The five directions help us
When people talk about connecting with God they usually start with praying more, singing louder, or memorizing more scripture. All of those things matter, but we should really start from a different place.
The reality is that it is God who pursues us with the ultimate picture of this being shown in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus restores our relationship with God, takes all that we were, are, and ever will be, and bring us into connection with Him so that we can be all we were created to be.
When we begin there, our relationship with God becomes focused on responding to God’s grace and mercy. We seek to become like Jesus as we respond to what God has done and continues to do. Thus, the practices of the Christian faith are not checkboxes, but a response out of a desire to grow closer to God.
We invite you to explore the following resource to get you started:
The Shema is an ancient prayer that we find in the scriptures. “4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”- Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Jesus would have prayed this prayer growing up and used it in his teaching to his disciples. We find Jesus quoting this passage in Matthew 22:37 when he was asked about the greatest commands given to the people. “37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”- Matthew 22.37. The slight difference in language is because Deuteronomy was written in Hebrew, Jesus spoke in Aramaic, and Matthew was written in Greek but the principal is the same. Jesus instructed his disciples, and instructs us to love God, and worship God, with all of our being: with our mind, body, and soul.
Loving God with all of our being is difficult to do when we don’t even really know ourselves. Our contemplate value is about investing in the time and tools to understand who we are, who God created us to be, and how we are meant to bring God’s Kingdom to this world. We encourage tools such as spiritual gifts inventories; assessments such as the Enneagram, DISC, MBTI, and others; as well as dialogue with counselors and therapists trained to help you work through the process of self-discovery. We will help you find these resources and guide you into this important part of your spiritual journey.
You weren’t created to just consume resources: to eat, breathe, take up space. God designed you and me to make a difference with our lives. You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it. You were created to give something back to it. Every one of us was made to contribute to what God is doing for the good of this world here and now.
Something inside of us says we can do it on our own but we weren’t made to go through life alone. This is why the phrase “it’s about me and God” makes no sense. The central claim about Jesus is that he was God in flesh and it was Jesus turned to his followers and instructed them to do the same…to show what God is like in the way we live and treat others. Our desire at Southeast is we are a place where we can experience authentic, vulnerable, honest, loving, giving, encouraging community.
Learn more about how you can grow in your faith with others through our different Circles opportunities.
A follower of Jesus named Paul said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”- Acts 20:24. Paul made this idea of God’s grace, the idea that God looked at us as we were and as we are and instead focused on what we could be, and he made it the central theme of his life.
We desire for grace to be at the center of who we are as a church; a place where we invite everyone to experience the love and mercy of a God who desires for everyone to become who God created them to be.
Because of the grace of God, the love of Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit, our lives are transformed and should captivate the people around us and draw others to want to discover this grace for themselves.
As we invite the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, pray the Lord’s Prayer that God’s kingdom would reign in and through us, and engage in the previous four directions, our lives will change and will become captivating to others.
Jesus instructed his disciples to captivate others and share the story of God’s grace, love, and mercy with the world. Matthew 28:16-20 records Jesus’s command to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 2and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We may not all individually go to the ends of the earth, but we all have a circle of influence in our homes, school, work, and neighborhoods. We invite you to think of the one person you can invite to church. What is something that has stopped you from inviting them? We want to join you in praying for them and for the courage to get beyond the pause in your invitation. Please fill out this form so we can pray with you and for you.
CAPTIVATE DIRECTION REFLECTION READING & PRAYER
READING: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16
PRAYER: Loving God, how have I lost my saltiness? In what ways have I been hiding instead of following You? What is one way I can let my light shine this week?
READING: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and
PRAYER: Loving God, who is my enemy right now- the one who has hurt me, failed to understand me, diminished me or discriminated against me? Who is the one I just can’t understand? What would it look like for me to find the strength to tangibly love them, to pray for them?