We’re back for week #2 : GROW-ing…
Remember our 2019 VISION? GROW!
Growing happens over a period of time. After a while, you look back and say, “WOW…look at how this grew, how you grew, how we grew, how this project came to life, etc.”
Sometimes, more often, growing is like the stock market. If you’re fixated on the one drop, you’ll get depressed really quickly (if you even care about it at all), but then you click the 5day or 1month or 1year or 5year view and notice that even though there were some difficult and crummy days, there has also been…STEADY GROWTH.
I posted a photo of our son this week on social media. He turned 17. An old friend, who we haven’t seen for a while said, “WHAT???” He saw a 17 year old giant, but he never saw the growing pains, the increments, the daily and weekly stuff that comes with raising our awesome some Jake.
Have you seen this 10 year challenge on social media the past few weeks? No one really knows how it started and why it caught steam. But it did. Post a photo from 10 years ago beside one from today. Simple right? Some are favourable, others, not so much 🙂
While all this was going on a friend posted… “Who cares what you looked like 10 years ago, how have you changed as a person?”
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As we talk about GROW-ing, we can’t ‘not’ talk about change. In me, in us, in my heart, in my life. We have to focus on ‘becoming’ who God wants us to be…as people…as community.
CS Lewis once said, “of all the awkward people in your house or job, there is only one person who you can improve very much.” (YOU)
As people who are figuring out how to follow Jesus, change comes from you or me actually doing something about it.
We must add formative practices to our lives for there to be any real spiritual formation in us!
Last week we ended by encouraging some practices that will help us continue to become the people and community God is calling us to be.
Practicing Prayer…Solitude…Rest…Reading Scripture…Listening to God…
Let’s include community practices as well.
Worship, table conversations, small(er) groups, etc.
“Let him who doesn’t pray expect to be consigned to the whims of his own mind, will of her own ego, and the direction of his/her own thinking”
Eugene Peterson once said, “a changed world begins with me…and a changed me begins with prayer”
This gets us back to HEART & MIND. If we want to see growth in other areas of our lives, it will always start inside before we see it outside.
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Today we focus on Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians. 3:14-21
Let’s read it, dive in, and see where we land.
What’s going on in this prayer? What is Paul getting at? Rather, where is Paul taking us? Where does he want us to land?
the WHAT of prayer…
For this reason I bow my knee
- Pray is about surrender
- Surrendering to the God who ALL of us come from
- It’s listening to God’s voice
- It’s responding to God’s invite
- This reminds me of a question I read a while back, “Do I measure the impact of my prayer by how often God does what I ask or how often I do what God asks?” (Tim Day)
What else is happening in prayer?
- God gives us strength in our inner being
- God’s Strength
- By God’s Spirit
- Inside of us
What does prayer impact? My insides. My heart. My mind. The things that make me, well, me.
Why is this important? Because any growth that happens in us, will always start IN US!
So many people seek results in their lives…health, work, relationships, wealth, sports, etc. Before you see any thing change in your external situation, you first have to address your internal condition.
The WHAT of prayer is about our surrender to God, and to what he wants to do in us.
the WHY of prayer…
“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
We pray, that through faith, Jesus makes a home in our hearts.
As followers of Jesus, we want to look more like Jesus, great idea…BUT…we don’t always take the time to pray that Jesus would take residence in us…I mean truly take over.
That’s why, as Paul continues, he prays that we would be ROOTED & ESTABLISHED in LOVE. Both words that express going deeper than what we see on the surface.
He even prays that we would comprehend and grasp this LOVE of Jesus. Depth, Length, Width, Height of LOVE.
“Together…with God’s people…”
I love this line from Paul. Indicating that we will best figure this out, together, and not alone. So add to your personal practice, community practices. Church, smaller groups, coffee conversation, around the BIG table, over the phone or text, etc)
These lead us to be filled with fullness of God – JESUS.
the WHO we pray to…
We pray to one who is ABLE, POWERFUL
- Who can do more than we imagine
- Who can do more than we can measure
This goes back to our conversation about planting & watering & growing.
The seeds planted in prayer, in worship, in spiritual formation, will become more than we ever could imagine them to be. So, if we can trust that God makes things grow, we will, in prayer, in work, in good deeds, plant the seeds of the Kingdom…and watch God do his GROWing work.
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Back to practices of prayer, scripture, solitude, community…
These are what get us to where Paul is taking us.
He gives us the big picture of prayer, but we must then create and collect a toolbox of spiritual formation, which includes personal practices & community practices.
“When you boil it all down, each spiritual discipline is simply a slightly different way to offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice” (R Foster)When we, as a church…when I, as a pastor, encourage these practices, it’s for one simple reason, because God wants us to grow, and this is how it’ll happen.
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Some end goals for our spiritual formation journey at The Village…
- Follow Jesus (Discipleship)
- Live a life that lights up the world
- Become people who pray
- Become people who lead friends to Christ
- Become more acquainted with scripture
- Love God, Love our neighbour, make the world better