All posts by meadow4

Life changes in the blink of an eye and it seems we are never fully prepared!

 by Bob Arnold

              

In January of this year I was diagnosed with a form of aggressive prostate cancer. In my biopsy, the doctor did 12 probes and all 12 probes had cancer. The cancer was on a Gleason Scale 9 out of 10 with 10 being the most       aggressive form. In the next few weeks I began all kinds of medical tests to see if the cancer had  metastasized. Fortunately, it had not spread to any parts of my body. At the same time, I begin an inner journey of what it meant to have cancer. When I was first told, I was in a state of shock. My first thoughts were that perhaps I had done all that I would be able to do in my lifetime.  As I had further thoughts of death, I thought maybe that would not be so bad. I would join the many friends and my beloved daughter who had died before me. It seemed like an exciting prospect.

  But my thoughts began to shift. Because of being so much of a people person, I so much wanted to share my journey with others. God thought otherwise. He wanted this to be an issue between Him, myself and Jeanne. In the days ahead I spent great amounts of time being with Him, receiving His compassion and care. I began to contemplate what I would need to do to be cured of my cancer. My doctor recommended robotic surgery and completely removing my prostate because of the extent of my disease. After much research and a better understanding of prostate cancer I took my doctor’s advice and had the surgery on February 20th. I had little effects from the surgery and spent the night reading a book on Aquinas and Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton. The doctor was able to remove the cancer from the prostate except for some that had overflowed from the prostate onto nearby tissue. After I heal from the initial surgery I will undergo radiation later this year to eradicate the remaining cancer cells. 

  Over the last few months while still doing the ministry at The Meadow, I spent a great deal of time contemplating and praying through the many emotional and spiritual issues of life after cancer. Suffering is an emotional and spiritual battle, but I became aware of the energy that suffering creates. It is energy that gives you a new look into life. I became very aware of the shortness of life. We all know that life is short but when confronted with our own death, we have a deeper insight into life’s shortness and frailties. I did not suffer from a sense that my life was wasted and that now I need to make up for all that was lost. Just the opposite was true.  I felt tremendous thankfulness of how God had rescued my life and that He had given me a great vision for working for His kingdom. I had been given this great opportunity to make a difference in others’ lives. Over 40 years at Youth for Christ, I had many opportunities to impact young people with the message and love of Jesus Christ. My ministry in Maryland and around our country and the world were things I could have never dreamed of. 

  In the past few months, even though the surgery was physically successful, I was faced by my own dark night of the soul. To me the dark night of the soul is a time when God walks you through spiritual battles. In the past few days, I was made aware that all I’ve been going through was a time of preparation for the remainder of my life. The energy created by suffering has created more compassion and mercy especially for those who face difficulties. In 2 Corinthians these words have never rung more true; “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”  As I move into the next phase of life, I see it as a time to walk even deeper into the depths of God’s love. The energy I received from my suffering will be energy directed to give hope to people in life’s sufferings.   I thank God for an amazing wife, an amazing family and great friends and also the ministry of The Meadow. I will continue to use my gifts and The Meadow to inspire people to embrace God’s love and compassion and to help people enrich their relationship with Jesus Christ.

End of the year Letter

The mystery of the Incarnation is unfathomable. The incomparable Christ existed before man.  Yet what we see in the manager is the human face of God. God took on flesh to show us what God was like.
He came as a man, yet was fully God and by example, helped us understand what Love  truly is. His ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross was not just an act to reconcile us to the Father, but it was also His greatest gift of Love.  The Christmas story continues to be written in all of us and it isn’t just one day a year.

Through His Son,  He came with great desires for us to become like Him!

  • He Forgives us

  • He Cleanses us

  • He Enriches us

  • He Enlightens us

  • He makes us Beautiful

     

    As the year comes to an end we want to take the time to sincerely thank everyone who has partnered with us as we continue building a community centered around growing in Christ.  If you have the desire to partner with us by joining our SEEDS community or with a financial gift, Please give me a call to find out more.  I’d love to hear your stories of how God is moving in your life.  In Christian community we can become more like Him and continue to heal the broken-hearted by sharing the greatest gift of all . . . Christ’s LOVE!

We thank God for you and wish you a Very Merry Christmas!
Bob & Jeanne Arnold

P.S, The Meadow has graciously been given a $30,000 matching gift.  All gifts through 2018 will be matched up to $30,000.  This means The Meadow could be blessed to start the new year with $60,000!  Please consider supporting this campaign!  Your gift supports our efforts to continue to grow this community and spread His love to a world that deeply needs Christ’s compassion, and hope!  Thanks again and remember to let the “Son” shine in your life today and always!

www.meadow4.org/donate

 

His Love Never Runs Out

“To find the true fulfillment we so desperately seek, is to choose to walk in love—to actually put love into action by reaching out and loving others.  Every day can be exciting if we see ourselves as God’s secret agents, waiting to sprinkle a little salt on all the lives we encounter. And we know that because we are deeply loved by God, we can never run out of love—no matter how much we give away. ”
Joyce Myers

If and When We Change

“Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.”

  • Richard Rohr

O, To Be Open by Brian Zahnd

Blind man at the gate

O to be open
It’s what the wise ones seek
It’s what the great souls attain

What’s a saint?
An Open One
Saint Francis and Mother Teresa were
Open
Open to God, open to Creation, open to the Other

We’re all born open — wide-eyed and wide open
What’s an infant?
An Open One
Wonder, learning, and love come easy to a
Child

But then we suffer the blows
And begin to
Close

By the time we’re a teen
We’re mostly tight shut
Happy or sad
A clam inside a shell

Now the task begins
The task of a lifetime
The task of becoming
Open

O to be open
An old one open again
Open to wonder, learning, and love
To grow open is to grow young

Much is against openness
Vested interests stake much on keeping us
Tight shut
The talking heads of the tight shut tell us of
Right and Wrong, Black and White, Us and Them
Who is In and who is Out
Their words are a slamming door
BAM!
Tight shut!

To live in the world of the tight shut is called
Certainty and security, clarity and conformity
It’s also death
To live there is to shrivel your soul
To die there is—
Well, I don’t know

I do know that to save my soul
I must become open
Open to God’s all-encompassing love
I cannot afford to slam the door
To shut the door on “them”
Is to lock myself in hell’s closet

O to be open

Where does the first crack of openness come from?
It could come from anywhere
A poem, a heartbreak, a sunset really seen
A song, a sermon, a mercy freely received
A birth, a death, a person fully loved
Let openness get its foot in the door
And it’ll begin to shovel in the grace

Open to the openness
The openness of God
The openness of light
The openness of love

Life is open
(Ever unfolding)
Death is closed
(A sealed tomb)

Heaven is open
(Its gates will never be shut)
Hell is closed
(Abandon all hope ye who enter)

Jesus is the Usher of Openness
He holds the keys of Hell and Death
To set its prisoners free
May he loose us and lead us into
The Great Openness of God

O to be open

brianzahndmainbookBrian Zahnd is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church, a non-denominational Christian congregation in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Brian and his wife, Peri, founded the church in 1981. Brian is also the author of several books, including, Water to WineA Farewell To Mars, Beauty Will Save the World, and Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness.

The Pressures of Life and Ministry

“I came to the Spiritual Development Forum at a critical time in my life. Somewhere along the way the pressures of life and ministry succeeded in overwhelming me and I had lost my way. All the right answers I had accumulated over years of ministry weren’t working anymore. The Forum and Bob’s teachings from the contemplative tradition helped reorient me. I came to see that God had an infinite supply of love to show me, not by taking me out of my struggles but by revealing his love to me through them. The Forum has helped ground me in a deeper spirituality far more stable than I have ever known. I highly recommend this path and the Forum as a guide to walking it.”

— Don Golden

LH13brGO
Don Golden is the co-author of Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile (with Rob Bell) and served as senior vice president of church engagement at World Relief in Baltimore, Maryland. His passion to help churches help the poor and oppressed has taken him to more than 60 countries. He also served as lead pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church from 2005 to 2008. Don and his wife, Lynn, have three daughters, Emily, Olivia, and Sophie and a dog named Buckwheat.

Why God Designed Me To Be Who I Am

As a church planter, and a Follower of Christ I have found the church lacking in it’s means to develop disciples that live out of a deeply rooted sense of relationship with God.  As a child and teenager my spirituality was little, to none existent.  When I came to know Christ at 18, I was longing to connect relationally to my Creator and I found hope in a Savior that would give His life for me and in surrendering myself to His deep love.  I yearned for, and strived to find and cultivate, a deep relationship with God, but church attendance, Bible studies, and even seminary failed to deliver.  I knew a lot about God, but still didn’t feel like I knew Him in a relational way.

The Spiritual Development Forum is led by people who are passionate about God and people, they are living proof that an ever growing intimacy with God is possible, and during my two year journey of development I was given: the opportunity to experiment with the ancient spiritual disciplines; practical exercises that helped me to understand how and why God designed me to be who I am, and most importantly, I was given very real means of falling more in love with God and experiencing His never ending love for me.

Rob Benson – Lead Pastor
Matt’s House Church a Re-Construction Zone

8982_862f3a60234a5ee3d98d19c3397c70f4_center

 

Matti’s Creed

I have been practicing the Christian faith for over 40 years. When I heard about the Spiritual Development forum, privately and foolishly I thought to myself that there would be little to gain by participating. What I did not appreciate was the eclectic, patchwork nature of  my world view .  SDF helped me to rewrite my narrative.   I actually wrote down a personal statement of faith from an amalgamation of SDF seminars.

SDF enabled me to reorganize my thoughts.  It even reworked my emotional life. Beginning with some of the first lectures, I was reminded from 1st Corinthians 13 that love is the foundational  element for everything else.  I realized through the study of the Enneagram that for  someone from the first Triad ,  like me, revitalizing an awareness of God’s love is critical. So my first step of my SDF Journey was to refocus on God’s love in order to fight off some of my perfectionist tendencies.

Using that framework The Forum next took me through a reworking of the process sometimes referred to as the Dark Night of the senses and spirit.  I was aware that there were items in my life competing for God’s love. I identified two in particular.  I needed to be cleansed of those other “lovers”, as I began to realize I am not who I had come to think of myself over the years.

In the end I created a personal creed,  “Matti’s Creed “. I pull it out and read it from time to time. It is a great Refresher. It is highly personal and highly reflective. It is just what I needed at this point in my life. I don’t even know what prompted me to write it down. I cling to my personal Creed as it keeps me grounded in the basic elements of faith essential to my unique situation. I’m grateful to have it. I’m grateful to the Spiritual Development Forum.

M.M. Paavola
2015 MAJ Trial Lawyer of Year
2015 Daily Record Leader in the Law Winner

matti

Faith, Hope & Love – Live Your Dreams

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

God has a plan for your life and it is greater than you can imagine.
Pray upon the Lord for guidance and direction.  He know the desires of your heart and His perfect will awaits!

Faith: It knows God can DO all Things
Hope: It knows that God desires to bring his very best to you
Love: It desires what God Desires

635905677386074784-1618317641_dream