The snow cancelled school this morning, but the roads seem to have cleared up. Community Dinner is happening! We'll be having chili to warm us up on a cold day. Dinner starts at 5:30. If you didn't hear, Chrissy had surgery, so I, Pastor Ryan will be teaching the kids. Emily Shelden will be leading the adult Bible study. The Year of Maturity If you were not able to join us in person on Sunday, our focus in 2024 will be on Maturity. In Colossians Paul says that the point of his preaching is to bring Christians to full maturity, that is my hope as well. On Sunday I called the church to make maturity in Christ a goal this year, I asked is there anything more important? I don't think any of us desire immaturity. To that end I passed out a Spiritual inventory to set a baseline for the year and assist us all in finding where the Spirit wants us each to grow. I will attach the inventory to the bottom of this blog. Upcoming Events. Jan. 13 - Pancake Breakfast- we know they SAY there is a storm coming. But time will tell. Jan. 14 Worship with a focus on john Jan 14. 4PM Board Meeting Jan 17th. 10:30 AM Prayer Meeting Jan. 17 Community Dinner (Provided by Mirna Lopez) Jan 21- Youth Sunday & Tell the Story. Lori Schriver will be sharing her testimony and preaching. DO NOT MISS THIS! Jan 21. @ 4pm Missional Community at the Parsonage Jan 24 10:30 am Prayer Meeting Jan 24- Spaghetti Dinner- Teen fundraiser Jan 27th- Community Garden Seed Swap and Planning Event at 4pm Jan 28th- Family Worship with the Kids. During this service the children will be sharing the Bible verses they are currently memorizing. Jan 28th. 4pm Missional Community at the Parsonage. Jan 31 Community Dinner- (Jennings are cooking) Feb 11 Big Game and Chili Cook Off More details coming. Feb. 14 Ash Wednesday Service Spiritual Inventory The Church of the Nazarene, like all holiness denominations, believes that the call of every Christian is that we be holy. 1 Peter 1:15 says, “Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” That can seem like a daunting task if we forget that the Holy Spirit prompts and inspires us. In fact, Paul tells us “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you” (Philippians 2:12-13).
One way I am hoping we can make holiness more approachable this year is by focusing on maturity. In Colossians 1:28 Paul explains the point of his preaching is “so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” This has led me to ask of us all, “What does a mature Christian look like?” My hope is that we do not want to remain babes in Christ, but that we want to be mature. Maturity does not merely happen because time has passed, but it comes with intentionality. The first tool we will use this year to help us all intentionally mature is a Spiritual Inventory. I created one for us all. I know it is not perfect, I may have worded a question wrongly and perhaps there is an area I missed. I wrote some new questions, I consulted John Wesley’s 22 Questions, Celebrate Recovery’s Spiritual Inventory, and the Class Meeting questions. My hope is that this inventory will help us to see our selves honestly so that we can grow into full maturity. Answering the questions may be fun but they could also be challenging. For some this could result in feelings of inadequacy or shame. Do not let shame win. Use this as a baseline for where you are so that you can better follow Jesus in 2024. Once you complete the questions, reflect on them. Is there an area where you would like to change? Are there multiple? Pray about it, ask God “Where do you want me to grow this year?” At the very least pick one area. Maybe you decide, “I always fall asleep when I pray. In 2024, because I want to prioritize prayer, I’m going to work on my sleep patterns. That way I can be in the correct mindset to pray.”Pastor John and I are available if you would like to consult with us on any practices you can embrace this year.
Grace and Peace, Pastor Ryan
General Questions- These have to do with commitment and priorities.
After making the decision to turn my life and my will over to God, in what areas of it am I still not putting God first?
Do I ask God to shape my desires?
Will I actually let God do a work in me this year?
Do I want to grow closer in my walk with Jesus?
What in my past is interfering with my doing God’s will? Is my ambition interfering? Are my pleasures interfering?
Have I filled my mind with hurtful and unhealthy movies, internet sites, television programs, magazines, or books?
Do I always try to have an “attitude of gratitude” or do I find myself always complaining about my circumstances?
In what areas of my life am I ungrateful?
Where am I showing gratitude?
What in my past is still causing I fear or anxiety?
Have I pretended to live one way in front of my Christian friends and another way at home or at work?
What fruit of the Spirit would I like to see increase in my life?
Prayer and Study- We know that Christians are to search the scriptures and to be devoted to prayer. 1. Am I enjoying prayer? (Do I have a set prayer practice?) 2. When I pray how much time is spent in: Confession?Thanksgiving? Petition?Intercession? Listening?
4. When I confess am I asking God to see if there is any wicked way or do I hide?
5. Do I eagerly accept God’s forgiveness? 6. How much time have I spent in scripture?
7. When I read, am I processing and incorporating what I’re reading?
8. Does the Bible live in me?
9. Do I often boldly pray for God's supernatural activity in the lives of people around me?
10. How frequently do I pray by name for a person’s salvation. Who are the people I am praying for?
11. From what and how frequently did I fast?
Peacemaker- Jesus tells us that the Peacemakers will be called “Sons of God” (Matt 5: 9) This is why Romans teaches us, “so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Then again in Romans 14:19 Paul writes, we pursue the things which make for peace and the the building up of one another.”
Am I actively pursuing peace?
Who has hurt me?
Who have I hurt?
Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
Do I grumble or complain constantly?
How do I participate in God’s ministry of reconciliation?
Am I kind to others ,even those who are not kind to me?
How have I been shown mercy lately? How have I shown mercy?
Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence?
How am I being generous with my Time, Treasure, and Talents? Be very specific.
How am I seeking justice (Micah 6:8)
Communal Life God calls us to be the body of Christ. Much of what it means to follow Jesus comes to life in the church. The expectation in the scriptures is that mature Christians participate in the life of the church.
Have I been faithful to my church in the past?
Have I been critical instead of active?
How many times did I attend worship? (serving in nursery or children’s department count toward this too).
Knowing that the church is the body of Christ, how am I serving Jesus in my local church body?
How many times did I receive communion? How many times did I decline?
How frequently did I participate in a small group (Sunday School, Missional Community, Mid-week bible study, prayer meeting)?
Do I have an accountability partner? How is that helping me grow in grace?
Who am I discipling right now? Who is discipling me?
Who do I want to imitate as they imitate Christ?
Do I leave time for relationships with those who don't know Jesus?
Do I have a heart/desire for people who don't know Jesus?
How often did I open my home and welcome people in? Were those friends, strangers, or church-folk?
How frequently have I invited others to share a meal?
How many times did I initiate conversations with brothers or sisters in Christ I do not know well?
How frequently did I share a public testimony of God’s goodness?
Physical Health- 1 Cor. 6 tells us to honor God with our bodies. While diet culture may make that about weight or waist line, a proper understanding of physical health is vital to spiritual health. How often do we neglect holy things because we are tired, hungry, or worn down? Physical health is not simply about our bodies it is also about our mental and emotional health.
In what ways have I mistreated my body?
How am I honoring God with my body?
In which ways does my eating honor God?
How do I stay physically fit?
How do I prioritize sleep?
How am I attending to my mental health?
Did I see a therapist last year? Should I see a therapist this year?
How do I respond to feelings of loneliness?
Am I addicted to screens and what am I doing about it?
How do I respond to feelings of despair or hopelessness?
How am I attending to my emotional well being?
How does God keep hope alive in me?