Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Breaking the Cage of Routine

I mentioned that there are several things you might consider doing to break out of the cage of routine. What we're talking about here, of course, is routine in your spiritual life. If you find your spiritual life is stale and suffering from the consistent dullness of steady routine, you might try:
  • Fasting. Fasting is a way of focusing on God by not eating or by not doing some kind of activity. People fast from sweets or soft drinks. I've heard of people fasting from sex (though this really needs consent from your husband or wife). But the most effective fasts I've ever done were ones that involved all food of any kind. My fasts have only been 24 hour fasts, but they have been powerful for me spiritually and definitely helped me break from the cage of routine. I highly recommend Bill Bright's tiny booklet on this called 7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting & Prayer. This was the roadmap for me to fasting. You can find it on Amazon by clicking HERE.
  • Pray in a different way. For a while, I would walk by myself around the neighborhood and pray while I did. It was fresh and different. Recently, I started writing one prayer every day (see the next item on my list and you'll see what I'm talking about)
  • Daily Devotional Time needs a fresh look. I found my daily time with God to be stale recently. So, I adopted a short-term technique that I read about in Wayne Cordeiro's book Leading on Empty. In it, he suggests that - since there are 31 proverbs - You should read one every day, which ever one corresponds to that particular day. Today is the 10th, so I read the 10th proverb. And then I'm journaling using the acrostic SOAP: I write key verses from the Scripture, I write any Observations I note about the scripture, I write the practical application to my life from the Scripture, and I write my prayer - which has to do the Scripture, but also goes beyond that.
  • Read a different translation of the Bible. I normally read out of the NIV. Sometimes, when I feel stale, I read the Message, the New Living Translation, or occasionally the NKJV.
  • Worship in a different way. When I was in seminary, one of my assignments was to go to some churches outside of the norm for me (I think I had to go to 3) and write a paper on them. It was fascinating. I gleaned a lot about what kind of church I felt called to be a part of. But more than that, I learned to worship in new ways and ways that were even uncomfortable for me. It was a healthy break from the routine. You don't have to go on a Sunday or necessarily miss a PCC service (though I think we could forgive you :-) ) You could find other service times or go to one of the early PCC services and catch an 11am somewhere else. Just a thought.
Do you have some ideas, too? Or some experience of breaking free from the cage of routine? Post a comment here and help us learn from your experience!

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