Showing posts from October, 2018

Spiritual Disciplines- Guidance

Is 30:18-22, James 3:13-18, John 16:4b-15
We are continuing to look at the Spiritual Disciplines, and this morning we are looking at Guidance. Guidance is experiencing an interactive relationship with God that gives direction and purpose to daily life. Guidance is how we make an important decision as God’s people. It is how we see our options and then choose one of those options.

The Bible gives a lot of direction on how to live, and it is important to know our Bible, so that we know the general principles that should direct us. When we look at the Ten Commandments, for example, we see that we shouldn’t worship other gods, or steal, or murder, or lie. But, the Bible doesn’t necessarily tell us who we should marry, or if we should get married at all. The Bible won’t tell us which career we should pursue, or if we should change careers. The Bible won’t tell us precisely how we should help a family member or friend who is in trouble with drugs. And, when we are diagnosed with a seriou…

Spiritual Disciplines- Fasting

Deut 8:1-20, Acts 13:1-3, Matt 6:16-18
Whenever I talk about the Spiritual Disciplines there is one discipline that people tend not to take very seriously- That’s fasting. The suggestion that people should try fasting is often met with laughter or eye-rolling. That just tells us how affluent our society is. We live with such abundance that the idea of going without food tends to be something that doesn’t seem realistic. Many of us believe it might even be dangerous or unhealthy to not have three meals a day. Most of us have missed meals, but it is rare to go a full day without eating something. We live in an amazingly abundant society, so we have the privilege of scoffing at the idea of going without food.

Richard Foster defines fasting as “the voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity”. Usually this is abstaining from food, but sometimes we will talk about abstaining from things like social media, television, or specific f…

Mental Health and my realization

I know I usually just post sermons, but I have been reflecting on a realization that I had about a year ago.

Like most people, I have put in quite a lot of effort attempting to solve my problems- especially my mental and spiritual problems. The way I have often gone about doing this was analyzing my emotional issues and my sins. I would journal about my "issues". I would go as deep as I possibly could. I would turn over every single stone and scrape the green slime I found underneath into a test tube, which I would run through a centrifuge and then put under a microscope.

There were many benefits to doing this. I learned a lot about myself. I learned the beginning glimmers of thought that would turn into sin if left unchecked. I learned what traumas from my past were still effecting me, and many many other things. I learned a lot.

But there was a downside. I became so focused on sin and my mental state that I went down a deep dark hole and it felt like there was no bottom. E…

Spiritual Disciplines- Celebration

Psalm 126, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, John 2:1-11 
Today we will be looking at the Spiritual Discipline of Celebration, which is appropriate for Thanksgiving weekend. As a Christian discipline, Celebration creates the context for receiving the grace of joy that comes to us as a result of our faith and confidence in God.

It is sad that Christians are not often thought of as joyous people. And sometimes it’s a true accusation that some Christians aren’t very joyous. We can sometimes take ourselves too seriously. Sometimes in our desire to lead pure lives we run the risk of noticing every act that falls bellow the standard. We notice it in ourselves and we are plagued by guilt. Or we notice it in society and we are plagued by judgment. ... Sometimes we are so focused on issues of justice or the suffering of others, at home or abroad, that we feel like we don’t have any right to celebrate. How dare we? Sometimes in our teachings we can become obsessed with a sin-focus Gospel. We become all about not…

spiritual Disciplines- Simplicity

Eccl 5:10-20, Phil 4:10-20, Matt 6:19-21, 24
Before I begin I would like to direct you to a couple resources. One is Richard Foster’s book, “Freedom of Simplicity” which expands on his chapter on simplicity in his book “Celebration of Discipline”. I have also been greatly helped in thinking around the topic of money by Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and his “Complete Guide to Money”. If you want to pursue this further please look those resources up.

We are continuing to explore the Spiritual Disciplines. This week we are looking at Simplicity. Simplicity has to do with a focused life. You know your priorities and they are not in conflict. As a Christian discipline we focus on God’s kingdom as our primary priority. After naming a number of things that people might be anxious about Jesus tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). Christian simplicity is a life with the kingdom of God as the central f…