So God expects us to explore and consider ways to "grow in grace" or become more involved and committed in the relationship. It seems to me that this happens in two general ways: growing by interacting with God through prayer, study, personal experience, thought/meditation, fasting, attention/journaling and worship both personal and corporate where we turn our face to God and through seeking to use our minds, bodies and traditional learning such as Bible Classes, books about faith matters and other church-centric and personal disciplines. The other is less focused on our relationship with God and more about serving God in our relationships with others in working with the disenfranchised, tending God's children in church and community, giving of time, money and volunteer hours and other more "hands-on" activities.
I'll talk more about each of these over the coming days and there is overlap among ministry and mission and fellowship,
But today I want to make this point: Both are valid and neither is as effective as both. A gentle immigrant whose smile is more eloquent that their language skills can absolutely teach us how draw near to God in amazing ways. (I suggest reading Brother Lawrence's Practicing the Presence of God.) And truly a person who spends their professional life studying what we can learn from archaeological digs along the Jordan River and blesses us without ever meeting us. But for most of us, opening both our heads and our hearts, using our brains to learn and our hands to serve, makes it all even better. And stirring in friendship, fellowship and mentoring is truly amazing.
So over the coming days please remember again, to open your head and your heart, explore things that appeal to you, but don't neglect things that today seem unappealing. And persevere because one day of journaling or rote repetition of a single prayer can never be as effective as practicing a discipline for a month or committing to fill a volunteer need for a season, or better yet, journaling about a new volunteer experience!
I hope folks will step up and share their experiences, what worked, what didn't, what they long for, concerns, joys.....