Focus on Spiritual Growth


As we conclude our message series, we encourage you to look at ways you can grow in your walk with Christ.  Below are a list of opportunities and ideas to aid you in deepen your spiritual growth.  As the message series draws to a close, please continue to check as our staff and laity grow this page of resources to get each of us connected in our personal spiritual growth.

Don't forget that we connect via social media on Twitter and Facebook - look for the following associated hashtags for this current message series:

#spiritualgrowth
#gnumclifegroups
#lunchtimepraise
#prayer
#study
#fasting
#action
#gnumcserves

Silence & Solitude - #spiritualgrowth & #lunchtimepraise

Spiritual Practices - Work to be concerned about what is inside you (spiritual growth) as well as your overall physical health   (outside).  Silence and solitude are counter cultural because our world you are bombarded by noise.  Find time for silence and solitude.  Set aside some time to BE with God.  Center yourself.  BE STILL and LISTEN FOR GOD.  God is our refuge and strength - get up earlier, sit on your porch, hear the birds, enjoy the silence of your house before family starts to rise.  Be quiet and still yourself.

Devotional - Think about beginning your day with a short devotional that includes scripture and prayer.  The Upper Room available in The Gathering Hall is a great place to start with a daily practice.  Beginning your day in silence and solitude having a conversation with God can center you and bring you in closer relationship with your Father.  Need other devotional ideas or direction? Check with Pastor Steve or email him at pastor@goodnewsumc.org.

#lunchtimepraise - Busy all day long at work?  Take a few moments for yourself at your computer, laptop, phone, in the car while parked or anywhere you are around noon, Monday through Friday. Join @gnumc on Twitter or Facebook for #lunchtimepraise.  This is an opportunity for you to escape the busyness of the day for a moment of reflection, prayer and watch an inspiring praise music video.  Coupled with a devotional time, this can recenter you day and bring you in closer relationship with God.

Journaling - Think about keeping a journal in connection with a devotional practice.  Placing your words, thoughts, prayers and insights on paper may help you come in closer relationship with your Father.  This is another practice that can help lead you to silence and solitude on a regular basis to center yourself.

Prayer - #prayer

Prayer -
The act of prayer is an important and vital way in which to communicate to God our Father.  There are multiple ways in which to pray ranging from quiet, reflection as an individual to group prayer. Prayer is a powerful spiritual practice that moves us closer to the heart of God. Prayer is crucial to our own spiritual growth because it is in our constant communication with God that our relationship with God grows deeper and wider as we experience the transforming grace of God’s love.  As we approach prayer in the current message series, watch for additional information and ideas for spiritual growth under this heading.

Time - Pray everywhere and at anytime.  Prayer is your primary communication with God.  Prayer is the most important endeavor for spiritual growth.  You are having a conversation with God.  Two types of prayer: Private prayer versus Corporate prayer.  Both are grounded in scripture - read Luke 6:12-13, Luke 22:39-40 and Matthew 6:5-15.

Right or wrong way to pray - there is no right or wrong way in which to pray, but if you are looking for a model, think of how the Lord's Prayer is organized around the acronym of ACTS:
A - Adoration
C - Confession
T - Thanksgiving
S - Supplication (pleas)
Read more about ACTS model of prayer



Scripture & Study - #study & #gnumclifegroups

Reading - 
Reading the Bible daily as a spiritual practice is essential for spiritual growth, maturity, and effectiveness. In order to grow, all living things need nutrients and water.  Scripture provides the nutrients we need from God as well as our living water.  When we continue to nourish our souls daily, we continue to grow as we become transformed in the image of Christ.  Focusing on growing your understanding of scripture through study is another way to achieve spiritual growth.  Go to any Christian bookstore and look for topics that interest you in your spiritual growth.  You also may want to check our small and growing library at Good News UMC housed in The Wesley Center - borrow a book, look at titles and you can always check in with our church staff for recommendations focused on where you could begin your study.

Work to know basic ideas about the bible and deepen your understanding of it over time and study - this is a life-long habit for Chrisitians as they spiritually grow.  Remember that we should not only be grabbing the bible when we need help or answers in life, a disciplined study will center and equip you each and every day.  

Study Time - We all go about scriptual practices in different ways - generally, you can center yourself by starting your day with a time to clear your mind and be with God.  Think about using a study bible to read scripture from as you study.  The Upper Room (available in The Gathering Hall in print or online) is a great place to start.  You also might use The Upper Room Disciplines as a form of study. Once you have read the devotional, reread the scripture and think about what God is trying to tell you.  Reading Scripture with others is another way of study - this can be accomplished through our congregational Life Groups or Small Groups throughout the week.  All these practices will work to draw you closer to God.

Life Group - Good News UMC sponsors a number of life groups that are small study and accountability groups.  Take a look at the church calendar to see a listing of current life groups.  Don't know where to begin?  Talk with Chris Reyes, Director of Small Groups or email him at smallgroups@goodnewsumc.org to get connected!

Emmaus - The Emmaus Community is active at Good News UMC.  The 3 day Walk to Emmaus experience offers us the opportunity to rediscover Christ's presence in our lives and gain a fresh understanding of God's transforming grace.  We currently host small men's and women's fourth day reunion groups that support and help hold accountable our Emmaus community on their continued walk.  Interested in Emmaus?  Find out more here or speak with Barb Farris, Tim Lowke or Pastor Steve for details.  

Fasting - #fasting

Fasting -
Just as we exercise our bodies to stay healthy and strong, so too must we exercise our spiritual practices in order to grow healthy and strong in our faith.  Only then, can we truly live into the life God has planned for us; a life filled with grace, love and joy.

Fasting: "The deliberate abstinance from some form of physical gratitude to acheive a greater spiritual goal." Tony Evans.

Fasting is not only related from food - you can fast from television, smoking, gambling.... anything that takes time/attention away from God.  Fasting can be done at anytime - amny people choose to fast during the lenten season.

"Fast from anything that takes time and attention away from God." Rev. Steve Moss

Spiritual Fasting - Fasting is a historical and spiritual way in which to connect with God - it is voluntarily going without food or any other regularily enjoyed good gift from God for the sake of spiritual purpose. Many Christians will fast for periods during Lent for example to sacrifice and feel some small discomfort that Jesus felt to bring them in closer understanding to his sacrifice for us. One resource is Fasting for Beginners.  Check in with Pastor Steve is you have questions about fasting and spiritual growth.

Before Fasting:
1. Are you committed?
2. Develop a plan.
3. Set guidelines.

Action - #action & #gnumcserves

SOS -
Help serve others through our SOS Ministry during the summer.  Our congregation has a deepening and long-term commitment to the people of Cedar Park Townhomes.  Join us a we work to feed kids during the week and provide craft activities throughout Summer 2016.  Sign-up to help here.