Thoughts from the Back Porch: A work in progress…

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The view from the porch

This is a book outline and a work in  progress.    The hope is to describe a way to grow closer to God and, as a result, have a less anxious and more fulfilling life through establishing a sacred space and time to train your body and mind to be aware of God’s presence.  My example of this is my back porch.

Everyone needs a back porch.  This is any place of solitude where you can shake photo_4off the world’s garbage and think God sized thoughts. Mine is actually my back porch, complete with a desk and prayer benches. It is my “Friday office”.  It is where I write and study on my off days. Yours might be anywhere but if you don’t have a sacred space of your own, I hope this blog can be your back porch and provide you a safe starting place to seek God.  The ultimate goal of this exercise is to recognize God wherever we are.

Follow along and comment where you wish and see where this goes.  Better yet, apply the principles and watch your awareness of God grow.

Read it and use it thoughtfully but remember, “Thou shalt not steal”.

Copyright Alan Van Hooser 2015, so there.

Thoughts From the Back Porch: October 1, 2015

  This is the view from my back porch, my sacred spot. This is where I feel closest to God and can separate for a few quiet minutes each day. I Hope you have a sacred spot and find your time with God today. It makes a life of difference. Here’s whats on my heart today………

Just past the full of the “Blue Corn Moon”

Establish your sacred space out of doors whenever possible.  I am blessed to have a large yard that backs up to a wooded property to charge me up with calm. This is the view from the space that is engineered to center me on God  Dawn and dusk provide the best time for me to be immersed in  the presence of God.   Amazing things happen as God creates a new day right before your eyes.
This morning is dark, 60 degrees and silent. No air conditioners or wind interrupt the stillness. The only traffic is from farm workers and night shift-ers. I hear my first flock of geese for the year fly overhead. The only light is the full moon hanging high but still they cannot be seen. In that moment the unseen Creator is as real as those unseen geese

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The early risers go about their day

My scripture meditation is Exodus 3-Moses and his angelic messenger found in the burning bush. There is a difference between being still and simply being outside.  Moses, the prince of Egypt and convicted murderer, was now a humble hired son-in-law working at the family sheep business. His wandering was God ordained and went on for many years. However, when the voice of God spoke through this angel, he recognized both the speaker and the holiness of this place.

Moses was on Mr. Horeb, the mountain of God!  A sacred space set aside for the spiritual searcher. How many other hired men might have grumbled about their work all self absorbed and missed this moment with God almighty?   Did it take more than one try to get Moses to notice?   After so long Moses was blinded by self pity and poor self esteem, as suggested in  Verse 11 suggests.   It would be easy to lose sight of God in the midst of it all.
How many of my neighbor’s this morning  rushed out and missed this sacred time and the connection of  the invisible honking geese with the majesty of God?  How many bad days could be avoided by a mere 15 minutes of intentional stillness.   God brought Moses to that moment and changed his world.  Where will God meet you today and change yours?

IMG_5589My sacred spot  is a covered porch but yours could be a hammock, car or a spot near a window. I keep plants to nurture in my sacred spot, you might choose to surround yourself with icons, artwork or a place to write or study instead.  A bench in a public park can be as holy as a pew in a sanctuary.

Actively Seek your space and surround yourself with things that point you to God.  Rise a little early and intentionally give God some time-as little as 15 minutes make a difference.

Search your Bible and other books for those images and activities that lead you to true prayer.  The ultimate life skill in these matters if to craft your sacred spot wherever you are standing.

The point of this is not what you do in your sacred space but what being in that sacred space does to you.

c. Alan Van Hooser 2015

Thoughts From the Back Porch: September 11, 2015

This is the view from the back pback porch in fogorch, my sacred spot.  This is where I feel closest to God and can separate for a few quiet minutes each day. I Hope you have a sacred spot and find your time with God today.  Here’s whats on my heart…………

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,  they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;  planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.

-Psalm 92:12-13

Today is a mild and foggy day that brings the hope that the Texas furnace of summer wont last forever after all.  Each year I learn something new and this year it is plant propagation. My classroom is an array of pots and benches which hold the survivors of the herbs that I have tended since Easter. I have read books and studied article and videos but today I am thinking  of the many gardeners that have encouraged and taught me. This is my partial list. It is a good exercise for us all to make one of our own

Granny Mitchell could “steal” a pinch off of anything, stick it in a chipped coffee cup and make it grow.  Homer Johnston, Raymond Daigle, Herb and Mary Beth Stafford and St. Cecil Vincent could grow vegetables on a parking lot while I fought my crop of nutgrass in the richest soil.  My thoughts then go to those who could raise people like Jim Turley, Keith Witaker, My Dad and a thousand others… and ultimately to the master Gardener of hearts, Jesus Christ.

I tend to these plants to point me to the tending of disciples, especially myself.   How do I help tend God’s garden in such a way that faith is multiplied and roots deepen?  How about you?  Who is counting on you for tending and who is tending the garden of your heart?

This is not something left to the preacher.  You have someone in your life that needs encouragement, correction or education and, like me,  you need the same tending.  Plants you tend bear fruit for you.  You will receive these same spiritual blessings in the same measure when you give them to others in Jesus’ name!

My prayer is that you have a few minutes on your “porch” to recognize those people that need you and ask God to provide someone to be your heart-gardener.

May God’s grace grow lush and healthy around you, with an abundance to sack  up and share.

Great Site to learn:  Free Plants.com  Great Video:  Free from Propogation

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