Christian Fellowship 1997-01-15 - Spiritual Disciplines

The Spiritual Disciplines Series, Introduction

Monday night I took my four year old son Bobby to the Duke Basketball game. We arrived 30 minutes early so he could see the players practicing and warming up. The players start out basically just dribbling the ball and taking some easy lay-up shots. Over the 30-minute period they progress to more difficult but fundamental skills. Bobby was very excited and enjoyed watching the practice, but at one point he looked up and said "Dad, where is the other team?" I told him they would be out in a few minutes and then the game would begin, that right now the players were preparing for the battle. After the game started Bobby said "Dad, they sure are playing better now!"

Isn't that what we need to be doing? Practicing our fundamentals, preparing for battle, getting the basics right, and growing in our faith. We will never get better, stronger and closer without the fundamentals. So over the next seven or so weeks I am going to take a practical look at Spiritual Disciplines, our workouts to becoming more Christ-like.

What are the Spiritual Disciplines? To me they are the following, Bible Reading, Prayer, Fasting, Worship, Stewardship, Serving, Silence, Writing a Journal, and Growing in Knowledge. You may have others.

You might be thinking, "Gee David, this sounds great but why bother?" Walk with me back in time. Lets take a quick journey back to a trial that occurred nearly 2000 years ago.

Matthew 27:16-22 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor. "Barabbas," they answered. 22 "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!".

Do you realize who Barabbas is? He is you and I. We belonged on that cross. We deserved to die that horrible death. We should have been there. So it should be out of our gratitude to Christ for dying in our place, that we work toward being more like Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith,and this not from yourselves, 9 it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Dear Father, prepare our hearts as we walk through the process of being more Christ like. Lord, I ask you to guide us and help us understand where you want each of us to be in this world. Father, we thank you and praise you for your Son Jesus who died in our place, for our iniquities, for our sins and transgressions. In HIS precious name we pray, Amen.