Sunday, January 3, 2021

From Matthew Dickerson, Guest Preacher...

"In my sermon on Sunday I read a long quote from Mark Roberts. I promised to share that with you, so here it is below, followed by a few of my own suggestions for devotional readings for 2021.  I’m quite sure that several other folks (Stephanie Allen and Deborah Dickerson included) could add many other wonderful recommendations to this list. 


'This kind of renewal [that the Psalmist speaks of in Psalm 51:10] is not something you [or] I can produce on our own. Only God can “create” a clean heart and a new spirit within us. This is clear, not only from the request of verse 10, but also from the use of the verb “create” (bara’ in Hebrew). This verb, found in the first verse of the Bible as God created the heavens and the earth, is. God alone has the power to create the universe. God alone has the power to create a clean heart and new spirit within us. 


This does not mean, however, that we cannot participate in this work of divine renewal. We can, according to Psalm 51, by, first of all, coming before God as we are, acknowledging our brokenness, relying on God to forgive, restore, and renew us. Then we can participate in practices that help us grow in relationship with the Lord. For the psalm writer, these included sacrifices offered in the temple (51:19). For us, the practices that contribute to our inner renewal include such things as prayer, worship, biblical study and reflection, silence, journaling, Scripture memorization, community, gratitude, hospitality, doing justice, loving-kindness, and walking humbly with God (see Micah 6:8). None of these disciplines make us instantly new. But they all help us grow in God’s grace, thus opening our hearts to ongoing renewal by the Spirit. '


From Mark Roberts “Life for Leaders” devotion on 1/1/2021.  You can read the full devotion here (and, if interested, subscribe for free to the daily devotions):


Here is a short list of recommended readings (and podcasts) for spiritual formation, reflection, and/or devotion. If you get through these, I can suggest many more:

  • The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson.

  • Tell it Slant by Eugene Peterson.

  • Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson.

  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson.

  • Celebration of Disciple by Richard Foster.

  • Mourning into Dancing by Walter Wangerin Jr.

  • The World’s Last Night (And Other Essays) by C.S.Lewis.

  • Reflections on the Psalms by C.S.Lewis.

  • The Holy Way by Paula Huston.

  • Chameleon Christianity by Dick Keyes.

  • The Fabric of Faithfulness by Steve Garber.

  • Sixty at Sixty (reflections on Psalms) by James Schaap.

  • Mark Roberts “Life for Leaders” daily devotions:

  • “Ordinary Life with God” Renovaré podcasts with Nathan Foster:


I hope this is helpful.

Matthew Dickerson