Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ten practices for gospel renewal

In my message on Sunday, I mentioned one of ten practices which I recently commended to a Christian friend as he took some time for a personal retreat.  Below is the list in full.  Whether you're able to get away by yourself for a few days for a full-fledged retreat or simply integrate some of these practices into your personal or family devotional time, they are sure to help you renew your love for God and His gospel.

1. Spend time soaking in texts which highlight the gospel (e.g. Eph. 2:1-10, Rom. 3:9ff., I Tim. 1:12ff, Titus 2, etc.) and let your delight in Christ's grace spill over into praise and prayer for others.

2. On 4 sheets of paper list as many evidences of God's grace and love as you can think of for each of the decades in which you've lived:
  • age 0-10
  • 11-20
  • 21-30
  • 30-present
  • etc.
Then write a letter to God, thanking Him for these graces in your life.

3. Write a note of thanks to one current leader/mentor in your life and one in your past.

4. On different sheets of paper list all the things you can think of that you love about your wife (or husband) and kids. (if you're married and/or have kids)

5. Take a walk and celebrate the intricacies of God's creation which you often miss in your busy life.

6. Re-listen to a sermon that deeply impacted you sometime in the past. Write a note of thanks to that preacher.

7. Read some fiction or history or something that refreshes your mind without over taxing it.

8. Call your wife (or husband) and tell her how much you love her. (if you're married)

9. Write down your top ten sin struggles and use your Bible to plot very practical plans of defense. Use your Bible to identify the opposite graces which you need to nurture which are able to strangle those temptations, and make a practical plan for nurturing them.

10. For a time do nothing.  That's right - nothing.  Afterwards, spend some time praise God that your 'ok-ness' with Him has nothing to do with your performance.

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