Encouragement From The Word, Uncategorized

Picture This

“Picture this.”  Can you imagine yourself in a Bible story?

There’s an ancient spiritual practice called “Gospel Contemplation”, in which we pray, asking the Lord to sanctify our imagination, and read a story from one of the Gospels several times, each time paying more attention to the details in the story.  We use all five of our senses to place ourselves in the story.  It can be a way that the Lord speaks to us through his Word.

For example, consider the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10.46-52 (NLT):

46 Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 

48 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.

But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!”50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

Read this several times over, paying more attention to the details each time.  Toward the end, ask the Lord, “Who am I in this story?”  And ask, “What do you want me to learn from my role in this story?”

It’s possible that the Lord Jesus might be asking you, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Sit with that question in the presence of the Lord.  Seek the boldness to ask it.

There’s nothing formulaic about this; we can’t command God’s presence.  But we can seek to broaden our experience of his Spirit in our lives as we read his Word.  Why not try using your holy, sanctified, God-given imagination as you do?

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Biblical Messages

What Matters To Us (2)

In this (delayed) second instalment in our discussion on core values, we look at service and community and why they matter.  This message includes a few folks talking about why their LifeConnect Groups are important to them.  It’s based on Mark 10.35-45 and Hebrews 10.23-25.  Watch or listen below!

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Biblical Messages

Unchanging Principles of Parenting

In part 2 of the Parenthood series, we look at some unchanging principles of parenting.  This series has been inspired by the work of Craig Groeschel at Life.Church, with our own adaptations.  The message is based on Mark 10.13-16.  Unfortunately, the audio recording came out so crackly that it is not worth listening to, but the Facebook Live video feed is working fine.  You don’t need a Facebook account to watch this, just click below and watch.  (The video that is shown at the beginning of the message can be viewed here.)

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Encouragement From The Word

What do you want Jesus to do for you?

At St. Paul’s, Nobleton, we have a small group discussing a video series by Ruth Haley Barton entitled Sacred Rhythms, based on her book of the same title.  In lastBlind Bartimaeus Mark 10:46-52 night’s introductory study, we looked at the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10.46-52.  In it, Jesus asks a deeply probing question:  “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 51).

Most of the time, when we read Scripture, we read it to gather information.  Yet we can read Scripture to shape our lives.  As I’ve been known to say, information fills the mind, but formation shapes the person.  We can read the story of Bartimaeus to learn about the plight of the blind in the first century, and we can read it to place ourselves in the story, even opening ourselves to have Jesus ask us, “What do you want me to do for you?

Have you ever considered that?  Have you ever opened yourself to express your deepest desires to Jesus?

Because Jesus is God, he already knows our deepest desires, but there is something powerful, something intimate, about expressing them ourselves.  It’s like telling our spouse what we want to experience sexually – it’s that intimate, and arguably more so.

Perhaps that can be, today, your entry point into a more intimate relationship with the Lord.  Sit quietly as you ponder what you most want from the Lord.  Take time to tell him your deepest desires.  Allow yourself to be shaped by the Holy Spirit as you express them.

Why not do it right now?