Pulse Podcast 013: Incarnation

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Viewer warning: There are some bad attempts at word play in this. Sigh. We can’t control each other. Or ourselves, apparently.

We want our podcasts to be generally applicable whenever they’re watched, or listened to, so while this is inspired by the Christmas season, it isn’t totally Christmas-themed; Incarnation is relevant all through the year, but especially at Christmas, when we reflect on how it all began.

We have a preview version here, which we invite you to play in your worship service and encourage people to check out the longer one:

And finally, we have an audio-only version:

Prayer Calendar: Prayer Habits

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Dave is the EFCC’s Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. His regular contributions are excerpted in the monthly Prayer Calendar.

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Habits seldom receive good press. In fact, in today’s culture of suspicion, to speak favorably of them might be labeled fake news. To develop and sustain habits of any kind are viewed by some as burdensome, confining and boring. Many want lives that are spontaneous, unplanned, busy and full, lived in short bursts rather than the long haul. Maybe that’s why people groan when they think of New Year’s resolutions. They take intentional work and seldom last. Resolutions don’t often turn into habits.

Prayer habits are essential to a healthy prayer life.

I had to think after writing that last sentence if I believed it, and yes, I stand by that statement. I’ve become convinced that times of prayer don’t happen easily in our North American culture. Habits help the prayer to flow.

Of course, you already have some prayer habits. Take the following quiz to identify a few of yours.

“For me, prayer happens most often . . . “

  • In times of crisis
  • When I want God to act
  • When I want to spend time with God

 

  • In church
  • In smaller groups with other believers
  • When I am alone

 

  • Whenever I need to
  • At set times of the day
  • When someone asks me to

 

  • With my head bowed
  • On my knees
  • With up-raised hands

In Luke 11, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he didn’t go into the “how” of prayer, what prayer habits to engage. Instead, he gave them a model prayer for group recitation and taught them to ask things of the Father with a spirit of audacious expectancy.

Yet there were prayer habits in his life, which the disciples would have observed. Scot McKnight in his book, Praying with the Church (Paraclete Press, 2006), reminds us that Jews in the time of Jesus intentionally prayed three times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). They would pray the Psalms, the Shema (Deuteronomy 6), and the Ten Commandments. Jesus probably did the same. Luke 5:16 (and other passages) tell us, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Jesus Christ had certain practices/habits that intentionally brought prayer into his life.

It might, then, be a good thing for us to develop practices/habits that intentionally draw us to pray rather than waiting for the “spirit (ours)” to move!

Pulse Podcast 012: Identity

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As I’m sure you can guess, in our under-20-minute format, we barely scratched the surface of this episode’s topic: Identity. We just feel that it’s such an important issue to consider, we had to address it, even in this kind of incomplete way.

Hopefully, this can spark meaningful discussion in your circles of influence. If you want to process it with us, look for our post on Facebook and Twitter, and reply to us there.

And now for the teaser/preview version — we encourage you to play this in your church or small group to introduce the longer version:

And here is the audio-only version: