Tuesday, March 29, 2011
We have a new pastor at church who will be over our discipleship/education areas, and he wanted to see material from past programs. So I've dug out my binder from what we called 'RELEASE' school of ministry...7 12-week courses all geared to training folks in areas needed for doing any kind of service. The courses were:
This was in the 2002- 2004 time frame; on Wednesday nights before I got involved in the Girls' Ministry program. However, the church grew so fast that we literally ran out of places to put the classes and the 7th session never was (or, maybe, hasn't yet been) offered.
The basic structure for each course was that we had a book to read, we were given a specific portion of the Bible to read so that we read the entire Book over the course of the 7 - class schedule, pertinent Scripture to memorize, and classes to attend. At the end of each course, we were to turn in a one-page book report on the book and do a small written test on the memory work.
The book report was a very interesting thing. It was to be 3 paragraphs; the first was a summary of the book, the second was noting what was personally significant and the third was to be action point or points to be taken as a result of what was learned.
I actually thought it would be good to apply that process to any book I read...and I did it once.
Now, when I pulled the binder with all my accumulated material (the one class I'm missing just happens to be the 7th one) to take in to our new pastor, I read over some of it. I was dismayed to find that lack of follow through on my intention to summarize the books I'd read was pretty much the picture in a nutshell of my staying power on what I'd learned in general.
I have failed to implement even one of my action points...and they were good, important points, all geared to deepening my relationship with my Lord. What happened?
My friends, I got busy. And I got distracted.
I looked over my history for the past 6 - 7 years, and I found that 1)My ministry involvement at church increased tremendously 2) My volunteer sewing increased tremendously and 3) My time on the internet, in online sewing communities, blogging, and now Facebook increased tremendously.
Now, there's nothing *wrong* with any of that, and some of it is even commendable, but if my personal spiritual growth has stagnated then it is Not Good.
But it's all part of Who I Am Now.
And I'm reminded that, at the start of the year, I asked God to take me apart and put me back together again and I realize that all of this is part of that process. I do not want just fall back into the old patterns once I'm 100% healthy and back to Doing again.
It's a submission issue, of course, and I actually summed it up in my book report for the Responsibility class (the book was The Glad Surrender, by Elisabeth Elliot):
...discipline is not so much an act of my will forcing my behavior, but of my will submitting to the Father and letting Him mold my behavior...to do what I have repeatedly proven I cannot do in my own strength and determination.