#038: Contemplative Prayer – Episode 2 of 3 [podcast]

Meditation and contemplative prayer is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him whom we have found, who loves us, who is near to us, who comes to us to draw us to himself.
― Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer


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What is it like to really know God? Not just know about God but to know him, thoroughly and comprehensively in the most essential places of our souls?

What if there were a way to practice experiential knowledge of God? What if we could regularly encounter God on a level far deeper than creedal statements through a vibrant knowing of a faithful God, even when we are lacking confidence in his reliability? How do we find a way to regularly access the life of God even deeper than our cognitive representations of things and in a manner which has the power to change our actual experience of our everyday life?

Friends, Cherie and I are excited to welcome you into part two of a three-part Become Good Soil podcast series intended to be an onramp to the spiritual practice of centering prayer.

For the Kingdom,

Morgan and Cherie

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#037: Contemplative Prayer – Episode 1 of 3 [podcast]

All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.
–Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ


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I find it fascinating that when Jesus speaks of eternal life, it’s less often about a specific time or place where we transition into some other state of being and more often about a quality of life—robust, deep vitality—that is being made available to us, right here and right now. He offers this invitation to a rich young man who has found his trust in things of this world. (1) He regularly teaches the thirsty that the Kingdom of God is at hand. (2) He leans into this idea on the night of his betrayal and abandonment by the men closest to him.

In intercession for these same friends and for us, he cries out to his Father, “The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you.” (3)

If deep, whole-person union with God is the invitation and inheritance of Christianity, what are the means by which we respond to this invitation? How exactly do we go about entering into this union?

Join my wife, Cherie, and me as we explore some deep waters in part one of a three-part podcast series on the practice of contemplative prayer. Our hope is that together we can recover one of the greatest means of deeper union—and through it, deeper life—embedded in the rich history of God’s people through the ages.

 


(1) Matt. 19:16-30
(2) Matt. 3:2
(3) John 17:21 MSG

If you’d like to go deeper, here’s one resource that helped launch our journey into centering prayer: Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating.

 

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#036: Jonathan David Helser – Episode 3 of 3 [podcast]

Spontaneity is the fruit of preparation.

-Jonathan David Helser


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“Did you bring me out here in the storm to kill me?”

This pained and brutally honest prayer poured from Jonathan David Helser’s heart in the midst of a moment of exposure and hand-to-hand battle with the living God.

Jonathan explains,

Over the years, the Father has engineered circumstances to expose some of the core beliefs and lies that have tried to silence my heart. He has led me on a journey of initiation to excavate and transform these deep-seated beliefs in order that I might come into the fullness of life as it was meant to be.

Praying my most honest prayer gets me to my core beliefs.

And in response to “Did you bring me out here in the storm to kill me?” the Father spoke back this truth:

“I did not bring the disciples into the storm to kill them.

I brought them into the storm to kill their fear.

Son, I have brought you into the storm to kill the fear that lives in you.”

Join me in this final installment of a three-part journey of receiving more of the wild love of our Father alongside songwriter, musician, father, husband, and son, Jonathan David Helser.  

If you haven’t listened to part one or part two, you’ll want to start there.

Explore more of the treasures in this three-part series here:

JonathanHelser.com

18InchJourney.com

 

For the Kingdom,

Morgan

 

 

 

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#035: Jonathan David Helser – Episode 2 of 3 [podcast]

If we have a crisis in this country, it’s more than a fatherless crisis, though. It’s a crisis of manhood, of masculinity. It’s affecting our families, our schools, it’s filling our prisons, and it’s killing the hearts of our women.

Donald Miller


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Check out the news on any given day and you’ll find stories that illuminate a crisis of masculinity. It’s a crisis rooted in the loss of effective masculine initiation, for a boy does not become a good man on his own, but by the soul-food of loving mothers and the soul-forging of loving fathers.

Yet we are not without hope. God is ever faithful to supply provision for every problem. In pockets of redemptive communities around the world, God continues to turn the hearts of Kingdom-oriented fathers and mothers back toward those under their care and influence.

Jonathan and Melissa Helser are part of God’s provision to manifest the love of God on earth as it is in the Kingdom. Together, they offer servant leadership for a redemptive community in North Carolina and kingly care for an apprenticeship school for the next generation of Kingdom leaders, songwriters, and musicians.

Join me for part two of a three-part conversation with my friend and hero Jonathan David Helser.

If you haven’t listened to part one, you’ll want to start there.

Here are two options for digging deeper:

JonathanHelser.com

18InchJourney.com

For the Kingdom,
Morgan

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#034: Jonathan David Helser – Episode 1 of 3 [podcast]

When we worship, we silence the fear and declare who our father really is.

 -Jonathan Helser


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Messy could describe the first moment that God has with man. He gathers dirt in His hands to form Adam. There is dirt under God’s fingernails and then on God’s lips as He draws Adam close to breathe in His Spirit. What is it like for Adam when he opens his eyes and sees and feels God’s face pressed against his? Surely God is both willing and ready to get messy with us as He brings us close and breathes us to life…”

Friends, I am thrilled to invite you into an experiential journey in this three-part Become Good Soil podcast with songwriter, musician, father, husband and son, Jonathan David Helser. Through question, story, and worship, we will practice together venturing along the narrow road and the holy and sacred path of initiation as men.

To explore more of the treasures in this three-part podcast series, check out these other pages:

JonathanHelser.com

18InchJourney.com

For the Kingdom,

Morgan

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#033: The Slow and Steady with Dallas Willard and Michael Cusick [podcast]

The whole point is presence, the with-God life. That’s the real substance of our relationship with God.

–Dallas Willard, 1935-2013


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Amidst the clamor of contemporary life, there is the narrow path of slowing down and setting our souls before the insight of the elders. We can take heart: there are wise ones who have gone before us, men and women who have recovered the lost treasure of the Gospel and can effectively communicate it. Wise ones who now make known to us the path of Life.

Join me in this deep and rich interview with Dallas Willard and Michael Cusick and spend some time in the company of true elders. Michael is an ally of our Ransomed Heart team. As both president of Restoring the Soul and lead counselor of a team of like-hearted warriors, he is devoted to the restoration of the hearts of men. You can find out much more about Restoring the Soul and the retreats, intensive counseling opportunities, and marriage ministry they offer at RestoringTheSoul.com.

Here is just a sample of the realities Dallas and Michael touch on in this conversation:

  • How do God and His Kingdom usually work? What is God’s preference in the “how” of uniting heaven and earth in the kingdom of God? Rather than focusing on the ways God can work, what if we focused our energy on participating in the ways God prefers to manifest His kingdom on the earth?
  • Pascal said “all the troubles of the world come from the fact that people cannot go into a room, sit down, and be quiet.” Why is stillness important, and how can we participate in the art of sitting down and being quiet?
  • Solitude is a radical discipline that breaks the hold the world’s system has over us. Solitude suspends the activities that pull at us, distract us, and energize our unaware-of-God identities and habits. Dallas  and Michael explore how solitude is a reliable activity—within our power to do—that enables us to experience the with-God life through interactive knowing and being known.
  • Wholeness is the functioning of all aspects of the self in harmonious union. It’s what enables a person to be truly good, doing good under God.

If you’re interested in deeper restoration, I encourage you to connect with Michael Cusick and his team at Restoring the Soul.

Strength and Honor,
Morgan

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