Shop for groceries. Pay the bills. Finish that important project. Get the mail. Eat. Clean the kitchen. Sleep. Where did our relationship with God go? How often do we come to the end of the day and realize we didn’t live the active spiritual lives we had intended to live? We want to look to God in our daily lives, and yet we let the days slide away without giving Him the attention we feel we should.
That’s where this program comes in. Pause: Make Space for God brings some breathing room back into our day, giving us a chance to consciously renew and strengthen our relationship with God. This program asks us to designate a portion of time every day to explore the Bible and listen for God’s messages. The goal of the program is to allow participants to experience the presence of the Lord in a new and powerful way.
But how do we experience the presence of the Lord? The Writings of the New Church offer a approach for inviting God’s presence and conjoining with Him: “The acknowledgment and worship of the Lord, and the reading of the Word, cause the presence of the Lord; but these two together with a life according to His commandments effect conjunction with Him.” (Apocalypse Revealed 796) In other words, we have a path laid out for us for spiritual growth: acknowledge and worship the Lord, then read and live the Word. Through this process, our minds and hearts open up to a powerful connection with our Creator, bringing new light and freedom into every area of our lives
Although the four steps of spiritual growth may seem pretty straightforward, we all know that good habits take time to develop. With this in mind, the program starts with the suggestion that we pause just for ten minutes every morning. Even while still in our pajamas with messy hair, we can pick up the Word and read a passage or two, and think about how to apply the lesson to our upcoming day. As this begins to feel manageable, we can add another break at lunchtime for prayer and reflection. As the morning and afternoon breaks become an established part of our day, and we find ourselves doing our part of the spiritual work through pausing more often, we may find our hearts shifting and changing in response to our new, more peaceful outlook. Eventually, we will begin to experience more fully the energizing, healing, and strengthening power of the Lord.
Sometimes, even before we feel ready to invite God into our lives, we want to understand Him more. To help us with this challenge, Pause guides us through a series of questions about the nature of God and our relationship to Him. The first question of the series, How does God speak to me? offers participants a chance to listen for God’s voice in the words of the Bible. After this, participants explore the question, Why did God create me? In this section we look at why a loving, creative Being, as many of us perceive God, would want people on this earth. We then examine how our loving Creator came to earth in human form, as Jesus Christ. Once we’ve explored the nature of God, we begin to learn ways to respond to God. Questions around this topic include, How does the Lord work in my life? What does the Lord want from me? and How do I follow the Lord and how does the Lord want me to serve others? During the course of the program, we have the opportunity to find personally satisfying answers to these questions. Insight may come through reading and studying the Word, through prayer and reflection, and especially through applying these teachings to our lives.
Whether we choose to explore this program with a group, take the program online, or do it on our own, this program offers us an opportunity to take a step forward in our spiritual path. By taking the time to worship, read the Word and follow the Lord’s commandments, we can come into a growing experience of the Lord’s awesome presence.
As we developed this program our main goal is to support you in discovering your own answers to these big life questions. You’ll quickly notice that the bulk of this program is not content, it doesn’t answer the questions of how God speaks to us and how we can serve the world. Instead it serves as a framework to show each of us how to approach the Lord, read the Word and find answers to these questions for ourselves.
The New Church teaches that the Lord God Jesus Christ is an all-loving God who wants to be present for us individually as a personal God. You’ll notice that the questions begin by looking at who God is in a broad view and then focus in on the ideas of the Lord God Jesus Christ, the Divine Human. Each person will have a different experience with this course. Our hope is that throughout this process you will consciously make time to connect with your Creator.
If you’ve struggled in the past to read the Word and pray and reflect on a regular basis, we hope that this program can help jumpstart that process.
We’ve set up the program so that the first story of each week is the leading story for the week, to be used in Sunday worship, in your small groups and so on. From there, each day touches on a different passage that lends itself to answering the question of the week. We see this workbook as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, it has a myriad of options. Create your daily and weekly practice that best works for you. Take the leading question of the week and meditate on the ways that you’re feeling drawn to explore that question. In this workbook there is the opportunity to read the leading story once a week, to read the workbook every day, to dive into the additional readings, to read the chapters in True Christianity that work alongside the themes and more. We encourage you to explore various ways you find you can pause and connect with God. However your own personal process evolves throughout this program, our prayer is that you find your connection with God grow, so that you can find more peace, joy, trust and purpose from that relationship.