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Simple ways to keep our spiritual life active and growing

It Don’d on me

Simple ways to keep our spiritual life active and growing

Last Sunday we began a four-sermon series on “Spiritual Fitness,” exploring ways we can keep our spiritual life active and growing. I’m comparing four areas of Physical Fitness to related areas of Spiritual Fitness. Last Sunday we considered Bible Study as spiritual “Good Nutrition.” Next Sunday, January 31, we will look at prayer as a spiritual practice of “adequate breathing.” Then we will move on to Acts of Service as “Strength Conditioning,” and, finally, a regular practice that is equally important for our physical and spiritual well-being: Adequate Rest.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of “exercises for spiritual fitness.” Each of these areas yields best results when practiced both communally and individually, but during this season of our spending more time physically apart, many of us find time to devote to Bible study, prayer, service, and rest.

On Sunday I shared two simple methods for meditating on God’s Word. One is to read a selection of Scripture several times through, each time asking a different question of the text you are reading: “What does this passage say about God?” “What does this passage say about

humans?” And on the third or fourth reading, “What does this passage say about the relationship between God and humans?” Over my years of leading Bible Study groups, I have found myself in deeply enriching conversations just from having people share their responses to these three simple questions. You might wrap up your time in your text by asking a fourth question, “What have I learned about the relationship between God and me?”

I also shared the “Seven-Minute Quiet Time” approach: Use a timer to literally spend 1 minute in prayer, then 5 minutes reading your Bible, then 1 more minute of prayer. You could start with the worship texts from last Sunday morning, or do this to read through the Gospel according to Mark, 5 minutes a day with 1 minute of prayer before and after reading. Be warned: the Seven-minute Quiet Time can become habit-forming! The third approach for meditating on Scripture, which I promised to share in the Friend and on our church website, is a little more involved. I call it “Point of View.” You’ll want paper handy to take some simple notes. First, select a passage of Scripture that is a narrative-style story or a parable of Jesus. Read the story aloud to yourself. Then read it through again and list all of the characters in the story. (Named groups like “the crowd” or “the disciples” or “the Pharisees” count as a character, along with the individuals. And remember to include God and/or Jesus if they are in the story!). Now re-read the story and ask, “Which character in this story do I most identify with, right now? Why is that?” Finally, ask yourself a few follow-up questions: “Is there a different character in this story whom I’d rather be? Whom I’d rather think like, believe like, respond like?” Finally, in light of your place in this story, ask yourself: “What do I need from God/Jesus Christ today?” Give this a try using Mark 10:46-52.

Try one or more of these exercises to get some good nutrition from your Bible this week. Then join us this Sunday morning as we learn how to deepen our capacity for prayer.

Growing with you, Don

Posted by Dr. Don Wilson

Stewardship Emphasis Contines & Oct 18th Event Coming

Our Fall Stewardship Emphasis, “Why Do We Give?” got off to a good start last Sunday with our outdoor World Communion Sunday worship service, a subtheme of “We Give as an Expression of Worship and Love,” and an inspiring testimony from Michele Rothschild. We continue our theme this week with the subtheme, “We Give Out of Duty and Devotion.” We will be inspired from God’s Word and another personal testimony in our 10 a.m. online worship service. Our emphasis concludes Sunday, Oct. 18, with the subtheme “We Give with Gratitude for All God has Given to Us,” both at our 10 a.m. worship and at a Celebration “tailgate” on the church parking lot from 5–6:30 p.m! Bring a picnic dinner and your own chairs, and come enjoy social-distanced togetherness and wonderful music from our own Paul Nelson. Look this week for a letter from our Stewardship Team Chair Charlie Stone, which will include an Estimate of Giving card. The letter has instructions for getting your card to the church. May God bless First Christian Church as we move forward this year in faith, hope and love.

Posted by Dr. Don Wilson

Let's Stay Connected

Let’s Stay Connected...
Jesus told the parable of the Good Shepherd, who leaves the 99 sheep who are “safe in the fold” in order to go in search of the one who is missing, so that He can reconnect that one to the flock in a spirit of rejoicing. Jesus was telling us about the nature of God, and this Bible story itself tells of Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd. In the original language of the New Testament, the passages that describe Church Elders also refer to these leader/servants as “shepherds of the flock,” charged with spiritual care and concern for all who are part of their community of faith.

During the safe-guarding physical separation brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is so important for us to stay connected in every way we can, as a congregation and as supportive friends to one another. Our Church Elders especially have taken this need to heart, and are trying to reach out and connect with all of our church members. They want to know how you are doing, and how your church can pray for and encourage you. Your Elders are committed to helping us live into our identity statement, “Centered in Christ and Formed in Relationships.” Especially now, we need those relationships.

We are concerned for those church members who may be isolated from the ongoing activities of our church because of technology limitations.

Surely several of us are not able to log on for Sunday morning worship, or to join a “Zoom” Bible Study or fellowship time. So we are calling, seeking the ones whom we’ve been missing, so we may rejoice at being held together—all of us—in the loving care of our Good Shepherd.

So please answer that call and take a few minutes to visit with your church Elder. They call simply to care. If you think of someone in this flock who may be overlooked or unable to connect with their church, please call the church office to be sure we have their name. And please pray for our Church Elders as they are working to pray for and with each of us. We so appreciate their love for Christ and for all who follow Him together as First Christian Church of Arlington.

-Don


Posted by Dr. Don Wilson

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