We must not be led to believe that the Disciplines are only for spiritual giants and hence beyond our reach, or only for contemplatives who devote all their time to prayer and meditation. Far from it. God intends the Disciplines of the spiritual life to be for ordinary human beings: people who have jobs, who care for children, who wash dishes and mow lawns. In fact, the Disciplines are best exercised in the midst of our relationships with our husband or wife, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors.Richard Foster from Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth.
Happy New Year!
At the beginning of a year many make resolutions to begin, or begin again, habits and practices that will make life better.
There are three that Christ’s church universal needs from us. These are non-negotiables that the church has been built upon since its existence. When practiced, see the Merton quote below, the church is strengthened and the kingdom of God comes near. They are the building blocks for such a solid foundation that as Jesus said the “gates of hell will not prevail.”
The practices/disciplines of prayer, Scripture reading, and worship are three of the most important things we can do as followers of Jesus. Oh, they are certainly not the only practices, but in my opinion they are that which underpin everything else. These practices go far beyond self-help and improvement. They are the building blocks of our lives and the body of Christ [aka. the church].
I’ve grown more convinced that the church’s hope is NOT contained in more relevance, or greater programming, or better strategy. None of these are our hope whether you are United Methodist or any other denomination. The church’s future is in the hands of God’s Spirit. And do you know what the first disciples were doing when the Spirit was poured out? Yep…praying. And do you know what they were doing regularly? Hearing the apostles’ teaching and assembling in the temple.
Acts 2:42 & 46 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple,
We need to return our roots.
If you are still in the midst of deciding your path for 2020 let me be so bold as to add three more. If you are already done let me be so bold as to ask for you to reconsider the following:
- Daily prayer
- Daily Scripture reading
- Weekly worship attendance
If you’d like ideas or help please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, I’ll be hosting a Bible in a Year reading group beginning January 13. If you’d be interested in joining you can sign-up here.
Blessings on a joyful, peaceful, and fruitful new year!
As Thomas Merton says, “We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life!”Richard Foster from Celebration of Discipline