life itself.

The upshot of the movie, without giving anything away, is about prayer. The main characters in the movie have cleaned out a closet in their home and turned it over into a prayer closet! They go into this closet to pray, thus the title “war room” to write down prayers and post them on the wall. It is a wonderful reminder of the power of prayer in our lives and how prayer can change lives.

There is a lovely verse about prayer from the Old Testament 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We are called by the name of Christ (Christians, meaning “little Christ”), we do humble ourselves thinking of others before ourselves, and we pray. God does not care about the words you use to pray or when or how you do it. Turning from our wicked ways is to stop what we know needs stopped in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have now the forgiveness we need which comes from Jesus. It is ours always and forever as a free gift of grace. The “land” that is healed today I would say is our hearts! Our hearts are healed when we pray.

You do not necessarily have to have a prayer closet or a specific place you pray although many do that. Some like the constancy of a certain space, but God hears our prayers always no matter where we are, how we pray, or the words we use. And that’s a beautiful thing for us today in the midst of the challenges of life and the press and stress of daily living. Either develop a “war room” in your home or take your “war room” with you as you go! And take some time this week to see a movie that will really touch your heart….as only God can do!

Peace,

Join me in prayer for pilgrims to come and make weekends, for all of us to have boldness to ask people to come make a weekend, because it was so good for us! We just can’t keep it to ourselves….

Peace,

Pastor Doug Givan

Staff Chaplain

Clay, Brazil

Seton, Indy

dgivan@stvincent.org

 

No magic, just Jesus!

I have always wanted to be a magician! I received a magic game set when I was in my teens and used to do some magic for my brothers and friends. I never developed any tricks of my own, they always came in the box! I’m sure if you are like me, you watch magic tricks or shows enjoying the performance with this nagging need to know how it gets done! I love the “behind the scenes” stuff and magic is fascinating! I have seen TV programs were the most popular magic acts are featured and then they show you how it is done. Many professional magicians not happy about that! Behind the scenes….how do these magic acts get done?

I know there are many trap doors, tricks, and gimmicks on some of the acts. Others are done with a slight of hand or others cause you to focus attention on one hand while the other slips in to a pocket or something. Now, the live bunny coming out of the hat I’m not sure about. I was at a restaurant recently where they had a magician going from table to table. It was interesting and I’vet learned in my old age to enjoy the tricks and not worry with how they are done.

Over the weekend I came across a show on TV hosted by Penn and Teller, very famous magicians. They have invited amateur magicians to come on a show and perform magic for them. If the person can “fool” Penn and Teller they win a spot to be the opening act for the Vegas show. It’s just incredible the magic that can be done while you are watching….flames light, cards get torn up with something written on them, only to reappear elsewhere, items disappear and reappear. Yesterday a magician had someone pick a page out of a phone book. The magician then tore up the phone book, threw all the pages in the air, and with his sword picked out the correct page! It was pretty neat to watch. Have you, like me, been in situations where you would like to disappear? Would magic have been helpful somewhere along the way?

Some think that Jesus rising from the dead was magic. If it was magic that raised Jesus from the dead, there is no way we would have the church we have today or the millions and millions of believers who follow the ways of Christ. It was not magic that raised Jesus from the dead…it was God! There were no trap doors, no secrets, no games being played here. It was real, it happened, and there is nothing secretive in the behind the scenes action. There was a song years ago that had a line I remember “Arise, my love, arise my love, the grave no longer has a hold on you..” The tomb is opened, Jesus is alive, and the “magic” is that we get to believe, we get to share this with others and we get to live it out in our lives. The tomb wasn’t opened so Jesus could get out, the tomb was opened so we could go in. Look around, “He is not here, He has risen!”, see the grave clothes on the floor? (Matthew 28:6) It’s not just at Easter, it is for today! Buried in problems, financial issues, family or marital magic needed?? Listen to God: Arise, my love, arise my love, the grave (of troubles/problems) no longer has a hold of you. Rise up to this new day, new week, new month and live anew. No magic, just Jesus! No tricks, but God’s unconditional love for you and me.

Pr. Doug

Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend….I hope you get some time to rest and enjoy the magic around you…..

 

Doug Givan

Staff Chaplain

St. Vincent Clay (Brazil)

St. Vincent Seton Specialty (Indianapolis)

 

dgivan@stvincent.org (email)

 

What’s your mission statement?

Trinity Mission has two thrift stores in Crawfordsville and Lafayette. They sell donated items to raise money for programming to help men restore their lives. It’s in their mission statement to share the loving grace of Jesus with men who have been on drugs, alcohol or been in prison. They want to transform lives and I’m happy to be a part of it. I donated at the back door Saturday and went in the front door to purchase (doesn’t seem to make sense to me)!

You know mission statements have been around forever it seems like. Companies work together at retreats or board rooms to come up with a “mission statement” about their company. I am not talking about a “vision statement” because that is altogether different. Most every company has one and if you Google the company name you will find their mission statement. It will try to sum up what the company is all about and what is their driving purpose in business.

It just occurred to me that we can also have a mission statement. Do you have a life philosophy or statement that drives your life? You probably do you may or may not know it. The way to get to it, in my opinion, is to traverse the 18 inches from head to heart! The mission/plan/purpose God has for you will be what “lights” up your heart, what you are passionate about, and what drives you. We are way too analytical stuck in our heads when God works through and with the heart! Follow your heart, as they say, and you will be in touch with God’s will in your life. Last week I had dinner with an Aunt and cousin. The aunt had volunteered in the community for over 30 years after raising her kids. She said simply “I just try to give back!” That was her mission…to give back. You and I may have different ones, but if you think about it most of them circle back to sharing the love of God with one another.

In our personal mission statements as we serve and are active in our church or community group we are sharing God’s love. When you volunteer you are helping others, when you donate (and purchase!) you are helping others, when you give of your time you are serving and helping others.

Jesus was very clear about this saying “I did not come to be served, but to serve..” (Matthew 20:28).

Do you have a personal mission statement? Why not start today? Do you know your local Secretariat mission statement? Here is the National Lutheran Secretariat mission statement: By grace, with the Holy Spirit, we challenge leaders to discover and achieve their personal calling, assisting them to influence their environments with the Gospel.

As we enter another week of serving and loving the Lord let us serve and help one another. It’s the best way to show the love of God and that’s a great mission for us.

God Bless,

Pr. Doug

*Any clergy reading this are invited to the Facebook page, VDC SD’s so that we may dialogue on issues, ideas, etc. I understand you have to go to the group and request to be allowed in??  I will then gracefully, happily, “click” you in. Join us??

 

Thoughts from the National Gathering

Grace, peace, and mercy from God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit!

It is my joy, honor, and privilege to write sharing some thoughts of our recent National VdC Gathering, thanking you for the opportunity to lead, and reminding you of a couple of things regarding this ministry. All that while not being too preachy!
Our National VdC Gathering was a joy! The seven worship services were wonderful and uplifting in oh so many ways! The palpable presence of God’s in each one. Kristy Nabhan-Warren, our keynote speaker, grounded us in history and provided encouragement for the journey. The Forums were structured for discussion on aspects of our ministry: weekend, 4th Day, Secretariat, and “What are you going to do” with what you heard. The  conversation and sharing surrounding all this was glorious. While there were many encouraging “high points” for me, the most heart warming was: “next year I am going to make sure I bring someone else to this Gathering because I learned so much!” Next year we “Gather” at Lourdes University in Sylvania, OH, July 21 – 24.
After dinner on Saturday of the Gathering, we said “good bye” to Tedd Smith, your VP for Outreach for the last two years! His love for the Lord and 4th Day Movement ministries is so deep. Please pray for him in the coming months as he works through some physical challenges. He knows God is the ultimate healer – please pray for wisdom (doing the right things at the right time) and God’s presence in all he and his wife Billie experience. We also said good bye to Alice Allison, in abstentia. Alice was not able to be with us since her doctor advised her not to travel. In conversations since, she is doing well and “returning to ‘normal’! With that said, please continue to pray for her. Finally, I was thanked for my service with a gracious gift. Please know it was my joy to lead this ministry over the last four years. I learned so much: about this ministry, about your challenges and opportunities, about how God works in everything we do – the good and especially in what we believe are not so “successful”; and finally, about myself. Thank you from the depths of my being!
I close with some reminders. First, we work in God’s creation, not ours. Relax in the stretching God provides. As when a muscle is stretched, if we tense-up during the stretch, we will end up hurting ourselves. Next, discover and confide in your Aaron. Just as God told Moses, when he felt ill prepared, Aaron’s are important for they often provide insights and encouragement. Finally, I know the key to success: prayer! Without prayer our heart is not right and neither is our definition of success. And the corollary, the key to failure – be all things to all people. If Jesus couldn’t do it, how in the world do we think we can? Be about God’s work in the places and spaces God leads you!
May you each know God’s grace, mercy, peace, and presence!
Ed
PS: Steve Gielda asked me to write this – look for a Musing from him in the not too distant future…probably October!
PPS: If you were not able to attend the Gathering, viadecristo.org home page provides a link to the daily Conexiones that provide a great synopsis of the various Gathering activities.
In Christ –
Ed