Monday

DAILY QUIET TIME - The Intimacy Factor: Part 2 of 2


Now that you've had a chance to view the images and read the attached sentiments in Part I, let's take up where we left off.

Once a Christian is convinced that a Daily Quiet Time is a necessity for spiritual growth, the next challenge is developing and maintaining one - consistently. Though we may be motivated to set aside a portion of our day to spend with God, odds are we just may not know how.

As much as I would enjoy addressing the "how" of establishing a Daily Quite Time, such is not the primary focus of my blog post - or is it? Rather than offering a DQT instruction manual, extolling its virtues, along with the DOs and DON'Ts of an efficacious plan, it occurred to me that a different, more meaningful approach might prove to be eminently more beneficial.

DAILY QUIET TIME - Matt was most open to hearing from God on the open range.
For me, I am one of those, like most people, who do not respond well to "do as I say," but am more apt to be influenced by, "do as I do." It's one thing to be told from the pulpit that we "should develop a Daily Quiet Time," but when was the last time a well-meaning pastor actually showed his flock what a Daily Quite Time actually looks like being practiced in the real world?

Personally, I've been exposed to scads of hours of preaching on the issue Daily Quiet Time and yet for all the words and pleading, if not a bit of guilting, I've seen preciously little movement among the church. We still don't seem to be getting it!
DAILY QUIET TIME - Juli returned to the innocence of her connection with God while gently swaying.
When I ask my friends about the quality/frequency of their Daily Quiet Time, the answers are all too familiar - most of which of are rational excuses, expressions of regret, and wistful sighs of "Someday Isle" (i.e. "some day I'll...make the time, find the time, won't be so busy," etc.).

Without exception, Christians are struggling and sputtering - they cannot seem to commit, let alone master the fundamental reality of plugging into the power source of their faith. Why? 

From my point of view, it is possible that our leader's approach to teaching is not particularly effective? While we all know Einstein's definition of insanity (i.e. doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results) I have yet to see a mode other than expository. Pastors rely solely on explaining while neglecting other modalities of learning - primarily, painting pictures. They explain what DQT is, but fail to show us what it looks like.
DAILY QUIET TIME - For Tommy, his heart felt more open and responsive to God's leading while on his knees. 
Our elder's reliance on an assumption, that their flock will "get it" if only they explain better, louder, cajole and plead, has been decidedly fruitless. Regardless of many a pastor feeling comforted knowing they performed their duty to inform, precious little movement has been made to advance the Intimacy Factor. Regardless of what part of the world I've visited, and I've traveled extensively, I hear the same sorry words from Christians from every corner: "I'm know I should...but am just too busy...

Since expository teaching is how it's been done and continues to be, there is scant little mention that a better way might exist, or even that the "tried and true" method of assumptive preaching is not as effective as so ubiquitously hoped.
DAILY QUIET TIME - For many, the tried and true, bedside connection, is the most consistent and lasting. 
When I've approached my pastor friends with a different way they might more effectively reach hearts and change lives, my offerings are met with kindness and a smile. Regardless, I have yet to see an indiction that any would actually consider a unique approach. Possibly the fault lies with me, that I fail to communicate my vision. For as much as I fervently believe there could be a better way, they simply cannot catch a glimpse of what seems largely conspicuous to me.
DAILY QUIET TIME - living a legacy of tradition laid by one father after another - setting the example. 
Do I fault them? Not really. Exposition is what they've been trained to rely upon and it's the only way they know. Not to mention it is safe, practical, predictable and keeps bodies in the pews. 

As a photographer, my perceptions are formed in pictures. When I am presented with an abstract spiritual concept I naturally see ways of expressing them through concrete imagery. For me, these mental illustrations feel similar to a parable. That is, the pictures are allegorical, designed to illustrate a truth or principle. Considering that Jesus chose parables to teach, it would seem rational to purpose a method where modern man might be as responsive as in His days.

Be that as it may, let's face it, for the most part a vast majority of us human beings are visual. We sheep like it when pictures are painted. No? As informative as "do as I say" is to our intellect, "see how others do" is more apt to appeal to our sense of sight. Imagery has an uncanny way of searing patterns into our visual cortex, thereby constructing a visible blueprint from which we might draw upon.
DAILY QUIET TIME - Mick, a people person, found quiet in the environs of a comfy coffee shop. 
As "picture painting" relates to developing a Daily Quiet Time, I can think little else that is laden with so much potential and poised to unleash even greater power.

31 years of creating photographic images for a diverse clientele has taught me that those customers who are the most elated with a Mark Jordan portrait are those who I've successfully painted a picture in their mind - a picture of where we are going and how we are going to get there. Explaining is one avenue, which has its place and is an integral component. However, once the mind is engaged and convinced, I have found no better medium for blossoming growth and incorporating head knowledge into heartfelt actualization than with use of illustration.
DAILY QUIET TIME - Where there's a heart bent towards God, there's also a will to find a way to Him. 
 To this end, I have created several Daily Quiet Time illustrations here in my blog post. As you no doubt have read their thoughts, you may have also noticed that their words are not explanations of what one must do, but rather personal stories that changed lives. We not only see real people, in real life activities, but get a glimpse into their personal world, seeing who they are and what they've overcome. 
DAILY QUIET TIME - The sweetest music to God's ears. 
Now then, while everyone depicted here has adapted an approach to their Daily Quiet Time in a way befitting their personal style, they in fact all share a common bond. Can you tell me what this common thread is? No I am not going to tell you right off. Where's the fun it that? I'll just say that you're probably right, and for more than one reason.

DAILY QUIET TIME - Kneeling, sitting or pacing - God cares not for the position of the of body, but the condition of the heart.
Okay then - as you read these stories, did you notice that no two are alike? Yes, they come from all walks of life, are different ages, sexes, come from dissimilar social classes and diverse regions throughout the country, yet there's more.
DAILY QUIET TIME - Realizing that it's now always easy to meet with God actually made it easier for Sunil. 
While some prefer traditional Daily Quiet Time at the foot of the bed, others go for a walk, contemplate in a meadow, mediate over a cup of coffee or seek His face while exercising. Just as God created us uniquely, so are our ways to connect with Him. I know you've considered this before, but have you ever seen it?
DAILY QUIET TIME - Jennifer, like so many of us, discovered her optimal time to reconnect with God is before she even gets out of bed. 
For the most part, the people depicted here are people like you and me. All recognize the real need for a daily walk with God, and even a greater urgency to set aside a portion of their day to connect with the Creator of the universe. We can relate to them in some way.
DAILY QUIET TIME - Tom not only found diamonds right in his own backyard, but in his own Adirondack chair.
It is my hope that as you have read their stories, something might have kindeled a spark within you, which you related to, and in turn motivated you to dig deeper - moving you forward to finding what sort of setting most corresponds to a scenario that would work best for you.
DAILY QUIET TIME - It's never too late to connect with God, that is, when you still have breath. 
If none come to mind, the next step is to consider which lifestyle most appeals to you, and what aspect might you take home and adapt to making it a doable Daily Quiet Time. Ultimately, it will be something unique to you. Something you discover that will at long last work - something that will connect you closer to God and transform your character into that of God's Son. 

After all, Character Transformation is what being put on this planet IS ALL ABOUT. Right?
DAILY QUIET TIME - Toby's unconventional venue to meet with God is not only practical for him, he's got ample seating. 
Lastly, and vital that you not miss - just in case you misunderstood me earlier when I called these images "illustrations," please note that I meant precisely what I said. Though the people are real, the words attributed to them are either expressed to me from friends and counselees, or from my heart. The only actual quote is from George Bush (along with one of his favorite verses).

DAILY QUIET TIME - George Bush reflects on what his daily prayer time means to him.
I have offered and presented pastors/publishers with the proposal that these illustrations, if presented from genuine individuals, from all walks of life, president and pauper alike, have the potential to shift paradigms, alter behavior, and thus change lives. There is some interest. How about you?
DAILY QUIET TIME - For Barack Obama, prayer is the start and end to his waking hours. 
To wit, if you found this to be true, and you were in some way moved or motivated to establish your own Daily Quiet Time, please share your story with me. I may want to include your story, along with a portrait I create, in the catalogue of images I am currently preparing for publication.

Of course, for our publication to be authentic and credible, any Daily Quite Time established will have to be something that's become a joyous habit and not just a flash. Should you believe your DQT meets this simple criteria, I'd love to hear your story and then see if it might be something I can illustrate so that other lives might be motivated into making a Quite Time for themselves as well.

As always, should you have any questions, no concern is too small.


Mark
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