Presents, hearty feasts, carols in the snow, visions of sugarplums … and peace on earth. It’s everyone’s Christmas wish. What if the peace of Christmastime isn’t really the kind that comes with an exit strategy? What if it’s the sort of peace we can experience while pinned down in a foxhole, weighed down with cancer, or dragged down by the seeming meaninglessness of everyday life?
Jonathan Edwards preached this sermon during his fifth year as pastor of the church in Northampton he inherited from his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. It is a thorough and uplifting biblical explanation of the means and manner by which God enlightens the hearts and minds of those He saves with the truths of the gospel. I have made my recording of A Divine and Supernatural Light available for purchase for $1.99.
Last year, during a period of joblessness, I embarked on a new side-career as a voice-over artist. I’ve experienced some success recording small voice jobs for various clients, as well as producing audio books. And now, as I have gained some skill in this venture, I have decided to use it to pursue my love of classic theology. My first project in this endeavor is a narration of “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection,” a sermon by Scottish preacher and pastor, Thomas Chalmers. It is 45 minutes of pure gospel, centered on the subject of how our newfound affections for Christ have the power to expel from us the unholy desires against which we wage spiritual war. I found it edifying and fulfilling as an audio project, as well as a personal devotion toward spiritual growth.
Two things I have done (among many, many others) during six months of joblessness: watched all six seasons of Breaking Bad, and the three seasons of The Walking Dead currently available on Netflix. Say what you will about the value of these achievements. I’m a big boy. But I want to offer my two cents as someone who deeply appreciates well-crafted dramatic entertainment of most any kind, and also someone who studied screenwriting in college and has done a fair bit of amateur acting. I genuinely care about how other Christians choose to spend their free time. And I don’t think entertainment is a waste if it has some lasting value.
We believers often hide a form of pride behind a veil of false humility – the sort of pride that isn’t able to take anything from a brother or sister in faith without feeling like we have to give something back.
If you have read Celebration of Discipline, or plan to, and you desire to know how to process Richard Foster’s ideas through a biblical lens, whether or not the disciplines he espouses truly are spiritual in the most Christian sense, I hope you will join me on this journey.
My first course at Temple Baptist Seminary was on spiritual disciplines. The first of our two textbooks for that course was Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster. Before this course began I was utterly ignorant of the concept of spiritual formation in Evangelicalism, and beyond. I was about to receive a rapid and unexpected education in it.