Spiritual Formation Resources
Here you’ll find a variety of spiritual practices, exercises and resources that have helped shape us and our community.
The Lectionary is a practical way to engage with small sections of Scripture on a daily basis. Over time, we encounter the “whole counsel of Scripture”, as the readings lead us in the sweep of God’s story through the Old Testament historical writings, the Psalms and prophetic books, the Gospels, and New Testament letters. We have put together a simple page on our web site which each day is updated with that day’s readings from the Lectionary. By bookmarking the page and returning each day, you can engage in a regular spiritual rhythm of reading the stories of Scripture with God.
This practice is a set rhythm of Scripture reading, singing, and prayer that is observed by Christians the world over. With the first prayers of the office beginning at 3:45am, many people choose to participate in only certain parts of the practice rather than in its entirety. You could use the Lectionary readings above to guide your own daily office, or use the office of The Northumbria Community.
We want to intentionally create a variety of pathways that help us learn, embrace, and surrender to the Holy Spirit. As he forms the innermost parts of our beings, we become people who are increasingly healed and whole, and able to “pass that wholeness on” to the broken places in the world all around us. To that end, we highly recommend consistent engagement with of soul care, counseling, and spiritual direction. Having others who we can share our struggles with is often one of the most helpful pathways to growing in the Christian life. Here are a few resources we highly recommend:
- New Day Initiative: New Day Initiative is led by Kimberley Knochel, a nationally known pastoral counselor and consultant. Kimberley has been a long-time friend of Red Door, and works with many members of our community to pursue greater wholeness in Christ.
- CenterQuest: Red Door is an Affiliate Partner of CenterQuest, an international resource for Spiritual Direction. CenterQuest can help you locate a spiritual director, has many helpful resources on spiritual formation, and even has a School of Spiritual Direction for those who feel a vocational call to walk alongside others in their journey with Jesus.
Lectio Divina is a devotional way to read Scripture, moving our interaction with God’s word from information to formation. To download a worksheet with information on this life-giving spiritual practice, click here.
The historic liturgical calendar is a tool that Red Door uses to help organize Sunday worship services around a holistic participation in God’s community and story. Rather than centering services on a sermon, or any other necessary means of grace to the church, liturgical seasons root the community’s worship in the rhythms of the whole Gospel: God’s acts of creation, humanity’s fall, God’s covenants with Israel, the coming of Christ to redeem the world, the establishment of Christ’s kingdom on earth. Each calendar season presents the church with a fresh opportunity to explore God’s truth while pressing deeper into God’s life and work.
Here is the general church calendar:
- Advent: The forty days before Christmas, intended for focus on the incarnation of Christ. Advent literally means “arrival” or “coming”, and this first season of the liturgical year begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent commemorates the “arrival” of Christ into our world through the Incarnation (the first coming), while anticipating His second coming when all things will be made new.
- Christmas: The Christmas season immediately follows Advent. The traditional Twelve Days of Christmas begin with Christmas Eve on the evening of December 24 and continue until the feast of Epiphany.
- Epiphany: The season following Christmas, in which the church proclaims Jesus to the world as Lord and King. Epiphany is a time to note the mission of the Church and the worldwide connectivity of the global Church.
- Lent: The forty days beginning on Ash Wednesday, and concluding the day before Easter, intended for preparation and anticipation of the Resurrection.
- Easter (or Eastertide): The fifty days from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. Easter season recognizes God’s ongoing work of establishing new creation through the Forerunner, Christ. It also celebrates the hope of that work being culminated in a new heavens and a new earth.
- Pentecost: The season used to celebrate the reality that God, through His Spirit, is at work through and among His people. Literally meaning “50 days after,” the day of Pentecost falls 50 days after Easter.
- Ordinary Time: This season’s name comes, not from ordinary, but the word ordinal, which means counted time. The time, beginning on the first Sunday after Pentecost, is used to focus on specific themes of interest or importance to a local congregation.
Prayer of Examen
This four-stage prayer is primarily an exercise in remembering. Through it, we are invited to reflect on experiences from the past 24 hours, practicing gratitude and response for the presence of God, and learning awareness of the movement of the Spirit in our daily lives.
1) Recognize the presence of God
- Be still and know that you are with God.
2) Look at your day with gratitude
- Acknowledge God in the big and small things of life.
3) Review your day
When or where in the past 24 hours did you feel you were cooperating most fully with God’s action in your life? When were you resisting?
- What habits and life patterns do I notice?
- When did I feel most alive? Most drained of life?
- When did I have the greatest sense of belonging? When did I feel most alone?
- When did I give love? Where did I receive love?
- When did I feel most fully myself? Least myself?
- When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented?
4) Reconcile and Resolve
- Seek forgiveness
- Ask for direction
- Share a concern
- Express gratitude
- Resolve to move forward
Other Ideas for Spiritual Formation
- Rule for Life
- Practicing the Presence of God
- Care of the Earth
- Breath Prayer
To learn more about each of these spiritual practices, and numerous others, we highly recommend “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us” by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.