Lectio Divina- “Divine Reading”

January 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

As we continue in our series Walking with Jesus, we will be exploring scripture through a practice called Lectio Divina or “Divine Reading”. You can participate individually and as we go through the process during our weekly Bible study.

Below is a description of how to apply this practice to daily scripture reading.

 


Lectio Divina: “Divine Reading”

Lectio Divina, or “Divine Reading,” involves meditative listening to the reading, out loud and slowly, of a short passage or a few isolated verses of Scripture. It can be down on your own or with a group. Those who listen are encouraged to set aside analysis, and what they “know” already about the passage, seeking instead to open themselves to God’s word, listen with their hearts, and receive it expectantly and passively. They then attend to what they receive from God. God’s word is received personally, as an individualized gift to each person.

Lectio Divina, on your own

  • Choose a short Scripture passage for your meditation, and it is to be read out loud slowly. Quiet yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to guard and guide your meditation.
  • First reading. One-minute silent reflection before God. Take notice of whatever captures your attention in the passage or in your inner experience.
  • Second reading. One-minute silent reflection. Listen for a single word or phrase that particularly strikes you.
  • Third reading. Three to five minutes of silent reflection. Listen to how the passage seems to touch your life experience.
  • Fourth reading. Three to five minutes of silent reflection. What do you feel the passage might be inviting you to do? What is God inviting you to be? How is God inviting you to change? Spend some time in prayer over what you received from God’s word, and give thanks for his gift to you.

Lectio Divina, with a group

  • Begin. One participant opens with a brief, spoken prayer.
  • Read. Another participant reads the passage aloud, slowly.
  • Reflect.  
After one minute of silence each participant writes down an answer to the question, “What word/phrase caught my attention?”
  • Share. 
Each participant shares his/her word or phrase without comment.
  • Read.
 Another participant reads the same passage aloud from a different translation.
  • Reflect. 
After three to five minutes of silence, each participant writes down an answer to the question, “Where does this passage touch my life experience?”
  • Share.
 Each participant shares his/her answer in turn, without comment.
  • Read.
 A third participant reads the passage aloud from yet another translation.
  • Reflect.
 For three to five minutes participants write an answer to the question, “From what I have heard and shared, what is God inviting me to be? How is he inviting me to change?”
  • Share. 
Each participant shares, beginning, “I believe God wants me to …”
  • Pray.
 Each participant then prays aloud for the person on his/her right, praying only for what that person expressed in the prior step. (Option: each person continues to pray for that person throughout the day or evening.)

Notes for group Lectio Divina

  • Leader preparation: Select a short passage of Scripture. Having three translations available will add richness, but this is optional. Allow approximately 25 minutes for a group of five, longer with more participants. A digital timer or stopwatch is helpful.
  • Group preparation: None, except access to pen and paper.

Source: Material adapted from Sacred Companions by David Benner, 2002 by John Smed, Grace Vancouver. Materials used with permission, Redeemer Prayer Conference, June 2006.

 

 

 

 

Grace Family Fellowship Night of Worship & Prayer

September 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I just want to remind everyone that we are having a Night of Worship & Prayer at the church at 7:00pm.

I know the weather is bad, but it is always a good time to focus our hearts and minds on our incredible God. I hope you can join us!

 

Grace Family Fellowship Bible Study– July 6th & July 20th

July 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

This month we will have a Bible Study on Wednesday July 6th and Wednesday July 20th. The study runs from 7:00pm until around 8:30pm. In July we will meet at Beverly Foley’s home at 883 Bobolink Drive.

Here is a map with directions from our church:

 

Questions For God: Eyes On Eternity

June 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As we continue our series focusing on Randy Alcorn’s book The Treasure Principle, we have been looking at some “Questions for God” each week in our Wednesday Night Study.

The purpose of these “Questions for God”  is to prompt you to honestly approach your heavenly Father with uncertainties, fears, joys, and new discoveries. I encourage you to pray these questions to your Father, and note any responses He provides through His Word, the Holy Spirit, or wise fellow believers.

 

1) As I move toward death, am I backing away from my treasure, or moving toward it. Am I living in despair, or in joyful anticipation?

2) I recognize the potential my passions and desires have to cause great harm or to achieve great good. God, will You help me direct my treasure and my passions toward You and Your eternal purposes? 

Questions For God: Compounding Joy

May 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As we continue our series focusing on Randy Alcorn’s book The Treasure Principle, we have been looking at some “Questions for God” each week in our Wednesday Night Study.

The purpose of these “Questions for God”  is to prompt you to honestly approach your heavenly Father with uncertainties, fears, joys, and new discoveries. I encourage you to pray these questions to your Father, and note any responses He provides through His Word, the Holy Spirit, or wise fellow believers.

 

1)    Do I really believe that You have made me to be a giver? Am I convinced that I will feel Your pleasure when I give? God, help me to believe and to trust You enough to give.

2)    God, am I treating You as owner and CEO of “my” assets, or am I treating You merely as my financial consultant, to whom at best I pay a fee in the form of offerings?

A Description of “Biblical Community”

April 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week in our Sunday service, we looked at the stunningly beautiful community experienced by the early church in Acts 2:42-47. We saw how committed these believers were to one another and how powerfully that community impacted those around them.

As I was preparing for the message last week, I received an e-mail from an organization I really like called TRUEFACE. In it, they included a review of a book they wrote called Bo’s Cafe.I read this at our church meeting last week because I love the way the writer draws out the essence and beauty of real, authentic community… And I wanted to share it here because I believe it is an excellent definition for the kind of community we are called to in the Bible.

“Community—a place where we belong and are accepted—even when we do all we can to make others believe that we aren’t worthy. Community means standing together with each other, fully recognizing and disclosing our own blemishes and accepting others in the humility of knowing their path is not much different than our own. But, much more than that, a community of grace gently insists that we are lovingly honest with each other and ourselves about our sin and our needs. In openness and vulnerability, we can lay it all out on the table, and in return, receive a depth of love and protection that we never imagined. This, in turn, leads to the freedom to be transformed and truly move into maturity.”

Holly C ~ Amazon Review Bo’s Cafe

Spiritual Gifts

October 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

How can I discover my spiritual gifts?

Last week we talked about how God gives spiritual gifts to those in the church so that they can be used to build up the body of Christ.

Below is some information you can use to help discover what your gifts are– they are the notes we will use in this week’s Bible Study.

1 Corinthians 12:1

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.

There are many different tools to help us discover our spiritual gifts. I have selected an on-line tool that I found to be easy to use and helpful.

Think of this as a starting point to learn about different spiritual gifts and the gifts you may have. The best way to determine spiritual gifts is not a test or assessment like this, but rather, serving others in the body and having them affirm your gifts as you use them.

Go to:                        www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult 

Click on the “Continue as a Guest” button. 

The test will come up.

Answer each of the questions and follow the prompts.

Print out your results  (there is a “Print your Results” button on right side)

Read the “definitions” of your top 3 gifts

 Bring these results to the small group on Wednesday (10/14/15) to discuss.

Here are some questions to consider:

1)    Was this a “hard” test for you to take? If “yes” why do you think it was?

2)    Do these gifts surprise you? Why? Why not?

3)    Can you think of an example when you were able to use this gift to serve others in the church/body?

4)    How could you use these gifts to “build up” those around you in the church?

5)    How have you seen others use their gifts to build you up?

6)    How can you use your spiritual gift this week for the benefit of others in your church?

 

Exploding Back to Life

August 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

For the last few months, I have been working with a several employees in a local company. My role is to serve as a Dream Manager.

What is a Dream Manager, you ask? Well, it doesn’t have to do with analyzing stories of sitting in a college classroom for an examination that you didn’t study for or trying to run away from a monster while getting stuck in molasses. It’s not about those kinds of dreams. Instead, we try to identify the personal dreams that people have for their lives—and then determine some steps to move in the direction of achieving them.

It has been a very interesting process. It is amazing how much people can accomplish with some focus, structure and encouragement.

One of the highlights, so far, has been walking alongside Heidi. Heidi has written poetry for years and has dreamed of organizing her poems to begin to share them with others. In one of our sessions, I asked her if she would be willing to read one of her poems to me.

She agreed. Here is Heidi’s poem. She wrote it after she began to explore her own dreams and aspirations in our Dream Manager Pilot Program. I asked Heidi if I could share it with others and she agreed to this as well.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

Exploding Back to Life

Lying dormant for so long

Life just passing by, just going through the motions

-Smile, say “hello” someone is coming

And then even they are passing by

Another day, another year gone

 

A stirring – what is that?

A ripple starting deep inside

Growing bigger, creating chaos

Something not felt for a long time

Go away, ignorance is bliss

But still, the stirring grows

 

Joy erupts, happiness – what a real smile?

Peace flows into every part of me, of my life

Feelings not felt for so long

Explode inside, bringing life back

Too much, too fast

Overload, overload

 

Breathe, be calm, it’s ok

See, still in one piece

A gentle whisper – “Trust Me, it is and will be ok”

One step at a time

Bringing me closer to where I need to be – Your hug

Further from where I should not be – alone

 

June 9, 2015

You Shall Not Make For Yourself an Idol

October 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Currently, we are studying the Ten Commandments during our Sunday services.

This week we looked at the second commandment where God prohibits making a worship idols. It can be easy to dismiss this commandment as irrelevant when we consider idols as statues, totems, and parts of creation (the sun, moon, etc.). But idols come in many different forms and we should consider what may be idols in our own lives.

Here are some questions to ask to determine who/what may be an idol for you.

1) What do you want, desire, crave, and long for?

2) What have you done to get those things?

3) When do you say, “If only”?

4) What have you done to make “if only” come true?

5) Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, and escape?

6) Whom must you please?

7) What do you believe you can’t live without?

8) What have you done to get, keep, or protect that thing?

As we ponder these questions honestly, I believe that God will help us to see where we may be struggling with this commandment– and lead us to the only answer to overcoming them: Jesus.

The Greatest Story Ever Told-Sermon Notes

December 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Last Sunday, we talked about the stories of Christmas. Some of you expressed an interest in getting my notes on the message… Well, here they are! I hope you can make sense out of them. : )

****************

MESSAGE:            The Greatest Story Ever Told

It’s the Christmas season:            Christmas stories

  • Books‘
    • Twas the Night before Christmas
  • TV Specials
    • The Year Without Santa Claus
    • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    • Frosty the Snowman
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Movies
    • The Polar Express
    • Elf
    • Home Alone
    • It’s A Wonderful Life
    • Christmas Vacation
    • A Christmas Story

Christmas is about stories, We love these stories because they all have something in common…

  • they all capture our desire for hope, love, faith and peace
  • They touch something deep down in all of us—a longing for things to be right in the world

But they all have something else in common

  • They all are based on fantasy
  • They are myths that are not real
  • But we wish they were

I have been reading a book about story

  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
  • Donald Miller

Story:

  • A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

All the stories we watch at Christmas have this in common, But today I want us to think about the real story of Christmas

  • It is part of a bigger story
  • The Greatest Story Ever Told

Luke 2:1-21

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

Unlike the myths I mentioned earlier, this story is real

  • It happened in history

Movies:     The following is based on a true story or actual events

  • These capture my attention in a different way
  • They move me more because they are true—based in reality
  • Since they are real—they are accessible to me
  • In a way, I can be a part of it

Well, the following is based on a true story/actual events

Mary gives birth

  • Where—stable
  • Why—no room at the inn

Shepherds—angels

Luke 2:10-11

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Christmas is the TRUE Story of the birth of Jesus

  • Jesus is the greatest story in the universe

But his birth is just a scene in a bigger, grander story

  • The story of Jesus begins in Genesis

Creation:           The Garden

  • Man
  • The serpent—the villain/enemy/antagonist
  • The Fall
    • Man chooses to write his own story

Genesis 3:14-15 (The Message)

God told the serpent:

“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
    and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.”

A future character is introduced to the story— protagonist

  • A man who will defeat the enemy and restore creation and everything in it

The first mention of a hero

  • Promise of a savior/Messiah

Story:

  • A character—a Savior—who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

The Greatest story continues…

  • OT—Selects a people
  • Waiting for Messiah

Through the prophets we receive some clues about the hero…

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Micah 5:2

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

The story of the new character’s birth is filled with amazing & miraculous events:

Luke 2

  • A census from a Roman emperor puts Mary and Joseph in the right place at the right time
  • Heavenly host appear to shepherds

In other passages we learn

  • Mary & Joseph were separately visited by angels to prepare them for the event
  • A star seems to have broken the laws of celestial physics to highlight a stable in Bethlehem and guide wise men from the East

But there is also CONFLICT from the beginning

  • No room for them in the inn
  • Herod kills Hebrew children
  • May and Joseph flee to Egypt

We need to remember this story every year

  • We need to remember the story of Christmas—the birth of Jesus
  • Because that story is part of God’s Greatest Story
  • A story that continues today

The Greatest Story Ever Told is also…

  • The Greatest Story Being Told—right now
  • It is story we are all a part of whether we realize it or not

The Story God is writing includes characters writing their own stories

  • Every person who has ever walked this earth is actually writing a story within God’s bigger story

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years—Donald Miller

  • Charcters try to write their own stories

Pg 85-86

As I worked on my novel, as my character did what he wanted and ruined my story, it reminded me of life in certain ways. I mean as I sat there in my office feeling like God making my worlds, and as my characters fought to have their way, their senseless, selfish way of nonstory, I could identify with them. I fought with my character who wanted the boring life of self-indulgence, and yet I was also that character, fighting God and I could see God sitting at his computer, staring blankly at his screen as I asked him to write in some money and some fun and some comfort.

God has a story he is writing right now

  • The end hasn’t happened
  • And we’re  in it
  • A grand, dramatic, exciting story
  • Of angels and miracles and life

But we want to control the story

  • We want to play the hero
  • Or at least have the main focus

Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we reject the divine author and choose to write our own story

  • We sin
  • We run from God

And so we struggle when God’s story doesn’t match up with ours

  • We fight him
  • We cry out against him
  • We blame him

Story from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: Kathy and the Rwandan genocide

  • Kathy
  • Massacre in a church in Ntarama

Pgs 117-118

“Kathy took the tour bus to Ntarama. She walked into the church and looked at the bones lying cold on the iron rails. She looked at the bloody clothes hanging from the walls.

She was ready to feel the same old anger at God, only a thousandfold more. She was ready to pray her last prayer, announcing that she could no longer believe in God in a world with such pain and so much devastation.

But Kathy told me it was then and there, in that church, that she heard from God. Instead of the anger, she felt overwhelming tenderness and sorrow.

This is what happens when people walk away from me, Kathy. I have brought you to this place to show you something important. This is what happens when my compassion and love leave a place.

It is when people do not let God show up through them, she realized, that the world collapses in on itself.”

 

The Story of Christmas is the story of God bringing his love and compassion to this world

It is a story of A character—Jesus— who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

Do you know what he wants?

  • You

And he is willing to do anything to get it

  • Leaves his heavenly kingdom
  • Enters a world he created that has turned against him
  • Forfeits his rights and power—arriving as a helpless baby

He will have to overcome conflict to get you—the one he loves so much

Conflict at his birth…

Then—at the end of his life—we see the full extent of his love

  • Arrested, falsely accused, tried, convicted, condemned to death on a cross
  • It is there that Jesus overcomes the greatest conflict we could never overcome on our own
  • Sin and death
  • The results of our rejection

The greatest story is the gospel:

A character—Jesus— who wants something—(YOU) to give you life and to be with you forever— and overcomes conflict—(the CROSS) by going to the cross and dying for your sins as your substitute; then rising from the dead—defeating sin and death to get it.

Now that’s the greatest story ever told… And here is the amazing thing when we believe that…

  • Since it is also The Greatest Story Being Told
  • We can be part of God’s story again
  • Instead of fighting against him, we can join him
  • The story is being written today—right now

Every moment of everyday, we are writing a story

  • And we can choose what our character does

We can choose to make ourselves the center of the story

  • To act only for ourselves and our interests
  • And live out a small, rather boring story

Or we can listen to the author and be a different character in the Greatest Story Being Told

We need Christmas each year…

  • Remember that he came
  • Remember that he still comes
  • He has entered our story and is there… always

Knowing all this…

  • What part of the story will you write today?
  • What will you write this Christmas?
  • What will you write in 2014?

Because…

  • The Greatest story ever told
  • Is the greatest story being told
  • And the greatest story that will be told

We have a reason for hope in the face of conflict

  • A reason to sing

Grace and peace,

Doug