“Christianity is to have one’s body shaped, one’s habits determined, in such a manner that the worship of God is unavoidable” (Stanley Hauerwas). A spiritual discipline is “an activity within our power—something we can do—which brings us to a point where we can do what we at present cannot do by direct effort” (Dallas Willard). Practicing spiritual disciplines shape us so that we become the kind of person who more instinctively lives the kind of life that is pleasing to our Lord. That is to say, they change our being through our doing. They shape our souls through our
Prayer is at the heart of who we are as children of God. We are especially designed to be people of prayer. Over the past several months I have been reading through P.T. Forsyth’s “The Soul of Prayer.” At times it is hard to track with Forsyth but there are so many remarkable gems about prayer in this book it is well worth time to read and reflect. The following is an example of his writing. "Prayer is a greater school and discipline of divine love than the service of man is. But not if it is cut
Being loved grounds us. When we are loved we have an essential experience of belonging. An infant in the experience of being loved forms a relational attachment with mom and dad. This relation attachment is essential for physical survival and all future psychological and spiritual development. Without this primitive experience of belonging, of being grounded in love, life will unravel for the child as his or her sense of self begins to fragment. The essential psychological and spiritual need of an infant child is to be loved. Our soul's deepest sense of being grounded is always anchored relationally!
Taken from The Relational Soul – Our attachment pattern contributes to the level of closeness that makes us feel safe. For some closeness creates anxiety. For others separation creates anxiety. This learned level of closeness in which one feels safe is called the “proximity principle” or one’s “learned level of intimacy.” The proximity principle functions much like the thermostat that regulates the temperature in a house.
When I, Jim, was going for a morning walk last week I noticed an unusual sight on the sidewalk. There were hundreds of dead worms. Strange. I’ve seen a few on the sidewalk before but nothing like this. I wondered what caused them to die there. After a couple of miles, I seemed to stumble on what I thought was a reasonable answer. Worms need moisture. And we haven’t had rain in a week. Instead of doing the hard work of digging their way into the sod of the lawns, they seemed to be seduced by the heavy
A recent discussion with a pastor led to us considering the question, what do the gospel writers emphasize as the message of Jesus? Did the gospel writers emphasize that Jesus brought a message about life or was it about sin? Our perspective at CrossPoint is that the gospel writers believed that Jesus, in inaugurating and establishing the new creation through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension was bringing a message of life. Perhaps John is most explicit when he records these words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet
Taken from The Relational Soul - Trust fosters an open, receptive soul that is able to give one’s self and receive the presence of another in a free, responsible, and loving way. Mistrust leads to a closed, reactive soul that is unavailable to another in both detached and enmeshed ways. A receptive way of relating is the result of early relational connections in which one felt safe, secure, and deeply loved. It is marked BY a willingness to be present to others as they are without exaggerated evaluation or judgment or protection. The receptive person does not agree with everything others
Home is where the heart is. Sounds encouraging. And it should be. Home should be the place where our souls are safe, encouraged, and loved. Home should be the best place to be. But there is another way to think of the phrase, “Home is where the heart is.” And it isn’t necessarily good news. Because the state of our home, especially our family of origin when we are young, has a huge impact on where the heart is emotionally. And if the home system is not healthy or holy we will struggle when it comes to how close
Have we lost our capacity for imagination as Christians? Have we assigned imagination to child’s play but now of course we are adults so we set aside childish ways? Imagination is about pretend, we all know that. We use our imagination for fantasy. Imagination takes us into the world of the improbable and the impossible. Adult life has to face what is real and not engage in some imaginary goose chase. So this is how many have come to think about imagination. Could there be more to imagination than what we imagine? Imagination is a faculty or capacity of the mind. We all use our imagination.
As Christ transforms us daily to be more like Him, sometimes He allows delight, and sometimes He allows pain to do the transformational work in us. Sometimes being present and vulnerable with the painful challenges in our lives is what creates the most beauty in the long run. Our lives are not about living without pain and struggles. It’s more about how we respond to what happens to us along the way. Psalm 37:4--”Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” If our greatest desire is to know God and