Tuesday night one of our small groups met. We are going through the Soul Care material together. In the video teaching time, Rob Reimer was talking about breaking habitual sin patterns. He taught that a powerful tool to break these patterns is to meditate on Scriptures that contain the virtues to counteract the vice. In our discussion after the video, a question came up. What do Christians believe about meditation?
This is how I answered.
Christian Meditation is taking a Scripture, or attribute about God and just sitting with it. Meditation is an unstructured prayer that is more about silence (listening) than talking.
Where should you start? Pick something from this list.
1. Invite God into helping you deal with a destructive pattern by focusing on Scriptures that talk about grace, forgiveness and new life.
2. Address your anxiety, worry or fear by focusing on verses that deal with God’s faithfulness and promises.
3. Focus on the presence of God in your life. Pay attention to his love and care for you.
We are in the season of Lent. Traditionally a time of self-denial and meditative reflection. Take some time to practice Christian meditation. It doesn’t have to be a long time, even as little as 15 minutes provides a sense of well-being and connection with God.
I would love your feedback on what you experience through this practice.
Here is the connection between Mardi Gras, The Easter Bunny, and The church.
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, and Ash Wednesday is the kick-off to Lent. What is Lent it is a 40 (46) day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a time of preparation and sacrifice leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. People usually participate in some kind of fasting for Lent.
How does Mardi Gras fit in? The day before Ash Wednesday has been known as Pancake Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. The idea was to use up all the sugar, fats and fun food as the next day the fasting began. “Eat Drink and Be Merry for tomorrow we die.”
The Easter Bunny/Chocolates. The reward for a 40 day fast from good food was typically chocolates. Eggs and Bunnies both symbolize new life.
Why is Lent actually 46 days? The good news Sunday’s don’t count as part of the fast. It is considered a day off from the fast.
Ash Wednesday reminds us of our sins. That we are in need of a savior. It is a solemn time. A time that if you only came to church once in a year, you would say all is hopeless.
However, Ash Wednesday points to a message of hope.
God created us to be with him. Genesis 1-2 Our sins separate us from God. Genesis 3 Sin cannot be removed by good deeds. Genesis 4-Malachi 4 Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. Matthew-Luke Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. John Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. Acts-Revelation.
With this hope, it empowers us to worship. We make a sacrifice during lent not out of Christian duty but out of a sense of gratitude. People choose to die to something whether it would be: 1. A food item – chocolate, alcohol, pop, meat, to name a few. 2. Entertainment – TV, movies, Video Games, 3. Phone – Internet and Facebook etc… 4. Or any other habit that demands time and energy from our days. And invest the time you would spend doing these items and spend it in extra prayer and/or Bible reading or acts of service. Or take the money you save and give it to the poor. Make this a special time of 40 days. You may start new habits that you really like. You may discover some new ways to go deeper in your relationship with Christ that carry you through the entire year. Jesus made the sacrifice we were not able to. We are not earning God’s favor, but we are honoring his sacrifice for us.
Listen to Converge Online - The latest message is available here.
Audible promotes itself with this catch phrase - "Listening is the new reading." Is this true for you?
Think about it. Do you read books, listen to books, wait for the movie or listen to podcasts?
I am amazed at the information available on podcasts today. They are a great way to use your busy time to learn and be challenged. My favorite places to listen are, the car, admin day in the office, and while doing household chores.
Who are you listening too? Respond in the comments below.
I've included my listening list in the pictures below.
What if I told you that you could have better relationships, better health, sleep more, feel more satisfied about your life and protect yourself from depression and anxiety.
Would you be interested? Most people would say of course. But what is it?
It is the attitude of gratitude!!!
Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a leading expert on gratitude, describes gratitude in two parts. Firstly, he says gratitude is an affirmation that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. Secondly, it’s the recognition that the sources of this goodness are, at least partially, outside ourselves. This outside sources can be a higher power, the natural world or from social connections with others.
If developing an attitude of gratitude is so beneficial, then why is it a struggle. Many of us practice gratitude killing habits. Check out the list.
Habit 1 - Self focused lifestyle. When the focus of our life becomes personal happiness, we never have enough.
Habit 2 - Entitlement. This habit embraces the idea that if I am smart and work hard then I get everything good that I have.
Habit 3 - Non-specific thanks. You have learned to say thank you. However if it is general or obligatory it is a false gratitude.
Habit 4 - Spiritual dryness. Gratitude is a key indicator of healthy spirituality. Failure to cultivate healthy spirituality will result in failing to show thankfulness.
How do you break these habits? Here is what I have found to be helpful.
Practice Intimacy with God - Daily practice of intentional Scripture Reading, Prayer and Quiet Contemplation.
Write down 3 - 5 things everyday that you are thankful for.
Share your list.
Here is my list for today.
1. I am thankful for the healing power of God in my life.
2. I am thankful for a warm cup of coffee.
3. I am thankful for people in our church community who want to know more about the Bible.
Developing an attitude of gratitude takes work. It take perseverance and patience, but if you address these habits you will be on your way to developing an lifestyle of thanksgiving that will last longer than the turkey leftovers from the weekend.
This past Saturday, Converge played host to a welcome back BBQ and party for the community. There was a bouncy castle, games, food and some of the neighbors from the community joined us. A huge thank you to all the volunteers.
Our Welcome Back BBQ is September 29th from 3 - 5 pm. There is a bouncy castle, hot dog BBQ, giant games, minute to win it and more.
A few months ago I was given a copy of the 6-week devotional called Eyes to See. The subject matter deals with the cause of poverty as well as Gospel Centered solutions. I found the material both challenging and eye-opening.
Here are two of my favourite quotes from the book.
In talking about the cause of poverty, they use this quote from Brian Fikkert. "Poverty is rooted in broken relationships, so the solution to poverty is rooted in the power of Jesus' death and resurrection to put all things in right relationship again."
Wess Stafford is quoted as saying this. "The opposite of poverty isn't wealth. The opposite of poverty is enough." The author goes on to say; "God wants us each to have enough. What does "enough" look like in your life?"
These thoughts remind me that fighting poverty is a daily activity. Sharing the Good News of Gospel and sharing my abundance, to help others have enough.
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this study book for yourself. Go to www.eyestosee.ca to get more info. There is group pricing available if you buy 10 or more.
Thank you to Compassion Canada for putting this book together. It was great to see that the team at Graf-Martin Communications worked on this project as well.