We are currently experiencing an unprecedented time in our church, our community and in our world. The news is filled everyday with increasing concerns of Covid-19 and most of us are doing our best to “love our neighbor” by practicing social distancing and common sense. It is a time of great anxiety. Never have we more need to stay connected to God than now!
Three years ago our ministry staff began offering resources to the congregation to grow in their relationship with God through the practice of the spiritual disciplines. We encourage you, now in this time of great uncertainty, to re-visit these resources and invest some time in their practice. Let this be a time of spiritual opportunity for you and make the most of this opportunity to continue to grow in your relationship with the LORD.
In the pages of this blog you will find a different ‘discipline’ highlighted each month (dated 2017), often with video introductions provided by one of our ministers or borrowed from other great ministry resources. Use the guides provided to lead you in your practice and open up new opportunities for growth.
May God bless us all in this time!
Well, we’ve finally come to the end. We cannot believe it, but our year-long Spiritual Life Group season is coming to a close Sunday night. Beginning in November our Sunday evening worship format will shift back to an all-church Worship Assembly with special lessons and activities. This week, on our final night in our Spiritual Life Groups, we are asking you to spend some time reflecting on the past year… the things that worked and the things that didn’t. The discussion guide may provide you some closing thoughts to consider and possibly some questions to ‘throw out there.’ They are questions I’ve had over the years, so maybe they’ve come up in your group, too.
Have a great group… we are looking forward to next year (which we’ll be talking about in the coming weeks) and encouraging our Families to Grow for Him in 2018!
10-29 Making it a Way of Life
This week we will be talking about the Rule of Life. This is the practice of rearranging your life to experience God. We have been talking about these Spiritual Practices that help you experience God. We are asking you not just hear these things, but to actually put them into practice. We hope you take time over this week to examine your life and find a little space for God.
8-22 Rule of Life
As we continue our review of the spiritual practices, this Sunday we want to look at the corporate disciplines, those practices which we engage in together with the church. Pay particular attention to the “why” of these practices in Scripture. I believe you’ll notice that on top of them honoring God and edifying ourselves as we practice them… each of them also serve the purpose of building up the body of Christ.
I’ve noticed Hebrews 10:25, for example, being used as a club to beat people up who miss a church service or something. However, I believe you’ll notice that the admonition there (“Don’t stop coming together as some are doing, but encourage one another daily… and all the more as you see the day approaching.”)… is focused on encouraging each other. The corporate disciplines are those practices which encourage one another as we practice them together.
This week, watch the short ‘intro’ video done by my friend, Patrick Mead, several years ago for Winterfest as an introductory way to talk about these disciplines. We need each other!
10-15 The Corporate Disciplines
This week we continue our efforts to pull together this year’s focus on growing in Christ through the classic spiritual practices. Last week we reviewed several of the “Inward Disciplines” (according to categories described by Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline). Today, we want to look at the Outward Disciplines… those practices which we “live out” in our lives… practices such as service, submission, sharing our faith, etc. Once again we ask that you reflect on your practices throughout this year and at how the Lord has used these lessons to challenge you and to grow you.
Please share your stories!
10-8 the Outward Disciplines
This week we begin a month-long effort to wrap up our year-long study of the classic spiritual disciplines. We will be reviewing and reflecting on the practices discussed throughout the year with the aim of evaluating how helpful they have been to us. For the most part, their helpfulness in making us more like Jesus will be determined by our commitment to them and the regularity in which we practice them in our own lives.
How have you grown spiritually this year? How have these Christian practices helped you to grow closer to the Lord and more like Jesus?
10-1 Inward Disciplines
Last week we talked about the principle of being ‘separate’ and distinct from the world fro the sake of Christ. Indeed, God calls us out from the world to be different from it- the concept of holiness which we’ve talked a lot about this year.
This week we want to look at the other side of that practice, the practice of Engagement with the world. While, yes, we are to be different, we are also to actively engage the world for the sake of Christ. He calls us to be “salt & light” in a dismal and dark world. That requires we become active participants in our world with the goal of making it better and brighter. This week, look to the example of Jesus how he constantly and intentionally engaged the world and the people of it so that he might bring about a change in their lives. And let us follow His example!
Have a great group.
This week our spiritual discipline is Separate, as in the verb… ‘separate yourselves from the world.’ It has long been the struggle of God’s people to be ‘in the world but not of the world.’ God has placed us in his fallen world and called us to engage it in the name of Christ, but He has also most certainly called us OUT from it. Even the derivation of the word from which we get the word CHURCH means “those called out”. What are we “called out” from? The world.
We are a chosen people called out from the world for a purpose.
Next week we will look at our call to engage the world, but first we must consider if we are truly different, distinct, a ‘peculiar’ people. Then, and only then, are we ready to go out into the world for the sake of Christ to be agents of salt & light.
More next week!
This week we will be discussing the practice of Guidance. “How do we let God lead?” This is a hard question to answer because often we just think that going it alone is the only option. If we do not believe this, most live it out in practice in our culture. We do it by ourselves for ourselves.
Christians know that we must submit our will to God. But what does that really look like in modern culture? What does that look like in our church? These are the questions we will be answering in our group this week.
One of the greatest disciplines for spiritual growth is also one of the most feared among even folks who’ve been a Christian for years… the practice of sharing one’s faith. Maybe it is because it is such a personal thing, often we are reluctant to open ourselves to sharing Jesus with others. Yet, this is precisely what our Lord has commanded us to do. Disciples make disciples.
This week we want to explore the discipline of evangelism and while our groups might get into particular methods, the focus is really on encouraging each one to overcome whatever obstacles may be in place and become a disciple who shares his or her faith with those we come into contact with.
May God bless you in your group time this week!