In case you missed the first gathering, or just want a refresher of some of the main takeaways, we've curated some of the most memorable notes + quotes for you to reflect on.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."
Galatians 5:7 " You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?"
1 Timothy 4:6-8 "If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."
Notice the central role of discipline. Over and over Paul comes back to this metaphor.
The Spiritual Disciplines: Why, What, How
Information + Inspiration does not yield transformation
Knowing something is not the same as doing something, which is still not the same as wanting to do something.
What we love in our hearts has a far greater effect on how we live than what we know in our head.
How do we change what we love? PRACTICE. Because the things we do, so something to us.
Definition of the heart: "The fulcrum of your most fundamental longings - a visceral, subconscious orientation to the world." (Jamie K.A. Smith)
"Because we are what we want. Our wants and longings and desires are at the core of our identity, the wellspring from which our actions and behavior flow. Our wants reverberate from our heart, the epicenter of the human person. Thus Scripture counsels, 'Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.' (Prov 4:23). Discipleship, we might say, is a way to curate your heart, to be attentive to and intentional about what you love. Discipleship is more a matter of hungering and thirsting than of knowing and believing. Jesus' command to follow him is a command to align loves and longings with his - to want what God wants, to desire what God desires, to hunger and thirst after God and crave a world where he is all in all - a vision encapsulated by the shorthand 'the kingdom of God.'" (Jamie K.A. Smith)
One of the primary tasks as a disciple of Jesus is learning how to curate our heart - how to point our loves and longings in the right direction.
Practice: take a liturgical audit which is available here.
You have a say in what you decide to love.
Definition of a discipline: any activity I can do by direct effort that will eventually enable me to do that which, currently, I cannot do by direct effort.
The spiritual disciplines are practices based on the lifestyle of Jesus that create time + space for us to access the presence + power of the Holy Spirit, and in doing so, be transformed from the inside out.
They include: silence + solitude, prayer, fasting, Bible reading, living in community, Sabbath, and simplicity. But you could add to that list - worship, teaching, the bread + cup, repentance, gratitude.
"The disciplines are activities of the mind and body purposefully undertaken, to bring our personality and total being into effective cooperation with the divine order. They enable us more and more to live in a power that is, strictly speaking, beyond us, deriving from the spiritual realm itself, as we 'yield ourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness unto God,' as Romans 6:13 puts it." (Dallas Willard)
Spiritual disciplines are how we abide in the vine with Jesus. This is the center of our spiritual life and transformation!
We play a role and partner with God - but it's not an even partnership. He does the heavy lifting!
Disciplines are a means to the end.
"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty." (Frank Hubert, Dune)
Following Jesus isn't about trying really hard, but training really hard.
Six thoughts about smart training:
Smart training takes a balanced approach
Smart training takes into account your personality
Smart training takes into account your season of life
Smart training takes into account the need of the hour
Smart training isn't afraid to do the hard work
Smart training takes into account the need for repetition
All of this will take time. But, can you imagine the day when you will look back and realize "Wow, I wasn't like this before...?"
Joy is found in being fully present in everyday life.
"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, 'Do it again;' and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun; and every morning, 'Do it again' to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." (G.K. Chesterton)