Celebration

Palm Sunday 2014
Mark 14:3-7
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

One tool throughout church history for discipleship and developing intimacy with God is the Spiritual Disciplines.

The Inward Disciplines

Outward Disciplines

Corporate Disciplines

Meditation

Simplicity

Confession

Prayer

Solitude

Worship

Fasting

Submission

Guidance

Study

Service

Celebration

Celebration

So what is true celebration in the context of our spiritual lives?
Is it raw emotion like the crowd at the road?
Is it mere words like the crowd chanting, ‘Hosanna’?
Is it curiosity like the crowds following Jesus into Jerusalem?

Definition: Celebration is remembrance and gratitude for the acts of God.
Celebration is the intentional choice to look for God in joy and gladness.

Theme: The messiness of Holy Week is a microcosm of our worship life. It is messy. Our celebration of God is filled with various motives, false expectation, yet mixed with praise, gratitude and grace.

Celebration is about bringing our authentic selves before God.

•  It is when we bring our authentic selves in the presence of Jesus we experience restoration and wholeness.

•  It is when we bring our authentic selves in the presence of Jesus we experience true joy and celebration.

Worship

Sermon Notes
Mark 15:38-39, Revelation 4

 

 

Definition of Worship: Worship is the human response to the divine initiative.
Worship is adoration, praise, and thanksgiving directed towards God. Worship must be a priority in our lives. Foster

 

According to N.T. Wright, worship allows us to get a glimpse of God’s dimension.
Worship is defined as acknowledging the worth of someone. It is celebrating, praising, and recognizing God.

 

“In worship people of God acknowledge God present in the world and in their lives. As we respond to God’s redemptive action in Christ we are transformed and renewed. Worship equips us for God’s service.” Presbyterian Book of Order

 

It all begins with worship!

 

What does it look like for you to authentically worship God?

 

 

Homework

 

What does it look like for you to authentically worship God? It will look different for
different folks.

 

Examples to experiment with:

1. Watch the sunset and compliment Him for it.

2. Write a friend a note, thanking God for them.

3. Sit still and be silent.

4. Do nothing for a whole day.

5. Feed someone who is poor; this is real worship.

6. Do the best you can at whatever you are doing today.

7. Honor God in your thought life.

8. Paint a painting; this is worship.

9. Write a song and share it with someone else.

10. Do what you love and know that this can be worship.

11. Watch nature; it is worshiping its Creator by doing what it is designed to do.

12. Listen, don’t talk.

13. Write about ways to worship God when you are NOT at church.

Confession

Sermon Notes
March 16, 2014
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

 

James as he is talking about healing alludes to forgiveness of sins. James is wise enough to know that if someone wants a new start, healing, or even transformation, it starts with the confession of sin to both God and one another.

 

Sin/ Hamartia - translates into missing the mark. Sin is anything that disrupts and hinders our right relationship with God. It is a state of being that separates us from our God, our creator.

 

Theme: When we practice confession two things happen.

The first is we are liberated from guilt. The second, we start becoming restored.

 

 

 

Confession is opening the windows of our lives so God and others can see us just for who we are, the good, bad and ugly.

 

Here are two steps of opening our window:

  • We must confront our guilt, pain and our sin.
    • We must confess our guilt, pain and our sin.

 

Practice - Diary of Confession - Foster

It is where you ask the question of God, “Is there anything in my life right now blocking the flow of Your power?” You listen and then you write. Nobody has to see it. You give the list over to God. The next step is to share what you have written to at least one other person.

Service

Judge Ronald A. Wilson

 

Judge Ronald A. Wilson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University and his Jurist Doctorate from Northeastern University. In 1996, he received the Otto Snowden Community Fellowship from the Urban Law and Public Policy Institute; a trail blazing program in Boston committed to developing solutions to the challenges facing the nation\'s inner city communities.

 

In 1999 he moved from New England to Arizona and worked for the Pima County Attorney as a Crime Prevention Specialist and Special Staff Assistant in the Community Prosecution Unit. In 2002, he was appointed the Chief Magistrate for the City of South Tucson.

 

In addition to his role as fulltime Judge for the City of South Tucson, Wilson is a professor at the University of Arizona, a faculty member of the Arizona Judicial College, high school civics teacher, mentor, author, playwright and entrepreneur. He is the immediate past National Chairman of the American Bar Association Mental Health Courts Committee and member of the editorial board for the Judges Journal. Judge Wilson is the founder of the National Justice Foundation, the Alcumus Institute for Advanced Mentoring and the Roots College Preparatory School for Wayward Children.

 

Judge Wilson is the recipient of the 2006 Tucson Business Edge 40 under 40 Man of the Year, the NAACP Rosa Parks Living History Makers Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award and the Asa Philip Randolph Institute Ida B. Wells Social Justice Award.

 

When he was appointed Chief Magistrate for the City of South Tucson in 2002, Judge Wilson was 33 years of age, the first Black Chief Magistrate in Arizona and one of the youngest Chief Magistrates in American history.

 

Submission

Sermon Notes
March 2, 2014
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

 

The Spiritual Discipline of Submission

The traditional interpretation of the “way of the cross” that is defined by C.S. Lewis and other scholars is that Jesus, when he says we must “lose” our lives and “take up our cross and follow Him,” He is saying do not build your identity on gaining the things of the world. I want you to find a whole new way. I want you to lose your old self; the old identity, and base yourself and your identity on Me.

 

Theme: The Spiritual Discipline of Submission or Surrender is trying to follow Jesus with a sense of priority in your life and circumstances. It is about becoming a Jesus follower as a way of life.

 

Three Tough Phrases of Jesus in Mark 8:34-37

 

“Deny yourself” (v34)

 

“Take up your cross” (v34)

 

“Lose your life for My sake” (v35)

 

The Practice of Submission

Because of the many distortions of this Discipline prevalent in our society – both religious and non-religious – your “experimental” practice this week might take the form of grappling with the concept of submission in order to develop a solid understanding of it. The following suggestions, therefore, emphasize “thinking” through submission as much as “doing” it.

1.    Make a list of opportunities you have in the course of daily living to give up your own rights for the good of others, and choose one opportunity on which to act this week.

2.    What are some of the false or distorted versions of self-denial that masquerade as submission?

3.    How is a healthy sense of identity necessary for Christian self-denial?

 

Simplicity

The Spiritual Discipline of Simplicity
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

Discipline of Simplicity

It is a discipline that requires us to differentiate our needs and our wants. It is the discipline not to strive for possessions, wealth and extravagance rather to live with greater dependence on God.

Materialism               Asceticism

So what did Jesus have to say about our lifestyle, money, and 

possessions?

There are two reasons people cling to money. 

•    Clinging to money out of anxiety.

•    Clinging to money in order to fill the voids in our lives.

 

Theme: The Discipline of Simplicity or the Discipline of Trust is knowing at our core that our self-sufficiency and our stuff does not give us real security rather we need to build our lives on a dependence on God.

Ideas for Practicing Simplicity

1.   Commit the Scripture passage, Matthew 22: 37-40 and Mathew 6:25-33    to memory this week. Meditate on it, pray over it, and write down any resulting thoughts, insights, or questions in your journal reflections.

Reflect this week on what Foster identifies as the three inner attitudes of simplicity:

Receiving what we have as a gift from God;

Knowing that it is God’s business, not ours, to protect what we have;

Making our goods available to others.

 

3.  Monitor your attitudes and behavior regarding material possessions as you encounter them in your daily activities this week. Write down your observations in your journal reflections.

Study

Acts 17:10-12
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

Six Traditions or Streams Rooted in Church History 

 

CONTEMPLATIVE Stream (Catholicism, Medieval Christianity)

HOLINESS Stream (John Wesley/ Methodist)

CHARISMATIC Stream (Pentecostal)

SOCIAL JUSTICE Stream (Mainline Denominations)

EVANGELICAL Stream (Non-Denominational Churches)

6.  INCARNATIONAL Stream (Easter Orthodox)

.

So why do we need the Spiritual Discipline of Study?

Theme One: By testing the claims of Christianity, we substantiate them in our heart.

 

Theme Two: Studying can renew our minds.

Four simple steps to the Spiritual Discipline of Study.

Repetition -

Concentration -

Comprehension -

Reflection -

Ideas for Practicing the Spiritual Discipline of Study

Choose a brief selection from a book and practice the four steps of 

repetition, concentration, comprehension, and reflection.

Select a passage of Scripture for a study session. In what ways do you 

approach, and experience, the Scriptures differently by making a 

conscious effort to study them, rather than by simply reading them? 

(I recommend walking through one of the Gospels)

Fasting

Fasting/Matthew 6:16-18
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

 

 

What is the Spiritual Discipline of Fasting?

 

Five Scriptural motives for fasting from Speaker Steve May

1. To hear from God (Early Church in choosing leadership)

2. To intercede for others (Psalmist)

3. Act of Repentance (Prophets)

4. For strength and direction (Acts- Paul and Barnabas)

5.  Act of Worship (Gospels)

 

Definition of Fasting

It is an intentional ceasing from an otherwise ordinary activity for a spiritual purpose. Fasting is a space for God carved out of our ordinary lives through our bodies. 

 

Fasting is a way to make a space for God.

 

 

The reward of fasting is a greater awareness of God\'s presence.

 

 

The result of fasting is a deeper dependence on God\'s presence.

 

 

Ideas for Practicing Fasting

1. If you have not fasted before, plan a fast of two or more meals’ duration – breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch, and so on – when you will consume only fruit juice or water. Afterward, monitor your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual responses to the fast.

2. If you have fasted before, plan a fast of whatever duration is right for you this week. Perhaps this would be an appropriate time to reflect and pray about your journey into the Spiritual Disciplines in the months ahead.

3.  Fast from something that does not involve food – for example, the entertainment media, passing judgment on yourself or others, people (to experience solitude), impulsive speech.

Listening Prayer

Listening Prayer/1 Samuel 3:1-10
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

 

Inward Disciplines

Outward Disciplines

Corporate Disciplines

Meditation

Simplicity

Confession

Prayer

Solitude

Worship

Fasting

Submission

Guidance

Study

Service

Celebration

 

Prayer

 

Adoration – appreciating God

Confession - acknowledging to God where we fall short

Thanksgiving – thanking God for all that God has given to us

Supplication – interceding for ourselves and others

 

Theme: Prayer as listening to God

 

God Speaks Uniquely

 

 

God Speaks Personally

 

Practice Challenge Week One/The Practice of Listening Prayer

 

1. Ask yourself questions like “What am I happy about/grateful for right now?” or “What do I regret or feel guilty about?” or “What am I worried about?” or “What am I excited about in the near future?” Write what comes to mind as it comes to you. Don’t edit as you go.

2. Take some time to place all of these thoughts and circumstances, your past, present, and future, in God’s hands. Actually look at your hands, fill them with your concerns, and then lift them up to God and let them go.

3. Ask, “Lord, is there anything You would like to say to me?”

4. Select a short passage of scripture (more than a verse but less than a chapter) and read it slowly.

Read your passage again, and this time, select a word, phrase or verse that you like. What do you like about it? What does it reveal about God?

Meditation

Sermon Notes
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

 

The Inward Disciplines

Outward Disciplines

Corporate Disciplines

Meditation

Simplicity

Confession

Prayer

Solitude

Worship

Fasting

Submission

Guidance

Study

Service

Celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theme: We seek refuge, shelter and peace from the only one who can give it to us, our God.

 

How do we prepare for meditation?

  • _____________________________
  • _____________________________
  • _____________________________

What are some forms of meditation?

 

Practice Challenge Week One/The Practice of Meditation

Select an idea from the following list (or create your own) and implement it at least three times this week.

 

1. Select a Scripture passage to meditate on in the coming week – perhaps Psalm 46 or a personal favorite. Write it out on a card you can carry with you, and refer to it often, using spare moments throughout your day to reflect on it. Set aside at least one twenty-minute session for focusing on it prayerfully in greater depth.

2. Consecrate one day to seeking opportunities to practice “holy leisure” as a counterpoint to frantic or fragmented activity.

Identify a particular place that provides a setting of beauty, and spend thirty minutes there contemplating all the ways in which you can see God’s gifts to you in it. Or, simply be silent and listen for what God may have to communicate to you. If you desire to, take along a notebook and write down your thoughts.

 

                                                    Richard J. Foster and Katheryn A. Helmers

Cross Fit Challenge

Sermon Notes
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole

 

We don’t need to just try harder, to study God more, we need someone to really train us.  And that’s what I believe that Jesus is doing when He says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” 

 

Theme: Don’t try to be good, be God’s. 

To those who could never measure up to the Pharisees’ high standards; to those who are wearied by always trying to be perfect, do right, or be good; to those who have collapsed under the yoke of religion, (sounds like some of us) Jesus comes along and declares, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.”   

 

So what is a Spiritual Discipline?

 

 

What is the List of Disciplines?

 

 

 

 

This is not just a sermon series, we are asking you to accept a challenge. We as a church are going to challenge each other through spiritual disciplines. Here are the levels of participation.

 

Cross Fit Challenge

1. 1. First Challenge: Worship – come weekly to hear the messages that introduce the concept of each spiritual discipline, and then practice a new discipline each week and punch your card.

 

2. The Second Challenge – read each chapter before my sermon in Richard Foster’s book, The Spiritual Disciplines.

 

3. The Third Challenge – read each chapter of the book, Celebration of Discipline, and then weekly study with Foster and Helmer’s Journal Workbook, with a small group of new friends, a Triad, or by yourself!