Be Still … in the Storm

Hurricane_over_Yemen_NASA_ModifiedNXPPhotograph_PublicDomain_viaUnsplashBE STILL … IN THE STORM

Editor’s Note:
This post was originally written January 27, 2017 – eight months ago. As I write these words, literally at this moment 9:12 p.m. on August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane will be making landfall at Corpus Christi & Rockport, TX within the hour.  As I pause for prayer for all those who will be effected by this storm – the Body of Christ – including residents of Houston over the course of the next seven days, I thought it timely to remind all of us who experience storms of all kinds in our lives that Jesus is in the boat with us. – aaw

Update: August 27, 2017 – Now a tropical storm, “Harvey” is currently hovering over Houston where, in its first full day, has dumped as much as 20 inches of rain in some parts of Houston, with 10 to 15 inches more anticipated in the next several days.  A meteorologist at The National Weather Service has declared Houston’s weather as catastrophic, unprecedented, and of epic proportions – the worst flooding in Houston history,  and the worst storm since Hurricane Carla hit Galveston/Houston in 1961. We now return you to your regular programming …. aaw

BE STILL … IN THE STORM

If you’ve ever been through one of the four T’s: tsunami, typhoon, tidal wave, or tornado, then you know the devastating damage these storms can cause to the four P’s: people, pets, plants, and property.

The single best example here on the Gulf Coast of Texas is the infamous Great Galveston Hurricane that hit September 8, 1900, and left up to 12,000 people dead. It remains to the present day the deadliest single day event in US history.1 And although I was only eight years old at the time, I still remember my Momo (grandmother) rushing us to the “safe area” of the laundry room as the Level 5 Hurricane Carla hit Galveston and threatened Houston in 1961, as well as countless other storms throughout the years, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that hit the Gulf Coast within weeks of each other in 2005.

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” – Mark 4:39

 

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt (1633) | Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.Like the disciples in a boat on a stormy lake Mark 4:35-41, we all sail through storms at some point in our lives. And I’m not just talking about the weather.

Whether your heart is literally failing or someone has broken your heart, sooner or later we are all touched by the storms of sickness and shattered dreams. Don’t be afraid!

When your personal bank account is at an all-time low, while your bills are at an all-time high, don’t lose hope! The tropical depression of finance rains on us all, but will eventually leave us a rainbow (even if not with the proverbial pot of gold at the end of it!) when the Son shines through. Matthew 5:45

And when you’ve unexpectedly lost a loved one or even when, as a thief in the night and through no fault of your own, the people in power take away your job, your health insurance, and your retirement benefits – all in one fell swoop – you can still, like Job, trust in God. Job 5:19 He may allow the hurricane force winds of life to bend you, but never to break you.

Truth be known, life is hard and man will fail you. Businesses may fail. Health may fail. Relationships may fail. Marriages may fail. But, Jesus never fails! And like the disciples who were afraid of the crashing waves, the deep waters, and their sinking circumstances, we only have to cry out to God for help and He will rescue us. Jesus is in the boat!

Even in your deepest, darkest, foggiest moments when it seems that all the walls of your world are caving in and falling down upon you, do not be afraid! For despite all your fears and flash floods of emotions, you can take solace in the fact that you are not traveling through the ominous-looking clouds, the veil of tears, a wall of water, or the valley of the shadow of death alone. Psalm 23:1-6 Indeed, although the winds of change may be rocking your boat, know this: Jesus is in the boat with you and He has the power to command all the hurricane force winds and tidal waves of your life to be perfectly still.

Martin Luther experienced more than his fair share of “donner und blitz” in his life, but thanks be to God, he passed through all his storms both safely and soundly. God’s reward to the world for Luther’s faith, hope, vision, and courage? The Reformation.2 Martin Luther’s trials and tribulations may be different from most of ours, but it was his particular and personal storms, inspired by Psalm 46, that led him to compose the classic hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” 3

The eye of Super Typhoon Maysak from the ISS | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.Finally, while speaking both metaphorically and meteorologically here, it is worth noting that although the size of the average hurricane can span 100 miles in diameter with winds exceeding 100 miles per hour, the absolute center of the storm, the eye, is almost always relatively clear and calm. How ironic it is that at the core of arguably the strongest force on earth, God gave us the perfect and scientifically proven example from nature of how he invites us to remain calm in the midst of the storms in our life.  Obviously, God understood this fact clearly when he commanded all to “Be still, and know that I am God” in Psalm 46:10.

Just as the eye of a hurricane is the coolest, calmest, and most collected part of the storm,our “safe room” is to be found at the center of God’s will and presence. And for any of us fearful of our life boat capsizing as it takes on water navigating the tropical storms of life, I know of no place that offers greater comfort or safety than when we enter our prayer closet Matthew 6:6 and find the quietude of God through Nexus Prayer waiting for us there.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
– Psalm 46:10

 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” – Psalm 46:1-3

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10

Ready to begin? Nexus Prayer can be done in as little as 5 minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 The Protestant Reformation | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther | The Hymn Society – Hymnary.org

4 The Eye of a Cyclone | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

5 Photo Credit: Hurricane over Yemen | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

6 Photo Credit:“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt (1633) | Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

7 Photo Credit: The eye of Super Typhoon Maysak from the ISS | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.

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HAPPY BIRTHIVERSARY!

Photo Credit: Birthday Cake | Public Domain Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.HAPPY BIRTHIVERSARY!

As you know from my journal post God With Us last December 25th, when it comes to celebrating birthdays – at least my own – less is more. I simply don’t like the attention and fuss. However, today is different. That’s because today, August 25, 2017, Nexus Prayer celebrates two special events: an anniversary and a birthday.

Happy Birthiversary
Nexus Prayer!

First, it’s a special day because it was exactly two years ago today that I began my daily, intensive, one-year of research and study of Psalm 46 – with special attention given to verse 10. Hard to believe two years have passed. What a special, rewarding, and wonder-filled journey these past 48 months have been for me. But secondly, this day is also special because it’s not just an anniversary, but also a birthday as Nexus Prayer’s ministry and website turn one-year old today.

Celebration is in order! And what better way to celebrate than by taking this opportunity to announce that beginning Sunday, September 10, 2017 Nexus Prayer will be offered at least twice a week – Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons – at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Houston.

Photo Credit: Canterbury Chapel | Copyright © 2017  Allen Aaron White | Nexus Prayer International

Canterbury Chapel | Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Houston

SUNDAY | 10:15 a.m. | Bentley Education Center | Room 315
Meeting every Sunday between worship services, our prayer group will gather for fellowship, a brief lesson from Psalm 46, a 10 minutes Nexus Prayer, and an optional Q&A session. The class is conveniently scheduled immediately after the 9:00, and right before the 11:00 worship services. Although attendance is not required, I encourage you to arrive early or remain after the Nexus Prayer gathering to attend the worship service that works best for your schedule.

THURSDAY | 12:30 p.m. | Canterbury Chapel
Immediately following the Holy Eucharist Service that meets every Thursday at noon in the Canterbury Chapel, all are invited to remain an additional 15-30 minutes for Nexus Prayer. Our actual prayer session follows a brief welcome and quick overview of the Five Steps of Nexus Prayer. The Canterbury Chapel (I consider it a sacred space) is both a beautiful and inspiring setting to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

So, Happy Birthiversary Nexus Prayer! Thank you for reading this post and celebrating this moment in time with me, but don’t just take my word for it. Why not come visit and experience Nexus Prayer for yourself? Our meetings are informal, free, and welcoming of all.

Attend once, or join us every week, but please come join us anytime you are able. Scheduling conflicts? No problem! Nexus Prayer can be done anywhere in as little as five minutes a day, and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime.

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Photo Credit: Birthday Cake | Public Domain Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

2 Photo Credit: Canterbury Chapel | Copyright © 2017 Allen Aaron White | Nexus Prayer International.

Solar Powered Prayer

 Photo Credit: 2017 Solar Eclipse | Public domain photo by Photo by laura skinner on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.SOLAR POWERED PRAYER

If Nexus Prayer is a part of your daily personal routine (and I hope that it is), then today, August 21, 2017, is a day when you definitely don’t want to skip your prayer practice. That’s because today is the first time in 99 years that a total solar eclipse will sweep the whole width of the United States. This celestial nexus, when the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth as it passes between us and the sun, has been dubbed The Great American Solar Eclipse1 and begins this morning (as I type this) precisely at 9:05 a.m. PDT near Lincoln City, Oregon and ends later this afternoon near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. (If you live in the greater Houston area, the celestial light show begins at 11:46 a.m. CST.)

In ancient Roman culture, Sunday was the day of the Sun god. In paganism, the sun was a source of life, giving warmth and illumination to mankind. And On 7 March 321, Constantine I, Rome’s first Christian Emperor, decreed that Sunday would be observed as the Roman day of rest not only for Christians, but everyone living within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire.2 Of course, Christians today recognize Sunday as Sonday – the Lord’s Day – when we gather to worship not the sun, but the Son. John 20:1-2, Acts 20:7, Revelation 1:10, Mark 16:2 Nevertheless, “Sun worshipers” still exist today as evidenced by all those sun bathers who hit the beaches between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but no more so than today when it is estimated that more than 300 million people in the United States will look heavenward for a chance to see the sun eclipsed for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Man Gaze | Public domain photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.Like almost everyone else on the planet today, I’m fascinated with this celestial phenomenon and will be outside with the hope of witnessing our day turn to night then back to day again before watching much of the news coverage of the event, especially NASA’s Live Webcast.

But rather than just gazing upward for a few minutes at a 10,000 ° fahrenheit ball of fire,  it will not surprise any of you to learn that during the actual eclipse occurring here today in Houston, my upward gaze and primary focus will be on the Son, not the Sun, as I include a five minute Nexus Prayer in my viewing plans. After all, the sun may be 93 million miles from Earth, but we’re no more than a blink of an eye – a nanosecond – away from God through Nexus Prayer. And although we will have to wait another seven years before we can experience a similar solar event, we have the amazing ability to look upward every single day, connect with the Creator of the universe (including the sun), and through Nexus Prayer simply be still and know that He is God. Psalm 46:10

So, as the moon moves between the earth and the sun today, I pray that you will not let anything come between you and the Son today. Did you miss today’s solar eclipse? No worries. God has scheduled another for you to observe on April 8, 2024, when America’s next total eclipse will travel a diagonal path from Texas to Maine.

Meanwhile, you can connect to the Son – Creator of the sun Genesis 1:1-5 – anytime of the day or night. Nexus Prayer can be done in as little as five minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

NOTES & CREDITS

1 The Great American Solar Eclipse | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 Sunday | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 Graphic Credit: Eclipse Across America  | Public domain NASA Graphic used with permission via NASA.gov

4 Photo Credit: Man Gaze | Public domain photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

5 Photo Credit: 2017 Solar Eclipse | Public domain photo by Photo by laura skinner on Unsplash| Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

Milestones of Prayer

Photo Credit: Track & Field | Public Domain Photo by Stephen Di Donato on Unsplashed | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.Milestones of Prayer

Next week marks two new milestones for Nexus Prayer. First, it marks two years since I first began my intensive research and study of Psalm 46, and secondly, it marks Nexus Prayer’s 1st birthday celebration! As you’ll discover below, “milestone” takes on special meaning for me as I share my thoughts and news today about a few of the next steps in the works for Nexus Prayer.

Running the Race
When I was a student at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, Jim Ryan1 was my hero. That’s because at that time Ryan was best known as the first high school track athlete to break four minutes in the mile, and because as a member of Blair’s track and cross-country team, I, too, was a miler. But that’s where the comparison ends. The only thing Ryan and I had in common was a passion for running the mile, measured at the time as four laps around a track of 440 yards. And although I did hold the record for the fastest mile ever run at my high school (4:27), and showed enough potential at the time to be invited to attend and run for Brown University, I was no world-class athlete. Interestingly, in both I Corinthians 9:24 and II Timothy 4:7, the Apostle Paul compares the Christian life to running a race. Looking back, God’s plan for my life was quite different from the Olympic day dreams of my own, as God took away my running shoes and put me on a new course and different kind of track at Tennessee Temple to study bible and theology. Today, my competitive running has long since been replaced with long-distance prayer walking, but I’m stilling running a race nonetheless – a race for God, a race for prayer, and a race against time.

Since beginning my study of Psalm 46:10 back in 2015, and stepping out on this journey with God called Nexus Prayer a year later, I’ve travelled – spiritually speaking – many a mile. Along the way make that The Way, I’ve met some fascinating people, made some new friends, found a new church home, and gained some profound insights not only about God and prayer, but history, the Scriptures, human nature, people, and especially myself. What a fascinating journey! Today, and especially as Nexus Prayer anniversaries next week, I feel God calling me to delve even deeper into Psalm 46 and to take a longer view for Nexus Prayer. But, what does that mean precisely? Several things…

PRAY MORE | 440 = 4:40
My sustained daily study and prayer practice of Nexus Prayer have been ongoing for two years now. I’ve been averaging an hour a day for Nexus Prayer (not counting other types of prayer) beginning at 5:15 each morning with my local prayer partner in synchronized prayer (same time, different locations.) But I desire even more, so I’m moving my personal prayer time for Nexus Prayer to commence every morning at 4:40am. (Fitting for an ex-quarter-miler and runner, don’t you think?) Additionally, what began as occasional prayer walks last Fall for both my neighborhood and local community, are now a routine part of my nightly prayer regimen. (It’s all your fault, Randy Sprinkle!2)

PRAY WITH OTHERS
I’m both excited and humbled to announce that approval has just been granted to begin regular weekly classes and prayer groups for Nexus Prayer starting next month at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. (Thank you, Fr. Rob and Fr. Randall!) This is not only a very special opportunity, but a sacred responsibility and specific answer to prayer. And as you see me mention often here, this is no normal coincidence, but a God-incident that a “permanent home” for Nexus Prayer coincides with its first anniversary! Preparation is currently being made and details regarding meeting rooms and times will be announced here on this site soon.
 

PRAYER PRESENTATIONS
My Fall calendar is starting to fill up with weekly opportunities to share Nexus Prayer with various local groups and organizations. Seeds that have been planted for the last two years are now budding seedlings. Please pray that these young, tender plants will continue to grow into healthy and strong trees in God’s kingdom as new opportunities for Nexus Prayer rise up locally.

 Photo Credit: Runner | Public Domain Photo by Dev Dodia on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.What started as a crawl, then baby steps, then a walk, jog, and one mile run for me turns out to be a marathon of prayer. A two-year marathon where I just crossed the finish line, right? Not hardly. Despite all I’ve experienced, learned, and accomplished these past two years, what I realize today is that my marathon journey with Nexus Prayer has not been a journey at all, but a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage that had a beginning, but has no end. What I’ve learned is that no matter how hard I try or how deep I delve into Psalm 46, the truths to be gleaned from God’s word and the lessons to be learned simply cannot be exhausted. So, ever the student and never the teacher, I’m more excited than ever to be on what John Bunyan would refer to as my pilgrim’s progress3, and to discover all that God has planned for me along the way.

Ready to join me in the race? Nexus Prayer can be done in as little as five minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

 

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Jim Ryan | Wikipedia– the free Encyclopedia

2 Randy Sprinkle | Follow Me: Lessons for Becoming a Prayerwalker. New Hope Publishers, 2001.

3 John Bunyan |The Pilgrim’s Progress | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

4 Photo Credit: Track & Field | Public Domain Photo by Stephen Di Donato on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

5 Photo Credit: Runner | Public Domain Photo by Dev Dodia on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.