Worship is preceded by study

“In worship we reflect on all that God is and does and offer our praise and gratitude. To worship is to, as much as is possible, see God in full glory and worthiness. That is why so often worship is preceded by study. We seek to understand who God is and remember all that God has done, and then all we can do is marvel and adore. We can only enter into worship of God if we view God as worthy, if we understand our proper place in our relationship with God.”

Excerpt From

Year with God

Richard J. Foster

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/year-with-god/id1082411955?mt=11

This material may be protected by copyright.

Why we carefully study the Word in the power of the Spirit

“If we want to receive from the Bible the life ‘with God’ that is portrayed in the Bible, we must be prepared to have our dearest and most fundamental assumptions about ourselves and our associations called into question. We must read humbly and in a constant attitude of repentance. Only in this way can we gain a thorough and practical grasp of the spiritual riches God has made available to all humanity.” — Richard Foster Read more

Our prayers are precious to God

I had to share this passage:

“OUR PRAYERS ARE honored beyond anything we imagine here on earth. They break through the time barrier to join the eternal worship. Angels bring them before God with reverence and tenderness. The prayers of the faithful are placed upon the altar. At long last those noiseless cries for justice are about to be answered.

Try to enter your time of prayer today with a feeling of gratitude and assurance that your prayers and petitions are heard, that they matter, even if you do not receive the results or answers you want.”

Excerpt From

Year with God

Richard J. Foster

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/year-with-god/id1082411955?mt=11

This material may be protected by copyright.

The simple work of transformation

Meditative prayer is a wonderful tool to utilize in our walk with the Lord. I highly recommend Richard Foster’s little book, Sanctuary of the Soul, as a guide.

He finishes his teaching with this:

This transforming work does not happen all at once and not completely perhaps. But it does happen. The old games of manipulation and control begin losing their appeal to us. Guile becomes less and less a pattern of our daily life. A new compassion rises up within us for the bruised and broken and the dispossessed… We are becoming friends with Jesus (Jn. 15:14).

This is a work I am very weak in with my own prayer life. But the Lord favors me with beautiful moments. This last Sunday I didn’t have to preach and so as I worshiped with my parents at their church, the Lord spoke so clearly to me about ministry that is ahead. I was able to catch a moment to hear, to listen, to be transformed. Those are wonderful moments of grace I cherish so deeply.

Transformation is a slow process. Walk in it.

Prayer from a restless heart

Today, my prayer (from Dag Hammarskjold, printed in Richard Foster’s book, Sanctuary of the Soul):

Give me a pure heart — that I may see Thee,
A humble heart — that I may hear Thee,
A heart of love — that I may serve Thee,
A heart of faith — that I may abide in Thee.

The no flash, no glitz world we can’t stand

It’s serving. It is the discipline of service.

We want to serve… as long as we get our selfie in and posted somewhere in the social media world.

Richard Foster gives me this harsh reminder:

There is no flash, no glitz, no titanic anything. Today’s celebrity culture, captive to its pretentious egoism, simply finds such realities hard to grasp.

Free me from the tyranny of STUFF

I am in a reading group with Renovare online and we are currently working our way through a book on spiritual disciplines by Nathan Foster, son of Richard Foster.

Nathan is much more raw in his struggle with spiritual discipline. What Richard Foster wrote on always sounded like a glide into tranquility. I knew it wasn’t, but it just sounded that way. Nathan writes like you’ve been shoved off a mountain ledge and you’re hitting every rock, tree, and shrub on the way down.

It’s an honest discussion.

This week one of the chapters is on simplicity. My life is so full of junk and desire for more junk, it didn’t matter how Nathan would have written this one. He wrote with much more calm, but it still feels like a tumble over boulders and shrubs.

“Simplicity is not necessarily about depriving ourselves of worldly things but about being content — content to have or do without, free to give but also receive. It’s about living free from the trappings of society that keep us from following Jesus’s counsel to ‘seek first the kingdom of God.'”

If I am rooted in Kingdom living, I am free to receive things from this world… and free to give them up. It’s that “free to give them up” part that lodges in my throat and chokes. The distractions of stuff keep us from the beauty of the divine center… yet it is so hard to give it up. 

We are moving toward Lent and I know the challenge this year will be on true fasting for me and then giving up a portion of technology. There is a freedom  I need regained in my life. Freedom from the tyranny of stuff. It’s just that the road to that freedom is full of rocks and potholes and downed trees.

Lord, help me be truly free in my walk with you!

Getting past the “high” and moving into the routine of his presence

I am Pentecostal. We live for the experience.

When I see things advertised on Facebook for some Pentecostal service, youth service, etc., the hype words are always there.

EPIC!

UBER EPIC!

CUTTING EDGE!

DON’T MISS THIS ONE! (or the next one… or the next one…)

I am soaking in Richard Foster’s little book, Sanctuary of the Soul, again. He relates an incredibly powerful experience he had with God in a retreat. There were distinct movements of the Spirit that had powerful worship, incredible silence, and repentance. Truly epic.

He does note this, and I think it is wise: such experiences have been few and far between. Now, most of my Pentecostal friends may read that and feel sorry for him… and for me for agreeing.

Foster goes on:

It is not wise for us to hanker after such heights. (You’ll have to look up hanker.) Worship can be fully valid when there are not thrills or flights of ecstasy. The group, just like the individual, must learn to endure spiritual weather of all kinds with serenity of soul. The heights are full of wonder, but in between those heights we may well travel together through shadow and valley and desert for months and even years. That is all part of what it means to walk with God.

I welcome powerful experiences. I love the powerful sense of his presence. Yet, his presence is ready to guide me day after day. It won’t be the emotional high. There is a constant presence, a knowledge that he is moving in and through my day, and my soul quieted before him can rest in his great guidance.

 

Richard Foster Reflects on Dallas Willard

I am sure I will soon stop posting on the passing of Dallas Willard, but indulge me these next few days.

Richard Foster reflects on the friendship he had with Dallas in this piece.

Here is how Dallas Willard described Kingdom life. Talk about making every word count!

“The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons with God himself at the very heart of this community as its prime Sustainer and most glorious Inhabitant.”

Amazing insight.

I could go on… and I probably will…