The Community Rhythms of Hoboken Grace – January 2019
One of the most difficult and yet beautiful steps in our maturity as disciples of Christ is the embracing of our disabilities. The scriptures are incredibly clear that it’s in our weakness that His strength is displayed and yet we continue to act as if this journey is about our strength instead of His.
He calls us to embrace our weakness. He calls us to live in light of our disabilities.
The following is designed to help us address two of the most destructive of our disabilities; our forgetfulness and our blindness.
Our forgetfulness robs us of living in light of His grace, His provision, His love, and His presence. We have the capacity to walk out of an incredible experience with Him and in a moment to believe the lie that He is distant. We need to develop rhythms in our lives and day that call us to remember the reality that we live and move and breathe in Him.
Rhythms also help us address our blindness because they draw us into a conversation with Him that does not cease. Rather than simply speaking to him once a day or once a week, we intentionally schedule times throughout our day to reignite our conversation with Him if by chance it has ceased. We seek to live our lives listening. We seek to live our lives attune to the voice that awakens us to the truth of God. We seek to pray without ceasing as we engage Him throughout our day rather than wasting our conversation by talking to ourselves.
Throughout history those who have known God well, those who have walked with Him, have lived lives with rhythms that called them back frequently to the one they loved most. We seek to do the same. We hope you’ll join us.
Each month we choose one passage on which to meditate for the month. We read this passage every day at a scheduled time and ask God to help us understand it better by allowing it to sift through the lives we lead. Our return to it over and over keeps the truth fresh in our minds as we experience the world around us and allows it to come alive. We seek to listen as the Spirit uses it to enlighten our experience of the journey with Christ. Throughout this month we will be meditating on:
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:20–30 NIV
Each month as we meditate on truth, we come to God with questions for Him to speak into during our month. We can learn truth intellectually, but we need the Spirit to speak truth into our hearts for us to awaken to it. Bring the following questions to God. Wait for Him to answer throughout your month. Allow the Spirit to do what only He can do.
Where am I currently living in the old?
What is the new God is inviting me into?
What is my hesitation in following Him into the new?
How can I feed the new heart God has given me today?
In memorizing God’s word, we allow the Spirit to bring truth into our lives at any moment as He calls us back to a passage at just the right time in just the right situation.
This month our memory verse is:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
Monday – Friends who don’t know Christ
Tuesday – Family
Wednesday – Church
Thursday – Dinner Group
Friday – City and nation
Saturday – World
Sunday – Co-workers
Monthly Book: No monthly book this month.
Developing healthy rhythms in your life is about finding a schedule that works for you. It’s about figuring out how to incorporate all that we’ve talked about into your daily, weekly, and monthly experience. It’s about prioritizing and consistently pursuing the one who loves you most. Many of us follow the daily rhythm below, but feel free to adjust it based on your daily flow and expectations.
The Lord’s Supper is another rhythm of remembrance and a rhythm we can experience in community. Each month in your dinner group you’ll walk through our monthly communion practice that ties into our meditation passage for that month as well as our memory verse. The leader will walk you through the following questions.
As you begin communion this month, read through our meditation passage together. (See above.)
Leader: Do you struggle to believe that you’ve been made new?
Where do you struggle to believe that God could bring something new?
(Hand out the bread and cup.)
Read the meditation passage again.
Leader: “As we take the bread, we remember that he took the penalty that our old self deserved so that we could be made new.”
(Take the bread.)
Leader: “As we take the cup we remember that his blood was shed to make it possible for us to follow Him into the new that he has in store for us!”
(Take the cup.)
Spend time thanking him for all that he gave for us to know and experience new!
This month we will be fasting on Thursday, January 16th.
It’s often the old appetites that pull us back into the old. We’ve been made new, but our flesh still has those old cravings. As you experience the craving of hunger remember the old you want to leave behind.
As you move past the craving celebrate the reality that God has made it possible for you to move past those other cravings in your life as well. Allow it to motivate you in that fight, to strengthen your resolve, and to encourage you that you can do it!
It’s in silence and solitude that we create space for God to speak to our soul. Those who pursued God often did so in the wilderness. This quarter we invite you to take a day and find a space you can enjoy in solitude and silence. Try to spend at least four hours walking through this rhythm.
In your time away with God dream of the new. What would life look like if you actually left the old behind? What good would come from that? Who else in your life would it impact? Who else would it influence. Allow yourself to daydream of that life that God is working to lead you into. Don’t downplay it. Allow the dream to develop so that you can experience the excitement of what is possible. Allow yourself to begin to develop a craving for the new.