Facebook-link with Christfulness – in Cantonese

What is Christfulness?

 

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Create in me a pure heart, O God

In Psalm 51:10-12 we read,

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

I often write what I receive listening to God when meditating on the Bible in a notebook,– especially if it’s something which shall be shared with others; I call these texts inspirations in order to avoid the misunderstanding that I am in some way a 100% pure channel for God, for, as Paul says, all revelations must be tried and tested. When I meditated on Psalm 51, I was given this inspiration:

Inspiration:

Your heart is precious to me, says I AM THAT I AM. Your heart is the center of you as a person. It’s where you find yourself as who you are. When you rest in the heart, you are your true self. And nothing can take your peace away. Nothing can threaten your self-understanding and self-worth, if your heart is pure.

A pure or clea heart is like a mirror. My image is seen clearly in a pure heart, and when you recognize my image as mirrored in your heart, there is nothing deeper, truer, higher or more real to you than enjoying my communion, sharing life with me, and living in my will.

When my image is mirrored in your heart, my presence radiates into the world from your heart, and my image in you is realized to the creatures of the earth through acts and deeds of love

I created humans with a pure heart, so that my image would shine brightly in you and you would grow into my likeness – a blessing to your fellow humans and fellow creatures. You recognize my image in my Son, Jesus Christ..

When you close your heart to me and one another and forget who you really are, the heart becomes hazy and dirty so that my presence is no longer recognized in your life, and it will be hidden to your fellow humans and fellow creatures. The light of hope is extinguished, and your will is torn apart. Sometimes you will what I will, because you have a memory of yours and mine fellowship, but more often will follow your own will to what you think will give you a greater pleasure. Your heart becomes desolate and empty, even become like stone. Then the surrounding world mirrors the emptiness, desolation and coldness of your heart.

Therefore, look to Jesus, my Son. He breaks the patterns of the impure heart. In him my image radiates unadulterated. He’ll give you a heart like his own. When you come to him with your grief because of your heart’s unrest and impurity, he will breathe the Holy Spirit into your heart. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of love, life, and truth, whose warmth will thaw the ice of the heart and make alive the stone heart. Your heart will then liken the birth cave, in which Jesus was born as God-with-you, and he will be my restored image in your heart. You will carry him with you and thereby let the light of my presence shine upon your neighbors and fellow created beings. In the power of the Holy Spirit you’ll start serving the world as I in Jesus Christ and in my creating word served you in love.

 

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Christfulness Retreat 3. – 4. Feb. 2018

Jesus og SimonDo you need to reflect, pray and meditate in the beautiful nature and buildings in Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre? Do you need a twenty-four hours break from daily life? Do you need to be silent to see God that He can show you His heart for you?

Then come to a Christfulness retreat in this springtime 2018.

Programme

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This book gives you an introduction to practise Christfulness:

 

Rev. Ole Skjerbæk Madsen

Christfulness has its origins in the experience that God is with us, and comes to life in Christ. Just as the word of God became flesh in Jesus Christ, so we in Christ are given access to the nature of God.   This book explains Christfulness as an expression of faith, a spiritual experience and an attitude to life. The book is not just a theoretical work, but also encompasses practical experience.


The content has been influenced by practice, and will also give the reader an insight into my own spiritual life. You will see this most evidently through the so called “inspirations” – passages which are my own experiences of God’s – as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – communication of God self to me during prayer and quietness in God’s presence. The second section of the book contains a description of how we practice Christfulness.

Price: $10.12 – Ships in 3-5 business days

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A Christfulness Meditation

Cleansing of the heart

Sit comfortably, with a straight back; it may be helpful to close your eyes during the meditation. Feel the ground under your feet; remain grounded, breathe calmly, focus on your heart.

Jesus Christ, send your Spirit to guide us during this meditation.

Imagine Jesus Christ standing in front of you … see His heart, which is wide open toward you … full of love, appreciation and peace …

Relax in his presence … Breathe calmly … rest in your breathing out and breathing in his presence …

Breathe out and let go of what troubles you, let go of old concepts or misconceptions of who you are, who God is or who other people are …

Breathing in, receive peace, joy and love from the open heart of Jesus Christ …

Every time you breathe out, your heart and mind is cleansed more and more … And every time you breathe in, Christ will live more fully in your heart and mind …

Let this process go on while we listen to some music … Music plays …

We are about to conclude our meditation; use your concluding breathing out to share the peace, joy and love of Christ with the world around you …

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (cf. Phil. 4:7)

This meditation may be changed into a prayer with people, e.g. at Body-Mind-Spirit Fairs 

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Homily at Christmass celebration at Tao Fong Shan, December 22nd 2017

Bible readings: Isaiah 9,2-7, Hebrews 1:1-5, Matthew 1:18-25

Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ!

The Lord met Joseph in a dream and spoke to him of the child which was growing in the womb of Mary, and said to him, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 

And Saint Mathew says that Mary giving birth to Jesus is a fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophesy, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means God with us).”

In Jesus we meet God; God is with us in him, in such a way that we will be saved from our sins. We will be set free of that pattern of life, in which we are entangled – a life estranged from God, a life of abuse of other humans and of the created world.

We are people wandering in darkness, but in Jesus, God with us, we see a great light. When we live estranged from God, our life is darkness, we cannot orientate ourselves and find the right direction of life. But Jesus is born to be God with us, so that God is no longer a stranger to us. We’ll now walk in light, walking with him who is the way, the truth and the life.

When we live in the pattern of sin, we live in forgetfulness. We have forgotten God and all of God’s gifts; we focus on ourselves, our needs and cravings. We forget that only God is God, and live as we ourselves are Gods, or we make gods in the image of our fears, hopes or desires. Jesus is born as our Immanuel, God with us, to make the presence of God known and experienced where we have forgotten God and are enslaved in our imaginations.

When we live estranged from God, we follow the way of death instead of the way of life. Estranged from God we do not know or remember the law of life, the inner order that keeps creation together as one. This inner law is love, that we serve one another and seek what is good for our fellow humans and creatures. Instead we live for the benefit of ourselves, for having success and happiness at any cost. But that is the way of death; everything falls apart when we only care for ourselves and not for others. Jesus is born to be the prince of peace who will reign, establishing and upholding the kingdom of heaven with justice and righteousness where the law of death had reigned before.

Jesus is born to us as the Son of God, who “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word”. He was God’s Son even before he was born to us – Son of God and Son of Man. He is the one who from before creation radiates or manifests God’s presence, expressing what lies in the heart of God the Father. God’s Son is the Word of God. Before all beginning God made room for creation, and God called into the darkness and named creation. The Word at first called light into existence. “Let there be light” – because the light is that created thing that is most like God. Through light we find our orientation in life. Through light we recognize other created beings. Light is the source of discernment, so that we know what is good, and what is evil. The Word of God however is uncreated light. The Word of God is the expression of God’s love and grace: God’s longing and will to give life and to sustain life, to bring order to the world. The Word establishes the law of life through creation. The Word of God is born to us from Mary so that the law of life may once more be known where it was forgotten. In Jesus we meet God, and we meet what we were created to be: sons and daughters of God together with him, who became the Son of Man, even though he still is the Son of God.

He is God with us that we may become humans with God –reflecting God’s presence in him to our neighbors.

Sometimes when I meditate on God’s word in scripture and the life of Jesus, I hear him talking to me in my thoughts, and I share this communication with Jesus as Inspirations. I would like to share such an inspiration, unfolding the meaning of seeing a great light:

You have seen the true Light. I’ve touched your hearts and made them alive. I’ve shown mine and the Father’s love unto you. I call you my brothers and sisters, because this is what you are.

The first time you saw the Light, it was as if you had fallen in love or it felt like a rapture. And you long for that experience. How good it is to be here. But the Light shines into the darkness to fulfill its purpose.

My Light shone most clearly on the cross, as I prayed with the suffering humankind: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ”The light shines brightest, where the serving Love is greatest. On such a day a criminal will be with me in Paradise, and on such a day sinners will find forgiveness and a new life.

This is the Light you have seen, and which in you shall be brought to the world. This is more than falling in love with me. It is more than the ecstatic bliss in God’s presence. The brightest light in you is more than this. If you only aspire being in love and experience bliss, your light will darken. When I touched your heart, I meant to awaken God’s image in you. You see God’s image in my life. You’ll have to follow me, if the image of God shall be clearly seen in you. It is the serving love, which is my Light in you.

I send you into the world, and often you’ll feel left on your own and feel alone even among many people. You may experience an absence of God. But I live by faith in your hearts as you serve others in deeds and loving presence among those who need you at most.

Here ends the inspiration. Jesus Christ is God with us that we may become humans with God – following the way of life, living by the law of life, set free from the pattern of sin, reflecting God’s presence in him to our neighbors. May God with us grant us the courage to follow him in serving love.

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The mystery of the name

Revelation 3:12: “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”
From the beginning of creation I have wished to share life with you.

I created you for fellowship and communion with me. We were not strangers to one another. We shared a deep confidence and trust – as between children and their parents.
I have never forgotten you, even though you have forgotten me and my name. Therefore I invite you to know my name once more. When you know my name, you are able to call upon me that we can have an open conversation with confidence and trust. I have inserted my name in the name of Jesus; his name is mine. But his name is also a human name so that we will not be strangers…
I give myself to you in the name of Jesus. The name is full of my presence. I am with you in the name. And if you call out, mentioning my name, you will experience that I am already there and go with you.
When you speak my name it is a statement og faith and bears witness to the fact that I have made you free and have brought you out of your forgetfulness. Now you remember who I am as well as who you yourself are. You are my child,
When you pray my name and take it into your heart, I will live in your heart, and your heart I beginning to be Jesus-shaped. In the depth of who you are, my image will be seen in growing clarity – in the way in which I revealed myself to you in Jesus Christ, my Son.
I call you by your name – by the name in which you recognizes yourself as being who you are. I call you by the name, which is conveys you with an assurance of being loved and appreciated. When I call you by your name, you sense my presence and my joy, seeing you as exactly you. But you also have a new name, which binds your name into mine. Your new name isn’t necessarily another name than what is presently your name, but it is your name bound into my name. This new name may be another name – unknown to other people than yourself, but known by me and the depth of your soul. This new name always carries the connotation of “daughter of God” or “son of God” or “born of the will of God”.
And your name is written in the book of life.

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Bible meditation on the Crucifixion

Sit comfortably, but with a straight back that you may breathe freely; it may be a help for you to close your eyes during the meditation. Feel the ground under your feet; remain grounded, breathe calmly, focus on the heart.

– Jesus Christ, send your Spirit to guide us during the meditation!

Imagine: you’re in Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Easter celebrations is at hand. Rustle and excitement. Last shopping has to be done.

Also excitement, because three men is going to be executed. You force your way through the crowds. You catch the sight of the Roman soldiers and the three men – each one carrying a crossbar. You recognize Jesus as one of them. All your attention is now on Jesus.

You see the crown of thorns around his head – stripes of blood through his clothes; he has been flogged.

You hear the scorns of the mob, and the crying and weeping of a group of women.

Jesus falls under the heavy burden of the crossbar. The soldiers order a man from the crowd to lift up his crossbar.

You follow Jesus and the soldiers through the town gate. In front of you the hill that looks like a skull. On top of the skull three wooden posts.

Your attention is still focused on Jesus on your way up the skull hill.

You reach the top. They strip Jesus of his clothes, his wounds are teared open.

They stretch his arms out on the crossbar and hammer nails through his hands. Pain is seen on his face, but he does not cry out.

The soldiers lift the crossbar unto the post and Jesus starts at it finds it place. They nail his feet to the post. The weight of his body makes his breathing difficult.

My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?

Keep the image of the cross in front of you but take a look inside you for a moment, asking what is the greatest pain or sorrow in my life just now…

Now form a bowl mentally or with your hands in front of you, and put your pain or sorrow in the bowl. Lift the bowl up in front of your mouth. Breathing out you let go of your pain or sorrow. Your breath carries the sorrow or pain to the cross. The sky darkens, a solar eclipse, and the earth is shaking. It is as if all pain and sorrow together with yours gather at the cross of Jesus.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

“Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in paradise.”

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Jesus he bows his head and gives up his spirit. He gives up his Spirit into your empty bowl.

Take the bowl to your heart, and let the Spirit of Life from the cross heal and restore you where you sorrow or pain were sitting, and notice the working of the Spirit in you while we listens to some music….

Let the process continue during the next piece of music

Play meditative music

We are about to conclude our meditation. Take some deep breaths, and when you are ready you may open your eyes, and move the limbs.

Blessing

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding keep my heart and my mind in the love of Christ Jesus.

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Christfulness retreats spring 2018

We have already many registered participants for the Christfulness retreat December 16th. Below follows information of the retreats in January, February and March 2018.

基督滿全為一種結合東西方教會豐富傳統的靈修方法。
同來靜修,一起練習,治癒心靈,滿有基督長成身量。

CHRISTFULNESS is spirituality, worldview, and an understanding of human nature. Christfulness comprises different spiritual disciplines from throughout the rich traditions of both the Eastern and the Western churches.

The focus of the practices is to grow up to the fullness of Christ. In the retreat you will have the chance to learn some of the practices, especially focusing on the healing of heart.

「基督滿全」道風山靜修營

日期:2017年1月6-7日、2月3-4日、3月24-25日(六-日)

時間:下午二時至翌日下午二時(兩日一夜)

地點:道風山基督教叢林

導師:馬奧勒牧師

費用:港幣五百八十元正(包括住宿、膳食及往返大圍交通)

查詢:2386 3220 / bd@tfscc.org

網上報名:www.tfscc.org/BD/christfulness

 

Christfulness: Tao Fong Shan Retreat

Date: 6-7 Jan, 3-4 Feb and 24-25 Mar 2017 (Sat – Sun)

Time: 2pm – 2pm the next day (2 days and 1 night)

Venue: Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre

Facilitator: Rev. Ole Skjerbæk Madsen

Fee: HK$ 580 (Including accommodation, meals and shuttle to and fro from Tai Wai Station)

Inquiry: 2386 3220 / bd@tfscc.org

Online registration: www.tfscc.org/BD/christfulness

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Hope

Today, I would like to share some thoughts with you on the concept Hope. Saint Paul mentions three lasting fundamentals or characteristics of Christian life:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1. Cor, 13:13).

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Faith is trust. It springs out of experience. Thus it includes history and memory – not in a nostalgic way, but as a kind of energy full of confidence. The life of Jesus, the history of the fellowship of His followers and our own experiences of His presence throughout our lives gives us the courage to trust God and relate with an open mind to others.

Hope reaches into the future. This is not day dreaming or utopia. In the letter to the Hebrews we read:

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrew 6:19-20).

Hope is likened to an anchor. Hope secures human existence in the fulfilment of creation and salivation. Jesus called this future the kingdom of God. Jesus said that this kingdom will come in the future as the consumption of creation, but at the same time it is present in us and among us. The Kingdom to come has the power to motivate us in our way of life.

The promise of the fulfilment of all human and created existence help us to break out of destructive patterns of life – personal as well as social, economic, and political. The letter to the Hebrews gives us examples of people who dared to leave old customs and to break out of their life circumstances, because they had confidence in God’s promises for the future. Hope encouraged them to leave unworthy life conditions and reach out for improvements of life conditions for themselves, their family, and their people.

When the Bible gives us images of a new Earth or the Kingdom of God, it speaks of peace and justice – not only justice as a concept of Law, but as a life of right relations between God and humans, between men and women, between nations, between humans and other created beings, nature and the Earth. These images show us that God’s intention for creation will be fulfilled.

Adam is in Genesis depicted as a gardener who takes care of the plants in the Garden of Eden, and he is the one who gives names to the animals. He recognizes each creature as it is, not as an object for his desires, but as someone to relate to; it has a name! Humans were intended to be the stewards of the Earth and all of earthly creation. This plan or intention was overruled by sin. Desire turned creation into object; humans became consumers of creation, and abusers of one another. Yet God has a future in mind, which brings us back to God’s original intentions as well as fulfilling this plan. This is depicted in for example in the prophetic books of the Bible as well as in the New Testament:

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[
a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.

They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:6-9)

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
(Isaiah 2:3-4)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5).

The Kingdom to come has new standards or norms for life. If the future will restore right relations between humans and between humans and our fellow creatures, we will anticipate the future and break out of our destructive relations and quench the false conceptions of one another. We anticipate the future when we stop hating our enemies and follow the words of Jesus: love your enemies and pray for them. It is because of hope that we change our life style and our priorities in life. The peoples of the future are those Jesus calls Blessed in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
(Matthew 5:3-9).

Why will hope bring future standards of life into active presence; why do we have a hopeful confidence in future in spite of all tribulations and all those sad conditions of human life today? Why do we not despair? Because Jesus is the forerunner into the kingdom of God. Jesus was the Son of Man, the fulfilled Human person. In Him we see God’s intentions for Human life fulfilled. His human life was God-filled. He was a healer. He established new patterns of relations. He showed us that a fulfilled life is a life in serving love to one another. As Christians we also see God in Him. He established in his person right relations between humans and God. Now He is with God in the heavens, in eternity, as our spokesman and high priest. He reminds God of us.

Faith was grounded in experience and remembrance. Hope transcends borders and dysfunctional patterns of Human existence and anchors our life in the Kingdom of God. Past and future, remembrance and hope are summed up in love: the greatest of these is love! Giving ourselves to one another in serving love requires faith and hope, and yet love is the consummation of faith and hope.

Blessings,

Ole Skjerbæk Madsen

PS!  The Icon is from st-takla.org/Gallery

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