Tag: 10:31 Life Ministries Jonathan Faulkner

Book Recommendation

Book Recommendation.

The Heresy of Mind Control:

Recognizing Con Artists, Tyrants and Spiritual Abusers in Leadership 

By Stephen Martin

Check out The Heresy of Mind Control: Recognizing Con Artiststs written by Stephen Martin! Martin exposes the science of cults and abusive leadership while gracefully offering healing and encouraging words to readers who have been affected by wolves in sheep’s clothing. Steve is an educator and has been a workshop leader at Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center! Check it out, order a copy or download the e-book.

For more information go to recognizeheresy.com

Summer Reflections: Texas Sweet Tea

Summer Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea

I couldn’t believe I was doing this, I had committed to spending an entire week in solitude but here I was the Thursday morning of spring break running around campus trying to get everything ready to head to Texas for a leadership conference. I loaded my stuff in my brother in Christ’s car and we set off for McCreery where we’d be meeting up with Angel and heading for Texas and Teen Mania’s Honor Academy for the True North Seminar.

Now this wasn’t a trip that I was planning on going on, as I’ve already stated, I was staying on campus, enjoying a week of solitude, prayer and writing, a retreat of its own. But a week earlier (we’ll call him) Matthew had approached me about joining the two of them on the trip as a third party if their first choice couldn’t come. I hesitated, told Matthew “No” twice but he was persistent and on the third time gave me an ultimatum and I had no choice but to accept his offer.  The reason I’d been chosen was because of my association with Global Expeditions and I suppose it didn’t hurt that Matthew is my brother in Christ and Angel had just entering her fourth month at 10:31.

It turns out that going was one of the best things that God allowed me to be a part of. The conference was amazing; even though the Truth North Seminars are designed to train Global Expeditions Leaders they I would also recommend them for any church or Christian Ministry Organization because the principles they are applying to leading young missionaries can be applied to any leadership position. If you don’t believe me go and see for yourself.

On that trip I learned a lot about communication, something I’ve never been good at outside of paper. I also learned about confrontation. Something about learning as you go, about trusting God with everything in your life is that you never know where God is going to take you. The previous week I had started praying hard about a member of our leadership team. I knew I needed to confront the person on something but I had been avoiding it. As God took me through that weekend I was inspired and given the wisdom to make the confrontation effective.

Also I have to admit that I tend to be a very scheduled person, meaning; I like to know what I’m doing long before I actually go and do it. So a random, unplanned trip to Texas was the last thing in my comfort zone. Throw in the fact that I was slightly nervous (okay that’s an understatement) to be taking a weekend trip with someone I worked with. Last time I’d done something like this it hadn’t ended well for the friendship or the working relationship.

Wouldn’t you know it, after a few revelations and several cups of Texas Raspberry Sweet Tea we were on our way home and God was still revealing things to me. It was an amazing trip, even more amazing to think back on it. It was from that trip that God affirmed one of the most amazing friendships I’ve ever had. Through that trip that God taught me how to better lead and through that trip that I got to teach Tea Quon Dou again.

God’s grace is surprising, this trip was an example of that, and the Texas Sweet Tea, well that was a bonus…a huge bonus!

Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder

 

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Set Apart
Reflection #4: Focus Change
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

Summer Reflections – Science and Christianity

Reflection #6: Science and Christianity

 

I have a really bad habit of wanting to take really easy classes that I don’t need to fill out my schedule, this bad habit often rears its ugly head in the cold days of January as we go through the three weeks of Heaven or Hell called interterm. My first interterm I had really taken the easy way out because I had skipped it, my second interterm I took a class called B-Movies because I was interested in the subject. We sat and watched movies and talked about good and bad movies, as much as I enjoyed the class it didn’t get much easier than that. It didn’t hurt that a few of my closest friends were in the class.

Last January I did the same thing, took a course because I was interested in the class but this one ended up being one of the hardest classes of interterm. The subject was Christianity and Science and we were tasked with figuring out whether these two worldviews were compatible or incompatible. My “Foster Dad” was teaching the class so that did help ease the pain but for someone who failed (or nearly failed) ever science class he’d ever taken looking at these two viewpoints was going to be difficult.

I’m sure it also didn’t help that I was a little biased to one side of the argument As a Christian I had always butted heads with those who believe in science. I had refused to do a project in High School concerning Evolution because I don’t believe in it. As we discussed the different viewpoints on creation, which turned into a 30 minute final presentation, I found myself tempered more and more against the idea.

The other problem is that I tend to give myself to deep thought, perhaps not philosophical thought, but I like to think through big topics of discussion. So I wanted to over think or over argue my viewpoints, but living quietly was important so I also had to be patient, even though I ended up being one of the only people in the class who spoke.

Then end result was that we decided the two worldviews were compatible. That science was created by God so that we could marvel at His mysteries even down at the atomic level. I also grew in my faith in that class because it helped me to look and see the depth and care which God had taken to create everything under the sun.

Sometimes we are put into situations that make us uncomfortable, sometimes we put ourselves in positions that are uncomfortable. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I stepped up to take that course but I figured it was going to be fun and tough, I wasn’t counting on it being uncomfortable.

The thing about uncomfortable situations is that when we are in those situations God often does His best work. In those situations where we are being challenged God shows us His love and gives us another glimpse into His awesome mystery. Then we can experience and know Him on a deeper level then we previously have.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries Director/Founder

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Set Apart
Reflection #4: Focus Change
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

Summer Reflections – Spirit Thing

Reflection #5: Spirit Thing

 

            When we totally commit ourselves to the Lord, really truly learn what it means to be set apart for the gospel of Jesus Christ there’s going to be a change. We might be tempted to think that this won’t happen but it will, when we surrender our wants and desires for God’s there has to be a change and that change comes through patience and listening. As I learned to manage my time, disciplined myself and went through a time when it was mostly just me and God this is what happened, my desires and heart changed.

But as with all things these times must end, there’s only a certain amount of time that we can grow by ourselves. Eventually we will have to leave that comfortable place where we are mostly hanging out with our brothers, where God is the only source of strength we have and find the meaning of being in relationship with others. Then the temptation becomes sitting back and staying in that place, that was what I did.

I was sitting in the library, working on an assignment for a class with a friend of mine (the girl I used to have a crush on). This was about December so I had already set in motion a pretty effective time-management system that allowed me to be available at night to help with projects like this. Now I was just finishing up one of my The Truth articles for 10:31 Life Ministries when a young woman walked by from the Honor Academy.

Now you should know something about this particular woman, one of my brothers had been telling me all about this girl. “You should talk to her” he would say “I think you’d really like her.” But since I wasn’t seeking new friendships I told God if it was His will for me to talk to this girl that He would have to do it (which was fine with Him). I had talked to her, once at the beginning of the school year and once at lunch when she had sat down next to me halfway through the semester. That particular night I was purposely trying to ignore her.

“Hey” I said as she passed the third time “I hear you Honor Academy people are smart, would you be willing to take a look at my article that I just finished writing for my ministry.” It just came out, I had no control over it…what just happened?

“Sure” she said,

I emailed it to her along with a link to 10:31 Life Ministries (I’d just changed the name). She read the article and sent me some amazing feedback and after looking at 10:31 she told me it was cool and something she’d like to do herself someday. I invited her to lunch to discuss the possibility of getting involved here…after some prayer she was more than eager to jump on board.

Thinking about that night it marked the beginning of a time of transition. I had become comfortable and a little complacent in my time of work, growth and preparation and that wasn’t a good thing. With that invitation to join 10:31 God was saying; “time to move on, time to take your ministry to another level and time for you to apply what you’ve learned about being set apart to another area of your life.” This would become the struggle of the next few months as excuses would be sought, God would be argued with and I would be challenged in ways I never thought I would.

What area of your life are you in right now? Are you in a period of waiting? Are you seeking God about a Job? Are you comfortable in the job or place that you are in? Where might be God calling you? Is He calling you out of one season to another?

I pray that you would devote these questions to prayer, that you might discover the surprising grace of God through that time.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Set Apart
Reflection #4: Focus Change
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

Summer Reflections: Focus Change

REFLECTION #4: Focus Change 

3 weeks into my college career I was involved in a number of different things. I had started teaching Sunday School at the local Presbyterian church (unintentionally), I was involved in the local kids club program and I was trying to become a prayer leader in my dorm. All these things took me away from the school for the most part, with the exception of being a prayer leader. But on top of that I was involved in choir and band and so I really didn’t do much on campus.

All my ministry took place off of campus and on Facebook. 10:31 Life Ministries was just a glint in my eye, I was still trying to organize it into something coherent. We had several writers that were “regular” contributors, but most of those eventually backed out or just stopped contributing. My personal life became a spiritual mess as I pursued a girl who had no interest in me beyond friendship. I slipped further into the mentality that I was going to do things on my own and by my own strength, using God as a crutch to escape too when things got too hard.

The end result was a lot of nights spent hiding out in my room with no one around to talk to. If people wanted to find me they normally would find a much angrier, stressed out version of me who cared more for his image than for what God wanted. I spent most of my time burned out, repeating cycles of going out and having to completely isolate myself. I was extremely unhealthy spiritually, emotionally and even physically.

When I returned to Sterling after my summer in Denver I knew I needed a new focus. I had spent the two weeks prior to the return flight praying for just that with very little understanding of what to do. When I returned I found my Sunday school class had been taken over, Kids Club was under new leadership and an open schedule. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be involved in those things anymore, everything was different.

Instead I had fifteen students that I was supposed to mentor, and I wanted to do it right. See in the past I’ve neglected responsibility, been far from a good steward of what I’ve been given. That even got in the way of 10:31 Life moving forward as well as kept me from one of the greatest friendships and brotherhoods God’s ever given me.

My focus changed from what was going on outside of the school to ministering on campus. Suddenly I found myself spending time with the guys in my dorm and ministering to them the best I could. I had some friends in a dispute and so I helped them discover the biblical solutions to the issue and prayed for them. It was rather remarkable how God was able to use me in there in the dorm, a place I had never wanted to minister.

I had been so focused on myself and what I wanted that I had failed to see where God wanted me. Brotherhood became a new focus for my life as well, I needed my brothers in Christ and since I’d been pulled out of most of the relationships I had with my sisters I didn’t have much of a choice.

In the past I’ve said that one of the marks of authentic manhood is men who seek out the wisdom of other men. For the first time in my life I learned what this really meant. I met a man named *Jack who had graduated from the Honor Academy and learned to go to him to seek his wisdom. He has become one of my closest brothers in Christ, through Christ.

As a man I needed community with other men, instead of spending all of my time with girls, I spent most of my time with guys. This is the same for you women. You need time with the other women in your lives. Spending all your time with men is not exactly good for you, there are certain things that women can teach you that us men never could. Just like there are things that men can teach men that women never could.

But that is a side note, the point is that God changed my focus. From off campus to what I needed to do on campus. I met individually with my foundation students and really took the time to get to know them outside of the classroom setting. God allowed me to continue my involvement with Love Sterling and I got to experience the blessings of the community of my dorm.

God is faithful to us when we call on Him. He changed my focus because I knew I couldn’t keep up the way I was living. I couldn’t keep focusing on the ministry areas I was focusing on, I needed to go back to my home and start ministering there. Then I could branch out and reach out beyond that.

Wouldn’t you know it, shortly after this new focus 10:31 started to take off, we brought in a new writer that winter and God took it from there. Just goes to show you what happens when God gives us the focus for our ministry positions.

Ask yourself this week what God is trying to get you to focus on, where does He want you to minister. Maybe it’s at home, maybe it’s in your town, at the local church or homeless shelter, or maybe it’s internationally. Consider who God is and where He is leading you, if you feel your focus is off, ask Him to change and transform then sit back and enjoy what God will do through you

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Set Apart
Reflection #4: Focus Change
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

Summer Reflections: Set Apart

Reflection #3: Set Apart 

1 Peter 2:9 says; “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a chosen nation, a people for His own possessions; that you may proclaim His excellences of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

The first time I heard this verse was actually when we were trying to figure out the title for Angel Edwards 10:31 Life Ministries blog. It’s hard to think I went over 20 years without hearing it, I’m actually pretty sure I’ve read it but like most of the bible I’d read before this transformation I didn’t remember it. The funny thing is though that I could take this verse and apply it to everything that was happening in my life.

Let me explain like this:

Before my time in Denver I lived for myself, everything, even my spirituality was meant to advance my position. All my actions and my attitudes were meant to make me look good in the eyes of everyone else. Those who knew me knew how miserable I was failing, but those who didn’t were very much deceived. I wanted validation, I wanted people to love me and so I present I nice little front. I’ve spoken on it before so those who have been reading for awhile know exactly what I’m talking about.

But after that day in the Labyrinth everything was different, I didn’t want their validation anymore, I actually didn’t want anything to do with them. I know that sounds horrible but it is the truth, I didn’t necessarily want my old friendships or even new ones, I wanted God.  I wanted to be drawn in and make my life not just talk but actual, real walk. To go out into the garden and meet with God in solitude, to pray and seek His will and His face, to really be different, I didn’t want to go back…I couldn’t.

As I prayed I noticed that God was transforming things around me, I’ve shared with you that my friendship with my roommate changed, as did several other friendships. I’ve shared with you that I started to find joy in my brothers in Christ and built good and strong friendships with them.

But that desire for validation was gone, as was the desire to be in a relationship…for the most part. God was weeding things out of me, things that for so long had held me back were being burned in the process of sanctification. The refiner’s fire was burning away all the things that were keeping me from truly experiencing the fullness of God.

And that’s the best part, I was actually getting to know the glory and fullness of such a great and holy God. It was amazing and incredible, still is amazing and incredible. It wasn’t so much through relationships at this point, but through my quiet time. As I sought to discipline myself things began to change radically.

I didn’t expect it, I was surprised by it, surprised by grace. Looking back on the blog entries from those months they point to that surprise. It’s unbelievable to me that God would speak to me the way that He did during that time and still speaks to me today. It was also amazing how much contrast there was between my old lifestyle and the new one, God was moving in my heart, I was becoming Set Apart.

This was new and exciting for me but also hard. It meant that I had to give up on some things, like hope of a romantic relationship with a specific girl. (We’re now very close friends) and my desire to so dutifully plan out my life.  I also had to give up my own image of myself, that is, I had to learn to not worry so much about what people were seeing and what they were saying about me. Sadly these things had defined me (well the crush didn’t) but now they had to be dealt with.

When I got over the initial struggle of letting God reshape everything (especially my priorities) I found it peace about what was happening, for the first time in my life I could really say I was happy, even content with every area of my life.

If I have any regret through that time it’s that it didn’t last very long….but you’ll read about that next week.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries Director/Founder

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Focus Change
Reflection #4: Set Apart
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

Summer Reflections: Pulled Out

Reflection #2: Pulled Out

This reflection might seem a bit odd, to some of you but I think the reason that it happened was because God knew I needed time to process what I had been experiencing. In fact I didn’t even realize this had happened until I was talking to a good friend of mine right before spring break during my second semester. But when I got back to Sterling God pulled me out of everything. As I said in my last reflection, I wasn’t going to be involved in Kids Club anymore, my Sunday School class was taken over and a lot of my friendships just dissolved.

Like I said, it sounds odd to say that God pulled me out of everything and that’s the only way I can explain it. Out of kids club, out of some of my friendships, out of teaching Sunday School, out of everything. Then he took away the desire to form new relationships with anyone except the students I’d be mentoring through the Foundations Class.

It was extremely odd to me, instead of being ever active I now had a lot of time to myself. A lot of time to apply the spiritual disciplines I had been learning so much about over the summer. Instead of being everything to everyone at all times I started spending a lot of time with just my roommate and one of my close friends.

It was funny though, because while those friendships weren’t there anymore, when God started to put me back into them there didn’t seem to be any issues with the fact that I’d been absent. The purpose behind this pulling out wasn’t clear to me at first, but it had to come clear at some point or another.

The point became very clear to me a few weeks into the semester. I was different, I had just gone through this radical change of heart and spirit and I couldn’t spend a lot of time with the people I’d spent so much time with. It wasn’t them, it was literally me, I needed to get to know and minister the guys in my dorm, instead of spending a lot of time with girls I needed to become a light in my dorm and work out my own schedule so that I could be available as needed.

This was something I’d always struggled with, I’d never put much stock in brotherhood. In fact even when I was a prayer leader freshmen year I spent most of my time in my room hiding from people or with a girl who eventually got sick and tired of me. I had no close friendships with anyone other than my second roommate and then we spent most of our time with women.

When I came back I knew I couldn’t do that. I started taking long walks with my roommate and later another close brother. Talking about anything and everything, our interests and general, “I’ve lived with you but don’t know you,” information. We learned what God was doing in each other’s lives and how best to encourage one another.

Through this I learned that as Christian men we have to have friendships with other men. It was also during this time that I stopped running away from David Tank who would later become a member of the 10:31 Life Ministries leadership team.

For men, finding other men who are strong in the Lord is essential. I never realized this until God pulled me out of all but a few of my relationships with women. Until the women at DUS weren’t entirely accepting of me while the guys were and until God started to radically change my perspective.

If we are to be men of honor and integrity we must seek out the council of other men and allow God to use them to teach us. Because of God pulling me out and having so much time I was able to get to know my brother and roommate a lot better. They became brothers and then God used them to encourage and guide me as I was exploring this new heart posture I’d been given.

If I have any encouragement for you it’s to go out and seek friendships with other men. To find that community and manhood starts and is encouraged by seeking out the men around us, getting to know them and watching how they treat their sisters in Christ, for the ladies reading this encouraging the men in your life to band together will help them greatly.

And may God lead you as men in the way that you should choose

God Bless You
Jonathan Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries

“Who is the man who fears the Lord

Him will He instruct in the way he should choose”

Psalms 25:12

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Focus Change
Reflection #4: Set Apart
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

Summer Reflections – Re-Entry

This series is meant to be a reflection on my school year and life after the Denver Urban Semester. A chance to look at where God has been leading me through all of these amazing experiences that I’ve been so blessed to have as I’ve continued studying Urban Ministry at Sterling College.

REFLECTION #1 – Re-Entering Life

I craned my neck as I tried to look out the window as the wheels of the 32 person airplane set down on the black tarmac. After spending the morning on a plane I was more than happy to be back on the ground and moving through the terminal at Mid-Continental felt oddly like a homecoming. I couldn’t believe three months earlier I’d left Hutchinson KS by train, spent seven hours dehydrated in Ratone NM waiting for a bus. Spent two months in Denver CO and two weeks at home and was now returning to the very place God had called me two years earlier.

I greeted my brother in Christ who’d come to pick me up and as we walked out to his truck I knew it would be a good ride back. We cranked the music and I watched as the Kansas countryside I’d grown so accustomed greeted me once again with the end of summer colors.

It was safe to say I was seeing these plains differently, something radical had occurred inside me over the summer and I returned with a new perspective. I knew I wasn’t the same man I’d been when I arrived at Sterling, or even when I’d left three months ago. Something was different, something had changed, and something had been radically and defiantly transformed.

God had taken over…

It had been about two weeks since that last night in Denver, the night God told me to drop the Youth Ministry major and pursue Urban Ministry. I knew as soon as I stepped onto campus that would be something I would have to do, but there was another thing on my mind. “I want you to practice being quiet” Greg had challenged me as we parted company “I want you to live quietly.”

How could I do this? I was coming back to be a peer mentor to fifteen students. I thought I was going to be involved in the kids club program, and what about 10:31 Life Ministries and what about…

But the longer I sat, the more I thought about the quiet life the more I realized this semester was going to be extremely different. My re-entry was going to consist of a pulling out and for the first time in my life that was okay with me. Instead of getting involved in everything I got out of everything. By that I mean God transformed my priorities, I didn’t do kids club, I only had mentoring, 10:31 and school that was it.

Yet this was fine with me, I had no problem with this, for once I didn’t mind not being busy.

To say Re-entry was easy would be a false statement. Because when you’re not busy you have a lot of time to think and I tend to think a lot and in the past that kind of thinking has gotten me into trouble. But now God was teaching me really apply spiritual disciplines and build my faith around that. These disciplines I just finished writing about in my “Good Disciplines” series came to life and I found the more I applied them, the more I wanted them. The more of God I discovered in my quiet time, the more of Him I truly wanted, it was amazing.

I could no longer live the way I did, I wanted God and I wanted the things of God and that was all I wanted. No more validation from my peers for the things I’d done, no more wanting to be desired or desiring anyone else. For the first time in my life I can honestly tell you all I wanted was to be in the presence of my God and worship Him with my life.

I’m sure the people around me thought that I’d gone crazy, but it was and still is all I want. I really wanted to live like I claimed to believe, to be set apart for the gospel of Christ (1 Peter 2:9).

God had changed my priorities, just like He’d radically transformed me in Denver I knew my re-entry would be painful but it would also be a continuing of the good work that had started with a week of silence and gone on the rest of the summer.

Join me again in this journey of reflection, as the summer goes forward I pray that we can once again learn together by the grace of God. Walking hand in hand as brothers and sisters in Christ, as I shift from teaching back to the original intent of this blog, I pray you will laugh and cry with me and learn from what God has been teaching me.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries

Who is the Man who Fears the Lord

Him will He instruct in the way he should go.”

Ps 25:12

Good Discipline – Practicing God’s Presence

PRACTICING GOD’S PRESENCE: Above All

I open this article with a confession; I love to mow the grass. It’s an odd love I know but the feeling of the mower engine shaking the handle in my hand, the contrast of where I’ve mowed and where I’m going to mow, I love to see it. The feel of finding new bumps in the yard that weren’t there last time I mowed, the smell of the freshly cut grass. To me mowing the lawn is one of the more relaxing things I have the chore of doing when I’m home.

I also find that above the noise of the mower this is the perfect time to apply the final and most important of the 11 disciplines outlined in Godology; Practicing God’s Presence. Why does mowing the grass allow me to practice God’s presence? Because when I go out and mow the lawn I get to do it with God, meaning I get to spend that time with Him.

Everything for the Glory

In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul exhorts the Corinthians to “Do all things for the glory of God.” When you look at this discipline and then consider all the others they are all designed to help us discover the mystery of God. So when I say that I can practice this discipline while mowing I’m saying that while I’m doing that I’m doing it for the glory of God. But more importantly I’m thinking or meditating on the things of God.

I get to walk in silence (although lawn mowers are not quiet) and apply Philippians 4:8 and think on what is good, right and pure. I get to be by myself and retreat into God to experience Him and through experiencing Him, know Him.

Christian George writes to us on this discipline; “The Discipline of God’s Presence trumps all other disciplines. It is the ultimate aim of Solitude, Silence, Hospitality, Meditation and all the other disciplines. To incorporae God’s presence in life’s routine’s is the highest goal of the Christian” (153).

Putting it all Together

Based on what George said above we can say with a great deal of certainty that all the disciplines have been building to this one. That is, everything we’ve discussed for the past 7 weeks culminates in this one discipline. Prayer allows us to talk to God, Obedience is our acting on what God tells us, Labyrinth Walking gives us a new outlet to experience the presence of God, meditation helps us focus on the things of God. Solitude removes us from the world and helps us retreat into to God, silence allows us to listen so we know how to obey, Fasting, allows us to give up the things that all too often distract us from God. But all of these come together when we  enter into the presence of a Holy God and really get to know Him.

The tagline for this blog is “Because knowing God’s Heart changes everything” it’s a variation on the tagline from George’s book which is “Because knowing God changes everything.” When we retreat into God, when we practice His presence in everything we do it really does change everything. Mowing the lawn goes from being a task to an expression of love for our savior (and our families) Cleaning the house becomes a chance to dive into the character of God. Once we get to know the greatness of God and discover the mystery of God nothing will ever be the same.

 

When everything’s New

When everything new we find ourselves set apart. By that I mean that applying these disciplines will change us, transform us, help us to mature beyond our wildest dreams. We’ll find that our desires change, our hopes change, our dreams change, our personalities change or become more pronounced.

To share my personal story, as I’ve been writing this series I’ve been checking to make sure that I’m applying these disciplines. As I’ve worked to make sure that I myself am beyond reproach I’m finding that I’m getting to know God better. I’m finding that the old man doesn’t have authority in my life. That as I apply these disciplines my heart has been transformed. God’s presence has really permeated my soul and I now know what it means to have him dwell inside of me.

Everything is new, my relationships, my work experiences, my attitudes, my school, everything around me was a new chance. A Chance to serve, a chance to love, a chance to live, a chance to change, a chance to learn. I found that through Christ I was a much better man than I was before. Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20 suddenly came to life “I no longer live but Christ lives within me.”

 –         –          –

This change I’m describing is really cool, I now have a new direction for my life, things are completely different. Now I will say that not everyone will have the same experience, but when you dive into God you will have a similar one. God is great and I pray you get to know that greatness and discover that when you think you’ve gone as deep as you can go you can still go much deeper.

This has been my prayer for you as you’ve read through this series. That you would get to know God more, that you would discover His mystery and then allow Him to change and transform you. God’s presence is huge, He really is greater than the greatest conceivable being. So as you go I pray you meditate and think about these disciplines that you’d also apply them. That you too would experience the change that comes from knowing God, and that His word and His presence would permeate your life and your actions.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries

Good Discipline – Solitude

SOLITUDE: A Quiet Place 

Let’s face it, this world is a very noisy place. We have cell phones and computers and all kind of distractions that. Work and more work, time for friends, time for family, time for God, time for what is important and what is urgent. We have to have time for everything and everyone, to be everywhere at all times, to constantly be busy. Very rarely though, do we ever make time for the discipline of solitude.

Solitude is probably one of the harder disciplines in today’s world, why do I say this? Because of all the things I listed above and the time constraints they place on us. We barely have time to get a coffee at Starbucks on the way to work let alone get away for a weekend. And if we do go on a retreat or get away we feel like we are busy lazy.

I have a friend who has this mentality. Yes she gets solitude time but normally it is after she has been pushed to the limit is angry and needs to vent. Trying to be all things to all people at all times, she never has time to recharge. My dad on the other hand loves his solitude time, he will sit in his office for hours reading a book or working on a sermon.

 

Why Solitude?

Solitude is a great opportunity for us to recharge our batteries. It gets us out of the crowd and out of the mentality that we have to be doing something at all times and allows us to come into the presence of God. It is in the presence of our savior that we recharge, are rejuvenated and heal.

Christian George says; “Solitude increases our patience and prepares us to engage the world” (pg124). This means that solitude can bring us to a place where we have no choice but to wait on God. This allows God to work and through working in us our patience increases and we are more ready to take on what the world will throw at us.

Solitude is also the perfect time to practice: silence, prayer and meditation.

 

Jesus & Solitude

Jesus practiced solitude all throughout his Ministry. In Mark 1:35-39 we find Jesus leaving the house they were staying at and going off to “a desolate place” to pray (v 35 ESV). The gospel of Luke records eleven different instances where Jesus goes off by himself to pray for something. In Mark 6:31 Jesus tells his disciples to “come away by yourself to a desolate place and rest.” This was right after he sent out the twelve into the cities and surrounding countryside.

In these times of solitude Jesus was recharged and re-energized and I’m sure the Disciples were too after going away by themselves. But Jesus also got something else from His time of solitude. Specifically in Mark 1:35-39 it would seem that in Jesus time of solitude Jesus gets instructions from His father in heaven. When Peter finds Him He says “Let us go to the next town so I may preach there also, for that is why I came out” (v. 37 ESV).

 

Solitude & Us

The truth is we need to practice this discipline. It helps us recharge, engage the world, get away from the demands of our busy lives and gives us a chance to spend time with God. Getting away to a quiet or “desolate” place is also extremely healthy for us. It gives us time to think clear of our cell phones and MP3 players. Allows us to take our electronic full cells and hook them up to the ultimate fuel source, the God of the universe.

–         –    –

My favorite time to practice solitude is right in the morning after I wake up. It’s quiet and no one is around to disturb me, I can be still and enter into the presence of God. It allows me to wake up and charge my spiritual batteries after charging my physical ones.

I pray this week that you will go out to a park or a quiet place of your own. Find a space where you can encounter God and enjoy His presence without the distractions of this world. Don’t take your cell phone or your MP3 Player, forget about your planner or the things you have to do. Just slip into a quiet place where it’s just you and God and wait to be amazed.

God Bless You
Jonathan Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries

Check out the Good Discipline Series

Week #1: Good Discipline
Week #2: Good Discipline – 
Prayer
Week #3: Good Discipline – Obedience
Week #4: Good Discipline – Art
Week #5: Good Discipline – Journaling
Week #6: Good Discipline – Silence
Week #7: Good Discipline – Fasting
Week #8: Good Discipline – Vow Making
Week #9: Good Discipline – Labyrinth Walking
Week #10: Good Discipline – Meditation
Week #11: Good Discipline – Solitude
Week #12: Good Discipline – Practicing God’s Presence