spiritual formation

Develop A Rule Of Life, 19 February 2012


“Emotional health and contemplative spirituality, when interwoven together, offer nothing short of a spiritual revolution, transforming the hidden places deep beneath the surface of our lives” says author and pastor Pete Scazzero in his book
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. This series is based upon the biblical themes of Scazzero’s book in an effort to help us better understand ourselves in order to better love God and others.

The 7 Pathways

1. Know Yourself that You May Know God
2. Going Back in Order to Go Forward
3. Journey Through the Wall
4. Enlarge Your Soul Through Grief and Loss
5. Discover the Rhythms of the Daily Office and Sabbath
6. Grow into an Emotionally Mature Adult
7. Take the Next Step to Develop a “Rule of Life.”

Most people live off of the spirituality of others. We use prayer to get God to serve us.

Os Guinness – The American Hour (adapted)

We are a part of the most powerful civilization that the world has ever known. We are about

- Information (not formation)
- Convenience
- Options
- Time maximization (people overloaded/anxious)
- Comfort
- Feeling good
- Happiness
- Independence
- Entertainment
- Instant gratification
- Skepticism
- Image, Style – (Beauty)
- Control

Summary: Narcissistic; it’s all about me!

From community to individualism
From authority to preference
From Jesus’ claims to all religions considered

The western Church is declining as there are few differences between how Christians and non-Christians live their lives.

There are pockets of radical followers of Jesus that are on a mission to transform the culture rather than be transformed by it.

Three anchors that can help us get centered on God are the Daily Office, Sabbath, and a Rule of Life.

The goal of disciplines is not the disciplines. That’s legalism. The goal is to develop your relationship with God in order to love God and love others.


from the Greek word “trellis”

- a tool to help you grow upward and outward

- a framework or structure to help enable us continually pay attention to God and keep Him the center of our lives

Throughout history, people gathered together in communities around a rule of life. Some were as large as 5000 people in the Egyptian desert. A group of people known as the Desert Fathers were among the God-seekers.

Acts 2:42-3:1

This is the trellis or framework for the early church.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer — at three in the afternoon. (Acts 3:1)

“Devoted” to

1. Apostle’s Teaching

We’re a school of the LORD’s service. We are under the Scriptures.

2. Fellowship (Greek: “sharing”)

A new family/community is formed. Following Jesus is not an individual experience.

3. Breaking of Bread

They did it corporately and at home.

4. Prayer

a. Talking to God
b. Listening to God
c. Being with God


The early church was intentional. It has difficult. It required sacrifice. Many became martyrs. Their entire lives were God. They were breaking away from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Growth does not occur automatically. The one thing that occurs naturally in nature is weeds. The one thing that occurs naturally within us is sin.

This is about resetting your entire life.

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

A Sample Rule of Life:

a. Scripture (through the Bible in a year;
lectio divina, memorization)
b. Silence and Solitude

c. Daily Office (the Divine Hours, Psalms, Book of Common Prayer)
d. Study (reading, learning, exploring)

e. Sabbath
f. Simplicity
g. Play and Recreation (fun!)

h. Service and Mission
i. Care for the Physical Body

j. Emotional Health
k. Family
l. Community (Companions for your journey)

What is your next step?

It must be a heart thing, not a to-do list.

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way. The love of Christ must come before all else.” -Benedict

Luke 18:9-14

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (Luke 18:9-12)

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (Luke 18:13)

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)

Are you growing in your love for your enemies?

The goal of a rule of life is a heart transformation, not self-righteous behavior. It’s a journey, not a destination.

What is your trellis? What is your plan to follow Jesus? What are your next steps?

God, not my will, but Yours!

You can listen to the podcast here.

Note: many ideas derived from Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituailty.