InnerChange

Growing our Faith by Changing our Ways

Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.

— A. W. Tozer

If you’re like me, there are aspects of how you live your life that you want to improve — especially in your relationship with Jesus. It can be easy to become content with how things might be, so much so that we might not even realize that there is room for growth! Working against us are cultural norms, peer pressure, bad habits — or simply a lack of encouragement to take the next step toward making a change.

Well, Houston’s First wants to be that source of encouragement. From October through Easter in late April, we’re providing helpful resources related to a different spiritual discipline each month. The goal of this intentional focus — called InnerChange — is to deepen our faith by incorporating practices that will turn our attention to Him and align our hearts with His.

As followers of Christ, let’s commit to never becoming complacent with where we are in our relationship with our Savior. If you do not already know Jesus, I invite you to ask questions and seek answers here at Houston’s First. Take a step toward making the greatest inner-change you could ever make — giving your life to Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Pastor Gregg Matte

Text Updates

Text INNERCHANGE to 41411 to subscribe to occasional words of encouragement, ideas, and resources to help you change your ways

Be Still.

Busyness is often the accepted way of life in our culture. Even without a full calendar of meetings to attend and errands to run, our relationships and responsibilities can keep us occupied (or distracted) all day long — and keep us away from time with God. With this in mind, learning to simply be still can have a profound impact on our faith.

The suggestions and resources provided below are just a few ways to help you pause and be still in October. Whether using these or your own ideas, pursue intentional moments of peace and quiet this month. Perhaps you’ll develop a new discipline that will prove even more helpful as the busyness of the holidays is just around the corner!

Suggested ActionsYour IdeasPastor Gregg's Message
Children & StudentsMusic Video


Suggested Actions

Here are a few specific things you can do throughout the month that are designed to help you slow down the busyness of life and focus on Him.

Find a park or garden

You may not have to travel far to find an outdoor space where you can simply sit, look, and listen. It might be a challenge, but try sitting there for at least 30 minutes with your Bible and a journal. What does God bring to mind? How are you led to pray in that moment?

Prayer walk through your neighborhood

Take your time as you walk down your street or through your complex. Along the way, pray for the neighbors who live around you — either for the whole community or for specific people God brings to mind.

Memorize related Bible verses

There are several short verses that talk about being still and quiet. Here are a few to memorize. What other ones can you find?

    • "Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!" — 1 Samuel 12:16
    • "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." — Psalm 37:7
    • "He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'” — Psalm 46:10
    • "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken." — Psalm 62:5-6

Read related Bible passages

Beyond short verses, there are also stories in the Bible where being still factored in to what took place. As you read these, ask God what truths you can apply in your life.

Schedule 1-on-1 time with the Lord

In the midst of busyness, even our best intentions can get derailed. Purposefully set aside time to spend with the Lord — just you and Him. It could be over lunch, an afternoon, an entire day, or whatever. Schedule it around other appointments and follow-through with that commitment.

Turn off all screens

No, not forever! But, choose a designated hour each night when your phone, tablet, laptop, computer, and TV will all be turned off. Spend that screen-free time reading, praying, talking with your family — or simply sitting still and relaxing.


What ideas do YOU have?

We want to hear your suggestions for how to intentionally be still this month (and beyond). Share your ideas with us using the short form below.

YOUR INNERCHANGE IDEAS


Pastor Gregg's Message

Pastor Gregg takes a deeper look at Psalm 46:10 — "Be still and know that I am God ..."

Children and Students

Our NextGen Ministries offer these suggestions for preschoolers, children, and students as you guide them in the discipline of being still.


Preschoolers

When you have preschoolers, it is best to keep things simple! Take the family outside to a park or just the backyard. Have everyone lay or sit on a blanket. Encourage your little ones to be very quiet. Whisper to them “What do you hear? Do you hear a bird? Do you hear the wind?” Let them describe what they hear. Help them identify the sounds. Say, “God made the birds. God made the crickets.” Bring a Bible with you, and open it to Genesis 1. Let your children know God created everything, and it is good!

Resources:

  • Bible Verses & Phrases for Preschool (PDF) — a helpful resource for enabling young children to understand what different Bible verses are all about
  • CSB Read to Me Bible (book) — developed to help you introduce the Bible to young children in a way that will help them understand its message and its worth

Children

Take out evening distractions and replace it with a meal at home followed by a technology-free family walk once a week. Use some of the following ideas as you take your family walk:
  • Listen for the nature sounds that you hear on your walk. Thank God for each thing He created that you see on your walk.
  • Do a prayer walk through your neighborhood. Ask God to bless the families and give your family a chance to minister to them.
  • Take time to re-connect with each other as you do your family walk. Have each person take time to tell about their day and how God helped them that day.
  • Encourage each other as you take your walk. Have each family member tell why they are thankful for one another.
  • Turn your walk into a praise walk. Have each member of your family share their favorite praise song and sing it a cappella as a family as you walk through your neighborhood.

Resources:


Students

For teens and families of teenagers, technology and busy schedules tend to be at the top of the list of things that keep time alone with the Lord and family time from being meaningful. The HUB Student Ministry would like to encourage students and families to find small victories in their time together by being intentional with what they allow into their daily/weekly routine.

Here are some ideas that we encourage students and families to give a shot for the month of October.

  • Go for a walk without headphones/earbuds once a week. Walking alone or with your family can allow for not only good exercise but great communication with the Lord and your family members.
  • Commit to having two tech-free meals together. Create a “technology stack” with devices you may normally bring to the table (mostly phones). Stack them in the middle of the table and make it a game — the first person who reaches for their device has to clean the table, wash the dishes, take out the trash, etc. The goal is to laugh and play together while enjoying a meal.
  • Turn off the TV. Try to have one game night a week with your family instead of watching a movie or a show. Board games, dominoes, and cards are still relevant and can help create playful conversations.
  • Just sit still. Choose a time during your day that you can turn everything off around you and sit still for 10 minutes. We can find 10 minutes in our busy schedules, we just have to be intentional! During the 10 minutes, commit to praying for your desire for the Lord and your family.