Recently I had a hard time connecting with God. I was in a season of grief, and everything I read sounded like white noise. Nothing registered. For a while. Out of ideas and hope, I asked one of my mentors what to do. She wisely replied, “Have you tried varying up your interaction with God? Your relationship with Walter doesn’t always look the same, does it? Do you have to sit in the same chair when you’re together? Can you only have a date with a pen in your hand and your journal open?”
Now, I’m all for reading Scripture, journaling and praying in regular and disciplined ways, but what my mentor was suggesting was freedom to expand and explore new ways to be with God. As David Powlison said, love speaks many languages fluently. Or as we often say at Westside, we want the real you to encounter the real God. I hope the resources below will help you become more fluent this year.
In this with you,
PERSONAL BIBLE READING PLANS
Do you want a grace-saturated, shoulder-dropping Bible reading plan for this new year? One of my all-time favorites is the Bible Reading Program for Shirkers and Slackers by Margie Haack. She writes, “I have cheated, skipped, lied, and given up on every other Read-Through-The-Bible-in-a-Year program. Although it may take two years, this is the only one I can do.”
Not only is it a doable plan for our real lives, but it also provides a well-rounded diet of Scripture, covering many genres in a week’s time. It’s a perfect combination of discipline and grace. Make sure you read her article describing the plan (it’s comical) and download the pdf (link above).
Read Scripture App has an online Bible, and helpful videos that summarize books of the bible with a visual sketch, making it a great resource for visual learners. This is a wonderful way to grasp the entire Bible or—at least parts of it— at your own pace.
What to do while you read? This article from Alasdair Groves, Executive Director of Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, gives you a few tracks to run on.
If you want to understand how to study your Bible better, check out this article from the Gospel Coalition that breaks it down for you. (This is also how we teach you to study at our Westside Bible Study. More on that below.)
Pastor Scotty Smith writes daily gospel-centered prayers in his prayer blog, Heavenward, that help even the most experienced pray-ers unlock new ways to engage honestly with God.
Book Recommendations for Spiritual Practices
BIBLE AND BOOK STUDIES
Bible or book studies are open to everyone. If you don’t call yourself a Christian, we welcome you and your questions. In Bible studies we study a book of the Bible. Book studies are like a book club where we discuss a nonfiction book involving spiritual themes. Hopefully you will find a class and a community to enrich your life and for you to enrich theirs.
Luke Bible Study
Wednesday mornings 9:30-11 AM (with childcare) and nights 7:30-9 PM.
February 5 until April 29th with a celebration on May 6
This class helps you learn how to study the Bible in community. No prior knowledge needed. Multiple teachers and single gender or co-ed options for small group table discussion. Register here (If you signed up last semester, you do not need to re-enroll.)
Financial Stewardship Class
Monday nights for 7 weeks starting January 27, 7:00–9:00 PM.
Join fellow Westsiders in exploring the Crown Financial curriculum, Managing Our Finances God’s Way. This course covers topics including: understanding what Scripture says about money and finances, how to prioritize spending, tithing, giving, saving and investing, debt repayment, and learning to enjoy the resources God has given us.
We will have time together in table groups for learning, information gathering, group discussion, individual reflection and planning. If you plan to sign-up, please make it a priority to both attend weekly meetings and complete the homework each week. Cost is $15 which includes a workbook. Led by Lauren Johnson and Stephen Rindone
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Class
Spring 2020 for 8 weeks based on Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero. More info coming soon.
Adult Sunday School
9-10 AM Sundays studying 2 Corinthians
1255 Collier Rd. Salas O’Brien conference room
Various locations and times. Co-ed conversation around the sermon
Register here (if you signed up last semester you do not need to re-enroll.)
At Westside we place a high value on growing together as a whole body, but we also recognize that there are times when it’s good and right to gather in specific affinity groups. So, we’re devoting the month of January to do just that.
We are still getting confirmation on certain events (singles trivia night, men and women gatherings, Saturday morning yoga, etc.) so stay tuned for more to be announced on our App.
Saturday January 4, drop-in between 9-noon
Want to explore and express yourself, the world, and God in in the New Year? Join other men and women in the Lobby at Atlanta Westside to Art Journal. We will provide a brief intro at 9:15am, but please come and go as you’d like. Art supplies will be provided; however, donations are appreciated. Feel free to bring music/headphones and anything else that might spark thoughts for you. Contact Laura Dilly for more details. Register here.
Morning Mom Conversations
Wednesdays for 4 weeks starting January 8, 9:30–11:00 AM in the lobby.
Join other moms of all stages and ages for conversation and fellowship around topics like intentionality in motherhood, “surviving” the early years with grace, and God’s story in my story.
Wednesday January 15 7:30-9:00pm
Join Christie and Peter Pettit for a parenting conversation about how we can grow in fostering healthy, gospel-centered communication with our children. We’ll look at establishing a foundation with young children as well as the challenges and opportunities that come with children as they grow into teenagers and young adults.
The following events are being hosted by other local churches:
Marriage Conference by Paul Tripp
Church of the Apostles—February 21-22, 2020.
Bible Study Training for Women
Simeon Trust is known for training people in how to study and teach the Bible. Westminster Presbyterian is hosting a Women’s Workshop on Prophetic Literature on March 12-14, 2020.
Read about it and register here.
Allies: Parents and Kids Navigating a Sexualized Culture by Anne Kerr with True North
Intown Community Church—Saturday March 28, 2020 6-8 PM.