Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is…

Almighty and everlasting God, Whose will it is to restore all things in your well¯beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; Who lives and reigns with you and [Read More…]

Where Does Spiritual Formation Begin?

There are two pole ends on this one. For some people, the essence of spiritual formation is being made holy and for others it is about being made loving. Those at the end of each pole minimize the opposite end. Many strive for a balance. It is too easy to stereotype into poles on this [Read More…]

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures…

Blessed Lord, Who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; Who lives and reigns with [Read More…]

Encountering God in Prayer

One of the themes Tim Keller presses us to see in his new book on prayer (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God) is that prayer is a conversation with God on the basis of the Bible’s words. We listen to God through reading and pondering and meditating over Scripture and then we pray to [Read More…]

On Taming Jesus

When do we tame Jesus? when is the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus of our faith tamed? If spirituality is formation into Christlikeness then taming Jesus diminishes spiritual formation. Where has our formation been shortened by taming the Jesus toward whom we are to grow? Most of our taming of Jesus is invisible to [Read More…]

Reading the Bible vs. Being Read by the Bible

This set of images comes from a wonderful article by James Bryan Smith, at Friends University and with Apprentice Institute, and illustrates the differences of reading the Bible for information vs formation or reading the Bible vs being read by the Bible: [Read more…]

The Middle Ground in Prayer

The one and only prayer book of the Bible is the Book of Psalms but it does not begin with a prayer but with a meditation, what Tim Keller calls “a meditation on meditation” (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, 146). That is, Psalm 1 is a “pre-prayer act” of recollection. We cannot jump [Read More…]

What is Spiritual Formation?

If the Christian life is defined as being spiritually formed, without suggesting for a moment this is all about spirit and not at all about body, what would it look like to be spiritual formed? Diane Chandler, at Regent University in Virginia Beach, offers this definition in her new book, Christian Spiritual Formation: An Integrated [Read More…]

When Worship becomes Formative

There is a lot of chatter today about the formative dimension of church worship. One can be forgiven for thinking that if we would just get our worship right we’d all be formed into model Christians. My observation is that if gathered worship is formative then the best liturgies should produce the best Christians, and [Read More…]

Tim Keller’s Rules for Prayer

Most of the great theologians of the church have addressed the topic of prayer, and it is one of the highlights of Tim Keller’s book on prayer (Prayer) to sketch what Augustine, Luther and Calvin said about prayer — each expressing a pastoral theology of prayer in a letter to someone. Luther, for instance, said [Read More…]