Tools for Living

“Building our life with Christ at the center” is a definition of stewardship that we embrace at Incarnation. It means that all parts of our lives – including our daily decisions, our relationships, how we use our gifts and passions, and how we use our financial and time resources – are shaped by the love and forgiveness of God that we have experienced through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Building our lives with Christ at the center is a good goal, but it is not just a goal. In truth it is not a destination but the journey of the Christian life. So, how to we do that? How do our lives begin reflect what we believe and value as children of God? Over the centuries different spiritual practices have developed as other people of faith have traveled this same journey. Some of the core practices that help us connect with God and God’s will for our lives include worship, daily scripture reading and devotions, prayer, and sharing faith stories.

“Tools for Living” is intended to connect you with resources to guide you on your journey. As you explore the different links and practices, remember that this journey is not about “have to” but is an invitation to connect more deeply with God and an opportunity to stretch and grow as you are shaped by Christ living at the center of your life.

The Practices

Worship

Gathering in worship is central to our faith and life. It draws us into the community of faith and together we hear God’s Word for us as individuals and a community that shapes our private and our public lives. Worship is not a passive practice where we just show up and go along for the ride. It is true that we won’t always hear what we want to hear or the style of different parts of the service may not be our preferred style, but if we are intentional about how we enter into worship (both the space and the time that is set apart) over time our experience and practice of worship will be fuller.

Worshiping with Children
Listen to Past Sermons

Reading the Bible

Developing a regular practice of reading the Bible can feel a little overwhelming at times. Start with a realistic plan and commitment. Many study Bibles include a Bible reading plan, check the table of contents or explore these online ideas.

A simple way to begin reading is to commit to reading 2 or 3 chapters a day. You don’t have to start at the beginning, simply pick a book of the Old or New Testament that interests you and begin. If you have a study Bible with notes, use them when you feel like it or have a question. Take your time and if you find yourself getting bogged down in a section, skim it or skip over it. It’s okay. The point is for you to connect with God through the gift of God’s Word that we find in the Bible. Do what you can to stick to the plan. If you miss a few days, don’t worry and don’t beat yourself up; just jump back in where it makes sense.

Finding Scripture Online
Bible Gateway–includes a variety of translations–including the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) which Incarnation typically uses during worship, CEV, The Message, NIV, TNIV and others; also has options for Bible reading plans
Bible Study Tools–includes a variety of translations and has options for Bible reading plans
Enter the Bible is a resource developed by Luther Seminary for learning more about the Bible and engaging scripture in new ways
Personalizing Scripture from The Upper Room

Developing a Practice of Daily Devotions

Start a practice of daily devotions are you are intentionally carving out time in each day to pay attention to God’s presence! You are creating enough space, enough quiet, enough breathing room for your relationship with God to grow . . . (read more from Connect with God–Daily Devotional Practices, by Denise Floe, Director of Small Group Ministry).

How to Have a Daily Devotional Time by Mary Lou Redding from The Upper Room
Daily Devotions from The Upper Room
Sign up for “God Pause” email devotions from Luther Seminary

Prayer

Prayer Resources from The Upper Room
Centering Prayer introduction from Alive Now
Prayer Ministry at Incarnation

Apostles’ Library

libraryIncarnation’s library provides a wide range of resources to assist in your journey of faith whether you are young or older in years and whether you are new or farther along on the path of faith.  Most of the material is in print format but there are also audio and video discs available for checkout.  The library has an author/title/subject catalog available on the library computer for your use on Sunday mornings.  The library is open for your use whenever the building is open, just turn the light on.  A volunteer action group maintains the library and welcomes new recruits; contact Pastor Jeanne Hartfield if you are interested.

Check out the latest issues of WordbyWord, a quarter newsletter produced by the Library Action Group:

For more information about Tools for Living and other faith practices, contact Pastor Jeanne Hartfield.

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