Spiritual Formation Matters

Spiritual Formation Matters

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 10/16/14

I have spent some time with a few of our recent high school graduates, now college freshmen. Something remarkable happens in that  time between the end of the last year of high school and the end of the first semester of college. All of the finality of graduation passes away. You realize that the end of one phase was really the beginning of a new one. I have been a pastor long enough now to see students move from college to career to kids.
 
We are always being shaped, educated, formed, and changed; ever being met with a new phase of life. Remembering this freshman feeling might serve us well. How will we prepare ourselves spiritually for the life we have ahead of us, whether we are eighty-two or twenty-two?
 
Dallas Willard describes the universal nature of  formation as “a process that  happens to everyone. The most despicable as well as the most admired of persons have a spiritual formation.” Slackers and saints, both, are being spiritually formed in one way or another.
 
We are committed at Highland Hills to providing avenues of spiritual formation to those at every age and stage of life. Sunday School, Bible study, spiritual retreats, mission trips, and worship—each of these activities shape our particular community of faith. We hope to embrace spiritual maturity as a model for lifelong learners in the way of Jesus. Maturation happens when we realize that there is no end to our walk with God. There are always lessons to learn as a disciple of Jesus.

Honing in on Hospitality

Honing in on Hospitality

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 10/9/14

We are southerners. We understand hospitality here in Macon, where every guest is welcomed with a smile, southern drawl, and a glass of sweet tea. What if hospitality goes beyond our gentile niceties?

On Becoming a Worshiping Church

On Becoming a Worshiping Church

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 10/2/14

Worship is the most important thing we do as practicing, faithful, Christians. If you ask people why they like worshiping at their congregation, you will get a bevy of responses, most based on personal tastes. “I like worship where we sing hymns, see no screens, and sound the hour by the organ.” If you ask another, you might also hear that they like worship at their church because, “the sermons are short, the music is loud, and the drums quicken the pulse.” Asking why someone likes worship may be the wrong question. It invariably leads to issues of style, taste, and personal preference.

Ministry and the Best Marriage

Ministry and the Best Marriage

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, October 2014

Happy Anniversary! Days like these just seem to sneak up on you, right? A year ago, I wrote about all of the firsts we would experience together. In the time between that first article and this one, we have made our way through the entire cycle of the Christian year from Advent to Christ the King Sunday. We have worshiped in the morning, vespered in the evening, and sung the silence of Taizé on Tuesday nights. We have communed, baptized, and soon will bless all the animals.

Welcome to Daddy's House

Welcome to Daddy's House

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/25/14

“God, our Father, Christ, our brother, all who live in love are thine.”
 
Our son, Logan, has a lot to say these days. We are learning his likes: apples and goldfish. We are also learning his dislikes: haircuts, during which he simply says, “noooo!” Engaging this ever-loquacious two-year old means listening closely to try to figure out exactly what he is saying. “Liking my fiend,” heard repeatedly, is actually “Lightning McQueen,” the hero of the Cars movies. It also means asking him a lot of questions to plumb the depths of his growing vocabulary. “Logan, what is that?” “Where are we?” We are constantly narrating our life together; we name where we have been, where we are, and what we are doing.

Eat, Pray, Wow!

Eat, Pray, Wow!

by Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/18/14

Spending two days at St. Simon’s Island with a group of 25 women is bound to be a fun-filled experience, but when it’s the HHBC Women’s Retreat, it is so much more than that! It’s true that we enjoyed fabulous seafood, laughed until tears ran down our faces, and basked in the sense of renewal that only an island retreat can provide, but the weekend was more than just a break from our everyday routines. At the Women’s Retreat last weekend, our group of women, who represented a variety of ages and stages of life, found a sisterhood in our shared struggles and faith.
 

Rested and Renewed

Rested and Renewed

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/11/14

As many of you know, I’ve just returned from a six-week sabbatical. My “rest from work” included times of worship, rehearsal, travel, moving Chase into college, prayer, more travel and, yes, some time of rest. I missed the routine of my daily church life and I missed all of you, but I so enjoyed my time of rest and renewal and I thank you all for giving me this opportunity.

Learning to Read

Learning to Read

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/4/14

Ellen Davis, a favorite professor of mine, tells the story of a cartoon in the New Yorker that shows a man making inquiry at the information counter of a large bookstore. The clerk, tapping on his keyboard and peering intently into the computer screen, replies, "The Bible?. . That would be under self-help.” We get the joke. Interpreting the Bible requires more than knowing that you should read top to bottom and left to right. Beyond that reading the text is not a solitary affair. We need each other to read the text rightly.