Choose two of the three days this weekend to complete this task.

On the first day you choose, sit down with a Bible (one with a concordance could be helpful), and a pen and paper or a journal. Think back to earlier this week when you considered aspects of God’s character, spent time in confession and fasted either food or technology. What has come to your mind about God, yourself or the relationship between you? Perhaps you have already written some of these things in your Facebook Note. Write them down on your paper.

Then search the Bible to see what God has to say about each concept. You can look up key words in your concordance, or if you already know the Scriptures fairly well, think about Scripture passages you know and look them up. It may be an exploratory process where one passage leads to another, and it may take some time to find the words the Bible uses to describe what you are learning. As you find passages, write them down on your paper next to your insights or struggles. Try to spend at least half an hour on this, or until you have a substantial list.

On the other day, take your list and your Bible and find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, perhaps in your room or some place outdoors. Pray that God would guide you and speak His truth to your heart. Then one at a time, look up your passages, read through them slowly, and spend a couple of minutes in silence after each one. Prayer is good, but try not to fill up that silence with your prayers. Concentrate on God’s Word and on keeping your mind quiet (“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength...’ ” Isaiah 30:15).

Weekends are usually when I get the opportunity to spend quite time with Christ anyway.  Despite the strong temptation to sleep in, I still get up and start my day before 6am.  On Saturdays it gives me a few hours of quiet reflection before the rest of the world wakes up.  On Sundays it gives me some extra time to spend specifically with God.

When I was writing about God's character, the overarching note I kept hitting was of His amazing and unparalleled love for us.  Though we weren't worthy, He chose to come to earth, live as a man, and sacrifice himself for our sin.  As I tell my Bible study group time and again, I feel a lot of guilt for that - something I did caused Him to suffer, and though He's already forgiven me for it I often find that forgiveness hard to accept.

I know if someone I loved hurt me in such a way, willfully or not, that it would be hard for me to forgive.  It's the grace of God that so often leaves me speechless and dumbfounded when we're spending quite time together.

On Sundays, I set up the church building and sanctuary for service.  This involves unlocking doors, turning on the lights, setting up the sound system, queuing up slides for worship, and finding the miscellaneous YouTube videos our pastor wants to incorporate into his sermon.  Church starts at 10, but I'm usually in the building some time between 7:30 and 8 so I can get set up before the worship team gets in for rehearsal.

Today, I used that extra alone time to listen for God's voice and reflect on what I'd read and wrote.  Since absolute silence for me is deafening, I left the radio on quietly in the background.  As I was praying over my guilty conscience and reflecting on God's grace in the gift of Christ's sacrifice, the new Sidewalk Prophets song, You Love Me Anyway, came one.

I heard this song for the first time a few weeks ago, and it's one with the kind of lyrics I could sit and discuss forever.  But my point is that I was essentially praying an apology and asking for understanding as to why God continued to love me despite all the wrong I'd done throughout my life.  I feel that making that song come on at that time was God's way of explaining a few things to me.

The bridge of the song sums up my regrets quite clearly:

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway

See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
Oh, God… how you love me

I was near tears.  It was a very powerful experience for me, knowing that despite what I've done - and what I fear I'll continue to do despite my desire not to - God still loves me.  There are no words to describe that feeling, and being able to take this time to reflect on God's character, spend time in the Word to learn even more, and to have a private conversation with him is one of the most moving things I've been involved in so far this year.