January 6 (Epiphany): All That is Within Me
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 103: 1-5
Is your soul healthy? We almost never ask this question, but we should. Our physical bodies get a lot of attention. We get annual check-ups. We sign up for hot yoga, Crossfit, and Pilates and pretend to like them. Similarly, our bank accounts, vehicles, children, and lawns get regular attention. But we rarely, if ever, focus on our souls. It’s time for a soul check-up.
January 13: A Quiet Soul
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 131
We talk about slowing down, about finding time to relax and decompress. That’s great in theory, but I’m not sure we can control the volume and velocity of our existence. Living life with this level of intensity can produce anxiety, fear, and a sense of desperation. I wonder, even in a fast and furious world, can we cultivate quiet souls? Can we be calm and peaceful and at rest on the inside, even when all around us is chaos and noise? Psalm 131 gives us insight into David’s unique ability to maintain a quiet and restful soul.
January 20 (MLK weekend): Inside Job
New Testamnet Reading: Philippians 1: 3-6
Where did God start His work? He starts IN you and it is HIS work not yours. This means we don’t have to force anybody to believe, look, act, or talk a certain way. That is God’s responsibility and He is really good at it. This can be frustrating because most of us have discovered that a small dose of threats and condemnation goes a long way. So why wait for God? Because His kind of change is the only authentic, lasting, soul-level change. We may be able to change the outside, but God alone can change the inside.
January 27: Feelings – Good Companion Bad Leader
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 42: 1-11
Psalm 42 reminds us that God knows exactly what is going on inside of us. God is the master architect of the complicated, confusing, and even contradictory constructs that make up our souls. If God designed the human soul, then it’s only logical that he would know how to fix it when it gets out of alignment. Yet sometimes we are so embarrassed by our emotions and so freaked out by our feelings that we avoid the one who knows our souls the best.
February 3 (Super Bowl): Surrendered and Surrounded
New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 16: 5-9
We weren’t designed to be alone. We are relational beings. No matter how introspective or shy we might be, we are all designed for community. We are meant to benefit from one another. How do you live an effective life? You surrender to the lover of your soul – but you don’t do it alone. You surround yourself with other surrendered people.
February 10: Love is God or God is Love?
New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 13
God is love, and God designed our souls to thrive within the context of authentic love. Just like our need for hope and stability, love is a fundamental desire of our souls. If love is foundational to the human experience, then how do we define and locate love? Either, Love is God or God is love. How you define and locate love makes all the difference.
February 17: Stretchy Souls
Old Testament Reading: Exodus 13: 17-18; 14: 10-14
To grow stronger, your muscles must stretch, hurt, and be torn. You know – “No pain, No gain.” If this is true about our bodies, could it also be true of our souls? The answer is, Yes! Sometimes God will keep us from experiences because our souls are not strong enough. Other times, the Lord will see us through times of pain when he stretches and heals our souls.
February 24: Soul Anchor
New Testament Reading: Hebrews 6: 17-20
In this series, we are defining the soul as the “inside you.” It’s your heart; your inner being; your mind, will, and emotions. If you are like me, your soul has the tendency to drift like a boat on a sea. The purpose of an anchor is to keep you from drifting. It keeps you from being carried by every wake and current that swirls past. Ultimately, an anchor keeps you from capsizing. We all need an anchor for our soul.
March 3: Your True Identity
New Testament Reading: Ephesians 2: 1-10
Sometimes we like to think that we are doing pretty good before knowing God, and then we found God, and then we got even better. In reality, we were dead, lost and helpless, then God found us, and he completely changed us. We are new people, born anew from the inside out. We are not remodeled or whitewashed versions of our old selves. Our souls are born again. They have been made brand-new. This is your true identity.