2017 is the year we want to get deeper as a church in many aspects of our spiritual lives. 2017 is also the year that I personally want to get deeper in my relationship with God. Today, I want to share with you some of the things that I am trying to do in order to accomplish this goal.
First, I am going through the Bible reading plan we have been promoting at church. Every day, we read through 3-4 chapters of Scripture of day as well as one Psalm. At the end of the year, right before Christmas, I will have read through the entirety of Scripture and I will have been through the Psalms twice! Over the past year I have been confronted with my lack of progress in this area. So many times I have began a reading program at the beginning of the year only to not finish it. I am beginning to know Genesis very well, though!
There are two things I'm doing this year that I haven't in the past. The first is to simply keep in mind that this is my time alone with God. This is very important to understand: you need to have a time where you can get away and just have time with you and God. I say this, because all throughout the gospels, we see Jesus do this very thing. For Him, it meant getting up before anyone else and slipping off somewhere quiet where He could be alone. Or sometimes he just hung out a little longer as his disciples moved toward the next destination. The main point, though, is that even the Son of God spent time with the Father alone. The second thing I'm doing to help me complete this year's reading plan is that I am recording a podcast each Friday about what I'm reading in Scripture and releasing it online for anyone to hear. This gives me a motivation I didn't have before to read and also to dive in a little deeper on passages that stand out to me. (If you'd like to listen to the podcast, just go to this page: www.maplegrove.church/readscripture). So far, these have helped me quite a bit, although it is still January.
As a part of wanting to get alone with God, I also want to deepen in my prayer life with Him. We've tried over the past year at Maple Grove to ensure that prayer is something our church does regularly. To help grow in this area, I am reading a book called Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home by Richard J. Foster. Rick introduced this book to me and it has been very insightful, providing descriptions of many different kinds of prayer. I hope through this resource and many others that my prayer life will deepen and that I can in turn help others deepen theirs.
Finally, 2017 is the year that I will applying to return to school for a Master's degree in Divinity. Last year, I prayed and sought counsel and I believe that the Lord has called me into pastoral ministry. This year, I continue taking steps in answering this call.
I am praying that 2017 for you will hold a deeper spiritual walk with the Lord, whatever form that takes. We are all on this journey together, and as a community of people all following Jesus, we can help each other along the way.