Dear Friends,

You are receiving this email because you have made a commitment to spend fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, in solitude and silence, so as to draw near to God.
Thank you to Pastor Chuck Osburn for writing today's questions.

I want to hear how this is going for you! Please respond to this email and tell me what you are learning, what God is saying, and how this commitment is going.

Also, who else do you know who might want to make this commitment? Forward this email to them. They can receive these emails by registering here.

I’m praying with and for all of you!

In Christ,
Drawing Near, Week 6
General Instructions:

  1. Be patient and give yourself grace. This is new for many of us! 
  2. Decide which days and what time you will enter into solitude and silence. Consider putting these times on your calendar, and, if needed, share this commitment with those you are living with so that they can support you.
  3. Find a quiet place, free from distraction, where you can be comfortable.
  4. Consider lighting a candle so as to claim the space as “holy ground.”
  5. Begin each time by letting your spirit and mind settle, and asking God to guide your time with him.
  6. Consider keeping a journal so as to record how God is leading you.
Scripture for This Week:

* If one passage resonates with you, consider dwelling in that verse or verses for more than a day, and perhaps the whole week.

CONFESSION is the THIRD focus of our series on “Drawing Near to God … through Lament, Praise  and CONFESSION.” Pastor JEFF preached the first of two Sermons focusing on CONFESSION on Sunday October 18, on JOHN 8:1-11. This text and others are our focus for the 15X5 Challenge this week. To reflect more on CONFESSION, look at the Discussion and Questions that Cindy Frost wrote for the 10/25/20 section (pages 24-27) of our Worship Reimagined Life Group Study GuideNote – Jeff used the Scripture originally set for 10/25/20 on 10/18/20.
Reflection for This Week:

Each day, reflect on one or more of the following, and consider writing your thoughts down in a journal:
  1. How have your times of prayer, silence and solitude been going? What have you been experiencing during that time? What, if anything, have you noticed that is different in your life because you are spending that time with God?
  2. John 8 tells the story of “Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.” How does Jesus’ response to the crowd reveal God’s character? How does Jesus’ response to the woman reveal God’s character? How might you imagine feeling with Jesus, kneeling, looking up at you?
  3. If Jesus would say to the crowd, “Go and sin no more.” what might they think that meant for them? (And BTW … why do you think the crowd left, “beginning with the elders”?). If Jesus would say to you, “Go and sin no more.” what might you think that means for you? 
  4. James 4 contains the orienting Scripture for this series … Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. But this section contains some tough words, too.  “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” The sermon on Sunday 10/18/20 emphasized “confession” as always a grateful response to God’s work for us in Christ … that work we call “grace.” Where do you find “grace” in this passage and how does receiving that grace change us? 
  5. James 5 tells us to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.” Why? Can you imagine other benefits beside the one listed in the text? 
  6. Luke 18 records the story of two people praying to God. New Testament scholar Clarence Jordan commented that “… they both got what they asked for. The tax collector asked for “mercy” and received it. The Pharisee asked for nothing … and got that, too!” How might this story from Jesus resonate with the wisdom from James 4?
  7. Psalm 32 is a wonderful prayer/passage in Scripture that talks about the advantages of admitting our sins and the disadvantages of trying to hide them. What are those advantages and disadvantages that Psalm 32 presents? How in your own life have you seen this work out? What else might you say are advantages to confession and disadvantages of denial of our need for confession? After our Prayer of Confession in church, when you hear the Assurance of Pardon (“In Christ, your sins are forgiven.”), what else could you add to what the Psalmist says to conclude Psalm 32: “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.”? Time for the DOXOLOGY! THANKS be to YOU, O LORD!