Author Archives: Hilary Tompkins

  1. The Objective Reality of Beauty

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    On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
    They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
    They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
    Psalm 145:5-7

    It is in loving God, other men, and all creatures for themselves that we begin to partake of their goodness and beauty. Looking at and loving that which is other than ourselves, we begin to “incarnate” it. This is vital to artistic growth, just as it is to spiritual and psychological growth. Alienation in the form of introspection, self-love, enclosure in the circle or sphere of subjectivity is not the way to know oneself; outer-directed interaction with the objectively real is. To know and love God is the beginning of all joy, and it can yield the gift of a divine self-forgetfulness which is the secret of great art. [1]

    Beauty is gratuitous, but it is also necessary. By it, God draws us out of ourselves and into His life. Beauty and goodness attract us, and we naturally move into the self-giving dynamic of love. From the simplest act of breathing to the greatest works of our hands, we’re made to participate in God’s creative purposes. Moment by moment, day by day, we become more of what we love, offering the beauty and goodness He is making in us to the display of His splendor.

    PRAYER

    Holy God, Creator God, our Father, we praise Your majesty and beauty. We thank You for disclosing Yourself in all that You make and do. We thank you for this awesome and astonishing world, and for coloring our lives with Your multi-splendored grace. Kindle love in our hearts, great Lover of our souls, that Your holy creativity might flow freely through us. Amen.

    [1] Leanne Payne, The Broken Image (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1981), 92.
    Etching: Wenceslas Hollar, 1607-1677, Creation of the Firmament State 2 [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.

  2. Continuing Education Video: Deeper Speaking

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    To foster the spiritual and psychological maturity of pastoral caregivers through union with Christ.

    April 21, 2023, 9:00-10:30 am PDT

    So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; 
    it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 
    Isaiah 55:11

    Deeper Speaking At its best, pastoral care is a collaboration with the God who speaks the healing word. For our words to be creative in this highest sense, they must emerge from union with Christ, our participation in His incarnational reality. Join us in this workshop where we’ll pursue this deeper movement of speech by His Spirit.

    Workshop fee $25 (scholarships available)
    PURCHASE VIDEO

    Workshop Format Lectures with prayer and group discussion via live videoconference. The workshop will be recorded in its entirety for those who are not able to attend live.

    Who Should Attend? For those who provide pastoral care in any setting – pastors and spiritual directors, professional psychotherapists, lay counselors, and healthcare providers.

    Presenter Dr. Sarah Colyn is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of WA with a PhD in Clinical Psychology and an MA in Christian Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. With over 25 years experience practicing psychotherapy and pastoral care, Sarah has taught and trained pastors, professional counselors and lay caregivers in academic, clinical, and church settings. She is ever-intrigued by the pastoral application of true Christian theological anthropology.

    Learning Objectives

    1. To define speech that is active and creative because it proceeds from an awake, thinking, loving heart.
    2. To distinguish creative speech from sophistry and coercion.
    3. To consider the subtle temptations to idle talk that are common in therapeutic culture.

    There is a deeper movement of speech…
    and a more inward mystery,
    wherein the Word does not spread out to wisdom,
    nor broods in dream,
    but gathers to power and condenses to action.

    P T Forsyth, The Soul of Prayer, p 16

    PURCHASE VIDEO

  3. What We’re Reading: Living Waters Guidebook

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    Living Waters:  Restoring Relational Integrity through the Broken Body of Christ by Andrew Comiskey

    Living Waters is a 20-session program for any Christian seeking healing for sexual and relational brokenness. Local churches all over the world host Living Waters groups, led by lay people helping others become whole gifts to each other through the body of Christ. For the first time, the Living Waters guidebook is available to the public, offering a map toward wholeness for those who don’t have access to a group in their local community. Andrew Comiskey and the Desert Stream staff have also created a professionally-produced series of teaching videos to accompany the workbook. They’re currently offering a free guidebook when you sign up for an annual video subscription. I share Andrew’s hope that folks will use this book on their own or with prayer partners and then be inspired to attend a Living Waters leadership training. Imagine how radiant the Church would be if there was a Living Waters program in every community!

    When people reach out to MPC for help in finding someone who can pray with them in the ways they read about in Leanne Payne’s books, we always encourage them to check if there is a Living Waters group in their town. I personally have benefited greatly from the Living Waters program, and can sum up what I’ve gained by quoting from the guidebook:  “Jesus urges us onward, always believing in us, always hoping for the best, never failing to fight for the fruit we can bear” [1]. This year I brought several MPC board members along to the special training session they held at the Theology of the Body institute, and we were blessed beyond expectation. I’m grateful that God has inspired them to make the guidebook widely available, for it offers divine sanity and real hope in the places where our world seems most lost today.

    In addition to Leanne Payne’s teachings, the Living Waters materials are enriched by the theology of the body of St. John Paul II, and Karl Barth’s recognition that we are social and relational bearers of God’s image. Each chapter presents a key principle of brokenness-to-wholeness, suggests a specific prayer, and offers personal stories of redemption. This twenty-week progression builds a beautiful theological anthropology that speaks the healing word for our most imprisoning sexual and relational wounds. Those who are able to attend a Living Waters program in their community will also experience the healing power of Christ’s Body through the group. Andrew writes about how he needed to work out “real sexual and relational problems with other men and women who were also seeking to be true to God in the whole of their lives” [2]. Counteracting the crushing weight of shame, the wisely facilitated Living Waters small groups become a powerful channel of healing and freedom. 

    [1]  Andrew Comiskey, Living Waters:  Restoring Relational Integrity Through the Broken Body of Christ (Grandview, MO, Living Waters International, 2020), 2.
    [2]  ibid, 3.

  4. The Blessing of Self-Giving

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    “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
    Acts 20:35b

    There is Another who lives in our midst, and He has the Spirit without measure. With Him are all the gifts and all the fruits of the Spirit. Because Jesus, the Gift, lives in and with us, the gifts and the fruit of His life are present and can radiate through us. Thus are we empowered to preach, teach, and heal. [1] 

    The Father gave His Son, Jesus gave Himself, and the Holy Spirit is given to us, so that we might participate in God’s life of self-giving. Jesus points us to the mystery of love in proclaiming that giving, even more than receiving, grants supreme well-being. He has poured out His life, and the cup never runs dry. It’s an intriguing invitation – become a self by donating yourself, find fullness of life by offering your life. Do we dare to step into that flow? 

    PRAYER

    Thank You, Jesus, for being our Gift. Thank You for imparting Your joy by enabling us to share Your life. Thank You for inviting us to add ourselves to Your offering. We say yes Lord and lift our hearts to You. Take us into Your mystery of inexhaustible outpouring – love Your world through us. 

    [1] Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1995), 215.
    Mosaic: Helen McLean & Alessandra Caprara, 2010, Christ in Glory, Church of the Transfiguration, Community of Jesus [photograph in public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.

  5. Power to Repent

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    In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying,
    “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 
    But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing,
    he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 
    Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 
    And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ 
    I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
     The ax is already at the root of the trees, 
    and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
    “I baptize you with water for repentance. 
    But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. 
    He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 
    His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, 
    gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
    Matt 3:1-2, 7-8, 11-12 NIV

    John the Baptist really demolished that idea [that simply being a descendent of Abraham made a Jew safe in the life to come]: Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The Spirit of Power would be given — the Spirit who when He enters a man creates and brings the order of God where there has been disorder and chaos. He brings truth, divine certainty, knowledge of what to repent from, the power to repent. [1]

    The warning words of John the Baptist confront careless and proud tendencies that would refuse the gift of a changed life. Repentance truly is a gift, and by it the Holy Spirit can accomplish purity in our hearts. In Lent we make an intentional effort to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s creative inner work. We can trust God to shine a light where we need to change, and to marry His power to our weakness as we walk it out. 

    PRAYER
    Come, Holy Spirit, bring order to our chaos. Empower us to welcome Your stirrings; pierce our hearts, loose tears, and grant us grace to let them keep falling until our hearts are cleansed. We renounce resignation to disorder. Descend into us, Refiner’s Fire.

    Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1995), 239.
    Painting:  St. John the Forerunner, St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church, Dayton, Ohio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.

  6. The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love

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    Love is an excellent thing, a very great blessing, indeed. It makes every difficulty easy, and bears all wrongs with equanimity. For it bears a burden without being weighted and renders sweet all that is bitter. The noble love of Jesus spurs to great deeds and excites longing for that which is more perfect. Love tends upward; it will not be held down by anything low. Love wishes to be free and estranged from all worldly affections, lest its inward sight be obstructed, lest it be entangled in any temporal interest and overcome by adversity. 

    Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller, and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created things. 

    One who is in love flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free, not bound. He gives all for all and possesses all in all, because he rests in the one sovereign Good, Who is above all things, and from Whom every good flows and proceeds. He does not look to the gift but turns himself above all gifts to the Giver. 

    Love often knows no limits but overflows all bounds. Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of troubles, attempts more than it is able, and does not plead impossibility, because it believes that it may and can do all things. For this reason, it is able to do all, performing and effecting much where he who does not love fails and falls. 

    Love is watchful. Sleeping, it does not slumber. Wearied, it is not tired. Pressed, it is not straitened. Alarmed, it is not confused, but like a living flame, a burning torch, it forces its way upward and passes unharmed through every obstacle. 

    If a man loves, he will know the sound of this voice. For this warm affection of soul is a loud voice crying in the ears of God, and it says: “My God, my love, You are all mine and I am all Yours. Give me an increase of love, that I may learn to taste with the inward lips of my heart how sweet it is to love, how sweet to be dissolved in love and bathe in it. Let me be rapt in love. Let me rise above self in great fervor and wonder. Let me sing the hymn of love, and let me follow You, my Love, to the heights. Let my soul exhaust itself in praising You, rejoicing out of love. Let me love You more than myself, and let me not love myself except for Your sake. In You let me love all those who truly love You, as the law of love, which shines forth from You, commands.” 

    Love is swift, sincere, kind, pleasant, and delightful. Love is strong, patient and faithful, prudent, long-suffering, and manly. Love is never self-seeking, for in whatever a person seeks himself there he falls from love. Love is circumspect, humble, and upright. It is neither soft nor light, nor intent upon vain things. It is sober and chaste, firm and quiet, guarded in all the senses. Love is subject and obedient to superiors. It is mean and contemptible in its own eyes, devoted and thankful to God; always trusting and hoping in Him even when He is distasteful to it, for there is no living in love without sorrow. He who is not ready to suffer all things and to stand resigned to the will of the Beloved is not worthy to be called a lover. A lover must embrace willingly all that is difficult and bitter for the sake of the Beloved, and he should not turn away from Him because of adversities.

    Thomas à Kempis, “The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love,” Imitation of Christ.

  7. Beloved Lovers

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    Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25

    The God of the Old Testament, Yehovah and Elohim, the God who is faithful and true, who is all loving-kindness, came into our world in the Son — gave Himself for our salvation. This is why the cross is right at the center of our faith. He who is love, peace, truth, righteousness, faithfulness gives Himself for us and to us. He lives in us. This is glory, fullness of being. This is identity. [1]

    By His coming, Jesus restored us to the love that flows between Father and Son; He lives in us so that we might know we are beloved sons and daughters. As our hearts come alive, we discover that we’re not just needy objects of love, but also generative lovers who desire the good of others. Like Joseph, we have something real to give Him: ourselves.

    PRAYER

    Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You for how Your glory awakens my glory and Your fullness of being becomes mine. Your deep calls to my deep, and my heart rises in love. I give myself to You Lord. Have Your way in me. Burn away impurity, warm coldness, and love Your world through me.

    [1] Leanne Payne, The Broken Image (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1981), 141.
    Painting: Guido Reni, 1640, Saint Joseph and the Christ Child [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.

  8. Creation of Being

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    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:1-5

    God the Father, who has the Power of Being, heals and affirms us. By fiat He spoke the worlds into existence; by fiat He can and does create in us a new and solid sense of being. Through healing prayer, this process (God’s fiat) is greatly quickened. Healing prayer, rightly understood and ministered, is the most creative work in the world, for through it a way is made for God’s command to be uttered, and by it the soul is made ready to hear and receive it.[1]

    The God who said, “Let there be light” by divine command speaks to us, “Let there be being!” and creates in us a solid sense of being. As He created the earth out of nothing He creates being in us through healing prayer. He blesses and affirms our masculinity and femininity, and where there has been an empty void in our hearts caused by wounds and deprivations, He fills it with a sense of solidity. We cannot fail to have hope for our redemption in His image when we contemplate the immensity of God’s being. 

    PRAYER

    Holy God, we know that you alone have the power of being. You can create in us a new sense of being. Help us to remember your immensity of being and not our own failings and inadequacies. We open our hearts to You now and welcome the creation of our beings. Thank you for making us solid and secure, knit together by Your power of being.  

     [1] Leanne Payne, Healing Presence (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1994), p. 54.

    Painting: Jan Bruegel the Younger, 1601-1678, God creating the Sun, the Moon and the Stars [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Meditation prepared by Mary Carrington, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.


  9. Video Curriculum: Pastoral Care Series

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    These videos aim to bring Christ’s healing presence to the stressors and struggles of daily life. His hope, comfort, and strength are truly available, and these teachings and prayers are offered to help us know deeper union in the places we need Him most. Each video includes teaching and guided prayer.

    Resource pages for each video offer suggestions for further study and support.

    Restoring Hope, Choosing Life
    This video is offered for those who are suffering with depression, despair, or suicidality. No matter how long or deeply we’ve suffered in a dark place, Christ has opened the path of life, love and true fulfillment by His cross.
    Resource Page

    Consolation for the Grieving
    This video is for any experiencing a season of grief or loss. God’s everlasting arms will hold us securely as His multi-splendored grace perfectly matches our needs.
    Resource Page

    The Virtue and Gift of Fortitude
    These two videos consider what fortitude is, how we use it, and how we grow in this essential virtue of courage. Through Christ’s cross, barriers are dismantled and we are strengthened in fortitude.
    Resource Page

    Setting Fear in Order
    Scripture tells us to fear the Lord while also exhorting us to “fear not.” This teaching explores the right place of fear in our lives, and the ways God ministers healing to fearful hearts. 
    Resource Page


  10. MPC Virtual Academy: Deeper Union with Christ

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    These videos provide virtual access to the music, teachings, testimonies, and prayers of all sessions of the 2021 Cedar Springs school. May the Lord anoint them afresh to remove barriers and encourage you in entering a deeper union with Christ, by the work of His Spirit. We would love to hear from you as you attend the school online, so please email us to share your experience or prayer need at any time.

    Videos will be available for unlimited viewing through July 1, 2022.

    Each day of the school is presented in a single video with chapter markers and title screens for each new topic. We encourage you to participate in the sessions in the order presented as each topic will build on the previous sessions. Every session begins with worship singing so that you can lift your heart to the Lord.

    Cedar Springs MPC School Topics

    Video 1
    The Presence of God with Us: The Holiness of God and Incarnational Reality, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    The Presence of God with Us: Practicing the Presence, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    The Presence of God with Us: Obedience and the Vertical Position, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    Removing Barriers to Wholeness: The Virtue of Self-Acceptance, Tommy Briggs
    Removing Barriers to Wholeness: Receiving God’s Forgiveness, Dr. Sarah Colyn

    Video 2
    God’s Creative Power: Sense of Being and Well-Being, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    The Disease of Introspection, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    The True Imagination I: God, the Source of Our Being, Gay Barretta
    Hamewith: Our Home Within, A Story of Hope, Jean Holt
    The Virtue of Hope, Dr. Sarah Colyn

    Video 3
    Imagery and Symbol: Perceiving God Aright, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    Becoming and Honoring Man, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    Community and Codependence, Jean Holt
    Testimony: Fruitfulness of the Father, Dirk Robinson
    Renouncing Idol Gods and Appropriating the Holy, Dr. Sarah Colyn

    Video 4
    Removing Barriers to Wholeness: Forgiving Others, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    Becoming and Honoring Woman, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    Testimony: The Shift from Rightness to Righteousness, Sillimon Davis
    The True Imagination II: Listening Prayer and Receptivity to Reality, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    The Presence of God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self, Dr. Sarah Colyn

    Video 5
    Healing of Memories Prayer, Dr. Sarah Colyn
    Closing Eucharist Service, Fr. Carlos Raines


  11. Living Water

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    “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.” (Isaiah 41:17–18)

    It is good to end a book on listening prayer with a brief meditation on Christ, our Lord, as the free-flowing fountain of life. In waiting on Him we receive. We have heard Christ say to us, even as he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well: 

    If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.… Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:10, 13–14).

    The Apostle John, now with the benefit of hindsight, interprets His meaning in the light of Pentecost and the pouring out of the Spirit upon the faithful. Infinitely beyond what we can fathom or even begin to express, to live is to receive new life from Christ. We “live and move and have our being” in Him (Acts 17:28). We are empowered for the work of the kingdom. It is my hope that the life of prayer, as we have touched on in this book (Listening Prayer) will encourage many to ask for and receive a mighty baptism in Christ’s Spirit as well as many a subsequent infilling and renewing in the same Holy Spirit. [1]

    The hymn, Flow Oh Mighty Holy River paints a beautiful image of the fullness that we can receive from the living water of the Holy Spirit. Our Father longs to quench our thirst when we are weary and refreshes us with His waters of joy and His abundant blessing. He revives and encourages our heart, as we sit before Him in prayer, with His abundant grace. We are like flowers opening up to His gracious blessing, like mighty oaks drawing up the water of life through deep roots. Let us open our hearts so that we will be filled to overflowing with His living water.  Let us drink abundantly from the fountain of very life itself. 

    PRAYER

    Holy God, thank You for the beautiful gift of your Holy Spirit. We rejoice that you are continually renewing and refreshing us with the encouragement, strengthening, peace, and joy of Your Holy Spirit. We open our hearts to you to receive your abundant fullness not only for ourselves but also for the work of Your kingdom here on earth. 

     

    [1] Leanne Payne, Listening Prayer (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1994), p. 235, 236.  

    Painting: © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro, 2016. Christ and the Samaritan Woman Mosiac in Sant’Apollinare Nuovo – Ravenna,  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Meditation prepared by Mary Carrington, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.