Friday, July 31, 2009

Forgotten disciplines

Beginning August 9, I'll be preaching a series of sermons on what I'm calling the "forgotten disciplines." My title for the series is "The Impractical Life." Let me explain why I came up with that title.

Everything these days is about practicality. You want to find the nearest seafood restaurant? Well, as the popular commercial for the iPhone says, "there's an app for that." Don't know where you're going? Your GPS will get you there. Need a family budget? Quicken will draw one up for you. Don't have time for a lengthy Bible reading? Just put a Verse-for-the-Day on your Google home page, and off you go. Don't want to talk on the phone? Send a text, and abbreviate all the words.

I like all the technology available to us today, and I use much of it. But I'm wondering how much silent damage it's doing to our souls?

It seems to me the walk with Christ is by definition impractical. While there are plenty of tools out there to help me grow spiritually, there is no "app" that just - poof! - makes it happen. To be someone's real friend means I should expect pretty frequent interruptions in my schedule. To hear God's voice means I will need to put aside other things, get quiet, sit still, and carefully read and study the Bible. To commune with God means I might need to clear my calendar for an entire day. I might even have to stay up all night, like Jesus did. To sharpen my understanding of Biblical doctrine means I will need to wrestle through a difficult book or listen to lectures that I wouldn't otherwise.

In other words, knowing and becoming like Jesus requires effort and costs us something. If we're serious about spiritual growth, we have to make some changes.

So that's why this series of messages is entitled "The Impractical Life." We'll be looking at five spiritual disciplines that will interrupt our schedules, slow down our pace, affect our diets, and cost us time, money, and energy.

Specifically, the disciplines I want to talk about are:
  • Listening - to God, to others, and to our own hearts
  • Feasting - celebrating and enjoying our friends and neighbors
  • Fasting - refraining from things that we look to to find life
  • Remembering - telling stories that show how God has been at work
  • Resting - experiencing shalom through the rhythm of Sabbath
I'd love to hear stories about how one of these forgotten disciplines has affected your life.

2 comments:

karin said...

I took a class at RTS where we had to practice the discipline of silence. We were supposed to spend 24 hours without talking to anyone (you know, except for the mailman or something like that). The point was to remove ourselves from the noise of life and just sit with God. It was SO HARD! Honestly, I don't think I even made it 12 hours--and I even took a nap! That's when I first realized how much I fill my life with distractions. It truly is a discipline to be still and know that he is God.

karin said...

Oh yeah, have you ever done the Labyrinth? I think there's one at Canterbury Retreat on Alafaya and there's also one in a church in Winter Springs. Sometimes i'll do the online version:

http://www.labyrinth.org.uk/