Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Did you have a happy celebration of the resurrection of Christ (proper description of Easter) yesterday? I had a wonderful worship at Anaheim’s stadium with the congregation from Saddleback Baptist Church. About 20,000 people participated in the worship celebration, many accepted Christ and many received baptism at the parking lot of the stadium right after worship. It was an awesome day of witnessing God’s grace at work in our midst. And then, we experience a significant earthquake ((7.2 at Baja) in the afternoon. We were sitting by the pool in a friend’s house, and the quake created a big wave in the pool (it was like spilling a cup of water) for a couple of seconds. Wow…what an amazing day we had in counting God’s mercy and grace in our midst!
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:1-2). Spiritual direction or discernment is usually perceived as prerogative of the ordained ministry. Some of the best spiritual directors are simply friends. Some of the most famous spiritual directors have been laypersons. But the fact that anybody can do it and it can occur at any time and place must not be constructed to mean that it can be done casually or indifferently. It needs to be practiced out of a life immersed in the pursuit of holiness.
What is required is that we bring the same disciplined prayer and discerning attentiveness into the commonplaces that we bring to the preparation of lectures and sermon, sharing crises of illness and death, celebrating birth and marriages, launching campaigns and stirring up visions. It means putting the full spotlight of prayerful concern on the parts of life that get no other spotlights put on them. Being a spiritual director is bringing the same care and skill and intensity to the ordinary, boring, uneventful parts of our lives that we readily give to the eventful conversation and proclamations.
Spiritual direction is like a lost art in Christian church. We will refer people to counseling or psychological evaluation, but we seldom refer people to seek spiritual direction. Yes, we will ask for appointment to see a pastor for some crisis in life. We seldom talk to a pastor about our direction of life; we prefer to talk to a friend instead. Yes, spiritual direction could take place at any time and any place. It should happen as part of Body life. We should minister unto one another in seeking to do the will of God. The pre-requisite, however, is to find someone who constantly immerses in the Word of God and in the pursuit of Holiness. Unfortunately this is not a norm in Christian church.
Holiness is not a perfect life without weaknesses, but a life that seeks to honor God and fulfill His agenda on earth. Pharisees were perfect in obeying all ceremonial laws in life – it was their resolve or commitment to accomplish religious purity in life. But our Lord Jesus rebuked them of their hypocrisy. Holiness is a life that immerses into the agenda of God and loving Him wholeheartedly. Tey recognize their imperfection and seek regeneration daily by God’s help. Since they are so focused on God, they can quickly discern the unpleasing elements in life. Just like the way a banker discern counterfeit money is by focusing more on the genuine ones, let’s spend more time on the Word of God as a means to discern His presence and guidance for our lives as well as for others.
Love you in accordance to His Word,