In recent years I've given increased thought to what entails "Christian spiritual-life formation". When I say "spiritual-life formation", I simply mean those spiritual practices which enable Christians to grow in their faith as they cooperate with God in daily-living. As one journeys back through the millennia of Church history and the Old Testament, we can find precedents for this idea. For instance, God had prescribed seven "festivals" for the Jewish people to initiate a spiritual-life cycle that would correspond to the agricultural cycle of "sowing and reaping" (see Leviticus 23). In the New Testament, we find Jesus taking one of those festivals, "The Passover", and transfiguring it into what we know today as "The Lord's Supper" for frequent observance by His church.
Individual Biblical-spirituality was situated within the larger framework of God's covenant-dealings with His people. The increasing secularization of society and development of non-theistic forms of spirituality demands a fresh understanding, preaching about and practice of Biblical spiritual-life formation.
Envisioning Christian spiritual-life formation by way of a "Christian spiritual-life toolbox"
As a pastor, I intend to begin a new series of messages that will center around an idea I call: "A Christian spiritual-life toolbox". The goal of the lesson series (Sunday night, twenty minute messages), is to provide a resource which small groups could use in future studies and to equip people in-person or online with tools for Christian spiritual-life formation. The series itself will likely contain roughly twenty messages, twenty minutes in length, followed by a time of discussion/Q&A and ending with prayer and reflection. Each time a message is presented, the rhythm of each service will begin with adoration, proclamation, exploration (the discussion time) and application (closing with prayer for renewal to exercise oneself spiritually in that particular area). There are four key areas of Christian spirituality for Christian spiritual-life formation:
2. Relational-life (i.e. small-group life).
3. Word-life (i.e. time in the scriptures).
Each of the above four areas represent four aspects of spiritual-life and development that intersect with the work of the Spirit in making the Christian more like Jesus Christ in thought, word and action (otherwise known as "sanctification"). What follows below are likely lessons and messages in the series (it is quite likely we will do the whole study in four "installments", with possible addition or deletion of messages). As I give further thought to what we will likely cover in this series, it also reflects the details of how I envision Christian spiritual-life formation.
*The benefits of congregational singing to the Christian life.
*The benefits of preaching to the Christian life.
*How evangelism with others can benefit the Christian life.
*The benefits of celebrating Lord's Supper and Baptism to the Christian life.
*The benefits of practicing giving to the local church to the Christian life.
2. Relational life.
*Christian mentoring as a must for Christian growth.
*Discipleship is at the heart of Christian growth.
*Why Sunday School is needed in the weekly spiritual diet.
*Building a strong marriage and home.
*Biblical friendship and praying for one another.
*Knowing how the Bible is put-together.
*Basic Bible-study skills as a way of building faith.
*How to construct a soul-winner's Bible.
*What does it mean to "hear God through the scriptures"?
*The steps from meditation to application of God's Word.
*How you can know the Bible is the Word of God.
4. The prayer-life.
*How confession of sin enhances spiritual-life formation.
*The art and practice of stillness before God.
*What to do while you are waiting on God.
*How to pray the scripture.
*The power of prayer and fasting.
*The effectiveness of a thankful life.
*Steps to the Spirit-filled life.
*If revival is going to start, it must begin with me.
*The steps toward developing a daily devotional life.
*The value of praying with others to the Christian life.
My hope and prayer is that this study would stir my heart and others toward a deeper and wider walk with Jesus Christ. As I preach the series, I intend to do future blog-posts on some of the messages, as well as provide video links for anyone interested.