February newsletter

A devotional, an invitation, a contest and an update – here are highlights of my recent newsletter:

Home again?Home_Washington_Welcome_Sign
        If you’ve ever returned to your home town after a being away for a few years, you’ll discover that there’s truth in the old adage “You can’t go home again”. It’s not just that someone built a Walgreens where your favorite old health-code violating dive of a burger joint once stood. Your life experiences while away from home have changed you, too. 
        Jesus understood this. After forty days of privation and testing in the in the sun-baked desert after his joyous initiation into ministry, Jesus made a surprising turn northward into new territory. He could have easily headed back to Nazareth to rest, relax and dine on some of his mom’s home cooking. But He knew he couldn’t go home again.
        His home was the opposite direction.

         Jesus’ decision to head away from the comfort of his childhood home after time in the desert was a curious one. Returning to Nazareth would have given him a place to rest and relax in the bosom of his family. But it also would mean that his homies would expect him to pick up his hammer and awl and return to the carpenter’s work he’d done throughout his life.

         His decision to head northward into a region in which he may not have known a single person might appear to be a kind of flight, an exile from his early life. It was anything but exile, however. It had all the earmarks of pilgrimmage – a purposeful quest toward a sacred destination.
          In fact, when he returned to his hometown synagoge in Nazareth for a visit some months later, he was met with great hostility from his former neighbors and friends: “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.
        But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. – Matthew 13:53-58

        A good friend of mine moved back to her southern hometown after living for half a decade above the Mason-Dixon line. She cherished living near family and life-long friends once more, but confessed that she never quite felt like she was “home” ever again. It was a bittersweet revelation when she realized she’d grown emotionally and spiritually beyond the snug space she’d vacated when she left town.
        “Even though I’m home, I’m homesick,” she said. She realized her condition was in fact a gift, a spiritual GPS designed to keep her a pilgrim, moving forward, step by step, as she strives to follow Jesus all the way home.

Have you ever had the experience of returning to to a former home town after living somewhere else for a time? 

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The sound of your Shepherd’s voice: A (mostly) silent retreat

   If you’re a woman living in the Chicago-Milwaukee area, please carve out a slice of your prime time to join worship leader Meg Kausalik and I for a guided silent retreat. A silent retreat is a rich time to rest, reflect, meditate deeply on God’s Word, worship, and follow the example of Christ communing alone with his Father.

   During our retreat, I’ll serve as facilitator, introducing a topic for you to consider and offer some passages of Scripture for you to use (if you choose) for meditation and prayer. After each short session, you can return to your room or find another place of solitude on the grounds of the retreat center for a period of silent reflection. The retreat will begin and end with musical worship and prayer.

When: 5:00 PM Friday evening, April 8 – 5:00 PM Saturday, April 9

Where: The Siena Center, Racine, WI. Each retreat participant will be housed in a simple single room that includes a twin bed, rocking chair and desk. Shared bathrooms/showers are located just steps away from the rooms. Siena Center provides bedding and towels.

Cost: $75 includes your room, three meals and snacks.

To reserve your spot: Send an e-mail to mishvlATyahooDOTcom to let me know if you’d like registration information, have questions or if you’d like to receive a .pdf of an informational flyer you can pass on to others who might be interested in joining us.

A lil’ contest + more
images-3    Do you know someone who could use some encouragement? Two winners will receive a copy of the gift book at right. Entitled Take My Heart, Oh God: Riches From The Greatest Christian Women Writers Of All Times, this lovely book is a years’ worth of inspiring, Bible-based devotional thoughts. I was on the team of writers the publisher used for the project. (No, I’m not one of the Greatest Christian Women Writers Of All Times, but it was a privilege to work with their words!)

I will draw two names at random from all e-mail entries received by 3/7. Send your e-mail to mishvlATyahooDOTcom .

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  • My current writing projects include some additional work on a ghostwriting project for an inspirational celebrity, and reporting on local church events for www.christtogether.com. I’m also putting the finishing touches of a book proposal for a project of my own. (Stay tuned!)
  • I’m still healing from December shoulder surgery. A number of people warned me that shoulder surgery is NO FUN. They were right! I’m working hard on my rehab in order to be ready for a May trip to Israel with my husband, Lord willing. Bill will be involved in his board duties for the Caspari Center, and I am looking forward to serving in the ministry’s offices. The entire Middle East is undergoing intense transition right now, and if the Lord allows us to make the journey, we want to be a blessing to every person with whom we interact, and worship the Lord as we go. Pray for us as the Lord brings us to mind.
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