Hello, members and friends of Valley Park,
In the month of February, 2020, we will officially complete the “Rooted” experience. That is, we did six weeks of devotions and small group meetings up to Thanksgiving, 2019. And we are now completing four weeks of devotions with small group meetings from January 20 to February 16, 2020. We will have completed a total of 10 weeks in what I believe has been an excellent encounter with the God we follow and seek to know and understand. I would love to receive a text or email from any of you telling me how you were helped to connect more deeply with God through the Rooted experience.
You are still able to pick up photocopies of the 10 weeks of devotions from the office in order to do some of the devotions on your own or even participate in the remaining small group meetings. I am also hoping to do another small group “Rooted Experience” after Easter for anyone wanting to do it again or for the first time. Let me know if you are interested in participating.
There are several reasons why I think “Rooted” has been a positive experience:
- Because the directed devotions give us a regular focused opportunity to relate to God on a deeply personal level. It encourages knowing the heart of God behind the words we read in the Bible.
- Because it offers a healthy focus on the fact that God actually speaks to us and interacts with us in meaningful ways when we follow Him. The devotions help us understand several ways we hear God’s words and voice.
- Because it addresses fundamental and meaningful topics relevant to life. The topics are important to process for living in this world and talking to people about God’s role in it. These topics include:
- What is actually wrong with the world as we know it and what is God doing about it?
- Why is suffering so prominent in this life and how should we understand it in relationship to God and the future? Do we defend God or apologize for Him?
- How do we understand the spirit world and its influence on the life we live?
- What does God really want us to do in this life? What is His purpose for every human being?
- How do we put money into perspective? How do we maintain a balance between the things we need to buy in order to survive, and simultaneously maintain our focus upon the prioritization of God’s purposes?
As I consider these topics and questions, I believe the “Rooted” experience is excellent because it prioritizes thinking about and understanding these meaningful topics and questions. As Christians, we need to have processed what we believe in order to have intelligent conversations with people about life as they are experiencing it. So, I believe this series has excellent value because it equips us to represent Jesus Christ to others. It also helps prepare us to be an encouragement and voice of reason to anyone who is struggling with the meaning of life.
There is also an excitement factor involved in working through the Rooted experience. That is, the more we spend time with God and contemplate the meaning of life, the more excited we are about God and the meaning of life. It is a basic part of our lives that we talk about things that excite us. If we get a new job, have a great adventure or fall in love, we naturally want to talk about it. Likewise, if we are excited about God and what we are learning from Him, as has been the case for many of us in the “Rooted experience,” we will more naturally share what we are learning with others.
Jesus wants us to “Go, make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20). This is His command. Being excited about our faith and understanding of God’s purposes makes the task of “making disciples” a joy. I think this is one additional benefit of the “Rooted experience.” It makes us more excited about telling others about what we are learning and believe. It gives us confidence in our Christian walk to be witnesses for Him.
We will do “Rooted” again. If you think you would like another opportunity to encounter God through these 10 weeks of devotions with small group interaction, talk to me so we can make it happen. Apart from that, we have learned that we will grow spiritually by doing the devotions and talking to others about what we are learning. Let’s share a conviction and commitment to prioritizing devotions and small group involvement as a foundational habit in our lives. Let us prioritize these habits as fundamental needs for nurturing our spiritual growth. To God be the glory!