TWO FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS
What is the truth about who God is?"
"What is the truth about who I am?"
Other questions to ponder:
What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
How do we live well?
What is the greatest opportunity that life gives me?
Am I passionate about Jesus and how do I cultivate that passion?
- these three questions are from Trevor Hudson
What causes you to feel a closeness to God?
Where do most of your important conversations happen?
What kind of person am I becoming?
What kind of person are we becoming together?
What kind of person do I want to become?
What kind of person do I enjoy being?
How can I deepen my relationships with the important people in my life?
What are some ways accepting Jesus can be meant?
As with any investigation it is important to ask the right question. Perhaps a better question than "Have you accepted Jesus" would be:
“Have you accepted Jesus as your life?”
This encompasses more than checking off a box on a questionnaire. This involves moving the authority of your whole life from yourself over to Jesus. Please note the word ‘moving’. This correctly implies a process. There are initial steps in the journey but just deciding and taking the first step doesn’t complete the whole journey.
At some point it will need to be clear that that first step has been taken. For some it is a discrete moment where they make an intentional choice. For others, it may be glancing back over your past and realizing that, yes you did make a decision and it has been unfolding for you ever since.
Once you realize that you are on that journey, then the key question becomes whether you intend to intentionally engage in the process of being like Jesus? If you do, other aspects of your life will fall away, some gradually and some suddenly. An intentional plan to grow to be like Jesus in order to serve others is the essence of Spiritual Formation.
For all people religion offers us a statement of who we are and tells us what empowers us. As followers of Jesus Christ our primary basis for security in life is the love of God. Until we can replace false, harmful images of God with ones that lead us to receive His love, we will be floundering without an anchor.
Perhaps one of the best gospel presentations was the title of a sermon, ” God Gave His Life For Us, So He could give His Life To Us, So He could Live His Life Through Us” given by Bob George - date and source unknown
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like unto it: Love your neighbor as yourself. On these hang all the law and the prophets.
What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
Being in Christ means that you have stepped over the line to exchange your kingdom for the Kingdom of God through a living faith in Jesus. Your kingdom is where what you want done is done the way you want it done. God’s Kingdom is where what God wants done is done the way God wants it done. St. Patrick of Ireland expressed being in Christ so well in his ‘breastplate” prayer:
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Prayer & Fasting
The Practice of the Presence of God - Bro Lawrence
Meditative Prayer - Foster
Experiencing God Through Prayer - Guyon
Prayer - Foster
God's Chosen Fast - Wallis
The God of Intimacy and Action - Campolo and Darling
Tending To Eden - Sabin
Freedom of Simplicity - Foster
A Testament of Devotion - Kelly
Hearing God - Willard
Invitation to Solitude and Silence - Barton
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook - Calhoun
Celebration of Discipline - Foster
Invitation to a Journey - Mulholland
Streams of Living Water - Foster
Life with God
Humility - Murray
Reaching Out - Nouwen
Basic Christianity - Stott
Renovation of the Heart - Willard
Experiencing God - Blackaby
The Cost of Discipleship - Bonhoeffer
Divine Conspiracy - Willard
He Leadeth Me - Ciszek
Life Together - Bonhoeffer
Healing Care, Healing Prayer - Wardle
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality - Scazzero
Victory over the Darkness - Anderson
The Father Loves You - Piorek
Spiritual Direction from a particularly evangelical Christian approach
Earth Stewardship Resources
Being Spiritually Formed
Holy Habits/Spiritual Disciplines
Spiritual Practices, Holy Habits, Spiritual Disciplines, Soul Care
What these actions are called isn’t as important as actually doing them. It is God’s grace that works transformation in us from the inside out. However, we do have a part to play in the process. We could indulge in various sins of omission or commission or even just welcome distractions which would all keep us from receiving the fullness of what God wants to give us. Our part is to do those things, with the intention of being receptive to God, which allow us to be in a place where we can receive what God chooses to offer. Two excellent books on this subject are Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster andSpiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun.
One approach is to examine the life of Jesus to see what practices he engaged in to be energized and vital while ministering, teaching, casting out demons and healing.
Over the last few months, as the gospels were re-read, the practices of Jesus were noted. Some of the disciplines that showed up were prayer, solitude, fasting, study, service, hospitality worship, creativity, celebration, holiness, baptism, scripture reading, invitation, love, compassion, benevolence, reconciliation, submission to authority, practicing Sabbath, resting, accountability, retreat, humility, servanthood, discernment, and teaching.
A Testament of Devotion
by Thomas Kelly
Life from the Center is a life of unhurried peace and power. It is simple. It is serene. It is amazing. It is triumphant. It is radiant. It takes no time, but it occupies all our time. And it makes our life programs new and overcoming. We need not get frantic. He is at the helm. And when our little day is done we lie down quietly in peace, for all is well. page 124