On Mondays I always feature a book on Sunday School, small groups, or something written to help you develop as a leader. Today’s blog post is about a new book on spiritual disciplines that released this past year. Pastor, friend, and author Dr. Philip Nation released his new book and I highly recommend it. You can view the details on the book and order your copy on Amazon (click here to jump to the book on Amazon). I enjoyed reading my advanced copy, and I recommend the book to all leaders who want to deepen and strengthen their relationship with Christ.
Philip Nation is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Bradenton, FL. He is the former Director of Content Development at LifeWay Christian Resources. He also served as a teaching pastor for The Fellowship, a multi-campus church in Nashville, TN. I asked Philip to stop by the site and share a bit about the new book. I recommend it for your personal leadership library.
Here is Dr. Philip Nation’s responses to a series of questions I asked him about his book:
Tell us what “Habits for Our Holiness” is about.
PN: Thanks for having at the site. The book is about missional spiritual disciplines. As I look at how the Bible describes the practices of our faith, it is not just to make us more moral. Rather, the spiritual disciplines help us to engage our faith in a way that impacts the world around us with the message of the gospel.
“Missional” is a word that is not known to everyone. What do you mean by it?
PN: I love the word “missional” and try to use a simple definition for it. Simply put, it means to live like a missionary at all times. There is no such thing in this world as “home field advantage” for Christians. We are, at all times, on mission for God.
The book describes the spiritual disciplines as habits. People generally think of habits as bad things. What are you getting at with the title and the descriptions?
PN: You’re right that most of our habits are negative. So, I want people to see faithfulness to Christ and holiness as a habitual way to live. It should become the norm for our lives that we are set apart for God’s purposes.
Spiritual disciplines are often perceived to be an advanced part of Christian living. Where should people start?
PN: I think the three foundational disciplines are worship, Bible study, and prayer. Within those three, there are plenty of variations and actions to take to build up your faith. But, we need to drop the idea that only Super-Christians practice the disciplines. The Bible positions all of these as a way to communicate our love for Christ and follow Him in the work of disciple making.
You say that spiritual disciplines have the ability to draw people together. How does that work?
PN: Too much of our thinking about spiritual development has been influenced by our rugged individualism, DIY mentality. Jesus established the church for us to disciple one another and practice our faith alongside of one another. Our personal devotion must be coupled with a communal practice in order to fully understand our faith. Christians need accountability and encouragement for growth to most effective. Practicing spiritual disciplines together is biblical and helpful.
How do the spiritual disciplines help us be more focused on God’s mission?
PN: As we grow, we gain the passion of God for the lost of the world. Participating with the church in growing as a disciple should soften our hearts to the needs of others around us. The disciplines are ultimately about us expressing our love for God. As that deepens, then we want to have the same missionary impulse that we in God to rescue those who are lost.
Thanks for sharing with us about the new book. Where can people find out more?
PN: Thanks to you as well. Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out is available online at most places or they can stop by my blog – PhilipNation.net – to find out more and interact with me about it all.