A Most Moving Letter

Once upon a time, I was the minister of Christ Church Unity in Springfield, Missouri. I’m told that the church has completely changed since I was there. Way beyond my control, thank God. But while I was there, I did a weekly radio broadcast of my Sunday talks. These were prerecorded on cassette tapes (ancient history, I know), which I hand-delivered to KTXR’s studio each week. I was told the station reached a 100 mile radius.

Today, thanks to the internet, our message reaches the entire world. Just yesterday, a new friend, a poet and photographer from Russia, listened to and “liked” our Candle Lighting service. How cool is that?

I am forever hopeful that whoever needs to hear this message can find it. Why? Back in the KTXR days, this letter came from a listener I’ve never met. Nor have I forgotten what they wanted to tell me:

“I had no knowledge of the Unity church prior to one and one half years ago. Then one Sunday, I turned on the radio. I had reached a new low – filled with despair. I had just written a note to my family explaining why I had to take my life. As I was counting out the pills I was going to swallow, I heard Rev. Bottorff speaking (I really heard him). His voice and message was filled with so much love and hope the intense pain I was experiencing seemed to dissipate. I had not been in a church for 20 years and had totally given up on the idea of a God – until that Sunday when your service was broadcast. I can’t even tell you why I had the radio on at that time. I never had before. But I know that Rev. Bottorff saved my life and since that initial message I have missed only 2 or 3 broadcasts. There have been many times during this past year I have been sustained only by the assurance that I would hear your words again on Sunday. ‘Wait till Sunday’ has been my personal battle cry.  So I thank you with much gratitude for reaching out to me – and many others, I’m sure – with love and greater hope for the future.”

Candle Lighting 2020

[Note: This service is audio only. Video did not properly record]

YouTube: Candle Lighting Service


Tonight we are here to celebrate two births. The first is the traditional birth of Jesus of Nazareth which took place nearly two-thousand years ago. From the perspective of western civilization, this was undoubtedly one of the most significant and influential events ever to occur.

It is probably true that no man, before or since Jesus, has had a greater impact upon the thought stream of the human race. There are many views of who and what He was. He has been hailed as being everything from the greatest of prophets to the complete incarnation of God. Millions have found new hope and new life in the pursuit of seeking to understand and follow His teachings and example.

He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” As we ponder these words, and seek in the quiet of our own minds and hearts to distill the essence of their meaning, we hear them echoed from somewhere deep in our midst. The evolution of our spiritual thought guides us into the unsounded depths of our divine potential, and we find that it is this essence to which Jesus was giving voice.

And so we are brought to the second birth that I mentioned. This is the birth, the revelation of Christ within. It was Paul who coined the phrase, Christ in you, your hope of glory. It is obvious that he caught the significance of this more mystical side of the Christian message.

It is this, Christ in you that we seek to awaken in our mainstream, conscious thought. Tonight, this presence may nudge you during a Scripture reading, the singing of a hymn, the hearing of a solo, or an interpretation of the Christmas experience. However it comes, I invite you to listen to it, to make room in the busy inn of your mind and heart for this spirit of God to move you.


The tall white candle at the center of the table represents the Christ at the center of our being. It was lit before this service began to symbolize the eternal nature of our spiritual essence. Its flame will be passed to each of the candles on the table and ultimately to the candle you hold in your hand.

The Christ candle is symbolic of the Word found in the Gospel of John. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:1-5).

Christ is the essence of God individualized in each of us. It is intended that our complete identity be built upon this eternal foundation. As it is, we have accepted as the basis of our identity, ideas of lack and limitation. These, in turn, have found expression in our minds, our bodies, and our circumstances.

Our hope of glory lies in re-discovering our spiritual core. Like Jesus, we must begin to claim ourselves the sons and daughters of the living God. We must re-establish our identity in the Word so that Word may become flesh, full of grace and truth, and dwell among us.


This candle is lighted for Mary, who represents the spiritually receptive intuition.

Mary represents the spiritually receptive intuition of each of us, the higher self, that is open and receptive to the things of Spirit. She is our intuitive nature – that part of us that knows there is more to life than this human, physical existence.

Mary is the still, small, voice of Spirit that speaks in our inner ear, in our times of quiet. It is this voice that continually knocks upon the door of our hearts and minds, reminding us to listen.

Deep within, we know that we are spiritual beings and that we are something very wonderful. In the quiet, this voice of Spirit gently nudges us, showing us how to let our God self, the Christ, be brought forth in to expression.

Mary had great faith in God. She represents that in us which is every ready to magnify the Lord, our God. She is the strong, inner conviction of knowing, that works to bring forth the Christ self, into expression in our daily lives.


This candle is lighted for Joseph, who represents the spiritually receptive intellect.

Joseph represents the intellectual aspect of our spiritual awakening. In the beginning, something nudges our attention from the depths of our soul. This is the Mary aspect that Beth spoke of. We want to understand this nudge and so we begin an all-out intellectual pursuit to get a handle on what is happening.

Our soul is pregnant with a new and wondrous possibility. But how can this be? Joseph wants to know. Here is new life being brought forth without the aide of intellectual cultivation.

Our Joseph nature, the intellectual aspect of the mind, must reassess its function. Before it was the leader, the teacher, the presenter of new ideas. Now it becomes the observer, the student, the discerner of eternal truths. It beholds divine ideas, ideas that are untouched by the limitations of human thought, born out of the virgin regions of the soul.

Joseph is instructed to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The mind that grasps the wonder, the gravity of the holy birth, looses all fear and is guided into an understanding of its oneness with God.

Let your mind be open, receptive and obedient to the light shining through the depths of your soul. Awaken from your dream, as Joseph did, committed to nurturing the Christ child born in you.

THE SHEPHERDS (three candles)

These candles are lighted for the shepherds who represent our ability to watch our thinking.

The shepherds represent our ability to watch over our thoughts. They are our judgment faculty, the innate ability to discern and judge. Just as the shepherds kept watch over their flock by night, so we are to keep watch over the flock of our thoughts and feelings.

We make a conscious commitment to keep a high standard and watch over our thinking. We are beings of energy and how we consciously use this great power of our minds affects our daily experience. We can think thoughts and feel feelings that build the kind of life we want or can do the opposite.

In daily times of quiet as we take time to still the mind. We remember that we are spiritual beings, here to express the highest and best that is in us. We let go of all that is not constructive, so that we may focus this wonderful energy and power of our spirit on the good.

With the spiritually receptive soul and the illumined intellect believing in this birthing process; the birth of the Christ Child takes place as we let go of limited thoughts and feelings allowing this new life of the Christ to be brought forth effortlessly within us.

THE WISEMEN (three candles)

 These candles are lighted for the wise men who represent indwelling wisdom.

Just as there is a wisdom that knows how to unfold a mighty oak tree from within a tiny, insignificant acorn, so there is a wisdom that knows how to unfold the Christ potential from within the mind and heart of a human being. The Wise Men from the East symbolize this innate wisdom.

Sometimes we are afraid to move out of current conditions of limitation because it doesn’t appear that we have the knowledge to successfully pull it off. When we commit ourselves to growth, to changes that will encourage the bringing forth new dimensions of the emerging soul, the wisdom we need is given, as we need it.

The East represents the within, the inner regions of our spiritual nature. The Wise Men from the East bear gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts are symbolic of the prospering provision God is giving each soul that it may freely move into each of its various stages of growth, unhindered by limitation of any kind.

When we feel the oppression of limitation, we should take it as a signal that we have forgotten that God is in charge of the inner activity that will ultimately lead us to complete freedom. We have diverted the Wise Men from the East and have attempted to draw upon our own limited resources of wisdom – a move that always leaves us wanting. Trust the wisdom of God working through you. Quietly listen to that same inner wisdom that led Jesus of Nazareth to a full demonstration of His Christhood. Christ in you is your hope of glory, demonstrating the Christ in your life is the greatest glory you can bestow upon the human family and the world.

Intelligence and Order

Youtube: Intelligence and Order

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week. Bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.

Open your mind to the quickening presence of intelligence. Your entire being is already permeated with intelligence. The functions of your body are all governed by it. You see and experience intelligence as order in your breathing, the beating of your heart, and all the many activities within the universe of your body of which you are not even aware. You see intelligence in the flower, in your pet, in the birds and the clouds that sail across the sky.

As you relax and let go, get the sense of this truth that you are completely immersed in intelligence and that your life is now unfolding in perfect order. Affirm:

The very essence of my being is intelligence. My mind is clear. My thinking is orderly. I see things in their highest relation to the whole. My vision is clear. My soul is imbued with the wisdom of the universe. In all I do, I move forward in confidence and in peace.

Release all feelings of uncertainty about your life and know the intelligence of your soul is guiding your every step. Lift your spiritual eyes away from all appearances and see yourself as a conduit through which infinite intelligence is expressing as you.

Everyone and everything becomes part of your success in living. If your life seems to be pushing you to the left when you think you should go right, then know the intelligence expressing as your soul is now at work. Do not strain to work out plans or struggle to control events. Hold fast to the truth that the wisdom of your soul is directing your life, that the order and success you desire is unfolding with every new development.

Let’s Zoom

Dear Friends,

Many of you who organize for New Thought churches have become familiar with Zoom. For those of you who are using one of my books for classes or training, I extend the invitation to contact me and set up a group meeting for discussion and/or Q&A through a Zoom meeting. It’s a great way to avoid travel expenses and time constraints. If this is something you would like to do, email me at: office@unitygj.org In the subject line, type “Zoom Meeting.” This can be a lot of fun and an opportunity to make new, like-minded friends.

Power and Strength

Advent Series, Part 3 of 4: Power and Strength

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am. See and feel your soul radiating power. Power manifests in a wide range of ways, from the unfathomable power of the sun to the simple unfolding of a leaf. Power divides our cells and fuels all aspects of our being.

Power rises in your being as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. You may call on strength to hold a steady course, to take one more step when your world seems to crumble around you, or to steady your faith in the well-being of a loved one. Strength may manifest as the courage to make an apology or it may express as the power to say no to behavior you know as destructive.

With your attention focused at your center, sense the power of your soul rising from your innermost depths and radiating throughout your being. Affirm:

I am an expression of pure power. The full radiance of my soul empowers me to steadfastness in all that I am and all that I do. My strength is boundless, my power has no limits.

If you are feeling powerless to do anything about some condition in your life, release the emotional energy of helplessness as you use this affirmation. Again, do not try to make anything happen or even look for changes in your life. Simply allow the flow of power to rise in your being and know it expresses as the strength you need, as you need it. Take a series of deep breaths. With each one, breathe in power and breathe out strength. Power is the essence of your being. You are never without it.

Love and Understanding

Love and Understanding

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.  See and feel your soul radiating love. This beautiful energy of love works for the highest good of all concerned, sometimes attracting and sometimes repelling or dissolving, depending on how the highest good is to manifest. Whether love attracts or dissolves is not a decision you make, but one you trust love to sort out as it flows in and through every aspect of your being and your life. Love lifts your vision in a way that imparts the understanding to see and know what needs to be done. Affirm:

I am guided by the understanding that love imparts.

Love is my essence. Love is my being.

Love is the balancing action in all my relationships and all conditions in my life.

See your body immersed in love. See every aspect of your life, especially those areas that are troubled, completely engulfed in the love that radiates as your soul. See love doing its perfect work and become willing to do your part in that work when the understanding dictates. Loving your neighbor may result in strengthening your relationship or dissolving it. This is a much better alternative than trying to force yourself to love them because you think you are supposed to. You may not always be able to muster the kind word or take that right action that will bring agreement with another. Still, you can know that invoking love will fit all the pieces together, will tie up the loose ends, and move all concerned to their best and highest good. Love reveals that this is true even when your good intentions at diplomacy fail miserably, or fear drives your own actions. The love that expresses as your soul is greater than all human frailty. Your unloving thoughts and actions or the unloving thoughts and actions of another do nothing to alter love itself. Love does not depend on how loving or unloving you are.

Let all of this go and simply see your entire being immersed in love. Experience love’s healing warmth. Let it melt away your stress and your struggle to be loved. You are more than loved. You are love itself.

Life and Enthusiasm

Advent Series, Part 1 of 4

Life and Enthusiasm

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus, therefore, is on the meditative process. Choose a regular time and a place where you will not be disturbed (allow 30 minutes to an hour). Relax your mind and body. Bring your awareness to the area of the solar plexus (abdominal region) and focus your attention with this simple statement: I Am. Slowly repeat these words, letting go of all stress-inducing distractions. After a time, begin speaking quietly the affirmations that follow. Allow yourself to envision and experience the action suggested by each line before you move on to the next:

My soul radiates the pure, unrestricted energy of life.

There are no blockages. There are no restrictions.

I am filled with boundless life and unbridled enthusiasm.

The pure radiance of my soul shines in its fullness now.

In perfect peace, I let this pure energy rise.

As you relax with your awareness at your center, see the radiating energy of your soul as the energizing life that permeates all aspects of your being. It is natural to visualize life as the light that animates and heals every cell of your body and brings a sparkle of enthusiasm to your eye. You need not direct the energy of life, for life knows how to express itself. We see it animating countless forms at a variety of levels everywhere in the world. Life never stagnates. It is only our mundane focus of attention that becomes dull and lifeless. Acknowledge the free reign of life as it radiates its natural expansive movement through and as your being.

Don’t try to pump up your enthusiasm and strive to be the life of the party. Doing this will expend your energy by directing it to that bottomless pit of your unenthusiastic self-image.

Any forced positive attitude you generate will be short-lived and costly. A forced expression of enthusiasm is a performance you’ll have to continually maintain. Those who do this might be entertaining, but they can also be quite wearisome. You don’t have to instruct fire to be hot and you don’t have to inform life that it needs to express as enthusiasm. This is what it does naturally.

Natural enthusiasm manifests as genuine interest in whatever you happen to be doing, from creating a piece of art to taking out the trash. Enthusiasm is as unconditional as the energy of life itself. You need no particular reason to be enthusiastic. It is life’s gift to you. As you affirm life in your meditative experience, quiet enthusiasm will naturally grow.

The Truth About Thanksgiving

YouTube: The Truth About Thanksgiving

It may seem presumptuous to give a talk on the truth of Thanksgiving. It’s a pretty straightforward topic, after all, and we’ve all had our share of formal Thanksgiving celebrations. My intention is to focus more on the spiritual principle embodied in giving thanks

Giving thanks is something we would do after having received some desired good. We normally think of thanksgiving as an effect. From the standpoint of the soul, the act of thanksgiving is understood more as a cause, an activity we engage in before there is evidence of a desired good.

You recall that Jesus gave thanks before he had the disciples begin passing out the meager supply of loaves and fishes. His attention was not on the apparent limited quantity of food available but on God as his ever-present Source. He blessed the food, which means he was seeing it from a consciousness of wholeness. The action of having the disciples begin passing out the bread and fish was based on his awareness of God as his unfailing supply.

The focus we place on this story as a miraculous act performed by a supernatural being causes us to miss the lesson we can draw from it. We are often faced with circumstances that proclaim, “There is not enough to go around.” Maybe you are in such a situation now, where it seems your resources are inadequate. You may find yourself turning to God asking for help. Jesus’ example indicates the importance of first lifting our attention above the appearance and acknowledging God as our unfailing supply. We give thanks for the solution that is now forthcoming.

We can use our faith to know the answers we seek are present even before we perceive a problem. Our previous appearance-based training has us reacting to the problem in a way that degrades the quality of our inner life. Fear and a sense of helplessness often set in and we resort to pleading for help. We pause to let go of the negative energy we have placed in the appearance and we begin giving thanks that the proper solution is now forthcoming. Thanksgiving becomes a creative action rather than a simple reaction. 

The Everlasting Arms

YouTube: The Everlasting Arms

God … is the substance (from sub, under, and stare, to stand), or the real thing standing under every visible form of life, love, intelligence, or power. Each rock, tree, animal, every visible thing, is a manifestation of the one Spirit—God—differing only in degree of manifestation; and each of the numberless modes of manifestation or individualities, however insignificant, contains the whole.” -Emilie Cady

As I read this text, I am reminded of a verse from Deuteronomy:

“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Shifting from the notion that God is a human-like figure who resides in the sky to the understanding that God permeates and sustains all life is a big step for many. And yet as we make this change in our thinking, we come to know God as an imminent help and sustainer in our time of uncertainty. To think of God as our dwelling place and ourselves as being upheld and guided by God’s presence opens our mind to this truth. We take a peaceful, centered approach to our life.

God is your substance and the substance of all you desire. This is a prospering statement, one that helps open your mind to the truth of God as your unfailing resource. Instead of thinking “there are four months to harvest” the truth that God is your ever-present substance opens your mind to the “fields ready for harvest” right now. The same is true with health. God is your present source of health. The healing energy that God is works in and through your mind and body now. 

The statement, I live in God, and God lives in me aligns your thinking with the truth of your relationship to God. Speak these words when you are alone, quietly when you are with others, while you are out for your walk, driving your car, or alone in a meditative setting. Do not reach out to God; reach in. Wherever you are in life, open your mind to God’s prospering, healing presence.