discipleship

I Have Learned

It’s a little detail, but at the beginning of Philippians 4:11-12 Paul says, “I have learned…” Have you ever paused to think about that? This implies that there was something Paul didn’t know how to do in his walk with Christ and had to practice in order to “get it.” So just pause here and ask yourself, “What do I have to practice?” and then add on, “Do I?”

I was at the Connect Center looking at these four cards and thought of how this little display captures the priorities of what we have been called to practice:

Say YES — it’s a first step, but it is a surrender our whole life long. Are we practicing surrender? Surrender to the beautiful Gospel truth of our absolute need of the cross, and then to living out this life of freedom because of Jesus? Can we say we are learning to?

BiBLE — are we even trying to practice this? Right below the card is a journal and a reading guide. How many in SunRidge are learning from their Bible, letting it reach into their daily lives? Are we slowing down to let the Word of GOD speak, are we humble enough to try journaling to let our pen on paper be led by the Spirit? Oh I so loved this quote by John Piper: “there are eyes in pencils and pens.” Yes! I know this to be true! Are we learning here, allowing this good habit to drive out our harmful ones and introduce life back into us?

PRAYER — Daniel prayed three times a day “just as he always had done”, practicing. What did he practice? Thankfulness above all! (Daniel 6:10). This is what we learn in prayer, eventually. That prayer “to be prayer, to have any power to change anything must first speak thanks…prayer without ceasing is only possible in a life of continual thanks” (1,000 Gifts, Voskamp, 60). This actually creates a seismic shift in how we pray…I am learning this.

CONNECT — this surrendered, Word of GOD filled, prayer life always ends in connecting with what GOD loves, His mission. When we practice these things we always end up practicing loving, outreaching community because we can love the church and love the people of the world out of what we are learning in our times of surrender and solitude with the Spirit of GOD.

Four little cards. They call out to us — Yellow, Black, Blue, and Red — practice….

Though Pastors had preached, “I had never practiced. Practiced until it became second nature, the first skin. Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation. Practice, practice, practice…” (Voskamp, 54)

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 


In The Garden

Like so many others who are able to till, seed, and water the soil to bring forth plant life (I exclude myself from this list), Shawn and Lisa Klassen put in a grandé garden this summer. As we heard this past Sunday, it was Shawn's idea and he brought Lisa and Mac into his vision and behold there were vegetables, lots of vegetables.

I love what their garden became this summer: not just a place to feast on fresh produce, but a sacred space to "do devotions," to ponder what is growing in the depths of our lives, feeding on God's Word. At different times over this summer season, the Klassens had people over to linger in their garden, read the Bible, journal a bit and share. Lisa described this in the photo below, taken in their garden:

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"Devos in the garden.
Quiet reflection on passages, journaling,
sharing and prayer. Just simple get-togethers
where we invite others to do devos together."
-- Lisa and Connie

What I love is how Lisa and Shawn made space for this...or better put, made this space to include this.

When I think of devotions, it is something we do intentionally in our lives, but there is so much creativity as to the how and when and where and with whom. Spending time in God's Word doesn't need to be complicated. You don't need a big lead up. You don't need a giant amount of time. You don't need to "be a great writer" and you don't even need to "be a big reader." What you need is a seeking heart and a willingness to let the Holy Spirit teach you.

You can sit in interesting places with God, you can steal 15 minutes at a coffee shop, you can invite a friend to create a shared experience.

The Bible says, "Certainly the Lord watches the whole earth carefully..." (I am sure He saw a few people who just happen to be opening God's Word in a garden in Kelowna) "and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 NET

Devoted = very loving or loyal, to study and discuss = devotions.

If you haven't figured out what this looks like in your own life, you can

  • contact any of the @sunridge.org staff (mike@sunridge.org, shawn@sunridge.org, teresa@sunridge.org etc.). We will meet with you and walk with you!
  • stop by the Connect Centre on a Sunday
  • access a reading guide here (remember, you don't have to conquer the guide. Read some, read all...there are no rules here)
  • Get in touch online here and we will get back to you about a devotional life!

Don't let this year go by without meeting with Jesus regularly. You will find Him in all kinds of interesting places...

Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen