This week we continue our efforts to pull together this year’s focus on growing in Christ through the classic spiritual practices. Last week we reviewed several of the “Inward Disciplines” (according to categories described by Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline). Today, we want to look at the Outward Disciplines… those practices which we “live out” in our lives… practices such as service, submission, sharing our faith, etc. Once again we ask that you reflect on your practices throughout this year and at how the Lord has used these lessons to challenge you and to grow you.
Please share your stories!
10-8 the Outward Disciplines
If we’re not careful the practice of these spiritual disciplines, which we have focused on all year, COULD become a source of prideful arrogance in our service to God. That’s the painful irony in any act of service we do for God, that it becomes a source of pride which would elevate us above others, in our own minds.
The discipline of secrecy seeks to counter that temptation by encouraging these religious acts of service be done in secret… “without the left hand knowing what the right is doing.” Certainly without others knowing, so that they cannot become deeds done to impress others instead of acting out of simple service to God.
This week we wrap-up our look at Simplicity, by emphasizing these acts of service and these spiritual practices are simply done for an audience of One.
Again this week we delve into another quite counter-cultural spiritual practice… the discipline of Submission. Often we misunderstand submission because we are so immersed in a heirarchical, authority-driven society where those “over” us are accustomed to enforcing their will on us and those “under” them are accustomed to having to submit. That isn’t what we are talking about! If any of you have ever had a boss (and that’s most of us) then we know that it is quite possible to outwardly comply without at all having the inner heart of submission. The practice of submission as a spiritual exercise emphasizes the latter, not the former. That is, having the inner heart of submission as it relates to one another.
Scripture says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Truly it is Jesus who models this for us, as he not only submitted himself to the will of the Father (against his own best interests) but fully surrendered himself to men who took his life from him… and all of this for our sakes at no personal benefit to him.
Check out the above video by my friend, Johnny Markham, from the College Hills church in Lebanon and preview the discussion guide before diving into your group discussions Sunday night. Be blessed.
This week we are sharing a video from a friend of ours which was made for the Winterfest conference a few years ago. Steve’s discussion of his practice of solitude is a good introduction to this week’s Life Group discussion on the twin disciplines of Solitude & Silence. Our lives today are filled with such hectic, fast paced and NOISY days that it is instructive to take a queue from Jesus and purposefully set aside time to simply be still, be silent and be alone… to “unplug” from the noise of our lives for a time in order to “re-plug” into God.
This week’s practice encourages just that. We encourage you this week to explore in your small group how Jesus sets this example for us, but also how the spiritual practices of Silence & Solitude can draw you nearer to God and how you might implement it into your daily and weekly walk with God.
Download the discussion guide: 8-13-17
Ironic isn’t it that in a world filled with technologies designed to save us time, energy and money we are the most in debt, tired and busy people on the planet?
Christians fall prey to the lures of our cluttered and overly complicated culture of excess just like the rest of the world and we stand in desperate need of recovering this spiritual practice… the practice of Simplicity.
Download this week’s discussion guide: