Our dream, as a family, as a faith community in the City of Derry, is to see a whole city and region transformed by the power and presence of Jesus.
That is only possible as we (disciples of Jesus) bring the reality of Jesus and His Way (His order of things) to the people and situations around us.
God's order of things is good. It is seen perfectly in the life, message and works of Jesus. Sometimes we talk about this in religious environments as the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God. It's really the reality of God's order and way being established in a place, situation, person or community.
Lately, we've been talking about some of the key virtues that underpin and fuel our purpose to bring Jesus and His Way to the world around us. To help us remember these we've been using the acronym S.H.A.P.E. The key virtues we've been talking about are:
Significance - embracing who Jesus says we are
Humility - laying our lives down for others
Authority - stepping into what we're made for
Presence - pursuing Jesus, worshipping Him
Encounter - living lives beyond ourselves
We'll talk about SHAPE at more length again but we've focused on both Significance and Humility recently so I'd thought it would be helpful to provide some practical suggestions for building these into our lives. Here's a few to get us thinking:
Practices of listening and response
What rituals, rhythms or routines do you have personally, in your life, to help you listen and respond to the voice of God? Find some things that work for you and build them as practices in your life.
What rhythms do you have in your life for connecting with others? We were designed to do this together so make time for others who can challenge and encourage you.
What activities or practices do you have in your life that crowd out or hinder the voice of God and your response to Him? Find a way to remove them and build new, healthy activities in there place.
Practices of gratitude and celebration
What practices of thanksgiving and joy do you have in your life?
Cultivate a life of worship to God
Build rituals of thankfulness into your life
Remove criticism and judgement from your thinking and speaking.
Engage in acts of appreciation towards others and towards God.
Practice celebration and joy when you don’t feel like it.
Practices of generosity and compassion
What practices do you have for loving God and loving others?
Give to God first and of your best
Get your hands dirty in costly loving (loving that costs you but that brings life to others)
Give your life, your time, your money away as much and as often as you can
The supernatural always involves a level of sacrifice (love is sacrificial in nature)
The difference between burnout and a full life - one lives in the light of God’s generosity, the other lives in the light of his judgement
That's plenty to get us starting to think about how we become a people who carry the virtues Jesus modelled.