40 Day Journeys

The 40 Day Journey begins in the middle of each semester following "Spiritual Deepening Week." This is the longest part of the semester when the class work intensifies, breaks seem distant, relationships are hard to maintain and if we are not careful, our spiritual walk wavers. What an opportune time to focus on strengthening our relationships with God and others!

And what better way is there to grow closer to God and each other than to take a trip? We are about to embark on a journey together. This will not be a trip that requires you to pack a suitcase; you may, instead, find yourself unpacking some baggage, examining and letting go of things that you have carried with you for too long. We won’t go far; in fact, the one who will be meeting us has already bridged eternity to get to where we are. You won’t be on the road alone; we will travel together. This journey will require us to grow and serve as a community, a body. God will lead us, and his Word will guide us.

Don’t forget to enjoy the sights, sounds, and the people along the way. The trip was meant to be enjoyed. Let’s go!

40 Days of Reflection & Growth

40 Days of Reflection & Growth

    Testimonies

    Share your testimony or story about what God did during 40 Days!

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    Fall 2011 (Oct 25 - Dec 3)

    “Reconciled: A 40 Day Journey of Reflection and Growth”

    Week 1: Introduction

    We see it all around us: broken friendships, fragmented families, split churches, divided communities, warring nations. All of these social groups are made up of hurt, broken, fragmented hearts, minds, bodies, lives. Sometimes it seems that the very air we breathe is the suffocating, life-taking air of unforgiveness, animosity, violence, suspicion, and mistrust. We've shared together as the TNU family this Fall the way in which we look around us and it seems the world in which we find ourselves is spinning out of control-- splintering off, breaking up, and fragmenting into a million pieces. It's like an odd human dilemma of centrifugal force--always separating away from each other, the center of our common human identity, and ultimately away from the heartbeat of all creation--God himself.

    Into this world that is all too familiar steps a radical alternative--another vision of reality, another dream of what humans were created to be. It is the Kingdom of God vision--the good news lived out by Jesus Christ, the radically alternative news of reconciliation. It is the divine centripetal force that pulls us back into God, the centripetal force of divine love embodied in Jesus Christ. It is a vision of forgiveness, trust, hope, unity in the midst of diversity.

    So what does this news of reconciliation look like in our inner lives, our relationships with family and friends, our journey with God, those that may threaten us and see us as enemies, even our place as God's caretakers of his creation? Over the next 40 Days, we journey as a community together--thinking, imagining, hoping, believing and praying that this kingdom would come in our lives and our relationships. Join the journey as we hope and as we talk and as we pray…”your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” As a community, may the "ideal" of reconciliation be more than a far-away idea. May it be fleshed out in our minds, our walk with God, our families, our friendships, our fears, and our partnership with God's creation. May the coming forty days be blessed by divine grace, divine forgiveness, and divine hope!

    Week 2: Reconciled to God

    So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!

    All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation.

    So we are ambassadors who represent Christ. God is negotiating with you through us. We beg you as Christ’s representatives, “Be reconciled to God!” God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God.--II Cor. 5:17-21 CEB

    • How would you articulate your relationship with God?
    • How does your relationship with God affect your relationship with your family, your friends, creation, and the world?
    • Do you feel distant or separated from God? If so, how much of this separation is based on your insecurities, guilt, anxiety, or self-imposed expectations?
    • What does it mean for you to understand that you are forgiven by God—”he doesn’t count your sins against you”? What does it mean for you to live as one who is “reconciled to God” through Christ?
    • How can you see God’s reconciling work evidenced in your life? In the life of those around you? In the world?
    • How are you engaged in the “ministry of reconciliation”? How is God calling you to “represent Christ” to others this week?
    • Reread the passage above. What is God saying to you? How will you apply it?
    • “God thank you for ….”

    Week 3: Reconciled to Ourselves

    Once you were alienated from God and you were enemies with him in your minds, which was shown by your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death, to present you before God as a people who are holy, faultless, and without blame. But you need to remain well established and rooted in faith and not shift away from the hope given in the good news that you heard. This message has been preached throughout all creation under heaven.—Colossians 1:21-23a CEB

    • Are there aspects of your life in which you are still at war with God “in your mind”? How can you begin to relinquish control in those areas during these 40 days?
    • “Holy, faultless, and without blame,” what do these words mean to you? Are you open to allowing God to make these a reality in your life?
    • Are you “presentable” to God? Who made and is making you presentable to God? How is this work evident in your life?
    • Through the death and resurrection of Christ we have been reconciled to God, what does this mean for you? What is your response?
    • How are you staying “established and rooted in the faith”?
    • Are you clinging to the hope you’ve heard through the Gospel, how is this recognizable in your life?
    • How do you see creation “preaching” this hope?
    • Reread the passage above. What is God saying to you? How will you apply it?
    • “God thank you for ….”

    Week 4: Reconciled with Others

    “Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God.”—Ephesians 2:14-16 CEB

    “Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.”—1 John 4:7-8 CEB

    • What “barriers” exist between you and your family members? Your friends? Your neighbors? Your enemies?
    • Is there forgiveness which needs to be offered? Is there forgiveness which needs to be received?
    • Is there a broken relationship from the past which needs to be restored? What steps do you need to take to start this process?
    • Is there a current relationship which needs to be strengthened? What steps do you need to take to start this process?
    • Can you think of an example of a relationship that was broken that has been restored?
    • How are your relationships with others affecting your relationship with God? How is your relationship with God affecting your relationships with others?
    • Reread the passage above. What is God saying to you? How will you apply it?
    • “God thank you for ….”

    Weeks 5 & 6: Reconciled with Creation

    "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the one who is first over all creation, Because all things were created by him: both in the heavens and on the earth, the things that are visible and the things that are invisible.

    Whether they are thrones or powers, or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him.

    He existed before all things, and all things are held together in him.

    He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the one who is firstborn from among the dead so that he might occupy the first place in everything.

    Because all the fullness of God was pleased to live in him, and he reconciled all things to himself through him—whether things on earth or in the heavens.

    He brought peace through the blood of his cross.”—Colossians 1:15-20 CEB

    • What is your relationship with creation? How are you caring for it? Ignoring it? Harming it?
    • How is your treatment of creation tied to your relationship with the Creator?
    • How do you experience creation daily? How can you interact with it more? How does God interact with you through creation?
    • How are we intertwined with the reconciliation and redemption of creation? How do you see God’s reconciling work evidenced in creation?
    • Reread the passage above. What is God saying to you? How will you apply it?
    • “God thank you for ….”

    Fall 2010 (Oct 14 - Nov 22)

    “Knowing Him: A Journey of Grace”

    40 Days of Reflection & Growth

    Week 1: Introduction

    “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). How is it that we can know Christ in such an intimate way? How can our minds, our hearts, our lives be transformed to the mind, the heart, the life of Jesus Christ? How can we participate “in Christ”? How is it that we can become “like him”? All of this is only by grace.

    Only Christ himself can transform our way of thinking; only he can bring us into such intimacy with him that we can truly “know him”. But throughout the story of God’s people, we have participated in means or instruments of God’s grace through which he acts to transform us. Together as a campus community, we are embarking on an amazing 40-day journey as we participate in some of these means of grace. Each week, we will focus on one of those means of grace: from Scripture reading to prayer, from worship to acts of mercy. This 40-day journey becomes a time for us to reflect on how we might experience these activities in the journey even beyond 40 days. During this time, we will engage, reflect, dialogue, and re-engage. May the journey ahead be one of transformation—not by us, but by him! May it be a journey of grace…

    • How do you define grace? How good are you at receiving grace? How good are you at giving grace?
    • How is your relationship with Christ? In what ways are you becoming more like Christ? In what ways are you becoming less like Christ?
    • What means of grace are you currently participating in? Are there others that you are not currently engaged in that you want to incorporate into your life? How can you begin to do that through these next 40 days? Who will hold you accountable to this?

    Week 2: Scripture

    • How does God speak to you when you encounter his Word?
    • What are you looking for when you approach Scripture—information, guidance, communion with God? How does what you are looking for affect how you approach Scripture?

    Try one of these ways to approach Scripture this week or use your favorite method.

    • Reflective Bible Study
      • What is happening in the passage?
      • What is God doing?
      • How does this relate to my life?
      • What is my response to what God is doing in the passage and in my life?
    • Listening to Scripture
      • Read the passage out loud.
      • Pause in silence.
      • Read the passage again out loud.
      • Listen for a word or phrase that stands out to you.
      • Offer the words to God in prayer.
      • Continue to meditate on it throughout the day.
    • Memorize a verse of Scripture
    • Pray Scripture back to God
    • Study Scripture with a Small Group of Friends

    Week 3: Prayer

    • “To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all seeing, within you.”—Theophan the Recluse
    • “Think often on God, by day, by night, in your business and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave him not alone.”—Bro. Lawrence

    Try one of these ways to approach God in prayer this week or use your favorite method.

    • Breath Prayer
      • Breathe in deeply, saying the name of God that is meaningful for you. As you exhale, voice a deep desire of your heart (ex. Abba, I belong to you or Jesus, have mercy on me).
    • Fixed-Hour Prayer
      • Set regular and consistent times of prayer in your day (ex. morning, noon, evening, and bed-time).
    • Fasting
      • Abstain from an appetite. Open yourself to the presence of God. Spend time worshipping God. Put your desires before God.
    • Prayer Walk
      • Saturate a particular place and the people there with prayer as you journey around them.
    • Intercessory Prayer
      • Prayer for others, for the church, for the world, for God’s kingdom to come.
    • Conversational Prayer
      • Praying with others, listening to others pray, offering each others requests and praises up to God as you gather this week.

    Week 4: Worship

    • Where are you most likely to worship God? Alone? With others? At church? In music? In nature?
    • “May the Son of God who is already formed in you grow in you—so that for you he will become immeasurable, and that in you he will become laughter, exultation, the fullness of joy which no one can take from you.”—Isaac of Stella
    • “The greatest of all illusions is the illusion of familiarity.”—G.K. Chesterton

    Try one of these ways to worship God this week or use your favorite method.

    • Celebration
      • Become aware of God’s presence. Remember all of God’s gifts, guidance, love, provisions. Respond to this grace in a way that is natural for you (ex. sing, write, create, dance, play, serve).
    • Gratitude
      • Dedicate every day for the glory of God.
      • Keep a journal of all that you have been given by God through others. Write letters of thanks.
      • Everyday say thank you to God for at least one thing.
    • Sabbath
      • Plan a 24 hour Sabbath. Prepare so that you can set aside this time. Seek to eliminate distractions. Enter into sleep the night before your Sabbath as an act of trust and worship. Invite God to guide you through your Sabbath. Relax in God and rest.
    • Worship Service
      • Attend a worship service. Come before God with an open and attentive heart. What about God moves you to worship?
      • Worship the Lord alone and with others.

    Week 5: Acts of Mercy

    • Do you like serving or being served? How is this evident in your life?
    • “You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
    • “Lord Jesus, I would so appreciate it if You would bring me someone today whom I can serve.”—Richard Foster

    Try one of these ways to serve others this week or serve in your favorite way.

    • Ask a friend, family member, classmate, or a stranger, “What can I do for you today?” Then follow through and do it.
    • Volunteer at a ministry in the local community (www.trevecca.edu/socialjustice/volunteer or hon.org).
    • Go shopping and donate everything to a mission or food pantry.
    • Make a loan to someone on Kiva.com.
    • Hang out at a gas station and pump gas for people (pick a cold day).
    • Do or give something to someone anonymously. How does it feel to know that only God knows what you have done?
    • Go on a mission trip with your church or TNU (www.trevecca.edu/ministry/TAG).
    • Pay for the person behind you in the drive through.
    • Sponsor a child for Christmas through Angel Tree (www.angeltree.org).
    • Walk around the community and pick up trash.
    • Find a neighborhood with lots of trees and volunteer to rake leaves.
    • Have a free sale! Take donations and just give stuff away.

    Week 6: Accountability

    • “Many of us try to shove spiritual transformation into the nooks and crannies of a life that is already unmanageable, rather than be willing to arrange our life for what our heart most wants. We think that somehow we will fall into transformation by accident.”—Ruth Barton
    • “No one person can fulfill all your needs. But the community can truly hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that, beyond your anguish, there are human hands that hold you and show you God’s faithful love.”—Henri Nouwen
    • “Ask me not where I live and what I like to eat. Ask me what I am living for and what I think is keeping me from living fully for that.”—Thomas Merton

    If our desire is continued engagement in the means of grace beyond these 40 days then we will need others to hold us accountable to this desire!

    • Who can you talk to honestly about your walk with God? If you can’t answer this question with the name of a person, then begin with prayer, asking God to help bring a person to mind. Once you have approached this person or group with your desire, commit to a regular meeting time.
    • Begin by sharing with others praises about what God is doing in your life. Then it becomes easier to share about your fears, temptations, and weaknesses. Pray for each other. When faced with temptations, agree to contact each other for encouragement and prayer.
    • Develop a plan for continued engagement in the spiritual disciplines (a.k.a. “Rule of Life”). How are you intentionally partnering with God in the work that he is doing in your life to make you into the person he desires for you to become? Share this plan with your accountability partner or group and ask them to help you stay consistent.

    Fall 2009 (Oct 15 - Nov 23)

    JOURNEY INTO WHOLENESS

    40 Days of Reflection & Growth

    Week 1: Introduction

    WHOLENESS: Rather than our life being made up of a separate silo for our physical life, emotional life, intellectual life, relational life, and spiritual life—so that each area is separate from the others—we are whole people. One aspect of our life is integrally related to the other. Rather than our spiritual life being the center of a wheel and everything else being the spokes—so that if we just get our spiritual life together, then everything else will come along—our walk with God is the entire wheel. Our walk with God IS our physical bodies, our emotions, our intellect, and our relationships!

    As we continue to make a journey together over the next 40 days, we will reflect in an honest and open way on our physical bodies, our emotions, our intellect, and our relationships. We will explore aspects in each of these areas where we can grow and develop. We will face our weaknesses and impediments in each of these areas honestly and openly. We will dream and imagine of ways to “move on” beyond these weaknesses so that we can be whole, healthy, and growing people. We will celebrate what it means for us to be made in God’s image in our entirety—body, emotions, intellect, and relationships.

    Just to begin the thought processes…

    • Can you think of a time or two in your journey, where one aspect of your life (your physical life, your emotions, your relationships, your intellect) began to affect other aspects of your life?
    • Right now in your journey, which aspect of your life do you believe is the healthiest? Which aspect do you believe is the weakest?
    • Who is holding you accountable to make healthy choices in each aspect of your life?
    • How have you seen God working in the various aspects of your life?

    Week 2: Mind

    This week we reflect on the role that our mind has in our life and how we are nourishing our minds…

    • Can you think of a time in your journey when you had one of those mental “a-ha” moments and came across a totally new way of thinking or even new information that you had not known before? How did you respond?
    • When it comes to using your mind, how do you perceive yourself? Where did this self-perception of your mind come from? How does this self perception affect your ability to think and to learn?
    • What occupies your mind and thought processes during most of the day?
    • In a typical learning setting, do you tend to engage your mind or do you tend to put it more into “neutral”? Why?
    • What do you consider to be the top two or three sources in your life for giving you ways to think?
    • When you are seeking information, where do you tend to go first?
    • When you are introduced to new thoughts or concepts, how do you tend to react? Are you receptive to new ideas? How do you evaluate and analyze those thoughts and concepts?
    • In exercising your mind, what are the two greatest struggles you face? What are two strengths?
    • How do you see the interrelationship between your mind and your physical life? Your emotions? Your relationships?
    • How does your walk with God affect your mind and thought processes? How does your mind and thought processes affect your walk with God?

    Week 3: Body

    This week we reflect on the role that our physical body has in our life and how we are caring for our bodies…

    • In taking care of your body, what are the two greatest struggles you face? What are two strengths?
    • What does your daily diet look like? Are you aware of your calorie and fat intake? Do you attempt to eat foods that will provide healthy nourishment to your body? Why do you eat the way that you do?
    • During a typical week, what type of exercise does your body get? What most often prohibits you from exercise and what can you do to overcome what prohibits you?
    • On a regular basis, are you getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night? Can you think of examples where lack of sleep affected your mind, relationships, and emotions? What most often prohibits you from getting the sleep that your body needs in order to remain healthy?
    • How do you handle stress? Do you have someone with whom you can talk to when you are dealing with significant stress? Do you spend at least 30 minutes a day engaging in something relaxing to your body and mind?
    • Are there other practices in your life that affect your physical life in negative ways that you might begin to deal with?
    • Do you monitor the health of your body by regular physical check-ups with a physician?
    • How do you see the interrelationship between your physical body and your mind? Your emotions? Your relationships?
    • How does your walk with God affect the way in which you care for your body? How does the health of your body affect your walk with God?

    Week 4: Relationships

    This week we reflect on the role that our relationships have on our life and how we are caring for those relationships…

    • In taking care of your relationships, what are the two greatest struggles you face? What are two areas of relational strength?
    • Are there relationships that need to be initiated, reconciled, or renewed?
    • How do you know if your relationships are healthy? How healthy are your relationships with your family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, roommates, etc.?
    • During a typical week, how much time are you investing in others? What ways are you investing in others? What most often prohibits you from being fully available to others?
    • Are there any relationships in which you have become judgmental, exclusive or proud? What steps can you take towards resolving those issues?
    • Do you have a relationship in which you are held accountable to the way you live your life? Are you able to be truly vulnerable and authentic with this person?
    • In what ways do you practice hospitality towards others?
    • How approachable are you by those that know you? How approachable are you by those who don’t know you?
    • What qualities do you expect in a good friend? Do you possess these qualities?
    • How do you see the interrelationship between your relationships and your mind? Your emotions? Your body?
    • How does your walk with God affect the way in which you care for others? How does the health of your relationships affect your walk with God?

    Week 5: Walk with God

    We also recognize that the intentional time we spend with God both personally and corporately is the “glue” which holds all of the various aspects of our life together. The disciplines that we practice become pathways in which God’s grace flows into our lives enabling us to become more and more Christ-like.

    This week we reflect on the role that spiritual disciplines have on our life and how we are nurturing our relationship with God…

    • How is your relationship with God? What are you basing this perception on?
    • During a typical week, how much time are you intentionally investing into your relationship with God? What most often prohibits you from being fully available to God?
    • What spiritual disciplines (i.e. prayer, reading scripture, corporate worship, etc.) are you currently practicing? What are the fruit of these disciplines?
    • Are there disciplines that you are not currently practicing that you want to start incorporating into your life? How can you begin to do that?
    • Are there disciplines which you are not attracted to (i.e. fasting, silence, solitude, etc.), but might need in your life? Are you open to putting these into practice? How?
    • What kind of accountability will you need in order to hold to these disciplines? Is there a person or a group that could provide this for you? Are you holding others accountable?
    • How do you see the interrelationship between your walk with God and your mind? Your emotions? Your body?
    • How does your walk with God affect the way you live? How does the way you live affect your walk with God?

    Week 6: Emotions

    This week we reflect on the role that our emotions have on our life and how we are staying emotionally healthy…

    • How in touch are you with your emotions? Are you emotionally healthy? What are you basing this self-diagnosis on?
    • What in your life gives you joy? What is discouraging you?
    • When your emotions get out of control, how do you respond (e.g. suppress, express, mask with an addiction, etc.)?
    • Are you carrying emotional baggage from your past which still hinders you from living life to the fullest? What is it? How can you begin to let it go?
    • Are you concerned about the emotional health of others? Is there a relationship in which you are causing emotional damage? How can you begin to restore this relationship?
    • Do you have someone with whom you can talk to when you are under emotional duress? Do you spend at least 30 minutes a day engaging in something which relaxes you?
    • Are there other things in your life that affect your emotions in negative ways that you might begin to deal with?
    • Do you monitor the health of your emotions through regular appointments with a counselor?
    • How do you see the interrelationship between your emotions and your mind? Your body? Your relationships?
    • How does your walk with God affect you emotionally? How do your emotions affect your walk with God?

    Spring 2009 (Feb 25 - Apr 5)

    Fall 2008 (Oct 16 - Nov 24)

    40-Day Journey through the Apostles’ Creed, the Prayer of St. Francis,
    and the Lord’s Prayer
    October 16th– November 24th

    Dear Friends,
    Our 40-Day Journey this semester will take us on a historic trek through our faith. We have been reflecting this semester on our heritage and how we have been passed the baton, and we now run with it into the future. As we look back for direction on how to move into the future, we can't help but reflect on some of the most fundamental statements of our faith. Although there are many, we will focus in on three— The Apostles' Creed, the Prayer of St. Francis and the Lord's Prayer.

    We have some insightful guides as we navigate this path. Some fellow travelers from the Trevecca community have contributed their reflections on these essential tenets of the faith; their words will help us as we reflect on the past in order to gain insights for the future.

    Each day I will post a devotional in print and audio formats. Please feel free to post comments regarding God's work in your life throughout the 40 days. It is always more fun to travel with others, so please invite your friends to journey with us.

    Your fellow traveler,
    Brent Tallman
    Dir. of Campus Spiritual Formation
    Trevecca Nazarene University

    Spring 2008 (Feb 6 - Mar 22)

    Fall 2007 (Oct 11 - Nov 19)

    Spring 2007 (Mar 14 - Apr 22)

    Fall 2006 (Oct 11 - Nov 19)

    Note: You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print some of these documents.

    Do you want to share a Testimony/Story about what God did during 40 Days?
    Brag on God here!