The Practical Disciple | - Part 64

Studying Scripture–Formational and Informational Reading

Most approaches to reading scripture can be broadly categorized into essentially two categories, either,”informational” or “formational” reading. You need a healthy mix of both.

When you read scripture “informationally” you are getting to know the text. You are exploring questions like: “What is the story here? Who are the people involved? When and why was it written? Who was the author and what was his concern? Who was the audience? You may dig into historcial questions like “What is a tabernacle?” “What kind offerings did these people do?” “Where is Phillipi?” “What is a samaritan?” Basically, informational reading involves studying the text to get at the story or content. If you have done a good job of informational

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Core Routines of Faith–Getting started on the Word

Hey readers–I am back from a brief blogging hiatus. I followed my own advice and made some margin in my life last week when I was beset by life. Part of that margin meant not blogging for a bit. That season of hurry has past, so here I am again.

Last week someone asked me what spiritual disciplines I felt were important. The core routines that have helped me most in my walk of faith have been: worship, scripture reading, scripture study, devotional reading, intentional acts of kindness and service, tithing, and keeping a sabbath. If you read that list closely you might note a couple of routines that sound repetitive, but are intentionally different. Specifically, scripture reading vs. scripture study and worship vs. maintaining a sabbath. Though used “vs.” these

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Prayer–Finding the Right Words, or Use No Words

This past week I visited a church and asked the congregation about difficulties they have praying. As usually the first answer offered up regarding an inability to focus. Another answer though came up which is not uncommon. Someone mentioned that they have a difficult time finding the right words. First off, I am not so certain there are “right” words to be found. Lovely and profound words lacking in heart or conviction, I rather suspect are like burnt offering offerings without obedience in the Old Testament.

Speaking from the heart with the best honesty you can muster is the best we can hope for. If you examine the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus offered, you will noticed that it is neither lengthy are overly eloquent.

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Jesus and Keeping a Rhythm

P.D. Novice commented on how we find images of Jesus in the Gospels withdrawing from the crowds to be in prayer. Coincidentally, or God-incidentally as I like to call it, my wife’s bible study class was examining Mark chapter 6 today and noted how Jesus withdrew from the crowds but then they would come to him and he would “look on them with pity” or some translations say “felt compassion” and he would reengage and respond to them. A really wonderful example of this is Mark 6:30-34 which reads as follows…

“The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a

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More on learning how to say "no"

Everything that I shared in my previous post about saying no is helpful but needs to be given with a disclaimer. Before sharing the disclaimer let me share a brief story. Once I was talking to a pastor friend who was bemoaning how overworked he was. He was singing the ever popular chorus, “I need to learn to say no.” I replied, “No, you don’t. You are really good at saying no. You have said no to your health, your family, sleeping, eating well, excercising. You are really good at saying no. You need to learn to say yes to the right things.

Here comes the “no” disclaimer–Even when you learn to say no to things that are invading your life you

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Tips on Restoring Margin

In response to my post, “Living in the Rhythm–First Steps”, blog reader, P.D. Novice, commented “I was wondering what are some practical ways to restore margin? For starters, I was thinking saying “no” more often and also scheduling bigger chunks of time for each endeavor.” Well, P.D. Novice your instincts are dead on and I want offer some suggestions.

Regarding saying no– “I need to learn to say no, more” is the perennial anthem of rhythm lackers. But seldom are we taught much about saying no. I have a couple thoughts to help you.

First, why do you so often say yes. A typical yes saying scenario for me is…I get a request. I want to be helpful. I don’t have a direct conflict and

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