Christian life is fasting in order to feast

We can only feast in faithfulness and joy if we are trained by fasting of all kinds.  More generally, we can only appreciate and use God’s gifts rightly if we do so by waiting for the right time and submitting to his methods of training.  Read here to find out how Lenten disciplines of fasting can help train us in this fasting-in-order-to-feast dynamic of the whole Christian life.

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Bible Memorization (It’s Not Just for Kids!)

It is hard to overstate the importance of committing verses and passages from Bible word to memory.  Transforming our mind is an essential aspect and engine of spiritual growth, and storing God’s word in our mind can be a powerful means by which God reshapes our thinking.  Thus, the psalms writes, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).  It is so fundamental to following Christ that Dallas Willard, a Christian philosopher and esteemed writer on spiritual formation, once said,

If I had to—and of course I don’t have to—choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life and take only one, I would choose Bible memorization. . . .because Bible memorization is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what they need.

If you would like some practical motivation and help in starting (or returning to) this life-changing spiritual discipline, you can find many resources to help you here.

Daily Worship Guide: December 22-27, 2014

This daily worship guide for the 4th week of Advent reflects the theme of Jesus as the redeemer who delivers from sin and its evil effects and renews all things from the sermon on Romans 8:18-25 in corporate worship on December 21.  Using this worship guide will help us extend and deepen the focus of corporate worship over the course of a whole week.  (This guide can be downloaded as a PDF or Microsoft Word document file here.)

Key themes: Salvation from the evil effects of sin in all creation; the cosmic scope of Jesus’ power and authority to save; the renewal and glorification of the whole creation Continue reading

Daily Worship Guide: December 15-20, 2014

This daily worship guide for the 3rd week of Advent reflects the theme of Jesus as the redeemer who reconciles God and man from the sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 in corporate worship on December 14.  Using this worship guide will help us extend and deepen the focus of corporate worship over the course of a whole week.  (This guide can be downloaded as a PDF or Microsoft Word document file here.)

Key themes: God’s reconciling and uniting the world to himself and reconciling and uniting human beings to one another through the person and work of Jesus Continue reading

Daily Worship Guide: December 8-13, 2014

This daily worship guide for the 2nd week of Advent reflects the theme of Jesus as the revelation of God’s truth and grace from the sermon on John 1:1-14 in corporate worship on December 7.  Using this worship guide will help us extend and deepen the focus of corporate worship over the course of a whole week.  (This guide can be downloaded as a PDF or Microsoft Word document file here.)

Key themes: Jesus as the ultimate Word of God who provides us with (1) truth about our origin, meaning, and destiny and (2) grace to save us from the spiritual darkness of rebellion against God. Continue reading

Daily Worship Guide: December 1-6, 2014

This daily worship guide for the 1st week of Advent reflects the theme of spiritual warfare from the sermon on 1 John 3:7-8 in corporate worship on November 30.  Using this worship guide will help us extend and deepen the focus of corporate worship over the course of a whole week.  (This guide can be downloaded as a PDF or Microsoft Word document file here.)

Key themes: spiritual warfare, Jesus’ victory over the ultimate enemies that oppose his kingdom (sin, Satan, death) Continue reading