Presentation on theme: "The Spiritual Disciplines Practical Tools for Personal Transformation Source: Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes."— Presentation transcript:
The Spiritual Disciplines Practical Tools for Personal Transformation Source: Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, Harper and Row, 1988
What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? “Going to heaven when we die?” “Your sins are forgiven?” “Once you’re in, you can never get kicked out?”
No ! “Life in the kingdom of heaven is available now (and forever) through trust in Jesus Christ.” Trust = Following
The Thesis True transformation is possible in our lives We can experience an “eternal (kind of) life” while living here on earth “ If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if, by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13
What did Jesus do? He arranged his life around certain activities and practices Such as …? (list)
What did these activities bring? 1. Detachment. These activities kept him separated from the grip of agendas people would superimpose on him.
What did these activities do? 2. Engagement. They enabled him to commune with God and the agenda of the Kingdom.
The Spiritual Disciplines Rearranging my life around the activities around which Jesus lived his gives me the opportunity to experience true transformation Disciplines of Abstinence enable detachment from the world’s entanglements on us Disciplines of Engagement enable us to connect with the Kingdom realm
Disciplines of Abstinence Solitude Silence Fasting Frugality Sacrifice Chastity Secrecy To refrain voluntarily and temporarily from normal human needs so as to disentangle ourselves from their claims on us.
Solitude To refrain for our normal need for conversation and human interaction so as to make room for relationship with God Foundational to practice of all spiritual disciplines Goal: to do nothing
Silence To refrain from our normal need for conversation Getting away from most non-human noise Frees us from the constant attempt to manipulate our world through our words
Fasting To do without food (in some way) in order to feast on God Occasional and routine Historically and biblically demonstrates to God and ourselves how intent we are about something
Frugality and Sacrifice To do with less of or none of what we normally want or need Frees us from bondage to pleasure, luxury, and appearances
Chastity To refrain from human union in order to experience heightened intimacy with God Within marriage, partners need times when they are valued for non-sexual reasons Outside of marriage, to demonstrate that our primary union is with God
Secrecy To refrain from letting our good deeds be known to others Disentangles us from the needs for getting credit and recognition Matthew 6 –prayer, alms, fasting
Disciplines of Engagement Study Worship Celebration Fellowship Service Prayer Confession Submission The practices which enable our now- disentangled souls to participate in the life and activities of the Kingdom of heaven.
Study Submission of your mind to the truth and being of God The Word, history, people, ideas, etc. Done via absorption and memorization
Worship and Celebration We ascribe “worth” to God as the standard by which all is measured Remembering and recognizing Worship: what God has done for us Celebration: what God has done for me
Fellowship Connecting with God by imitating the Trinitarian community Finding our complements in the gifts found in the body of Christ
Service Laying down the burden of preserving ourselves Not putting yourself down but pulling another up A means of exaltation through humility Philippians 2
Prayer Focused moments in our ongoing conversation with God Acknowledging God’s presence to me and being present to God Speaking must be accompanied by listening Solitude, silence, etc. heighten
Confession and Submission Making ourselves accountable for growth via the faith community Considering others as better than ourselves Log and speck, blind spot Bearing one another’s burdens Galatians 6:2
Dangers of the Disciplines Pride! –Can be works- righteous Can cause us to neglect appropriate responsibilities and disdain normal needs
But … Faith is “bodily” Grace is opposed to works, not effort We can cooperate (or not) with God Power steering Rocket leaving pad
Elijah Disciplines Solitude and Silence Brief, playful experiments
A Starting Place One discipline of abstinence with which I could experiment: Aspiring to one discipline of engagement: What might these look like one afternoon? –How can we help each other practice these in our household?
The Spiritual Disciplines Practical Tools for Personal Transformation Dr. John P. Chandler The Ray and Ann Spence Network for Congregational Leadership www.rasnet.org Copy Right John P. Chandler, 2003