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Touch Point: Advent
Compiled by Diana C. Bennett, D. Min.

This touch point serves to deepen our understanding of the birth of Jesus as a historical event which is also relevant to our present and future. Through Jesus God becomes near; He is God with us and within us.
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Touch Point: Community
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

What does Christian community look like? The writings of Bonhoeffer and Macchia teach that fellowship and solitude walk hand in hand--you cannot have one without the other. And it is in community with others that we are challenged to grow and are supported in our times of need. This is the body of Christ in action.
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Touch Point: Contemplative Bible Reading
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

Lectio Divina, the tradition of sacred reading of scripture, is a powerful tool that invites us to change as we ponder God's word. This Touch Point walks the reader through the process of Lectio, opening the way to knowing Christ through engaging with Him in His word.
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Touch Point: Daily Examen
Compiled By Matthew E. Scott, M.Div. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

Saint Ignatius believed that the presence and work of God could be found in all of life’s experiences. And as the founder of the Society of Jesus in the 16th century, he created a way for his fellow brothers to examine their lives each day. The Examen is a spiritual practice of recalling and noticing the presence of God in our daily life. It is a tool to help us pay attention and recollect the moments of the day where we sensed God was at work in us.
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Touch Point: Forgiving Others
Compiled by Ellie Beatty, M.S. Ed.
Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” - Luke 11:4 “Before we try to define or clarify what forgiveness is, let us lay aside some of the things it is not. For example, to forgive does not mean to deny our hurt. Sometimes we think we are ‘keeping the peace’ and showing a forgiving attitude when all we have done is suppress our pain. Forgiveness is possible only when we acknowledge the hurtful impact of a person’s actions on our lives, whether or not the offender intended harm.”

(Marjorie Thompson)
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Touch Point: God’s Strength in Our Weakness
Compiled by Kevin M. Antlitz, M.Div., Th.M.
Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 9:10 (NIV)
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Touch Point: Goodness of God
“No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18) What does the goodness of God look like in our world? And how does it draw us in? We acknowledge that God alone is good and that we are a result of his goodness. From a young age we are told to “be good” by our parents and other adults in our lives. Try as we might, our goodness is inadequate. St. Augustine suggests that “I serve and worship you so that from you good may come to be. To you I owe my being and the goodness of my being.”
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Touch Point: Hospitality
Compiled By Matthew E. Scott, M.Div. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

The ministry of hospitality is much deeper than simply providing a clean, clutter-free, quiet space. It extends beyond entertaining, giving shelter or providing food. More than that, it is a ministry of presence. Being fully present with another invites them to be fully present to the work of God in their life.

In its truest essence, hospitality is offering the welcoming presence of God to all people. Because we’ve been fully welcomed into the loving embrace of God, we are able to extend that to others. And in doing so, we’re providing a space and place where one can be known and loved by God.
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Touch Point: Hymnody Charles Wesley
Compiled By Matthew E. Scott, M.Div. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

To my knowledge, no man in history has written more prolifically than Charles Wesley in regards to church music and hymnody. Often over-shadowed by his brother Jonathan, Charles Wesley should be equally honored for his contributions to Methodism and the spread of Wesylan traditions.
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Touch Point: Intimacy with Christ
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

Using the words of Henri Nouwen, J. Oswald Sanders and Jonathan Edwards, this Touch Point describes the discipline of knowing God deeply, and of being mastered by the Spirit. This can happen only when we are alone, when we seek intimacy with Christ above everything else.
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Touch Point: Listening Prayer
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

When we listen to God, we need to pay focused attention to Him. And the more we practice listening prayer, the more readily we recognize His voice. This Touch Point guides the reader through the practice of listening prayer in simple and clear language.
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Touch Point: Listening to God
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

Listening is foundational to our relationship with God. Jesus said "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me." (John 10:27). The art of contemplative, holy listening is described in this Touch Point.
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Touch Point: Listening to One Another
By Tom Griffith, D. Min.
Leadership Transformations, Inc.

When was the last time when you felt someone really listened to you? . . .
When after you spoke, you felt, “they really understood me—they get me?” This is the heart of real communication; it is “to make common”—to share understanding. Unfortunately, most do not experience a deep sense of common sharing in our communication very often. Yet, in Scripture James makes it clear, “. . . Take note of this, everyone should be quick to listen . . .” (James 1:19)
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Touch Point: Living in the Spirit
Most of us know Acts 2. The filling of the Holy Spirit. But what of that remains for us today? We may celebrate Pentecost Sunday each year but what about each day? “The early church taught, the Spirit would companion us home.” Be challenged to live in the Spirit for this day.
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Touch Point: Meditating on God's World
Compiled by Elinor Beatty

How does creation point us to its Creator? Through scripture and the writings of Foster, Thompson, and Muller, this touch point focuses on worshiping God for his creation, and concludes with a practical exercise.
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Touch Point: Noticing God
In this TouchPoint, Dr. Stephen Macchia takes a look at a few noteworthy “noticing God” activities to consider for your own spiritual rhythm - specifically The Prayer of Examen and Ignatian Contemplation: Imaginative Prayer. How are you noticing God today?
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Touch Point: Open Handed Prayer
Compiled By Matthew E. Scott, M.Div. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

Opening our hands to God is no simple task. For in doing so, we are opening ourselves to be led by God to a place we would rather not go—a place of vulnerability. Prayer is not merely offering requests to God. To pray means that we open up our clenched fists. The following quotes from Henri Nouwen will help you move towards a posture of open-handedness.
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Touch Point: Order of Love
Compiled By Kevin M. Antlitz, M.Div., Th M. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
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Touch Point: Peterson on Prayer
Compiled By Kevin M. Antlitz, M.Div., Th M. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“Prayer is not something we think up to get God’s attention or enlist his favor. Prayer is answering speech. The first word is God’s word. Prayer is a human word and is never the first word, never the primary word, never the initiating and shaping word simply because we are never first, never primary. We do not honor prayer by treating it as something that it is not, even when that something is, as we suppose, sacred and exalted…”.
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Touch Point: Prayer
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

Prayer, as yielding to God daily, is the way in which we encounter Him and He transforms us. Prayer is a powerful weapon and can become a way of life for those who engage in it intentionally and daily. In this Touch Point five writers describe the nature of a life of prayer.
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Touch Point: Receiving God's Forgiveness
Compiled by Ellie Beatty, M.S. Ed.
Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—GOD holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him. When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a
clean breast of my failures to GOD.’ Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray; when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we’ll be on high ground, untouched.”

- Psalm 32:1-6 (The Message)
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Touch Point: Reflective Journaling
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

This Touch Point outlines the process of previewing and reviewing our days in writing, in order to see the hand of God in the events of our lives. Practical suggestions for daily journaling are included.
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Touch Point: Retreats for Companioning with God
Compiled by Susan P. Currie

It takes "set-aside time and space" to develop an attentive life with God. Offering a few simple guidelines for how to arrange personal retreats that foster such attentiveness, this Touch Point frames its suggestions with quotes from the teachings of Eugene Peterson, Belden Lane, and Henri Nouwen.
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Touch Point: Sabbath Ceasing
Compiled by Elinor Beatty M.S. Ed.

Ceasing from work is the first "phase" of entering fully into Sabbath. The aim of this Touch Point is to help the reader enter into Sabbath. It guides the reader into the into what ceasing looks like and how it may be accomplished. It is one of the three touch points on Sabbath included in the Sabbath full-day soul care retreat.
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Touch Point: Sabbath Embracing and Feasting
Compiled by Elinor Beatty M.S. Ed.

When we cease from our work and we rest and we are free to spend the spaciousness of unstructured time in embracing God’s goodness and feasting on the gifts he has given us. This Touch Point guides the reader into the fullness that can be experienced while practicing the Sabbath. It is one of the three touch points on Sabbath included in the Sabbath full-day soul care retreat.
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Touch Point: Sabbath Resting
Compiled by Elinor Beatty M.S. Ed.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28-29, The Message). This Touch Point guides the reader into the fullness of rest that God offers to those who practice the Sabbath. It is one of the three touch points on Sabbath included in the Sabbath full-day soul care retreat.
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Touch Point: Silence and Solitude
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

We cannot hear the voice of God unless we practice the disciplines of silence and solitude. Four authors describe the purpose of listening through the inner silence of the heart, the place where we are attentive to the Holy Spirit.
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Touch Point: Spiritual Discernment
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

Comprised of passages from the Guide to prayer for Spiritual Discernment, this Touch Point calls us to pay attention to God in our daily walk with Him. When our deepest desire is to know God's will, He unfailingly reveals Himself to us.
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Touch Point: Spiritual Formation Group Sharing and Listening
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D. Min.

Full of practical advice and guidelines, this touchpoint serves as a manual for spiritual listening in groups. Foundational for groups seeking to listen and respond in the spirit.
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Touch Point: Spiritual Friendship
Compiled By Matthew E. Scott, M.Div. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“Most of us have friends. We have friends who are interested in the same things we are interested in. We have friends who share our faith perspectives. We have friends who help us. But in my mind, the best kind of friends are “soul friends.” These are people with whom I can be forthcoming and honest about my own soul. In return, they reflect God’s love for me in their words, their attitudes and their actions. These are friends who “enflesh” God for me. God loves and nourishes my soul through these friends.”

- Alice Fryling
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Touch Point: The Discipline of Noticing God
Compiled by Stephen A. Macchia, D.Min., Leadership Transformations, Inc.

Richard Peace's book Noticing God (IVP, 2012) invites the reader into the spiritual discipline of noticing. I'm struck by how significant this is for the practice of reflection in the spiritual life (reflection is one of the three legs of the stool of basic practices in one’s spiritual formation: Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection). In his latest work, Peace outlines several helpful practices and places to consider as a believer learns how to notice God…in mystical encounters, in the ordinary, in the still small voice, in the written Word, in community, as well as in the church, creation, culture, and creativity. From his introduction, "God is present in our world. In fact, God's presence pervades our world. God is not in hiding. The problem is with us. We don't know where to look or what to expect. We do not seem to notice. We need to learn to notice. We need to engage in what I have come to call the 'spiritual discipline of noticing God'" (p.14). The discipline of noticing God is similar to Brother Lawrence's "practicing the presence of God" and the Quaker mystic Thomas Kelly's "the practice of inward orientation, of inward worship and listening" and Klaus Bockmuehl's "listening to the God who speaks" and Ben Campbell Johnson's "deepening our sense of the Divine Presence." How well are you noticing God today?
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Touch Point: The Grace of God
We sing about grace, we talk about grace, and many of us can define grace in a neatly packaged couple of words. But do we understand that it is an attribute of God? And that Christ is the embodiment of the grace of God? Looking at scripture and quotes by Tozer, Pink and Berkhof will challenge us to look at grace anew in this TouchPoint
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Touch Point: The Holiness of God
In this TouchPoint we take a look at the holiness of God and what separates him from all the rest of creation. But not only is he separate but he is exalted above all of creation. And we are called to live into this holiness. Quotes by Jonathan Edwards, Millard Erickson, Michael Horton and Louis Berkhof.
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Touch Point: The Longsuffering of God
Do you understand the power and depth of what it means that God is longsuffering? You may find these quotes by Pink, Spurgeon, Berkhof and Piper, help you understand a key attribute of who God is and how it is he interacts with us, his people. Read and be encouraged.
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Touch Point: The Mercy of God
A beautiful hymn by Frederick William Faber begins with “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy.” God’s tender compassion for his followers is wide and high and deep. Psalm 145:9 says that “His tender mercies are over all his works.” But we so often are confused by mercy and yet is an important part of who God is and how he interacts with us.
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Touch Point: The Righteousness of God
A very important aspect or characteristic of God is righteousness, yet many in the church cannot begin to define it. Knowing God means knowing who he is. And he is righteous. This TouchPoint will help you to understand what it means to love and follow a righteous God.
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Touch Point: This Life as a Pilgrimage to the Next
Puritan pastor, Jonathan Edwards had much to say about this earth not being our home. In this TouchPoint, you will read Edward and Bunyan as well as what scripture has to say about our lives as pilgrims.
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Touch Point: This Life as a Pilgrimage Towards the Next
Compiled by Kevin M. Antlitz, M.Div., Th.M.
Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“Why the Christian’s life is a journey or pilgrimage? This world is not our abiding place. Our continuance here is but very short. Man’s days on the earth are as a shadow. It was never designed by God that this world should be our home.”

– Jonathan Edwards
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Touch Point: Willard on Formation
Compiled By Kevin M. Antlitz, M.Div., Th.M. Leadership Transformations, Inc.

“The quest for spiritual formation…is in fact an age-old and worldwide one. It is rooted in the deep personal and even biological need for goodness that haunts humanity. It has taken many forms and has now resurfaced at the beginning of the twenty-first century to meet our present situation…spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself….[thus] in the degree to which spiritual formation is successful, the outer life of the individual becomes a natural expression or outflow of the character and teachings of Jesus. Christian spiritual formation is focused entirely on Jesus. Its goal is an obedience or conformity to Christ that arises out of an inner transformation accomplished through purposive interaction with the grace of God in Christ. Obedience is an essential outcome of Christian spiritual formation” (John 13:34-35; 14:21)
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