Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wake Up People : Spiritual Disciplines for Today

This summer we will be embarking on a new series called “Wake Up People.” The theme comes from the idea that we can get into such a routine with God or with going to church that it just becomes something we do. For some it can become boring, for others irrelevant, but God’s intention is that our faith would be continually life-giving and truly energizing. One of the ways for that to happen is to intentionally engage in Spiritual Disciplines.

Spiritual disciplines are any activity done willingly and intentionally for the purpose of becoming more like Christ. We are breaking these into two aspects, inward and external. The inward disciplines (prayer, reading scripture, meditation, reflection) being more contemplative in nature, and the external being more active (service, generosity, encouragement.)

Spiritual Disciplines are always rooted in scriptural practices. That’s not to say we look in our bible for an exact description of how to fast. The disciplines are found more in a story. We see a description of encouragement from a few passages and can paint a picture of how that can become a part of our lives. “Most all of these disciplines have been practiced throughout the history of the church, but probably between the last 50-100 years they have become less central to our faith,” Pastor Nick says. “Our modern understanding of faith has made a mentality that says if we show up in the right places God will change us, where the saints believed that they had to be very disciplined and intentional in the way they lived to see Christ formed in them.

“I think the true value of studying spiritual disciplines is in developing new habits. We all have so many habits, but very few of them are holy habits. Very few of the things we do habitually bring us closer to Christ. The hope is that these practices will become almost habitual in drawing us closer to God. Even something like prayer can initially take a lot of effort, but the goal is that it would become a part of the fabric of our lives and faith.

“One hope I have is that the flexibility of schedules in the summer may give people more opportunity to begin some of these practices. Every person will have a two or three disciplines that really connect with them that will not just be tried for a week or a month but will become a part of their faith experience from here on out.”

It’s a great series because even if people miss a week or two because of vacations or travel, each message will stand alone, a complete idea, as something people can apply and work on.

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