Spiritual Disciplines: Study I

We’re doing a twelve week series on the spiritual disciplines in homegroup, and this week is study. In addition to the daily meditation exercise we picked up in the first week, there’s now a weekly study exercise: summarise a paragraph of Ephesians in one sentance, starting with Ephesians 1:3-14. This is what I came up with:

Praise God for choosing us, saving us all for redemption and good works, and sending his Spirit as proof we’re not alone.

Today is my second fast-from-music day. The past week I’ve had the car radio on much less, got re-accquainted with the various noises my car makes, and prayed more in the car. We’re planning a one-day retreat to explore the silence and solitude disciplines later in the year, I’m really looking forward to that.

The list from Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline is:

Inward disciplines:

  • Meditation (8th Sept to 14th Sept)
  • Prayer (15th Sept to 21th Sept)
  • Fasting (29th Sept to 5th Oct)
  • Study (6th Oct to 12th Oct)

Outward disciplines:

  • Simplicity
  • Solitude
  • Submission
  • Service

Corporate disciplines:

  • Confession
  • Worship
  • Guidance
  • Celebration

Spiritual Disciplines: Fasting II

Next week’s homegroup meeting is about fasting, and starting today we have seven days worth of Bible verses about fasting to meditate on. We’re planning a group fast (one day without food) for the week after, but the concept of fasting isn’t restricted to food. I drive to work with the radio on, switching stations when one goes to commercials. When I get to work one of my officemates has the radio on all day. I take my iPod to work with me and listen to the radio on the way home. That’s a lot of audio intake every day. The best day to fast from music would be Friday when the officemate doesn’t work. I know fasting from food makes me tetchy and grumpy. Fasting from music may not have the same physical effect, but it’s what you do with

the extra time that’s important, not what you’ve given up to get there.

(Hubby also suggested a fast from knitting, but I have some things to make for Christmas I haven’t started yet, plus Faina.)

Meditation was the first personal discipline we looked at, followed by prayer, fasting, and study. The aim is to build the disciplines into our lives cumulatively. When we reach the study discipline, a study exercise will be added to the daily meditations.

Spiritual Disciplines: Fasting

Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil… prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon.

Terry Pratchett

We’re going through a study of the spiritual disciplines outlined in Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline book, and the next week is fasting. Hubby provides these useful sheets with quotes and questions, and a series of verses for daily meditation (since meditation was the first discipline we looked at). This is one quote on fasting that didn’t quite make the cut!

Jonah’s prayer

Jonah 2

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said:

"In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."

And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Good news, bad news

It’s been a good news, bad news day. On the good side, I got to eat really good Greek food, my car was fixed for way less than I’d been expecting, my boss and the co-owner of the company I work for let me go home early

The bad side of the day sucked and mostly involved cars, Hubby’s and mine. Also this has become necessary:

Public Service Announcement

If you’re listed on my UK God Blogs list, Adrian Warnock has added you to his Blogdom of God. I did not and would not give permission for this, and I’m unhappy the list was used in this manner. The only way to get out of the "Blogdom" I can see is to email Adrian Warnock and ask. I asked for this blog to be removed today. This is another sucky thing that happened today. If I’d wanted to join, I’d have joined myself. Please don’t join me against my will.

Conference thoughts

I don’t know about you guys, but we are the weirdest herd I’ve ever seen.

Sid the sloth on Ice Age.

The Vineyard National Conference drew leaders from all over the country to Columbus Ohio. I met people from Texas, Long Island, Michigan, West Virginia, California, Arkansas, Colorado, Australia, Germany, and Britain. Among around two thousand people, it’s odd how often you keep meeting the same ones, including the ones you came with and the others from St Louis.

Gordon Fee did a session on Monday night, and devotions from Philippians on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings which were amazing. The workshops were awesome. Judy Davids on journaling, Nancy Wilson for pastor’s wives (don’t ask), Donnell Wyche on church websites (no, I’m not doing this on an Apple). Missed Jason Chatraw on ministry writing, but the tape is coming.

Met Steve Robbins, director of Vineyard Leadership Institute, the man responsible for Hubby’s last six quarters of study, intensives, projects, and service requirements. When asked what Hubby should do next after VLI, Steve said "Love your wife. Take her away for the weekend." I like Steve. Also met Don Williams, one of the regular VLI lecturers, and Tim Walsh, alpha geek for KingdomRain.net.

Main speakers that stood out were Dr Philip Jenkins, Julia Pickerill, and Phil Strout. Strout was responsible for the Ice Age quote, showing that chunk of the movie in the Thursday night session. Dr Jenkins is Welsh born like Hubby, and talked about global South Christianity. Looking foward to reading his book.

It was a good week. Glad to be home, despite breaking the toilet this morning (all fixed now, new flush mechanism installed).

Home again

House is still standing, both cats healthy, huge thanks to our cat-sitters for the excellent job. Remembered to bring my pillow home this time! Wonderful conference, met a lot of great people, some excellent workshop sessions, good food. Managed to fit in a trip to a yarn shop and find a geocache during the week too. Vineyard Columbus did an awesome job of hosting, Gordon Fee was amazing to listen to every day, and we met two Brits there! Among two thousand people, we just happen to bump into the other Brits…

More later. I have a week of sleep to catch up on.

CDP Progress III

Nothing like a quiet evening of web design. One more section of six files, and the English side of the CDP redesign is done. All the support files are done, the feedback form works, and cross-browser compatibility is sorted. Six more files and I can take the English side live. I can make a start tonight. Saved this section for last because it’s not going to be easy. Everything else has been mostly cut and paste, with a few tweaks. This section requires surgery. Nurse, pass the scalpel, I’m going in…

Update, 10pm:

Wahoo! Christian Depression Pages English is live and updated! I’m taking a few days off web design.

CDP Progress II

Got my space on the test server sorted out, the Gospelcom support crew rocks. Ended up using a hand-coded CSS stylesheet written by Hubby to get around the IE/Firefox problems. Five sections are now ready to go live. Three still to do (including one total doozy, I don’t know what I was thinking when I coded the HTML), then I start on the Icelandic side, which contains five sections, plus some support files.