Search This Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2016


For my current series of Sunday lessons, entitled “Life as Art” I am embracing the metaphorical image of God as the Master Artist of all creation, the great Mind in which all creation is envisioned and from which all creation is expressed in its divine potential.

The Master Artist envisioned each of us as an individuated expression of Itself. We call that individuated expression the “soul.” The soul is the aspect of us that is the image-likeness of God. Charles Fillmore, the cofounder of Unity, said, “In its original and true sense, the soul of man is the expressed idea of man in Divine Mind.

In his book, Spiritual Economics, author and Unity minster Eric Butterworth, says,

“You are already created in the image-likeness of God, not can be if you speak a lot of positive affirmations of Truth. Your true image is not something to get; it is reality to discover. There is that of you that is the likeness of God. It is your “I-Am-age.” This is what you really are, what you have always been.”

Borrowing from Butterworth, I have chosen as the title for my lesson this Sunday, “The Art of I-Am-age-ing.” I had originally considered titling it “The Art of Imagining,” but when I remembered this quote, I felt more inspired by this idea. The true power in the faculty of imagination, one of the Twelve Powers of Man discerned by Charles Fillmore, is our ability to first conceive of the essence of our divine nature -- our soul. Once we imagine the magnificence of our soul, then we use our power of imagination to envision the divine potential, the qualities of God, innate within us. Further, through the power of imagination we imagine ways in which our divine potential might be expressed in manifestation. Then we can receive inspiration that will inform our thoughts, words and actions so that we can be in service to our souls, thus be in service to God.

Our soul, our “I-Am-age,” is like a seed that is encoded with the energy of God. It embodies the full potential of what we are here to express. Just as an apple seed, when planted in fertile soil and nurtured, will produce an apple tree, so it is with our souls. The “soil” in which the seed of our souls must be planted is the conscious awareness of our hearts and minds. Once “planted” we must continue to nurture it with our focused attention through prayer, meditation, contemplation and mindfulness. This is the foundation of the practice of “I-Am-age-ing,” in other words, putting the awareness of our “I-Am-age” into action.

Through this practice, we begin to embody the energy of the soul and connect consciously with its divine attributes and the unique expression of God that we are here to express. As I said in last week’s post: “Your soul is God’s work of art. What you do with it is your work of art. Through your expression of your soul, you are God’s gift to the world.”  Author and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson stated this eloquently in her book, A Return to Love, “We are here to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us…” You are the Glory of God. You are God’s masterpiece.

Are you ready to create a work of art that reflects the majesty of your soul? Are you ready to embrace yourself as God’s masterpiece? Are you ready to live your full potential? Are you ready to share your soul as God’s gift to the world? If the answer is ‘YES’ I encourage you to be with us for the remainder of this six-week series as we delve deeper into the practices that can assist us in living “Life as Art.”

Please join us at 10:00 this Sunday as I explore more fully the practice of “The Art of I-Am-age-ing.”

If you missed last week’s lesson, you may listen to it here, or watch it here. Future messages will be published soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Art of Believing

This Sunday, April 24, I will begin a series of lessons entitled, “Life as Art.” I was inspired, in part, by a video I discovered on The Work of the People website. It is an interview with author, entrepreneur and thought leader, Erwin Raphael McManus. After viewing the video, I downloaded one of his books, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life Into A Work Of Art, and have been perusing it since. Even though the book is written from a traditional Christian perspective, I highly recommend it.

In his book, McManus asserts that each of us is born with what he calls an “artisan soul.” His belief is, that because we are created in the image and likeness of the Creator, that each of us is here to create. He says,

“To create is to be human. To create is to fulfill our divine intention. To create is to reflect the image of God. To create is an act of worship. So, who is an artist? Anyone who has a soul. What the qualifications for being an artist? You guessed it – having a soul.”

“The soul is that part of us that longs for and connects with the transcendent. Our soul is the space that contains the universe within us. The soul is the creative space from which humans create the future. The soul is the essence of being human.”

McManus further states that “we will never create anything more powerful or significant than our own lives.”

As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.

Your soul is God’s work of art. What you do with it is your work of art. Through your expression of your artisan soul you are God’s gift to the world.

This does not mean that we will all create paintings that will hang in museums or sculptures that will be displayed in gardens. Those are certainly expressions of artisan souls, yet each of us, as unique and wondrous creations of the master Creator, is here to express in our own way. Your gift to the world may be through sharing acts of compassion and kindness, caring for the environment, facilitating learning, or giving in a multitude of other ways that God, the Creative Life Force, may express as you.

In order to create our life as a work of art, we must begin by practicing “The Art of Believing,” which is the title of my lesson this Sunday. defines ‘believe’ as “to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.” We must begin by having confidence in the Truth of the existence of our artisan soul even though we do not have empirical evidence of it. This is also a definition of ‘faith.’ Without belief or faith in ourselves as creative beings created in the image and likeness of our Creator, we limit ourselves from the get-go. Additionally, we must believe that we enjoy eternal unity in God, our Source, and that what we share from our artisan soul is God’s gift to the world through us.  The master teacher Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). When we believe on God and in ourselves as God’s masterpiece, we can create our life as a work of art that reflects the Creative Life Force that is God expressing as each of us.

Practicing the “Art of Believing” also requires us to have confidence in our innate abilities, also known as our 12 Powers¹.  As we develop and use these powers we have the tools to make our life a work of art. Believing in and employing our God-endowed abilities are means of bringing the invisible nature of our artisan soul into visibility.

I am excited about the way in which this series is revealing itself to me, and I look forward to sharing it with you. Over the course of the next six weeks, we will explore what it means for us to create our lives as works of art through topics beginning with “The Art of Believing,” and continuing with “The Art of Imagining,” “The Art of Allowing,” “The Art of Aligning,” “The Art of Remembering,” and “The Art of Becoming.”

I hope you will join us for this journey into the power of creating “Life as Art.” I trust that we can support each other in awakening to and expressing our divine artisan souls.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

STOP! Don't Change Your Thinking

Most of us are familiar with the popular adage that says “Change your thinking; change your life.” As far as I can discern this phrase was first introduced by author and self-development trainer, Brian Tracy, in the book by the same name. Popular self-help author and motivational speaker, Dr. Wayne Dyer, later popularized the idea in his best-selling book, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life. Subsequently, other speakers and authors, including Pastors Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen, have propagated this teaching in the more mainstream conservative religious movement. Of course, the idea did not begin with any of them. The belief in the power of our thoughts dates back centuries and forms the foundation for the New Thought movement of which Unity is a part.

In fact, one of Unity’s five basic principles, as stated on the website is “We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.” In her book, The Five Principles, Unity minister and author Reverend Ellen Debenport restates this principle as, “Human begins create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.” As a result of this teaching, we as students of Unity spend a great deal of time and energy attempting to control our thinking in an effort to create the life experiences we desire.

Simply stated, changing our thinking changes our experiences. The principle is that we experience life as a result of our beliefs, which are established according to the thoughts we habitually think. Many of us who have been a part of the movement for some time have read books, attended various workshops, classes and retreats, all promising to teach us how to “change our thinking” in order that we may manifest the lives we desire. We have learned how to use denials to clear our minds of limiting thoughts and to use affirmations to fill our minds with positive thoughts that assist us in demonstrating our desires. While they are beneficial, there are times our thinking has not significantly changed after years of using the tools of denials and affirmations. It then becomes easy to wonder just how long it will take and how much effort must be exerted in order to make the changes we desire. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “You cannot solve the problem with the same mind that created it.”

While it is true that our way of thinking greatly impacts what we experience, there is more to the story and it is now time for us to move beyond focusing solely on the mind. It is time for us to shift the focus of awareness to our heart. This does not mean that we have to dismiss the foundational philosophy of Unity. We are being called to build on that foundation, expand our awareness, and embrace yet another level of understanding. Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity very clearly stated that we cannot change our thinking by relying on “the thinking faculty located in the head.” He stated,

“The most important power of man is the original faith-thinking faculty. We all have the thinking faculty located in the head, from which we send forth thoughts, good, bad, and indifferent. If we are educated and molded after the ordinary pattern of the human family, we may live an average lifetime and never have an original thought. The thinking faculty in the head is supplied with the secondhand beliefs of our ancestors, the dominant beliefs of the race, or the threadbare stock of the ordinary social whirl. This is not faith-thinking. Faith-thinking is done only by one who has caught sight of the inner truths of Being, and who feeds his thinking faculty upon images generated in the heart.

Faith-thinking is not merely an intellectual process, based upon reasoning. The faith-thinker does not compare, analyze, or draw conclusions from known premises. He does not take appearances into consideration. He is not biased by precedent. His thinking gives form, without cavil or question, to ideas that come straight from the eternal fount of wisdom. His perception impinges upon the spiritual and he knows.” – Charles Fillmore, Keep A True Lent

The thoughts that come from the thinking faculty located in the head originate in the hard drive that is the subconscious mind. Similar to the hard drive in a computer, the subconscious takes in and records information from various sources, primarily from our families of origin, collective consciousness, and whatever we choose as our source of information and entertainment, whether television, movies, novels, or other. This hard drive becomes the source of our thinking. Unlike the computer hard drive, however, there is no convenient and effective ‘delete’ button for the subconscious. We have done our best to delve into the subconscious mind and eliminate the beliefs that do not serve us. And, at times we have stimulated a great deal of pain and suffering for ourselves in the process. It is time for us to STOP.

It is now time to embrace the fact that this method does not produce permanent positive effects. It is futile to believe that by using the mind we can change the mind. It is time for us to accept this, let go of the struggle and, as Mr. Fillmore said, allow the thinking faculty to be filled with images generated in the heart, which is the seat of true wisdom. It is time to embrace a new paradigm, and begin to allow the heart, not the head, to be the source of our thinking.

We achieve this, not be resisting the thoughts or by attempting to change them, but by surrendering to them. When thoughts arise, we can invite the wisdom of the heart to take the lead by taking a deep breath and feeling the breath move into the region of the physical heart. Mr. Fillmore said the physical heart is the representation of the Divine Heart which is the source of all. He said, “God is the great heart of the universe.” As we feel the heart center expanding with the breath, we can imagine the energy of Love as a light that emanates from the heart. As we allow the Light of Love to extend from the heart into the region of the head, we see that light cleansing the head-centered thinking, and filling the thinking faculty with images from the heart. We then breathe into the images, allowing them to reveal themselves to us without evaluating, analyzing or comparing them to the things the head-thinking faculty has stored and thinks it knows. We relax and allow the heart wisdom to be the source of our thinking.

These images may at first seem foreign and we may not immediately comprehend them. This is normal. In response, the head-thinking faculty will typically attempt to categorize these images and make them fit into its usual way of interpreting things. It is important not to resist, but instead breathe even deeper into the awareness of the Love Light in the heart, continuing to allow it to reveal its true wisdom. In this way the heart-thinking (or faith-thinking) faculty is strengthened.

I encourage each of us to not work at changing our thinking. Instead, we allow our thinking to be changed by focusing on the true Source of all wisdom. In doing so, we use the power of Mind and Heart to bring into manifestation a world that reflects Divine Love and Wisdom. That is the Essence of each of us. When we do that our lives are changed and we live the extraordinary richness of a life centered in the heart.

J.D. Messinger is our very special guest speaker and workshop facilitator this coming Sunday, April 17. I hope you will join us for a day of exploration and discovery as he brings his powerful message, “The Binding Force – What binds is greater than what divides.” For more information, please visit his website –

On Sunday, April 24, I will begin a series of lessons entitled "Life is Art," focused on how we "create" our reality, including the power of thinking. I hope you will join me as we explore its deeper meaning and how we can apply it in our lives.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Did God Create Fear?

In my lesson this past Sunday I talked about fear and how fear restricts our awareness of and allowing of the abundant flow of universal energy into and through our lives. As I left the sanctuary a congregant asked, “Didn’t God create fear and isn’t it sometimes a good thing?” I am sure I am paraphrasing, but that is what stuck with me.

I have shared many times that I enjoy living in the question, seeking a deeper understanding of life and truth. I often find that living in the question stimulates more question than answers. But, since I enjoy living in the question that is what I have done the past few days.

I am excited to share some of my revelations with you. Please know that I fully realize that this is a complex question and that what follows may seem to be an oversimplification. I offer it as a starting point for dialog, not as a definitive answer.

What is ‘God’?

First, it is essential to know what we believe about God. As I stated in my lesson, no concept that our subjective minds can conceive of can capture the essence of that which is infinite. Our finite minds cannot grasp infinity. Although we do our best to express our experience of God, all attempts are nothing more than “vain imaginations.” ¹ As it says in the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching, the wisdom teaching of Chinese master Lao Tzu, states “the name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.” ² All words are merely symbols that we use to convey concepts. They are limiting and potentially restrict our experience of that which we are attempting to describe.

‘God,’  as I use the word, is a symbol for Life Energy, the Spirit and Substance which is no thing, yet is All; is formless, yet is the foundation for all form; is infinite yet can be experienced by the finite in our individuated conscious awareness.

Does God create?

Charles Fillmore, the cofounder of Unity, when talking about creation made the following statements, (Note: I have capitalized ‘Ideas’ when the term refers to Ideas of God Mind.)

“Created” means “ideated”…God does not create the visible universe directly, as a person makes a concrete pavement, but God creates the Ideas [emphasis mine] that are used by God’s intelligent “image and likeness” to make the universe. Thus, God’s creations are always spiritual.” ³

“God is a great mind reservoir that has to be tapped by the human mind [“God’s intelligent image and likeness”] and poured into invisibility through human thought or word.” ⁴

“Divine Ideas are man's inheritance; they are pregnant with all possibility, because Ideas are the foundation and cause of all that man desires.” ⁵

“Man's inheritance from God is Divine Ideas. These Ideas find expression, and the expression forms what man calls his good. Back of the expression is the Idea.” ³

I understand Mr. Fillmore to say that God, as we understand God, “created” a spiritual universe consisting solely of Divine Ideas. He uses the word “ideated” to make the distinction between what we think of as manifest creation, matter and the material world, and the realm of Spirit and Substance, which is formless. He also says that these Divine Ideas are the “foundation and cause for all that man desires.”  Further, that these Ideas find expression in what we call our good.

In summary, God is the Source of Divine Ideas that exemplify the possibility for all that we desire to experience. When we allow Divine Ideas to fill our minds, focus our awareness on them, and take action inspired by them, we bring into manifestation that which embodies the potential of those Ideas.

What is fear?

Psychology would tell us that fear is an emotional response stimulated by an actual or perceived threat to something we value. From a spiritual perspective, fear is an emotional response stimulated by thoughts and beliefs that are not in alignment with Divine Ideas.

Did God create fear?

Given the forgoing, I would have to say, ‘No, God did not create fear.’ God ideated a spiritual universe of Divine Ideas. I cannot conceive of ‘fear’ as a Divine Idea. Using Mr. Fillmore’s criteria, it neither forms the foundation for what we desire nor is it an expression of what I call my good. This is stated beautifully in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind.”

Is fear sometimes beneficial?

Fear is beneficial when we allow it to inform us of when we are out of alignment with Divine Ideas. As human beings, we are endowed with what Abraham-Hicks calls an Emotional Guidance System. Stated in my words, our emotions inform us whether or not our thoughts are in alignment with Divine Ideas. When we feel fear, which may be experienced as anxiety, dread, worry, and the like, we are entertaining thoughts, or ideas, that are not Divine Ideas. Conversely, when we are feeling love, which may be experienced as warmth, compassion, openness, and the like, our thinking is in harmony with Divine Ideas. Fear is helpful when we allow it to let us know when our thinking is in need of adjustment.

Also, fear, as an emotional response to an actual threat can be helpful. It can motivate us to take action to protect ourselves or another from harm.

How do we return from fear to love?

In the frequency of perfect Love which is a Divine Idea, there is no fear.⁶ Mr. Fillmore offers the following suggestion for moving from fear to love.

“If you are given to worry and anxiety, think about the fearless confidence and trust of the Spirit. This will at once relieve your mind of the thoughts that have stirred you, and the power of the Spirit will begin its work of straightening out your affairs. If you are overwhelmed with material work and the call of the outer world, stop and concentrate in the I AM and say: "I am Spirit. I do not believe in matter or material conditions. I have power, because I know that all power is in Divine Mind. Divine Mind now sets my thoughts and all my affairs in divine order, and I rest in the confidence and peace of the kingdom within." 7

An Invitation

I would love to know your thoughts about the ideas presented here. What is your experience of fear? What helps you to return to love from fear?

Please join for our 10:00 service on Sunday as we explore further how we can “Return to Love.”

¹ Romans 1:21
² Translation by Stephen Mitchell
³ Mysteries of Genesis
⁴ Jesus Christ Heals
⁵ Christian Healing
⁶ 1 John 4:18

7 Atom Smashing Power of Mind