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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Embracing a Higher Vision

I recently returned from spending a week attending the Unity South Central Region leadership conference at Unity Village which included keynote addresses from Howard Martin, Executive Vice President, Strategic Development, at HeartMath, LLC. Among other things, he presented information gathered from scientific experiments evidencing the energetic connection between humans, as well as with all other forms of life. Additionally, he shared educational and inspirational information about how our mental and emotional states impact the world around us.

The majority of what he presented was not strikingly new information to me, but hearing about the scientifically based evidence and seeing graphs and charts demonstrating the findings helped to re-energize my commitment to passionately share the Unity teachings.

Much of what he shared is further evidence of what our founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, and other New Thought pioneers taught more than 100 years ago. They did not require the proof of scientific experiments, which were not available at the time, but instead relied on personal experience and faith to be the “assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

The conference also included presentations from Jim Blake, CEO of Unity World Headquarters, and Rev. Donna Johnson, President and CEO of Unity Worldwide Ministries. Both Jim and Donna shared their excitement about the two organizations coming together in more powerful ways now that Unity Worldwide Ministries has relocated to the campus at Unity Village. They talked about their shared vision and commitment to working together more closely to uplift the Unity movement and expand and strengthen our sphere of influence around the world. I was inspired to hear that the organizations now have a joint vision statement. It is “A world powerfully transformed through the growing movement of shared spiritual awakening.”

On Wednesday evening, I, along with several hundred others, attended a rally at Unity Village Chapel. It was presented by the leadership team of the Association for Global New Thought (AGNT). The primary purpose of AGNT is to give the New Thought movement a “clear voice and commanding presence on the global stage.” ¹ Their theme for the coming year is “Bolder Together.” The focus of the rally was to stress the importance and power of bringing together churches and ministries from Unity, Centers for Spiritual Living, Agape, and other New Thought movements for the purpose of sharing our message of hope and empowerment for the world and for taking courageous stands for social justice, equanimity, and equality. I was inspired and enlivened by the messages and the clearly stated vision for us in New Thought to work together to make a difference in the world, not just through the power of helping to affect a shift of consciousness, but also by taking spiritually-motivated action.

I am excited to be a part of Unity, a progressive spiritual movement, and AGNT who are both willing to boldly proclaim the truth that we teach and speak with one voice in support of co-creating a world that works for all people, irrespective of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religion or any other of the labels we often use to separate us.

The experiences last week helped to catalyze my desire for us at Unity Spiritual Center Denver to develop a clearly articulated vision that reflects that of these two organizations and to create a plan for living into that vision. My question for us is, how can we as a member ministry of Unity, support the larger vision of Unity Worldwide Ministries, Unity World Headquarters and AGNT? And, taking it one step further, how can I as a member of USCD, personally support this vision?

At times it can seem daunting to consider all that needs to be done, yet I know that every vision is realized one step at a time. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,

“Take the first step in faith. You do not need to see the whole staircase,
just take the first step.”

It is important for me and for all of us to be reminded that we do not need to know all of the steps along the way, but it is vital to begin by taking the first step. We do not need to know how the vision is going to be realized, instead we must focus on the vision, the “what,” and allow each step along the staircase to reveal itself in its perfect time.

The first step, as I see it, is for us to commit to the vision. It is imperative, if we are to realize the vision of a world that works for everyone, that we commit, not just in our minds and by our words, but also in our hearts. We must be willing to allow this vision to be the guiding light by which we are directed in every step we take.

I hope you will join me in embracing and stepping into a bigger vision for Unity Spiritual Center Denver. Let us begin by asking ourselves, “What is mine to do?” And, listen intently to the still, small voice for Spirit speaking within the heart.

Know that living into a higher vision may require us to take a step outside our comfort zones, but with faith, we can know that we are given everything we need in every moment to do what is ours to do. Let us join Unity cofounder, Charles Fillmore, in proclaiming,

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 for our service as we explore Embracing a Higher Vision.

¹ From the website 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Faith-Full Prosperity

We have designated October as Prosperity Month at Unity Spiritual Center Denver, so my mind is focusing on ways to speak about the subject. Well-known prosperity teachers in the New Thought movement of today come to mind; people like Mary Manin Morrissey, author of Building Your Field of Dreams and creator of Prosperity Plus and Prosperity Plus II, and Edwene Gaines, minister, teacher and author of The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity.

Those who have been in the Unity movement for some time know that Catherine Ponder was a pioneering thought leader in the realm of prosperity consciousness. Her teaching is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. If you have not yet read her book, The Prosperity Secrets of the Ages, I highly recommend that you do. There are many other prosperity teachers, but these are the ones who have, to my knowledge, had the most far-reaching and profound influence on the prosperity consciousness of our movement.

This is perhaps an understatement, but I fully realize that not everyone appreciates Pastor Joel Osteen, especially after the negative publicity he received recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. He is, however, a leading voice in the arena of what is commonly known as the “prosperity gospel” for those who are seeking a more traditional approach.

I understand, too, that not everyone who is reading this post relates to Mr. Osteen’s approach to Scripture or even his presentation style. Regardless of what one may think of him personally or professionally, it is apparent that he is speaking to many people right where they are and evidently to what they need in a powerful and meaningful way.

His church, the largest Protestant church in the United States, boasts an average weekly attendance of over 43,000. In addition, his televised sermons are viewed by over 7 million people weekly and over 20 million monthly in 100 countries. Obviously, he is reaching people in numbers that none of those mentioned above, or probably even in the totality of our movement, have done to date.

While I do not agree with his theology, I am often inspired by some of the concepts presented in Pastor Osteen’s books. I truly appreciate the opportunity he provides me to reinterpret his traditional perspective into language that fits my theology. It seems that he is teaching, albeit from a traditional and more literal approach, much of what Catherine Ponder teaches from a metaphysical perspective of Scripture. In fact, there is nothing new in what Mr. Osteen teaches. He is simply teaching in a way that reaches those who still view the Bible literally. Obviously, they are a much larger segment of the population than those of us in New Thought.

As I began to consider my Sunday lessons on prosperity during October, I was once again drawn to read and listen to the audiobook version of Mr. Osteen’s book, Break Out! 5 Keys to go beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life. I used this book as the foundation for a series of lessons I gave four years ago at Unity of Arlington. Not surprising to me, because it happens frequently when I revisit books, I am reading and hearing things that I missed before. I realize that what is actually happening is that I am reading and listening from a different perspective. I have grown in my consciousness over the past three years, so naturally, I am experiencing his words differently. In what follows, I have chosen to share my perspective on Pastor Osteen’s words.

Unshakable Faith

Mr. Osteen says,

“When God puts a promise in your heart, you have to come to the place where you believe in that promise so strongly no one can talk you out of it.”

What is the promise that God puts in your heart? It is not the promise of health or wealth, not the promise of new job or the prefect relationship; not the promise of a new car or a grand home. The promise that God places in your heart is the same promise that is in the heart of all. God’s promise is not the manifestation of something in the physical, but is the promise of the truth of Oneness.

The promise is “I Am that; I Am.” The “I” which we call ‘God,’ ‘Universe,’ ‘Divine Mind,’ ‘One’ as well as many other names is the All in all and the All as all. The “I” is our only Truth. That Truth is “written on our hearts.” In other words, the Truth is recorded in our soul or etched on our spirit.
 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people. – Jeremiah 31:33

That covenant is that the ‘I’ is all you need. Conditions change, people come and go, jobs begin and end, and houses are built and destroyed: “I” is changeless and eternal. We must place our faith so strongly in the awareness of the ‘I’ that nothing can move us. Nothing in the external can shake the faith that ‘I’ is the only Truth. No appearance, no circumstance can move us from our firm foundation in the Truth. It is this Truth that sets us free from the suffering caused by focusing on conditions.

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, said,

“When we deny our attachment to matter and material conditions and affirm our unity with spiritual substance, we enter the new consciousness of real substance. Substance is not confined to matter; it is the idea that is the firm foundation of all that we conceive to be permanent.”

Mr. Osteen says, “If you focus on the condition, focus on the problem, you are using your faith but you are using it in reverse.”

Actually if you are focusing on your problem, if you are paying attention only to the condition, you are not using faith at all. Unity minister and author, Eric Butterworth, in his book Spiritual Economics, defines ‘faith’ as “consciousness centered in the Divine Flow.”  If we understand ‘faith’ from that perspective, it does not follow that faith can be used to focus on a problem. If we are focusing on the circumstance and we are not aware of the Truth in the midst of it, then we are in fear, not in faith. Faith is keeping our minds stayed on Truth.

Mr. Osteen encourages us to, “Get in agreement with God” (Job 22:21). We must be honest, and ask ourselves whether we are agreeing with the medical report or the financial report, or are we agreeing with the promise of God – the Truth of our Being.

This does not mean that we have to deny the appearance or live with our heads in the sand. It is fine to have information. However, it is essential not to allow the information to be perceived as Truth. The facts about a physical condition, financial situation, job or relationship are just that, facts; they are not your Truth. Do not allow the “facts” to inform your actions. Remove your focus from the facts before taking action and allow divine guidance to inform your actions.

Living a prosperous life is not something that happens to you; it happens through you. Living a prosperous life results not from focusing on life’s conditions and taking action to remedy them, but from living in conscious awareness of the eternal Truth of your being - the ‘I’ that is and was and evermore shall be All and taking action inspired from that consciousness. Your Good is not dependent upon any person, place or thing in the external. Your good is dependent upon you and your willingness to make that shift in consciousness.

Join us for our service this Sunday at 10:00. In my lesson, I will explore the role that the power of Faith plays, not only in establishing a prosperity consciousness, but also in demonstrating prosperity in our live.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Energy of Money

In my lesson this Sunday at Unity Spiritual Center Denver, I will be talking about money. Because money can be a challenging topic for many, including me, I want to approach my lesson with prayerful consideration and care.

Yesterday, I sat down at my keyboard, connected with Spirit, and asked about my personal experience with money. I allowed the words to flow. The following is what I received. I have edited it minimally for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

While it is personal and revealing, I am choosing to share it in the hope that you will receive some inspiration from it.

My questions are in bold print. The answers from Spirit are in italics.

You do not yet fully comprehend your capacity of mastery. You do not accept that you truly are the created of the Creator creating. You have heard it. You have taught it. But, you still do not fully accept that it is the Truth. Why do you not accept this? Are you afraid of what it may mean for you? Are you afraid that you will be held accountable for all the things in your life that are not in alignment with the wondrous glory of God that is expressing in you? Why do you look at your financial debt and believe that it is your limitation? Why do you allow the condition that you are currently experiencing to determine your well-being, your peace of mind, or lack thereof?

You must become that which you desire to experience. You must become a vibrational match to all that you desire.

How do I know if what I desire is in alignment with my soul or my highest good?

Why do you think that the Creator of all that is would want anything less for you than the absolute best? Why do you think that God, the Infinite Creator and Sustainer of all life is limited in any way? You are the only one who is limiting your experience of the Allness that God is in every moment; as the fulfillment of every moment; as the complete Essence of and in every moment of creation.

What is the belief that is limiting your expression of the financial abundance and freedom that you desire? Be honest with yourself. You are holding a belief that is limiting the flow of God Substance into and as your life. Do you belief that you are not deserving? Then, you may need to forgive yourself. You may need to clear away the energy of unforgiveness that is blocking the flow of good into your life.

It is all energy. Money is energy. It does not have volition. It flows as energy to where it is allowed and accepted, just as water flows when it is not dammed up. What is damming up the flow for you? Only you can know that. Only you can unblock the dam. Another name for money is ‘currency.’ Money is the flow of divine substance that shows up in your life as a mode of exchange. Money, like water, also needs an outlet or it will stagnate. Think of the Dead Sea. Nothing lives there, because the water is stagnate. There is no outflow.

I have plenty of outflow of my money. That is the reason I don’t have enough. I spend more than I bring in.

That is another issue. Just like the water, if there is insufficient flow into the body of water, a lake for example, it dries up. The same principle applies to the flow of energy as money into the body of your affairs. If there is not enough, then the body of your affairs will dry up. There has to be a balance.

Can the money or energy flow to anything, or does it have to flow to something specific?

It must flow in the direction of your highest ideals and values. When it flows in the direction of your highest ideals and values the inlet, as well as the outlet, remains open, because you are open. You feel good about what you are doing and where your money is flowing. You feel good about yourself when you are living your highest values. As a result you are more open and receptive to the inflow of energy, thus the inflow of money.

Also, you are more open and receptive to the inflow of Divine Ideas that when acted upon will lead you to generate more flow into your life. This is not only true of money, but of all areas of prosperity – your work, relationships, creative endeavors, self-fulfillment and all the ways that you can experience prosperity in the physical plane.

But, first you must KNOW prosperity in the higher or spiritual plane. You must know who you are. You must know what you are. You must know how you serve. How you serve is being in service to the highest values, intentions and ideals. Where are your thoughts, words and actions not in alignment with your highest values? When you discover that, you will be able to more closely align with who you truly are and begin to live the prosperous life that you desire.

Does that mean that I will have all the stuff that I want?

It doesn’t mean that you won’t have all the material stuff that you want, but that is not the point. The point is that you know who you are. When you know who you are, then you already have all that you truly desire. All the rest is just the out-picturing of that inner knowing. That may be all sorts of material wealth, or it may be that you experience the freedom of not desiring material possessions and the freedom that comes from not spending time, talent and energy attempting to maintain those material possessions.

What do you desire? You desire at the heart of your being to know yourself, to know God, to know yourself in the purest light of truth, as God in expression. When you truly know that, then nothing else matters. There is no material possession that can mirror to you the nature of who you truly are. There is no material possession that can capture or provide the pleasure that knowing yourself will allow you. Once you have that, you will know what we mean. You will see that everything else is just “vain imaginings.” 

So, how does one, how do I, truly know who I am?

You already know it, dear one. You already know it. Relax into it. Rest in the knowing. Allow the knowing that you already know. All is well. Al is truly well. All is well. That is the consciousness of prosperity. There is nothing you need to do. There is nothing you need to learn. There is nothing you need to acquire. Just open and receive. Let go, and allow the Holy Spirit within you to do the work of releasing you from the bondage of any and all beliefs that block your good. You cannot do it on your own. If you knew how to do it, would you not have already done it?

Be still, and know that I am God. Be still, rest in the absolute assurance that you are, I Am. Simply be that which you know yourself to be. It sounds simple because it is simple. There is no need to struggle. There is no need to worry. Seek first the kingdom of God, the consciousness of oneness and all these things will be added unto you. The master teacher Jesus spoke a great and deep wisdom here. Seek the kingdom of God means to open your eyes and see it. Open your inner, spiritual eyes and see that you are the kingdom of God in expression. Open your outer, physical eyes and see that all is the Kingdom of God expressing. The kingdom of God is spread upon the earth but men do not see it; another powerful teaching from Jesus.

All who have ears to hear, let them hear. All who have eyes to see, let them see. To you we say, become, in full embodiment, all that you already are, and you will see the demonstrations all around, in you, and through you, of the Allness of God manifested in abundance. Blessings to you.

Please join us on Sunday at 10:00 for our service. We will explore more about the energy of money and how it flows.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Watch Your Mouth

When I was a child and into my adolescent and teen years, I would occasionally (rarely, of course) speak to my mother using tones and words which she did not particularly appreciate.  She would often respond, “You’d better watch your mouth, young man.” Though that was all she said, she needed say nothing more. I knew what she meant. I knew that I had better choose my words carefully because I would, undoubtedly, face the consequences of my choices. I did not know at the time what a valuable lesson she was teaching.

No, I do not advocate threats of violence against children or anyone else to coerce them to do what you want them to do. That is not my point. The lesson I am referring to is the importance of the words we speak and the emotion with which we speak them. Words are energy vibrations that project our thoughts and feelings into the universal creative medium in a tangible way. The Universe responds by demonstrating, with precise accuracy, life experiences that reflect the energy of our words. Therefore, it is vitally important that we choose our words consciously. 

Sometimes we fall into habits of speech and are unaware of what we are placing into the creative medium. If we are to consciously create abundant lives, we must “watch our mouths” and only speak words of prosperity, wholeness, gratitude, appreciation, love and peace. We will, undoubtedly, live the demonstrations of our words, so it benefits us to speak words that embody the energy of the lives we desire to create.

Join us on Sunday for our 10:00 service as we explore further the importance and the power of the word.