Practice is more than a good idea. Practice is essential for us to improve in any area. I know many of you really want to grow in your faith and change deeply. I realize some of you may feel discouraged or even bored. The answer is not to back off but to lean into those practices that over time will build your soul. We have covered six so far. I realize you can say “how am I supposed to do all these things?” Perhaps we should think of these practices as a spiritual exercise program. Many of you have workout plans that may have 10-20 different exercises or stations to keep your whole body fit and strong. Approaching spiritual practices like silence, solitude, Sabbath, giving, praying and fasting as part of a spiritual workout is a powerful way of approaching growth.
This Sunday I will share three more very powerful practices that will keep you strong. The next three are meeting [ gathering], fellowshipping, and hospitality. Paul said the parallels between the body and the soul are indivisible.
1 Ti 4:7-9 Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God–no spiritual flabbiness, please! 8 Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. 9 You can count on this. Take it to heart.
I want more than anything for you to be strong and healthy in every way. As we learn about these practices be ready to put them into immediate action.
STEPS TO PREPARE AND HOW TO GET READY
Prepare by praying and discussing the following materials.
Plan and prepare to attend a worship service and a small group.
Try to invite and welcome someone this week.
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY: SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
- On a scale of one to ten how serious are you about taking care of your physical health?
- On a scale of one to ten how serious are you about taking care of your soul’s health?
- Why does Paul use the metaphor of athletics to describe spiritual discipline?
1 Ti 4:7-8 Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God–no spiritual flabbiness, please! 8 Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.
1 Co 9:25-27 All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 26 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! 27 I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
- Why is so easy to get into the habit of skipping gathering with your church?
- How can we help each other with this practice?
Heb 10:24-25 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
- Describe what it means to fellowship?
Act 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
koy-nohn-ee’-ah; From G2844; partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: – (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship.
- How can small groups help this practice?
- Describe how someone practiced hospitality toward you?
- What can we do to practice hospitality now?
Rom_12:13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
- What is the relationship between peace and practice?
Php 4:9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.