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Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Outdoors, a Rich Devotional Life, and Gary Thomas

The Outdoors, a Rich Devotional Life, and Gary Thomas
It's springtime in Wisconsin. March 1st today and the sun feels warmer. Snow is receding and water trickles. Fresh, earthy air calls me outside. I don't worship nature but I worship the Creator who reveals his majesty through it. I don't get lost in nature, not for too long, because the path takes me back to a world in need of God and good.

I'm stronger, more rested, for having met with God in the sanctuary his hands built.




Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Life: What's My Spiritual Center?

The Outdoors, a Rich Devotional Life, and Gary Thomas

By Evan Nehring

How's the devotional thing going lately? You know...the quiet time thing. I'm going to take the month of March and talk about our devotional connection with God. Our spiritual disciplines. I've devoted an entire chapter in my Road Trip book to the core value of devotions:
A lifetime of meaningfully connecting with God through the great varieties of prayer and the Word.
That chapter is a workshop on creating for yourself a devotional life. I chose to draw from the greatest book available on the subject: Gary Thomas's Sacred Pathways. There are other classics and recent books of outstanding value but the most helpful of all of them is Sacred Pathways. In Road Trip, I overview Thomas's nine pathways of connecting with God. Why so many?

For some people, the formulaic quiet time seems too cerebral. Others simply grow bored sitting at a desk alone in a room just reading and thinking. And why should everybody be expected to love God the same way, anyway? (Thomas, 16)
How do we learn to love God, day in and day out, through the seasons of life? How do we keep this love fresh? How do we grow in our adoration and understanding of God? We do it by spending time with him. And once we understand the myriad ways that Christians have cultivated this relationship, we’ll have more ideas than we need to walk closer, and more constantly, by his side. (Thomas, 32)
Myriad ways of cultivating relationship with God. That's the heart of Sacred Pathways, that God didn't create us all to connect with him by a prescribed method. Yes, it all starts with bowing a knee before the Lordship of Jesus Christ and receiving his forgiveness bought on the cross. But that starting point spurs us on to a lifetime of rich variety in connecting with our Creator!


The Outdoors, a Rich Devotional Life, and Gary Thomas


Naturalists: Loving God Out of Doors

I'm going to hit just one of the nine pathways today: the naturalists.
The naturalist seeks to leave the formal architecture and the padded pews to enter an entirely new “cathedral,” a place that God himself has built: the out-of-doors. Any place that has some trees or a stream or, at minimum, open skies, can be God’s cathedral. Naturalists have found that getting outside can literally flood parched hearts and soften the hardest soul. (Thomas, 36)
Rushing River, Kenora, Ontario

Grab your Bible and perhaps a prayer journal and head outside! A. W. Tozer says that the voice of God still speaks through Creation. And somehow, those words spoken through nature seem to go straight to the soul.
The phrase “river of life” seems quaint when the words are projected up on a wall; but its power is nearly overwhelming when you stand by a swiftly flowing river. “Green pastures” can sound almost postcardish until you enter an unspoiled meadow, far away from the sound of a highway, radio, or ball game. (Thomas, 37)
It's springtime in Wisconsin. March 1st today and the sun feels warmer. Snow is receding and water trickles. Fresh, earthy air calls me outside. I don't worship nature but I worship the Creator who reveals his majesty through it. I don't get lost in nature, not for too long, because the path takes me back to a world in need of God and good.

I'm stronger, more rested, for having met with God in the sanctuary his hands built.

What if our devotional life included the adventure of capturing the beauty and power of God's handiwork and message in the countless vistas of nature? We could scavenge, take pictures, revel in every discovery. Connecting with God need never be boring again!

Comments Are Always Welcome...

Is meeting with God in nature important to you? What part of God's sanctuary is your favorite?
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2 comments:

  1. I think this is a really good article. You make this information interesting and engaging. You give readers a lot to think about and I appreciate that kind of writing. Lorriane Manke

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