Thursday, April 17, 2008

Celebration of Discipline

We just started Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster as our study with my Sunday Night Girls. I LOVE this book! It is one of my all-time favorites of all time! Every page you read, you think "Oh my, oh my. . I've got to underline that". I'm serious! Go out and buy this book today! It is amazing and incredibly challenging.

This week's reading was the first chapter, an overview. Usually chapters like this don't hold a lot of meat and you have to wait to really "get in" to the book to learn anything. Not with this one!

The book is about the Disciplines of the Christian Faith. . namely: (the inward disciplines) Meditation, prayer, fasting, study, (the outward) simplicity, solitude, submission, service, (the corporate) confession, worship, guidance and celebration.

Here are just a few quotes that I underlined and some thoughts with it. .
"The purpose of the Diciplines is liberation from the stifling slavery to self-interest and fear. . .there is no slavery that can compare to the slavery of ingrained habits of sin"

Then, he goes on to talk about how often we "Will" ourselves to not sin. We determine that we don't want to do that anymore and fight against it. . .and somehow in that we begin to focus on "our will" and determination in the midst (whether the good of it or the lack thereof). "'Will worship' what a telling phrase, and how descriptive of so much of our lives! The moment we feel we can succeed and attain victory over sin by the strength of our will alone is the moment we are worshiping the will. Isn't it ironic that Pual looks at our most strenuous efforts in the spiritual walk and calles them idolatry, "will worship"? (refering to Col. 2:23)

Ok, can we say "CONVICTING"!

He goes on. . ."Will worship' may produce an outward show of success for a time, but in the cracks and crevices of our lives our deep inner condition will eventually be revealed."

For a "good girl" who tends towards the "law" b/c I so like to know where I stand. . I like to have a checklist to go through and know if I'm doing well or not. This was convicting. . Where in my life am I making the right choices, but on my own? Where am I not allowing or seeking for God to do a life changing work in my very core? Because, ultimately, I want Him to change WHO I AM, not just WHAT I DO!

The interesting thing is that understanding that it is all about the heart and asking for the "free gift of righteousness" (Rom 5:17) puts me in danger of thinking there is nothing to do in the process. This is another area of "living in the tension" like our Pastor always talks about. Living between the two equally correct truths of Free Gift of Righteousness and Working out of our Salvation. This is where Richard Foster proposes that the disciplines of the faith come in. . we practice these, not to learn steps to do, but to "place ourselves before God for transformation". . the disciplines themselves DO nothing, but place us before the Father. He quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer who says, "Grace is Free, but it is not Cheap". "The grace of God is unearned and unearnable, but if we ever expect to grow in grace, we must pay the price of a consciously chosen course of action. . " Good stuff!

I am so excited about this book and God using it to challenge me in new ways. I am praying that as a group, we will be changed women. Women who are learning to grow in grace and in truth in our relationships with Him. If you are interested, go on to or even amazon and order this book to read along with us! I'm sure that if the rest of this book is as challenging as this first chapter, I'll be posting about it ALOT (I've been dying to post this since I finished reading the chapter on Tuesday!)


Christina said...

Hey girl!! I think this will be the next book I purchase, it sounds great! I just have to find more time to read!
Wish you could come to the girls slumber party!!
Love ya! Christina

Nourishing Traditions Team said...

In my top 2 favorites of all time. Just behind another Foster book, Freedom of Simplicity. I love the focus on that particular discipline. I think Celebration of Discipline is great to revisit every 4-6 months and see what jumps out at you each time. I look forward to hearing more on this as you go through your study.

Thanks for the oh so sweet birthday wishes.

Love you friend,

Missy said...

oops, that was me in case you didn't know. wrong acct.

Anonymous said...

I love that book - it is one of my all time favs - one of those you can read over and over again and still learn something new each time - I haven't pulled it out in a while...maybe I'll do that... Love you - Renae

annNEE said...

YEAH! I started that book a while ago, but didn't finish it. I liked it a lot. Time for me to pick it up again, I supposed.

jaz said...

It's a fav for me, too, Brandi. I MUST read it again!!
Jamie :0)