And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
I will confess that, when it comes to my ministry, I have struggled over the years with the concept of “marketing”. I was mostly comfortable leaving that up to God, Who took Five Principles of Unity all over the world and led us to publish it in four different languages in multiple countries without any kind of marketing plan whatsoever. Still, I do understand that marketing is important. It is why I have tried to surround myself with people who understand marketing much better than I. I also must boast that I have come a long way in my own understanding of it, and how important it is that we take some responsibility for getting our message out there and for how we say it. In fact, I would say that I have made some remarkable progress in terms of accepting “marketing and communications” as an everyday part of what I do…so much so, that I actually give a little “marketing” advice now and again to others who are just getting started with ministries of their own.
So you can imagine my dismay with how God chose to roll out the initial ad campaign announcing Jesus’ birth. Let’s just say I would not have done it that way.
Again, I am no marketing expert. But if I were responsible for getting that very important announcement out there with some hopes of it “going viral” over time (even before the …
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” I John 4:12
Born into a poor family in Lorraine, France, Nicholas Herman would grow up to do a stint in the army (where the food was free). Still a young man when he got out of the army, he would eventually walk into a monastery, where he would take a job as a kitchen worker. Over time, he developed the purest and simplest of relationships with God and took on the name “Brother Lawrence”. He eventually wrote “Practicing the Presence of God”, a simple treatise about a simple lifestyle and a simple approach to the Christian life. Four Hundred years later, that little book is still regarded as one of the great pieces of Christian literature.
It is not a complicated concept, practicing the presence of God. In fact, it is a remarkably simple concept…almost Zen-like simplicity. But it is easier said than done. We understand intellectually that God is omnipresent, but in the bustle and chaos and pain of our human condition, we have a hard time really living as if we believe it. Even in environments as sacred as our gathered worship or ministry endeavors or other church functions, we often “forget” Who it is all about. In our staff meetings and our committee meetings and our business meetings, we often conduct ourselves as if God is nowhere to be found, and is certainly not in earshot of us. In short, even in the church (maybe especially in the church) we behave horribly because we simply do not practice the presence of God.
In my own search for simplicity, I have found a simple idea to help me practice …