In meeting with fellow disciples, the following 7 questions are often helpful.
1. What are you thankful for today?
2. What are you struggling with lately? -or- What is causing stress in your life?
Read the passage several time aloud, slowly so that each person reads it aloud. Read it enough time that each persona grasps it. Don’t teach it, as such, but let the scripture teach itself to you through slow repetition. About the Scripture text you’ve read:
3. What does the text teach us about God and/or His character?
4. What does the text teach us about humanity? What are we really like?
5. How does it apply to me? or What does God need to change IN ME? or “I will…”
6. What should we do together to obey this message from God?
7. Who could you share this story with?
It should be duly noted that these questions are NOT original to me. I learned them from several independent sources. These 7 are an adaptation from what is know as the Disciple Making Movement. It truly is a movement with no head. I tried to find a real original source once to cite, but to no avail. Hence, this blurb of credit to that unknown source.
When we’re struggling, feeling accused, betrayed, we must remind ourselves that as people in Christ we do not stand alone. The psalmist reminds us.
“For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.” Psalms 109:31 ESVhttp://bible.com/59/psa.109.31.esv
It’s normal to feel these things, but remember God is with us.
The anticipation of Easter is past. Many did without something for the Lenten season.
Yesterday we greeted one another with the ancient greeting “Christ is risen!” We replied with “Christ is risen indeed!” These are ancient greetings that are frequently used in the Orthodox world, not just at Easter. I wonder if this may be the origin of my Ukrainian partners greeting one another with “Praise God!”
In one church service in which I preached a couple of weeks ago, the pastor encouraged the people to be intentional about saying “Praise God.” Don’t fall into mindless habit was his admonition.
On this Easter +1 day, what are the mindless habits that we need to awaken into intentionality?
Let our yes be yes, let our words be meaningful.
I asked a Hungarian colleague “How are you?” 15 minutes later I had a full report as I listened while sipping coffee. I had learned long ago in that culture to only ask that question when you really mean those words.
Let us, on this Easter +1 ponder and affirm one way that we will be more intentional about our words. Perhaps beginning with the words we speak with God in prayer.
May the result of Easter be lasting, may it not be just another holiday that has passed. As Peter said:
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:13 ESV
WARNING: This may be disgusting.
I heard a preacher once say that relying on the words of man alone explaining or applying the Bible is like having someone else chew your food before you swallow it.
In a conversation about spiritual development, a dear old saint and I were discussing the helpfulness of Oswald Chambers. But as we talked it became clear that this was the only input she got each day.
Chambers would be, I hope, horrified.
Human writers, the best of them are nothing more than supplements. And for a vitamin to absorb best, it should be taken with food.
Another preacher once said, we need to be reading the Bible more than books about the Bible.
Yes, Scripture can be hard to understand sometimes. And human authors – and our clergy – can help. (If your clergy can’t, or won’t… find new clergy.) But if we keep a steady diet of Scripture flowing into our heart and mind, and invest ample time with our Father in prayer, He can use Scripture to explain and illustrate Scripture.
(I find this Scripture explain Scripture thing happening all the time in the ‘M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan’. Check it out here http://bible.com/r/O )
After dinner I take my vitamin.
After Scripture and prayer, let Chambers inspire.
Imagine you’re in a boat and are rowing. 🛶 On one side. Using all your strength to row on that one side. What would the result be?
Rowing in circles.
Now this is an oversimplification of the sail-row-drift-sink metaphor, but it’s worth thinking about.
Let’s say that, as I believe, the foundational disciplines of one’s personal discipleship / spiritual development are Bible reading and prayer, those disciplines, in the metaphor, are the oars.
Let’s also say that you find one of those two easier or more natural for you. And on that one you out your focus, to the neglect of the other.
In other words, you’re just 🚣 rowing on one side of the boat.
And you don’t seem to be making progress.
See, I talk to people all the time who can’t seem to make any progress and when asked about their disciplines they’re all the same. Undisciplined in the word and/or in prayer.
There are two oars in the boat.
So I’m unpacked, laundry done and headed to the library…
for yet more edits on the thesis, maybe the final ones…