by Pastor Stan Gale
Two times a year a Christian retreat center in the area offers pastors a free two-day personal retreat, complete with Amish country meals. I rarely miss the opportunity. Getting away to think and pray about life invariably yields dividends.
The time soothes the soul and stimulates ideas. It’s remarkable how things can spring to mind, given the opportunity. It’s like they are there, just waiting for the traffic congestion of cares and responsibilities to slow, so they can find a place to merge into our flow of thought.
While being able to string a couple of days together to step aside from the ordinary course of events is nice, it’s not always possible or practical. But we can look for those brief breathers to the race before us, the rest stop into which we can pull off to stretch our legs, clear our minds, appreciate our surroundings, and refresh our bodies.
Open Space (Sundays, 9-10:15 AM) is intended to offer that sort of time for rest, renewal, stimulation, and blessing. Those who have partaken of the prayer and meditation resources have testified to the value of the time.
As a busy parent, an hour of quiet time is both terrific and a bit terrifying. I'm used to something constantly demanding my attention, and frankly don't quite know what to do with myself to just have an hour to reflect. Nonetheless, I've found the discipline of Christian Meditation hugely helpful in restoring my focus and priorities, because "God is personal and reveals himself personally" as one author puts it. I've found Open Space useful in this regard, in providing resources to direct my time. I've heard it said that the written Word is the Word of the Lord, and our meditation on it is listening to his voice; to that end my practice is to start by reading scripture, but to then move beyond simply reading to engaging the mind and heart, reflecting on God's truth in his presence. – Ray Rishty
Open space has been like a breath of fresh air to me! The meditation center has helped me do what we all long to do...take time to sit at Jesus's feet to consider him and reflect on his beauty! I have been blessed on several occasions at the prayer center with an opportunity to pray with someone else and to mutually share our lives in Christ. – Patty Yodis
Open Space is one of the facets of IWC’s Discipleship Framework - The Forge: Where Christ is Formed in Us. It offers a time of opportunity, not obligation. No demands, just free time to delight yourself in the Lord, to connect with others, to be taught of the Lord through periodic classes. The first class for this fall starts September 16 is Two by Two: Into the Harvest, which will provide training in gospel witness.
I encourage you to take advantage of Open Space. Provision is made for the kids. Coffee is at the ready. Come to wait on the Lord or to work through an agenda in communion with Him. Arrange with a friend to meet for prayer or discussion of some material. Avail yourself of a periodic class in IronSpace to stretch you.
I’m also interested in ideas you have to develop Open Space. Are their resources or activities or classes you would like to see, or even lead? Please let me know (email@example.com).