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Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual disciplines or ‘practices’ are ways of intentionally building your relationship with God. Some disciplines are more concrete and knowledge based, while others are more abstract and experiential. Both types are needed to learn to bring the daily stuff of life into a conversation with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

As you engage these various disciplines, you will notice that some seem natural and easy to practice. We call these downstream practices because they do not require tremendous effort to engage. Other practices feel much more difficult to engage. We call these upstream practices, because when engaging them, it can feel as if you are swimming upstream. One person may experience a practice as ‘upstream’ while another may experience the same practice as ‘downstream’. Extraverts love to celebrate and often avoid silence and solitude while introverts do the opposite. While your downstream practices are good and helpful, it is important that you engage upstream practices as well, as these are the areas that need growth.

Finally, it is important to remember that all of us go through different seasons of life. From seasons of ease to seasons of great trouble and stress, different times in life require different practices. It is for this reason that we encourage you to stay in conversation with God and others about which practices are helpful in your current season. If would like to talk to someone about this, please contact one of the pastoral staff or one of the spiritual directors listed below. My hope and prayer for you is that as you engage in these practices over a long period of time, you, and those around you, will benefit from the deepening of your relationship with God, with yourself, and with others.

Sitting on the Dock with Jesus

A practice to help bring Jesus into the daily stresses of life

Noticing Exercise

A practice for learning how to be present with yourself and God

Scripture Reading

A practice to know God and his ways as revealed to us in the Bible

Imaginative Reading

A practice that moves the stories of scripture from your head to your heart

Lectio Divina

A practice that moves the stories of scripture from your head to your heart

Welcoming Prayer

A practice used to invite God into the unsettling physical and emotional reactions to the events and situations of daily life

Examen

A practice to move from an unintentional and unaware life to one that is both intentional and aware (Here is an app for iOS and Android to help with focused Examens)

Hospitality

A practice to help you move from a self-focused life to an others-focused life as you practically extend God’s welcome to others

Fasting

A practice to free you from compulsion and instant gratification and turn your attention towards God and his Kingdom

Giving

A practice to help you grow as a generous steward of God’s resources and free you from the love or control of money

A Talk with Jesus

A practice to help build a conversational relationship with Jesus

Prayer

A practice of communicating and being present with God.

Simplicity

A practice that minimizes distractions and maximizes a single-minded focus on the kingdom of God

Silence and Solitude

A practice that allows space for God’s Spirit to surface and speak to our deepest longings and desires

Celebration

A practice that allows space for God’s Spirit to surface and speak to our deepest longings and desires

Service

A practice that develops humility and frees us from the tendency to think we are better or more deserving than others

Spiritual Directors We Recommend

Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” – William Barry and William Connolly

Formation Resources

Enneagram

The Enneagram is a tool we have been using over the last few years to help us understand ourselves and our relationships with one another. Developed using a wide range of sources, from the writings of the Desert Fathers to modern psychological theory, the Enneagram is a tool to generate conversations about what drives our decisions. There are many perspectives on the Enneagram and all need to be carefully examined in light of Scripture.

Here are a few of the Enneagram resources we use

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery 

by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

This book offers a practical, comprehensive way of accessing Enneagram wisdom and exploring its connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of ourselves, compassion for others, and love for God. Witty and filled with stories, this book allows you to peek inside each of the nine Enneagram types, keeping you turning the pages long after you have read the chapter about your own number. Not only will you learn more about yourself, but you will also start to see the world through other people’s eyes, understanding how and why people think, feel, and act the way they do.

Amazon

Enneagram and the Way of Jesus: Integrating Personality Theory with Spiritual Practices and Biblical 

by AJ Sherrill

This book presents an overview of the Enneagram and offers tools for spiritual growth based on the Enneagram. Sherrill offers activities he calls downstream and upstream practices – those that come easily to us and those that are difficult enough to help us grow. Enneagram and the Way of Jesus challenges us to look at our spiritual health like we look at our physical health, as something that can be worked at. If you’re interested in the Enneagram, this book is a good place to start.

Amazon

The Wisdom of the Enneagram

by Riso and Hudson

This is a textbook sized volume that presents relational and psychological perspective on the Enneagram. It is helpful if you find the Enneagram helpful and want to study it in detail.

Amazon