philsquest

the adventure I find myself in / das Abenteuer in dem ich mich finde

Category: Spiritual journey (page 1 of 3)

The Way, the Truth and the Life; part 2

Jesus says I am the truth. What a statement. I mean I can tell the truth, I can try and live in truth or be truthful. But to say I am the truth implicates a lot more then that. Thinking about it makes me wonder if being the truth simply means there is no false in him. Or perhaps when you get Jesus you get the real thing, not just some self appointed guru. There were no tricks or manipulation coming from him. He didn’t  attempt to control the masses or the individuals to get them on his side. His story makes no sense when you think of the terms of building a church or organization. It is an invitation to follow and to journey through life with the truth… that is setting us free from our way of seeing things, peeling away the filters of our own perception and interpretation of truth.

Jesus was the revelation of truth. “you see me , you see the Father (God)”. False images of what we think the Father is peal away as we discover and walk with Jesus, or as Jesus is the way we are walking in…

The ultimate questions in life are: “where do I come from? Where do I go after this?  What am I doing here? We all answer these questions different and most people in this world avoid them all together. All the religions try to answer it. Interesting Jesus didn’t invite us into a religion or a system of belief but called us to himself. He didn’t say this is the way to go, here is the truth you need to know and then you will have life if you follow it.

Over the years quite a number of people told me that Jesus was a great teacher and enlightened but not God (or they would then say we are all god). The thing is,  Jesus made it very clear about who he is and also who and where we are. That he is God and that we are disconnected from the truth. This statement about being God also got him killed. If he was lying about that. Everything he said would be judged in the light of that and make him kind of a lunatic. So either it is true or it is a lie.

Being on the journey with Jesus is much more then just about learning truth and understanding. It is about coming to awareness of our own state and the lies we live and move on to be free. Jesus said the truth will set you free. What he ultimately means is that he himself will set us free. This freedom does not come because I am a better person or know more “secrets” of life etc. I believe that freedom comes by actually knowing who I am in God’s eyes (God sees my innermost being) and by seeing who God really is (a revelation that might never be complete) .

Walking with Jesus has the affect that he (the truth) rubs of off on us and is revealed as we are willing to reveal ourselves to him. Like in all relationships it works like in assimilation. We spend time with a person long enough and we become more and more like that person. That particular person has the ability to set us free…..

The Way, the Truth and the Life; part 1

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I was pondering this verse from John 14:6 for the last days, perhaps weeks now. Perhaps meditating would be a better word. There are verses that follow me throughout my life, that have deep meaning for my spiritual journey and bring me closer into knowing Jesus.

I always interpreted the verse in terms of doing or knowing or deciding the right thing. When Jesus says he is the way I would take it in a more literal sense like to follow him, to be his disciple, or to become like him etc. In my earlier day it would even  mean to follow a certain codex or philosophy that then would be the right way. So I was thinking about the way and walking the way.

As I was “pondering” and  meditating on my own journey it dawned on me that Jesus says “I am the way”. I saw it in connection with other verses asking us to follow him. I also learned in a way that through his death and resurrection on the cross. He opened the way to the father. And I still believe that those interpretations are right. (so Philipp what your saying is that a verse as more then one interpretation)? I guess it has, and  I think as I grow older my understanding goes deeper. First I grasped the surface of what Jesus said. I do this looking back on 30 years of journeying. Jesus is the way. This is very intriguing for me. It is not only that he walks with me through life and also that he prepared the way for me. But it is also that he is the way. And there I get kind of lost in mystical thinking and symbolism. It seems to me like I don’t have the words to describe this.

He is the way in a sense that when we see him we see the father. As we know from the old Testament no one can see God and live.

As we walk on this way (that is him) we are on a journey to know him to be changed by him and in the process the Father is being revealed to us.

Perhaps the verse in Colossians 1:24 ” …. Christ in you the hope of glory” describes more what I mean by it is not the way we walk. It might be more the way (Jesus) that walks with us, in us, through us and in time reveals our true essence and this then would bring us back to the source, our Father in heaven.

With all this written, what I want to say it is not so much about how to walk the way.  It is about recognizing Jesus is the way and also not limiting “the Way” but discovering it/him…. not learning by doing, but learning by walking….

 

My rules of spiritual travel

…spiritual formation and being on a journey of discovering God has been the most difficult and the most wonderful experience for me. If I would have to single out what motivates me and keeps me going in this world; what brings meaning to my life, it would be getting to know the one who gave me life. There are certain things I consider of great importance. I will call them my rules of spiritual travel: This is a work in progress and I will just write the things that come to my mind and will later add or change as I see fit. (as there are my “rules”, they may be totally different for others.

Philipp…..

  1. have a little faith…. it truly goes a long way
  2. don’t take yourself too seriously.
  3. balance keeps you….well, balanced (journeying with God is a bit like crossing a canyon on a slack line)
  4. when you think you figured it out. Think some more. But don’t over-think everything
  5. simplify in any area of life it will free up space and energy…. or travel light
  6. be open for the new turns in life; or change is a good thing
  7. be  a constant learner, open your eyes and ears
  8. community with other journeyers is of utmost importance (“happiness only when shared” from the movie into the wild)
  9. structure helps for a time, for the journey we need to stay flexible.
  10. going the road less travelled may not feel right but needs to be taken when you know in your heart leads you on.
  11. pain can work for you, even though suffering in life sucks big time. In some mysterious way God can use it for good.
  12. there is some truth in everything, but only one said he is the truth.
  13. …with this said, test everything and keep the good
  14. “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?”   (Jeremiah 12:5)
  15. “However fast a man travels, the soul travels at the speed of a camel.” (Hitchhikers guide to the  galaxy)
  16. if you loose faith on your journey, travel with hope. Faith is hope in action.
  17. enjoy the little things in life (Rule number 32 from the movie zombieland 🙂

Meaning in life

Thinking about living in this world three things come to my mind. Journey, connected, and balance. Of course there is a lot more, but those three I ponder at the moment 🙂

The word journey became more important to me over the last years because living life feels to me like a journey. It has a beginning and an end. There are so many surprises around the bends, so much to discover and to learn. I would say that I am definitely on a spiritual journey. I guess for me the spiritual is foundational even though in this world we emphasis the material, physical one (like age, achievements and accumulations) The spiritual dimension is far bigger then the material. Something even after so many years of studying and trying to understand I have only a small amount of experience and knowledge.

The word connected means to me more then have a facebook account. But then I guess connectedness has many levels. (I am connected to a lot of people through facebook 🙂 Connections in life go from superficial to very deep and so forth. There are the connections through blood with the family. There can be no denial of the connection we have with parents and siblings as estranged they may be. Then there is of course for me the connection with my wife, a union. The strongest connection I have with another human being by choice. (no one can choose their birth families)  But even stronger I see the spiritual connection to my creator. There is a deeper connection I often don’t really understand. The love of God that goes deeper and the understanding is an everlasting process. I was connected to God without knowing when I was growing up and only growing in understanding by being on this journey with Christ.

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Eph. 3:17-19

Because we were made by God and will go back to Him I  feel this spiritual connection is the strongest but the least understood. The deepest connections I believe are spiritual. Be that with God or to others. We have an eternal soul, I would say we are spiritual beings that will have a spiritual body when we pass on (1. Cor. 15) Life and connectedness is so much bigger then ourselves. Something eternal.

With balance I mean the balance in Body, Soul and Mind. The spiritual aspect is the center of it all and perhaps the part that is asleep most of the time. I think we go through life mostly  unbalanced. Out of balance and therefore a bit shaky on the journey. We emphasize one more then the other two. Simply said if I detach my feelings from my thinking, or doing without feelings etc. I will be kind of stuck and never fully grow to fullness or to who we are meant to be.

Enough philosophizing. Just some thoughts on a beautiful Sunday. Enjoying the fact that God loves me.

 

 

 

When you walk you change

These were my favorite pair of shoes and I wore them for quite some years. They were extremely comfortable and just really fit my feet. But now they’re worn out and slowly disintegrate into the different parts soon to be thrown away.

When I think of this I remember the movie “Forrest Gump” and his shoe comment. My favorite shoes led me down many paths and through many adventures. The whole experience made my life richer building me up (the good and the bad). Of course it would have happened with other shoes just the same. I guess I just felt a spur of nostalgia looking at them knowing that I have to loose them. It reminded me that life is a succession of phases. New things come into our life’s constantly, we get attached to it and then loose it. After going through a period of grieve and perhaps needing a long time to understand the meaning of it. Later, looking back it will have enriched us, perhaps even given life to something new and deeper.

Walking on water

Walking with Jesus requires faith. I mean how can you have a relationship with God you cannot see and trust Him with your life, making decisions based on what you believe is His will. In my walk with Jesus not seldom I have made steps believing to have understood only realizing in my immature faith I have made another mistake, a miss-step. Over the years I have become aware that faith is walking with Jesus on a daily basis. I don’t mean a daily fulfillment of religious obligation, but a loving dependency towards God. He gave me life and knew what this was all about. I am going through life curious to find out about this mystery. While walking with Jesus I have to take risks to grow. I have to let go of my own sense of security and embrace the the call coming from him. Sometimes blindly and on shaky ground. Often against what many people think. I get confronted alot with different sets of values of how I should live my life. Not getting the satisfaction of being accepted. Being judged for my values is not a nice thing in the least. Still while being on this journey long enough many things become clear and also familiar, perhaps easier in some ways. At least till the next bend where I have to take all my courage together to walk on into the unknown.

Sometimes walking on water seems to be the easier thing to do then embarking on a lifelong journey with Jesus. Even though I cannot really judge that, because I have not succeeded in either one yet. So I will keep on walking. Be it on water or the life ahead.

Me walking on water 😉

Generosity

Sometimes I am astonished by the generosity of God in my life. I have been given so much grace and I have seen and experienced so much on my journey with Jesus. I feel very blessed. I know it sounds cheesy, but I sense God's presence in my life. Not just an emotional experience because I was in a worship meeting or because I tried to be quite for a moment to seek God. It seems more an ongoing awareness of His presence. There is no need for me to try to make something happen by getting active or trying to please Him. It is the freedom just to be and to know that He loves me. 

This is how I am starting this new year. Being aware of the generosity of God. I do not deserve it nor can I add anything to it then just open my heart to Him who made me.

As I was looking at this Japanese cherry tree in full bloom I was once more aware of God's generosity. If He can make a tree bloom like this just to shine for a few days how much more has He prepared for His children. 

IMG_1723
 

Happy New Year

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A year has ended and the last hours are passing by. There has been much fruit this year in our work and many blessings in my life. This doesn't mean that the labor was easy. Often I got tired and sometimes I have been on the verge of giving up. Surely if I would have to produce the fruit myself I would have totally and utterly failed. It would be like a farmer who after plowing and sowing would have to make the rice grow. But we all know that this is foolish thinking. Why do we think or act as if we have to produce the fruit in the kingdom of God. It is God's responsibility to bring forth the fruit and our joy to enjoy it 🙂

With this thought I wish all of you much fruit in all you do for the coming year. May fruit come forth from the things you do. Be this in the family, with friends, at work and in your relationship with God.

Happy New Year!

 

Enneagram test

Out of curiosity I did a small (50 question) online Enneagram test. Just wanted to see if I would get the same result like I got from just studying the books an figure out which type I am by reading and trough observing. 

I must say that the test is quite accurate. I am a type 6. I also found the variants true. Try it yourself. 🙂 and see what type you are. There is also a test with 150 questions. Just to time consuming for me.

Main Type

Overall Self

Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Enneagram Test Results

Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||| 54%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||| 42%
Type 3 Image Focus |||| 18%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity |||||||||||| 46%
Type 5 Detachment |||||| 26%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||| 30%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||| 50%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||| 42%

Your main type is 6
Your variant is social

Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Enneagram

Enneagram For the last years I have been reading and studying the Enneagram personality types. The studies helped me immensely to understand myself and certain behaviors, especially in conflict areas and in the way I work and interact in this world. 

After a while I became more fascinated because of the possibilities for growth not just to improve myself, but spiritual growth. The Enneagram is like a key that opens up understanding of myself and God who created me. Most of the books on the Enneagram tend to emphasize the personality improvement and the use of it in work and relationship. There are some books looking more to the spiritual use of the Enneagram. Mostly they tend a little to much to the New Age genre. Still I believe that to often we are trapped in our personalities, formed in our growing up years, that then keeps us from developing as disciples of Jesus. I can see it in my own life and of course many situation in church and the mission-field how personality becomes the drive to live and work in the kingdom of God. I used to try to emphasize the good in that personality and suppress the bad or work around it. The Enneagram shows another way. Namely to move towards essence. Our true self underneath the layers of personality. 

I left on a journey that made me discover alot about myself and my relationship with God. The Enneagram leans more towards mysticism and it takes more then just a test and some type explanation. It is more like a map to discover who we really are and how we relate not only to the world but also to God.

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