Christmas is the Time to say "YES!"

dcfamilyIn 1980, Gwen and I said, “Yes” to each other to begin our journey of life and marriage. Little did we know all that this first and initial, “yes” would mean. We pastored churches, moved to Holland to plant an international church, had four sons, moved to Colorado and founded Potter’s Inn, offered our ministry across the world and saw our sons marry and now a growing tribe of very “grand” children, as you can see. Each “yes” has meant a turn, a new beginning of some kind.The first Christmas recounts what an initial “yes” meant for other parents too! When Mary, along with Joseph said their “yes” to God, little did they know what would unfold for them in their journey. Mary said "Yes" when we learn of her response to the Angel when told she would be the one to carry the Christ child in her very own womb. She said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Joseph said, his "Yes" when the Angel told him about this news. Mary's "Yes" converged with the "Yes" of Joseph and the trajectory of their lives changed for ever. When we say, "Yes" to God, everything changes!Their initial “yes” led to many unexpected turns. They fled as refugees to Egypt. Mary and Joseph saw their little boy grow with grace and favor with God and mankind. And they saw Jesus begin a movement, which we are a part of today. Their “yes” marked how we view time: BC or AD. Their “yes” meant protecting Jesus as a child and then releasing him and letting him go on his own mission of saying “yes” to God throughout his life. Each “yes” for them meant a turn, a change and a new challenge.Christmas is our time to say, “Yes” to God; to say, “Yes” to the multiple opportunities this year. We do not know the future, but we do know the One who unfolds the future allowing us to build trust and grow in confidence. We do not have to know the future, but our saying "yes" prepares us to walk into a future with our hand in God's hands.Saying “yes” to God through our work at Potter’s Inn has brought significant challenges this year: a new staff couple joined us; We have more soul care intensives already booked for 2017 and our schedule is completely full. We’re walking with our staff through their own challenges and concerns as they, too, say their own “yes” to God. We walk with many people around the world through spiritual direction sessions through skype and at our retreat. The great challenge of all our lives and at almost every turn, is to say, "Yes" to God.Take a moment and sit with this question: "What is God asking me to say "yes" to right now in my life? Is it about a move; a new job; a new beginning, a new resolution to care for your soul, your body and your heart in a more healthy way?May the Lord uphold us all in the journey ahead and in our saying “yes” to God throughout the New Year.winter-barn-view-ps-72----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------We want to offer a blessing and our heartfelt gratitude to those of you who choose to support we do through our ministry at Potter’s Inn. Your support allows us to extend a message of hope and new beginnings to people throughout the world who are also saying “yes” to God! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!If you’d like to help us you can go online to: https://www.pottersinn.com/donate/ or mail your donation to: Potter’s Inn, 2072 County Road 512, Divide, CO 80814 or call the office at 719-264-8837.As a Thank You for helping us, I want to offer you a FREE book of your choice! I'll send you a copy of any book I've written for your contribution to Potter's Inn and I'll ship it to you FREE. When you use the donate button, you'll be offered a way to enter your information and when you see a place to leave a comment, simply enter the title of the book you'd like and enter the title in the space where it says, "Leave a Comment." Here's a link to review Steve's books and make your choice. Then enter the title as you do your donation in any amount!Christmas Blessings with Hope through the New Year ahead!Steve and Gwen Smith

The Oxbow Reality in the Spiritual Life

It's called an "oxbow." Notice the shape of the river flowing through this beautiful scene that I saw yesterday and blogged about. See the meandering of the river, creating what is called, an oxbow effect. It's named that due to the river carving out a shape similar to that of the curves of an oxen yoke.I texted this picture to a friend of mine back east and he immediately saw it and said, "An Oxbow. Amazing how you can travel so far on a river only to wind up just a few hundred yards downstream by foot."Isn't that true in life. We can travel so very far through the years, yet make so little progress it seems. After all we go through in life, only to find we're just a few feet from where we started.I can easily imagine the oxbow effect on the early disciples who tried to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, yet kept stumbling back through the same issues of pride, power struggles and not really getting Jesus' intent at all after multiple times of hearing him and watching him. Aren't we really like those early followers---people who just can't seem to get what Jesus is up to in our life and we keep coming back to learn, re-learn and learn again the most basic principles of the spiritual life: I am the Beloved. Trust God. Lean on him not my own understanding and so much more.Stephen W. SmithPotter's InnAre you in an Oxbow place in your life? How can you move on through to greater and deeper realities of the spiritual life