Infinite Possibilities

On September 30, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Infinite Possibilities by Rev Ty Bradley, Minister of Justice

Infinite Possibilities
by Rev Ty Bradley, Minister of Justice

 

Take the High Road

On September 23, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Take the High Road by Rev Anne Atwell, Minister of Connections

Take the High Road
by Rev Anne Atwell, Minister of Connections

 

Immersion in Divine Love

On September 18, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Immersion in Divine Love Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Let us dwell together in peace, and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression. And now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. I’m going to saturate you with pithy, wise sayings for a couple of minutes. One […]

Immersion in Divine Love
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

Let us dwell together in peace, and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression. And now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

I’m going to saturate you with pithy, wise sayings for a couple of minutes. One after the other. I’ll tell you who said them but otherwise won’t provide much comment. I’m just letting empowering words wash over you today, as we’ll see Jesus instructed us to do. But we’ll get to that later. First, let’s just hear basically the same message shared over and over from some of the great mystics of our world:

(Spiritual Teacher from India, AK Mozumdar):
“We are forever united with God and can never be separated.”

(Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein was the co-founder of a metaphysical interpretation of Judaism):
“God is the soul, the essence of the universe, and the divine presence…fills the whole universe, every particle and atom of it.”

(William Woodfin was a lecturer on topics of spirituality):
“The creator is in creation. God does not exist out and apart from the universe, but is a part of it, is one with it.”
(Helen Wilmans was part of what was known as the Mental Science movement): “…there is but one Life, of which we are but individual manifestations.”

(Rev. Ike):
“God is within you. God lives in you, through you, as you.”

(Philosopher Eckhard Tolle):
“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.”

(Nona Brooks was a teacher and a Presbyterian who had a dramatic healing experience which led to understand God as omnipresence):
“Heaven is where God is and God is everywhere.” “…let us turn to our Basis, Omnipresence. This means God everywhere; therefore God includes me.”

(Emmet Fox was a very popular speaker in during the Depression and his books were widely read in the early days of the AA movement):
“It is not possible that you could ever find yourself anywhere where God was not fully present, fully active, able and willing to set you free.”

(Paramahansa Yogananda):
“Finding Thee first, God, I will find everything else in Thee.”

(Universal Foundation for Better Living founder, Johnnie Colemon):
“God is omnipresent, everywhere equally present…The divine nature of you is not hidden from you. It is always with you. It is you…You can never get away from who and whose you are.”

(Prolific author, Bishop John Shelby Spong):
“We must come back to a God who permeates life so deeply that our humanity becomes the very means through which we experience the Divine Presence.”

(Fannie B. James was Nona Brooks’ sister, and sort of the systematic theologian of the family):
“If God is omnipresence, there is nothing anywhere but God.”

“I know that God my life is nigh; I live in God, I cannot die.”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson):
“The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part and parcel of God.”

(Fenwicke Holmes was a Congregationalist minister who became a leader in the New Thought movement):
“I am the Inner Presence, forever nigh –
Whenever thou dost say, ‘I am’: I AM That I.”

(Divine Science minister Kathleen Besley):
“We cannot fear anything or anybody if we have the full realization that God is everywhere, that God is Love and that Love is the great power of life.”

(Modern dancer turned minister Helen Zagat):
“In our awareness of God as Omnipresence, we feel that Spirit cares for each one of us. We are never alone.”

Now, hear again the first verse of our processional hymn today:
“Always with me! I can never stray beyond God’s tender care, for our God is omnipresent, here and there and everywhere.”

And recall the prayer of protection that we sing at the end of the service:
“The Light of God surrounds us; the Love of God enfolds us. The Power of God protects us; the Presence of God watches over us. Wherever we are, God is!”

Jesus told his disciples to make more disciples, more students, find more people yearning to learn of God’s omnipresence. And he said baptize them, wash them, saturate them, hose them down, bathe them, immerse them in an awareness of God’s loving presence, and teach them to follow Jesus’ example and his dictates.

In Matthew, what are Jesus’ demands of us?
Turn the other cheek.
Go the extra mile.
Give to anyone who asks.
Love your enemies.
Pray for your tormentors.
Give generously and discreetly.
Forgive.
Avoid worry.
Proclaim God’s realm (presence).

“Follow me.”

So, the great commission is: Go out and teach people that God is omnipresent love, and show them how to live in the power of that truth.

It starts with knowing, owning, embracing, trusting, declaring, sharing, and celebrating this simple credo: There’s not a spot where God is not!

That simple understanding is immersion in divine love, and that is our purpose for ourselves, and our purpose as healers in the world. Immerse ourselves and the world in an awareness of omnipresent, unconditional, all-inclusive, everlasting love.

But what about the gays? – They’re part of God’s loving presence.

Transgender? – part of God’s loving presence.

People in recovery? – part of God’s loving presence.

People struggling with depression? – part of God’s loving presence.

Muslims? – part of God’s loving presence.

Atheists? – part of God’s loving presence (but don’t tell them…we don’t want to aggravate them).

People who have died? – part of God’s loving presence. (“I know that God my life is nigh…I live in God, I cannot die!”)

Catholics? Protestants? Mormons? Pets? Poor? Rich? Even mean people who don’t seem to get it at all?

No one is beyond the reach of God’s love. There is nothing outside of God. There is no outside. It is in God that we all –forever – live and move and have our being.

We can’t be lost. We can’t be damned. We can’t be forgotten. We can’t be abandoned. There’s not a spot where God is not.
Everyone is forever loved because everyone is part of the eternal Love that God is, the everywhere fully present Love that God is.

God is the Substance of our lives.
God is creator, creativity, and creation.
All-in-all, expressing in, through, and as all, giving all to all.
Knowing that, celebrating that, and sharing that is immersion in divine love. It’s the call of Christ for us today. It is the recipe for miracles. And this is the good news! Amen.

There’s not a spot where God is not.
I am immersed in divine love.
This gives me peace, power, and joy.
I share these gifts gladly.
Alleluia!
Amen.

 

Facing Life’s Storms

On September 10, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Facing Life’s Storms Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Let us dwell together in peace and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. Our Gospel lesson today shows Jesus and his friends in a boat when a storm suddenly […]

Facing Life’s Storms
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

Let us dwell together in peace and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

Our Gospel lesson today shows Jesus and his friends in a boat when a storm suddenly strikes. There are two different responses to the storm. The apostles respond with panic, and by imagining the worst. “We are perishing!” They exclaimed. It might not have been quite that hazardous.

Have you seen the meme that reads, “Does this drama have an intermission? I need to pee.”? The apostles were in full drama queen performance. But it didn’t help anything. It didn’t even make them feel better. In fact, it made them feel worse.

Certainly, the situation was uncomfortable, and there were potential dangers, but nothing was improved by imagining the worst and claiming it as inevitable.

The other response was Jesus’. He took a nap. He went to peace instead of to pieces. He was not disturbed by the storm. He was going through it, but he never invited it inside his mind.

Those are always our choices. We can throw up our hands and scream the sky is falling; or we can go to peace instead of to pieces. We can have either, and the universe doesn’t care much which we choose. But if we want peace, it is available to us…even in the midst of a storm.

Let’s look at how Jesus responded to the storm, and maybe we can follow his example when storms brew in our own lives.

First, Jesus chose peace.
He made a decision to cultivate peace. Not just that day, but long before. He decided long ago to pray daily, to worship every Sabbath, to commune constantly with God, to apply the scriptures in practical ways to the necessities of life. He decided to grow spiritually and to nurture the power of peace within him. And because he made that choice, he had the peace he needed within him when the storms of life hit.

Jesus would have known the prayers of the Psalter. He would have prayed them many times. When the storms of life struck, he could bring them to mind. Maybe on that stormy day, Jesus remembered the 107th Psalm: “When they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, the Lord brought them out of their distress. The Lord calmed the storm…the waves became quiet…”

Maybe he remembered the 89th Psalm: “You rule the stormy sea, Lord, and calm its angry waves.”

He had affirmations at his disposal to remind of him what was true regardless of what the current experience seemed to be. “God calms the storms and quiets the waves!”

When our emotions are stormy because of a financial crisis or a relationship problem or a health concern, we can speak to the emotional gusts and gales, “God calms the storms and quiets the waves!”

You see, we study the scriptures, we practice the art of prayer, we participate in joyful generosity, we celebrate in and with the faith community, we praise and reflect and commune with a Higher Power so that all of that will always be with us.

We are filling a deep well within us and we can draw from that well in moments of despair or challenge or uncertainty. We are becoming peace so that we may impart peace in stormy times. We are learning to choose peace.

Secondly, Jesus encourages his friends to face their fears. He asks them, “What are you afraid of?” A third of them were commercial fishers. Surely they had been in rough weather before.

Did you know that there are studies that show that worry is most often unwarranted? Most of what we worry about doesn’t happen. A lot of what we worry about has already happened or hasn’t happened yet. We worry about things that have already happened, that haven’t happened yet, or that may never happen. Only about 8% of the things that we worry about actually warrant our fears.

Jesus tries to get his friends to release their fears. Storms do damage, but we’re okay right now. If we capsize, we can swim. We might grab something that’s floating. Someone may see us and offer help. And even if the worst happens later, freaking out about it now won’t prevent it from happening. So, let’s not make ourselves feel even worse by wallowing in fear.

We can use our energy to imagine how this could work out instead of predicting failure. If it can work out, planning for success will more likely get us there; and if we fail anyway, at least we won’t have been miserable before we needed to be.

Some people say that FEAR is really false evidence appearing real…and about 92% of the time, that’s absolutely true. Zig Ziglar used to say that FEAR can mean either forget everything and run, or, face everything and rise. Jesus is trying to get his friends to face everything and rise.

In the book of Joshua we read, “Do not be frightened…God is with you wherever you go.
And in Deuteronomy we read, “God goes before you. God will not abandon you. Do not fear.”

God is omnipresence. So, we are never without God. That thought alone relieves our fear. There’s not a spot where God is not.

Finally, Jesus rebukes the chaos. He denies the difficulty the chance to get the last word. He denies that the present challenge is insurmountable. He denies that the situation is hopeless. And his denials are replaced with silent affirmations of God’s goodness. The future has infinite possibilities!

The Apostle Paul was good at creative denials. When situations were difficult, he acknowledged the difficulty, but he denied that the difficulty defined him or limited his ability to move forward. In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

An affirmation/denial combo that I love is: “I am centered and poised in the Christ Mind, and nothing can disturb the calm peace of my soul.” That’s rebuking the storms! That’s imparting peace to the wind and waves.
I AM CENTERED AND POISED IN THE CHRIST MIND AND NOTHING CAN DISTURB THE CALM PEACE OF MY SOUL.

Bad things happen, but we are resilient. We get to deny bad things the opportunity to define us. We get to refuse to the let the difficulties take up residence in our hearts. We get to rebuke the storms and claim peace that the storms cannot take away.

Choose Peace.
Face Fear.
Deny Chaos any place within you.

That’s the Jesus way of handling stormy situations, and this is the good news. Amen.

I am centered and poised in the Christ Mind…
And nothing can disturb the calm peace of my soul.
God calms the storms and quiets the waves.
I will go to peace instead of to pieces.
Alleluia!
Amen.

 

Generous Living

On September 10, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Generous Living Rev Dr Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister

Generous Living
Rev Dr Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister

 

Divine Armor

On September 10, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Divine Armor Rev. Ty Bradley

Divine Armor
Rev. Ty Bradley

 

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