Andy Savage (guest blog) www.andysavage.net

Summertime, sprints & growing spiritually

I ran sprints today. Ugh. I hate running. Running is one of my fitness weaknesses. After my sprints, I was hunched over "sucking wind." I've got to get in better shape!

I've found that many people feel this way in their spiritual fitness. With the best of intentions, you open your Bible, and after a whopping 3 minutes, you feel out of breath and wondering what you just read. This happens to the best of us. Getting out of shape spiritually happens the same way it does physically…neglect.

Don't get me wrong, the spiritual disciplines of Bible-reading, prayer, etc. are never the end in itself; spiritual disciplines should always be focused on fostering a dynamic relationship with God. It's easy to slip in the mode of "going through the motions" and losing the meaning.

However, these disciplines require some work to develop. Just like I can't just go run a marathon, you may not be able to benefit from long hours of prayer or Bible-reading. But you can take a step; you can start.

This summer offers you a fresh opportunity to "get in shape" spiritually. Start or restart the Priority Time Challenge. Take a few minutes each day then go a little more each week.
I believe if you are genuinely seeking a fresh renewal in your relationship with God, you can find it.

Remember these tips:
1. Spiritual disciplines are tools and nothing to take pride in. You don't become a "good Christian" by reading your Bible or praying. There is only one grade of Christian- those saved by grace alone in Christ alone!
2. Get a partner. Running sprints and reading the Bible are both strengthened by a good friend to encourage you along the way.
3. Write. I'm a big fan of journaling because it gives me a tangible way to interact with God. Write down your prayers, things you are thinking about or new insights from God's word. If you just hate the idea of journaling, go somewhere that you can be comfortable enough to talk out loud. There is an undeniable connection between our memory and our hands/writing and our mouths/speaking respectively.

My prayer is for you to experience God in a real and fresh way this summer. And leave your comments here as you progress!

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Joe McKinney
Pastor of Creative Arts
StoneBridge Church