Many of us desire an experience of God as a living personal reality. We have grown tired of a faith that does little more than moralize, intellectualize, or advise. We want a two-way relationship with God that will make a difference in our daily lives. We want to know Christ as a vibrant indwelling presence working within and through us. For this reason God bestows the gift of the Holy Spirit, God's personal presence in the here and now. The question is whether you and I will open our lives to receive the gift of God.

Trevor Hudson 
Holy Spirit Here and Now

Copyright © 2013 by Trevor Hudson. Published by The Upper Room.
Seeking God's Power for Ministry

Spiritual leaders foster availability to the God who sends us forth in the power of the Spirit. The spiritual life is the process of our being formed in the likeness of Christ for the sake of others. It is a process that unfolds once we encounter God face-to-face, and we allow ourselves to become in the world who we have always been in God. As spiritual leaders, we are tempted to claim God’s power without first tapping into the source, like willing a light bulb to shine without plugging it in.

At The Center we embrace the journey of spiritual formation and discipleship not only as about individual transformation but also as the transformation of the faith community. Our life together is transformed as we labor together as individuals on this path, awake to God’s presence in our lives, develop spiritual practice, and open ourselves to God’s power in the Spirit.
Spiritual Exercise - Power

Jesus went up on a mountain and called those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve and called them apostles. He appointed them to be with him, to be sent out to preach, and to have authority to throw out demons. 
-Mark 3:13-15, Common English Bible

It is significant that Jesus appointed the twelve “to be sent” only after he first called them to come to him and appointed them to be with him. The disciples’ ability to be sent out and to embody the message of Jesus with authenticity and power flowed from their intimate relationship with Jesus and the life practice they shared.

Being a disciple of Jesus, sharing his life with God, means sharing Christ’ love for the world and passion for people. How do you imagine that the apostles’ spiritual formation -- their listening to Christ's call, coming into his presence, and being with him in his practice -- influenced and enabled their readiness to be sent out?

Reflect on your story: What has been the relationship for you between being called and being sent; i.e. your ability to hear Christ calling you and your readiness to go where Christ sends you?

Reflect on your faith community: In what ways does your community provide the experiences that prepare people for authentic witness to the power of God’s love and sharing in the cause of Christ? In what ways could it improve?

Be still for a few moments in God’s presence. Share in prayer any memories or feelings that have surfaced. Give thanks for the grace you’ve experienced through this exercise.
Tending Your Soul:
Seven Suggestions for Healing and Renewal in the Midst of Stress and Anxiety
by Flora S. Wuellner

God longs to heal us and renew us in these difficult times. The greater our responsibilities, the deeper is our need for sustenance.

Jesus filled the nets of his disciples, built a fire on the beach and warmed them, cooked and served them breakfast before he sent them out to feed the hungers of the world (John 21).

Here are some suggested ways by which we can be fed by God at a deep level. We each respond to God's love in unique ways, so we may find some of these suggestions more helpful than others.
  1. Be aware of of your feelings and honor them. 
  2. Share what you feel with a trusted friend or small group. 
  3. Pay attention to your breathing.
  4. In the midst of painful or intense encounter with others, think of Christ's light enfolding the other person as well as yourself.
  5. Take some intentional time each day, even if for only a few minutes, to rest in God's presence.
  6. Before an appointment, committee meeting, personal encounter, or a challenging situation, think of Jesus' promise to go ahead of us to prepare a place for us (John 14:3).
  7. As you prepare for sleep, take a few slow, deep, gentle breaths and then release the events and the persons we met during the day into God's hands and God's heart.

This exercise and others for your spiritual pilgrimage may be found in our website's resource area
Copyright © 2001 Flora S. Wuellner. Used with permission of the publisher, The Upper Room.
Resources for Soul Care

Beads of Healing: Prayer, Trauma, and Spiritual Wholeness
by Kristen Vincent

Survivors of trauma are often afraid to tell about their deeply painful and personal experience(s). They may feel shame, guilt, fear, and anger. Often, they also carry deep spiritual wounds. In Beads of Healing: Prayer, Trauma, and Spiritual Wholeness, Kristen Vincent shares her story of childhood trauma and how she later found God's peace, healing, and wholeness.

In the presence of a Christian community, she felt safe and loved. Through spiritual practices of scripture reading, prayer, group sharing, and reflection, she found peace. Vincent shares how prayer beads became a tool for her to enter into honest and open conversations with God. Learn more.


Prayer, Stress, and Our Inner Wounds
by Flora S. Wuellner

In her 1985 Upper Room book Prayer, Stress and Our Inner Wounds, Flora Wuellner reminds us that the passion to heal was central in Jesus. "God's love longs to touch and heal our inner wounds. God's transforming power can do it!" In Wuellner's book and our eCourse, several types of pain are examined: physical pain, painful memories, forgotten wounds, the pain of uncertainty, the pain of stress and anxiety. The author suggests practical ways by which prayer can help us experience inner healing. Learn more.

Next week -- Become partners with companions along the way

The Upper Room Center for Christian Spiritual Formation
The Upper Room
P.O. Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004

Copyright © 2018 The Upper Room, All rights reserved.

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