Follow up to the Message: A New Center - Nov. 20, 2016

Here is a summary of the 9 “Spiritual Temperaments” that are described in the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas.  You can take a self-assessment at this site provided by North Point Church: http://northpointministries.org/misc/sacredpathway.html.  There is one path to God through Jesus Christ.  However, we may have different experiences and preferences along that path.

1. Naturalists — love God best outdoors. These people worship in the midst of God’s creation. They celebrate His majesty and discover spiritual truths through nature.

2. Sensates — love God through their senses. These people worship through sensual experiences — sights (like art), sounds (music), smells, and more.

3. Traditionalists — love God through religious ritual and symbols. These people worship through traditions and sacraments of the Church. They believe structure, repetition, and rigidity, like weekly liturgy, leads to deeper understanding of God and faith.

4. Ascetics — love God in solitude and simplicity. These people worship through prayer and quiet time, and the absence of all outside noise and distraction.

5. Activists — love God through confrontation, fighting for godly principles and values. They worship through their dedication to and participation in God’s truth about social and evangelistic causes.

 6. Caregivers — love God by serving others, and worship by giving of themselves. They may nurse the sick and disabled, “adopt” a prisoner, donate time at a shelter, etc.

7. Enthusiasts — love God through mystery and celebration. These people worship with outward displays of passion and enthusiasm. They love God with gusto!

8. Contemplatives — love God through adoration. These people worship by their attentiveness, deep love, and intimacy. They have an active prayer life.

9. Intellectuals — love God with their mind and their hearts are opened up to a new attentiveness when they understand something new about God. These people worship through intense study, apologetics, and intellectual pursuits of their faith.

 

Please note:

· We are a mixture — we rarely rely on a single approach or temperament to connect with God every time; we are more likely to be a mix of several

· Temperaments change — spiritual temperaments evolve over time, much like couples love each other differently over the course of a marriage. We are likely to find different ways to connect with God during our lifetime.

Follow up to the message Hearing, Part 3 of the series Made for More

Hearing God’s Voice by Reading the Bible

The SOAP Method

 

The SOAP method is designed to help each one of us to hear God’s voice as we read the Bible.   It is a practical way to tune into what God is saying to each one of us.  The challenge is to take about 30 minutes of time a day to listen to what God is saying to you.  S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Read only 1 chapter a day.  If you try to read more than one chapter in your 30 minute time period, your Bible reading may turn into just another thing to check off your list.  Take that time to listen to what God is saying to you through his word.  If you miss a chapter or two, don’t worry about it.  You can always catch up later or read ahead in a time other than your 30 minutes a day.
  • Don’t feel guilty if your miss a day or days.  Just read the chapter for that day to hear what God is saying to you.
  • Use the SOAP method for recording your observations.  If you like, you can create a private journal online at soapstudy.com. 

 

SOAP

Scripture:  Before you read, ask God to speak to you through his word.  You are asking for one key idea each day.  Then as you read the chapter of the day, note any verses that seem to jump out at you or seem to be important in that chapter.  You may want to underline these verses or mark them in the margin of your Bible in some way.  Now go back and re-read these verses that stood out to you.  What grabs you the most?  What verse(s) speaks to you about your life?  Remember, you are looking for only one key idea.  You may want to write out the verse at the top of the journal page.

Observation:  Now observe carefully what that verse says.  Note the context and the situation.  How does this verse fit into the context of the chapter?  Who were the people in this scene of the Bible and how were they affected?  Why do you think this verse was included in this chapter?   If you were one of the characters in the scene, how would you react?  Now think about the key idea that that stood out to you in this Bible passage.  Take several minutes to let this key idea soak in.

Application:  Now begin to reflect on how this key idea applies to you.  How do you plan to put this into practice this week?  How will you be different today as a result of what you have just read?  Without application all we are doing is amassing facts, trivia and bits of Bible knowledge.  Application lies at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, not just a fan of Jesus.

Prayer:  Write out a prayer that expresses your thoughts to God.  You may want to ask for help in putting this into practice.  You may want to thank him for speaking to you.  You may appreciate the encouragement of his word.  Just write out briefly what you want to say to God about this key idea of the day.

 

 

SAMPLE – 1 Corinthians 7

SCRIPTURE:  This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:35)
OBSERVATION:  An undistracted devotion – that’s the highest devotion of all.  It’s so easy to get distracted.  So many things going on that filtering out unnecessary things seems to become more and more difficult… especially when the “unnecessaries” are marketed so well.  Things that are good, but not strategic, nice but not eternal – these can take up the lion’s share of my life.
APPLICATION:  The Bible tells me that devotion to God is something I must secure.  Like locking up a bicycle so it won’t be stolen, or tying a boat to a dock so it won’t drift.  In the same way, I must “secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.”  I cannot take this for granted.  Not securing it invites both theft and drifting.  Not securing my devotion to Jesus invites the enemy to steal it.
I not only must make my Quiet Time with God a habit but I also must guard that time.  I must not allow appointments or busy days to steal my devotions.
And looking at devotion in the larger sense, I must not let anything cause me to compromise or let down my guard.  My devotion to Christ cannot be distracted by what this chapter (1 Cor. 7) tells me about, sexuality, emotional affairs, or anything of that nature.  I become devoted to my wife, and consistent in my times before God, by filtering and pruning constantly anything not eternally fruitful.  In doing so, I secure undistracted devotion.
PRAYER:  Lord help me to guard my time with you.  It’s so easy to let an appointment or even a ministry activity take its place.  Thank you for reminding me often.

 

For more on the SOAP method see Wayne Cordeiro's book, The Divine Mentor.

For additional information on the Learning Circle, see Mike Breen's book Building a Discipling Culture, pp. 55-66.

 

Follow-up to the message Discovered: Part 2 of the series Made for More

Follow-up to the message Discovered:

Part 2 of the series Made for More

These notes are designed to help someone who wants to discover God’s calling on their life.  Our starting point is to remember that we are made and called by our Creator.  We do not decide our calling.  We discover it.   God has a unique purpose for each of our lives.  When we realize that we begin to live our lives with greater intentionality and greater intensity.  Our heads are lifted higher and our prayers become bigger and bolder.  God intends for our lives to count, to make a difference, to have an impact on the world in which we live.  It is our responsibility to discover that calling and then by faith to live bold lives that bring glory to God and make an impact in our world.

Several of the questions in the following exercise are adapted from the book, A Leader’s Life Purpose by Tony Stoltzfus.  If you want to dig deeper into this topic, this workbook may be an excellent investment for you to read and work through. 

So how do we discover our calling?

In the Sept 25, 2016 message we heard that our unique calling is often revealed through our strengths and passions.  These next questions are designed to help focus our thinking and our  praying.  Remember, God is the one who is calling each one of us.  So think carefully, but then pray over your answers, asking God to reveal his calling to you.  These questions are only a helpful starting point.  Full clarity about your calling in life may take weeks, months, or even years to achieve. 

STRENGTHS

  • What are your strengths?  Just start writing.  Make as long a list as you can.  It may be helpful to think, what activities come easily to me?  What talents have other people affirmed or complimented me for?  What have I done that I am proud of?  After you have compiled your list of strengths, go back and put a star behind the 3 to 5 strengths that you believe are your strongest ones.
  • What are the strengths of your personality style or type?  (If you have never taken a personality or behavioral style assessment at work or as a volunteer you can skip this question).  Many people have taken self-assessments like DiSC, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or Strengths Finder.  Read through your report(s) again and write down the strengths of syour style.  Put a star beside 2 or 3 of your most prominent strengths.

 

PASSIONS

  • What are the things in your life that bring your emotions to the surface?  What do I see or think that gets me choked up or compels me to take action?  Write these down.
  • What needs tug at your heart? Make a list.  It may help to think, Whose pain do I feel?  Whose enemies am I willing to confront?  Who do I long to protect?  After writing out your list, go back and put a star beside the things that stir you the most.
  • Think about the different roles you have played in your life: student, employee, entrepreneur, volunteer, spouse, parent, or friend.  What activities are you the most passionate about?  What do you think about or anticipate even when you aren’t doing it?  What do you find to be most rewarding?
  • What are your dreams for the future?  Are there big things you’ve wanted to accomplish, significant milestones to reach, or a difference you dream of making in the world?  After writing down your dreams go back and reread them.  What are the underlying values or passions behind your dreams?

EXPERIENCES:

  • What opportunities have you experienced? (Education, training, jobs where you learned unique skills, volunteer opportunities, travel, relationships that taught you big life lessons).
  • What do you looked back on with regret?  What have you learned through that failure?

Our calling is ultimately clarified by our encounter with the presence of God.  So ask God to guide you through these questions.  Take your time.  Revisit the questions and write down additional observations.  God wants you to fulfill the purpose for which he has created you more than you do.  He wants you to pursue him and in that process discover your calling in life.