Call to Spiritual Renewal – Invitation & Overview

passion

noun  pas·sion  \ˈpa-shən\

Simple Definition of passion

  • a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something
  • a strong feeling that causes you to act in a dangerous way
  • suffering (an older definition – but as Christians we understand this definition – Christ’s Passion is the story of his suffering in the three days ending Holy Week)

You may have heard me preach and talk about “Passionate Spirituality”.  Do the definitions above connect with your spirituality?

  • What in your spirituality are you passionate about?
  • How can I be more passionate about my spirituality?

7 verbsMaybe we can start with our National Bishop Susan Johnson’s call to a spiritual renewal – it focuses on seven verbs:

  1. Pray
    daily prayer
  2. Study
    involvement in a program of study
  3. Serve
    regular service in the community (not just the congregation)
  4. Worship
    regular attendance at worship
  5. Read
    daily scripture reading
  6. Give
    regular and proportional giving similar to the understanding of the tithe found in scripture
  7. Tell
    commitment to sharing the good news with those around us, beginning with our family and friends

My call to you – is to ask you to pick TWO of the verbs and work on them from now until Lent 2017. Which two verbs you pick is entirely up to you. Maybe you could pick the two that seem easiest, or maybe the two that are most challenging for you, or go for one easy and one hard.  Part of the challenge will be to write your chosen verbs in a place that will remind you each day to do some work on those verbs.

Work? Isn’t that what Martin Luther preached against – that our good works do not buy us salvation? Yes that is true – mounting up good works is not a way to earn God’s grace which is always freely given.  However, how might you measure God’s grace being active in yourself?

“For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.” Colossians 1: 4-6

A good tree bears good fruit.  Luther also encouraged us to engage our baptisms each day. “We are to daily drown and die to sin and daily rise as a new person in God in Christ. Baptism signifies our death and resurrection.” A grace filled baptism leads to a fruitful discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes about this in his classic book “The Cost of Discipleship”. The original German title of the book is simply Nachfolge (Discipleship). Bonhoeffer deals with the distinction between “cheap” and “costly” grace. In Bonhoeffer’s words (emphases added):

“cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

As your pastor, my challenge will be to provide ways and opportunities to help you engage in your chosen discipleship verbs. I will write an article in our newletter about each one of these verbs for the remainder of 2016.

I also will provide reminders and be available to talk with you about your chosen discipleship verbs. This is your invitation to join a spiritual renewal, deepen your discipleship and become more passionate about your own spirituality.

I too am a disciple of Jesus and my two chosen verbs between now and Lent 2017 – Pray and Tell.

Prayer: May the Holy Spirit of your baptism be ever active within you as you respond to Christ discipleship call. Amen

Peace & Blessings

Pastor Steve

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