You know the old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice! Maybe that’s how you get to be like Jesus, too!
On the last leg of Sabbatical in August, I attended an event in San Diego called the Covenant Retreat. Located at beautiful Point Loma Nazarene University overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and led by Renovaré, the Covenant Retreat was an incredibly energizing and motivating time for me, in terms of my own spiritual renewal (which was the goal of my sabbatical).
The morning began with a time of Daily Guidance, followed by an hour or so of silence and solitude, and a time of listening prayer. But in the afternoon, I opted to be part of a group called Journey with Jesus, led by Larry Warner, author of the book by the same name, and that group changed my mind and my heart.
The book is a collection of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and includes numerous tips, ideas, and directions (by Larry) on how to intentionally use the exercises to become more like Christ. As it is with Renovaré spiritual formation materials, the idea is to practice the disciplines, not so that you become a great discipline practicer, but so that you put yourself in position for God to transform your heart and your mind according to his purposes and his will. How do you get to be like Jesus? Practice, practice, practice—His ways of viewing life, His ways of dealing with people, His decision-making processes, His lifestyle habits of worship and His communion with God. These are what spiritual formation is all about.
Last Spring, 400+ UBCers and their kids attended the life-changing Essentials Conference at UBC, and in the weeks that followed, more than 500 adults participated in the Taste of Spiritual Formation in WBS, using the Spiritual Formation Workbook. And now, we have the opportunity here at UBC to continue on the Practice Path by being part of Spiritual Formation groups this fall using the book, Prayer and Worship.
I want to encourage you to come by yourself, or come with a group of friends, to Room LC226 on Sunday, September 9 at 5:30 pm. We’ll help you find a group, or we’ll help your group be a group.
So with apologies to the original joke writer: How do you get to Heaven? practice, practice, practice being like Christ. I hope to see hundreds of you at our start-up meeting on September 9.