Follow up from Sunday May 1, 2022 Sermon

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A message from Senior Pastor Derek Hickman

This last Sunday I preached about Jesus being the Bread of Life (John 6) and how those who followed him in the crowd struggled to trust Jesus fully. We share in their struggle, don’t we? Falling prey to our own ignorance or arrogance, thinking we know better, we may stray from God’s will and fail to practice God’s love.

One of the ways that has helped me be more mindful of my own wanderings, is journaling. I have journaled everyday for about 18 months. Some days, I simply write bullet points of all that I did. Other days, I write in narrative style, telling the stories of the day. The practice – no matter the style – requires me to stop and think about the day; the ups and downs, the good and bad. I can reflect on how God was present or how I wasn’t.

There is no right way to journal. You can find a rhythm and a practice that works for you. Below are some tips from a resource I’ve used in the past called “The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook.”

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  • If you live your life at full tilt, when and how do you reflect on your life and your experiences?
  • How does writing help you focus or know what you think?
  • If writing is not a medium you enjoy, what other ways might you process and reflect on your experiences in the presence of God?
  • What is it like for you to read someone else’s published journal?
  • How does the thought of someone reading your journal strike you?

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES

  1. As you read magazines and newspapers, cut out articles or photos that touch your heart. Paste them in your journal. Use these clippings to help you pray and join in God’s care for the world.
  2. Develop a journal for quotes, poetry and Scripture that have touched you. Reflect on these words and their significance to you.
  3. If you enjoy art, create a collage journal. Express your thoughts and feelings to God through pictures, textures and colors.
  4. Keep a prayer journal: record requests, prayers, answered prayers.
  5. Make a journal for a child, a parent or a friend, recording some significant event and your prayers for them.
  6. Use your journal as a place for your unedited thoughts, feelings and reactions. Out of this overflow ask the Holy Spirit to form a godly response in you. Write the response you hear from God. Ask for grace to live out of this graced place.
  7. It can be helpful to divide your journal into particular sections that reflect
    1. your journey with God
    2. events of the day
    3. prayers for the world
    4. prayers for those you love
    5. desires of your heart

RESOURCES ON JOURNALING
An Ordinary Day with Jesus by John Ortberg and Ruth Haley Barton
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us (Transforming Resources) (pp. 57-58). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.