12. Renovation of the Heart by Willard

I read this two times in one year. Last time, I listened to it on audiobook, this time I underlined and took extensive notes since it is an assigned text for a class. It is even better the second time around. Spiritual transformation really is possible. 

Here is the gist quote:

“Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself…the outer life of the individual becomes a natural expression or outflow of the character and teachings of Jesus.” (22)
My only thing about Willard is that he doesn't realize that this has been going on within pockets of followers of Jesus for a while now. I was taught all these principles in the Navigators when I was in college. He has definitely brought it to the forefront and articulated it beautifully. I prefer to think of it as discipleship rather than calling it spiritual formation, but that is just my prefe…

14. A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly

I love this little gem.
A few good quotes: How, then, shall we lay hold that that Life and Power, and live the life of prayer without ceasing? By quiet, persistent practice in turning of all our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward Him who calls in the deeps of our souls. Mental habits of inward orientation must be established (p. 15).
Deep Within
Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life.
The Strain
We are not integrated. We are distraught. We feel honestly the pull of many obligations and try to fulfill them all. And we are unhappy, uneasy, strained, o…

Sunday Morning Freewrite

It has been two weeks since I have done a freewrite.

The April praxis exercise is "An Unhurried Space."  Here is an excerpt from the introduction:
Purpose:  The writer of Proverbs understood that, “It is not good to . . . be hasty and miss the way” (19:2). Likewise, the apostle Paul emphasized the importance of taking time to follow God’s leading: “So to make sure there will be no slipup . . . I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don’t want anything forced or hurried at the last minute” (2 Cor. 9:5, MSG). In a moment of Jesus’ life when it would have been logical to rush (to heal Jairus’ daughter), he instead took time not only to acknowledge the healing of the woman with the flow of blood, but also to listen to her tell “the whole truth” (Mark 5:33).
Dallas Willard comments on the motives behind haste and rushing in the article “Looking Like Jesus” (Chapter 4 of ​The Great Omission). He says,
"Many well-meaning people . . . ca…

11. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

I think this is my fourth read of this classic. I read it two years ago and went through the DVD series with two women. One of the women was in a very dry time of her life, and this was so helpful for her.

I am reading it for the Renovaré Institute so I took a lot of notes and got so much more out of this time around because of that. I had to put this picture of the original 1978 cover. I own a copy with this kind of cover (although mine is in much better shape than this one). I don't know why I read it first. I know that I had talked about it with my friend, Dave, before I was married. So, I think I read it for the first time during the 80's. I also read the Freedom of Simplicity, but I cannot remember when I read that one. I really like that one. 

Some memorable quotes:

Joy is the keynote of all the Disciplines. The purpose of the Disciplines is liberation from the stifling slavery to self-interest and fear. When one’s inner spirit is set free from all that holds it down, th…
Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for you As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new. I, like an usurp’d town to another due, Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end; Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend, But is captiv’d and proves weak or untrue. Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain, But I am bethroth’d unto your enemy; Divorce me, untie or break that knot again, Take me to you, imprison me, for I, Except you enthrall me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me. (John Donne, Holy Sonnets XIV)
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is
the kingdom,
the power and
the glory,
for ever and ever.

If This Bird Could Talk, What Would It Say?

This is from the Friday Freewrite by Julie Bogart at Bravewriter:

So here goes. Just for fun. I will just do a 10 minute one this morning. 

This is the bird talking:

The sunrise was brilliant this morning, and it got my heart to singing praise to God for the dawn of a new day. I see those people inside their houses with the lights on. They are busily rushing here and there getting ready for their work day. I am just looking at the sunrise. Why will they not look up and out the window at this glorious display of God's brilliance right out their window? It would really be great if they would even open the window and hear me singing my song! Oh those humans, they just do not look UP, and they "labor and spin" about all sorts of things. Oh, there is mother yelling at her kids at the breakfast bar. Barking orders like a drill sergeant. She really needs to look outside.

Oh well, I will just fly. The Oregon rain …

10. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Nouwen

This is a simple book but powerful. Nouwen looks at the three temptations presented to Christ and likens them to the temptations we face as leaders and their remedies:

TEMPTATION: To be Relevant
QUESTION: Do you love me? (from John 21)
DISCIPLINE: Contemplative Prayer

TEMPTATION: To be Spectacular
TASK: Feed My Sheep
DISCIPLINE: Confession and Forgiveness

TEMPTATION: To be Powerful
CHALLENGE: Somebody Else Will Take You
DISCIPLINE: Theological Reflection (Which means "thinking with the mind of Christ. Theology's original meaning was "union with God in prayer.") 

It was a quick but good read.