How God Changes Me

On Sunday, we began our new series called “Practices”.  The main idea we gathered around was the thought that “What God gets out of our lives is the person we become.”  We talked about how God changes our lives.  We learned that thru “training not trying”, we are able to participate in some graces of the spiritual life that actually produce a real transformation.

In my message, I shared 3 categories of “Spiritual Disciplines” which I am calling “Practices”.  I also offered two resources that have dramatically impacted my life.  Those resources are two books:

“Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster
“The Spirit of the Disciplines” by Dallas Willard

I cannot recommend these two books enough.  What I desire over the next few weeks is to offer some very tangible, followable ways to engage the practices.  It is important for us to keep in mind what I shared as I closed out my message:

1.  See this are your life’s work, not another thing to do.
2.  Start small.
3.  Just start.

With that in mind I want to offer some practical ways to engage a PRACTICE in each of the categories of Inward, Outward and Corporate Disciplines.

Practice 1-Inward Discipline of Fasting:  The inward discipline of fasting is really about training our desire to feast on God rather than food.

  • (Options for Training)
    Beginner-Pick one day this week and give up coffee or your favorite drink.
    Intermediate-Pick one meal this week to not eat but rather use that time to be with God.
    Advanced-Pick one day this week and do not eat from sun up to sun down…choose two times during this day to just be with God for 15 minutes.

Practice 2-Outward Discipline of Solitude:  The outward discipline of solitude is about training us against distractions.  Solitude helps free us from busyness and loneliness.

  • (Options for Training)
    Beginner-Wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual and take a walk.
    Intermediate-Use your lunch hour to find a park bench to sit on and just “be” don’t try to accomplish anything.
    Advanced-Set aside 3 hours in the morning or evening and find a closed off space (bedroom, office, park, library) and communicate with loved ones where you will be and just sit alone and do nothing.

Practice 3-Corporate Discipline of Celebration:  The corporate discipline of celebration is about training ourselves to live a life of joy.  We are only as strong as our joy.

  • (Options for Training)
    Beginner-In the morning when you wake up each day begin with a song before anything else.  Try these lyrics “I’ve got joy down in my heart deep deep down in my heart.  Jesus put it there and nothing can destroy it.  I’ve got joy down in my heart deep deep down in my heart.”
    Intermediate-Every day this week write down 3 things that bring you joy and turn them into a prayer of thanksgiving.  Reflect on them through out the day.
    Advanced-Once a day take a “Joy Break” and either shout to the top of your lungs or dance wildly while no one is around.

I look forward to hearing how these training options help.

Happy Training,

Pastor Jerimy