Week 1: Praying with Discernment & Journaling 101
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. – Philippians 1:9 NIV
Have you ever written a letter to someone and included a prayer on their behalf? Paul did this frequently. God in his infinite wisdom saw to it that these letters were preserved as a part of the New Testament in order that we might be encouraged and instructed. The above prayer is one of my favorite models to pray. It addresses the head, heart and hands, and it touches on a central concern that most of us have when we pray, “How do I know God’s will?”
On Wednesday January 9, from 6:30 to 7:00 I will address two basic components of an effective plan of personal spiritual growth: Praying with Discernment, and Journaling 101. When we understand how we are to pray to know and heed God’s will, and we establish a means of capturing our own heart cries and God’s responses we will be well on our way to developing an ever deepening relationship of devotion to the Lord.
Our world conditions us to be busy and if we are not in a constant state of busyness all the time it makes us feel like we are somehow less human. To make matters worse, our instantaneous culture has created a desire to have things now, and having to actually wait for something becomes frustrating and infuriating. In fact we are mad because it is a waste of our time! And we are sooooo busy we don’t have time to wait. You see the fun cycle that emerges? Or maybe our world wants us to be busy because it’s in those restful and/or waiting moments when we are not distracted by our own self-created busyness that we realize how lost and lonely we truly are. Therefore, to mask our thirst for more in life, the world keeps us distracted by keeping us busy to make us feel important.
Advent is the four weeks of the church calendar that leads up to the season of Christmas. It is a time in the church calendar where we intentionally remember the Hebrew nation and how they were expectantly waiting for the Messiah. As we reflect on that, we simultaneously bring into focus the Second Advent of Christ which we ourselves as a Church universal are waiting for.
As Christians in the USA, it’s difficult for us to wait on God, because we grow frustrated and impatient. It’s difficult for us to slow down and rest in the presence of God as the world pushes us to be too busy for its own Creator. I truly believe that from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day our world amplifies that busyness. Think about that: this time frame that the Church has set aside to wait and seek and celebrate the presence of Christ is EXTRA busy… EXTRA distracting… coincidence? I think not.
This year our Advent Worship Experience will be the main focus on the first Sunday of Advent. It is a time to refocus our perspective by remembering what it means to wait expectantly and to rest in Christ’s presence.
Our hope is that during the four weeks leading up to Christmas (a time of celebrating God with us) this experience will challenge you to slow down, rest in God’s presence and remember what it means to expectantly wait on God, while giving you a renewed expectant and hopeful patience and peace during the 2012 Advent and Christmas season.
Hucrest Church is convinced that maturing Christians are learners and servant leaders. The mission before us is so vital that we invest each year in learning opportunities such as the “Global Leadership Summit” sponsored by the Willow Creek Association. Learning at the Leadership Summit isn’t complete until the best stuff gets passed along. Join us for iServe on Wednesday nights for four of the best sessions of 2012. Time for discussion will follow each video. Plan to join us for this special Family Night study:
Session 1: November 28, Craig Groeschel
“The Strongest Link”
Session 2: December 5, Bill Hybels
“Privilege of Leadership”
Session 3: December 12, Jim Collins
“Great By Choice”
Session 4: December 19, Bill Hybels
“Hope of the World”