40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline:  Day 31 – Creation

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context:

Today and tomorrow, we will focus on the Discipline of Creation, and we will begin by considering questions about the role of Creation in your local church. 

In some ways, Creation is a “complicated” discipline.  Entire doctrines and books have been written on the subject including contributions from Thomas Aquinas (Catholic) and John Calvin (Protestant), who wrote about the importance of creation to church doctrine.  For 40 days of Discipline, we are focused on a relatively simple concept.  Our focus is on the fact that we can appreciate and worship God through his creation (e.g., nature, humans, and things created by humans).  We are not trying to suggest that creation is a substitute for Jesus (living Word) or the Bible (written word).  However, we believe that we rob ourselves of insights into the magnificence of God when we don’t stop to smell the proverbial roses.

Primary Questions:

  1. Does your local church provide a biblical perspective on creation?
  2. Are various art forms used by your local church to display God’s magnificence?
  3. Does your local church intentionally incorporate elements of creation into worship?
  4. Does your local church extend the principle of stewardship to God’s creation?

Your Feedback:

While you are not expected to share your answers to the questions above, we would still love to hear from you.  Based on your answers to the questions, what is your general observation about how local churches relate to creation?


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40 Days of Discipline:  Day 30 – Counsel

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context:

We continue our focus on the Discipline of Counsel.  The discipline of Counsel is a valuable resource for all believers.  However, we have all heard sad stories about the abuse of this discipline within local churches.  This should not dissuade the practice of Counsel, but caution should be exercised.      

Bible Passage:

Today’s passage is 1 John 4:1 (presented above).  Where the term ‘spirit’ is used, it can be read as ‘spiritual claims.’    

Question:

What practical steps do you believe local churches can take to encourage the use of Counsel while discouraging the abuse of the discipline?


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40 Days of Discipline:  Day 29 – Counsel

16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16 – 17, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context:

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Counsel, and we will begin by considering questions about the role of Counsel in your local church. 

Before considering the questions, it is worth remembering that Counsel works best in an atmosphere of trust. 

Primary Questions:

  1. Does your local church encourage the sharing of wisdom, knowledge, and expertise within the church?
  2. Do the church leaders work actively to develop an atmosphere of trust (e.g., confidential information is kept confidential, and gossip is discouraged)?
  3. Are people in positions of influence adequately screened?
  4. Is hero worship discouraged and expertise honored in your local church?

Optional Secondary Questions (if you have the time):

  1. Does your local church have a mentorship program?
  2. Does your church have adequate forums for intergenerational dialogue?

Your Feedback:

While you are not expected to share your answers to the questions above, we would still love to hear from you.  Based on your answers to the questions, what are your general observations about how local churches relate to Counsel?


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40 Days of Discipline:  Day 28 – Review

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  (1 Corinthians 12:27, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Today is dedicated to reviewing what we have learned over the past five days about Service and Stewardship in our local churches.  It is a great time to reflect on what was covered this week including in the comments.  

As a reminder, our desire is to make this journey transformative and not just informative.

Question:

Based on your studies this week, is there anything you are now more committed to doing in your local church? 

Please leave a comment.  We would love to hear from you.


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40 Days of Discipline:  Day 27 – Stewardship

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10 – 11, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context:

We continue our focus on the Discipline of Stewardship.  It is understandable that the first thought that usually comes to mind when we think about stewardship is money.  The topic is certainly discussed a lot in local churches and for good reason.  Churches need money and they should practice good financial stewardship.  As mentioned yesterday though, there is a a lot more to stewardship than money.      

Bible Passage:

Today’s passage is 1 Peter 4:10 – 11 (presented above).  Please pay close attention to what verse 10 says we stewards of.  Also, note the link between gifts, stewardship and service. 

Question:

In the matter of being good stewards of our spiritual gifts, what do you believe good looks like in the local church?  In other words, what are some specific things that local churches should be doing?