Today’s GODWORD is Sure

I have been sending the GODWORD-a daily text or emailed blessing daily for several years. You can receive it by sending your cell or email address to revavanhooser@ aol.com or click the follow button and read it here. No personal info. is ever shared! See the next post for background information.

Your daily Godword is sure

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Faith in God is a gift from God. It is sure and certain and the source of all blessings. Walk in the sure-ness of His faith. Alan van Hooser

Previous GODWORDs

Your daily God word is bond

Ephesians 4 :1 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

May your bond and vow the unity with God and with his church. May the peace of Jesus flow from you in every breath. Alan Vanhooser

Your daily Godword is stronger

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Loving God is the source of our strength and gives the potential to God size love with one another. Love stronger today. -Alan Van hooser

Alan! Your daily GODWORD is healing

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God is in the healing business. His healing is certain and starts with your spirit. Wait patently-healing is at hand. -Alan van Hooser

🌀! Your Sunday morning GODWORD prayers for worship

John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

I’m missing Sunday worship due to COVID and feel cheated. Pray for our worship leaders and celebrate their gift to us made in Jesus name. Rejoice! Don’t take your hour for granted!

Your daily Godword is prayer

Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”

A day of low physical energy is a day of tremendous spiritual potential. Invest your energy in prayer today. Alan Van hooser

Today I am positive for COVID for the first time. Prayers for healing for all of us who are struggling with health today! Alan.

Your daily GODWORD is Spirit

Acts 2:3 “And tongues that looked like fire appeared to them, distributing themselves, and a tongue rested on each one of them.”

Sometimes God just shows up. Is today that day for you? Invest your heart in the life of worship. Be ready! -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is finished

2 Corinthians 8:11 “But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.”

The “it” of faith is to Know and share generously the grace Jesus shows you. Church Meetings don’t matter until this is accomplished. Alan van Hooser

your daily GODWORD is together

Acts 2:1-47 “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. “

The church is made of relationships gathered by the winds of the Spirit. Enjoy the rush, be the church. -Alan van Hooser


Your daily GODWORD is distraction
Proverbs 4:25. “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”

Toxic distraction are stealing our days. Fight for your focus with Gods word and a ready prayer. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Monday

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

“Monday” is not a swear word but a fresh start. Stand for God and make each moment a ministry. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is healing

James 5:15 “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

Physical healing leads us to Gods real motive, the healing of our soul through forgiveness. See and share your healing today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Community

Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

The life in Christ is a life together. Strengthen your community and you strengthen everyone’s faith, including yours! -Alan van Hooser

Your daily Godword is family

Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

Family is that reward we work the hardest for, a life sentence of satisfyingly wonderful frustration. Praise God for them all! -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is community
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

We are stronger, smarter, happier and more faith filled when we live in community. Sharpen another’s faith and watch yours grow today! -Alan van Hooser

your daily Godword is Journey

Psalm 119:104 “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Life is a journey, the Bible a map and Jesus our flashlight. Don’t wander aimlessly in the dark. Travel confidently In Christ today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is health

3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul”

“How is it with your soul?” Is a better question than “how’re you doin’ “ good health is being at peace. Care for soul and body today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Mom

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Moms, God is with you. For the rest of us, moms are here to remind us that God is here for us. You are strong, uplifted and held. Thank you Mom, thank you God! – Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Rehab

Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”

God is the ultimate physical therapy, touching beyond the muscle to meet the soul. Take your broken heart to God today. Jesus hears you! – Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is afterward

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Faith rules in storm and shadow. Remember to keep faith up front during fair winds and light. Walk fearlessly always and all days. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is actions

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Hurt or help, worry or pray, you are what you do. “ Do” life as an offering to God and become your actions. Be a thanksgiving and others will give thanks for you. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily Godword is gratefully

Romans 12:4-8 “…though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ…We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us.”

Your passions and talents are gifts of grace to be shared lavishly and gratefully. Share them gratefully and God use them today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is worship

Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,”

Worship is offering yourself to God as you are, where you are. Be reverent with a still heart today and see the grandeur of God with awe. Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is brand

Jeremiah 31:33“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Ride for your brand. Live your identity as a child in Christ today. It is more than a cross on a chain. Jesus’ brand is on your heart. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is resurrection.

Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

To know Christ is to know life in all of its complexity. Share you sufferings and know his Glory! Happy Easter. -Alan van Hooser

🌀! Your daily GODWORD is Silence

Your daily GODWORD is Silence

Psalm 47:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Sunday’s parade, Thursdays dinner and Friday’s Horror find God silent on Saturday. Be still within the racket SUNDAY IS COMING! Be ready. Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is solitary

James 1:6 “Whoever asks shouldn’t hesitate. They should ask in faith, without doubting. Whoever doubts is like the surf of the sea, tossed and turned by the wind.”

Today is a day for a solitary focus. From the inside out, seek The name above all names, his name is Jesus. This is where everything comes from. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is nurture

Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children”

Spiritual self-care is essential. Take a breath a see what God is doing for you. Tell someone, they need to hear it from you. -Alan van Hooser.

Your Daily GODWORD is community

Romans 12:4 “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Our body’s members look alike. Our church and community’s members don’t. In both, it takes all of them to be healthy. Make a new relationship today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily Godword is nap

Proverbs 3:24 “You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner”

There you go, scripture allows for Sunday afternoon nap! Go for it and be prepared for a brand new day, -Alan Van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD Is Activate

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Your Bible is an on-switch. Activate your faith. Open it out of devotion, & not because you have to, daily. God is that close to you. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is kindness

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

We often only comment on unkindness. Change the world. Catch someone being kind, as God commands, and watch what happens. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is transform

Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Change is constant and unavoidable. Transformation originates spiritually and takes work. Manage change but yearn for transformation. God is near! -Alan Van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is celebrate

Psalm 150:1 “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!”

Church can break out anywhere. Whether restaurants, home or a park, celebrate the majesty of God. Jesus is alive! -Alan Van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Urgent

Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;”

Things can be urgent or important. Your first thought of the day is both. When it is of God, the urgent fires don’t become your leader. Find peace when you follow God urgently. -Alan

Your daily GODWORD is today

Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being”

I pray for God the Holy spirit to minister to you today. Tomorrow we can pray the same thing but live today to its fullest. God’s power to you. -Alan

Your daily GODWORD is Success

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

All success is not overtly religious but all success is steeped in faith. Find faith in the little things and be found faithful in Christ. -Alan

Your daily GODWORD is Forgiver

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”

God our Forgiver frees us to be Forgiver. Let God carry it. Be a Forgiver by faith and forever be at peace with God and people. Lay that mess down. -Alan van Hooser

Psalm 46:11 “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

A power verse to encourage you and through you, to encourage another in need. I pray the name of Jesus over you today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is failure

1John 4:4 “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Failure is formed by fear and found when God is left out of our lives. Faith is forged by truth. Be still and see. Find the victory where you least expect it today. -Alan van Hooser

(c) Alan Van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”, 2022 all rights reserved.

The GODWORD: A word to share with you

The Equipping skill for this post: creating a strategy to build an awareness of faith in a busy life

The first word guiding this blog is invitation. You are invited to join me, Slow down for a minute and breathe. What if you could start your daily walk in Christ with a single word?

I start my day with a single focusing word-a GODWORD. This is a guide word that snaps me back when my mind gets away from me. It is prayerfully discerned, reinforced by scripture and stays on my phone as a touchstone.

You are invited to receive & share this guide-word/Godword with me by text or email. A new addition is to see the post here daily. The devotional goes out in the morning or other special time. You are invited to ponder the GODWORD and the READ THE WHOLE BIBLE PASSAGE. I use the Bible Gateway app, It is quick and easy. Return to it through the day. Note that these are not archived. Each on stands alone just as the Christ meets our needs as “daily bread”

Anyone wishing to receive them can email their cell number or email address to revavanhooser@aol.com.  There is no cost.  This is a private list and comes as an Individual contact-not in a group.  Contact info is never shared and if you  wish to be removed from the list, simply contact me and I will take you off without comment. (Please check your text policy with your provider before you sign up. There have been rare format problems. Contact me and we will work something out.)

The purpose is to connect my day with friends and be held accountable by you to my daily discipline.  Comments are welcome.

Thanks for being my fellow traveler in Christ. Please share the GODWORD and send other scriptures that give you focus in a comment below.

Intentional Healing: Forgiveness

Your Equipping Skill for this post: living in Forgiveness

Now what? The deed is done. You have either been wronged or wronged someone else. Perhaps this is a life changing injustice or maybe a small matter that will fade quickly away. All create pain. All need forgiveness.

North American Indian lore tells of wars between tribes coming to an end with a ceremonial burying of the hatchet. Burying this implement of war signified that fighting had ceased, all was forgiven, and the matter was left to rot in the ground forgotten. Whether this is historically accurate or not, it paints the picture of what forgiveness should look like in daily living.

Forgiveness is a lot easier said than done. How do we do forgiveness. Regardless of your faith, life is not healthy with injustice weighing it down. Yes, it is as easing as giving this to God…the following step could give you an idea of what this looks like. The holy Bible teaches us to be forgiven forgivers. It is neither easy nor optional. Also, forgiveness is spiritual, not merely intillectual assent. It is both learnable and teachable. This is a skill for all people and particularly for the Christian.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Following are 12 comments on how to live in forgiveness. These do not excuse abusive behavior or injustice But offer a way for us to live without the weight of unforgiveness crushing us.

1. Commit to the process of forgiveness personally

Before you attempt to start this journey, know what it is. Be a craftsman of forgivness. Learn how and grow in your skills. Forgiving doesn’t mean that approve, accept responsibly for or deny what happened to you. ESPECIALLY IF ABUSE, ADDICTION OR OTHER HARM IS PRESENT.

Forgiveness is making the intentional and conscious choice to release yourself from the burden, pain, and stress of holding on to a wrong, God doesn’t withhold forgiveness and neither should we. Forgiveness is the healing of yourself by God through Faith. Jesus held NOTHING back for your forgiveness. It is at the heart of our saving relationship with Christ. He forgives while knowing we are going to mess up. Forgiveness allows the possibility to keep the relationship right, even when faced with wrong.

2. accept that forgiveness in not pain free

Pain stinks but it can be effective teacher. Hurts can run deep, even if at first glance they don’t seem to make a big impact. It’s important to give yourself permission to accept the inevitable pain while working to get rid of it. It is real, it isn’t fair, and it it only for a season. It is physical, . Notice where you feel it in your body and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” perhaps you need sleep, or to get up and go. However, the real healing is spiritual.

3. Be Specific: Know exactly what needs to be forgiven.

Whether you’ve hurt yourself or have been hurt by another, allow yourself to be honest and simply name the feelings that are there. They might include guilt, grief, shame, sorrow, confusion, or anger. As you consider the act of forgiveness, any of these feelings can arise. Create time and space to forgive this specific thing and not let it get lost in free floating, vague, anger and anxiety. Being specific keeps healing from getting lost in the crowd and leaving you fealing overwhelmed.

4. Find healthy ways to express the pain.

The pain is going to leak out. Keeping hurt feelings bottled up only causes additional stress to your mind and body. Watch for habits that change to overdoing or underdoing. Healthy habits inlude, sharing how you’re feeling to a trusted person, writing about it in a journal, dedicated prayer, worship or talking about itwith a mental health professionsl. Sharing with a small group, especially in a church setting helps you expand your perspective. Ultimately, faith is born and grows as you work through the process of forgiveness in positive ways.

 5. Detach, Find a positive to this experience

An event that is very wrong can still have a positive side. Take your focus off of feeling like a victim and look for it. This hurt is not who you are but how you feel. Look for the possibility of positive outcomes-strength, maturity etc. Your life can take a different trajectory altogher as a result of this process. You are not taking away the guilt by finding a benefit for yourself in the journey of healing. Recognize the pain, take a stand that this isn’t who you are and replace the hurt with positive spiritual habits. Live in the present moment and let faith grow through this .

 6. Do something small to move forward every day

Whether you are forgiving yourself or another person, taking action can help to facilitate healing and make you feel more empowered. It’s best to start with smaller misdeeds to get into practice and feel what’s possible. Writing a letter or having an uncomfortable conversation can be difficult and even scary, but often a sense of empowerment emerges. Show self-compassionate action by listening to yourself and doing something that supports you. Little things done daily keep you from becoming stuck and being overwhelmed.

 7. You are not alone in this

When you’ve been hurt, it’s common to feel like you’re the only one who has ever been wronged in this way. Remembering you are not alone in experiencing this kind of pain can help to loosen the grip of your resentment. Keep your faith and surround yourself with people of faith. Distance yourself from negative places, people and habits.

8. Forgiveness takes time , no short cuts

Forgiveness isn’t a quick-fix. It’s a process. Be patient with yourself. With small offenses, forgiveness can happen pretty quickly, but with the larger ones, it can take years. Be kind to yourself, take the time, be patient rather than settling for vbs immediate or unhealthy habits.

 9. No one wins the blame game.

Misery Does NOT love company. If blaming would fix anything,, we wouldn’t have any problems. Blame does not heal,it k. Faith Casts it away, Blame clings to it with the lie that you can do it yourself.

10. Pray for yourself and others

Intentionally and with mindfulness pray for healing and forgiveness for yourself and for others, including THE other. . Forgiveness is a spiritual skill. You and God can do this. There is nothing more healing than serving another from a hear that Jesus has filled.

11. Find purpose in your pain

How will this time strengthen you.  What positive things will come from working through this forgiveness.  As you practice working with the pain that’s there, you grow key strengths of self-compassion, courage, and empathy that inevitably make you stronger in every way. As psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

12. Maintain your healing.

It takes faith and discipline to keep the historical from returning as hysterical. You have removed this pain’s power. An old saying says, “when you bury a mad dog, don’t leave his tail sticking up”. Beware of reminders that let it sneak back in.This matter is forgiven and given to God. It needs to stay buried. Your best revenge is having a peace filled and positive life.

Let it go. Keep it gone. You don’t need it any more. Let it rot in the ground. Done. Live your life now.

Some further resources:

Two study resources that I use everyday: Biblegateway.com-available as an app, and www.openbible.info -a wonderful help arranged by topics.

Embodying Forgiveness, by L. Gregory Jones

Think like a Monk, by Jay Shetty

Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster

Forgive what you Can’t Forget, by Lysa TerKeurst

Forgive for Good, by Fred Luskin

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Please add your comments and resources in a comment!

(C) 2022 All Rights Reserved by Alan van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”

 

Listening to the Holy Spirit: Finding Your Faith’s Ear

Seven ways to start or re-start your discernment skills. God speaks. How will we learn to listen?

Your equipping skill: Listening Prayers of the heart and growing in discernment

Listening to the Holy Spirit is Central to a living Faith.

What “listening to the Holy Spirit” means

  • The Holy spirit testifies to Christ, guides, inspires and motivates us.  Listening to the Holy Spirit means prioritizing God’s word above other sources.
  • Too often we worship our preferences.  This leads us to blind and deaf spots where we cannot hear what God has to say. 

What this does NOT mean

  • This is not divining the future
  • This is not “Fire Insurance”, insuring a financial or other success.
  • This does not put you or I in charge. Servant Leaders are First Followers
  • This is not manipulating God to do our will.
  • This is not prayer per se, but prayer is the vehicle by which we listen. It is God doing all of the work while we work at listening.

Equipping with Authority

  • This article is focused on the Concrete more than the theorhetical. God is the speaker and will use your preferences to find your listening ear.
  • Central to listening for God is Having an intentional plan. This post should not imply that teaching a mechanical skill-is all that it takes. These 7 actions are ways to intentionally equip yourself to listen
  • Scripture, Tradition, Reason & Experience are all tests for The Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never contradict scripture, tradition changes to meet the day but gives us context and community, truth makes sense by faith-Fod gave us a mind to use. Finally, all experiences teach something. Pay attention and listen carefully to all four of these as you do these activities. Keep it simple-listen.

1. Disciplined Time with God through Bible study and prayer.

  • God has already spoken through His Word. The more time you spend with God through reading His Word and through prayer, the more familiar you’ll become with His voice.
  • This is important because God will never tell you to do anything that contradicts His written Word. The more time you spend time with God, the more familiar you will become with His voice.

2. Memorize Scripture in context

  • The Bible is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). It will change you, transform you, make you more receptive to hear God’s voice.
  • It’s not enough to simply read the Word. Search the Scripture and “Hide it in your Heart”. (Psalm 119:11)
  • Many times the Holy Spirit will use the Word to guide you. This becomes so much easier if you actually have the Word in your heart.

3. Create a balanced life of prayer: ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (Requests).

  • No one like to be around someone who does all of the talking.
  • Don’t just run into prayer with your checklist in hand and pray, “Dear God, please help me here, bless this, bless that, protect them, help me have a good day. Amen.” Spend time listening.
  • You may not hear anything, but it’s important to remember that prayer is a conversation with God, not a list of needs and desires. .

4. Seek Silence Every Day

  • Look at the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and you’ll see that God chose to speak to Elijah through a gentle whisper. God often chooses to speak through a still, small voice, and not a shout! Faith beckons us to listen in order to hear.
  • God wants us to remove all the distractions from our lives and focus on Him. Find a consistent time and a dedicated place to be silent before God everyday and hear God’s gentle whisper.

5. Have a Spiritual Director and wise counselors

  • God doesn’t speak exclusively to you. He also speaks to those around you. The book of Proverbs talks a lot about the necessity of seeking wise counsel.
  • When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, seek someone wise to be your prayer partner. Carefully and prayerfully seek the wise counsel of those around you. Pray for God to bring these human resources.

6. Intentionally Listen for God in Daily Decisions

  • Don’t just do something, Sit there
  • Practice makes perfect. We have been given a spirit of discernment by our Father. The Holy Spirit is God. God wants us to know the difference between God’s voice and the many enemies competing for our own thoughts.
  • It takes discernment, and the only way to figure it out is to start practicing. This does NOT legitimize procrastination.

7. Be obedient

  • Don’t just sit there, Do something. 
  • Listening to the Holy Spirit requires obedience. Search through the book of Acts. It is a diary of the Holy Spirit speaking to the early church. The “Spirit” is used in Acts 67 different times. The reason the Spirit is still leading and motivating the church today is because the church obeyed the Spirit when Jesus’ Church heard His voice.
  • Do the last thing God told you to do.  If God hasn’t spoken to you, perhaps it’s because you didn’t obey the last thing God told you to do. God may be silent until you finish what He started. When the Spirit speaks, it’s not meant as a suggestion. If you want the Holy Spirit to continue to speak to you, obey God when God speaks

NOW WHAT?  What transforming change will you make today? These “Doing” activities can and will point you to “Being” in Christ. The point of this excercise is to strengthen faith and create a more intimate relationship with God. Listen well and hear God’s loving and still small voice.

Some resources for further study:

Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton

Anatomy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer (Praying together)

When God is Silent by Barbara Brown Taylor ( The Section on Silence)

The Once and Future Wesleyan Movement by Scott J. Jones ( The Holy Spirit p. 57)

(c) Alan Van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”, 2022 all rights reserved.

Ask 4 an Intentional Faith: A simple habit for life’s complex answers

The equipping skill: creating and strengthening good and intentional faith habits.

A recent health scare forced a month of isolation and reflection upon me. This created time to take stock. I realized, reluctantly, that I was living much of my life on auto-pilot with Body mind and soul. After much reflection I’m making this response, I am beginning a “Year of Intentional Living”.

Join me and see where we might go together. Add a reply at the bottom and share your journey.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” James Clear, from his book Atomic Habits

For better or worse, we are the sum of our habits. I want to be and become a person of intentional faith in Jesus. People of any faith have faith goal goal. I take this journey as a follower of Jesus Christ. I want to be intentional about faith. My daily habits should include actions that lead me to an INTENTIONAL, thriving faith.

One daily habit is to test yourself. Ask four simple questions at the end of each dlay to test the intentionality of your faith-building. I am journaling my answers nightly. A reminder card is taped to my bedside lamp to cue me to stop and think. Weekly I share my journey with fellow church members and a trusted small group, for accountability. The reward is to go to sleep at night knowing that I truly lover each moment of the day. Here is how it might work for you

Printed cards provide the “Cue” to act. this one stays folded up in my pocket. More than anything, the card is a constant and intentional reminder. Write down your answers daily. If you don’t have an answer, intentionally do better tomorrow. Here are the four questions.

(You can have a card by request-contact me or enter a reply. I don’t share your contact info. )

When did I Pray today? Read Mark 11:15-26. When did you Thank, listen, speak and then move in prayer. Can’t remember? Make an appointment with God for tomorrow.

What did I learn today? Read Matthew 7:9-13 and find a familiar starting point. Poke around the scripture for a few minutes. Can’t remember? Make an appointment with God’s word tomorrow.

What did I teach today? Read Romans 12:1-8 and seize an opportunity to be a living sacrifice. Don’t TELL, SHOW your faith. Can’t remember? Think of a way to live what you learn from scripture and show someone.

What did I leave behind today that mattered? Read Romans 12:9-21. Where did you Love, Encourage, forgive, comfort, or do other meaningful things? Can’t remember? Watch closely for a God size opportunity tomorrow.

For added punch, share your victories, or opportunities for improvement, with a trusted friend. The journey of faith is always better with a co-traveller.

Where could Faith make your life richer? what do you intend to do about it? Take this cue and “Ask 4”! Make a bold and intentional step for yourself.

For additional study, read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, Avery Press, 2018. A sensible look at creating positive improvements in life-including your Faith Journey.

(c) Alan Van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”, 2022 all rights reserved.

The reluctant art of waiting in faith

Your equipping skill:
Waiting in faith-persevering in prayer

I love being a pastor. My life is filled with amazing people and their stories all tangled up with my story. Today my chin is on one pillow with my forehead on another, 4 inches above my phone. As I try to speak this post into the blog, I take sips of my tea-that I couldn’t brew myself- through a straw without raising my head. I will never again take for granted the ability to sit on my little bench in the back porch enjoying my tea. I am waiting.

On the last Wednesday of August, the retina of my right eye suddenly detached. Three weeks into recovery a piece of scar tissue came loose and then a second surgery. I started all over. Four days after that, a third surgery. At this writing, 5 weeks after that first terrible tear inside my eye, I am still laying face down and waiting. The eye is stable but the ultimate outcome is uncertain. I have another 10 days to wait and, I pray, See.

Hardly the trials of Job but I sit here waiting for unseen healings, relearning how to live as I wait. From a scriptural perspective, waiting is essential to faith. From personal observation, waiting sucks.

Luke4:3 “For forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.”

Type “ 40 days Bible verses” in your search bar and you will Find someone in sucky surroundings waiting for that waiting to do God’s work. Even Jesus was not exempt. This post should take minutes, but may take days. I am being reinvented. There are no options. I wait. Waiting in Christ is never a waste! What is God teaching you in your dark night? Here are Some of the Truths that I found during a season of waiting. Try these-add your own in a reply.

Relearn to pray. Cry out to God And struggle through To find new intimacy through prayer search the psalms. An fearlessly pray the words of people that have been there.

I’m unashamed to have cried out with these words.

Treasure those people close to you and tell them often that they are appreciated and loved. Accept their help. It’s hard for me and humbling BUT the hand of a friend may be the hand of God. Simply say yes and thank you. It’ll be enough for now. You can contact them later.

Fight with all of your might against self-pity and dark thoughts. Your life depends on it.I’ve been listening through the Psalms over and over. It reinforces this very Important thing.

Live life and shorter increments. I am living An hour at a time , I get a five minute break each hour. And for hours at a time, when I stop and put in eyedrops, this makes time manageable

Occupy your mind. I could not watch TV! Recorded books for free from the library. The Bible Can be read to you by some nice person on the Internet. (Thank you Biblegateway).

Never miss an opportunity to encourage a person in need. Don’t compare wounds, just be there for someone else. You experience connects you to the injured. You have been there. I had much weakness revealed and personal darkness challenged. Share you healed heart.

I have been in the dark and now see the possibility of a greater light. I love with a pastors love and I have been strengthened through this time of waiting, some of it with reluctance. Faith has taught me that this season will not last forever. When my faith was so fragile, Jesus kept a tight grip. I am a grateful disciple.

Anything that you’re going through can be over come. God is with us all. We have never been left alone but sometimes we can only see this by looking back on this time.

I am a better person for this month of darkness and changed forever. My eye will always be at risk for injury-I trust that Faith will be there when it is needed.

You are stronger than you can see while the battle rages. Don’t give in and don’t give up. Faith is real. God is with you and so am I. You are the beloved of God.

(By the way: Glory and thanks to God and Friendship UMC. Also, Thank you Dr. Shawn Kavoussi, his assistant Catherine, and the Houston Methodist hospital. You went far beyond what you had to do. Through you all, I can see )

(C) Alan van Hooser, “thethoughtfulpastor”, 2021, all rights reserved.

Every Day is Labor Day, God is near

Labor Day 2021, from Houston Texas The Equipping Skill: Make your workplace a place of Spiritual Growth.

Labor Day is and should be more than a Monday off. Labor day began in 1894 to celebrate the American worker after many, public riots and other atrocities took lives on both sides of the management/worker struggle. At this time the workplace was often a dangerous and soul-less place where the worker’s needs were ignored. Children were cogs in the machine and workers of all ages were used up and discarded. Things have certainly improved, but we must never forget that our nation was built by thick handed craftsmen (and women), who grabbed their tools and invested themselves in their work. This is the way that families were fed, children educated, and our society built. Faith, in my case a Christian’s faith, teaches that our vocation is an integral part of a living faith.

The work of your hands matters to God. This verse from Colossians is an answer to the question, “how does work fit in to faith?” They were trying to make sense of bad bosses and back breaking labor even back then. The answer begins with knowing that God is ultimately your boss, regardless of who signs your check.  May we remember the People who built their lives as a foundation for us to build ours.  May we pick up our tools and build well on their shoulders, remembering that we also build faith, on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

Work is not separate from faith. The word “Vocation” from the Latin “vocare” means to call. Your work should be spiritually inspired-whether glamorous or not. There is no WORK-LIFE or FAITH-LIFE. You can be a God-called plumber just like you can be God-called as a preacher. The source of the calling is the same. Bloom where you punch-in. You matter and your work matters.

Work is not punishment but a privilege At least when you see it a a gift from God and a stepping stone to building your life. In Genesis 2, people were put to work in the Garden before there was sin. The world is our garden. Whether you wear a suit, mom clothes, waitstaff aprons or shop uniforms, what you do builds the world around you. Work it with all you have. We have more choice that we think about selecting or changing our work. Any vocational move comes with a price, so be careful. Choose your calling well and don’t settle. Pray when you are stuck. Change comes with pain but it can be made.

Work or Faith, Learn your Craft. Jesus worked. He was a man of skilled trade, a carpenter. He knew about farming in the hot sun first hand. Being a Christian disciple is an honorable trade. The difference is the tools you use. You equip yourself as a disciple when you pray. From there all manner of witness-service, worship, Bible study and casual conversations become trade school and build you up. This makes sense out of life when work doesn’t feel like a good life. It doesn’t matter the color of your collar

Managing work means managing your life. Know how to do things that others will pay for. Choose honorable things and don’t settle by cutting dark corners. There is no way to get rich quick. Manage your money, tithe, help those in need and save for retirement. Have an educational goal, whether it comes in a classroom or someone teaches you. Have insurance, take care of your body and your mind. These are your most valuable tools. John Wesley said, “Make all you can, save what you can, and share what you can.” This defines a real life

It takes a lifetime. Work is more than a check. I am committed to a life of growth in my faith. In my job as a pastor, my church is a place to equip those who build God’s kingdom. What’s in your toolbox? Find those tools and relationships that fit your soul.  Its not about doing things, even if they are good things. Its all about growing closer to Christ Look and your passions, those things of the spirit that energize and interest you. Then, look for new opportunities to use your tools to grow in faith.  FOLLOW YOUR CALLING to your workplace!

The new focus of this blog is common sense equipping for the thought-Full Christian. Watch this blog for sensible equipping resources and challenges. I’m always up for suggestions.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.Colossians 3:23

(c) Alan Van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”, 2021 all rights reserved.