Thursday, January 22, 2009

Everyone Needs a Personalized Training Plan

Have you tried anything lately that scared you? It's not a bad habit to periodically do something that scares you...

...But often, the things in life most worth doing, require more than simply trying. They require intentional seasons of training.

Many people want to be like Jesus and when they find themselves in a pickle, try real hard. Unfortunately it just doesn't work, at least with any level of ongoing consistency.

The same is true with many things in life. Not matter how sincere one is or how hard they try, without some intentional and rhythmic training, they won't have much success at trying to run a marathon, complete a triathlon or even a 5k.

If you really want to finish well, an individualized training plan is necessary. The sad reality is many aspiring runners, simply do not have one, and it shows.

Many people want to follow Christ and as Paul said, "run the race" before them. Yet, the same principle applies. If you want to "run" the "race" well you'll do it much better with a personalized training plan.

Many well-intended and sincere Christians want to walk with-God, but lack a plan of intentionality as to how to engage such a walk.

What if you could sit down with someone and develop a personalized training plan for your walk with God, would you be interested?

If so, there will be a workshop Monday, February 2 - 6:30-9:00pm for this very purpose.

The workshop is Discovering Growth and we'll be looking at ways in which we can better experience transformation and engage our walk with-God.

Each person will be given the opportunity to sit down with someone and develop a personalized (spiritual) training plan.

This is perhaps one of the best ways to move into the new year!

If you have questions or want more information email me.
  • When: Monday February 2
  • Time: 6:30-9:00pm
  • Where: Southgate Church
  • RSVP: especially if you will be needing childcare.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Sacred Rhythm of Engaging Scripture

One of the rhythms that is imperative to my ongoing walk with-God is that of simply reflecting on Scripture. Many people each January aspire to trek through-the-Bible with some daily reading plan. There is great value in seeing the Story of Scripture in a grand fly-over sweep. I've tried these plans several times over the years. However, I must confess, I make it about three verses and something begins to emerge from deep within - "Hmm..." or "Huh...?" or "What'the'Heck!?"

I find myself wanting to hoover over a passage, a phrase or even one single word. At that point I have a choice. Ignore the Spirit's prompting within or plow on through the assigned text of the day. I become frustrated and it's at that point that I typically jump ship.

I've concluded that God isn't as concerned with me getting through-the-Bible as He is with the Bible getting-through-me. I'm looking for an in-formation, not merely more information. I love the Story of Scripture and the way the Spirit brings it to life with transforming relevance. These times in Scripture churn up something deep within me. And, during those times (and they have come) when I'm not engaging Scripture in such a manner, I can sense the interplay of that affecting my with-God life.

One of the things that I've found extremely helpful is not merely opening up Scripture on any given day with the question, "where should I read today?". This lacks intentionality, context and many who utilize this approach find themselves not engaging Scripture with any true sense of rhythm.

When prayerfully reflecting on the patterns and practices that I need to engage in a given season, I spend some time asking God to show me a particular book of Scripture that I should live-in, work-through and marinate in. By focusing in one (or in my case - two books), there emerges a contextual understanding of the book, the time and culture it was written and the subtle nuances embedded by the author that are often missed in the quick read-through. There is a process I go through that I'll talk more about at another time, but for now, during such engagement these portions of Scripture become as an unfolding mystery of delicate and faint clues woven through it.

Back in December, as I was reflecting on my rhythms for 2009, I sensed God directing to the New Testament Epistle of Colossians. Already there are passages that have begun to consume my idle attention throughout the day. Prayers that Paul prayers, declarations made about those who follow Christ and the work of the Spirit within. These passages, almost mystically, follow me
throughout my day working their way into my outward conversations as well as my internal rumblings. Did I mention I love Scripture...? And, the Spirit that brings it to life...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Exploring Personal Rhythms

In a world enchanted by facile slogans and fast food appetites, we are in need of something sacred .

In a time of exponential hurriedness, we are in need of a new sense of rhythm .

In our journey to explore human transformation and spiritual practices that will help us to engage God, expand our everyday lives and master the art of living in slow motion, we will need to be intentional about our life rhythms.

As mentioned in the previous post, several times a year I get away by myself. One of things I do during this time is look at what my life rhythms have looked like over the past several months. The things I've been learning. The places I've been exerting effort, energy and creativity. I reflect on what my thoughts and emotions and perspective on life, family, ministry, etc have been.

I look back in my journal to the things I captured during my last time away. I look back at the things I felt at that time God was directing me into or saying to me regarding the upcoming season. I then reflect how those 'things' played out. How have I engaged the things I sensed Him directing me in? What have my personal practices, disciplines and rhythms looked like?

Additionally, the majority of this time is spent listening, waiting, sensing and capturing what God is saying to me in retrospect of the past, the present and the emerging future.

I jot down
the things I sense He's leading me into, bringing before me, desiring to teach and form within me. I also begin to sketch out what patterns and practices will be vital to my personal rhythm of life. These times are insightful, informative, directive and strengthening...

Exploring Personal Rhythms is a tool that can be used as a means of reflection and awareness into our current patterns and practices. This can be pretty beneficial in beginning to reflect and converse with God regarding the season in your journey.