Spiritual growth does not happen by accident. Christians over the centuries have learned that we need to work at bringing our wayward mind and body into alignment with God’s purposes. We need to develop strong spiritual habits that will enable us to withstand challenges and to serve in this world. We have identified four spiritual habits, or disciplines, that we need to cultivate:
Giving & Stewardship
Sharing Your Faith
As with any discipline, it may take some time and effort before any of these practices become an everyday part of our lives. We can begin, however, to take small steps, and, over time, these small steps can carry us a long way.
Sharing Our Faith - Part 2
Welcome to the final session in our Essential Disciplines series, where we take up some practical recommendations for sharing your faith. In the previous session, we explored why God has commanded us to share our faith, and, now, in this session we discuss how to do this.
We suggest a strategy based around 4 practices:
1.Listen to Their Story
2.Share Our Story
3.Share God’s Story
4.Connect Their Story to God’s Story
Sharing Our Faith - Part 1
. In this session, we address what, for many people, is perhaps the most challenging aspect of their spiritual journey. It is one thing for us to work on our own spiritual development, but how do we invite others to join us on this journey? What happens when our private faith must go public? This line might be difficult for some people to cross, but tremendous growth and fulfillment awaits those who are willing to take this challenge. In this session, we explore why God has commanded us to share our faith, and, in the next session, we will make some practical suggestions about how to do this, even for introverts like me!
Beginning, then, with the why question, let’s look at three foundational, biblical truths:
1.The Plight of Our Neighbor
2.The Call of Our Lord
3.The Power of Our Story
Stewardship & Giving - Part 2
In this session, we continue our discussion of Stewardship and Giving. In the last session, we established some foundational principles of Biblical stewardship, and here, in this session we will build on that foundation by discussing some practical recommendations for giving.
As we learned in our last session, we are called to be faithful stewards of God’s creation. He owns everything, and He entrusts a portion of His possessions to us to manage on His behalf. We exercise this stewardship as we give faithfully to God’s work and to those in need, expressing both our worship and our love. This tells us why we should give. Now, in this session, we ask some more practical questions:
1.What should we give?
2.How much should we give?
3.How often should we give?
4.To whom should we give?
5.How should we feel about giving?
Stewardship & Giving - Part 1
Welcome to another session in our Essential Disciplines series where we take up an interesting challenge. We live in a culture that often seems divided between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Some in our society are blessed beyond measure, while others struggle to get by. As followers of Jesus, we instinctively feel some angst about these extremes. Somehow, we sense that God is not pleased with this level of disparity. But what are we to do about all of this? What is our role as disciples in this world divided by wealth and poverty?
It turns out that the Bible addresses this concern in a clear, compelling way. In fact, God’s Story features a consistent challenge to His people, that they be faithful stewards in the creation that they enjoy. Learning stewardship is therefore an Essential Discipline for those who want to follow Jesus. In this session, then, we discuss some foundational principles of stewardship, and, in the next session, we address some practical recommendations about giving.
Prayer - Part 2
Welcome to this second session on the Essential Discipline of prayer. In our last session, we covered some foundational principles, and, in this Session, we get practical and talk about how to pray. Thankfully, we are not left to figure this out on our own. Jesus Himself provides clear direction on the subject when one of His disciples asks Him plainly:
“Lord, teach us to pray….” Luke 11:1
In response to this request, Jesus gives His disciples a model prayer, which has become known as the “Lord’s Prayer”. This model prayer is filled with requests regarding four of our basic needs:
By praying about these needs, we confess our dependence upon God to provide for them, and we express our faith in our Heavenly Father who promises to care for us. In this podcast, then, we will address each of these needs.
Prayer - Part 1
Prayer is perhaps the most misunderstood and underused tool that God has provided for us. So, before we go any further, we need a definition. According to the Bible, what is prayer?
If we were to examine the hundreds of references to prayer throughout scripture, we would see a rich and diverse picture. Many different perspectives, forms and nuances of prayer appear in the long story of God’s people. Running throughout this rich tapestry, however, we would see a common thread. At its root, prayer is dialog with God, a conversation with Him about His ways in the world. In this dialog, we may express a whole range of human emotions: joy and sadness, peace and anxiety, thankfulness and anger, hope and despair. As we wade through these emotions, we seek to reconcile what God says with our daily experience, with what we see in real life. Our goal in this conversation should be to reconcile our will with God’s will, our ways with His ways.
To fully realize the power of this ongoing dialog with God, we must understand three fundamental dynamics of prayer:
1.The Role of the Spirit
2.The Role of Faith
3.The Role of Community
In this podcast, we briefly describe each of these dynamics.