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Week 3

Week 3 Compilation: Close to the Father’s Heart

We are pleased to share this compilation of the third week’s videos, which take up the theme “Close to the Father’s Heart.” We hope this compilation will help you to catch up on any videos you might have missed, as well as to provide an easy way to share the week’s videos in a group. We’d love to know how this week went for you!

 


Week 3 Day 1: Knowing and Being Known

Week 3 Day 2: Loving and Being Loved

Week 3 Day 3: The Self-revelation of Intimacy

Week 3 Day 4: Depending on God

Week 3 Day 5: Desiring God’s Will

Week 3 Day 6: United in Love

 

Week 3 Day 6: United in Love

“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love on another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
I John 4:11,12

United in Love
When I receive a gift I have a choice. Do I just hold onto and focus on the gift, or do I turn and say thank you to the one who gave it?

-Br. Luke Ditewig



Transcript:

Our theme this week is to experience intimacy with Jesus in the same way that Jesus experiences intimacy with the one he called Father. And we’re asking what fosters or detracts from building intimacy, both in human relationships and with God.

Our verse today begins, “Beloved, because God has loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”  When I receive a gift I have a choice. Do I just hold onto and focus on the gift, or do I turn and say thank you to the one who gave it? Turning towards the giver and saying thank you completes the gift, and it builds relationship between us. If I turn away, it detracts from our relationship. The same is with God. As I am aware of God’s love, when I stop, turn, and say thank you, that builds relationship. God loves me and as I turn and love others, that too is a way of responding to and saying thank you to God’s love.

How are you experiencing God’s love? What are the gifts you are receiving? Don’t just enjoy them. Stop, turn, and say thank you to God who is the giver of good gifts. Where is your invitation to turn and give thanks today?

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

Week 3 Day 5: Desiring God’s Will

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
John 5:30

Desiring God’s Will

Sit, listen to God, with a kind of expectancy that has no expectations, and ask God, “What would you like to do today?”

-Br. Keith Nelson



Transcript:

From the fifth chapter of the Gospel according to John: “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just because I seek to do, not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

So when I pray with this passage, I think immediately of some close friendships that I’ve had in my life. Perhaps you can think of your relationship with your partner or spouse or a close friend in your life, and that moment when you have free time together and one of you asks, “What would you like to do this afternoon?” And perhaps you say, “Oh it doesn’t matter to me, what would you like to do?” And there’s that back and forth where you both don’t really care what you do because what you really care about, what you really want, is simply to be with each other, just to spend time being and reveling in, celebrating, exploring the intimacy that exists between the two of you. And the activity really is secondary.

You might think of another relationship or another situation where that question is asked, “What would you like to do today?” And your first impulse, or perhaps even what you say, is “I’m so glad you asked,” and you have a list of things that you would like to do. I think we all know that that’s a different kind of feeling. One involves a kind of attentive listening, a kind of expectancy without any particular expectation about what happens. And the other kind of rushes in with a certain kind of self-will, even if it’s a very subtle self-will – there, in that instinctive moment where we fail to listen, where we fail to give space to the other, with whom we desire intimacy. That kind of instinctive self-will can really be an impediment to developing the kind of spacious intimacy that we desire, both in our human relationships as well as in our relationship, our unfolding relationship with intimacy with God.

So “I can do nothing on my own.” “I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me” requires a listening for what that will is, and a laying aside of our own self-will. So perhaps the way to pray with this might just be to sit, listen to God, with a kind of expectancy that has no expectations, and ask God, “What would you like to do today?”

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

Week 3 Day 4: Depending on God

“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”
John 5:19

Depending on God
In everything Jesus does, whether he’s breaking bread with friends or whether he’s healing or he’s teaching and preaching, in everything he does he often stops and gives thanks and acknowledges his Father.

-Br. Jim Woodrum



Transcript:

This week we’ve been exploring the theme of intimacy with the Father. When praying with this theme, I couldn’t help but to think of a family photograph I recently found on a trip home, one that my mom took. And, in the picture, my dad is standing before the bathroom mirror with shaving cream on his face and a razor, and is shaving his face. And standing right next to him is me on a stool with shaving cream all over my face and a plastic razor, mimicking everything he’s doing and obviously delighted at the fact that I’m shaving my face with dad.

The photograph is endearing, but it also points to this intimate moment between father and son, a moment of love and tenderness, which we almost feel like we shouldn’t be looking at, because it points to this very intimate life, this inner life that most people don’t see outside the home. I often think that Jesus’ relationship with his Father was just like this. And, we often see throughout the gospels that in everything Jesus does, whether he’s breaking bread with friends or whether he’s healing or he’s teaching and preaching, in everything he does he often stops and gives thanks and acknowledges his Father, through whom he is extending his very ministry and mission.

He even alludes to this in John 5:19 when he says, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does the Son does likewise.” So, what does this mean for us? Well, I would say that Jesus desires relationship, an intimate relationship with us, just as he enjoys a relationship with his Father. And that this relationship he wants from us is one that extends from his Father as a continuance of that love.

And so, we have to take some moments in our prayer life to develop this relationship with Jesus, to spend some time alone, perhaps in the morning with a cup of coffee; to sit with Jesus in silence and perhaps out of that then to express your hopes and your fears, your joys, the ways in which you suffer or worry, and to share that with Jesus, so that we can be assured that he knows what’s on our heart and he can assure us of his presence with us in all that we undertake and that his love will actually guide us and show us what we need to do in the moment, if we’ll just take that moment and develop that relationship with Jesus in intimacy.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

Week 3 Day 3: The Self-revelation of Intimacy

“The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”
John 5:20

The Self-revelation of Intimacy

We can trust God, by opening ourselves to God and expressing our fears as well as our hopes, our places of shame as well as our places of pride. The more open we can be, the more authentic our prayer will be.

-Br. David Vryhof



Transcript:

This week our theme is intimacy, and particularly, we’re focusing on the intimacy that is seen in the relationship with Jesus and his Father.  Just as Jesus lives in an intimate union with his Father, so too, we are invited to live in that kind of intimate union with God.

So, what is intimacy, and what does it involve? In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ connection with his Father is so close that they share a common purpose, a common mission.  Jesus says, “The words that I speak are not my words, but they are the words that the Father gives me. The things you’ve seen me doing are the things that the Father’s doing in the world.” He even goes so far as to say, “The Father and I are One.” He exists in this kind of intimate union with the Father, enjoying a deep connection with the Father – and from this deep connection proceeds everything that he does and says.

How do we live in this kind of intimate union with Christ, and with the Father, ourselves?  We can think about what the marks of intimacy are in human relationships:  Intimacy requires a kind of trust. It requires vulnerability and openness. Today, we have a verse from John’s Gospel, Chapter 5, Verse 20, where we read, “The Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing.” This points us to the love that exists between the Father and the Son, but one of the ways in which this love is expressed is through self-revelation. When we’re intimate with another person, we feel like we can reveal ourselves to them. We can let them know what we’re thinking, what we’re intending, what we value, what we fear. We can expose ourselves. We can make ourselves vulnerable. We can open ourselves to the other. And so, the question we’re given today is, “How can I deepen this sense of intimacy with God?” We can ask ourselves, “In my prayer, do I speak with God about the things that are really most important to me? How honest is my prayer? Do I talk with God about the things that really preoccupy me through the day? How vulnerable am I in prayer? How open am I in prayer to God?”

The degree to which we can trust God, by opening ourselves to God and expressing our fears as well as our hopes, our places of shame as well as our places of pride. The more open we can be, the more authentic our prayer will be. Today, reflect on your intimacy with God, and how truthful, honest, and vulnerable you can be in your relationship with God.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

Week 3 Day 2: Loving and Being Loved

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.”
John 15:9

Loving and Being Loved
When we abide in God, when we abide in Jesus, we can thrive, our Christian life thrives. But when we are cut off from Jesus, when we are broken from Jesus, then our Christian life can wither and die.

-Br. James Koester



Transcript:

This week in these videos we’re considering intimacy, the intimacy which Jesus had with the Father and which the Father had with Jesus. The question, I think, for us is how that intimacy might look for us. We’re looking specifically today at the verse, “As the father has loved me so I have loved you. Abide in my love.” That comes from the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John where Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches.

I know a little bit about gardening. I know that vines can thrive separately. If a branch is cut off, the vine continues to thrive.  But the branch will actually wither and die, and you can see that in all sorts of garden plants.  When a branch is cut off, it dies, but the rest of the plant can be fine.

That metaphor, I think, is true for us. When we abide in God, when we abide in Jesus, we can thrive, our Christian life thrives.  But when, for some reason or other, we are cut off from Jesus, when we are broken from Jesus, then like that branch, our Christian life can wither and die.

The question for us, I think, is, “How can we make our Christian life thrive? How can we abide in God’s love?” One of the ways that people do that is through the practice of having a “soul friend,” somebody that they can talk to about their friendship and relationship and intimacy with Jesus. I’m not talking about cornering somebody at work and trying to convince them to come to church. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m actually talking about sitting down over a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or something with somebody who’s also a fellow believer in Jesus and just taking the time to talk about my friendship with Jesus and to listen to them talk about their friendship with Jesus. In that we can both encourage and be encouraged, and our friendships with Jesus can be deepened. We can learn to abide in the love of the Father just as the branch abides in the vine.

In that way, I think, through this practice of “soul friends,” we can learn to become more intimate with God as we both share our experience of God and as we listen to another person, our soul friend, talk about their relationship with Jesus.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

Week 3 Day 1: Knowing and Being Known

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”
John 10:14

Knowing and Being Known
Who we are, as beautiful as we are, we’re also a bit of a mess, defenseless, finding life overwhelming, which God knows and God loves.

-Br. Curtis Almquist



Transcript:

Our focus this week is inspired by John chapter one, verse 18, where we remember the closeness that Jesus had with God, whom he calls “Father.” And to look where this relationship, the intimacy of this relationship, informs the same kind of relationship that Jesus invites of us. The English word ‘intimacy’ comes from the Latin intimus, which means “closeness.” It’s a kind of relationship where barriers can be dropped – and you hopefully will have the experience of this with someone (in the) present, and hopefully (in the) past, who is a safe presence with whom you can be uncollected, with whom you do not have to be scripted to make a perfect presentation, just to show your strong side. But rather someone with whom you can be very transparent.

I’m sometimes listening to someone and they’ll say, “Oh I’m just rambling,” or “I don’t know what that had to do with this.” But I, as a listener being invited into a very open and often vulnerable conversation, clearly see how all of this belongs together. So we’ll be talking about intimacy:  What is it that invites intimacy with other people and with God, and what is it that gets in the way of intimacy, of having a close and trusting relationship with other people, which will also inform how we relate to God?

One of the greatest fears in life for many people is that they might be known, that they be exposed, that they be “outed,” that the truth get out. One of the greatest fears in life. One of the greatest needs in life is to be known, to be “outed,” for the authentic me to come forth, to be known and accepted. Greatest fears, greatest needs. With this wonderful metaphor that we hear Jesus take on in John’s gospel that he is the Good Shepherd – which, of course, means that we are sheep.

Now there’s a very tender meaning behind beautiful sheep but it’s also a rather pathetic metaphor. Have you been around sheep before? I’ve spent an amount of time with sheep and shepherds. Sheep are clueless. What we read in Psalm 23 about sheep needing to be led to green pastures is so, because they can’t find food themselves. And unless they are moved along they will eat a green pasture down to the dirt and it will be dead. They can’t find water, they have to be led to water. And they’ll only drink still water – very particular needs about water. Sheep get lost all the time and they need to be defended. They’re virtually defenseless and so shepherds have a rod and a staff to both rescue but also to fend off the predators. Sheep are also filthy, absolutely filthy.

So there’s this kind of tender image of sheep, which is quite true. There’s also a pathetic truth about sheep. They are so abjectly in need.  And I think it’s not insignificant that Jesus takes on this metaphor of being the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep – and we are his sheep. Who we are, as beautiful as we are, we’re also a bit of a mess, defenseless, finding life overwhelming, which God knows and God loves. How is it that you find yourself a beautiful sheep? What about sheep do you find attractive, tender, inviting? And if you are a sheep certainly the way shepherds understand sheep, how is it that you’re in such abject need, prone to get lost, needing to be defended, and why? 

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus