James K. A. Smith talks about the spiritual power of habit. He writes, "the orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire. Learning to love [God] takes practice."
As the New Year arrives, many people will make resolutions that will impact their habits. We will work on better dietary habits, spending habits, or exercise habits. But, few will consider their spiritual habits.
Here at City Church, we offer weekly "habits" the form our desires and our loves. Consider committing yourself anew to these spiritual habits:
SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP (Sundays, 9:00 AM) ~ Three Arts Club of Homeland
"And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all people." (Acts 2:46-47)
Carey Nieuwhof wrote a blog post called, "10 Reasons Even Committed Church Attenders Are Attending Church Less Often." It is well worth the read. He writes about how affluence, travel, and kid's activities are subtly undermining the church's influence. It has become so severe, that the "issue is reaching a tipping point" for most churches.
We attend worship to be reminded that the Gospel is the defining principle of our lives and human history. We come to worship a God who gave Himself for us. We come to allow our values, thinking, and behavior to be shaped by this message. If we don't, then it is not surprising when our worldview is shaped by other things.
ADULT FORMATION COURSES (Sundays, 10:45) ~ Stony Run Offices
"And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship..." (Acts 2:42)
Throughout history, the "giants" of the faith were those who deeply immersed themselves in the Word of God. These men and women believed in the formative power of the Scriptures. But, they also saw the value of studying God's Word in the context of community.
All of us have blind spots. We see things through a limited lens. This is why we need the community of God to help us understand the Word of God. Consider joining us for our current series on 1 & 2 Peter.
WEDNESDAY MORNING PRAYER (Wednesdays, 7:00 AM) ~ Stony Run Offices
"And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." (Acts 2:42)
Eugene Peterson said that "prayer is the way we work our way out of the comfortable but cramped world of self and into the spacious world of God." There is no better way to work our way out of the cramped world of self than by praying with others. We learn about the character of God and His work in the world through the prayers of His people.
SMALL GROUPS (Various Times & Locations)
"And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." (Acts 2:46-47)
The first believers in Jesus Christ made it a priority to break bread and pray with one another in their homes. The sense of community was so strong that it attracted others to the faith. Others were filled with awe.
When it comes to "spiritual disciplines" the modern church tends to think very individualistically. "I grow in the faith by studying my bible and praying alone in solitude and quiet." These things are no doubt important. But the priority of the first church and the priority of the list above is communal. We need to start thinking of the "spiritual disciplines" within the context of the messy, yet beautiful, community of faith. We need each other.
Consider committing yourself anew to these spiritual habits in 2018. They are not easy. They require work, discipline, and hard choices. But, these are the priorities that God has given us to shape our lives around. They are God's ordained means by which we grow in grace.