Be Still (Sermon Series and Devotional)

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Life is full of movement. Movement is not a bad thing. If we are moving, we are living. We are making progress. Movement, though, is also exhausting—physically and mentally.

In some ways, all this movement can be paralyzing. We feel stuck or caught because though we're moving all over the place there is no direction or meaning behind it. We know we're moving, but we wonder if we're really getting anywhere.

God says, "Be still."

The scriptures place an importance on intentional time taken to be still before God. This sermon series and 28-day devotional guide is focused simply on stopping, slowing down so there can be lasting change.

4-Week Series

Week 1: Be Still and Know
Psalm 46 ("Be still and know that I am God.")

Introduction to the series: Our bodies and brains are constantly moving to keep up with our schedules and responsibilities, our goals and our hopes. We must take time to be still and quiet, becoming more attuned to the spirit of God.

Week 2: Knowing and No-ing
Mark 1:29-39 (Jesus getting up early to pray alone)

Jesus was a busy guy, preaching and healing and traveling all over the place. But even he took time regularly to be alone with the Father, to clarify his mission and priorities. We have to be prepared to say no to some things, to be more intentional and aware of what we are doing and why.

Week 3: Dealing with the Noise
1 Kings 19:9-13 (Elijah, the whirlwind, and the "still, small voice")

Life is noisy—metaphorically, in our busyness, if not literally. It can be hard to stop, tough to deal with silence. Like Elijah, we keep running, motivated by fear and anxiety. But God says to stop and listen; God will show up not in the noise, but in the quiet.

Week 4: Stand Still and See
Exodus 14:10-22 (Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea)

Moses told the Israelites, "the Lord will fight for you; be still," and they witnessed God's power. We think we can do everything for ourselves, but in letting God take control, we see the wonder and awesomeness of God.

Week 5: When the Sun Stands Still
Joshua 10:12-15 (God making the sun stand still so Joshua can win the battle)

We all wish we could stop time, to cherish a moment forever. In learning to be still, we are learning kairos time—purposeful, God-appointed time. In touch with God's purpose, we can boldly "sieze the day" and pray audacious prayers like Joshua's, take audacious action for God.

[Listen to these sermons online at provumc.net/sermons. Originally preached in October 2010. Sermon Discussion Guides used in small groups]

28-Day Devotional

This guide, available for free PDF download below, is intended to help users stop moving for an intentional time each day to connect with God. It is to encourage the daily habit of "still" time before God in the belief that this discipline will bring clarity and peace where now there may be confusion and unrest. It is about taking time to pray, to read the Bible, to think, to reflect, to listen, and to be given hope and power to move in the direction that God intends.

Each day's devotion includes a passage of scripture, a focus verse, guidance for prayerful reflection on the scripture, and space for a written response.

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