Saturday, June 16th was a GOOD day, filled with gentle breezes in the park and of the LORD! Souls were gathered, refreshed, filled, and renewed! For those who are curious and might consider attending in the future, this blog will explain how the time was used and include reactions from attendees. There was a good range of ages that participated from early 20's up to 60 "ish". Two men after God's own heart attended! Drawing near to God is not just for women!
We started off gathering under the shelter shown above. For the beginning, some introductory messages were given about the format, reason for the ministry, and a beginning teaching with associated meditative exercise. Then each was given an MP3 player that contained 30 minutes of preparatory breathing and prayer meditation to do alone on a walk in the park. The recording was to help participants begin to open up and invite God to search within and give some freedom in preparing alone. Then, upon return, they were ready to connect with current thoughts, feelings, actions, and words causing upset within. A form was handed out and participants took time to consider what was not currently good in these areas and write them down. We then focused on God's meaning of good with visual pictures to help identify God's activity to do good within our souls and satisfy our deepest needs in all areas of our lives.
True "good", as defined by God, is definitive and unchanging. It is not opinion based as we use it. True good is seen and known in the life of Jesus, who qualifies himself as the "Good" Shepherd. A good shepherd MAKES his sheep lie down and rest, Psalm 23:2. How? We looked at 4 areas that create unrest within sheep folds, and saw how these areas perfectly translated to 4 areas of upset in our human lives. These are the areas that a good shepherd has to settle in order for his flock to lie down and rest. Those 4 areas were brought before God in meditative exercises. With the help of the Holy Spirit, participants processed, released, and received fresh revelation and rest from God. During this part, I also included time to pray for the group in each of the 4 areas. If you have never been prayed for, this experience alone can be quite comforting and healing. God intends that we have moments when someone is standing with us to cover us with God's good promises. We need others to stand with us in agreement for renewal and supernatural life, especially when we are weary and heavy burdened. Participants received this covering. This period of time (From the time of return from the walk to completing the meditative exercises) took about 1 hour.
The ending was a transition from the exercises to worship played on a speaker. Worship time helps each one end gently and in their timing, alone with God. Participants were invited to worship for as long as they wanted, or continue journaling, and/or receive personal prayer. Each were free to leave in their own timing. Some stayed for an 10 additional minutes, some stayed another 40 minutes. Some asked for personal prayer for the areas that God brought up to them in the meditative exercises. There was a good amount of release of gentle emotion from most participants because God was good and ministered to deep areas of need.
Overall, it was a wonderful time with the Good Shepherd! But I'll let the remaining input come from some participants who turned in a survey. (Note they chose the roles that are associated with their comments.)
"Amazing!!! The combination of the walk and guided meditation was very helpful and woke me up to areas in marriage and work that I was anxious and controlling. Gina's meditations help me process emotions with better clarity and gain new ways of becoming closer with God." - Youth Ministry leader and Professional Career.
"Really enjoyed MP3 use; but it wasn't long enough. I wanted more." - Adult Ministry leader and Parent
"The meditation was very refreshing and insightful. The park was a perfect setting! I found the images you described (like God's mercy as a womb) very helpful for a fuller understanding of God. I thought the pacing of the meditation was just right. I appreciated how we were able to reflect on our feelings and then progress to meditating on God's provision for these troubling feelings. I especially like the phrase "shameless audacity" and have used it in my prayer life this week." - Parent and professional career
"I really enjoyed the experience. I feel I gained some tools in being able to go deeper in meditation and reflection to grow closer to Jesus. The park is one of my favorites so this helped me also. Nature is one of those places that I really connect with God." - Parent and Business Owner
"Gina is a connector- her gift to help you enter the presence of God, no matter how 'stuck in the mud' you feel- is truly a gift." - Life Coach
"Thank you for this ministry! I appreciated the time to ourselves for reflection. Not often that we are able to slow down and process life events or emotions. Thanks again!" - Professional Career
"The location was perfect. After the meditation I felt so encouraged, loved, and near the Lord. There was a sense of renewed hope. All those troubled thoughts were gone. Got a vision of Jesus wrapping his arms around me and insight of walls built as a hedge of protection from God. The teaching on the shepherd was amazing. He is a good shepherd!" - Parent
"I really appreciate your gentle leadership. You shared wisdom and scripture but very much in a way of drawing in (not talking at)." - Bible teacher, Youth Ministry leader, Parent
"I loved the Into the Water's Experience. Would love to know where to go from here. Often I find I get a little taste, but then back to the 'crazy'. How do I get this muscle to be my go to?" - Bible teacher, Youth Ministry leader, Parent
"This time of meditation provided a much needed respite in a time of turmoil and uncertainty. Through Gina's gentle promptings and interactions and non-judgmental approach we were led into the presence of the "Good Shepherd", basking in His love, reflecting on our own thinking and actions and learning to wait patiently in Him. Draw near to Him! Thank you Gina, you have been a blessing in my life!" - Bible Teacher and Professional Career
"Enjoyed time shared with God in nature, His creation. Refreshed and revived in His Spirit. Felt calmness, soothing release of emotions. It was a time to bring God's good into my soul and then my home." - Seeker
Participants were also asked the following questions with percentages shown of majority answer, from majority of attendees who submitted a survey-
1) Overall, how satisfied were you with your experience at today's meditation?
This is all written to give you a sense of the experience and to encourage you to consider attending an event. Additionally, please leave a comment below if you have interest in learning how to bring this type of session into your small group setting. You can also send an email of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. A similar event will be posted for the 1st Saturday in August. Sign up will be posted next week, keep an eye out on the calendar page! Draw near!
6/30/2018 06:56:16 am
Joe and are looking forward to attending the event in August!
7/1/2018 04:01:39 pm
Glad to hear Terry! Will post the August event soon!
7/1/2018 03:25:24 pm
Fantastic. Nice work compiling quantitative and qualitative data from the walk - my hope is that this will help people see the value of the experience more fully and compellingly.
7/1/2018 04:03:16 pm
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Prayer is Gift!
Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!