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Introduction to Living Through the Spirit

A Course Using Life Experiences, Spiritual Practice and the New Testament

Friends in Christ

Greenbelt Middle School, Room 108
8950 Edmonston Road, Greenbelt, Maryland

Wednesdays, 7:30 - 9 PM
March 3, 1999 - May 5, 1999
except March 10 and April 7, 1999

Although this series is over, you may find it interesting to review it, and perhaps read the scriptures and consider the queries provided. We invite you to our current series.

Introduction

Go directly to lessons

1 - 3/3/99
2 - 3/17/99
3 - 3/24/99
4 - 3/31/99
5 - 4/14/99
6 - 4/21/99
7 - 4/28/99
8 - 5/5/99


Welcome! You have joined a journey. In the eight sessions of this course, we will explore some of the challenges of the human condition, which confront us all. We will also become acquainted with the wonderful gift of God's love, which transforms these challenges into new living.

Each session will address a particular need or challenge to living a fulfilled life. We will read selections from the Bible revealing the actions and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Through these readings, we will become familiar with Jesus and God's revelation through him. We will also look deeply into our own life experiences. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, we will discern God's leading in our lives and in those around us. Finally, we will explore methods of meditation and prayer to aid in our awareness of our relationship with God. We will begin to experiment with the use of silence (silent worship or contemplative prayer) as a means to God.

Mind and Heart

The principal thing is to stand with the mind in the heart before God.
-Theophan the Recluse

There are dangers along the path of seeking spiritual insight. The first danger is to see the path as an intellectual effort at knowledge. We like to use our minds. By analyzing, comparing and contrasting, we control ideas. We like to keep the spiritual journey in our mind so we can control it. Unfortunately, as long as we keep the search solely intellectual, we will fail. The essence of the journey is to let go and receive the Divine Other.

The second danger is to see the path as only one of the heart and emotions. Ecstatic revelry, not grounded in revealed wisdom and tempered with good judgment, is shallow and dangerous. Our emotions alone are an unreliable guide.

The goal of our inquiry here is to stand with the mind in the heart before God. We will not abandon our minds, but we will not be ruled by our minds. We must put our minds in our hearts, the core of our whole being; the center of our emotions and physicality. So, beware of overemphasis on thinking or overemphasis on emotion. We need to allow God to direct both our minds and our hearts.

Session #1, March 3: Our Need for Healing

For most of us, our first steps to God come from a sense of incompleteness and wounded-ness in ourselves and our loved ones. We feel the need to be healed and made whole. We reach out to be restored.

Read Mark 1:40-44 (the man with skin disease)

Read Luke 8:40-56 (Jairus and his daughter; the bleeding woman)

Query: Are there wounds in your life which encourage your spiritual quest?

Spiritual practice to try this session - Silence

No session March 10 - school closed due to snow

Session #2, March 17: Cure for Anxiety

Sometimes, our lives feel like they are slipping out of control. We try to protect ourselves from pain, poverty and loneliness. Worry consumes us. When we realize the futility of trying to save ourselves, we turn to God.

Read Matthew 6:25-34 (don't worry)

Query: What causes you to worry?

Session #3, March 24: How to Pray

For many, prayer is saying special words, in special ways and in special places. When God does not apparently respond, we give up or keep saying the words for the benefit of others. For Jesus, prayer was an intimate relationship.

Read Matthew 6:5-15 (pray in private)

Query: How do you view prayer? Where did you get these concepts?

Spiritual practice to try this session - The Jesus Prayer: The Prayer of the Heart

Session #4, March 31: Persistence is Important

How often do we just give up? We have the desire for a deeper and more spiritual life. Yet, somehow, other things intrude upon our efforts towards reformation.

Read Matthew 15:21-28 (Canaanite woman's faith)

Read Luke 11:5-13 (keep asking and you will receive)

Query: What are the major distractions to your efforts for deeper spiritual living?

No session April 7 due to school's spring break

Session #5, April 14: Forgiveness, the Vital Ingredient

Have you ever been trapped in the prison of bitterness? Sometimes, we can not find a way out from our wounds. The past injustices by others haunt us. Our progress to richer living is blocked.

Read Matthew 18:21-35 (the unforgiving servant)

Query: Remember a time you were able to forgive some one. How did you do it?

Session #6, April 21: Judging Others; Seeing Ourselves

Are you always finding fault with others? Do your problems seem to be caused by other people? It is always easier to see the fault in the other guy.

Read Matthew 7:1-5 (do not judge)

Read John 8:2-11 (woman caught in adultery)

Query: What does judging others do to you?

Session #7, April 28: True Happiness

The pursuit of happiness seems to be the American way. But, what is happiness? Power? Beauty? Wealth? Jesus points us to a very different interpretation of happiness.

Read Matthew 5:3-12 (blessed)

Query: Where do you find real happiness?

Session #8, May 5: Spiritual Growth

The possibility of spiritual growth is always at hand. Sometimes, growth never starts. Other times, it withers early. Lasting growth requires constant tilling.

Read Matthew 13:3-9; and 18-23 (parable of sower)

Read Matthew 6:19-21 (store up riches)

Query: What has encouraged spiritual growth in you?

©1999 Friends in Christ, Inc.

Friends in Christ, Inc.
701 King Farm Blvd. #134
Rockville, MD 20850-6168
E-mail fic@friendsinchrist.net

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 09:34:54 EST