Podcast #117 Quick Update!

Hi everyone! Thanks for being patient. Life threw us a curve ball this last 6 months, so I’ve not been able to post here. Thankfully, things are settling down a bit, and I’ll be posting more podcasts and blogs here shortly. Here’s a mini-podcast to share a quick update with everyone.

Podcast #116 Finding Friendship (Finding Freedom part 3) (4:50) (File updated)

Here’s the conclusion of Finding Freedom series… As it turned out, I also found a great Friend in the process.

Part 1: Ep 114: Finding Freedom
Part 2: Ep 115: Freedom to Explore

Here’s the podcast transcript:

What I learned is that God wants to talk with me.  He loves the world, but He wants to connect with me, personally… And He wants me to get to know Him too.  

Because at the end of the day, the real purpose in developing this connection with God is learning how to do life with God.  It’s like having God as your… travel buddy.  It’s learning to relate to God and developing a friendship with God rather than just being a coworker with God… like I think a lot of us grew up with.    

I realized that in order for me to go deeper, I have to transition my relationship with God into a friendship.  Into understanding how that works because Jesus says “I no longer call you servants, I call you friends.”  So in your walk with God, there will probably come a point where it will transition.   There will come a point where Jesus will want to take you to that next level.  To relate also with you as friends. And that’s a whole different world, right there.  And so that’s what I love about my time with God.  It’s learning that there’s a freedom… an inner freedom.  An internal freedom that does not depend on your circumstances. That does not depend on whether I get to go to church or not because now the focus has shifted.  It’s shifted from what I do outside to learning how to be friends with Jesus.  

Honestly, the time we spend at church and with our Christian community is only a fraction of our lives.  If we only know how to relate to God when we’re focused on church life, then we’re missing out on the chance to experience God in all the other area of our lives… 

It’s learning to experience God in the day to day things.  It’s learning to see how God helps us to find solutions in the problems we face at work.  And how God shares His perspectives about the latest news headlines.  Even how He comforts and encourages us when we go through illness and difficulties.  

I think most of all, that’s what I love most about bringing God into my personal life. In a sense, God stepped off the pages of the Bible, and became real.  Even though I still can’t see Him or touch Him, but He’s become a closer friend than a real person can be for me.  He’s someone I can depend on, and someone I can confide in.  And someone who knows me so intimately, and yet is always on my side. 

And that’s why even though many of us are unable to gather with our church community during this season, I actually didn’t see that as a challenge. In fact, it has been a wonderful opportunity for me to press even deeper into the things of God.   

Now when I do get together with my friends, when I do get together in my community, that’s great.  But my growth, and my relationship with God… and the depth, and my maturity with God… does not depend on any of this external things anymore. And actually, it’s quite fun… me being able to just explore and go as fast as I can, and explore anything I’m curious about… so that’s been very exciting too.  I don’t really have to worry about what people think I should or shouldn’t do anymore.  That really doesn’t matter.  

I have the freedom to ask God any question that comes to mind.  And God is not going to be offended or shocked… because He already knows anyways. It’s a relief to know that He accepts me as I am… always. 

So no matter where you’re at in your life, it’s the perfect place and time to talk with God. He is always ready to meet you and I with a hug and some fun insights about your situation if you’re interested. 

I’m excited just thinking about the adventure God has in store for you. 

And that’s all we have for this week’s podcast.  Again, thank you so much for listening, and have a wonderful week.  See you next time. 

Podcast #115 Freedom to Explore (Finding Freedom part 2) (5:33)

In this session, I continue to share on what I love about my personal walk with God – my freedom to explore.

Part 1: Ep 114: Finding Freedom.
Part 3: Ep 116: Finding Friendship.

Podcast transcript:

Welcome to the Sabbath Café Podcast.  You’re listening to episode #115. In the last episode, I shared on how I enjoyed having the freedom to just be me in my spiritual journey. In this session, I’ll continue with “Finding the Freedom to Explore.”

And also I was able to explore…. explore the things that I’ve always been curious about… but the people that I was with may or may not be interested in. I actually personally, I really am very curious about prayer. And I write about that, I talk about that here on the blog.  But I’m just very curious about human beings having interaction with the divine… with the spiritual. That just always fascinates me. And so I started to explore a lot of things. I started to read books on that.  

And I also love… this idea of “sabbath”. And that’s why the blog is named “Sabbath Café.” And this idea of “rest,” and why is that a command for us.  What is it all about?  I was very curious about that. That’s also… not a very popular topic for most people.  So I started to read about it. I explored… I looked up scripture verses on it. I talked to God about it. God would show me different  books and resources on it. So I stumbled upon a verse in Hebrews*. It says “make every effort to enter the rest.”  I was like… what?  “Strive to enter the rest.” It’s kind of like an irony.  But yah, that’s exactly what the verse says. He’s not saying “strive to work more,” and we know that because Christianity is not a work-based faith.  So what is it?  And this is something where scripture tells us to be purposeful and be intentional to enter into that place of rest.  And that’s just… wow.  You know, for some reason that verse just stayed with me.  And because this is a personal walk with God.  It’s just between me and God, so I have the freedom to sit on that verse and to meditate on this idea.  What does it mean?   

Since I get to say what my journey looks like.  So I decided I was going to put that verse into practice.  And so for a season, I purposely practiced sabbath rest.  And not just the actual event like sabbath… this is what you do… this is what you don’t do. It’s not just that.  But also, the idea of rest. And I happened to run into … some teaching that focuses on why rest is powerful.  And how rest can deepen your intercession and your prayer time.  And I was like wow. That’s exactly… that’s my thing! And so that opened up a whole new season for me.  

And from that season, I wrote… I had more understanding about pruning, and transitions, and so that was a big turning point in my spiritual life.  

And so just kind of looking back in my own walk with God. I was kind of looking back, and I was like wow.  Now, I love the freedom I get in my own personal walk. ‘Cause like I don’t really want to share this.  I don’t really want to go back to the community based spirituality anymore.  Now when I still have connections with friends, I still talk with friends. But that’s more… we come together and we celebrate, and we exchange what we learned about God.  But my journey with God is not dependent on people outside of me anymore.  So my journey with God, really, I know it’s just about me and Him. And it’s inspiring, and it’s so refreshing… to be able…  to have the freedom to journey with God… to be with God… to connect with God however, whenever in whatever ways I want. And it just seems like God is always right there with me.  He doesn’t cap you.  

In my spiritual life, in my spiritual journey, often, in the groups of people I’m with, I often felt like I’m capped… because they don’t want to go where I’m going. I’m sure you feel that way too because every single one of us, we’re created uniquely. You know, your friends, will guaranteed, not always want to do what you want to do.  Or not always want to learn what you want to learn because they’re not you! And you have your timing and they have theirs.  So it’s almost guaranteed that there’s a part of you that can only be explored when you have your individual walk with God.  When you embrace that solitude with God. Then God can take you places. Then God can go as high and as deep as fast as you want… or as slow as you want… in areas you want to explore.  

And that’s the end of part 2. I hope that encouraged you about starting your own adventure with God. We will finish this series in the next podcast. Thanks for listening and have a great week.

*Hebrews 4:11 

Podcast #114 Finding Freedom – Part 1 (6:02)

In the last few podcasts, I shared some tips to help folks reconnect with God. I’m going to take a break this month and share some things I love about my journey. I’ll be sharing this in three episodes, so please stayed tuned. Have a great week!

Here’s the podcast transcript:

Welcome to the Sabbath Café Podcast.  This is episode 114 – Finding Freedom – Part 1. 

Hello! This is Michele from Sabbath Café Podcast.  In the last few podcasts we explored some ways to help you jumpstart your personal walk with God.  Today I thought we’d take a break from that and just share what I love about my experience. 

The church I grew up in was very structured. My paster was always like “read your scripture”, and “have your daily devotions.” We always had   prayer meetings on Wednesdays, and so it was very structured time and it was great. I felt like it gave me a great foundation to start with.  But when I finished my last full time ministry position, I had transitioned out of that.  And so to kind of moving away from a really tight knit community, I sort of went to the other extreme.   

So I had a lot of time on my hands.  And the thing was… to go back to my old routine of structure, it just reminded me so much of my old community, which I should be having closure with.  And so all of a sudden, I went from very structured meetings to having no meetings.   And I  went from always having these spiritual exercises with people… because I was meeting with people all the time, to just having a personal time with God…. just me and God. And so that took a little bit of an adjustment.  

So I was sort of burnt out with my old routines… And at that time, I came across ways of… like spiritual exercises that I’ve always wanted to try, but it wasn’t very helpful with people. Whether it’s silence or just soaking in worship music, just sitting there and soaking for like half an hour, 15 minutes … and just having the music playing.  And what I discovered was I was actually really tired in my heart.  I was really tired because when you’re with people, it’s great, it’s fun.  But I was always weary, also, of how to walk together with them.  I couldn’t really be me…. Because a part of myself… I couldn’t take the time that I needed… and so… when we start a meeting or start a bible study, you have to work with everyone’s pace and it was always a group thing. I really didn’t get to read up on the subject I wanted to read up on. So when I finally had time on  my own…  I realized hey, one of the good thing is I can now look into the things I wanted  to look into… which probably nobody else wanted to read or nobody else wanted to learn.  And so that’s what I did… for a season.  

And that’s the thing…  I felt, in my time with God, I would ask God about direction, what should I do, you know, finishing up one chapter, what should I do in the next chapter, what do I do in between. I just felt like God… you know, everything to me is yes and amen.  And so He reminded me of that verse, and I was like okay, great.   

I really loved,  worship, like music. Music really speaks to me.  So I would find certain instrumental worship music that I’d just loved, and I would soak on my own, and I would bring these music with me to prayer meetings before, but prayer meetings had a structure, so you had to, you know, worship…and then you know, you pray and you finish up.  But when it’s just me and God… it’s whatever I like…so some of the time when I just hang out with God, I just play these instrumental music in the back ground. And I just sat. And I would brew myself a nice cup of tea. And I’ll just sat there. And I would just… just allow myself to be.  

Sometimes if the music move me, I’ll cry. And I could never have done that before.  You just don’t do that.  Because it’s very traumatizing to some… it makes people uncomfortable, I think, when you’re overly emotional at some meetings. And it’s a very private thing too.  I wouldn’t want to cry when I’m praying with a bunch of people I may or may not know very well.   So I realized there is a safety in having that personal time with God.  I could play the type of music I wanted to. I could soak for as little as 10 minutes. Or as long as an hour.  

Sometimes in the middle of soaking, and just kind of sitting there, and kind of enjoying not having to say anything. Enjoying not having to be the leader… because I was working a lot. So all of a sudden I don’t have to be all of these things to other people. I don’t have to force myself to act a certain way. If I wanted to be chatty with God, I can.  If I don’t, I won’t.  God always knew where I was at anyways.  So I have the freedom to just be with God. Be honest with God. And just be myself with God. Wherever and whenever I wanted to. And however long I wanted to. And that’s when I realized that wow, you know, there’s a freedom… I enjoy the freedom.  I started to enjoy the freedom of having this private time with God.  

And that’s the end of part 1. We will continue with part 2 in the next episode. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

Podcast #102 – The Power of Remembrance

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Lately, I felt a bit disconnected from God in the midst of a stressful season. Instead of forcing myself to worship or give thanks, I took a break and remembered the last time God showed up…

Lessons From a Love Story

I went to a wedding banquet recently.  The invitation came as a surprise. Our friend, the bride, has been single for over fifteen years.  She was very content with her life. Being a caretaker of an elderly parent and working a fulltime job, dating and marriage was not on the top of her priority list.  Imagine my surprise when she told me she was engaged. They decided to have a private ceremony, and we were introduced to the groom for the first time at the banquet. Knowing my friend, I was very curious to learn more about this man who swept her off her feet in a matter of months. As we all got seated at the banquet, the couple got up to address everyone, and the groom began to tell their story.

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