We’ve only just begun but the ride thus far has been great. It has not taken me long to discover three reasons why the Illinois Great Rivers Conference (IGRC) is a wonderful place to be. I’m sure that by the end of the year I will have discovered a dozen or more reasons but for one month, here are my observations: 1. IGRC folks are great at hospitality. 2. IGRC people are genuinely friendly. 3. IGRC members are extremely generous.
To say or write the word GRADUATION is to release a torrent of precious memories. Diplomas from high school, college, and graduate school and congratulations from friends and family come to mind. From college graduation and commencement in 1968, my sojourn runs from Arkansas to Northern Illinois to East Ohio to Michigan to Central and Southern Illinois. Within these graduations are a thousand thoughts, hundreds of emotions, and unforgettable moments sequestered in my pantheon of memories. Now that the end of my active episcopacy draws nigh at the stroke of midnight on August 31, 2016, another graduation occurs.
Isn’t it interesting that we often can’t access our creativity during the changing times that would benefit from our creativity and “out of the box” thinking because of our stress-induced anxiety? Stress is what shuts creativity down at the very times we need it the most. What if there was another way? Change is stressful, we know that, but based on research an international expert neuroscientist, trained clinical psychologist, and Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, Ian Robertson, has identified a four-step process that we can use to “harnesses stress” changing our mindset from helplessness into one of control and positive energy which changes the brai
Don't despair if the same frustrating problems shackle you at work time and time again. Perhaps you're bored with your job or concerned because the competition is passing your company by. Be aware that you can solve these problems with creativity. Whether you realize it, you already have creative ability. "Ninety-eight percent of people are creative, but our socialization process causes them to put it on the back burner. The fastest way to tap into your creativity is to learn how to use creative problem-solving techniques," says James M. Higgins, author of "101 Creative Problem-Solving Techniques."
Repeatedly the response I hear when I encourage people to consider creativity as part of spirituality is: “I have no talent or gifts to be creative.” Much of this belief arises from the times we’ve been told to “stay in the lines,” or “you can't do it that way” or the old “it's never been done that way before.” Well, think about this; God created 350,000 species of beetles and God created the platypus. Evidently God likes variety and uniqueness! I invite you to embrace your God given creative spirit. Today. Now. You can pick up a colored pen, pencil or crayon when you’re finished reading and draw a prayer, or write out your prayer in different colors, or copy a favorite scripture and illustrate it. Start small, let go of any judging of what unfolds and trust in the spiritual power of human creativity.
Life is full of surprises. The joy and happiness, successes and accomplishments offer constant reminders of vows voluntarily taken at my Ordination and Consecration. For those compelling vows, I thank God. None of my struggles, illnesses, disappointments and faith challenges leaves me with anger, regret or bitterness. Would I change the path of my ministerial journey? Nay! I would do it again the same way! To God be the Glory!
Paul’s plea for unity in the church flows from his understanding of God’s call upon his life. Hence, he writes “Live your life according to God’s call.” This is the clarion call of a man of faith who understands the problems diverse groups of people face living in Ephesus. Yet Paul places the highest priority on behavior God expects of God’s people 24/7, even when our issues are not fully addressed. For Paul, loving God and loving the neighbor stand as God’s non-negotiable.
By now, you have heard reports of several shootings involving citizens and police in Baton Rouge, La.; St. Paul, Minn. and most recently, Dallas, Texas. Shooting deaths, families heartbroken, television coverage, suspects killed, fingers pointed, demonstrations and prayers prayed to Almighty God have challenged the church and the world to find a better way.
"It's easier to balance a simpler life," says Odette Pollar. "For a life worth living, eliminate the unimportant, whether it be relationships, tasks, responsibilities, possessions or beliefs."
Research shows that friends are important to our physical and mental health. "... people who do not have strong support from friends and family live shorter lives and suffer more from stress," says Cheryl A. Richey, Ph.D., professor of social work at the University of Washington. "Support from friends can give people the strength to make positive changes in their lives, like staying away from drugs or leaving an abusive relationship."