Illustration results for wholeness
Simplicity is the answer for people tired and weary. Simplicity is marked by a contented lifestyle that rests in God’s grace. It is the commitment to clear out, scale down, and realize the essentials of what we truly need to live well. The intimate search for wholeness is not found by accumulating more things, but by entering into God’s presence every single day.
Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10: The Blessings of Following God’s Commandments in a Post Modern World (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Pub. House, 1999), 204
In the mid 1800’s Francis Thompson was in the throes of battle with truth. Ravished by alcohol and drug abuse, He had begun to sense the relentless pursuit of the Holy Spirit, and the harder he ran, the more he felt the hot breath (so to speak) of what he called “The Hound of Heaven” on his heels. He found there was no speed fast enough to outrun God; no place to hide from God; no safe haven, no place of rest, no armor or weapon that would serve to help him against the One he was striving so desperately to avoid.
Here are just a couple of short excerpts from his poem, “The Hound of Heaven”
“So my pursuer persisted; never rushed or agitated, always steady,
constantly in control. And, continually I heard the accompanying Voice that
spoke above the sound of the footfalls, now saying, ‘There is nothing which will hide
you...you who will not hide Me in your heart’.”
“The chase continues, the Pursuer coming closer to the one pursued;
never rushed or agitated, constantly in control. And, always
the Voice - if anything, faster than the Feet - ‘Listen! Nothing
will ever bring contentment to you; you who resist contenting Me’.”
Finally, at the end of his poem, having given up and surrendered to the One who would not let him get away, he says:
“Now the One who was always pursuing from behind is alongside.
The chase is ended. I sense a darkness. Is it danger?
No, it is rather the shadow of His hand of affection reaching out to me. And, this
One who has chased so relentlessly after me says, ‘You who were so foolish, so blind to
the truth, so utterly weak; I am the One whom you have always sought in all of
your furious searches for security, well-being, and wholeness.
You find all you want and need when you walk with Me’.”
"Nothing succeeds like failure. We learn far more about ourselves in our failures than in our successes. Failure is the greatest teacher of all. Failure dramatizes where we are yet incomplete, and points the way to wholeness. So failure may be the future signaling to us."
Like Bill Hybels, I believe that there is nothing like the local church when it is working right. In addition, I agree with what he says after that sentence:
“Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belong to the marginalized of this world. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater...
HUMILITY - WHO WOULD DARE WRITE ABOUT IT?
Charlene Ann Baumbich wrote a book about raising her sons. One chapter was about humbling experiences she had. She then felt the Holy Spirit nudging her to study humility. She thought she might write a book about what she would learn. After hours studying the scripture, she decided to broaden her study, to read what other people had learned about humility. She went to Christian bookstores and asked for books on humility. Time and again clerks said, "Gee, there don't seem to be many specifically on that topic. After all, who would dare write on it?"
Personally, I am more moved by the simple words of Bob Sorge. "Humility says, 'Lord, I am empty without Your fulness; I am broken without Your wholeness; I am helpless without Your strength; I am clueless without Your wisdom. Apart from You I am nothing. I need you..." (Secrets of the Secret Place: Keys to Igniting Your Personal Time with God, p. 46.)
E. M. Bounds wrote, "Humility is just feeling little because we are little. Humility is realizing our unworthiness because we are unworthy, the feeling and declaring ourselves sinners because we are sinners." (E. M. Bounds on Prayer, p. 297.)
Charlene Ann Baumbich continued talking about humility with friends, who either became uncomfortable or laughed at her. "Charlene, people can't just become humble. The more they try, the worse it gets. When you finally get to the point that you can say, 'I am humble,' you can bet you're not."
But 1 Peter 5:6 says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
God commands us to humble ourselves, so it must be possible, with his help.
QUOTE: “Jesus hung around with sinners, and if we’re too holy to allow people to blow smoke in our faces, then we’re holier than Jesus was… Love acceptance, forgiveness. Those three things are absolutely essential to any ministry that will consistently bring people to maturity and wholeness.” (Jerry Cook, from his book Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness).
“When love, acceptance and forgiveness prevail, the church becomes what Jesus was in the world: a center of love, designed for the healing of broken people, and a force for God… One of the greatest services a church can offer a community is to provide a place for people to be brought to wholeness – to be healed physically, spiritually and emotionally… People are fragmented. They are torn. Life doesn’t work for them because they are without Jesus... They need a place to be healed.” (Jerry Cook).
Patsy Clairmont in her book “Under His Wings” tells a moving story of the reality of dealing with grief. “We buried my friend’s 26 year old son last week. An accidental gunshot took Jeff’s life. We have more questions than answers. We are offended at people who have all the answers and no experience with devastating loss.
I watched the heart-wrenching scenes as the family tried to come to grips with the tragedy, I can still hear the travailing of the mother’s anguished heart. I can still see the wrenching of the father’s grief torn hands. I can still smell the hospital and funeral home. Memories march before my mind like soldiers, causing me to relive the agony. If it is this difficult for me, Jeff’s god-mother, how much more magnified it must be for his birth mother! I can’t imagine.
As I watched Jeff’s mom, Carol, the week after his death, I observed a miracle. I saw her move from despair to hope. From franticness to peace. From uncertainty to assurance. From needing comfort to extending it.
I witnessed a mom face her worst nightmare and refuse to run away. Instead, she ran to Him. When grief knocked the breath out of Carol, she went to the Breath Giver. I watched as the Lord placed His mantle of grace around her and then supported her with His mercy. The grief process has just begun for Jeff’s loved ones. The Lord will not remove His presence from the Porter family. But there may be moments when He will remove their awareness of His presence. That will allow them to feel the impact of their loss. For He knows it would be our tendency to hide even behind His grace to prot...
QUOTE: “Jesus hung around with sinners, and if we’re too holy to allow people to blow smoke in our faces, then we’re holier than Jesus was… Love acceptance, forgiveness. Those three things are absolutely essential to any ministry that will consistently bring people to maturity and wholeness.” (Jerry Cook).
In a poem attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, entitled "Prophets of a Future Not Our Own," he states:
"It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not Messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own." End quote. 
(From Ronald Harbaugh’s Sermon "The Kingdom Is God’s Gift to the Church, Not Individuals")