It has been a remarkable start to the New Year. World events seem to point to a very uncertain path with economic uncertainties, natural disasters happening globally and the growing threat of terrorism looming large on every continent. If there ever were a time to cry out to God, it would seem to be this time. A close personal relationship with the godhead will be a determining factor in ones peace in the midst of such turmoil. The page “In the Garden,” is designed to assist you in developing a one on one close personal relationship with the godhead. It is the one thing that religion cannot provide for you. What I find ironic about that is the fact that it was the single most important point I longed to see fulfilled in the congregations that I served. On many occasions I would be overwhelmed with sorrow because the congregation wasn’t getting it. It is only now that I realize that the religious structure is not designed to provide that kind of intimacy. My observations over the past several years confirm that on nearly every visit to the traditional church gathering. I have found that either one of two things happen. Either the structure is designed for a fast paced gathering with a prescribed amount of time designated for each essential element of the meeting. Or it is designed to allow ample amount of time for moving of the spirit. On the one hand there is no such time allowed, while on the other hand only a small percentage of those gathered have any thought of entering into such an intimate time with the Spirit of God. The majority—to no fault of their own—either endure such a time or occupy themselves with other distractions. A close personal relationship cannot be born in such a setting. It will only enhance the relationship of those who already have one.

On a personal front, it has been remarkable to see the hand of our Father taking care of us. There is a passage of scripture in the New Testament where (from The Message Bible) Jesus tells his disciples something like the moment you are care-full is when you find out that you are cared for. Each day has ended with something to praise the Lord about for his grace and blessing. It has been confirmed that we will have a house to live in by February. The first week of the New Year has confirmed that the Father’s provision will take care of the added expenses associated with the expenses of living in a house. It remains excitingly scary trusting (not to mention resting in) the Lord’s grace and provision as we move forward in this phase of the journey. It would be far easier to have the funds in place along with the guarantee that continued funds were there to take care of things. Instead there is an increasing dependence on relying on the promises of Abba to take care of us. I recall telling folks when this journey first began—long before I realized it was a journey—that we were casting off restraints and living by faith. It sounded so righteous. However saying it and living it have proven to be two vastly different things. In fact I would even venture to say that they are not even in the same ballpark. I am amazed that even after all these years, the challenge it is to be worry-free in our resting in our Father’s ability to take care of us.

On an even more personal note, the events of this past week have brought a shocking reality to bare in my life. I have a deep concern that this continued blessing of the Lord will cause me to return to a former state of cockiness. I realized that for most all of my professional ministerial life that I have been both cocky and arrogant. I thought of all the people I conveyed that too over the years. I was filled with remorse at what an absolute jerk I had been. I began to cry out to my God for his mercy and forgiveness. I have asked him to not allow such behavior to ever be part of my life any more. Please understand why I am saying this. I have spent my entire adult life in religious service; but not a close personal relationship with the godhead. I mistakenly associated my religious performance—hours reading the bible and praying—with a relationship. I was wrong. Those activities have their place, but they are in no way a close personal relationship with Father God, Jesus the savior or the Holly Spirit. It is my longing to have the righteous come into an understanding of what that kind of relationship is and why it is vital in the hour of time we live in.