Happy New Year!

Even though the 15x5 Challenge is officially over, we still hope that you will continue seeking to draw near to God and grow in awareness of God’s nearness to you. We hope that you will continue to use the Near Resource guide booklet as an aid to your times of prayer and solitude. As we think about going forward, it would be very helpful if we could hear from you about how this challenge went for you. What was helpful? What was meaningful? What was challenging? How was the Near Resource booklet helpful? How did it help you draw near to God and experience God’s nearness to you? Please take some time to send me an email (cindy@lacanadapc.org) to let me know. Thank you!!

This is the last reflection guide before we begin a new sermon series on January 10 on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Please join me in thanking Rev. Steffi Miller for all her work in preparing these!

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.

We are praying with and for all of you!

Blessings as you spend time in solitude, study and prayer,
Cindy and Chuck

P.S. Have you picked up your Drawing Near Resource Guide and Prayer Journal? They are available for pickup in front of the church offices. These weekly emails refer to prayers and practices that are in the resource guide.
Drawing Near

*See below for General Instructions

Sermon and Lectionary January 3
2nd Sunday of Christmas
God Gives Light to All Humanity

Simeon prophesies over Jesus saying he will be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” How does Christ reveal himself to the world? To you personally? What has Jesus Christ revealed to you about himself this past Advent?   Reflect on and pray the prayer “Draw Me to Yourself” (p. 16 of the Near Resource booklet) and think about making that a prayer for this new year ahead.

Jeremiah continues the theme of God saving Israel.  What are some themes that you see about how God “saves”? Which are most meaningful to your right now? What are some of the ways you have experienced God’s grace and God’s “saving” during this Advent season? Write a prayer to God as you look forward with expectation to the new year.

The psalmist writes about God’s saving graces. Where in your life do you need God’s strength, blessing, and/or peace? Where are those needed in the world around you?  Read the thoughts about Scriptural Prayers at the top of page 6 of the Near Resource booklet. Try praying today’s passage as described there. 

Paul writes about the spiritual blessings we receive from God through Jesus Christ. What blessings does he list and which are most meaningful to you right now? What does v10b mean to you, “to bring all things in heaven, and on earth together under one head, even Christ?”  How can you bring God’s light and promise to others? Conclude your time of reflection today by reading Ted Loder’s prayer found on page 15 or the Near Resource booklet, “Remind Me of Your Steady Power.”

John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” What do you see in this passage about Jesus that helps us know God? What does Jesus’ character and actions throughout his life reveal to you about God who we can’t see? Sing or pray the song, “Open My Eyes, that I May See” on p. 19 of the Near Resource Booklet as you seek to grow in awareness of how God is near to you--speaking, comforting, and guiding.

Drawing Near
*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.