As I take my first steps into the “blogging” world, I want to share the inspiration for the title “Deep Draughts of God.” The title of my blog flows out of Psalm 42, The Message translation, which reads…
A white-tailed deer drinks
from the creek;
I want to drink God,
deep draughts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.
In the winter of 2013, working on my Doctorate in Ministry at Bethel Seminary, I took a class entitled, Inner Resources For Leaders. This course became the impetus for my adventure into the “blogging” world.
As part of the course, I committed to a project that would challenge me over a period of ten weeks to practice seven spiritual disciplines with my wife, pushing us to build a “rule” that would open us up to that which God wanted to do in our lives, in our hearts. We would practice these seven spiritual disciplines, “gazing at the Son,” with one goal…to become more like Him.
As a pastor, having served in the United Methodist Church for seventeen years, I often find that “gazing at the Son” often takes a back seat to gazing at the current issues, ceaseless problems, and countless ministries. Keith Meyer, in “Stopping Lessons: Ministry From A Life Of Sabbatical Rest,” an article in the Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care, describes many in ministry having “been formed by the driven pace of their studies and student life; their head too full and their hearts and lives depleted. They do not know how to really pray and listen for God’s daily leading…[we must] know how to ‘stop’ in ministry in order to minister from God’s strength and not our own.’” Such a description depicts not only the minister but all of us, who often find ourselves with our heads too full of the issues of the world and our hearts and lives depleted of energy due to the endless responsibilities and battles we face.
It is very easy to become unfocused and instead of seeking God’s guidance and strength, we use the same method to deal with issues, discern vision, and find strength for the journey that we use to fight sin. We launch what Richard Foster calls “a frontal attack.”
Foster in his book, Celebration of Discipline, explains…
“Our ordinary method of dealing with ingrained sin is to launch a frontal attack. We rely on our willpower and determination. Whatever may be the issue for us – anger, fear, bitterness, gluttony, pride, lust, substance abuse – we determine never to do it again; we pray against it, fight against it, set our will against it. But the struggle is all in vain.”
Foster continues, “The needed change within us is God’s work, not ours. The demand is for an inside job, and only God can work from the inside.”
For my project, I asked my wife if she would join me in adopting the practice of several spiritual disciplines over a period of ten weeks, in hopes of cultivating our spiritual life and allowing Christ to do a deep work within us, an “inside job.”
The goal is to spend time (time which we often do not intentionally set aside as we are overwhelmed by the grind and responsibilities of each day) drinking “deep draughts” of God.
This blog is an opportunity to share with my congregations and others our journey, our experience, and what we learn about and from the following spiritual disciplines…
- Study (both Biblical & Devotional)
- Vigil Keeping
I hope that you will join my wife and I on our journey and that some of what we share will help you go deeper with God, drinking “deep draughts,” and allowing Him to refresh, revive, and reenergize your heart and spirit. I pray that our journey inspires you to take time to “gaze at the Son,” allowing Him to do a mighty work within you, an “inside job,” conforming you into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Rev. Drew M. Christian