Focus In, Focus Out
Have you read the book? Of course, THE Book (the Bible), but also Bishop Schnase's new book, Five Practices of Fruitful Living. It's very insightful and inspiring, as you would expect. You'll find examples of God-inspired actions by ordinary Christians, with well-structured ideas calling us to a deeper spiritual faith in God and connection with our Methodist roots in John Wesley's teaching. Thanks to Bishop Schnase for his leadership in providing this book.
My Laity Address at Annual Conference this year was called "Focus In, Focus Out". It seems to me that our bishop's book, along with the conference theme of "Growing Deeper", reflect a rhythmic sense of balance in the spiritual life: Focus In on loving God, on deepening our spiritual connection with God, to know Christ and experience grace; then Focus Out on loving others, in witness through our service and daily activities. It's like breathing.
Here is the application of this idea to the "Five Practices" structure:
Focus In -- Receiving God's love hospitably
Focus Out -- Loving God in return through passionate worship
Focus In -- Growing in grace intentionally
Focus Out -- Loving and serving others
Focus In -- Receiving the blessings that come from serving others
Focus Out -- Giving extravagantly
What do you think? Does this dual focus on both inner spirituality and outward actions help us follow Jesus more closely?