STSW Retreat- Listening for God’s Invitations
Guided Retreat offered by Seeking the Spirit Within
Registration deadline: Jan. 18, 2019
Listening for God’s Invitations
What could our lives be like if we frequently and earnestly asked the question: “God, what is your will?” What could our congregations be like if at every important juncture, we asked: “God, what is your will?” What could it be like if we wait to hear first what God is saying to us, and then we make decisions and plan our actions?
“God is always speaking to us—individually and as the people of God—at different times and in many ways. . . . discernment is the spiritual practice that accesses and seeks to understand what God is trying to say.” [Henri Nouwen, Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life]
This guided retreat will offer you experiences to enhance your capacity to listen to God, to Self, and to Others. As a community of people who desire to follow Christ, we will practice becoming more intentional in listening and following the One who is the way, and the truth, and the life.
“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
We welcome everyone who desires to participate in this day of experiential learning and spiritual renewal! We encourage you to share this information with your friends, family, congregational members, and neighbors . . . and invite them to register and come with you. (Participants do not need to be members of Nebraska Synod ELCA congregations.) All are welcome!
MORNING SESSIONS: Select one
Discerning Voices: Whose Voice Am I Listening To?
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” John 10:27... Do you hear the invitation? Within each of us is a deep desire to know the Shepherd’s voice. This is an intrinsic, God-given longing within us. To live this verse is proof of experienced intimacy. Yet, if we’re honest, there are many voices that fight for our attention. So... just whose voice are we listening to? Developing our intimate relationship with the Shepherd includes learning to discern the voices we hear. In this session we will explore the inner voices that may exist within each of us, and strengthen our knowing, loving and obeying the True voice of our Shepherd into a sweet intimacy.
A Ministry of Listening in Everyday Life
Does this exchange sound familiar?
“How are you?”
“Wonderful. Have a good day!”
We’re friendly enough people for the most part, but do we use the gifts God has given us to build meaningful community through personal conversations, or do we mostly pass each other by and miss daily opportunities for developing deeper relationships?
This workshop will present practical tips for getting to know others in meaningful ways, building trust, understanding people’s stories, and listening to nudges of the Holy Spirit to have caring conversations with another.
I AM Listening
Much of our conversational life is spent thinking about what we will say next. We think about what in our life relates to what our conversation partner is saying. Sometimes, we think about things that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand, such as what’s for dinner, or how can I make time to get the car to the garage?
What if you knew what it felt like to be freed from needing to have a response at hand? What if you could let go of your other worries for a time? What if the only words that mattered at this moment were the words of the one who was speaking? When we are able to get to this point, we have gone beyond conversation and entered the sacred space of truly listening to one another.
Listening to others is a gift we can give, as well as a skill that can be developed. In this workshop we will learn a mindfulness exercise to help let go of our distractions and be present in the place and time we currently occupy. Then we will engage in an exercise called the listening stone. Through a simple exercise of hearing a question, contemplating an answer, speaking while others listen, and then asking a question of another, participants will experience deeply listening to others as well as being listened to themselves. They will notice patterns of distraction within themselves and learn skills to bring their focus back to the person they are listening to. And they will learn the blessing that deep listening can be to themselves and others.
AFTERNOON SESSIONS: Select two
Spiritual Direction Appointments
Fruitful Living: Lectio and Mixed Media
Location: Fellowship Hall
Certified Spiritual DIrectors Koren will lead you through a combination of Lectio Divina and mixed media. You will listen for God's desires for our fruitful living as you listen to God's word and then use drawing, paper, fabric, and other mixed media to create a prayerful reflection.
Embodied Prayer: Responding to God’s Presence in Our Human Body Through Holistic Prayer Practices
A Certified Spiritual Director and Physical Therapist will lead us in a sampling of truly holistic prayer practices. As Christians, we are connected to God through the human person, Jesus, who walked this Earth two millennia ago as we do now. In a time and culture that both denies the body’s worth and/or overemphasizes a contrived ideal of perfection, learn ways to deepen your faith and to appreciate the wisdom and beauty of the body through prayer. All abilities are welcome.
Music and Spiritual Practice
A Certified Spiritual Director and former Music Teacher, will be helping us to explore how the integration of music can enhance our spiritual practices as well as being a spiritual practice in itself. There will be demonstration, participation, and discussion. No musical skill is required.