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Our teaching series until the end of this year is on the Spiritual Disciplines. We're using Richard Foster's classic book on the subject, titled Celebration of Discipline.
Foster describes the 12 main disciplines used in antiquity (including the worshiping life of Israel) designed to develop life-giving habits in the practitioner. Foster is quick to point out that the disciplines in themselves are of no value, they are only doorways or means to an end. The place we step into through the disciplines - the end to which the disciplines are aiming - is freedom in Christ. The disciplines are aids to coming before God seeking the change only he can affect.
One of the reasons we are doing the series is because the typical evangelical church has lost touch with the benefits of the disciplines, fearing they are too much like law, and not salvation being a matter of grace through faith alone, and faith itself being a gift.
The disciplines are not matters of salvation in Christ, but rather a matter of living more and more the kind of life we are saved to. There are two key reasons we are looking at the disciplines:
- We do a good job of avoiding God in our busy lives. These disciplines do a great job bringing us into the awareness of our need for God and his presence to help. We may be saved, but that doesn't mean we are living out the life of freedom Christ has saved us for.
- In all areas of life we expect results from training, not just trying hard. No matter how hard I try, I cannot fly a helicopter, because I have no training. With training though, I could. Paul uses training for a marathon as an illustration of the spiritual life, and encouraging all disciples to do the same. The spiritual disciplines are training exercises so the life of grace flows more readily in us.
Join us one Sunday - 10am.
Make yourself at home.» Posted on 23 Sep 2013 •
I found an amazing resource online that I just had to share - a BBC documentary called The Big Silence. It's an amazing story of five ordinary people testing an ancient spiritual hypothesis: that silence is the gateway to the soul, and the soul is the gateway to God. Could it be true? Could discovering the reality of God be as simple as it sounds? Or is it rather that it IS true, but the silence part is the hard part?
The journey they go on is profound, and profoundly affecting. It's probably worth pointing out that of the five people who take on the challenge, only one has anything like an active faith.
They're all on YouTube and I've linked the first of them here (and in our Pick Me Up section). They've been broken into 12, 15-minute sections so pretty easy to take in bite-size parts. But I warn you - they're strangely compelling and addictive. You may find you want to watch them in one big go.Enjoy - Philip.
» Posted on 29 May 2013 • Pass the Salt
You may never have heard of liminal spaces, but you’ve experienced plenty of them in life.
Literally it means a threshold between two places, thus to be in a liminal space is to be neither in one place or the other.
Dawn and dusk are a liminal time between day and night. The teen years are a liminal space – a threshold – between childhood and adulthood. The process of moving cities, moving jobs, going to a new school, waiting for a child to be born or for a loved one to pass away are all liminal spaces.
In these times we can find ourselves either fixed on what is coming, or longing for the past but not enjoying the process of change itself. This ‘in between’ time is one we’d rather avoid or skip. But liminal spaces are necessary.
Often we draw our comfort from familiarity. Habits and life’s routines make us feel safe and in control. But life is full of change and what we could rely on previously is no longer certain, and the future is shrouded in mystery, thus our source of comfort is disrupted. This is the power and necessity of liminal spaces. They create tension within us to enable us to either let go of the past so the future can be faced free of baggage, or a tension that gives us necessary courage to step into a difficult future. Without liminal space, we would be unprepared as God moves us on in spiritual maturity.
Liminal spaces reveal our reliance on things that are passing as an invitation again to rely solely on the one who was, and is and is to come.» Posted on 22 Jan 2013 •
Every Anniversary Weekend, we make the most of (usually) great weather to picnic in the Hamilton Gardens as a church instead of meeting in the building.
You are welcome to join us - bring a picnic blanket, chairs, food and drink - maybe even a ball to throw around.
- When: 10am-1pm Sunday, 27 January, 2013
- Where: Rose Gardens side of Hamilton Gardens (Gate 2).
- Why: For fun and companionship.
If it looks as though rain may dampen our enthusiasm, revisit the website on Sunday morning for the final word. If it is too wet, the plan is to convene at Chapel Hill instead, for a short time of communion and sharing.» Posted on 05 Dec 2012 •
Between BC and AD is a singular historical event - the birth of an extraordinary baby and the unusual circumstances surrounding this event. The story of Jesus' conception and birth reads like one of the more unusual and fanciful plot lines from Days of Our Lives. It's 'pregnant' (excuse the pun) with all sorts of social scandal, bizarre hardship, and odd characters dragged in to witness something that would not normally be their concern. Gossip about Jesus has run rife ever since. We're still talking about him today, 2000 years later.
His affects on the world have caused a division in history because of his arrival. We live knowing there was a time Before Christ, and that today we are in the Year of our Lord (Anno Domini). The course of history itself has been interrupted and sent in a new direction because of the birth of Jesus.
Still today the flow of our lives are interrupted as we celebrate this day, whether people follow Jesus or not. His influence on our culture is so profound we still take this time to suspend our busy lives and leave work and school behind to gather around a table with family, sharing food, presents and each other’s company.
Jesus is all about life interrupted. We invite you to interrupt your usual activities on Christmas Eve and join us in celebrating the coming of the life interrupter. You won’t be disappointed.
Monday 24 December, 8-9pm, Chapel Hill Community Church.