Effort Is Not the Opposite of Grace

Richard Foster, author of The Celebration of Discipline:

There’s a back and forth—there is a role that we play in our relational life with God. That role is, as Paul puts it, that we are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice.

Now, how do you do that? I’d say primarily—not exclusively, but primarily—through the classical disciplines of the spiritual life. That’s how we offer the mind, the heart, the spirit, the body before God. Then, at that point, the disciplines have come to the end of their tether. There is no righteousness in them at all—none. They just allow us to place ourselves before God. The grace of God steps into that and begins to do work we can hardly imagine.

The point of this is that I cannot change my own heart. I cannot change anybody else’s heart. That isn’t my business—that’s God’s business.

Source: Richard Foster: Effort Is Not the Opposite of Grace | Christianity Today

The simple way to practice centering prayer

Centering prayer is about cultivating an awareness of the presence of God and an attitude of submission to his will. In other words, it is practicing consent to the loving action of God to conform you ever more to the image of Christ. Continue reading The simple way to practice centering prayer

The essential books

This is a “living post” and will be updated over time. You’ll find a curated list of books here that have proven themselves life-changing and helpful over time.

  • How to be filled with the Holy Spirit by A. W. Tozer. A deeply biblical yet accessible work that avoids much of the popular hype surrounding the charismatic gifts, while embracing fully the person and work of the God the Holy Spirit.
  • The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. A definitive work on spiritual growth and the spiritual disciplines.
  • The Meaning of Marriage  by Tim Keller. Probably the best overall book on marriage from Christian perspective out there. Read my full review.
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Where you want to start if you’re questioning Christianity on any level.
  • Worship Old & New by Robert Weber. Academic, but important for understanding the meaning and development of Christian worship over time.
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Undoubtedly one of the most profound devotional works of all time.

Super-quick sermon prep

Finish your sermon or Bible study in half the time.

Are you a busy pastor, small-group leader, or Bible-teacher that struggles to get your sermon or Bible studies done in a reasonable amount of time? Do you sit down to study without a clear plan and struggle to find your next step? Continue reading Super-quick sermon prep