Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to get closer to GOD and get to know GOD on or off the spectrum

Alot of people seem to think you can only get through to GOD if you pray certain prayers or worship certain ways or read the Bible certain ways. WRONG! There is no right or wrong way to do any of that. The only wrong way is to tell everyone that your way is the right way. Some of you may ask "how can I get closer to GOD??" Cause He does seem very far away in Heaven. He's closer then you think trust me. In fact He's inside you. Before I go on I must tell you before you worship or pray or read the Bible please if you haven't accepted Jesus yet please do so now. Your very soul depends on this. For the Christian only dies once the non-Christian dies many times. For Jesus knocks on the door and is waiting for you to answer. Please answer Him now. For nothing is as important as accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Please don't wait till later. You might not have a later. No one knows when they will die they only know that they will. We all like to think we'll live till were 100 but sometimes that doesn't happen. So again please accept Jesus now as your Lord and Savior. Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for your sins because He loves you. Please love Him in return and accept Him. If you don't how then please say the following prayer and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior right now. "GOD, I'm sorry for my sin. I turn from it right now. I thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sin. Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart and life right now. Be my Lord,Savior and friend. Help me to follow You all the days of my life as Your disciple. Thank You for forgiving and receiving me right now. Thank You that my sin is forgiven and that I am going to Heaven. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen." If you have already accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior but have fallen and feel like the prodigal son/daughter and wanna return to Him then please say the following prayer. "GOD, I am sorry for my sin. I am sorry that I have strayed from You. I ask You to forgive me now as I repent my sin. I don't want to live like a prodigal any longer. Renew and revive me as I once again follow You as my GOD. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen." Weather you made the commitment or re-commitment you have made the right decision... Now on with the lesson. Some of you are wondering how to grow deeper in your understanding of and love for GOD. Now here's the cool part that there is no right or wrong way to grow deeper in your understanding or love for GOD. So I will list some ways you can possibly grow and understand and love GOD. If one of these isn't you don't worry about it just pray about it and GOD will show you the way.

1. Naturalist. Loving GOD out doors. -The naturalist sounds like exactly what is is: someone who prefers to leave everything behind and head into the great outdoors to connect with GOD. A walk beside the river or through the woods can quickly turn into a moment of worship. Naturalists seek GOD by surrounding themselves with all that He has made. Creation is a sanctuary, a Holy place. You see Spiritual truths by being outside and allowing creation to bring illustrations of GOD and Truth. Let creation remind you of GOD,His power,His judgment.

Activity suggestions for the naturalist.

-Read and.or reflect on Scripture outside, while feasting your eyes and spirit on natural beauty.

-When you are outdoors, create it as a space of time that is quiet and you are alone where you can "see" GOD.

-Consider how creation reflects GOD and points up to GOD: Consider the greatness of creation (mountains,ocean, ect.) and then think about how much bigger GOD is. Think about the multitude of creation (how many different kinds of plants,animals etc.) and then think about what a creative GOD we have and how He is able to manage so many things at once. Soak in the beauty of creation and reflect on how GOD loves beauty.

-Go on a praise walk and thank the Lord for everything you see.

-Reflect on nature described in the Bible as you are outside. (Isaiah, 40: Genesis:1 Psalm:33 etc.)

- The way I worship GOD through nature is when there's a thunderstorm. I can sense the storm coming. I can feel it in the air. I feel the electricity in the air from the lightning and feel the vibrations from the thunder. When I watch one I think of how powerful and mighty GOD is.

CAUTION! Naturalists may ten to escape "real life" and responsibilities. They should also be careful of idolizing nature, or believing things that are not based in Scripture. Let nature remind you of who GOD is as He is revealed in the Bible,not apart from it.


Jonathan Edwards. - The language and lessons of nature.

David and Marc Muench. - Francis of Assisi: Cantical of the earth: The words of Francis of Assisi Celebrated in the photography of David Muench. - St. Francis of Assisi, Frank Missant shambbala, Cantile of the Sun. 2002. - Heaven on earth: The inspirational writings of Saint Francis of Assisi. Song of creation. (2003) - Laughing elephant

Dr. Pamela Reeve - Parables of the forest, Parables of the sea.

Sensates: Loving GOD with the senses

Experiencing GOD through the five senses is a most effective inroad into the heart of the sensate. Sight,sound,taste,touch and smell are viewed and enjoyed by you as gifts from the Lord. A sensate desires to connect with GOD through a sensory experiance, and the more senses used, the better. They use their five senses to worship GOD. These are folks who are typically inspired by art,music and aesthetics. They could be deeply affected by a beautiful piece of art,music,smell etc.

Activity suggestions for the sensate.

- Sound - Worship GOD with music, Listened to or sung. Listen to Scripture being read.

- Touch - Draw,Paint,Sculpt about GOD and/or while praying and listening to GOD. Eg, Draw a basic picture of a current struggle in life and how you hope for GOD to intervene. based on His promises in Scripture.

- Sight - Meditate on Worship producing art. Create space that visually calls you to Worship, a sacred space, whether it is the colors or pictures, etc. Spend time with GOD there. Allow your posture to reflect your heart,kneeling,open hands, etc.

- Taste - Allow creative ways to bring associations about GOD and His Truth. (Salt,sweet,sour,bread.)

- If you like to flap,tap your forhead, rock back and forth. Then by all means do these and pray at the same time or just think about GOD while you do them. If you hum then while you hum think or pray to GOD. If you like to spin wheels or watch fans then do them and pray and think of GOD.

CAUTION: A sensate needs to use discernment when listening to music,looking at art, etc. Not everything that is sensory stimulating worships GOD. Beware of idolizing beauty, or doing things without GOD as the audience (e.g, being a great pianist and playing piano and not having the heart or condition of worship.)


Whitfield and Stoddart - Hearing,taste and smell. Pathways of perception.

Henri J, Nouwen - Return of the prodigal son.

Sybil Macbeth - Paying in color: Drawing a new path to GOD.

Traditionalists: Loving GOD through ritual and symbol.

Traditionalists are fed by the class and historic dimensions of the faith: rituals,routines,liturgy,sacraments, and symbols. The traditionalist have a desire for worship to have a ritual and structure; without these, they feel disconnected from GOD. Traditionalists tend to be very disciplined and organized in their faith. Religious practices,rituals and types of sacrafice enable you to grow in your relationship with GOD. Rituals enables them to make order out of chaos because they provide fixed points to orient yourself to a sacred space.

Activity suggestions for the traditionalist:

- Schedule a regular time for Spiritual practices such as prayer,Scripture reading and study, etc.

- Create a personal and/or family calender of traditions and sacred Holy days to celebrate.

- Make a liturgy for yourself to read regularly that incorporates different aspects of prayer (like drawing things from The Book Of Common Prayer), Scripture reading, response, etc.

- Find a picture or object (or a symbol like a cross, or a color) that you can use to remind you of GOD at your home or workplace. (MAKE SURE IT DOES NOT BECOME AN IDOL. WORSHIP GOD ONLY AND NOT THE OBJECT.)

- Choose portions of Scripture to study and specific practices (e.g, fasting) that correlate with the church calender such as Advent/Christmas,Lent/Easter,Pentecost or Ascension. These remembrances inspire and help you worship.

- Say grace after every meal or at least after every dinner.

- Say the Lord's prayer every night before you go to sleep and/or every day when you wake up.

- Read from the Bible every day. See if you can read it from cover to cover by the end of the year. If you can't don't worry but you might have fun trying.

- Set a time for Communion every day. Communion is where you break bread and dip it in wine or red juice to remember Jesus dying for your sins. Eat of His body and drink of His blood to for if you eat and drink of Him He will be part of you.

- Say the Serenity prayer every time you feel stressed,worried,upset or angry.

CAUTION: Traditionalists may fall into mechanically repeating rituals and just going through the motions without the fresh vibrancy of the the Spirit's power. They should also keep from judging others who don't follow their rites and rituals.


Sidney Heath - The romance of symbolism.

Joseph Jungmann - Prayer through the centuries.

Evelyn Underhill - Worship.

Walter Wangerin - Reliving the passion. The Book of Common Prayer.

Ascetics: Loving GOD in solitude and simplicity.

The 2 main areas of this pathway.
1- Solitude - Quiet and solitude nourish you. Spending time alone is essential to deepening your walk with GOD. A certain amount of time apart on a regular basis is a non-negotiable to really recharge you. This person deeply enjoys and needs their times of "space" from others. 2 - Simplicity - You regularly seek to see how you can simplify your life of all the distracting clutter of the world so you can give yourself more to GOD. Your are deeply aware that all the "stuff" around us can get in the way of devotion to GOD. So you take a somewhat strict approach of getting rid of it, especially the "worries" of material possessions.

Activity suggestions for the ascetic.

- Take a retreat - This is a main practice of an ascetic where you spend time away from everyone to draw near to GOD. Find your daily "retreat," your weekly "retreat," your quarterly "retreat" etc.

- Live simply - take an inventory of your material possessions and your events calender and downsize some things in order to have more time,energy and focus for GOD.

- Try fasting - The idea is to give up something that you enjoy for a time to seek GOD more (i.e. coffee, chocolate, french fries, favorite food, tv, radio, facebook, myspace, twitter, cell phone, favorite website, ipod, CD player, movies, etc.)

- Be still. Trying to be silent is quite a struggle at first, yet reveals how distracted most people have become in our culture.

- What I like to do for more silence if put my fingers in my ears so I can get more silence. If you like to do this go ahead. Earplugs will work just as well if you have them.

- If you want plug your ears and close your eyes and just think of GOD.

CAUTION: Ascetics may overemphasize personal piety and forget about reaching out to others. They should also beware of doing things to earn GOD's favor, or seeking pain for its own sake, or judging others who don't find life in the same practices they do. You can't earn salvation. You can't work towards it. You are saved by grace and not by works.


Brother Lawrence - Practicing the presence of GOD.

Richard Foster - Freedom of simplicity: Celebration of discipline.

Thomas Merton - Basic principals of monastic Spirituality.

Henri J.M. Nouwen - Solitude.

Basil M. Pennington - A place apart: Monastic prayer and practice for everyone.

Caregivers: Loving GOD by loving others.

Giving care is a form of worship for you. You love GOD by serving others. You experience GOD's power when caring for someone and feel close to GOD while serving others. The caregiver is a servant. Serving someone is a natural way for this person to connect to GOD. The caregiver sees Christ in those who are needy,poor and downtrodden. The caregiver's faith is built by serving others. Caregivers often display deep compassion, seeing the needs of others and identifying practical ways to meet those needs.

Activity suggestions for the caregiver:

- Look for needs and go help meet those needs.

- "Adopt" someone - A prisoner,neighborhood child or elderly person.

- Open your home - Show GOD's love through hospitality

- Support a friend through a crisis

- Counsel at a crisis pregnancy center

- Make meals for a needy family or the homeless

- Sponsor/mentor/befriend someone battling an addiction.

- Volunteer for a rescue squad, after school program, for your church, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, elderly homes, special needs homes, insane asylums, sported living places, etc

- Fix someone's car, do house repairs, or clean for someone in need

- Donate blood

- Donate a kidney if you have one to spare

- Put in your will that your body will be donated to science when you die

- Give to charity if you have the money to do so

- Donate clothing,books or whatever it is you can do without to Goodwill or Salvation Army

- Become a pen pal to someone who is in prison

CAUTION: Caregivers can be judgmental of people who aren't serving. Can neglect those closest to them (remember that GOD gave you a family first!) Can "serve others to serve themselves" -- Serving in order to get a sense of self-worth as opposed to actually serving out of worship. They can also easily become co-dependant if looking after someone. If who there looking after isn't happy then the caregiver isn't happy and they feel they have to make everything perfect. No one is perfect.


Mother Theresa and Becky Benenate and Joseph Durepos - No greater love

Henri J.M. Nouwen - Can you drink the cup?

Steve Sjogren - Conspiracy of kindness

Activist: Loving GOD through confrontation.

You are Spiritually nourished through the "battle" of confronting what you see as something wrong or unjust. You want to address it, confront it and press others to reconsider the truth or situation. You confront issues and situations out of a love for GOD, not just to be confronting or contentious. Activists love to set things right, even if that means confronting someone or something head on. The activist feels closest to GOD when fighting a battle for GOD and calling people to action that honors GOD.

Activity suggestions for the activist:

- Lead by example and then find a role in which you have the opportunity to call people to action

- Fight for social reform that reflects GOD's heart for justice (i.e. sex slavery and human trafficking, poverty, care of creation, etc.)

- Begin or join a non-profit organization, a community group, or a church that actively makes a difference for others.

- Study up on current local and global issues that are an affront to GOD's heart. Gather others around you to fight together for that cause.

- Prayer walking - pray at a location where you desire to see change - local schools,government offices, problem areas in the community, etc.

- Run for president or senator or something else political if GOD wants you to

- Volunteer for jury duty

CAUTION: Activists tend to see the world and its issues in "black or white". Because they are people of action, their "shadow-side" shows itself in not waiting for GOD, tactlessness, judgmental attitudes, and running over others and those who seem to be "doing nothing."



Shaine Claiborne - Irresistible revolution

Martin Luther King - The strength to love

Ron Syder - Just generosity and/or Rich Christians in an age of hunger

Jim Wallis - GOD's politics

Enthusiasts: Loving GOD with mystery and celebration.

The enthusiast loves the excitement and mystery of GOD. Joyful celebration is crucial to the growing faith of this type of person. GOD moves by moving their hearts. If they don't feel moved during their worship, they wonder if they've experienced GOD at all. With some similarities to the sensate, the enthusiast doesn't want to just know concepts, they want to experience them to the fullest. They see GOD's answers to prayer and celebrate through enthusiastic worship (think of David dancing before the Lord!). They are also often more then open to GOD's supernatural working and mystery - they may be more expectant in looking for GOD to work, and they may have had experiences where GOD spoke to them (through unexplainable circumstances, dreams and visions, etc.)

Activity suggestions for the enthusiast:

- Find a church home where you can powerfully experience GOD's presence during the worship service, this keeps you filled up.

- Spend time with children: use your excitement and passion to act out Bible stories for then or lead them in music.

- Use your imagination to put yourself into the scene (how they were feeling,thinking,acting, etc.) when you are reading Bible passages.

- Cultivate the mystery of expectancy: ask GOD to bring a person or opportunity for a "divine appointment."

- Keep track of your dreams and visions and be open to GOD speaking through them. Write down any that seem significant. Talk with someone about them.

- Spend time just listening to GOD. Keep a prayer journal.

- Keep a dream and vision journal.

CAUTION: Beware of "spiritism" and things like sorcery,witchcraft, etc. Just because enthusiasts might be more open to GOD's supernatural work does not mean that they should dabble in occult things! Because enthusiasts are feelings-oriented, they should beware of just looking for an "experience" vs. truly seeking GOD. They may wrongly equate "good feelings" with "good worship."


Merlin R. Carothers - Prison or praise or Power in praise: Sequel to prison or praise. or - Answers to praise: Letters to the author of prison or praise

Ann Kiemel - I love the world impossible. and - It's incredible

Matt Redman - The unquenchable worshipper

Contemplative: Loving GOD through adoration.

The person who is a contemplative seeks to love GOD with their entire being. The contemplative deeply connects with life with GOD being a "relationship," desiring above all else to know GOD and be known by GOD. Therefore certain images of that relationship may be fundamental to them such as being a "child" of GOD, GOD as "Father", being the bride and bridegroom, being GOD's friend, etc. They are energized by resting in GOD's presence. They crave solitude and quiet to "gaze upon the beauty (Psalm 27:4)" of the one they love.

Activities for the contemplative:

- Practice just "being" with GOD - sitting quietly with Him, without trying to pray "for" anything or do anything, just take a thought or two about Him and "gaze on His beauty", resting in His presence.

- Practice cultivating an awareness of and experience of the presence of GOD throughout the day.

- Do secret acts of devotion that are just between you and GOD (anonymously help someone, prayer walk, sing alone in His presence, dance alone in His presence).

- Speak simple words of relational prayer: "Lord, You are all I really need." or "Jesus, I love You." or "I need Your help" or just cry out "ABBA Father."

- Study scripture passages that speak of life with GOD in relational terms and images. (My pastor recommended to read the Psalms and the Gospels.) Get to know those well as they will probably strike a cord in you and be foundational for you.

CAUTION: They may become addicted to internal spiritual experience and neglect action. Contemplatives may be so used to "listening to GOD" that they ignore GOD when He speaks through other people or through Scripture, etc.


Brother Lawrence - Practicing the presence of GOD

John Eldredge - The sacred romance

Jeanne Guyon - The song of the bride

John Piper - Desiring GOD: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

Tricia Rhodes - A soul at rest: A journey into contemplative prayer

A.W. Tozier - The pursuit of GOD

Intellectuals: Loving GOD with the mind.

They are thinkers. Intellectuals live in the world of concepts. Studying and learning are a prime way that this type of person experiences GOD to the fullest. They love to learn new things about GOD, Theology,history,ethics, apologetics, etc. GOD may speak to them powerfully through in-depth Bible study. The intellectual gets fed when they learn or grasp something new about GOD or their faith. They choose to intentionally build up their mind as a way to draw close to GOD.

Activity suggestions for the intellectual:

- Learn how to study the Bible in-depth and do it regularly.

- Read good Christian books.

- Get training and classes in church history,Biblical studies,systematic theology,ethics,apologetics,the ancient creeds, etc.

- Intellectuals may find it helpful to teach what they learn to others, either in a formal "speaker" setting or as a discussion group leader.

- Read about social issues (war,poverty,euthanasia etc.) in a Christian context and write a thorough Christian response. Blog it.

- Write books, prepare lessons and studies about life with GOD.

- Use your mind for GOD!

CAUTION: Intellectuals might love controversy for the sake of and get embroiled in "stupid arguments." They may also be guilty of knowing but not doing, or being proud and arrogant. They need to intentionally not allow their "head" knowledge about GOD get too far of their "heart" experience of GOD lest they become a Pharisee. They also need to beware of becoming a know it all. No one knows everything. Only GOD knows everything.


Stanley Grenz - Theology for the community of GOD

Kenneth Scott Latourette - History of Christianity

C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Josh McDowell - Evidence that demands a verdict

J.I Packer - Knowing and doing the will of GOD

John Piper - Think: The life of the mind and the love of GOD

Glen Stassen - Kingdom ethics: Following Jesus in contemporary context

Well I hope you enjoyed reading all that and I hope it benefits you. For more please study Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. Develop these, try them,explore,test,use them. Help others to discover this as well. Resist temptation to compare yourself to others. No pathway or gift envy.

1 comment:

Leelee M said...

This is an excellent article..a must have in christian learning