The process of learning involves vocabulary, definitions, and always personal experience. What we are investigating and exploring are intangible and unseeable things. Yet we can sense God and the spiritual forces. Let's use our senses, study the word, and collaborate together what we find.
When I first began attending 12 step meetings and going to church I was overwhelmed. Why was I here? Who are these people? I had many questions. There were phrases, traditions, customs, and mannerisms to learn and understand. I had to learn new vocabulary. There was a lot to understand that required regular attendance. To be a part of something involves regular participation.
Feeling a part of...
When we begin to miss days in attendance we can feel like we are missing something from the group. Relationships and knowledge of group experiences build with attendance and participation. When we miss we may feel out of touch because... we are out of touch. There's a saying around 12 step groups, "the more I miss meetings, the more I miss my addiction."
Long Term Knowledge
Our minds learn information through repetition. The more we practice in duration and frequency, put it to use, or think about the information the better it can be stored within our minds. We ought to regularly attend actively with our hearts and minds.
Listening, Reading, Observing, & Thinking
After a while, a year or so, we may begin to feel less challenged, bored, or our minds can drift to being critical, self-serving. We may begin to sense a spiritual dullness. This could mean we have reached our potential growth with regular attendance and need something more. We have done what we have been doing long enough and regular enough to do it quite well without much effort.
Our continued growth will be limited upon our willingness to step up and raise the bar. If we are not willing to raise the bar and continue to improve, we probably won't.
Moving from regular attendance into Phase Two is to begin thinking and seeking how we can put God's will into action beyond Regular Attendance. In Phase Two we can seek to grow spiritual character within our hearts and minds through more active learning.
Phase one can be referred to as passive learning.
It's easy for discussions to shift away from topic. Value the time to focus on God's word and staying on topic with gentle guidance. "How can we grow" with the many instructions used in the Bible. The more we pay attention to it the more likely we will do it.
Each of us has an agenda within our minds. We have our schedule for the week with work, school, family, friends, hobbies, habits, etc. As we discuss 'how' we can grow in the topic our minds will begin to process trying to fit that in our agenda. We will need to fit new action within our mental schedule before we will be able to do anything.
So many questions go unanswered. Let's make sure we get clear about God and what God wants for us. With patience, diligence, and love we can ask the questions we need answers to for us to grow.
Moving at the pace of the spirit we ought to take the time to answer each others questions keeping focused on how to grow with God. Let's not get stuck talking about problems. Let's stay toward solutions.
The Bible is filled with patterns. There is probably a good reason for such patterns. For example: the great commandment was emphasized by Moses and Jesus. All the main characters in the Bible had great conflict. Idolatry is a never ending problem and humility has always been part of the solution.
Frustrations and resentments can be reconciled much faster when discussed. There is an old saying in 12 step programs, "we can't fix sick thinking with sick thinking," meaning we can't resolve our confusion with our confusion. It helps to process our thoughts together.
We all come to the table with different skills, abilities, or gifts. Some may be more patient while others more honest. One person may be more merciful and another more generous. Let's share with each other how these gifts help us in our lives. Discuss scripture references and how we have experienced something similar in our own walk.
Through regular attendance in study and participation we can build an improved and more correct understanding of God's will. Follow the outlined "study group discussion points" listed above.
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