Thursday, March 12, 2009

step #1

I have a few friends in the 'new believer' category
or in the 'wanting to grow and not knowing what to do' category
and was writing a few 'next step' tips down for them yesterday.

thought I'd share them with you all, who knows....

(p.s. this sounds really corny and very legalistic but truly this is just what I do, this is not the only true way or anything...everyone's personal growth times with the Lord look different)

"HOW TO" on prayer.

#1 - Pray without ceasing 1 Thess 5:17
sometimes there are no words, sometimes there are just a few words, sometimes there are hours worth of words, sometimes it's written, sometimes it's thought, sometimes it's out loud....no rules here....just communicate with Him like you would any other super duper ooper close friend whatever that looks like.

#2 - The Lord's Prayer - Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4
when there are words and for your more structured concentrated times of prayer, this was the outline Christ gave us to use. copy it verbatim or plug in your own words using the same ideas He did.

#3 - A.C.T.S.
another simple model to help you walk through your structured prayer times.
A - adoration: praise and love words to Him for being Him
C - confession: general, broad, whatever you need to do that day, asking for forgiveness
T - thanksgiving: for the good and bad
S - supplication: 'prayer requests', asking for His resources, guidance, healing, etc...

"HOW TO" on kick starting your study/reading the Bible.

#1 - John.
Read it through. It's the best gospel and book of the Bible to start with. (see the comment section on this one! - maybe Mark is the better place to start)
#2 - Proverbs.
I read one chapter a day. There are 31 of them so pick your Proverb by using the day of the month.
#3 - James.
I go here when I'm pooped and need encouragement, a good kick in the pants, a fire under me, etc...the first sentence is: Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds. Need I say more?
#4 - Acts.
Story of the first 'church' and it's just exciting stuff.

Devotionals
My Utmost For His Highest - Oswald Chambers

oldie but a goodie - you can get this anywhere - probably even the local grocery store - but don't let that fool you, it's great

Streams in the Desert - Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

my ultimate favorite one but I'm a nerd and like to read things in old English ;-)
I think the newer copies are actually updated to modern day English - not sure though.
this one is easier found online or in a Christian bookstore.

Bible Study Groups
if you are wanting to step it up intellectually after going through John and Acts then jump into a group formatted Bible study with some type of lecture and daily/weekly homework....it will blow your mind.
don't know where to find one? ask a friend you trust to help you find one (even if they don't live close to you), they are not all created equal!

What I do on a daily basis - uh hem.... - when it happens that is -
Read a Proverb (whatever day of the month it is)
Read my Streams in the Desert (again, goes with the day of the month)
Journal....I AM A HUGE FAN OF JOURNALLING my prayers....I write it like I think it, it's pretty random.

My in depth Bible study times are separate from my prayer/reflection/listening times
too much for me to digest at once


that's that.
and now you all know yet another little known corner of my heart!
I'm not going to have much left after this am I?
oh well, my life is not my own anyway!

7 comments:

melanie said...

i just have to differ with you on one of those. i think john is one of the hardest gospels to start with. mark is absolutely my favorite. i just think john has so many tricky things: i tried to work through it with a new believer and we kept getting bogged down. i would much rather that we had started with mark.

Holly said...

oh...and people, I would go with Melanie on this one - I've never sat down and worked through it with someone and I'm no seminary grad ;-)...Melanie is!

read Mark then. Not John. (or just save John until later)

EM said...

Thanks for sharing Holly. I love some of your ideas and for a grewupinchurchbeenachristianmostofmylife kind of gal, these are refeshing and interesting ideas and techniques. Sometimes the same old same old doesn't cut it and it is neat to find out what other people do to stay connected with our Awesome Saviour!

mcmcolospgs said...

Holly, this is wonderful guidance, and something I have personally been praying about myself. I was born and raised a Catholic and it wasn't until we moved to CO that I began to "explore" Christianity. We found a wonderful church but I have soooo much to learn. My husband is currently overseas and I have made it my mission to overhaul (for lack of a better word) my faith and try to structure it to what I believe He would be proud of. Unfortunately, the exhaustion stemming from having a husband deployed along with having girls 13 mos apart that are extremely active and um, "feisty" right now (which I know you can relate to all of the above there), I find it hard some days to do more than squeak out a prayer before closing my eyes for the night. I am sure this is a lot like knowing you need to exercise because it will do wonders for your energy level...I just haven't learned yet how to carve this out if my current day. This struggle weighs heavily on my heart.

Courtney said...

wow! thanks for sharing all that. even an "old" Christian got a lot out of that!!!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. Your concern for others, your desire for people to know our Savior better, your willingness to take time for others, I could go on but I'll just say etc.

Mamaw

heather said...

love this! some very practical 'advice'...i learn a lot from people like you...keep the wisdom coming!