Weekly Reading for January 31 – February 6
Preparing for Next Week’s MessageSermon Series: Pathways!
Sermon Title: Engaging in the Pathways of Action
This reading plan will get your heart and mind set for the next message on February 7, 2021:
- SUNDAY: Esther 2-4,
- MONDAY: Esther 8:1-10:3,
- TUESDAY: 1 Chronicles 13, 1 Chronicles 15, Psalm 145,
- WEDNESDAY: Acts 16,
- THURSDAY: 1 Kings 18-19,
- FRIDAY: 2 Kings 4-6,
- SATURDAY: Habakkuk 1-2,
Reflecting on the Most Recent SermonSermon Series: Pathways
Sermon Title: Exploring the Pathways of Contemplation
Delivered On: January 31, 2021
VIEW SERMON NOTES
Memorize and Reflect1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. [bible]Psalm 63:1[/bible]
Prayer DirectionSpend time in your group praying in some of the following directions: - Thank God for those believers who meet God in the quiet of their minds. Pray that they will explore even deeper places of intimacy through exercising their intellect and then share what they learn with the people around them. - Pray for those who meet God in times when they are in the quiet of solitude. Pray for them to be able to find those places for deep connection to God. Thank God for how these people model the beauty of being intimate with Jesus. - Lift up prayers celebrating your brothers and sisters whose hearts connect with God through rich intimacy and expressions of intense love. Pray that they will hear God’s words of affection and affirmation.
“Live It!” ChallengeSimple and Rich repetition - For centuries there have been sincere and faithful followers of Jesus who have learned to draw near to God through simple and rich repetition of a prayer or declaration of faith. Each time you have a little space, just lift up the words that express your faith. You could try one of the examples below or write your own prayer or declaration of faith: - Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me. - God of kindness, lavish me with your grace. - Spirit of the Living God, thank you for comforting me in my times of need. - Sovereign God, I praise you for protecting me and guiding me every day. - Lord Jesus, merciful and loving friend, praise you for being near me always. - My God…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you alone are my Lord and Hope.
Small Group Discussion
Tell about a time you encountered God and experienced his presence in quiet and contemplation.
Read Romans 12:1-2
How can renewing our mind, learning new things, and going deeper into something you understand about your faith take you to fresh new places in your relationship with God? What are ways we can renew our minds in ways that connect us closer to the heart of our God?
Some Christians feel that pulling away from people and seeking solitude is insensitive and even a bit selfish. How can we make time to step away from the busyness and loudness of the world and making space to meet with Jesus actually make us more sensitive and caring toward others?
Tell about a time you were able to make space for silence and solitude and describe how this connected you to God more intimately and how it impacted your relationships with others.
Read Exodus 24:1-4 and Exodus 24:15-18
How did Moses enter a time of solitude and what did God do through this time? How has the world benefited from Moses’ willingness to seek the face of God in isolation and quiet?
Imagine you were invited to try one of the things listed below as an opportunity to connect with God in a new and fresh way. Pick one that sounds interesting and describe how you might be able to do this and what you hope would happen if you tried this spiritual exercise:
Taking a silent retreat (ranging from two hours to a whole day). In this time you would not speak or communicate (even with a computer or phone) but would read Scripture, pray, and invite God to speak to you.
Doing a fast of one meal or of all meals for 24 hours and using your meal times to be quiet and just be with God.
Doing a media fast where you stay off social media and all entertainment media (including games) for 3-7 days.
Experiment with simplicity. Find a place you can meet with God each day for a week. Make this place as simple and spartan as you can. Remove all clutter and distractions and only keep things in this space that will turn your thoughts and hearts to Jesus.
Read Psalm 63
How do you see David express his love, passion, and intimacy to God in this Psalm? Tell about a time you felt a deep emotional connection with God. What caused this deep sense of intimacy?
Tell about a Christian you know and respect who loves God with a level of personal passion and intimacy that inspires you. How does this person connect with God and what have you learned from their example and spiritual journey?
What is one step you can take to explore and experience the contemplative pathways and see if these three ways of connecting with God resonate for you and bring you closer to the God who loves you?