Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What Are the Disciplines?

(This will be a series from the blog I am making for my Persuasive Writing class. You can  find the weekly posts here or at that site: Disciplined for Adoration)

The purpose of this series is to explore the classical disciplines that have been practiced for centuries and uncover how we can integrate them into our modern Christian lives. The spiritual disciplines call us to move beyond the surface into the depths. The goal is not to perform a series of religious duties; it is to gain a deeper, fuller relationship with God.

Although some may argue that practicing the disciplines is an archaic habit for spiritual giants or the modern Pharisee showing off his or her spirituality, the disciplines actually force us to go beyond the outward attractiveness of our good works. The focus of the disciplines is heart change. For example, the goal of the discipline of worship is not merely to sing more songs, but to have a heart of worship and adoration that matches our outward action.

This focus on the inner heart also helps us turn to God in our heart change. True inner transformation only comes when we submit ourselves to God– a humble cry of longing that the disciplines encourage. The primary requirement to practice these disciplines is a longing after God. To know who He is and how He works.

We need this in the modern Church to become people who engage the culture and challenge it with God’s truth. Practicing the disciplines gives us the courage to declare that there is more than the physical world. However, our deepening of the inner world through the disciplines is not to be compared with the similar post-modern types of meditation or Buddhist customs. When we practice the disciplines we get more than a deep self-understanding or a release from our present reality. On the contrary, we are able to connect with God at the core of our image-bearing being and come in line with the reality He has created.

The disciplines I will look into on this journey will be the twelve recognized by Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline: meditation, prayer, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. I will look at one discipline every two weeks studying how the discipline has been used over the centuries and how it works to bring the believer closer to God.

Monday, October 6, 2014

into the unknown

 Everyone comes into college with a plan. The first week I was here I got asked the same questions over and over again: "What is your major? What would you like to do with that?" For me, the answers to these two questions always seemed to have a disconnect. My major is Professional Writing (think journalism, business writing, technical writing), but my passion is to write devotionals, books, and articles for young women about how God's grace embraces their lives and what that looks like everyday as we work in every pursuit.

This disconnect combined with my utter love for my Bible class and boredom in my professional writing classes has caused me to seriously consider switching my major to something more suited to my hopes for future vocation.

But what about my terrible blogging record these past few months? If this is really my "passion" shouldn't I be producing a lot more of that kind of writing?

There is a lot of doubt concerning my future in more areas than one. All my plans have been confused and I am discovering passions I hadn't paid attention to before.

It is a weird feeling for a planner to not be able to set up five year goals or even a goal for the end of the week. Yet through my lack of organization, God has taught me the sweetest lesson about trusting Him for each day.

 I don't know what I want to do with my major anymore, I don't even know what my major will be next semester, but I know today my job is to love and minister to everyone I interact with. I am learning to die to myself and trust God. I don't want to leave a legacy, I want Jesus to be magnified so no one else is visible, just Him and His grace.