- Sometimes removing an area of discomfort or weakness is not the solution to your spiritual growth and maturity. Sometimes the best way is to persevere in spite of them, so that you can experience more of God’s grace in your life.
- RLCC published a newsletterStop, Look, and ListenRead
God is always present. But we are often not present to Him. The key is to stop, look, and listen as often as possible. There are several spiritual disciplines for doing this. First, to stop you can practice “statio,” which is simply pausing for a moment before entering a new situation in order to pray. You can also practice fixed-hour prayer, which is called The Daily Office. You can stop during pre-determined times of the day, like every three hours, to pray. Another is by practicing the Sabbath, where you can intentionally rest for one day or for 24 hours once a week to pay attention to God, yourself, and others. A significant way to stop is through regular retreats. These are extended times to be with the Lord is crucial for long-term spiritual health. Added to this list, of course, is our regular sacred times as a community of faith.
When you stop, what do you do? You look and you listen. You can practice solitude (being alone) and silence (being quiet) to be present to God and to yourself. Then you can practice Lectio Divina (divine reading of the Bible) to listen to God. Finally, you can practice the Examen to go look and listen to how God may be present in your life. I will teach you how to do these disciplines in my future posts.
If you stop, look, and listen to God regularly, your soul will always be in a posture of receiving grace from God. For God will always resist the proud, but He will always give grace to the humble. Grace is what we truly need to be and to do anything that has any eternal value. Think about these things and, if you have a desire to know God more, practice them by faith. Once you do so, you will see good fruit in your life.
- RLCC published a newsletterUnderstanding Our MissionReadWhat we mean
Our desire is to help each one experience real life in Christ together with others. To accomplish this, we need to pursue the spiritual formation of each and everyone whom God brings into RLCC. Spiritual formation can only happen when each person is experiencing discipleship, nurturing relationships, and apostolic mission. We call this the DNA of RLCC. It's important that everyone understands this, and is pursuing this, especially those who are part of overseeing or starting Real Life Christian Communities.
First, each person in RLCC must experience discipleship (D). By this, we mean, each person is learning how to follow Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord both faithfully and fruitfully. To fulfill this, we need to provide adequate teaching of God's word so that everyone can know the will of God. We're doing this through our various teaching and preaching environments. But more than this, we want each person in RLCC to receive spiritual direction on an individual basis from someone who can assist them in their journey of faith. Someone must be available to give them comfort, attention, reconciliation, and encouragement (CARE). This person must walk alongside them in life to co-discern with them what the Holy Spirit is doing in their lives so that they can respond faithfully. If this is being done well, the result can be seen in people's lives in terms of change in affections (Acts 2:42-47), commitment to the Lord and to RLCC as their local church, and a Christ-centered self-identity (Phil 3:1-14). When this is not happening, a lot of loving interventions will have to be implemented.
Second, each person in RLCC must experience nurturing relationships. There are three kinds of relationships where we want each person in RLCC to experience love and learn how to show love also (1 John 3:11-18): Family, Friendships, and Future Spouses. We want families to learn how to grow in love in a Christ-centered way. That's why we want everyone to learn how to keep the Sabbath. We also want to create circles of friendships based on the "one another's" of Scripture. We want to do this in and through our LIFE Groups, Task Groups, and other small groups. We want these groups to meet regularly and to have healthy activities that build up one another. Last, we want those who are planning to have their own families someday to learn how to practice true Christ-centered love during courtship (i.e. Future Spouses). In other words, we want each person in RLCC, as part of their spiritual formation, to learn how to receive and give love to others. When this is happening correctly, our people will experience life-giving relationships. When it's not happening, a lot of conflicts, dysfunctions, and immorality will occur.
Third, each person in RLCC must experience apostolic mission (A). By this we mean, each person must be exposed to ministries that would challenge them to serve others. Living an other-centered life is what we want to see in all our members. We are creating more and more outreaches and ministry initiatives so that people can have various options where they can serve. Leaders must challenge their community members to serve in our outreaches, church planting activities, and other ministries. When this is happening well, we will see proper stewardship of time, talents, and treasures, engagement in life-changing ministries, and leadership development. When this is not happening, our people will just be interested in experiencing comfort and/or live unproductive lives.
To fulfill our mission, we must join hands in making sure that there is DNA in all our communities, departments, outreaches, and church planting activities, and that each member is experiencing discipleship, nurturing relationships, and apostolic mission. After reading this, please share at least one insight or realization in the comments below. Also, please share this with others in your community who need to understand who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish by God’s grace.
- Tomorrow we continue with Part 2 of our Feb series “Heart’s Delight.” In this series we are rediscovering the value of Sabbath keeping as a spiritual discipline. Come ans join us and learn more about the Sabbath and its benefits. More importantly, let’s practice it ourselves every Saturday (or any day). I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at RLCC. Remember our schedule. First Celebration: 8:30 am to 9:00 am - Silence and Solitude 9:00 am to 10:15 am - Worship and Word 10:15 am to 11:00 am - Fellowship Time Second Celebration: 11:00 am to 11:30 am - Silence and Solitude 11:30 am to 12:45 pm - Worship and Word
- God has created us with true desires that are designed to bring us closer to Him based on trust. He's the only One who can fulfill them and He wants us to trust Him to fulfill them. But Satan knows we don't understand these desires because they appear as fears, worries, and disappointments. So he tempts us to meet them in false ways to destroy us. This January we will try to understand these desires so that we can use them to draw near to God instead of running away from Him.
- We must pay attention to our emotional responses to various situations. That’s how we can understand ourselves better. We can then come to God as we are, admitting that we feel a certain way, whether good or bad. That’s how we find healing in His presence.
- Merry to all of you! From the pastors of RLCC