Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kingdom Friends

A kingdom friend of mine sent me this a couple of days back from the What Jesus Did website. It reminds us all of our relationships as Kingdom Friends.

John 20:3-8
Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.

So often we need the support of a friend to do that next necessary thing. Peter and the Disciple whom Jesus loved (presumably John) alternate taking the next needed step in this story. John outruns Peter, but doesn't go in the tomb. Peter goes in the tomb and sees. John goes in and sees, then believes. We need each other. Not just for the times of mission -- like when Jesus sent out his disciples two by two -- but for times of weakness, confusion, and distress. Sometimes, maybe even often times, we can't take the next step on our own and we need the help of a friend. Don't try to do the Christian life solo. We need each other to make it the risen Lord with faith and live vibrantly for him!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stu, do you know of a similar 'Community of Hope' in s.w. Alberta - ie: Calgary area?...somewhere that offers a similar vision and vitality?

8:16 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Hi Rundle. I know of some wonderful Kingdom expressions in the Calgary area. These come to my mind:

1) Epic

2)West Side Kings

3)New Hope Church

Each of these has a distinct flavor. Let me know how the search goes- I'd love to stay in contact. Peace.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Stew...and sorry I mispelled your name earlier.
Shall keep in touch.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Hi Rundle. I republished with Beta Blogger & I lost your blog address. Can you drop me a note? Thanks.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew...
Just read your last comment today.
Thx for the names you supplied - have been able to make a bit of a connection. My blog is Didn't know you had it to begin with...
I appreciate the daily entries on yours; reminds me to stay connected, keep my feet on the ground ...

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorites...and I appreciate the other two you posted today. The second passage has helped me recognize some mistakes I've made (and am making) and I will pay attention to what the Ecclesiastes passage mentions. Thank you for the reminders.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have been rereading Monday's post...takes me time to absorb certain passages. Appreciated the comments section - just saw it today - and Bob's reminder to surrender. The Lord's Prayer has been coming to mind recently, frequently. Feel like I'm in kindergarten with respect to learning to fully trust, listen, and be still. I do not know what is next, but I hold myself open to trusting as best I can.
The Beatitudes do speak to me of comfort, not in the physical sense of the word, but rather comfort in knowing and trusting in "right unfolding" - "God's will, not mine." I know I trust deeply, though it may not always fit my pictures, be understandable to me, or "feel good." There's a far bigger picture here.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Hi Rundle. I think we're all still in kindergarten with respect to trusting God if we're honest. Just when I feel like I'm in a state of trusting God, He reveals another issue or item that shows I don't trust as much as I thought!

Trust truly is about the bigger picture. We spend way to much time missing the present moment because we live in the regrets of the past or fear of the future. God is in the 'now'!

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm feeling challenged, with respect to scholarly biblical interpretation...I could stick my head in the sand, or crawl under the covers, but in the end, I guess there are certain truths we all have to face.
I believe I sense God's presence, but am confused with how to move forward, and I most certainly make mistakes. The 'now' seems to be full of contradictions, and I'm trying to discern truth. Psalm 40:4.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew...
I love Leonard Cohen's song 'Hallelujah.' Listen to the Rufus Wainwright version daily. Have been reading of David's wilderness experience...and his many Psalms that give comfort. Psalm 57:1 and 64:1.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When in doubt, I figure that Psalms 3, 35 and 24 can offer certainty. They were thoughtfully presented to me 3 decades ago, and have stayed with me ever since.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew...
I hesitate to comment 'yet again,' tho I'm wondering if I'm taking some of your entry from last Mon. too literally. While I have no intention of allowing fear to rule my life, I'm also trying to discern how to demonstrate wisdom...sometimes a desert island comes to mind...and sometimes wilderness. It is difficult to grasp the reality of certain events that unfold in our lives. Or, perhaps I think too much. If the latter is true,then I'll put my thoughts on hold. It's hard at times to differentiate between 'divine guidance,' and the voice of fear. Not sure if I'm being clear, or if it's befitting to publish this...please discern.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Hi Rundle. I have a thought from a devotional that may speak to you:

God's love is unconditional. God does not say, "I love you, if ..." God's love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity. God's love for us existed before we were born and will exist after we have died. God's love is from eternity to eternity and is not bound to any time-related events or circumstances. Does that mean that God does not care what we do or say? No, because God's love wouldn't be real if God didn't care. To love without condition does not mean to love without concern. God desires to enter into relationship with us and wants us to love God in return.

Let's dare to enter into an intimate relationship with God without fear, trusting that we will receive love and always more love.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the devotional, Stew. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, and willingness to read my wandering thoughts.
One day at a time...
Found another wonderful song the other day - David was certainly a prolific writer, with 2 Samuel, his Psalms etc.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been rereading your entries from the past few days, feeling both humbled and challenged, having a little trouble wrapping my mind around some of it, yet trusting.

I deeply appreciate the First Nation's reverence for life and this earth - there is a different awareness and connection to spirit which is an integral part of daily life. My Native friends have taught me some...I'm sure there's much more to learn.
Choudhrie's 'Greet the Ekklesia in your Houses' is intruiging. We can get so caught up in believing that false 'idols' (rituals, pews, pulpit, traditions etc.) are necessary, when indeed all we need are 'around-the-clock,' 24/7 relationships.

Stew, I agree that we need to bring God back to all, school, and indeed gov't.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew...
Am pleased to acknowledge that a deep peace is settling over me...most of the time. Forgiveness has been key. I can't seem to hold on to grievances, and am simply grateful for the tremendous learning in this lifetime...and the opportunity to be of service in whatever form it takes.
Yes there is mourning, but with it comes new life, and a deep sense of acceptance. We never know what we'll be called to in our lives. The Holy Spirit just needs our 'willingness to be willing.' I am willing, though believe that alone I am nothing. The phrase 'when two or more are gathered' comes to mind.

And being spontaneous and receptive are important. I'm wondering about the Sunday roast and burnt offerings...figurative or literal?

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have been reading Marriane Williamson this morning, on faith, change, and love. She writes 'Sometimes I feel I've asked and asked and the answer still hasn't come. At such times I know what the answer really is: as it's often said in AA, "More will be revealed." Only infinite patience produces immediate results. When our faith is strong enough, we're not worried that God didn't hear us or that He might not get back to us.'

11:02 AM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Hi Rundle. The 'burnt offerings' mentioned by Steve Gaines relates to telling the people at their church not to put something in the oven on the expecation that God will show up and thwart those cooking plans!

I think that should always be our attitude- 'if we sense God saying or doing something, throw the old plans out the window and follow the leader!

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew...
Hard to write (& speak) some days.
The 'deep peace' seems to wax & wane. I find it difficult to seek 'support, but feel inclined to ask if I could speak with you, if I'm able to get to Edm some time. Also understand if it's not meant to trying to discern my next step.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Feel free to email me at I have a couple of friends in Calgary who would love to get together & listen to your story. You can always find me at CoHo on most Sundays, the address is on the blog. Stay hopeful.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
Me again. Have resorted to getting on your site from the library when my dial-up won't pick up certain things (u-tube) well.
Your blog seems to keep illuminating my human failings. Challenging...and humbling.
Sometimes it takes a few days for things to sink in.
I'm not quite as confused as I may appear in some of what I've written in your blog & others recently. Just have a hard time reconciling what seem to be 2 different realities in my life. I believe I have an awareness, and am trying to listen better, but I know I make mistakes.

Take care...

1:00 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Hi Rundle. I think you are wrestling with what we all wrestle with: the old self, often called the false self; and who we are as children of God, sons and daughters.

It is a lifetime of leaving the old identity behind and learning to live as the beloved of God, where we hear the voice of the Father.

The Kleenex ad is brilliant in that it shows what can happen when we genuinely listen to others, even as a stranger on a couch in a public place! God offers that opportunity to us all the time. We call it 'prayer'.

We also get the privlege of listening to others, and of honoring their humanity, created in the image of God. Doing that can lift us out of our own navel gazing to see what God is doing in our midst.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your perspective, Stew.
As the old self dies, (I call it ego) there's more room to look out, stop the navel gazing, and appreciate our connection to every single human being. In truth, there is no separation, when we see and recognize God in everyone.
Where I stumble is when I allow fear to enter the picture; it seems to distort perception, and affect responses.
The Kleenex ad is a beautiful illustration of what happens when we take the time to listen to another. Thank you for listening to me!

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stew, today's entry has helped me recognize yet again how I forget to put God first, even in so far as what I plan, what invitiations I accept etc. I believe we regain strength as we set our priorities straight, and good health follows naturally when we are listening to God. I am restructuring my plans accordingly.
In making the transition from listening to the 'false self,' there seem to be many stumbling blocks. Feel as if I'm sitting on the outside, without the 'big picture,' and am doing my best to listen. When I err, I do my utmost to make corrections as soon as it dawns on me.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
Jeremiah's lesson today offers the certainty of hope and a future free from disaster, to those who followed his prophecy. So many people even in present day terms need to move into exile of some sort - as did many of our ancestors. I believe that those who listen and follow the guidance they're given are indeed protected and guided in their lives...they are not alone, particularly when in the company of or supported by Kingdom friends. I've understood this for some time, and hope I'm not misinterpreting what I've been studying.
There sure are a myriad of beliefs in the field of psychology (I should have studied theology instead)...we so want the illusion of having some sort of control in our lives. I wonder if the word 'surrender' is even incorporated into most contemporary psych texts.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
I'm paying attention to the Jeremiah story...choosing the good way at the crossroads. When we really listen within, the ancient path seems clear.
Visual imagery (on various blogs) seems to have an ability to resonate at a deeper level. Another way that God reaches through to us...

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stew, today's entry from Peter speaks to my heart, and 8-22. There is a quiet inner certainty once we've chosen a path, even though it may not be comfortable, easy, or the choice another might make. Again, I think it has to do with acceptance.

Blogs seem to be both a blessing and a bane...a wonderful way of expressing and connecting, yet needing that fine art of discernment. Have been recently guided to make a few changes, tho with dial-up, the process can be slower. I'm sure you'd agree.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe some of us have loved too much, been blind, fooled, or had hoped that it could overcome all obstacles...until we've learned to let go, and I guess love in a different way. I sure don't have the answers to this process we call life - am just trying to keep my eyes open.
I've been paying attention to Peter 4:7-11 today, and thinking of Psalm 91 in the context of the bigger picture of life.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stew, all of this week's postings have been thought provoking - thank you for them. Will be looking for Chittister's book on hope & struggle.
Sometimes the process of 'dying to self' is close to overwhelming (making it difficult to speak about the experience) and it becomes hard to absorb all the incoming information. It's as if the Holy Spirit is relentless, the whispering gets loud, and apparent 'coincidences' seem so intertwined. The mystery of life is, in my more than humble opinion, inescapable.
While I may not say much at times, I am listening, and I do understand a bit about justice, divine timing in life, and God's will - not mine. I wouldn't be so bold as to even suggest I really know what justice is any more, and it is all out of my hands.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
That took a few hours to read through (with links and slow speed), and will take several more days of perusing and digesting. Thank you for your blog and your willingness to be vulnerable, share your heart and your passion. I wonder what you were like before you became a 'tempered radical'!
While I've missed seeing some movies, there were no surprises as to the plot and it's relevance with your sermon, and life in general. The can of worms image has often come to mind over the past year or more.
I often ask God to only give me or show me what I can manage, and have had an awareness of a number of things, though admit I used to question and sometimes doubt what I knew to be true.
It can be challenging when others choose to shut their eyes to truth - yet I trust that God gives us each what we need for our journey, and I'm doing my best to exercise the disciplines of silence and inactivity, for the well-being of all.
I respect the prudence required to move forward daily. I for one prefer hanging out with shepherds, and know full well that the 'stratia' isn't something you mess with! There certainly is nothing to fear.
Stew, as I read, I have such a sense of the presence of kingdom friends, and of Christ's presence, and for that I am grateful beyond words. What you and others envisioned in early December with respect to community seems to be unfolding...

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
The state of 'ante-purgatory' that you referred to a few days back is somewhat akin to pregnancy - something new is soon to be birthed, yet a process of growth is required, and it takes much patience and prayerful thought.
Perhaps we're not sure what this 'new life' will look like - it's character, nature or temperament - nor are we certain as to how each famiy member will respond to the birth, or the adjustments that may be required.
It can be either an upheaval, or a time of feeling more connected; a transformation for those willing to experience it as such. Some may not know how they'll feel until the birth itself, particularly if they've been unaware of the swelling belly.
In this process, encouragment and prayers are certainly appreciated.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
Today's prayer is beatiful, and I've been contemplating it with a sense of extending peace.
It's good to see folks out appreciating the gift of the outdoors today.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
Like Joan of Arcadia, who sometimes questioned her visions and understanding, I'm sure she still saw value in recording them in some form. The written word can be a powerful thing, as God clearly instructs Habakkuk.
As we write, it sometimes opens the door to other visions.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again...
Concerned about misinterpreting, and wondering if those who have visions are meant to share them in this type of format, or simply have them on record.
Is there a subtle way to both clarify...and reassure?

12:38 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Hi Rundle. A great place to start is to write them down and continually bring them before God.

At an appropriate time share them with some Kingdom Friends, those you are in community with. They help bring clarity and perspective. Keep dreaming!

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
Thanks for the clarification.
I will keep dreaming...and writing.
Was being to wonder about something referred to (I think) as Sect. 10, as happened to dear Joan of Arcadia.
I love the passage from Habakkuk.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have read through the justice piece a number of times - thank you for it. The idea of repairing the places where the fabric of society is ripping apart struck a chord...and the idea of looking to see whether or not we've really had a spiritual rebirth. Do we give what's in our hearts a voice...and speak our truths?
Something has shifted for me, with respect to standing my ground, having a voice.

The economic affluence and spiritual decadence witnessed by Micah sure seems to parallel what we currently experience in our major centres, during this time of 'economic boom.' The disparity becomes magnified.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stew, thank you for today's entry - someone clearly willing to take a stand without concern for personal safety.
The thought 'your life is not your own' has run across my mind often this week. I've wanted to communicate certain things, yet given my quiet nature, sense the need to keep a low profile.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew...
The 'fight or flight' mentality does seem dysfunctional. The third option you mention as taught by Jesus (turn the other cheek - refuse to cooperate) reminds me of practicing the 3 'D's...diffuse, divert, deflect (a 'parenting style' recommended to those with 'oppositional' adolescents). Remain unenmeshed.
As I understand it, Mother Theresa wouldn't participate in 'anti-war' rallies, but she was willing to be involved in a peace marches. When we're in an 'anti-anything' movement, we're likely setting up a paradigm of opposition/defiance. When we refuse to cooperate in the fight/flight response, it suggests to me that we're disengaging from the paradigm of fear.
Our most recent snowfall has finally melted; last evening's wonderful weather seemed to attract the curious who enjoy driving by on a motorcycle.
I don't usually expect company at this time of year, but will be in touch should things change.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew...
That book by Lange caught my eye; another lover of nature. I'm always thrilled with the arrival of the geese. There was majestic one circling yesterday - probably returning to its nesting site. I'd thought of looking for eggs, though didn't want to disturb it. May make a cautious approach, unless you recommend otherwise. Sounds like you're familiar with the species.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess I'll trust my gut, and take the van on a 'wild goose chase.'

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found a goose but no sign of eggs.

Think I'll head off camping for a few days; great time to catch up on reading the substsantial pile of books I've accumulated and enjoy the river nearby river. The wilderness is so healing.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
The wilderness has been a refreshing retreat.
Saw another goose settling in to nest on Saturday. Am familiar with it's nesting site - though wouldn't want others to know and potentially disturb it. I've accessed the area in past, and took a few solo walks to reacquaint myself. Wild geese can move quickly enough, even with such cumbersome bodies!

I'll camp a few more days (or longer depending on what the Spirit suggests) and will return to log in from time to time; no computer out where I am.
My family's doing well, and enjoyed a bit of the camping - tho work & chores beckon them home. They respect my need for quiet time and know how I benefit from my ventures to the National Parks. I guess they trust my somewhat 'whimsical' spirit and need for privacy, after a number of challenging years.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

me glitch keeps stopping this post. Sorry for any duplication.
The Bart story illustrates the compelling need to follow Jesus, once we regain sight and are welcomed on the journey. While we can choose which of the 2 voices to listen to, there's only one that is lifegiving. Las Vegas is but an extreme model of where other affluent centres are headed.
Appreciated the subversive faith video - it spoke to me of a call to justice.

On another note, I wanted to acknowledge my gratitude for a deepening trust and humbleness developing in my marriage, as I journey with God. Seems that the difficulties we've encountered have brought us both to our knees - in search of grace, compassion and understanding.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stew,
Am having trouble posting to this...have left you notes on my wall.
Awoke to what I've slept through; needless to say it's disconcerting. Had searched at the library trying to understand; should've asked for clarification. Dial-up internet makes some of this difficult and slow.
Don't get the Seinfield relationship (can't find the posting), but now I seem to understand The Invitation.
I apologize and am struggling.
Sometimes I recognize the imbalance between discipleship and conversion, as you mention in one of your more recent posts. I'll check in again later after some sleep.

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems our minds make sense of things based on what beliefs we hook together (and the assumptions we make). Having a concern about unexpected company made me perceive recent events more through the eyes of a crisis destination - similar to Daniel leaving for the wilderness when in conflict with Saul and others.
Fine tuning my understanding means asking for clarification when prompted by the Spirit. I erroneously believed I understood. Stress has not been a welcome companion on this journey; I'm praying for peace, discernment, and the ability to release my life to God. Sure tired of living this way.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Stew Carson said...

Have a read of this summary by Larry Crabb. The pressure really is off!

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book referral; I'll forgo the minor meltdown.
Watched a program today suggesting we only grow through failure (life's muck and mire), much as the delicate lotus flower needs mud to flourish and mature. I've been wearing gumboots for years.

In this 'Theodrama' I recognize we each are but a fragment of the picture. Want to ensure I'm participating fully with my miniscule piece, bringing light to this world, doing my part even if I don't know the plan in the 'cosmic battle.'

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Invitations readily accepted.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those wild geese are a sure sign of spring - illuminating the delicate balance between man and nature. Thank God for them!

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off the couch and mobilized.

7:18 AM  

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