Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, January 05, 2009

What will you do?

If you were around at Bethany Community Church this past Sunday, you heard this sermon.

If you heard this sermon, you heard me ask three questions:

#1 - What spiritual habits (Bible Reading, Prayer, Solitude, Silence, Sabbath Rest, Confession of sin, prayer for filling with Holy Spirit) are you intending to address in the coming months?

#2 - What is the single area needing stewardship (time, money, sexuality, relationships with family, other relationships, involvement in serving) are you intending to revive, or focus on strengthening, in the coming months?

#3 - What are your plans for crossing over cultural barriers in order to serve and bless those different than you?

If you'll answer some or all of these questions, it will help our ministry team in providing resources for your growth in the coming year. Thanks in advance for taking a few minutes to contribute, and please feel free to contribute even if you don't attend Bethany.


At 5/1/09 21:19, Blogger Joanie said...

Spiritual habits: develop a discipline of consistent daily Bible reading and times of prayer. So far, so good ~ but endurance is the key to victory! Also wrestling with Sabbath rest and what it should look like...

Stewardship: reconciling and reviving relationships! God has already been working in me regarding this area, so now I'm taking the initial steps.

Serving and Blessing: I'm beginning with what God's put right before me ~ Prayers and Squares ministry (creating prayer quilts), but God has also tugged at my heart regarding the (possible) development of a community P-Patch garden in the lower section of grass (between 80th and Greenlake Way ~ triangle section) from the Chapel toward the intersection. Not sure how to network with others or brainstorm about the possiblity, but continuing to pray and also being open to God leading me in a completely different direction if He so desires! Also, learning to be "a light" and "good neighbor" in my own neighborhood. Reaching across to others has been my heart for so long and I'm thankful to be at Bethany during this time and excited to see what God has planned!

Your sermon was one of the most powerful and challenging I have heard in some time! Great message! I'm looking forward to 2009 (and beyond) and experiencing how our amazing Lord will help me grow in my faith and relationship with Him while also learning how He desires to use me for His Kingdom purposes (and moving into action in His timing).

The easiest for me is serving and blessing, then stewardship and finally (the most challenging) is spiritual habits. Feeling like I'm always swimming upstream in the last two areas.

At 5/1/09 23:43, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard, you are an incredibly gifted pastor, and I am BLESSED to receive God's word through you. Those 3 questions broke my heart...particularly following the re-revelation of fact that our talents are not our own, but simply entrusted to us by God.

1. ALL of these need refining in my life every day. In this season, I am especially feeling dry in my prayer life and in my (recognition of and) confession of sin. So it is time for me to get on my knees and on my face in his presence.

2. I am so incredibly gifted with talents not my own, that I have been hiding away for a more generous day??! I would like to begin by stewarding my time to serve and love individuals. Within that, I can cook, drive, play sports, listen, mentor, teach, etc.

3. Most strongly, I have a heart for the disabled community, new parents of disabled children (or those who may not know how to spot signs of risk in their infants). I also have a huge heart for the at-risk youth in Seattle. I have a heart for those struggling in this life...whatever the struggle may be.

Thank you again, for your heart after God and your humility as his imperfect servant.

At 6/1/09 17:31, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i Love Serving the church and it's people,that is why i am there to-Serve and know the heart and Spirit of his love for us.
As for reading the bible,prayer and finding the time for silence i find the time at work b/c where i am it is quiet and i know that his Spirit is there w/me.
i do have one thing that i would love to learn is -Relationships w/others and having a Big Heart for Jesus b/c i know that is what he wants out of my life. i also am beginning to Trust people although it is still hard at times i still want to grow for God.
Thank you,the Chief

At 6/1/09 19:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I were talking about your sermon on our way home from church. He said,"as always a good sermon".He said that the one thing that he needs to do more is reading the Bible. I need to pray more for others than my family and churches.Last night I also reconnected with the old lady who lives by herself and offered to drive her to groceries and or doctors appointments.

At 6/1/09 21:17, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard, your sermon was well timed for me. I'd made a list of goals for 2009 and on the list was "DO SOMETHING". For me that means finding some way to cross over, finding people to serve (and not just talk about all the things I ought to be doing). Turns out that just in the last week a number of ways to step into the lives of others have landed in my lap and I'm trying to be more deliberate about pursuing those opportunies.
You reminded me that I need to nurture my spiritual life. I can't say that I routinely ask to be filled with the holy spirit. I'm trying to think of ways to remind myself until it becomes an integrated part of my daily life. I need to commit to more regular bible reading as well.
Finally, it's my time, mostly, that I need to steward with more intention.

At 9/1/09 23:42, Blogger Dave said...

Long to do.

I hope to do just one of these things well for a bit, like scales for guitar lessons, once I get that down, I'll pray that the Spirit would empower me to do the next thing laid on my heart. To start... I get the sense that solitude followed by prayer is where the Spirit is leading me.

Thanks for the direction you are taking and as usual, your personal candor as you struggle to live what you preach.


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