Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

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by Richard J. Foster, Tom Parker
     
 

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In the twenty years since its publication, Celebration of Discipline has helped over a million seekers discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God. Hailed by many as the best modern work on Christian spirituality, Celebration of Discipline explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices,

Overview

In the twenty years since its publication, Celebration of Discipline has helped over a million seekers discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God. Hailed by many as the best modern work on Christian spirituality, Celebration of Discipline explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith. Along the way, Foster shows that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found.

Dividing the Disciplines into three movements of the Spirit, Foster shows how each of these areas contributes to a balanced spiritual life. The inward Disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service help prepare us to make the world a better place. The corporate Disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration bring us nearer to one another and to God.Foster provides a wealth of examples demonstrating how these Disciplines can become part of our daily activities -- and how they can help us shed our superficial habits and "bring the abundance of God into our lives." The discussion of celebration, often the most neglected of the Disciplines, shows its critical importance -- for it stands at the heart of the way to Christ. Celebration of Discipline will help motivate Christians everywhere to embark on a journey of prayer and spiritual growth.

Editorial Reviews

Madeleine L'Engle
“If everybody in the country could read—and heed—this book, what a difference it would make to the planet.”
Brian D. McLaren
“Foster has challenged us to see Christian faith … as a life of spiritual transformation.”
Lauren Winner
“Foster has taught me more about prayer and living faithfully than just about any other living author.”
Macrina Wiederkehr
“Richard Foster has given us a rare gift... The celebration of each discipline in this book hands us a tool that can be useful in helping us to integrate our inner and outer lives.”
Ronald J. Sider
“The best modern book on Christian spirituality..... No other book apart from the Bible has been so helpful to me in the nurturing of my inward journey of prayer and spiritual growth.”
Relevant Magazine
“This seminal work on the practice of spiritual disciplines is never outdated.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786116034
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Celebration Of Discipline

It is a wonder to me how God uses squiggles on paper to do his work in the hearts and minds of people. How are these squiggles transformed into letters and words and sentences and, finally, meaning? Oh, we may congratulate ourselves on knowing a little about the function of neurotransmitters in the brain or about how endorphin proteins affect learning and memory retention, but if we are honest, we know that thinking itself is a mystery. Doxology is the only appropriate response.

At this writing, it has been two decades since this particular I set of squiggles, Celebration of Discipline, was first published. After the first decade, the publisher, no doubt puzzled by its longevity and popularity, wanted to celebrate this milestone, and asked me to revise the original text-which I was glad to do. And now, after a second decade, the puzzle continues. Somehow (who can ever explain how?) people continue to find help in their daily walk with God through the pages of this book. To celebrate this twentieth anniversary, the publisher has asked me to write an introduction, and, again, I am glad to comply. And perhaps in fulfilling their request it is appropriate to tell how the book you hold in your hands came into being.


Spiritual Bankruptcy


Fresh out of seminary, I was ready to conquer the world. Myfirst appointment was a small church in a thriving region of Southern California. "Here," I mused, "is my chance to show the denominational leadership, nay, the whole world, what I can do." Believe me, visions of far more than sugar plums were dancing in my head. I was sobered a bit when the former pastor, upon learning of myappointment, put his arm on my shoulder and said, "Well, Foster, it's your turn to be in the desert!" But the "sobering" lasted only a moment. "This church will become a,shining light set on a hill. The people will literally flood in." This I thought, and this I believed.

After three months or so I had given that tiny congregation everything I knew, and then some, and it had done them no good. I had nothing left to give. I was spiritually bankrupt and I knew it. So much for a "shining light on a hill."

My problem was more than having something to say from Sunday to Sunday. My problem was that what I did say had no power to help people. I had no substance, no depth. The people were starving for a word from God, and I had nothing to give them. Nothing.


Three Converging Influences


In the wisdom of God, however, three influences were converging in that little church that would change the direction of my ministry, indeed, of my whole life. Together they would provide the depth and the substance I needed personally and the depth and the substance that, in time, would lead to the, penning of Celebration. But that is running ahead of my story.

The first thing to happen was precipitated by an influx of genuinely needy people into our small congregation. They simply flowed in like streams after a thunderstorm. Oh, how they hungered for spiritual substance and, oh, how willing they were to do almost anything to find it. These were the castoffs of today's fast-track culture-"the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on"-and so their neediness was quite obvious. Just as obvious was my inability to give them substantive pastoral care.

This lack of any real spiritual density led me, almost instinctively, to the Devotional Masters of the Christian faith-Augustine of Hippo and Francis of Assisi and Julian of Norwich and so many others. Somehow I sensed that these ancient writers lived and breathed the spiritual substance these new friends in our little fellowship were seeking so desperately.

To be sure, I had encountered many of these writers in academic settings. But that was a detached, cerebral kind of reading. Now I read with different eyes, for daily I was working with heartbreaking, soul-crushing, gut-wrenching human need. These "saints," as we sometimes call them, knew God in a way that I clearly did not. They experienced Jesus as the defining reality of their lives. They possessed a flaming vision of God that blinded them to all competing loyalties. They experienced life built on the Rock.

It hardly mattered who I read in those days-Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God, Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, John Woolman's Journal, A. W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy--they knew God in ways far beyond anything I had ever experienced. Or even wanted to experience! But as I continued to soak in the stories of these women and men who were aflame with the fire of divine love, I began desiring this kind of life for myself. And desiring led to seeking and seeking led to finding. And what I found settled me, deepened me, thickened me.

The second influence came from an individual in that tiny congregation, Dr. Dallas Willard. A philosopher by profession, Dallas was well versed in the classics, and, at the same time, had an uncanny perception into the contemporary scene. He taught our fledgling little group: studies in Romans and Acts and the Sermon on the Mount and the Spiritual Disciplines and more. But regardless of the specific topic, he constantly drew us into the big picture. It was life-based teaching that always respected the classical sources and always sought to give them contemporary expression. Those teachings gave me the Weltanschauung, the worldview, upon which I could synthesize all my academic and biblical training.

Celebration Of Discipline. Copyright © by Richard J. Foster. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

Ronald J. Sider
“The best modern book on Christian spirituality..... No other book apart from the Bible has been so helpful to me in the nurturing of my inward journey of prayer and spiritual growth.”
Brian D. McLaren
“Foster has challenged us to see Christian faith … as a life of spiritual transformation.”
Macrina Wiederkehr
“Richard Foster has given us a rare gift... The celebration of each discipline in this book hands us a tool that can be useful in helping us to integrate our inner and outer lives.”
Madeleine L'Engle
“If everybody in the country could read—and heed—this book, what a difference it would make to the planet.”
Lauren Winner
“Foster has taught me more about prayer and living faithfully than just about any other living author.”

Meet the Author

Richard J. Foster is the author of several bestselling books, including Celebration of Discipline, Streams of Living Water, Life with God, and Prayer, which was Christianity Today's Book of the Year and the winner of the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. He is the founder of Renovaré, an organization and a movement committed to the renewal of the church of Jesus Christ in all its multifaceted expressions, and the editor of The Life with God Bible.

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Celebration of Discipline 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
ephesians2_10 More than 1 year ago
When you use the study guide along with the book, Celebration of Discipline, you will get much more out of the book and grow in ways you have always hoped and prayed for. This will transform your life if you put a little time into it. A big WOW for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have owned all three editions of this book. Every time I read it, I learn something new about the Christian Disciplines. If you want to be challenged in your faith walk and convicted of your need to go deeper then this book will help you do so. It lends itself to group study and has a companion study guide to help guide such study. I highly recommend it for those who are looking to develop their understanding and practice of the Christian Disciplines.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the 2nd time our Faith study group has chosen to work through this book. We are all gleaning something new the 2nd time around, and the new members are enjoying it as well.
HennaHutton More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book that is sure to help any earnest seeker grow and understand in his or her faith. Whether you are new to faith or a lifer, Richard Foster has much to offer you. (I would recommend it to someone with a few years under their belt, however.) He is a rare voice who understands the problems and dangers of legalistic thinking when combined with religion. He offers a more generous understanding and thereby, life. Occasionally he could do a better job at defining a particular discipline, but in general they are well explained. For some of us he can at times be too conservative, but that is easily overlooked. He clearly knows his subject and has walked the life; his humility, grace, and generous spirit come shining through. It is refreshing to find a contemporary Christian author who is not self-promoting or aggrandizing; who does not seek to tell the world that he has the sole license on understanding God; and who understands the fallacy of the "prosperity gospel" school of thought. Foster is so much more engaging and true to the life in Christ than most of the books and authors that are publicized in the media. I am using this, the study guide, and the workbook in a year-long study (the workbook is designed to be used over the course of a year), and I am learning and growing every day from it. I have/am also read other Foster books as I progress through the year, most notably Prayer: The Heart's True Home and Life With God (see below.) Might I add that I have had an excruciatingly difficult 2008 and it continues. I have been thrown an experience that challenges my faith and perhaps even seeks to destroy it. My resolve will not let it; and Richard Foster is helping me come through it with growth and understanding and new life. He has been a wonderful companion and guide during an unusual horrific experience. Rather than sink into the darkness, he is helping me (along with some other sources of support) fly to new heights above the fray. This is must reading for any Christian; if we all could read it and put his thoughts into use, we would walk as a more unified bunch and avoid much of the valid criticism from the world at large. Better yet, we would be more inspiring examples of the Christian faith and life, and thus, more enticing evangelists. I would give all three to every person I know, if I could.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Quick, buy this one and read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my second time reading this book since last year and I still get something out of it. I read it for one of my classes lsat year and to see the affect that it had was phenominal. I recommend this to anyone who is searching and wants to grow closer to God. It will stretch you and pull you to new limits.
JeffNC More than 1 year ago
Assists in getting the most out of Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. Appreciated the help.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful aid to the quest for righteousness. It explains and defines the classical Christian disciplines in simple understandable language and dismisses a number of the misunderstandings so typical in our consumer culture.
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