The Practical Disciple - Part 64

Doing the Do.

One time I was standing in what I would call the “spiritual self-help” section of a seminary bookstore looking for yet another ‘how-to prayer’ book. As I browsed the numerous options the thought came to me, ‘If I applied even ten percent of all of the other books I already have on prayer, then I could probably write my own book. I realized in that moment that I was substituting reading about prayer for praying. I immediately set down whatever book was in my hand and headed for the seminary prayer room. I had a phenomena encounter with God. I realized then how easy it is to talk about God, instead of to God, or to read about prayer, instead of praying.

I am addressing this today because I have added

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In yesterday’s post, I shared two approaches to scripture reading–formational and informational reading. To insure a healthy blend of each consider journaling. I have used the following journal model for many years now and it has yielded a constant forward momentum in my discipleship journey. A sample journal based upon the model following that is in bold and italics may look like this—

Date: 6/2/08 Passage: Mark 12:1-12

First Obervation/keywords: vinyard, Son. God goes to any length to care for us, but we don’t accept it easily.

Main Idea/meaning: Jesus was explaining to the multitude how great God’s love is and how they have rejected it time and time again. Jesus’ death is foreshadowed.

This passage make me feel: a need to examine my own life to make

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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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