Citywide Baptist Church
Where Spiritual Ministry begins
Following Jesus is the absolute heart of what we are about at Citywide Baptist Church, and for that to be true each one of us needs to learn what it means to spend the kind of time with him that allows us to relate to him like the friend and brother He is. Jesus teaches us that we need to learn not to just express our faith in public but that our faith should come out of our times alone with God.
Locations & Times
  • Citywide Baptist Church (Mornington)
    400 Cambridge Rd, Mornington TAS 7018, Australia
    Sunday 10:00 AM
  • Citywide Baptist Church (Lenah Valley)
    2 Pottery Rd, Lenah Valley TAS 7008, Australia
    Sunday 10:00 AM
  • Online
    Friday 6:00 PM
  • Marrawah Baptist Church
    826 Comeback Rd, Marrawah TAS 7330, Australia
    Sunday 9:00 AM
At Citywide Baptist church we believe the most important thing you can do with your life is to Follow Jesus.
We believe that there are certain things we can do that make it easier for us to Follow Jesus, and they are important, but only as far as they create space for relationship with Him.
Fast and Pray
Observe Sabbath
Listen to God
Learn the Bible
Offer Tithe and Time
The people were expected to pray at the hour of the morning and evening sacrifices, the third and ninth hours (Ezra 9:5; Dan 9:21), and many would add a prayer at midday (Dan 6:10). The picture is of a person contriving to be at a busy street corner at the hour of prayer so everyone could observe such incredible piety.

Grant R. Osborne
The “closet” (ταμεῖον) is a small storage closet inside the otherwise single-room Palestinian home. It was the only room that could be locked, in one sense the least sanctified part of the home with food for animals, etc., but in another the most private part of the home. The point is total privacy to commune with the Father apart from outside distractions.

Grant R. Osborne

We meet with God and can most clearly Hear him in the secret place.

Solitude is being with God and God alone. Is there any space for that in your life?

Why is it so important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It's important because it's the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you "my beloved daughter," "my beloved son," "my beloved child." To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being.

Now this is not easy. Jesus spent the night in prayer. That's a picture of the fact that prayer is not something you always feel. It's not a voice you always hear with these ears. It's not always an insight that suddenly comes to you in your little mind. (God's heart is greater than the human heart,
God's mind is greater than the human mind, and God's light is so great that it might blind you and make you feel like you're in the night.)

But you have to pray. You have to listen to the voice who calls you the beloved, because otherwise you will run around begging for affirmation, for praise, for success. And then you're not free.

The trouble is, as soon as you sit and become quiet, you think, Oh, I forgot this. I should call my friend. Later on I'm going to see him. Your inner life is like a banana tree filled with monkeys jumping up and down.

It's not easy to sit and trust that in solitude God will speak to you— not as a magical voice but that he will let you know something gradually over the years. And in that word from God you will find the inner place from which to live your life.

Solitude is where spiritual ministry begins. That's where Jesus listened to God. That's where we listen to God.

Sometimes I think of life as a big wagon wheel with many spokes. In the middle is the hub. Often in ministry, it looks like we are running around the rim trying to reach everybody. But God says, "Start in the hub; live in the hub. Then you will be connected with all the spokes, and you won't have to run so fast.”

It's precisely in the hub, in that communion with God, that we discover the call to community. It's remarkable that solitude always calls us to community. In solitude you realize you're part of a human family and that you want to lift something together.

By community, I don't mean formal communities. I mean families, friends, parishes, twelve step programs, prayer groups. Community is not an organization; community is a way of living: you gather around you people with whom you want to proclaim the truth that we are the beloved sons and
daughters of God.

― Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Son of God who was in constant relationship with the Father still needed to regularly withdraw to lonely places to be able to shut out the noise and rest in relationship with God.
Most of us fill our lives with noise to avoid being lonely.
“To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen
It is often the pain of loneliness that keeps us away from solitude we need.
Prayer is a two way conversation that must involve more listening than talking.

The Hearing God Course

At Citywide we know that we are on a journey to Learn to Listen to God and this year we had Jeremy and Lisa Peters do a full day's training for us on what it means.
Jesus makes it clear that God the Father is ready to listen and knows what you are going to say before you even say it.
“A spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen
Listening Prayer:

Jesus please show me in what ways I can make more time to be with you in the Secret place.

Individual or Small Group Questions
Read Matthew 5:48 - 6:4

1) As you look at the practices we encourage as part of following Jesus (below) talk about what God has shown you over the years about one or more of them.
Fast and Pray
Observe Sabbath
Listen to God
Learn the Bible
Offer Tithe and Time

2)Is the warning Jesus is giving about people doing their religious practise "to be seen by others" ever been something you have wrestled with?

3)How does being alone with God actually work for you in your day to day life?

4)Have someone read the long quote from Henri Nouwen and then talk about what bits speak to you or stand out.

5) Matt talked about facing the pain of loneliness himself and the slow move to solitude. He also acknowledged though how easy it is to crowd out his own spiritual life with noise. Where are you up to at the moment on the journey from loneliness to solitude?

6) Share what you sense God is wanting to say to you about the amount of time and where you are spending time with him. Do you sense it needs to change or stay the same?

Jesus what are you saying to me and to us about how we spend time with you?

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