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Practice Resources

By | Books, Eucharist And Mission, Music, Resources, Sermons | No Comments

A Theology of The Eucharist: Recommended Resources

What Every Christian Needs To Know About Passover: What It Means And Why It Matters
By Rabbi Moffic

This Past Sunday, Scot McKnight challenged us to understand the deep connections between our practice of the Eucharist and the Jewish practice of Passover. Who better to unpack these connections more for you than our dear friend Rabbi Moffic. You may remember him from his last visit to The Practice teaching on Sabbath – such a helpful and enriching perspective. His new book literally just came out this past February, and is written in a helpful and clear manner to Christians to help them better understand Passover. What a gift in light of Scot’s message this past Sunday! May this bless you in your learning of the Eucharist.

 

The King Jesus Gospel: The Good News Revisited
By Scot McKnight

If you really enjoyed Scot’s teaching and are wondering which of his books would be worth starting with, we have to recommend his pivotal work The King Jesus Gospel. It’s a wonderful vision of community, culture and the gospel, that will give you new eyes for gospel theology and its impact on evangelism.

Contemporary evangelicals have built a “salvation culture” but not a “gospel culture.” Evangelicals have reduced the gospel to the message of personal salvation. This book makes a plea for us to recover the old gospel as that which is still new and still fresh. The book stands on four arguments: that the gospel is defined by the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15 as the completion of the Story of Israel in the saving Story of Jesus; that the gospel is found in the Four Gospels; that the gospel was preached by Jesus; and that the sermons in the Book of Acts are the best example of gospeling in the New Testament. The King Jesus Gospel ends with practical suggestions about evangelism and about building a gospel culture.

The Story of the Lamb
Sermon By Tim Keller

In light of Scot McKnight’s exploration of Passover, we are excited to recommend this helpful sermon by Tim Keller drawing connections between the Passover Lamb and Jesus as the Lamb of God.

One of the major narrative plot lines of the Bible is the story of the lamb. It runs all through the Bible, beginning with the story of Abraham being asked to kill Isaac, continuing with the Passover in Egypt, and running through the Passover supper with Jesus and his disciples. In all of these cases a lamb is offered as a sacrifice for a debt. In John 1, John the Baptist tells us to “behold the lamb of God,” meaning to soak in and understand who Jesus is and the debt he paid for us with his death.

If you didn’t already know, our good friends The Brilliance have a wonderful song that is worth playing on repeat as we dive into our Eucharist and Mission series…

 

Communion Table

Practice Resources: The Examen

By | Articles, Lent, Music, Resources, Videos | No Comments

This past Sunday we took a wonderful dive into the season of Lent with Father Michael as he led us through the transformative practice of The Examen. We wanted to share these resources with the community so that you could go deeper in your own learning and so that you could share with others this wonderful tool for spiritual formation.

 

Resources

An excellent place to explore and learn more about the practice of The Examen is through the wonderful resources provided through the website www.ignatianspirituality.com

If you click here you’ll be taken to their extensive web page all about The Examen including helpful resources such as:

  • What is The Examen?
  • How you can make The Examen part of your day
  • Videos, Audio files and articles
  • Reflections on practicing The Examen
Of course we have to recommend the incredible resource that we shared with all of you last Sunday night created by our very own Aaron Niequist. His most recent creative project ‘A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen’ could not have come at a more crucial time to our community this Lenten Season!

 

Aaron has created a beautiful recording of Fr Michael guiding us through The Examen – just as we’ve experienced at The Practice. His New Liturgy includes a stunning musical score and three original songs that truly immerse you in the experience of The Examen, connecting us to God in a deep and daily way. For those of you who were there last Sunday, it was a joy to put one of these in your hands, but if you want to order another, recommend it to a friend or if you couldn’t make it and you don’t want to miss out – be sure to check it out at the New Liturgy website here.

Here is a taste for those of you who are new to Aaron’s work through A New Liturgy

The fabulous ministry 24-7 Prayer are also using The Examen to explore Lent this season (check it out here). You have to check out their beautiful weekly video podcasts and companion guides that explore daily scriptures, further teaching, discussion points and challenges to transform lessons learned from The Examen into action. Their videos are released every Monday and can be found on their YoutubeFacebook and Twitter pages or can be downloaded straight to your phone, laptop or tablet by subscribing via iTunes.

Lent – Week 2

By | Books, Lent, Music, Reflections, Resources | 2 Comments
5
Weeks until Easter

Beloved Practice family, how have you been using this season of Lent to prepare for Easter? As I think about the five weeks left between today and Easter Sunday, I still feel like there is a lot of preparation left to do. I don’t know about you, but being new to Lent can still cause me to worry that I’m not doing it well enough…not trying hard enough. When I think about how prepared I should be for Easter and how I’m feeling today…I can get overwhelmed. It can be difficult to prepare for work in the morning, let alone the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!

In the moments I feel overwhelmed however, I have to remember, this isn’t a performance. God isn’t arching an eyebrow in disapproval every time my Lenten journey goes less than perfectly. The point is to prepare, to re-center, to use every moment I realize I’ve forgotten Lent as an opportunity to come back to the heart of Lent. Slowly, but oh so surely, we can discipline our wandering hearts to bind to Christ.

Last week, I found a tool that I think will help me focus and reorder my desires in a more concrete way. I was browsing in an incredible bookstore in the basement of a beautiful old stone church in Greenwich, when I saw a little bowl of something they called, ‘comfort crosses.’

I am the type of person that fiddles when trying to focus on the uncomfortable. If I’m anxious in a conversation, you can be sure to see me tearing my paper napkin into little flakes of paper, or fiddling with my wedding ring, or constantly tucking my hair behind my ear.

The comfort crosses caught my eye because they had completely smooth edges and were made of soft olive wood in the shape of the cross. When I picked it up, I instantly began to fiddle with it, holding and re-holding it in my hand, running my thumb along the smooth edges again and again. It was truly comforting, and it pointed me back to my preparation of Lent and to my focus on the cross.

Comfort Cross

As I’ve been setting aside time to reorder and focus my wandering heart on God, holding this little piece of wood has helped me in my practice as I’ve prayed and practiced the examen. It’s kept me focused on the cross and kept me comforted when Lent begins to overwhelm or make me anxious.

Whatever it is that can help you refocus, recenter, or be reminded of the reason for this season, I encourage you to take the risk and try it. Maybe it’s remembering to pray every time you see a clock or check your phone. Maybe each morning before you start the car or hold the keys in your hand, you can take a moment and remember the cross. Remember how that without it, we are dust, and prepare your heart to receive Christ once more in Easter.

As promised, here are a few more lenten resources for you to consider this week as you figure out your practice. Keep checking back for more reflections, opportunities and resources as we post throughout the week.

Blessings and peace to you,

Jenna

Resources

Joan Kelley and Gail Donahue would love to have you join them this week at one of their two Sacred day-long retreats.  They have a beautiful day planned with a good mix of community time and individual solitude time all around the parable of the prodigal. We believe solitude is one of those unforced rhythms of grace that is foundational to our soul health.

If you would like to join them, either Friday March 6 or Saturday March 7, just go to the website www.mylifeissacred.com and use the discount code “PRACTICE30” to get $30 off the price.

We feel that this would be an excellent opportunity for any of you seeking God in solitude, silence and reflection this Lenten Season.

I highly recommend that you sign up for this daily e-mail devotional offered by Biola University called The Lent Project. Just visit their website and you’ll understand why! It is a beautiful daily calendar offering mixed media interaction in the build up to Easter. If you’re inbox is full and you can’t commit to another e-mail, you can still visit their website and have access to all the beautiful resources there. I truly love this resource because it breaks down all the music, artwork, devotional theology and readings in a meaningful yet clear way. Sign up today!
  • Lent Reflections by The Transforming Center
    This beautiful 40 page booklet offered by The Transforming Center is designed to help small groups, spiritual friends, and individuals walk through the Lenten season together. It includes reflections by Ruth Haley Barton and  is a perfect tool to introduce people to the practice of following the lectionary through the seasons of the Church year.
  • Bread and Wine: Readings for Easter and Lent by Orbis Books
    This is a truly unparalleled collection of some of the most beloved spiritual writers reflections on the themes of Easter and Lent. A wonderful resource for daily devotionals, readings or family discussions.
  • We can hardly go a week without mentioning our dear friends The Brilliance. They released this excellent Lent EP full of beautiful songs specifically for Lent. The deep words and immersive sound would make an excellent tool in your Lenten Journey.
  • If you’re interested in something a little different, I’d love to recommend the choral music of Eric Whitacre. In particular the haunting piece entitled, “When David Heard.” If you are a fan of choral music at all then it is worth giving this piece a listen. For me it is a haunting lament that draws me back to the cross. The intent was for the choir to sound as though they are weeping throughout the music – a dark and sobering piece for Lent.