Simplicity at its best

LTRfront1Leadership Training Residency is a class that our church offers for Overseers, Worship Leaders and Youth Ministry Leaders.  I am taking this with some other brothers that I walk with and am in ministry with.  There was some concern on my scheduling (my involvement), but after talking with some accountability partners (my wife and brothers that I am being held accountable with), we decided that this would be a good discipline in my life to get my spiritual life back into focus. One of the books that were assigned to us is by Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, where he talks about outward disciplines and in his words, "After all, the writers of Scripture constantly took that risk. And so I follow their lead and suggest ten controlling disciplines for outward expression of simplicity:

  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status (want versus need, practicality versus status, simplicity versus idolatry)
  2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you (if the object, item or possession causes you to put that before everything else, especially God, then release it and let it go)
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away (don't let the left hand see what the right hand is doing and your Father, who is in Heaven, is watching you and seeing you lay treasures up in heaven instead of materialism on earth.   The more stuff the more complicated life becomes)
  4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry (things that promise to save time usually breakdown and don't really have Kingdom value and in some cases become idolatry:  Case in point - your smart phones)
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them (share the beach - don't try to own a piece of it; visit parks and libraries)
  6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation (walk and hike wherever you can and listen to God's creation)
  7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all "buy now, pay later" schemes (this is usury and in its very nature tells us to accumulate debt instead of being debt free and honor God)
  8. Obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech (Let your "yes" be yes and your "no" be no.  Follow through on your own integrity, honesty and truthfulness in all that you do)
  9. Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others (live in a way that does not oppress others - if what you eat, drink and wear and own causes others to be oppressed than change your habits)
  10. Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the Kingdom of God (if it is an idol and gets in the relationship between you and God then remove that idol.  For some this could be sports (or our kids sports that takes our time and talent and treasure away from building God's Kingdom; for others it could be laziness; for others it could be putting everything else in our life before God's will.  Some of you may be asking what is God's will for our life - my question back to you is are you in prayer daily, God's word daily and serving God's Kingdom instead of your own kingdom?)

One of our Worship Leaders, Vinnie Adams, just finished an album that you can download (and even purchase) and I think it is very fitting to ask yourself where you life is leaning on these 10 disciplines above.  Take a listen to his album (read about Tesoros De Dios and if you feel compelled to donate - please do) and asks yourself these questions:

  1. Are you seeking God for direction
  2. Whose is it anyway
  3. Will God be faithful in my life (if I trust him in everything)
  4. Am I laying everything down before God (Jesus paid it all)
  5. How Great is our God
  6. Be still in life (in trial and tribulation and seasons that are stretching our walks)
  7. Do you love Jesus
  8. Rock of my Salvation

Blessings, Dante