A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Epilogue

We have effectively finished reading Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction“. This was his first commercially published book– the first of over 30. His work as an author, pastor, and lecturer has shaped much of this GrowingDisciples course. For this reason, Peterson’s Epilogue to the book, written 20 years later, may be of interest. I find it stirring, encouraging and providing a sharp focus in ministry.

The Epilogue is available for download here:

Consider:

What is the difference between a good ‘slow cooked meal’ and a ‘microwave TV dinner’? How might this serve as a parable of Christian discipleship?

(with thanks to Ness Hughes!)

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 134

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 16 is available for download here:

Consider:

Psalm 134 completes the collection of the Songs of Ascents. The journey to Jerusalem is complete. The pilgrimage has reached its climax. But what if our feelings do not mirror the occasion? In response, Peterson argues that ‘feelings don’t run the show.’

  • How do you respond to the call to ‘lift up praising hands’, even when we don’t feel like it? Have you tried it lately?
  • How does your journey of faith elicit joy? When can you best give expression to this joy?

Now turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 133

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 15 is available for download here:

Consider:

Peterson sums up ‘Community’, as framed by Psalm 133, in this way:

“The oil flowing down Aaron’s beard communicates warm, priestly relationship. The dew descending down Hermon’s slopes communicates fresh and expectant newness. Oil and dew. The two things that make life together delightful.”

  • If you were to see others at church as ‘fellow priests’– mediating God to one another in words and behaviour– what would change for you?
  • How might a curiosity for the work of God in others’ lives shape your conversations?

Now turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 129

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 11 is available for download here:

Consider:

  • When and where is your faith challenged?
  • How can God grow your ‘stick-to-itiveness’?

Now turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 128

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 10 is available for download here:

An exercise:

Now turn your reflections into prayer.

  • Peterson writes, “The Bible is one long exposition of [God’s] blessing.” Take a few minutes to quietly take your mind through the big picture story of the bible— creation, fall, promise, flood, Abraham, the Patriarchs, Egypt, Moses, etc… Now turn the narrative of God’s blessings into a prayer of praise.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 127

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 9 is available for download here:

An exercise:

  • What is your ‘work’? What will it involve you doing this week?
  • How might Psalm 127 reframe your approach and attitude to your work?

Now turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 126

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 8 is available for download here:

An exercise:

  • What reasons have you to be joyful?
  • How has this chapter enriched your Christian joy?

Now turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 125

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 7 is available for download here:

To consider:

  • On what is your spiritual security based
  • How does Psalm 125 strengthen your security in God?

Now turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 124

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 6 is available for download here:

An exercise:

  • We live in a world that is broken and hostile. Make a quick list of the personal challenges in your life at the moment. Now pray Psalm 124 out loud, knowing that God is ‘for you’. Your help is in the name of the Lord.

Our faith develops out of the most difficult aspects of life, not the easiest.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 123

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 5 is available for download here:

For your consideration and reflection:

  • What motivates you to ‘serve’ at your local church… really?
  • How would you describe God’s mercy? Looking to God, do you wish for mercy, hope for mercy or expect mercy?
  • How might you cultivate your sense of freedom in God’s service?

You might like to turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 122

We continue to read Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” throughout April, reflecting upon Psalms 120-134, also known as the Songs of Ascent. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 4 is available for download here:

For your consideration and reflection:

  • How would you define ‘worship’ in a way that is big enough to include the heights of corporate praise as well as the simplicity of daily obedience?
  • When you gather for corporate worship– perhaps at church or with a small group– how do you manage your feelings and distractions? Does your heart ever ‘leap for joy’? Do you struggle with boredom?
  • How do you ensure authenticity in your Sunday worship?

You might like to turn your reflections into prayer.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Psalm 121

In addition to our Daily Devotionals in the book of 1 Samuel, this month’s Book is Eugene Peterson’s, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” As a paradigm of discipleship in an ‘instant world’, the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) provide a richly flavoured ‘slow cooked’ meal instead of a microwaved TV dinner. Details on how to easily purchase the book are here.

Chapter 3 is available for download here:

For your consideration and reflection:

  • On your journey of discipleship, when have you encountered the challenges of (i) a trip hazard, (ii) external battles– sunstroke, or (iii) internal battles– moon stroke?
  • How has God guarded, protected and shielded you in these situations?
  • Today, in your present situation, how might you depend upon God and his strength to sustain you?

You might like to turn your reflections into prayer.