I. Overview of what’s coming…
A. This years journey: A Quest for Authentic Christian Spirituality with a running list of theme possibilities to explore…
- Emotional and relational health/maturity – we develop EH through our capacity to be self-aware, to self-manage — and love well.
- Prayer and contemplative spirituality — The building of rhythms that intentionally cultivate our relationship with God.
- Sexuality – churches don’t talk enough about sex and sexuality. This year we’ll be doing an expository study of Song of Solomon – the more we unpack the metaphors in SS, the wider our eyes will get 🙂
B. Book list for 2009 – click here (and scroll down a bit).
C. Selah means pause, and calmly think or reflect. Used 72 times in Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk 3 (which one commentator describes as a highly emotional poetic song). Let’s make this a selah week as we work our way through the 12-Point Spiritual Assessment.
II. 12-Point Spiritual Assessment (we’ll take it again in Dec)
1. Am I content with who I am becoming?
Every day we get one day closer to who we will ultimately be. Am I satisfied with who this will be? (Pro 19:23; Phil 4:11-12)
2. Am I becoming less religious and more spiritual?
The Pharisees were religious; Jesus is spiritual. Much tradition is religious, while relationship with Jesus is spiritual. (Roms 6:14; 7:4-6; 8:3)
3. Does my family recognize the authenticity of my spirituality?
They see us whole. We would like to believe, and must believe, that if we are growing spiritually, our family will recognize it. (1Jn 1:7)
4. Do I give-to-get-to-give-again?
John Wimber used to remind us that the reason we give is not just to “get,” but to, “get” — so we can give again – and again, and again. Are we giving away that which God blesses us with? (Pro 11:24; Lk 6:38)
5. Do I have a quiet center to my life?
Peace is not just the absence of conflict, but the absence of anxiety in the midst of conflict. While our world system defines peace as (merely) the absence of conflict. (Psalm 46:10; 131:2, MSG)
6. Have I defined my unique contribution?
Do we know what we can do effectively? The need is always bigger than any person can satisfy, and so our call is simply to handle the part of the need that is ours to do. (Song of Solomon 6:9)
7. Is my prayer life improving?
One test of our prayer life is this: Do our decisions have prayer as an integral part, or do we make decisions out of our desires and then immerse them in a sanctimonious sauce we call prayer? (Lk 18:1; 21:36; 1Thes 5:17)
8. Have I maintained a genuine awe of God?
Awe inspires, it overwhelms, it intimidates our humanness, it inspires worship. Awe isn’t learned; it is realized. (Ps 66:3; 68:35; 111:9)
9. Is my humility genuine?
Humility is not denying the gifts and power that we have, but admitting that the power comes through us, not from us. (Col 3:12; James 3:13)
10. Is my soul being fed?
We have different personality and character traits that need developing or dwarfing. That means we must search out the spiritual food that feeds our soul. (Phil 1:9)
11. Is obedience in small matters being built into my reflexes?
We can obey God out of fear or from love. God prefers love. (2Jn 1:6)
12. Do I have joy?
God doesn’t need us, he loves us; and we don’t work for him to earn his love, we work for him as a result of his love. He lets us work in order to mature us. That brings joy. (Jn 15:11; Mat 13:44)
- “Joy seems to be distilled from a strange mixture of challenge, risk and hope.” (Keith Miller)
- “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” (C.S. Lewis)
- “Joy is not happiness so much as gladness; it is the ecstasy of eternity in a soul that has made peace with God and is ready to do His will.” (Anonymous)
- “Peace is joy at rest and joy is peace on its feet.” (Anne Lamott, quoting her pastor)
- The Cycle of Romance ->Disillusionment ->Joy. Romance will eventually give way to disillusionment. To have an illusion is to have a false idea, so disillusionment is actually a good thing. If we embrace the reality of our illusions it will lead to — joy. After joy comes romance (again). This cycle can become a “joy builder” in our lives.
A spiritual assessment is more than a statement of condition. It is also an indication of spiritual potential. May the coming year be a season growth toward your destiny in Christ.
III. Next 2 weeks:
- 1/18 – The Courage To Pursue Emotional Health (John 5:1-15)
- 1/25 – Enlarge Your Soul Through Grief & Loss (Matthew 26:36-46)