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SpiritualD I S C I P L I N E S
Biblical Tools for Cultivating a Life of Spiritual Growth and Health
As faithful believers, we care about the condition of our spiritual lives. Whether
it’s a desire to cultivate spiritual growth or nurture a healthy spiritual life, we
seek tools to aid and guide us on our journey in relationship with God.
The spiritual disciplines are practices that by design can help us create time and
space for life transformation. Their purpose is to aid our growth as disciples of Christ
and deepen our relationship with God. They are like training exercises for the spiritual
life. But like all exercise, we have to choose to do them regularly to feel or see their
impact on our lives.
Christians throughout the ages have chosen to engage in the spiritual disciplines
because Jesus himself modeled and taught about them, as recorded in the Bible. The
scripture passages below will guide our Groundwork discussions; we’ll dig deep into
these scriptures to explore not only the function of the individual spiritual disciplines,
but also to reflect on how we might apply the disciplines to benefit our spiritual lives.
Listen to and study all six Groundwork spiritual disciplines episodes:
•	 Why Practice Spiritual Disciplines | Titus 2:11-15 & 1 Timothy 4:7-8
•	 Prayer & Fasting | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
•	 Simplicity & Submission | Philippians 4:10-13 & Matthew 6:19-33
•	 Silence & Solitude | Luke 5:15-16 & 1 Kings 19:11-13
•	 Service & Giving | Matthew 6:19-21 & Luke 16:1-9
•	 Scripture: Study, Memorization, Contemplation & Meditation | Psalm 119
Each episode includes an audio podcast and a devotional guide that will prepare
and lead you in thoughtful reflection on what you’ve heard and how you can apply what
you’ve learned in everyday life.
Whether this is your first encounter with the spiritual disciplines or you’re redis-
covering these practices once more, this study will help you look into scripture and dis-
cover the tools God gives us to help us grow in abundant life and relationship with him.
Courtney Jacob
•	 What is your current attitude toward or opinion
of the spiritual disciplines?
•	 What do you already know about the spiritual
disciplines?
The purpose of spiritual disciplines is to deepen our
relationship with God. Studying examples of the spiritual
disciplines in scripture gives us a basis for growing deep
roots. It also ensures that our practices remain congruent
with the gospel teaching presented in the Bible. Practices
incongruent with scripture actually work against us and
cause us to stumble in our faith. But practices in-line with
scripture will complement and aid our biblical study, and
deepen our faith and relationship with our heavenly Father.
You work out your salvation, you train
yourself—not in order to get saved, but
because you already are, and now you
want to stay in step with Jesus and stay
in tune with him.”
— SCOTT HOEZEE
•	 What do you want the natural outflow of your life
to be? Consider the choices you’ve made the last
few days about your priorities, how to spend your
time, and to what to give your attention. Which
of these choices have cultivated spiritual growth?
Which of these choices have distracted you from
life in the Spirit?
•	 Are the places you spend your time and the things
that have your attention capable of assisting
you on your journey toward a more disciplined
spiritual life?
•	 Which strengths do you already possess in your
spiritual practices? How can you build on the
strengths you already have?
•	 Is there a spiritual discipline that might
complement your strengths and deepen your
relationship with God?
Awareness Reflection
Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider:
Groundwork episode 14-40:
TITUS 2:11-15 & 1 TIMOTHY 4:7-8
Why Practice Spiritual Disciplines
Conclusion
Spend a few moments in prayer. Ask God to reveal to you the reality of your
spiritual state. Which areas are strong? Which areas need growth? Thank him for
the provision of his Spirit and pray for awareness of the Spirit’s work in your life.
Consider this prayer from the early Christian, Clement of Rome:
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Grant, we pray, that we might be grounded and settled in your truth by the coming
of your Holy Spirit into our hearts.
What we do not know, reveal to us; what is lacking within us, make complete; that
which we do know, confirm in us; and keep us blameless in your service, through
Jesus Christ our Lord. ¹
Related Passages
for further study:
•	 Galatians 6:6-10
•	 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
1
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 1993. Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer. Louisville, Ky: Westminster/John Knox Press, p22.
•	 What is the current state of your prayer life? What
is good about it? What would you like to improve?
How do you define the purpose of prayer?
•	 Based on your existing understanding, describe
the discipline of fasting. How does thinking about
it make you feel?
Prayer is a common practice among Christians of all
backgrounds; whether actively engaged in the practice or
not, the majority of Christians are familiar with prayer. In
contrast, the practice of fasting is much less common and
an individual’s familiarity is likely dependent upon their
background and Christian tradition. Both of these practices
can significantly contribute to a disciplined spiritual life. Yet,
individuals tend to have questions about the reality of what
both prayer and fasting look like in practice.
We do not pray to tell God what he does not
know or to inform him...God knows what we
need before we even ask him; so, prayer is
not so much for his sake as it is for ours; and
it is the way probably that we most exercise
and develop our intimacy with God—our
relationship with God.”
— DAVE BAST
Recall your earlier reflection on the state of your prayer life
and knowledge of fasting.
•	 Are there questions, concerns, or fears that keep
you from incorporating the practice of fasting in
your spiritual life?
•	 During the Groundwork conversation in segment
2, our guest Sue commented that sometimes
people fast when they need to make an important
decision. Do you face any major decisions or
events in your life that might benefit from the
intentional time spent with God that fasting
provides? Has your understanding of fasting
changed?
•	 What obstacles prevent you from improving your
prayer life? Which are within your control to
change?
•	 What is one change that you’re willing to
incorporate this week to intentionally make space
for prayer, or to improve your prayer life in some
way?
•	 How does modeling the practice of prayer for
children, grandchildren, and believers new to
faith look different than the public prayers
described in Matthew 6:5?
Awareness Reflection
Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider:
Groundwork episode 15-01:
MATTHEW 6:1-6, 16-18
Prayer & Fasting
Conclusion
Consider this closing thought from Lauren Winner: “Sure, sometimes it is great
when, in prayer, we can express to God just what we feel; but better still when, in the act
of praying, our feelings change.” Then, in prayer or fasting, step into the sanctuary and
be with the Lord. Listen to him. Share with him the reality of your spiritual life and
any truths you discovered during reflection. Ask him to give you the resources to
overcome any obstacles or fears you identified that interfere with your prayerful
communion with him. And then ask him to reveal to you unidentified fears or
obstacles about prayer and fasting. Pray that God would align your will with his.
Related Passages
for further study:
PRAYER:
•	 Matthew 7:7-12
•	 Matthew 26:36-46
•	 Philippians 4:4-7
FASTING:
•	 Luke 18:9-14
•	 Acts 13:2-3
•	 Luke 4:1-2
•	 Isaiah 58:3-12
•	 How do you spend your free time (i.e. time
not working, caring for family and household,
volunteering, etc.)?
•	 Are you content with your life? If so, what makes
you content? If not, what do you think will make
you content?
It’s easy to think that the spiritual discipline of simplicity
means living with nothing, but simplicity is different from
poverty. The practice of simplicity as demonstrated in
scripture doesn’t mean never owning anything, rather it calls
us to evaluate our motives, and our relationship to things, in
order to grow in relationship with God and other people.
Rather than simplicity being equated
with sacrifice, it is equated with actually
enriching our lives. You may...feel like you
have to give something up, but you gain so
much more in return.”
— RENA DAM
We need to de-clutter
our lives, not simply
as an end in itself,
but for the sake
of other people, of
relationships with
them and with God.”
— DAVE BAST
During the Groundwork conversation in segment 2, host
Dave Bast, says simplicity is about “reclaiming our lives for
the sake of relationship.” With that in mind recall your earlier
reflections about time and contentment.
•	 Are there areas of your
life that you want to
reclaim? What changes
are you willing to make
to reclaim them? What
underlying beliefs might
be influencing your
resistance?
•	 In segment 2, guest
Rena Dam noted “rather
than simplicity being
equated with sacrifice, it
is equated with actually enriching our lives.” What
do you regard as sacrifices, and how might they
actually be enriching your life?
•	 What relationships would you like to invest in
more? What is one aspect of your life that if
reclaimed it would result in deeper investment?
•	 Re-read Matthew 6:25-34. How does
contentment relate to worry?
•	 What danger might exist in being legalistic about
practicing simplicity?
Awareness Reflection
Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider:
Groundwork episode 15-02:
PHILIPPIANS 4:10-13 & MATTHEW 6:19-33
Simplicity & Submission
Conclusion
Evaluate the things in your life that receive your time and attention. In prayer,
request God’s wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Reflect on the sacrifices
you make, but also consider the ways these sacrifices enrich your life. How does
that fit with your desired priorities and your ability to seek God’s will for your life?
Related Passages
for further study:
•	 Luke 12:13-34 (note
particularly verse 15)
•	 James 5:1-5
•	 Deuteronomy 8:6-18
•	 How do scriptural and cultural perspectives on
silence and solitude compare and contrast?
•	 In segment 2, host Scott Hoezee mentions
that times of silence and solitude were not just
purposeless downtime for Jesus. What benefits
do you glean for your own relationship with God
by observing Jesus’
model of silence and
solitude?
•	 Where can you carve
out time and physical
space for silence and
solitude? What small
adjustments might you
make—time of day,
rearranging furniture,
etc—to shape a more
conducive space for
yourself?
•	 How do you respond to times of unanticipated
silence? Is your reaction to silence different when
you are surrounded by others than when you are
alone?
•	 What is your experience with solitude? Has
solitude been a matter of coincidence or
intentional planning in your life? What have you
learned in your experiences with solitude?
The spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude are
distinct and can be practiced individually, however, as
personal practices they naturally work in tandem. Both
disciplines focus on removing distractions to create space for
being with God and hearing his still, small voice.
It seems like the silence and the solitude,
was not just purposeless down time. He
[Jesus] was fully alert, in communion with
God, and that is what energized him to go
back to do more.”
— SCOTT HOEZEE
So often in scripture
we see how God
prefers to operate,
and apparently God
prefers to speak to us
when we are silent. It
worked for Jesus, so
who are we to try to
improve on Jesus?”
— SCOTT HOEZEE
Awareness Reflection
Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider:
Groundwork episode 15-03:
LUKE 5:15-16 & 1 KINGS 19:11-13
Silence & Solitude
Conclusion
In a time of silence and a place of solitude, listen for God. Do not try to empty
your mind, rather sift through the thoughts that arise. If you need to write down
to-do list items so you don’t forget them, go ahead, and then return to quiet
listening. Press into ideas that rise to the surface of your thoughts. Ask God about
them. Reflect on scriptures that come to mind. Might God be speaking to you
through these scriptures? Ask him to reveal to you the state of your heart or your
relationship with him.
Close your time by praying the words of the psalmist in Psalm 19:14, “May the
words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my
Rock and my Redeemer.”
Related Passages
for further study:
•	 Mark 6:30-31
•	 Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
•	 Matthew 14
•	 Habakkuk 2:20
•	 What is your understanding about tithing and
what are your honest feelings about it? What
about doing volunteer work? How do these relate
to your own faith and discipleship?
•	 Do you think money is good or bad for
relationships? Does it make a difference if
it’s a family relationship, a friendship, or your
relationship with God?
Service and giving are common words in a Christian’s
vocabulary, but they aren’t always welcome words. To many,
they are simply Christian “to-dos” or biblical commands that
are uncomfortable to talk about. But, there is a lot more to
service and giving. They are included in the list of spiritual
disciplines because they can aid our spiritual growth and
relationship with God.
One of the purposes, maybe a chief purpose
of money, is to actually build relationships.
When people are generous with [money]—
when they have an open hand—it can be
used to build relationships rather than to
destroy relationships.”
— JEFF MUNROE
By giving money—by
being generous with
it—we convert the
money of this world
into a kind of eternal
currency.”
— JEFF MUNROE
•	 Based on guest host Jeff Munroe’s comments
in segment 2, should tithing 10% be the floor or
ceiling for you? Is it a good goal to reach for, or is
it a goal you can easily, comfortably surpass?
•	 Evaluate your
generosity in other
areas of your life beyond
money. Are there
areas where you could
cultivate and celebrate a
more generous spirit?
•	 Why does helping
others reflect your
commitment to
discipleship?
•	 Consider Jeff’s closing question: “Do I go
through life squeezing, grasping, holding, or do
I have an open hand?” Reflect on this, and not
just with money, but with your time, talent, and
possessions. Do you share these things freely?
Awareness Reflection
Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider:
Groundwork episode 15-04:
MATTHEW 6:19-21 & LUKE 16:1-9
Service & Giving
Conclusion
Prayerfully consider your relationship to money, possessions, time, and your
talents. Consider making it a practice to periodically evaluate the motives behind
where and why you invest these assets. Seek God’s insight and ask him to uncover
any stinginess that may be hindering your spiritual growth.
Related Passages
for further study:
•	 Mark 12:38-44
•	 Genesis 14:17-24
•	 Matthew 25:14-30
•	 1 Peter 4:9-11
•	 What do you believe about the Bible? How much
time do you spend with scripture each week?
•	 Have you ever memorized verses or passages of
scripture? What was that process like for you?
Can you still recall them from memory? How did
that process affect your faith?
Scripture is the common thread tying together the many
spiritual disciplines. Study, memorization, contemplation,
and meditation all encourage us to interact with and engage
scripture, the medium through which God chose to reveal
himself to us. What better way to grow in relationship with
God than to try these techniques and spend time with the
book he inspired and shared with us?
Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 days and
Satan comes to him and tempts him. And
Jesus responds three times: “as it is written,
as it is written, as it is written.” He did not grab
the scroll or bring it with him. He actually had
ingested it—he had internalized it.”
— JON BROWN
It is not enough just to
know God from nature,
or have a general idea
of God. The only way
you can really come to
know God is through
his revelation in the
Bible.”
— DAVE BAST
•	 Of the four disciplines
discussed in the
program, which ones
inspire you to try
them? Do any of them
intimidate you? Why
do those particular
disciplines excite or
intimidate you?
•	 What external
circumstances, or
internal thoughts and
perceptions about
yourself, keep you from spending the amount of
time with scripture that you desire?
•	 In the second segment, hosts Dave and Scott,
discuss with guest, Jon Brown, the Bible’s
command to “eat this book” and what it means
to internalize scripture. What did you learn from
this conversation? How did it challenge you? In
what ways are you already consuming scripture
and making it part of you?
•	 What are realistic commitments that you can
make to improve your practice of these scripture
related disciplines?
•	 How have you seen the living, active word of God
at work in you and your life?
Awareness Reflection
Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider:
Groundwork episode 15-05:
PSALM 119
Scripture: Study, Memorization,
Contemplation & Meditation
Conclusion
Ask the Lord to open your ears to hear him speak through his word; ask him
to open your eyes to recognize his work and movement in your life. Request his
Holy Spirit to enlighten you and make the word part of you as you spend time with
it and internalize it. Tell him your commitments and request accountability. Close
by praying through Psalm 119. Consider praying through small segments of Psalm
119 each day before spending time with scripture.
Related Passages
for further study:
•	 Ezekiel 3:1
•	 Joshua 1:7-9
•	 Romans 15:4-6
•	 Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual
Growth by Richard J. Foster. Copyright 1998 by
HarperCollins.
•	 Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual
Transformations by Ruth Haley Barton. Copyright
2006 by InterVarsity Press.
•	 Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve
Spiritual Disciplines edited by Richard J. Foster and
Emilie Griffin. Copyright 2000 by HarperCollins.
•	 The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How
God Changes Lives by Dallas Willard. Copyright
1999 by HarperCollins.
•	 The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God
Through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence by Henri J.M.
Nouwen. Copyright 2003 by Ballantine Books.
FAMILY FIRE
•	 “Spiritual Disciplines: Family Fasting”
by Kim Sullivan
•	 “Spiritual Disciplines for Family Life”
by Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
TODAY DAILY DEVOTIONAL
•	 “Getting (Back) Into Spiritual Shape”,
March 2015
ON PRAYER
•	 Courage to Pray by William C. Brownson
•	 Pilgrimage in Prayer: One Man’s Journey
by Bill Brownson
•	 Living Generously by Jeff Munroe
ON STUDY
•	 Read the Bible in a Year by Harry Buis
WORDS OF HOPE DAILY DEVOTIONAL
•	 “Following Jesus”, a series of daily devotionals
available January 16-31, 2017
Books
From ReFrame Media
From Words of Hope
Recommended Resources for Further Study

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Spiritual Disciplines

  • 1. SpiritualD I S C I P L I N E S Biblical Tools for Cultivating a Life of Spiritual Growth and Health
  • 2. As faithful believers, we care about the condition of our spiritual lives. Whether it’s a desire to cultivate spiritual growth or nurture a healthy spiritual life, we seek tools to aid and guide us on our journey in relationship with God. The spiritual disciplines are practices that by design can help us create time and space for life transformation. Their purpose is to aid our growth as disciples of Christ and deepen our relationship with God. They are like training exercises for the spiritual life. But like all exercise, we have to choose to do them regularly to feel or see their impact on our lives. Christians throughout the ages have chosen to engage in the spiritual disciplines because Jesus himself modeled and taught about them, as recorded in the Bible. The scripture passages below will guide our Groundwork discussions; we’ll dig deep into these scriptures to explore not only the function of the individual spiritual disciplines, but also to reflect on how we might apply the disciplines to benefit our spiritual lives. Listen to and study all six Groundwork spiritual disciplines episodes: • Why Practice Spiritual Disciplines | Titus 2:11-15 & 1 Timothy 4:7-8 • Prayer & Fasting | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 • Simplicity & Submission | Philippians 4:10-13 & Matthew 6:19-33 • Silence & Solitude | Luke 5:15-16 & 1 Kings 19:11-13 • Service & Giving | Matthew 6:19-21 & Luke 16:1-9 • Scripture: Study, Memorization, Contemplation & Meditation | Psalm 119 Each episode includes an audio podcast and a devotional guide that will prepare and lead you in thoughtful reflection on what you’ve heard and how you can apply what you’ve learned in everyday life. Whether this is your first encounter with the spiritual disciplines or you’re redis- covering these practices once more, this study will help you look into scripture and dis- cover the tools God gives us to help us grow in abundant life and relationship with him. Courtney Jacob
  • 3. • What is your current attitude toward or opinion of the spiritual disciplines? • What do you already know about the spiritual disciplines? The purpose of spiritual disciplines is to deepen our relationship with God. Studying examples of the spiritual disciplines in scripture gives us a basis for growing deep roots. It also ensures that our practices remain congruent with the gospel teaching presented in the Bible. Practices incongruent with scripture actually work against us and cause us to stumble in our faith. But practices in-line with scripture will complement and aid our biblical study, and deepen our faith and relationship with our heavenly Father. You work out your salvation, you train yourself—not in order to get saved, but because you already are, and now you want to stay in step with Jesus and stay in tune with him.” — SCOTT HOEZEE • What do you want the natural outflow of your life to be? Consider the choices you’ve made the last few days about your priorities, how to spend your time, and to what to give your attention. Which of these choices have cultivated spiritual growth? Which of these choices have distracted you from life in the Spirit? • Are the places you spend your time and the things that have your attention capable of assisting you on your journey toward a more disciplined spiritual life? • Which strengths do you already possess in your spiritual practices? How can you build on the strengths you already have? • Is there a spiritual discipline that might complement your strengths and deepen your relationship with God? Awareness Reflection Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider: Groundwork episode 14-40: TITUS 2:11-15 & 1 TIMOTHY 4:7-8 Why Practice Spiritual Disciplines Conclusion Spend a few moments in prayer. Ask God to reveal to you the reality of your spiritual state. Which areas are strong? Which areas need growth? Thank him for the provision of his Spirit and pray for awareness of the Spirit’s work in your life. Consider this prayer from the early Christian, Clement of Rome: Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Grant, we pray, that we might be grounded and settled in your truth by the coming of your Holy Spirit into our hearts. What we do not know, reveal to us; what is lacking within us, make complete; that which we do know, confirm in us; and keep us blameless in your service, through Jesus Christ our Lord. ¹ Related Passages for further study: • Galatians 6:6-10 • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 1 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 1993. Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer. Louisville, Ky: Westminster/John Knox Press, p22.
  • 4. • What is the current state of your prayer life? What is good about it? What would you like to improve? How do you define the purpose of prayer? • Based on your existing understanding, describe the discipline of fasting. How does thinking about it make you feel? Prayer is a common practice among Christians of all backgrounds; whether actively engaged in the practice or not, the majority of Christians are familiar with prayer. In contrast, the practice of fasting is much less common and an individual’s familiarity is likely dependent upon their background and Christian tradition. Both of these practices can significantly contribute to a disciplined spiritual life. Yet, individuals tend to have questions about the reality of what both prayer and fasting look like in practice. We do not pray to tell God what he does not know or to inform him...God knows what we need before we even ask him; so, prayer is not so much for his sake as it is for ours; and it is the way probably that we most exercise and develop our intimacy with God—our relationship with God.” — DAVE BAST Recall your earlier reflection on the state of your prayer life and knowledge of fasting. • Are there questions, concerns, or fears that keep you from incorporating the practice of fasting in your spiritual life? • During the Groundwork conversation in segment 2, our guest Sue commented that sometimes people fast when they need to make an important decision. Do you face any major decisions or events in your life that might benefit from the intentional time spent with God that fasting provides? Has your understanding of fasting changed? • What obstacles prevent you from improving your prayer life? Which are within your control to change? • What is one change that you’re willing to incorporate this week to intentionally make space for prayer, or to improve your prayer life in some way? • How does modeling the practice of prayer for children, grandchildren, and believers new to faith look different than the public prayers described in Matthew 6:5? Awareness Reflection Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider: Groundwork episode 15-01: MATTHEW 6:1-6, 16-18 Prayer & Fasting Conclusion Consider this closing thought from Lauren Winner: “Sure, sometimes it is great when, in prayer, we can express to God just what we feel; but better still when, in the act of praying, our feelings change.” Then, in prayer or fasting, step into the sanctuary and be with the Lord. Listen to him. Share with him the reality of your spiritual life and any truths you discovered during reflection. Ask him to give you the resources to overcome any obstacles or fears you identified that interfere with your prayerful communion with him. And then ask him to reveal to you unidentified fears or obstacles about prayer and fasting. Pray that God would align your will with his. Related Passages for further study: PRAYER: • Matthew 7:7-12 • Matthew 26:36-46 • Philippians 4:4-7 FASTING: • Luke 18:9-14 • Acts 13:2-3 • Luke 4:1-2 • Isaiah 58:3-12
  • 5. • How do you spend your free time (i.e. time not working, caring for family and household, volunteering, etc.)? • Are you content with your life? If so, what makes you content? If not, what do you think will make you content? It’s easy to think that the spiritual discipline of simplicity means living with nothing, but simplicity is different from poverty. The practice of simplicity as demonstrated in scripture doesn’t mean never owning anything, rather it calls us to evaluate our motives, and our relationship to things, in order to grow in relationship with God and other people. Rather than simplicity being equated with sacrifice, it is equated with actually enriching our lives. You may...feel like you have to give something up, but you gain so much more in return.” — RENA DAM We need to de-clutter our lives, not simply as an end in itself, but for the sake of other people, of relationships with them and with God.” — DAVE BAST During the Groundwork conversation in segment 2, host Dave Bast, says simplicity is about “reclaiming our lives for the sake of relationship.” With that in mind recall your earlier reflections about time and contentment. • Are there areas of your life that you want to reclaim? What changes are you willing to make to reclaim them? What underlying beliefs might be influencing your resistance? • In segment 2, guest Rena Dam noted “rather than simplicity being equated with sacrifice, it is equated with actually enriching our lives.” What do you regard as sacrifices, and how might they actually be enriching your life? • What relationships would you like to invest in more? What is one aspect of your life that if reclaimed it would result in deeper investment? • Re-read Matthew 6:25-34. How does contentment relate to worry? • What danger might exist in being legalistic about practicing simplicity? Awareness Reflection Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider: Groundwork episode 15-02: PHILIPPIANS 4:10-13 & MATTHEW 6:19-33 Simplicity & Submission Conclusion Evaluate the things in your life that receive your time and attention. In prayer, request God’s wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Reflect on the sacrifices you make, but also consider the ways these sacrifices enrich your life. How does that fit with your desired priorities and your ability to seek God’s will for your life? Related Passages for further study: • Luke 12:13-34 (note particularly verse 15) • James 5:1-5 • Deuteronomy 8:6-18
  • 6. • How do scriptural and cultural perspectives on silence and solitude compare and contrast? • In segment 2, host Scott Hoezee mentions that times of silence and solitude were not just purposeless downtime for Jesus. What benefits do you glean for your own relationship with God by observing Jesus’ model of silence and solitude? • Where can you carve out time and physical space for silence and solitude? What small adjustments might you make—time of day, rearranging furniture, etc—to shape a more conducive space for yourself? • How do you respond to times of unanticipated silence? Is your reaction to silence different when you are surrounded by others than when you are alone? • What is your experience with solitude? Has solitude been a matter of coincidence or intentional planning in your life? What have you learned in your experiences with solitude? The spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude are distinct and can be practiced individually, however, as personal practices they naturally work in tandem. Both disciplines focus on removing distractions to create space for being with God and hearing his still, small voice. It seems like the silence and the solitude, was not just purposeless down time. He [Jesus] was fully alert, in communion with God, and that is what energized him to go back to do more.” — SCOTT HOEZEE So often in scripture we see how God prefers to operate, and apparently God prefers to speak to us when we are silent. It worked for Jesus, so who are we to try to improve on Jesus?” — SCOTT HOEZEE Awareness Reflection Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider: Groundwork episode 15-03: LUKE 5:15-16 & 1 KINGS 19:11-13 Silence & Solitude Conclusion In a time of silence and a place of solitude, listen for God. Do not try to empty your mind, rather sift through the thoughts that arise. If you need to write down to-do list items so you don’t forget them, go ahead, and then return to quiet listening. Press into ideas that rise to the surface of your thoughts. Ask God about them. Reflect on scriptures that come to mind. Might God be speaking to you through these scriptures? Ask him to reveal to you the state of your heart or your relationship with him. Close your time by praying the words of the psalmist in Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Related Passages for further study: • Mark 6:30-31 • Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 • Matthew 14 • Habakkuk 2:20
  • 7. • What is your understanding about tithing and what are your honest feelings about it? What about doing volunteer work? How do these relate to your own faith and discipleship? • Do you think money is good or bad for relationships? Does it make a difference if it’s a family relationship, a friendship, or your relationship with God? Service and giving are common words in a Christian’s vocabulary, but they aren’t always welcome words. To many, they are simply Christian “to-dos” or biblical commands that are uncomfortable to talk about. But, there is a lot more to service and giving. They are included in the list of spiritual disciplines because they can aid our spiritual growth and relationship with God. One of the purposes, maybe a chief purpose of money, is to actually build relationships. When people are generous with [money]— when they have an open hand—it can be used to build relationships rather than to destroy relationships.” — JEFF MUNROE By giving money—by being generous with it—we convert the money of this world into a kind of eternal currency.” — JEFF MUNROE • Based on guest host Jeff Munroe’s comments in segment 2, should tithing 10% be the floor or ceiling for you? Is it a good goal to reach for, or is it a goal you can easily, comfortably surpass? • Evaluate your generosity in other areas of your life beyond money. Are there areas where you could cultivate and celebrate a more generous spirit? • Why does helping others reflect your commitment to discipleship? • Consider Jeff’s closing question: “Do I go through life squeezing, grasping, holding, or do I have an open hand?” Reflect on this, and not just with money, but with your time, talent, and possessions. Do you share these things freely? Awareness Reflection Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider: Groundwork episode 15-04: MATTHEW 6:19-21 & LUKE 16:1-9 Service & Giving Conclusion Prayerfully consider your relationship to money, possessions, time, and your talents. Consider making it a practice to periodically evaluate the motives behind where and why you invest these assets. Seek God’s insight and ask him to uncover any stinginess that may be hindering your spiritual growth. Related Passages for further study: • Mark 12:38-44 • Genesis 14:17-24 • Matthew 25:14-30 • 1 Peter 4:9-11
  • 8. • What do you believe about the Bible? How much time do you spend with scripture each week? • Have you ever memorized verses or passages of scripture? What was that process like for you? Can you still recall them from memory? How did that process affect your faith? Scripture is the common thread tying together the many spiritual disciplines. Study, memorization, contemplation, and meditation all encourage us to interact with and engage scripture, the medium through which God chose to reveal himself to us. What better way to grow in relationship with God than to try these techniques and spend time with the book he inspired and shared with us? Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 days and Satan comes to him and tempts him. And Jesus responds three times: “as it is written, as it is written, as it is written.” He did not grab the scroll or bring it with him. He actually had ingested it—he had internalized it.” — JON BROWN It is not enough just to know God from nature, or have a general idea of God. The only way you can really come to know God is through his revelation in the Bible.” — DAVE BAST • Of the four disciplines discussed in the program, which ones inspire you to try them? Do any of them intimidate you? Why do those particular disciplines excite or intimidate you? • What external circumstances, or internal thoughts and perceptions about yourself, keep you from spending the amount of time with scripture that you desire? • In the second segment, hosts Dave and Scott, discuss with guest, Jon Brown, the Bible’s command to “eat this book” and what it means to internalize scripture. What did you learn from this conversation? How did it challenge you? In what ways are you already consuming scripture and making it part of you? • What are realistic commitments that you can make to improve your practice of these scripture related disciplines? • How have you seen the living, active word of God at work in you and your life? Awareness Reflection Before listening, reflect: After listening, consider: Groundwork episode 15-05: PSALM 119 Scripture: Study, Memorization, Contemplation & Meditation Conclusion Ask the Lord to open your ears to hear him speak through his word; ask him to open your eyes to recognize his work and movement in your life. Request his Holy Spirit to enlighten you and make the word part of you as you spend time with it and internalize it. Tell him your commitments and request accountability. Close by praying through Psalm 119. Consider praying through small segments of Psalm 119 each day before spending time with scripture. Related Passages for further study: • Ezekiel 3:1 • Joshua 1:7-9 • Romans 15:4-6
  • 9. • Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster. Copyright 1998 by HarperCollins. • Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformations by Ruth Haley Barton. Copyright 2006 by InterVarsity Press. • Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. Copyright 2000 by HarperCollins. • The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives by Dallas Willard. Copyright 1999 by HarperCollins. • The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God Through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Copyright 2003 by Ballantine Books. FAMILY FIRE • “Spiritual Disciplines: Family Fasting” by Kim Sullivan • “Spiritual Disciplines for Family Life” by Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra TODAY DAILY DEVOTIONAL • “Getting (Back) Into Spiritual Shape”, March 2015 ON PRAYER • Courage to Pray by William C. Brownson • Pilgrimage in Prayer: One Man’s Journey by Bill Brownson • Living Generously by Jeff Munroe ON STUDY • Read the Bible in a Year by Harry Buis WORDS OF HOPE DAILY DEVOTIONAL • “Following Jesus”, a series of daily devotionals available January 16-31, 2017 Books From ReFrame Media From Words of Hope Recommended Resources for Further Study