1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
I was talking to a pastor friend who said his congregation is looking for simple, practical ways to practice discipleship and perfect their faith on a daily basis. Things that anyone can do today.
I felt challenged to go beyond practical faith models, such as in my book and video series on crisis, The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life. Sometimes life is complex, and complexity may require deeper answers like four-part models.
But on a daily basis, what can someone do to be in touch with God today, to increase their faith today, to carry Sunday into Monday, Tuesday, etc.?
Paul has a simple answer in 1 Thessalonians:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
You can see key verbs there: Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks. But I feel that the supporting words are equally as important: Always, Without Ceasing, In All Circumstances.
That is really the trick, isn't it? To find a way to live in the present with God. In fact, maybe we're using the wrong phrasing when we use terms like "practice discipleship" and "perfect my faith." Instead, we should be figuring out how to "walk daily with God."
In my video series and book, "Live Like You're Loved," I call it "living like you're eternal." I describe how the intersection of the present and the eternal can happen every day. When we do this, God will not be a stranger when we meet him face to face. Instead, it will be more like hugging our best friend that we met online years ago and have chatted with continuously, and we've just been waiting to finally be together.
The eternal and the present can intersect every day when we include God in every part of our lives. Always. Without Ceasing. In All Circumstances.
If I went back to my pastor friend, I would say, "Suggest to your congregation that they do anything that helps the eternal intersect with the present, with this moment." A quick prayer, right now, or a morning ritual of praying with your spouse or family. Reading a bit of the Bible at noon every day. Serving another. Smiling kindly. Reflecting for a moment about what Jesus would say about your next decision. Saying "thanks" to God for a small blessing. Pausing for a breath of prayer to collect yourself before responding to harsh words. Wearing a band on your wrist to remind you that "Your praise will ever be on my lips." Brainstorm it together! But it will inevitably be a set of personal answers that helps you connect the present to the eternal, Always, Without Ceasing, In All Circumstances. The will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I invite you to try out some Instant Content from Cecil Taylor Ministries. You can find a free, one-week lesson at CecilTaylorMinistries.com/resources-live-the-life-given, entitled "Live the Life that is Given." It expands upon the same scripture as in this post and leads to great discussions in small group settings. The resource page contains everything you need: The video in different formats; a Leader Guide; even a Message Guide for integration with the pastor's sermon if desired. This is just a sample of what you get when you select video studies and book studies from CecilTaylorMinistries.com/lessons .