Friday, August 20, 2010

Ten things that really help me grow spiritually

1)  I read the Word, not just devotionals.  

Something I've noticed about a lot of today's Christians is that a lot of them don't read the Bible anymore.  If they read the Word in any form, it's in devotionals that contain short excerpts from the Bible.  I'm a fan of devotionals as they definitely bring greater clarity on the Bible, but we have to be careful to not use them as a substitute for the Bible.

2)  I read the Word in different versions.  

I am a fan of bible gateway, and love going there to read passages in different versions.  This expands my thought process on the various scriptures I'm studying and gives me a greater perspective -- the full counsel of God's Word.

3)  I write my prayers.

I'm an intercessor and pray in many different ways but writing is a favorite tool when I'm distracted easily, which is a lot.  Many times I'll write my prayers in a password protected format -- they are totally confidential between God and myself, just pouring my heart out, and doing it in this fashion helps me stay focused when other things are clamoring for my attention.

4)  I walk and pray.

Huge fan of this...I do it whether alone at home or at intercessory meetings at church.  Helps me to stay focused and quite literally move forward.

5)  I attend church services a lot.  

I know I "am" the church (the church is people, not a building) and I do make it a priority to attend services where the people are,  not just because I'm a pastor...because I'm a Christian.  (Hebrews 10:25)  Those who are growing most in the church are 99.9% of the time those who are faithful to be there not just on Sundays but during other worship opportunities whether they be mid-week services or small groups.  I don't say that because I'm a pastor, I say it because it's true.  Back when I was in Weight Watchers those who succeeded the most were those who were at meetings all the time.  They would say, "the meetings are the magic!"  There's truth to that for Christians too.

6)  I don't just "attend" services - I'm in close accountable relationships with others.

Yep, even me -- a pastor.  Nobody is exempt from accountable close relationships if you want to go somewhere in God.  This helps me to grow - to be encouraged, and to encourage others.  Moving forward is a process only navigated well in the company of others.    

7)  I spiritually eat at home more than I do at church.

While church is essential and cannot be underestimated, I don't expect it to fulfill all my spiritual dietary needs.  I'm required to eat at home for spiritual health.  Some people eat nothing spiritually all week long and show up to church weak and sick spiritually and expect their preacher to do a miracle.  The truth is that God expects you to lift the spoon to your mouth during the week.  Most folks show up needing a spiritual I.V. by Sunday Morning.  And we wonder why many church services across the land are anemic?  They are filled with anemic people -- we ARE the church, so if we are anemic as individuals, the church is too.

8)  I go to services expecting, not hesitating.

I don't come in with a reserved, cynical attitude that wonders if anything is really going to happen.  I show up each time expecting the extraordinary.  That's easy to do when God is in charge.  It isn't dependent upon the preacher, the musicians, whether it's cold or  hot inside or out, or how many other people showed up.  If God's on the scene anything is possible.  When I show up to church I'm a thermostat.  A thermometer only measures the temp in the room but a thermostat sets it.

9)  I keep an open communication going with God all day long.

Praying without ceasing isn't  mystery.  You simply keep an ongoing talk going on about your entire day with your best friend who is right with you all the time.  I talk to God in my head when I'm walking the aisles of Sam's Club shopping for stuff for church, or when I'm sitting at my desk wondering wht in the world to say to the person who just called.  He talks to me all day too.  If He didn't I really wouldn't know what to say or do most of the time so it's good we have this dialogue going.  Otherwise I'd probably advise some people to do some really dumb things.

10)  I am intentional about listening for God.

I love to talk to Him and pour out my heart but what is equally important is getting quiet and hearing Him.  I make a point to put on some worship music, stretch out on the floor, get quiet and just LISTEN for what He's saying.  No preconceived agenda, just listening in the quietness.

Works for me!

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