Spiritual Homework April 15

April 22

Hello, church!

In this week’s spiritual nourishment, I’d like to offer you several resources that can help you discover some potentially new spiritual disciplines. The time we are spending working from home gives us an opportunity to try new things, and rather than trying to cut your own hair, I suggest you consider picking up some new spiritual disciplines to help you grow closer to God. I hope you seriously consider investing in some of the resources below, and if you do, please share what you are doing with one another, or consider asking someone or your small group to join you as you try out a new discipline. As always, let me know if there is something you need, something I should include in future emails, or just reach out to say hi if you’d like.

Peace,

Chess

This week’s Memory Verse

“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion, your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.”  – 1 Peter 5:8

This verse is one of, if not the, most popular verses about the devil, but it is also a reminder to train. It was common in the epistles to speak of our faith not only as a walk or journey, but also as training. Athletic metaphors are ripe in the New Testament, and they encourage us to train ourselves spiritually, and rigorously at that. 1 Peter 5:8 falls in line with these athletic metaphors by reminding us to discipline ourselves as a way of rebuffing evil and temptation.


Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

The greatest resource I can recommend on spiritual disciplines is The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. This book is a compendium of a wide variety of disciplines that are all biblically based. With each listed discipline, the author offers scripture, a brief explanation of the practice, and reflection questions, and suggested methods of practice. Each entry is concise and accessible, and the book as a whole offers a lifetime of spiritual growth. I have posted and excerpt from this book on the topic of unplugging as a spiritual discipline here in the congregant portion of our website. 

The Discernment of Spirits

I first read The Discernment of Spirits by Timothy Gallagher four years ago, and not a day has gone by that I have not thought of and applied something from it to my life. It has been a companion and a guide in my spirituality that has trained me to see my life from a different angle. Specifically, the author lays out fourteen principles for the discernment of spirits in an attempt to categorize and understand the forces acting on our life (both mundane and extraordinary) into either consolations or desolations. The main point being that everything in your life either draws you closer to God or pulls you further away, and understanding what is acting upon your life, how it is acting, and how to react can help you grow closer to God. It isn’t the most entertaining read, but its worth its weight in gold. There is also a workbook I recommend if you are going to do this by yourself, or if you just really like workbooks. If you would like a digested blog overview of this book, you can find it in three parts here: part one, part two, and part three.

 

A Reference for Parents, an Activity for Kids

For parents: Reducing family stress and anxiety amidst COVID-19

For children: Two new scavenger hunts!

 

Previous Links

Below are the links to resources I have mentioned in previous emails for your continued reference.

 

Weekly Lectionary

Daily Lectionary

Bible Gateway Reading Plans

Phyllis Tickle’s, Divine Hours

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen

Breath Prayers

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, by Walter Brueggemann


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