Grow Deep: Pursuing Life-changing intimacy with Jesus
Early Christians found themselves looking for ‘shape’ for the lives that showed (and felt) the incredible hope that they’d been given from the Resurrection of Jesus. At points, they gathered in communities to live out this shape together. Whether they were in the same room or apart, they remembered and acted out this shape, all of it pointing to Jesus.
Before the cross became the symbol of Christian faith in 300 A.D., the official symbol was the octagon: eight sides because in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had given eight Beatitudes (or eight “Blessed are…” statements).
Here are eight SPL rhythms to try in this season:
- Begin well. The Hebrew day begins at sundown. (Genesis 1: “It was evening and morning the first day.”) The point is that the believer’s day begins with rest and rises into a day which our Lord has made and in which He is already at work. So, begin well. Just before you sleep, read a Psalm (or Isaiah 40, 25, 53, 61) or Romans 8 or Philippians 2. Probably don’t watch that Zombie movie; be careful what you feed your brain and soul just before you rest. Begin well.
- Rise hopeful. Start your morning with Scripture. A psalm! Read through a book(s) of the Bible, commit to a chapter a day. Pray the Lord’s Prayer and take time to pray prayers of gratitude.
- Get moving. Get up, make your bed and get fresh air if you’re able. Our Lord made you physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, intellectual. Take care of all the parts.
- Pick up the phone. During our time of social distancing, it’s still super-important that you connect with others. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Pick up the phone at least once a day! Avoid any downward spiral in conversation. Listen to the hard bits but remind each other, “For this we have Jesus.”
- Limit your intake of news. In an effort to have control we can over-consult news sources. Consider tuning in to a reliable news source once in the morning and then catch the 6:00 p.m. news. Avoid it just before bed! Remember news sources are drawn to the spectacular, and as devastating as this virus is, the numbers are still that the large majority of us who will get it, recover from it.
- Say ‘no’ to your “inner ostrich.” We each have behaviours that we do when we want to flee, run and escape. Extra gaming, porn, binge eating, numbing activities. Call out your ‘head in the sand’ behaviour, understand when during the day you’re most vulnerable (tell someone!), and keep your head where it belongs.
- Fast with us each Wednesday. Elders have had seasons where we’ve committed Wednesdays to praying for you, for our communities, and for the world. We’re redoubling our commitment and inviting you into it with us. Pray extra and, as you are able, fast. Take the time that you would have spent eating and preparing food to walk and talk and listen to God. If fasting is new for you, here are some ideas to help guide your fast.
- Sabbath. “Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Take time to watch the SPL video on Sunday mornings, connect with others about the questions, and learn how to pray over the phone or Zoom. There are other good resources worth listening to as well: just about anything from Bruxy Cavey at the Meeting House or Tim Keller at Redeemer. Make YouTube a source for feeding your soul.
While we are family apart, please remember how great the Father’s love is for you, for us, for the world. At the end of all this, through all of it, Jesus is LORD. His Kingdom is fixed and firm and He will bring about the healing of the nations.