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The Examen

Jan 3, 2016
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The Examen

A new year always brings thoughts of resolutions and new beginnings. Often we head into a new year with optimism, only to be discouraged quickly when we do not follow through with “our plans”. This morning, Pastor Clay challenged us to examine one more spiritual discipline, The Examen. Examen means, “to hold in a balance”, or in other words, we need to look back as we look forward. We see this practice throughout scripture. Joshua uses this discipline in Joshua 4:24. Paul does this in Acts 24 and 25. It is healthy to look back!

Carmel’s Examen 2015

It is a beautiful tapestry, but if you look at the backside of the tapestry, all you see are loose threads and knots. Only when you turn it over to see the complete picture will you truly be able to appreciate all the intricacies and work. Jesus understands that we often find ourselves “in the threads”. We are tired. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

As we look at God’s journal, the Bible, we see that He has always used ordinary, messed up people to do extraordinary things. We see it with Abraham, Jacob, Ruth, David, Zachariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph. We see it with Peter, Matthew, Saul, Augustine, Francis, Billy Graham, and Mother Teresa. And…we see it today in our own church family. God can and wants to use you to do extraordinary things!

To discuss today
1. What do you see for yourself in 2016? Are you in the threads, or can you see the tapestry?

2. Read John 14:12. How can God use you to do extraordinary things this year?

3. What can He do with Carmel if we are willing? Begin praying now for the Cultivate Challenge that Pastor Alex will unfold to us beginning next Sunday. How will you prepare to live with “open hands”?

Father, thank you for giving us Your journal to look back on and see Your faithfulness throughout the generations. I confess that when I think about _______________, it makes me tired and anxious. Thank you for your promises that you want to use me to do extraordinary things for Your glory. I commit that I will have my heart, mind, and hands ready to hear from you as you speak to me about my part in Your grand story!