How can we experience god?
God has communicated with his people throughout the ages in many ways. Adam and Eve encountered him directly in the Garden of Eden, Teresa of Avila experienced him through visions, and Francis of Assisi heard his voice in nature. This book gives practical advice for connecting on a deeply personal level with God. It uncovers new places to look for God, while providing reflection questions and activities to reinvigorate communication with God in such traditional areas as prayer and Bible study. Divided into twelve chapters conveniently organized for individual or group study, each section explores a different area in which we can deepen our individual communion with God.
The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Guides, created by Richard J. Foster and the team that developed The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible and the longstanding A Spiritual Formation Workbook, provide tangible lessons that help us become spiritually formed, conformed, and transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Geared for either individual study or use in small groups, each Renovaré Spiritual Formation Guide explores one facet of our life with God, providing readings from Scripture as well as classic and contemporary works of spirituality. The combination of readings, reflection questions, exercises, and activities makes these books invaluable interactive guides that prompt true spiritual growth.
About the Author
Renovaré (from the Latin meaning "to renew") is an intrachurch movement committed to the renewal of the church of Jesus Christ in all its multifaceted manifestations. Founded by bestselling author and well-known speaker Richard J. Foster, Renovaré is Christian in commitment, international in scope, and ecumenical in breadth. Visit the Renovaré website at www.renovare.us.
Read an Excerpt
Connecting with God
Living With God
Key Scripture: Genesis 3:1-13
Frank Laubach, Letters by a Modern Mystic
April 22, 1930 This morning I started out fresh, by finding a rich experience of God in the sunrise. Then I tried to let Him control my hands while I was shaving and dressing and eating breakfast. Now I am trying to let God control my hands as I pound the typewriter keys. . . . There is nothing that we can do excepting to throw ourselves open to God. There is, there must be, so much more in Him than He can give us. . . . It ought to be tremendously helpful to be able to acquire the habit of reaching out strongly after God's thoughts, and to ask, "God, what have you to put into my mind now if only I can be large enough?" That waiting, eager attitude ought to give God the chance he needs.
May 14, 1930 Oh, this thing of keeping in constant touch with God, of making him the object of my thought and the companion of my conversations, is the most amazing thing I ever ran across. It is working. I cannot do it even half a day not yet, but I believe I shall be doing it some day for the entire day. It is a matter of acquiring a new habit of thought. Now I like God's presence so much that when for a half hour or so he slips out of mind as he does many times a day I feel as though I had deserted him, and as though I had lost something very precious in my life.1
My Life with God Exercise
Many of us make the mistake of assuming that intimate communication with God ended with biblicaltimes. The testimony of Frank Laubach and others throughout history, including Francis of Assisi and Julian of Norwich, shows that this is a false assumption. Dallas Willard wrote in Hearing God,
Today I continue to believe that -people are meant to live in an ongoing conversation with God, speaking and being spoken to. Rightly understood I believe that this can be abundantly verified in experience. God's visits to Adam and Eve in the Garden, Enoch's walks with God and the face-to-face conversations between Moses and Jehovah are all commonly regarded as highly exceptional moments in the religious history of humankind. Aside from their obviously unique historical role, however, they are not meant to be exceptional at all. Rather they are examples of the normal human life God intended for us: God's indwelling his -people through personal presence and fellowship. Given who we are by basic nature, we live really live only through God's regular speaking in our souls and thus "by every word that comes from the mouth of God."2
We may no longer be able to literally live with God in the garden, but we have available to us many other methods of conversing with him. Make a list of the ways you communicate with God for example, worship, Bible study, receiving communion, prayer. This week try to be aware of all the times you communicate with the Creator, adding to your list as you think of new ideas. Some may surprise you. You might find that you are connecting with God when you have a conversation with good friends, when you admire a sunset, or even when you complain about a task you don't like doing. Think about your patterns of communication. Are you often alone when you find yourself talking with God or do you find yourself connecting with God most easily when you are around others? Does quiet help? Does being outdoors make a difference?
As the week progresses, consider what, if anything, may be hindering your communication with God. For example, our motives for seeking to hear from God may not be the right ones. We should not seek God as we would a fortune-teller, to be assured of our future or our own comfort. Nor should we seek to hear God so we can brag about it to others. Moreover, our communication with God can be impaired if we misunderstand God's nature and his intent for us. God desires relationship with us, not to be our puppet master. He wishes to guide us, not to make all our decisions for us. Think about each of these. Are any of these attitudes, or another obstacle, hindering your fellowship with God?
What were some of the ways you found yourself communicating with God? What obstacles to that conversation did you identify?
Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:1-13
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord . . .Connecting with God. Copyright (c) by . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.