The latest edition of the Inspire Prayer Bowl is now available: http://eepurl.com/cFJ6u5. It includes encouragement for searching the scripture; a reflection for ‘Faith Sharing Lent’; update on previous prayers and pointers for keeping you praying!
(this post continues the testimony from Lorna Koskela, Missioner in Finland, about VIRTUAL BANDS. You can read the rest in the December e-News. Click here to subscribe: subscribe to the e-News)
1) TRUST is important and so the golden rule in the virtual band, as in any band, is what is shared in band stays in band.
2) The Inspire RHYTHM of discipleship really helps! Click here to read more: http://inspiremovement.org/movement/vision/rhythm-of-discipleship/ Our band has chosen to have a two weekly rhythm. We reflect on a question for a week on our own, where we are. Then over the second week we relate to the others what we have observed by ourselves. This is then unpacked more by the others in the band. Finally we resolve to do something in response and our band members remind us of this in different ways.
3) GOOD QUESTIONS really help. Asking and answering Inspire-type questions helps us to reflect more deeply. In the past six weeks each of us has shared one question each, which we have reflected on for a a week or two beforehand. We will then take the fruits of our reflection into band – and see where God takes us!
4) Being intentional about our COMMITMENT to be in band together is vital. In practice this means: i) Taking time to reflect on the question on our own and writing down our thoughts, feelings and questions that are raised. Journaling is a really important tool; ii) Sharing succinctly. Limiting ourselves to the one thing that really jumps out from our reflection helps focus both our sharing in band, and also our ability to ‘listen well’; iii) Being open, both in the asking of questions and in the answering. Sometimes our reflection is that we aren’t yet ready to open up more and that’s ok because it can take time to process thoughts and emotions and then relate them to others. However being in band means that we will come back to that question sooner or later – in other words you aren’t off the hook forever! This accountability to each other for our behaviour, our thinking and our relationship with God, others and the wider world, is the key to band helping God’s transforming work in us to stick!
5) BEING HONEST. The virtual world is no different to the natural world, in so far as God is God, and we are who we are. At every stage of the discipleship journey we have to be on our guard against our desire to put on masks and pretend things are different to what they really are! Being in band challenges us to the core because we are committed to sharing life as it is, as it really is! Whether it’s our relationship with God, our relationship with others or the wider world, or indeed our relationship with the spiritual practices that have been given to us to help us as disciples, we need to be open and honest with each other.
If you would like help forming a band, and/or would like to know more about Inspire Virtual Bands, do get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The December edition of the Inspire eNews is going out by email this weekend. With up to date news, testimony and details of events, as well as points for prayer, don’t miss it. You can subscribe here: Subscribe to Inspire eNews
Today we launched our monthly Prayer Bulletin. We call it the ‘Inspire Prayer Bowl’ – like the bowls of incense in the book of Revelation: “they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” (Revelation 5:8). You can subscribe to receive the Inspire Prayer Bowl using this link: http://eepurl.com/ch85xP
Brian Yeich and I will be co-presenting an introduction to the Inspire Movement at the World Methodist Conference in Houston this Friday afternoon. As of a couple of weeks ago, we had over 70 people already registered for the seminar. Please pray that the event will go well, that our different parts of the presentation will work well together, that there will be time for good conversation, and that people will leave encouraged to find out more.
Ten years ago I wrote about how the Anabaptist tradition had influenced my understanding of discipleship, and helped me read early Methodism as a disciple-making movement. I just stumbled across that again today, as I am writing a book on the connections between baptism, discipleship and mission. Sometimes just when you think you are moving on in life, you are really just circling around to what you have always loved!
Thanks to Brian Yeich for finding these inspiring words from the 1798 Book of Discipline of the Methodist Church in America:
The heart of man by nature is such a cage of unclean birds, that few are to be found who will lay before their brethren all its secret movements, unless the love of God be the ruling principle of their souls. And even then they are not called upon to exercise this confidence, except towards a small confidential company of true believers like themselves. When bands can be formed on this plan (and on no other do we form them) they become one of the most profitable means of grace in the whole compass of christian discipline. There is nothing we know of, which so much quickens the soul to a desire and expectation of the perfect love of God as this. It includes in it all the spiritual benefits of social intercourse. For there little families of love, not only mutually weep and rejoice, and in every thing sympathize with each other, as genuine friends, but each of them possesses a measure of “that unction of the Holy One,” (1 John ii. 20) which teaches all spiritual knowledge. And thus are they enabled to “build up themselves [and each other] on their most holy faith,” (Jude 20) and to “consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works,” (Heb. x. 24).
You can see the latest newsletter here: