Spring/Summer theme 2023 - The Church
How do we 'be' the church, and also frame it in the context of a spiritual discipline?
First a little background!
- In the Bible a gathering of believers in Jesus was called the Ekklésia - which means the assembly or congregation. Interestingly, the word Church that we use today comes from the word Kyrios or Lord, and means 'belonging to the Lord'.
-Of course we know an 'Assembly of Believers' does in fact belong to the Lord! So, while in English we say church, we mean all the people God calls out from the world to himself, and his eternal kingdom - otherwise known as Christians (worshippers of Christ).
-In the New Testament it does not mean a building, place of worship, organization or denomination. It's not somewhere you go on a Sunday, or something you do weekly, it's a body you are a part of.
-This should change how we understand the church. It's our people, our tribe, our family. We ARE the church.
Winter theme 2023 - Rest
Do you ever get so busy you realize you haven't had a chance to think, close your eyes, rest or take a break? It happens to me, that auto-pilot mode or energizer bunny act where I just keep going.. and going - until I'm exhausted.
Even Jesus made sure his disciples took time to rest, breaks during the busyness. They needed alone time, quiet time, rest from the never ending bustle of life.
He also said that "the Sabbath was made for man". God created a day - for us - to make sure we had some rest. He knew we would need it too. It's important for our souls, for our hearts and minds. We need time to think, to spend with the Lord, renew our strength, have our cups filled, play and pray.
Do you take this time to rest? It's something I'm trying to make sure I schedule regularly into my weeks. It will not only benefit us to make sure we follow Jesus' example to rest, but it will benefit those around us who we are often being busy for.
Be blessed in your rest!
Rest is something that God has provided for us, and most importantly in our salvation!
There is nothing we are able to do on our own to make ourselves right with God, our sin separated us from Him. We needed God to intervene on our behalf and he did! Jesus Christ was sacrificed to take away our sins and give us life, provide forgiveness, clothe us in His righteousness and make us children of God.
Rest in that grace. Rest in the fact that He did it all. Rest knowing your salvation is secure because it doesn't depend on you.
Fall theme 2022 - Surrender & Prayer
'Pray without ceasing.' How do we do this?
First, let's establish that prayer is a conversation and not simply a list we recite of our needs. In a conversation with the Lord, there is no need to prep it, formalize it or make it sound spiritual. It's simply being yourself as you talk to God and listen to Him.
Second, we can talk to him about everything, in real time, like a little child who expresses emotions and words so naturally. When excited-share it with him in prayer, when afraid-say so and ask for his help, when you have to make a decision-talk to him about it and settle between you and him that you're there to listen and follow, when something amazing happens-whisper or shout that prayer of thanks, when you mess up-just say so and receive forgiveness and grace in the moment.
Prayer can seem daunting to us at first, but intentionally adding it sprinkled through our daily rhythms is a great place to start. Simply start the conversation. It is a worthy practice.
Submission works alongside surrender in the life of a believer.
We surrender ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus, and we submit to living his way and for his purposes.
Jesus is our perfect example, who emptied himself and took the form of a servant, humbling himself even to death on the cross. He came to earth not to do his own will, but the will of his Father.
(Phil 2:5-11, John 6:38) He did so for us!
Submission is necessary. Surrender is necessary. Both are good. As much as we have surrendered and are submitted to the Lord, he has the freedom to work in our lives, transform us, grow us and accomplish his purposes. His ways are good, his yoke is easy, and God's promises are yes in Christ! We can trust him with our surrender and submission.
Summer theme 2022 - Bible Reading & Study
Make a Plan
If we are looking to start a rythym of Bible reading there are many ways to approach it. Below are some plans, ideas, or frameworks for Bible reading. We want to read to listen, learn and apply what the Holy Spirit teaches us. As we feed on the Word we will begin to hunger for it, and desire those sweet times spent with the Lord!
A few to check out are:
Bible Reading and Study will be our focused discipline over the summer! I'm sure we already include this practice in our daily or weekly rhythms.
By consistently taking time to read, study and apply God's Word, we fill our hearts and minds with His truth! God continues to speak through His word today, and by buildiing this discipline we can know Him better, learn His ways, be aware of His commands and hear His heart.
The words I have spoken to you, they are full of the Spirit and life. John 6:63b
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16
Helps for Study
Beginning study of the Word can be daunting for some of us, but remember, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us! Always take time to pray and ask the Lord to teach you as you begin your study. He will!
There are also many useful helps that can be used. A few are mentioned here, but there are many online sites as well, like BlueLetterBible.org or BibleHub.com. These include all types of study helps. Enjoy the journey!
As we read
As we read Scripture, thinking about some of these questions can help to turn our reading into more intentional study.
If we want to read to understand and interpret rightly, we should include a look at context, literary genre, the audience and what the passage shows us about God or ourselves. Ask how it fits with the rest of Scripture and what is the main point. Then we can seek to apply what we've read to our own lives.