Tag Archives: Ignatius Spirituality

The Skill of Prayer

when God talks backIn talking about prayer, we tend to think about it as something everyone can do without training. We tend to think about it as breathing…each person does it with out needing to learn anything.  And on one level, this is correct as God has put something deep within our soul that desires to connect with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. However,in the other hand, we need to recognize that prayer takes work.

In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, St. Paul says:

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Just like we train our bodies to work, we have to train our spirits. Remember that goal of prayer is to get to know God better. God is a person – not a force out there that can be controlled. Prayer, therefore, is about a relationship and relationships take work and time.

Here’s the awesome part: Each one us can hear God!!!

Hearing God is not limited to the special few – the cool, the pastors, or those people on TV. Jesus said that “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.” (John 8:47a). If we have bowed our knees to the King and follow Him, then we can expect to hear the King.

A few weeks ago I hinted at a cool scientific study about prayer, I want to talk a bit about it as fit into this concept of hearing God.

Hearing God’s Voice

  • T. M. Luhrmann, a psychological anthropologist and profession at Stanford University
    • She is not a follower of Jesus
    • Calls herself a secular agnostic in her book
  • She spend four years trying to understand more about the Evangelical relationship in America
  • During this study, which was published as the book “When God Talks Back”, she set up an experiment to see if people could be taught to hear God’s voice
    • The Bible said we can
    • The Church as said we can
    • But does it really happen?!
  • To prove this, she recruited a 128 subjects
    • Screened them to make sure they were mentally healthy
    • In other words, they weren’t crazy
  • Then she split the folks into three groups
    • Each group were supposed to participate in a spiritual discipline for
    • 30 minutes a day for 30 days

How is your calling?

PAChurch•    Three weeks ago we started off a period of self-examination

o    A time were we could ask questions about different parts of our life
o    A time to stop and see what Jesus was doing around us

•    The first week was focused on our soul

o    How are we personally?
o    Are we actively pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus?
o    Are there things slowing us down or stopping our relationship with God?

•    From there we asked how was our family?

o    Are we actively pursuing Jesus as a family unit?
o    Are we helping each family member to grow closer to Jesus?
o    Are we hindering this process in any way?

•    The third question was how is our work?

o    Are we doing everything for Jesus?
o    Have we separated our walk with Jesus from our daily work?
o    What is Jesus doing at our works? Around and through us?

•    All simple questions with powerful answers

o    They all lead from one to another
o    You cannot see God in our family if your soul is not right with God
o    You cannot see Jesus move in our work if your family and soul are in chaos

•    Today we are building upon all of the questions

o    We are asking, “how is our calling?”

(audio file of sermon can be found on the PRV website)

“Calling” Defined

•    A lot of times in our Christian circles we use the term “calling” to refer to folks who have joined the ranks of full time ministry

o    Missionaries and pastors receive a “calling
o    Most other folks do not

•    Other times we use the term when trying to figure out what unique thing we are to do in our lives

o    What is my calling?
o    How am I different than everyone else?

•    I’m not convinced that either one of these usages are correct….

Continue reading How is your calling?

How Is Your Family?

Worship in the park emaily jadon joshIntroduction

•    How are you all doing?

o    How is your soul?

•    Did you all find value in this week’s study?
•    I pray that you all took the time to sit and be still before the Lord this week as it is incredibly  important for us to seek out Jesus with everything we are

(Audio file of sermon can be found here)

How is our family?

•    This week we are talking about our family
•    Family is extremely important

o    Every culture and people group on the planet, throughout time has valued their family relationship
o    Genesis 2:18,20b-22 – the first family was Adam and Eve

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”… But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took part of the man’s side and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

*    God told them to multiple and increase in number – let the earth be full of humans (Genesis 1:28)

•    Sadly the family structure and relationship are under attack in our culture

o    It is the “norm” for both parents to work, leaving the day-care workers to raise their child
o    It is the “norm” for the parents to be divorced, split or simply not married
o    It is the “norm” for parents emotionally and spiritual absent from the family – even if they are physical present.
o    It is the “norm” for the children to grow up and move away from their hometown – creating distances between them, their children and grandparents

•    In the midst of all this, Jesus is calling His followers to be different

o    To have strong family relationships
o    To have lasting relationships that are built upon Him, not force, fear or control
o    To have a family in which the priority is not how much money one has or what stuff one has or what events one does…

*    But one in which the priority is focused around Jesus
*    Focused around being around each other and helping each other follow Jesus

Continue reading How Is Your Family?

How Is Your Soul?

how-is-your-soulExamining our lives

*    Socrates famously said, “The unexamining life is not worth living”
*    Before that, King Solomon wrote an entire book about examining one’s life – Ecclesiastes
*    Years later St. Paul encouraged believers to examine themselves: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5a
*    Sadly, we rarely do this

o    Instead we tend to think that our lives will take care of themselves
o    We just live – going from one day to the next

Introduction to the series

•    We are going to take a break from our study of the life of Jesus
•    Last month I had asked you all to read through 1 Peter
•    Not long after I did that, Vineyard USA released a small booklet about spiritual renewal

o    As I looked at both of these items, something begin to come together
o    At first I was going to wait until Lent as I think there is something powerful about corporate fasting and preparation for Easter

•    Yet the Lord said to do this now, so here we are
•    This is how this series is going to work

o    We are going to be looking at four questions

1.    How Is Your Soul? Examine your life; ask the questions of the heart.
2.   How Is Your Family? Your first church; how can you tend carefully to their needs?
3.    How Is Your Work? We work to give; how do we carry Christ into our work?
4.    How Is Your Calling? Join God’s future; what is your part in God’s mission?

o    Corporately, we will be looking at these four questions through the words of 1 Peter
o    Individually there will be four-weeks of daily devotions focused on these questions to help give our attention to our intimacy with Jesus through the wear and tear of life.

Working at our relationship with Jesus

*    Relationship take work; good ones take even more
*    Think about it

o    Best Friends – a lot of us have acquaintances or nominal friends – folks we know but really don’t hang out with

*    BEST friends, however, are ones that we hang out with – talk too and live life with
*    It takes work to keep a best friendship up as it means spending time with them

o    Marriage – the same thing is true between spouses

*    While some folks may think that you only have to say “I love you” once every 20 years, research around the world proves that you need to say it once or more a day
*    It takes time and energy to keep a marriage strong

o    Family – the same is true with family in general

*    If we don’t talk too or think about our family – brothers, sisters, parents, etc
*    We lose touch with them and our relationship suffers

Continue reading How Is Your Soul?