Feb
04
2010
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Kairos Winter Retreat Feb. 28

celticcrosssky

Join Kairos Community for a day of connecting with the Source.

Where: Upper Tinicum Lutheran Church Parish House 1426 Bridgeton Hill Road, Upper Black Eddy (Lat/long for GPS 40.561731, -75.114597)

When: Sunday, February 28 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Chronos, not Kairos time). Please plan on arriving early so we can get our coffee*, etc.  We would like to start promptly at 9 a.m.

Who: Interested adults and teens. Feel free to invite others or bring a friend.  This is an adult event. No child care will be provided.

Leader: Pat Herbst has been a spiritual director for many years and formerly was a pastoral assistant and educator at Assumption B.V.M. parish in Colesville, outside Bethlehem. She’s excellent!

Cost: Asking for donation of $25 per person to cover costs.

For more information contact Bob via email.

Dec
05
2009
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Advent: sharing our blessings

blue candlesLast week we began our Advent journey by exploring the “good news” that Jesus came to proclaim, the prophecy of Isaiah that he brought to life in front of a hometown crowd:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

We saw that the people of Nazareth found Jesus’ “good news” – God’s favor for the poor, the blind, and the outsiders, not just for them – to be bad news. (Luke 4:14:30, http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=126423915)

We also started a benevolent project, using an Advent Giving Calendar that we distributed. This calendar asks us to look at what we have been blessed with and then respond with a small gift for those who are less fortunate. Together, we’re collecting the coins the calendar asks us to set aside, and after Christmas we will pool the resources and decide on a worthy cause to support.

You can download the calendar here: http://goodrichdesign.net/adventgivingcalendar.htm

Don’t worry if you didn’t start on the first day. Just jump in where you are. You can always catch up if you desire. Whatever you can do is a way to embody Christ’s message and “bring good news to the poor.”

Written by Bob Fisher in: advent,being church,gatherings,lent,service,spirituality |
Nov
22
2009
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Persistent faith

Luke 18:1-8

“Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.”

Last week’s Kairos explored this parable, in which Jesus calls the disciples to persistent prayer. In this story, Jesus tells of a widow denied justice by a judge. She keeps going back to him, petitioning for justice. Eventually this judge gives her what she asks for. Not because he respects God or wants to do justice, but essentially to get this woman off his back. Jesus caps the story by saying the God, who loves us more than the judge cares for the widow, will be even quicker to respond to our cries for justice.

As we discussed this, several of us admitted to being uncomfortable with badgering God for what we want. One of the group expressed it well: “If I’m resting in my faith that God is supporting me all the time, then continually asking for what I want seems to mock that trust.” Someone else pointed out that the widow is seeking “justice,” not her own advantage; perhaps that is an acceptable thing to ask for.

Another question came up: Does Jesus have a deeper meaning in telling us to “pray always and not lose heart”?  What could he be pointing to? The parable’s example of asking for justice, and our discussion about asking for our needs/wants, are focused on outward circumstances, looking for God’s intervention in our external world. What would it look like if we focused Jesus’ example on our internal reality? (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,gatherings,spirituality,worship |
Nov
09
2009
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What are you expecting?

Last night @Ka1r0s, Maria led a wonderful devotion on Luke 7:18-35. There’s a lot going on here in this story of John the Baptizer sending his disciples to check Jesus out, to see if he is really the one they have been waiting for. If you weren’t with us, read the story. (Go ahead, click the link above. I’ll wait….)

Do you notice fear, or human attempts to direct God, or other dynamics at work in this story? What do you make of Jesus’ response to John’s challenge — “Are you the one? Or are we still waiting?” Note how Jesus heals and restores, then asks “Is this what you were expecting? If so, you are fortunate.”

John was the one who initially “got” Jesus’ message, so if he is confused, I guess we shouldn’t feel so bad about our wondering and wandering.

Be honest, is Jesus what you expect? Did you sign on for the last being first (and the first, last)? For finding your life by losing it? For letting go of the attachments that bind you? Where do your expectations get in the way of listening to Christ? What expectations do you have that draw you to him?

Let’s discuss. Drop your thoughts in the comments.

Written by Bob Fisher in: announcements,being church |
Sep
28
2009
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For us or against us?

Sunday’s and Monday’s readings repeat the story of the unknown follower casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and the disciples attempt to stop him.

Both renderings are very much the same. The disciples come across someone they don’t know using the Master’s name to heal. What would you do in this situation? For the disciples the answer is clear: This fellow isn’t following Jesus with them (and to be fair, they seem to be pretty much alone in this journey, against a lot of powerful opposition), so they try to stop him. They might be thinking this man could be a spy attempting to draw them out and make them know to authorities who could stop them, or they may be afraid that he is using Jesus’ name incorrectly, or maybe their identities as the closest followers of Christ are threatened. But the bottom line is that they make “being one of us” more important than “doing the work of Jesus.”

Read more and join the conversation at Bob’s blog.

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,spirituality |
Jun
18
2009
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Praying together

Today’s Gospel reading is the story of Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray.

Reading this story again this morning, I was struck by the fact that Jesus is teaching his followers to pray as a community. That’s easy to miss in our highly individualistic culture, where we think about my food, my debts, my God. Jewish culture was communal, and Jesus is teaching the disciples to pray corporately. Listen: “Our Father…” “Give us daily bread…” “Forgive us our debts…” “Rescue us from evil…”

Jesus was, of course, brilliant. This focus gives the prayer the shape of the cross, reaching up to God and down to us, of course, but also opening its arms wide to embrace all of God’s people around us. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,spirituality |
Apr
11
2009
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Walking for Hunger

100_3642

Thanks to the dedicated kairos saints who did the annual Hunger Walk in Philadelphia this Holy Saturday.  The kairos team raised approx. $500 with their efforts.  A great example to all of us as we start this Easter season!

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,service |
Jan
13
2009
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Leaving our nets

Join us for our monthly community worship service this Sunday, January 18, at 10:30 a.m. at United Friends School (1018 W. Broad Street) in Quakertown.

Baptism is not just our entrance into the life of God but our daily task. St. Paul writes that in baptism we take on Christ’s death as well as his life. Martin Luther saw remembering and renewing baptism as a daily ritual. That’s great theory, but what does it mean for us? We’ll look at that question through the story of the calling of Jesus’ first disciples — Peter, Andrew, James and John.

Join us for a time of praise, engaging the story, prayer and fellowship this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Children’s activity will be provided. Please bring an offering to cover our expenses and donate to the Quakertown Food Pantry.

Need info? Contact Bob by email.

Written by Bob Fisher in: announcements,being church |
Dec
07
2008
2

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone whose generosity and effort helped us to assemble more than 100 gift bags for boys and girls served by local food pantries.  (And also to those who helped serve clients and rake leaves at BCHG.) We had a great time assembling the goodie bags today, followed by caroling and lunch. Thanks to you, a lot of boys and girls will have something under the tree this Christmas! See more photos after the jump or at our Flickr photoset. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,service |
Sep
11
2008
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Live. Serve. Grow.

The URL of our website — liveservegrow.info — may not exactly roll of the tips of your typing fingers. You might wonder why we use this address, since it doesn’t point anyone to Christians @ Large directly. Over time, it has become clear to me that this website name describes our approach to the life of faith in a simple trajectory: Live. Serve. Grow. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: announcements,being church,service,spirituality |
Feb
06
2008
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Be different this Lent

Reading: Joel 2:12-18

Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. – Joel 2:13

For a season in my life Lent was about sacrifice: dropping extra change in a collection box or giving up dessert. Later it was about taking on something for God (sometimes another job in the church). This year I hear a more personal call from God, an invitation not to do anything but to be different.

God’s call is intimate. “Rend your hearts and not your clothing,” verse 13 begins. God always looks past the external things we like to show the world (and God), and knows and accepts us as we really are. God’s desire is that we come to know him more fully, not that we look like we’re sacrificing (though the two can go hand-in-hand).

God’s call is also communal. “Gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children.” That’s why Christians @ Large will gather this Friday for the imposition of ashes and to be on holy ground with our merciful, loving God who relents from punishing.

Lent (which begins today, Ash Wednesday) has traditionally been a time of spiritual renewal and clarifying our place in God’s story. If you think about a Lenten “discipline,” consider a practice that will change who you are, not just what you do.

  • You could start or recommit to a daily time of reading Scripture and prayer. (The pray-as-you-go podcasts and the daily readings linked from our website at are good places to start.)
  • Try spending more of your prayer time listening to God, and less time talking. Notice what feelings and longings Scripture brings up in you, and let that guide your conversation with God.
  • If you are led to give something up for Lent, consider what changes would be good for you not just for 40 days but as permanent changes, and use the discipline of Lent to help you make your life more sustainable.
  • Pay more attention to what God is doing in and around you. The prophet Joel’s call summons brides and bridegrooms to leave their wedding for the assembly, which simply means that God uses our willingness to pay attention to him to shape our lives.

May this Lent be a time of refreshing our faith, clarifying who we are as people created by God, and renewing our commitment to live in the Way of Jesus.

God’s peace,

Bob

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,lent,spirituality |
Nov
30
2007
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Advent greetings!

This Sunday begins Advent, the time in the rhythm of the church when we anticipate with joy, wonder and awe the reality that God is with us.

At our pre-Advent “big worship” we talked about the importance of creating space to encounter Christ in the run-up to Christmas. Creating space for God in our lives is a spiritual discipline. I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I hear the word discipline. I’m terrible at building new habits, and I beat myself up if — no, when — I don’t do it perfectly, and end up giving up too soon.

Here’s some good news: I’m learning through my spiritual journey that God nurtures gently. Jesus promised that his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). That means that we are freed from the “need” we feel to get our relationship with God “right.”

Here’s more good news: Creating space for God isn’t a law that has to make us busier than we already are. It isn’t yet another thing to do. The amazing truth is that we make room by paying attention to what God is already doing in, around and through us. Our God comes to us all the time, where we are, and invites us to receive his Spirit and align our will with his. And if we don’t accept, God keeps inviting, because his desire is not to burden us with ceaseless striving but to teach us what Matthew 11:29 calls (in The Message) “the unforced rhythms of grace.”

As you journey through Advent this year I invite you to join me in the life-giving discipline of noticing and celebrating what God has done and is doing, right here and now. It doesn’t matter whether you do that by reading more of the Bible, praying around your own Advent wreath, using the rituals in our C@L devotional booklet, spending time in nature or some other practice that seems right to you. The key is noticing what God is up to, and asking for what you need to cooperate with the work he is doing in you. Our God is faithful, and if you attend to your relationship with him he will return the favor.

Just one thing. Be gentle with yourself in the process, as gentle as your Savior is.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matt. 11:28-30 (The Message)

Have a blessed Advent,

Bob

Written by Bob Fisher in: advent,being church,spirituality |
Oct
03
2007
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Better than average

Sitting on Bob and Barbette’s patio last Friday night, watching candles flicker while crickets provided the soundtrack for our guided meditation, I was overwhelmed by … gratitude. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church |
Sep
30
2007
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Photoset

I’ve started collecting photos of our community life on Flickr. You can view the CAL photoset here.

Written by Bob Fisher in: announcements,being church |
Sep
04
2007
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Thanks to our “Laborers”

Labor1

Labor for the Lord was a success again this year. (As you may know, we took on significant service projects the last three Labor Day weekends at St. James Lutheran Church.) We had 16 volunteers all or part of the day, and we transported about 20 boxes of food over to the Quakertown Food Pantry. Here’s Suzanne’s update on our service efforts:

Hello All,

Two bits of good news.

First our offering to the Liberty Center for Victims
of Torture was $121. I sent It off last week.

Second our food drive at Boyers grocery store for the
Quakertown Food Pantry on Saturday was a big success.
We took three car loads of food and some cash
donations to the pantry. The shelves are a lot less
empty. The group’s president Donna Berger and manager
Mary Mack were thrilled and send thanks to you all.
Hopefully we will have a picture or two up soon.

Again thank you to all who participated both of these
efforts. God’s love got spread just a little bit
farther!
Suzanne

OK, here are more pictures:

Labor2

Labor3

And from our previous Food Pantry work day at Giant:

Giant1

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,service |
Jul
29
2007
1

Happy 6 months, C*A*L

CAL celebration small

It’s been six months since [christians*at*large] started our Friday night gatherings. In that time we’ve matured as a worshipping community, sharing prayer, Biblical reflection, song and service — and some pretty good suppers, too!. We celebrated this milestone with a birthday cake at our July 27 gathering. It has been a wonderul, if chaotic, journey so far…and it will be exciting to see where the Spirit leads us in the next six months! Please continue to pray for our ongoing discernment as a community.

(more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: announcements,being church,gatherings |
Jun
24
2007
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Being, doing, knowing

How do we grow?

Over the last few weeks we’ve been having conversation about how we are the body of Christ together. The other week Maria led us in a great vision brainstorming session. As she asked, “How do we enfold our values into our lives, or ‘walk the walk’?”

That night we identified a few shared values we bring to C*A*L, including:

  • Christ-centered living — discipleship
  • Contemplation/Prayer
  • Scripture/Study
  • Relationships/Community
  • Outreach/Action
  • Openness/Questioning
  • Generosity
  • Others?

Whether you’ve been part of organized conversations or not, your values and your dreams are important to the life of our community. So what do you think? What would you add to the list? How would you see us living into these values? Drop a comment here or drop me an email at bob [at] liveservegrow [dot] info.

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,gatherings |
Apr
08
2007
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Alleluia!

Easter Vigil 2007

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

CAL’s Easter Vigil was a fun, relaxed and very meaningful worship experience. I’ve long loved the vigil because of its history — it’s one of the most ancient Christian services we know of, and was the time when the candidates for baptism (or catechumens) completed their instruction and were brought to the font. It’s also incredibly beautiful, wrapping up the essentials of the faith — God’s saving actions for his people, our entrance into a new life in the kingdom through baptism, and Christ’s continued presence with us in the community, its prayer, and in bread and wine. I’ve been to a number of vigils, some quite formal and well done, but this one was the best: Deep, ancient, reverent worship that engaged children in meaningful ways. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,gatherings |
Mar
05
2007
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Ahead of our time?

Could it be that the intellectual progenitor of small, intentional Christian communties might be — Martin Luther?

In 1526, in the famous treatise in which he outlined one of his most important contributions to the Church (the liturgy in German, the language of the people, instead of just Latin, the language of the priests), Brother Martin outlined a third kind of “service” the Church needed — essentially a “house church!” Take a look at this snippet:

Those, however, who are desirous of being Christians in earnest, and are ready to profess the Gospel with hand and mouth, should register their names and assemble by themselves in some house to pray, to read, to baptize and to receive the sacrament and practise other Christian works.

We can say that what we’re doing isn’t “new,” and it’s “Lutheran.” Read more of Luther’s vision below.

(more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church |
Mar
05
2007
2

Food for thought

One of the real blessings for me over the last couple of years has been the opportunity to explore the “emerging church” phenomenon. I’ve visited a number of communities that are experimenting with what it means to be the Church in a culture that’s no longer church-centered. I’ve gotten to know pastors, professors, seminarians and lay people who are trying some brave, inspired experiments — in house churches, churches within churches, new mission plants. Being a geek about this sort of stuff, I’ve read a lot, too 🙂

The bottom line is: We’re not the only faith community asking the questions we’re asking, questions like: What is church? What does faith formation look like today? Leadership? How do we structure ourselves for mission (instead of maintenance) while not weighing ourselves down too much? We have lots of companions on this journey.

Our questions require ancient-future answers. Looking back at the biblical witness, the story of how the early Church wrestled with these questions in their time and place, is important. So is looking around to see how faithful Christians here and now are finding answers (and more questions!).

So here are some articles I’ve found recently that might help us advance our discussion. If some of the topics are near to your heart, take a few minutes to read some of these pieces and let’s talk!

Happy feasting!

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church |

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