Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Rhythm of My Spiritual Life Is a Progressing Circle

(I'm re-posting this for someone I met with recently.)

When I became a follower of Jesus forty-six years ago I was an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University. I began to attend a campus ministry. I was asked if I wanted to be in a Small Group for Bible study and prayer. I was told this experience would be one of the keys to my spiritual vitality and growth.

That proved true. I've been in a Small Group all forty-six years of my Christian life. Linda and I have been in a Small Group Community all the years of our marriage (today is our forty-third anniversary!).

The early Jesus-followers met in small groups of Jesus-followers; in homes, in upper rooms, wherever they could find a gathering place. Small Group Community was essential to the explosive spiritual and numerical growth of the early church. It's also essential to my spiritual life and growth.

The rhythm of my spiritual life looks like this:

I meet alone with God. I spend time with God in "the secret place." 
This is the Very Small Group (VSG) - God and I.

I meet weekly in a Home Group to study scripture and pray together. 
This is the Small Group (SG) - 6-12 people.

I meet Sunday mornings to worship and listen to the preached Word on Sunday mornings and other times.
This is the Large Group (LG)

Today it's Wednesday morning, and I have spent time alone with God in the VSG.

Last night was the SG - Linda and I were there.

I'll meet every day this week in the VSG.

On Sunday morning I'll be with my LG.

VSG-SG-LG; VSG-SG-LG...  over and over again and again.

It looks like this:

Note: this is a circle rolling forward on a path, led by God, progressing in the spiritual life and the movement of God and his kingdom. It is not "the eternal recurrence of the same."

You can read about how I spend time in the VSG in my new book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.