Sligo19 Growing in... Love for God

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Miryam Lightbody is writing with VOX Magazine at the New Wine Ireland summer conference in Sligo this week. She’ll be looking out for speakers’  practical tips and methods that we can apply to see growth in our lives. 

Tuesday 15 July

In Charlie Cleverly’s seminar he discussed his church, St. Aldates’, project on growing in spiritual disciplines through practicing ancient ‘Rules of Life.’ He explains that the heart of growing rhythm and balance in our lives is growing in love for God. Here are some ‘take-home’ tips from his talk:

Love for God comes first

  • A rule of life is like a trellis that helps a plant to grow in shape, direction, safety and security

  • Ask yourself: what is the most important thing in life?

  • Revelation 2:4 says “But you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

  • You need to love the Lord your God

  • Jesus asked Peter: do you love me?

  • Charlie commented that even in our churches we do not value love for God as we should. He shared a quote from an ordained minister who noted that “in 142 hours of interviews he was never once asked the question: do you love Jesus.”

Examine your heart for God 

  • You need to ask yourself: do you have this immeasurable love?

  • Intimacy in marriage can be lost, but with careful help it can be recovered. So it is with intimacy with God

  • Church – He is calling you His darling

  • He would invite you into a Rule of Life – a discipline of intimacy

Love requires nearness

  • C. H. Spurgeon writes “Love comes near for she must kiss, she must embrace.”

  • Lovers have many ways to express their love. The word is Jesus, the Spirit is His kiss

  • Charlie reads from Song of Songs, introducing it by advising the men present “women are always being told that they are sons of God, so it’s time that men learned that they are the bride of Christ.”

  • Charlie shares the story of the passion of a new Christian “I was addicted to the effortless high that I got from being in church” and asks us “do you have that?”

Remember the height you fell from

  • Charlie gives three tips to grow in love for God: ”remember the height you fell from, repent from sin, renew the love you felt first.”

  • Remembering is a spiritual discipline

  • Charlie explains that he remembers this love through speaking in tongues “like a son learning to talk to their father.” He recalls a time when he responded to this love in tongues “I went and sat in a field and poured out my love for God in a language that has never been stopped, even in suffering.”

  • Remember the height you’ve fallen from. Ask yourself: what is my height? What have I got to remember?

  • Be a lover of God

Grow your fascination with God

  • If we are not fascinated by God we will inevitably be drawn to other fascinations

  • Charlie describes the world surrounding our children “they are being washed with idolatry”

  • Charlie shares how much he cherishes his wife’s letters “I loved her words.” Do we love his word? That’s difficult to do unless you have an uncorking of affectionate love

Learn how to climb into God’s presence

  • Paul had his head in Heaven and his feet firmly on the ground

  • Through prayer Hannah climbed into the heavenly realms

  • The priest says to Hannah “put away your wine.” Those who are passionately in love with God may be accused of being bonkers

  • We need to experience divine union

  • All we can do is position ourselves and wait

  • How? Charlie suggests that we follow the St. Aldates’ adaptation of the Benedictine prayer schedule – which is three times a day; morning, noon, and evening

  • At night ask: where did I meet you yesterday, God?

  • Maybe the best things to do at first are the things you did when you first met God

  • We need to find out how to climb into the presence of God

  • Say to God “Lord, I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

  • We’re living in such a time of chaos. In these times, anchor points and still points can be incredibly healing

  • Look into the book of Daniel as a guide