Each "stone" in the 5 Stones Way of Life involves tangible practices that guide our lives in the way of Jesus. Each stone contains a "vertical" practice that helps us grow in relationship with God and a "horizontal" practice that helps us grow in relationship with others. This week we are focussed on growing in love for God and others.
Connect at a heart level with the Lord through the Scriptures.
We must let the Scriptures capture our hearts and form our thinking about who God is and who God says we are. If they do not, something else will. As we prayerfully read the Scriptures, we are reminded of God’s steadfast love for His children. We are then able to receive His love afresh and respond to His love with trusting obedience. Use the following steps as a guide for connecting at a heart level with the Lord through the Scriptures.
1. Quiet your heart
Tell God what you are thinking and feeling. Ask Him to speak to you and reveal His heart.
2. Listen for what God is saying
Read through the passage slowly (maybe even a couple times). As you read, listen with the “ear of your heart” for a phrase or idea “stands out” to you?
3. Reflect on what God is saying
What is God impressing on you? Is it something He is telling you about Himself? About what He wants you to do? Why do you think He is saying this to you today?
4. Respond to what God is saying
Praise Him for what He reveals about Himself, confess the areas of sin that are graciously brought to the light. Thank Him for His goodness in cleansing. Cast your burdens on Him. Pray for His Kingdom to come and will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Connect at heart level with one another through SASHET
God’s love is intended to flow in tangible ways into our relationships with others. One of the most necessary ways to love others is by communicating the condition of your heart with another and listening to the condition of their heart. That is not our usual way of communicating. We tend to communicate at a safe, surface level that keeps us from being able to truly love one another. A great practice for learning to communicate at a heart level is the practice of SASHET. This is an acronym for 6 of the dominant emotions that we typically feel: Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited, Tender.
One person will “check in” by describing the various emotions they are currently experiencing and why. After sharing, the listener has the opportunity to respond in ways the Scriptures calls us to: rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep. This simple practice has a proven tract record for greatly helping marriages, families, and churches grow in their ability to share God’s love with one another.