|Personal Spiritual Disciplines
BuildingChurch.net on External Personal Disciplines
These are the spiritual disciplines that are activities the individual Christian should embark upon in order to develop him/herself as a mature, Christ-like believer. These disciplines can be divided into two sub-categories: internal and external disciplines. This page contains the external disciplines.
External Personal Disciplines
"God made man simple; man's complex problems are of his own devising" (Ecc 7:29, JB). We live in a busy, gadget-centered world. The fact that you are reading this page means that you probably have access to technology such as computers. In such a high-tech world, the idea of simplicity is extremely foreign. God calls us to allow Him to supply all of our needs, and all the rest will take care of itself (Matt 6:25-34). He calls us to lead peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Tim 2:2), that He might be glorified. My primary mentor, Al Jackson, put the Richard Foster book on his top ten list because of this one chapter. Again, the book is worth the price for just one chapter!
Although Foster does not include this discipline in his book, Donald S Whitney includes it in his book. I agree with Whitney that stewardship is an essential part of the Christian life.
Stewardship is about more than money. Stewardship involves managing wisely all of the assets that God has entrusted us with. How are we going to use our time, talents, and money to bring the greatest glory to God? I honestly believe that tithing all of our assets is merely a starting point. Tithing was the requirement of the Old Testament law. Those of us in the New Testament church can see the full extent of God's abundant grace. Our appreciation of such wonderful grace should drive us to give far beyond the requirements of the law.
This discipline is the primary purpose and vision for the entire site of BuildingChurch.net. I am utterly convinced that a Christian will be unable to live a consistent life of gratitude and glory to God until he/she begins to turn their own faith around and serve God in the context of a ministry to which they are called. The Find Your Place curriculum and Gifted2Serve inventory are specifically geared to help Christians in this discipline.
Although Foster does not include this discipline in his book, Donald S Whitney includes it in his book. I agree with Whitney that evangelism is an essential part of the Christian life.
Although I have been trained in Evangelism Explosion, FAITH Sunday School Evangelism Strategy, and other programmatic forms of evangelism, I prefer a more personal method. If possible, I suggest such a simple method as including the essential parts of your Christian faith within the story of your testimony. In the context of your story, most people won't realize how much of the Gospel you are giving to them. Also, while they may argue with your understanding of what you have experienced, they can't argue with the experience itself. They must somehow explain what you have told them happened to you.
Beyond including the Gospel in your testimony, I suggest using a simple tract. Many tracts and methods of sharing the Gospel are man-centered, centering on the person's reward. I suggest finding one that is centered on God, His glory, and His desire and original plan for mankind. I find Your Most Important Relationship to be an excellent bridge from the human need to God's ultimate desire and plan for mankind.
"Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."
1 Timothy 4:7b-8 NASB
"Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great King over all the earth."
"Prayer is an unspoken confession of our utter dependence upon God.
Prayerlessness is an unbroken testimony of our dependence upon the flesh."
"Pride is the greatest enemy to the centrality of God."
"As Scripture says that love covers over a multitude of sins, in the same way, prayer covers over a multitude of mistakes."