Archive | June, 2012

Rhythms or Devotion in Motion

25 Jun

Rhythms, sometimes called Devotion in Motion, is probably the hardest to describe. As Christians, we need to have some deliberate and continuous habits of worship, yet prayer and worship does not have to be the same old, same old all the time. Pray and worship in dance. Pray and worship in stillness, in song and in action. Use your whole body, mind and soul. Use them all at once. Pray and worship by yourself, or with small groups and with the larger body of Christ. Through motion, patterns and songs, you can go through a series of worshipful activities that will stretch and work your body and soul.

Webster says that rhythm is an ordered recurrent alternation of strong and weak elements in the flow of sound and silence in speech. He says that it is movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements. This sounds elegant.

Scripture shows us that God is a God of rhythm. 1 Kings 8:58,  May he (God) keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors.  Jeremiah 5:24-25, How can we honor our GOD with our lives, The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn and maintains the rhythm of the seasons, Who sets aside time each year for harvest and keeps everything running smoothly for us?

Rhythms/Devotion in Motion is a great opportunity to learn to follow direction. Coordinating a group of individuals to learn a song and a pattern of movements, in a short amount of time can be a challenge. A good leader will get the group under control, give the directions and still leave time for meaningful worship. A good participant will watch, listen and follow the directions, even if they do not make complete sense to start with. During all of this, the participant will also be able to allow God to work and speak.

I have heard it said that there are no spectators in rhythms and we should move what still moves. In the same way, there are no spectators in life and we should do what we can with what God has given us to be rhythmic in our love and interaction with others.

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The Talk

22 Jun

A CFO talk is a message. It is not meant to be a sermon, but a testimony of what God has done in the speaker’s life. What has God taught you through the Bible and the body of believers? We must not remain silent. We must teach, preach, encourage, exhort and rebuke. Everyone has a story and can talk about what God has done. We must listen and learn from those whom God has placed in authority and we must find opportunities to tell our story.

Webster defines talk as the use of language for conversing or communicating, to influence, affect or cause, by talking and to convey information or communicate by any means.

2 Timothy 4:1-5, In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 says, Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. So that your days and the days of your children will be in the land that the Lord swore to give to your forefathers.

In Titus 2:11-15, we read, For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

How are we going to know the good things that God is doing if we do not listen and how are others going to be encouraged if we do not share? This is never a time to promote political or denominational views or perspectives. Some of these perspectives may come out in the form of the speaker’s personality and interpretation of scripture, but should never be the purpose of the talk. Because we all have different gifts, perspectives and spiritual gifts, we can’t do this alone.

Life as a Christian is a cooperative effort.

Morning Meditation

5 Jun

I can not document this, but if I had to guess, Morning Meditation is the least attended activity at CFO. I like to compare it to morning medications. Any nurse can tell you that the morning medications are vital to getting a good start to the day. You would never skip your medication, so you should never skip your meditation. Glenn Clark’s plan was to have a reader slowly read small portions of scripture to the group. The listeners would consider what was read and let God point out a word or phrase that was key. The reader would read the passage again and, this time, the listener would silently “say” it along with the reader. During a period of silence, the listeners would let God speak to them about the passage and then another scripture would be read. Morning Meditation can also be done with quiet music or a song, but the reading of scripture is always involved.

Webster defines Meditation as “engaging in contemplation or reflection, focusing one’s thoughts on, reflecting on or pondering over. Engaging in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness and to plan or project in the mind.”

Genesis 24:63 tells us that “He (Isaac) went out to the field one evening to meditate…” so we know that this is not a new concept. Psalm 1:1-2 encourages us by letting us know that,  “Blessed is the man who meditates on the law of the Lord, day and night.” The Message Translation says, “Chews on scripture day and night.” Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think  about such things.” The Messages uses meditate and The New American Standard Version uses dwell.

What do we start our day thinking about? What is the first thought that comes to mind? The way we start our day has significant bearing on the whole day. There is a song on the radio that reminds us to pray before our feet hit the floor. When my day starts with a thought about a tough situation I am faced with or thinking a negative thought about someone, it forces thoughts about God out of my head.   Keeping God at the forefront of our thoughts allows us to get unhealthy and sinful thoughts under control. Beginning the day in meditation about God takes a conscious effort and a deliberate plan.

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