“How to go deep into your spiritual self without drowning”

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 38

I bring you a third look at the book by Richard Foster, “Prayer: finding the heart’s true home”.

Today, we examine the ‘examen’. What does it take to know ourselves? How do we get deep without drowning in introspection?

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

(Psa 139:23–24)

Our relationship with God will never develop if we stay in the shallows. However, how do we get deep without becoming introspective? Richard Foster offers this perspective:

“I do not mean to turn inward by becoming ever more introspective, nor do I mean to turn inward in hopes of finding within ourselves some special inner strength or an inner saviour who will deliver us. Vain search! No, it is not a journey into ourselves that we are undertaking but a journey through ourselves so that we can emerge from the deepest level of the self into God.”

We are not trying to get deep for the sake of it. But, if we do not go deep we will not discover the deepest level of ourselves, and how God can help us.  If we are going to find God in our deepest self we are going to need to deal with the fear of what we may discover.  Richard submits this prayer as a way of being honest about her fears, but not controlled by them:

“Precious Saviour, why do I fear your scrutiny? Yours is an examen of love. Still, I am afraid… Afraid of what may surface. Even so, I invite you to search me to the depths so that I may know myself – and you – in full measure. Amen”

Suggested methods

If you want to experiment with the examen, try meditating on scripture. For example,
  • A Psalm
  • The Lord’s prayer
  • The Ten commandments
  • The start of the Sermon on the Mount

Try something specific for a week, a month, a year. Let me know how it goes.

Question

Have you tried the examen? How did it go? What did you learn? How did you feel?

Please leave a comment here so that we can all learn from one another. We learn best when we learn in community.

I hope you have a wonderful week of fulfilling quiet times..

God bless, Malcolm

 

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“How to talk meaningfully about the Communion”: Part 2

Tuesday Teaching Tips: Episode 108

I have a passion to do my best to make sure that our congregation’s members can take a meaningful communion every week. I believe we can avoid dull repetition and boredom. And the opposite problem of going off-topic in such of creativity. The answer, as usual, is to go deeper. I have taught on the atonement a few times, and found this to be tremendously helpful in my thinking about the communion. I share today about one of the models of the atonement – that called, “Christus Victor”.

Let me know what you think of this model. In what way is it helpful? How might it assist you in preparing a talk about the communion? What scriptures, images, stories would give people confidence, as they take bread and wine, that they are set free, released and on the winning side?

Please leave a comment in the comment box below. We learn best when we learn in community.

Please pass the link to this recording on to one other person so that they may benefit.

Click like, and subscribe you haven’t already done so. If you have time, leave a review which will help us gain greater visibility for these recordings.

Thanks so much for watching and listening. I hope you have a terrific Tuesday and a wonderful week.

God bless, Malcolm

Scriptures referenced:

“How to have beautiful hands”

God's hands, Jesus' hands and your hands

We look at what God’s hands have made. Then at the power and love coming through the hands of Jesus. Finally we look at what our hands can do. Everyone’s hands can be beautiful. Are yours?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

God bless,

Malcolm

“Making the most of meaningful movement”

The Sunday Sample: Episode 34

How do we make the most of movement in our worship teams? We discuss some pitfalls which can distract our congregations from meaningful corporate worship. I offer three tips for maximising the meaningfulness of our movement up front.

Please leave a comment below so that we can learn from each other. We learn best when we learn in community.

Also, please pass the link on to one other person who might benefit.

Thanks so much. And God bless, Malcolm

 

 

 

 

 

“Prayer and the Father’s Song”

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 37

I bring you a second look at the book by Richard Foster, “Prayer: finding the heart’s true home”. Last week we explored at the three dimensions of prayer: inward, outward and upward.

Today, I have a couple of quotes for you and a simple story about the Father’s heart for us his children.

 

Let me know what you think of this vision of God’s heart for us. Please leave a comment, because we learn best when we learn in community.

Pass the link on to somebody who might benefit.

I hope you have a wonderful week of fulfilling and enriching quiet times.

Take care and God bless, Malcolm

“How to give a meaningful talk about the communion”, Part 1

Tuesday Teaching Tips: Episode 107

How can we avoid dull repetition or creative confusion when talking about the Lord’s supper?

I begin a series looking at different views of the atonement as a way of broadening and deepening our appreciation for the cross.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

Thanks again for watching. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

“Inspiring Interviews”

The Sunday Sample: Episode 33

I’m launching an interview series. Please watch/listen and let me know when I could interview you.

 

Three questions are all we’re looking at:

  1. What is a particular strength of your worship team?
  2. What have you tried or are trying that is working?
  3. What is your one strongest conviction about leading corporate worship?

Please share your ideas here by leaving a comment.

And please pass this on to one other person.

God bless, Malcolm

“The best blend for balanced prayer”

Quiet time coaching: Episode 36

A lack of balance is a problem. Just ask any would-be cyclist. But it can be learned – as my children discovered after falling off their bike for the umpteenth time. Balance was eventually achieved.
 
What makes for blessed balance? Not different components working independently – but blending. Eyes, hands, feet, muscles, nerves and the rest of what makes up a human being. All working together to bring a blended power to achieve balance.
 
Our spiritual life is rather like that. Prayer especially so.
 
I listened to an interview with Richard Foster on prayer (Renovare podcast).¹ He referenced three aspects of prayer from his book, “PRAYER: Finding the Heart’s True Home”. I bought the book and will share the basic thrust of the blend.

1. Moving Inward

“The movement inward comes first because without interior transformation the movement up into God’s glory would overwhelm us and the movement out into ministry would destroy us.” Foster, Richard. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (p. 5). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
 
Prayer without an intention for that prayer to change us is shallow. Part of the purpose of prayer is to help us along the path of growing Christ-likeness.
 
Do you spend time in prayer examining your heart and actions in the light of the character of Jesus?

2. Moving Upward

“We are exiles and aliens until we can come into God, the heart’s true home. Pride and fear have kept us at a safe distance. But as the resistance within us is overcome by the operations of faith, hope and love, we begin moving upward into the divine intimacy. This, in turn, empowers us for ministry to others.” Foster, Richard. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (p. 83). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
 
Prayer connects us with God. It is one of the channels which bring us into contact with God’s joy and parent-love.
 
Is there anything preventing you from drawing close to God in your times of prayer?
 

3. Moving Outward

“Transformation and intimacy both cry out for ministry. We are led through the furnace of God’s purity not just for our own sake but for the sake of others. We are drawn up into the bosom of God’s love not merely to experience acceptance, but also so we can give his love to others.” Foster, Richard. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (p. 177). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
 
Prayer which ends with the inward and the upward dimensions is incomplete. If we are connected with God’s heart, and if we are growing in Christ-likeness, we will also be growing in concern and compassion for the world.
 
Are the needs of people around you featuring in your times of prayer?

Conclusion

In John chapter 17 Jesus prayed to the Father, for his disciples, and for the world which his disciples would transform. We see there a balanced blend of personal transformation/strengthening, intimacy with God and concern for the world.
 
Whatever your habitual balance, why not make this next few days of prayer a blend of the upward, inward and outward?
 

Question

What helps you to pray for inner transformation? What helps you to connect in loving intimacy with God? What helps you when praying for the world?
 
Please leave a comment here so that we can all learn from one another. We learn best when we learn in community.
 
I hope you have a wonderful week of fulfilling quiet times.
 
God bless, Malcolm
¹ Famous for his book, “Celebration of discipline
 
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“Top teaching tips from teens”

Tuesday Teaching Tips: Episode 106

What’s the best way to speak to teenagers? How about asking one?

I reveal top tips passed on to me by a teenager. He gave me ideas based on a recent sermon by a 20-something who connected much better with our teenagers than most of us.

Thank you for watching this video. You can find more teaching tips here and on the YouTube teaching tips playlist.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

Thanks again for watching. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

“The Spiritual Benefits of Unbroken Focussed Worship”

The Sunday Sample: Episode 32

We tried something a little different this last Sunday – around 30 minutes of singing, prayer and readings at the beginning of our service.

See what you think of what we did. It is warts-and-all, so be kind!

Please share your ideas here by leaving a comment.

And please pass this on to one other person.

God bless, Malcolm