Spiritual Disciplines Reading Guide

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I am in preparation for a sermon series that begins in two weeks called “A Rhythm of Life”. I’m borrowing this title from something I learned in my master’s program about creating a rhythm, or rule of life that we live in to in order to help cultivate a God-centered identity. A part of this rule is practicing spiritual disciplines like solitude, silence, prayer, study, service, submission, and others. While prepping for this series, I’m reading The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard. If you haven’t read this book, you should. Grab a pen or a highlighter because every page is full of one liners that you’ll want to tuck away in your brain and chew on. Like this rhetorical question he asks at the beginning of chapter three:

“Why is it that we look upon our salvation as a moment that began our religious life instead of the daily life we receive from God?”

I saw this question this morning in my study and my first thought was to put this quote on Facebook. Then I got to thinking, “Why not share with my church and others the two books I’m reading and rereading in prep for this series so that you can read along with me?” With that, I submit to you to read this book by Dallas Willard, as well as Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.

Dallas discusses why the disciplines are so important. We want to be more like Christ, in fact we even expect it. We want to be more patient, kind, loving, forgiving, turning the other cheek, etc. However, we know this is unnatural and doesn’t come easy. And, we do nothing to cultivate this identity within us. Then we’re surprised that when the time comes, we react in a way totally opposite to that of someone bearing the image of Jesus Christ. This book gets at the heart of the issue with that way of thinking.

And finally, Foster’s book has been one of the most profound books in my Christian walk. Early in my adult life, I found myself burnt out spiritually and not seeing much transformation in my life. Then I came across this book and started understanding how the spiritual disciplines posture me in such a way that transformation into the image of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit was a real possibility.

So, if you’re part of the family here at Hunter Hills I hope you enjoy this series, but please know that in four weeks we can only cover so much. I would greatly encourage you to pick up these two books and read them this year. I think you’ll find that God can and does change lives and transform us into the image of the Son Jesus Christ. And the disciplines become a great tool for positioning us to receive this salvation life that Christ has promised, a life found in losing your life for the sake of God and his mission in the world.

2 thoughts on “Spiritual Disciplines Reading Guide

    Eric Magnusson said:
    July 30, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Good places to start. For a look at a more narrative personal journey into the disciplines/disciplined life, you might also consider checking out Nathan Foster’s “The Making of an Ordinary Saint.” (Yes, “Foster.” Nathan is Richard’s son, and a colleague and friend of mine.)

    Eric Magnusson said:
    July 30, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Thanks! For a more narrative driven, personal journey into the disciplines, you might consider adding Nathan Foster’s “The Making of an Ordinary Saint” to your reading list. (Yes, “Foster” rings a bell. Nathan is Richard’s son, as well as a friend and colleague here at SAU.)

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