Friends in Formation

Renovaré

A podcast from Renovaré where three very different friends—James Catford, Nathan Foster, and Richella Parham—take listener questions about life and faith, with the goal of listening, learning, and helping one another go deeper with God. New episodes monthly.

All Episodes

Want to Suggest a Question?To submit a question for James, Richella, and Nate to consider discussing on Friends in Formation, email friends@renovare.org.Show NotesIn this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, Nate, Richella, and James answer listener questions about practices to help keep centered on Christ with a busy schedule, returning to church when you are not feeling loved there, and the struggle of judging family members.[1:21] I am an older student attending junior college and working at the school newspaper part time. I find it a struggle to keep up a rhythm of life because so much of my schedule is dictated by what my professors assign or the chaotic nature of working at a newspaper. In this arena the unexpected is common. What types of practices would you suggest to help me keep centered on Christ?[15:58] My question wants to be: Why are church people so unloving… so rigid in being right that they fail to love people in such sad places? And why should I go back to church now, if that’s what I’m going to face?[27:34] God has made me aware of my judgmental attitude towards my family members. How can I grow in this area and not only keep my comments and advice to myself, but also let go of that judgement which is in my heart?Resources Life Without Lack, by Dallas Willard An Unhurried Life: Follow Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest, by Alan Fadling The Journal of John Woolman, edited by Phillips P. Moulton

Nov 22

42 min 25 sec

In this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, Richella, Nate, and James answer listener questions about losing faith, contentment, and where to start with spiritual practices.--[1:25] The three of you have been addressing questions/concerns from parents who are grieving at the waning faith of the children they so lovingly raised. I'm writing as the 22-year old son of two God-fearing parents. To put it try to put it concisely, here is my question: I barely know a life outside of church & a personal relationship with Jesus. All through high school and college I gave a lot of my life to serving ministries. But now that my faith is slipping away, I feel like not only a square peg in a round hole at church, but having lost a sense of mission/purpose, I also feel like a square peg in a round hole in the world. Losing faith has been doubly alienating. What advice do you have for someone who grew up in the church and is now losing faith? When I'm in a circle praying at Bible study, I ask myself, "what am I even doing here?" I want my conviction-driven life back, but I don't know how.... and it's just so hard. [13:52] Paul says in Phil 4:12-13 that he has learned to be content through the strength of Christ. I lack contentment big time. I've looked for discussions of how to learn contentment but not found any that are not simplistic. Would you please speak to how one can learn contentment?  [28:17] I work with college students who are just beginning to become aware of their internal lives and engage in the spiritual rhythms. My question is: How do you begin to introduce spiritual practices to people who have little experience in engaging with their inner lives? Resources Everything Happens for a Reason, by Kate Bowler A Spiritual Formation Workbook, by James Bryan Smith and Linda Graybeal Lyfe, resources from the British Bible Society Starting Your Spiritual Journey, Videos on the Streams by Joe Davis The Making of an Ordinary Saint, by Nathan Foster

Oct 25

39 min 49 sec

Want to Suggest a Question?To submit a question for James, Richella, and Nate to consider discussing on Friends in Formation, email friends@renovare.org.In this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, James, Richella, and Nate answer listener questions about women in ministry and gender roles, the Trinity, and Spiritual Direction.Show Notes[3:40] We've got several questions about women in ministry, question about gender roles, and different hurdles that women like a young mother might face for different spiritual practices.[19:08] A couple of listeners have asked questions focusing on communicating with the Trinity when having inner dialogue with God, the Father, Jesus, the Eternal Son, and the Holy Spirit and who to address, who to pray to and why.[33:14] Many people ask us about Spiritual Direction. Would a Spiritual Director be helpful to me to draw closer to the heart of God or would this be one more interesting diversion from personally hearing from God? How do we think about Spiritual Direction in community? Should I find a Spiritual Director rather than a mentor?Resources Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace by James B. Torrance Life in the Trinity by Donald Fairbairn The God Revealed in Jesus Christ: An Introduction to Trinitarian Theology published by Grace Communion International The Great Dance: The Christian Vision Revisited by C. Baxter Kruger Mythical Me by Richella J. Parham

Sep 27

47 min 57 sec

In this episode, Richella, Nate, and James address honest listener questions about treasures and issues of the heart, issues with the Church, and how to have healthy accountability without it becoming rigid and legalistic. [1:48] What did Jesus mean when he said store up for yourself treasures in heaven? And in a practical sense how do I store up treasure in heaven? [15:00] Here we address several related questions regarding turmoil in the church, that the church feels difficult for a lot of people, and the pain of adult children leaving the church. [29:16] Would you address the issue of accountability - resources seem to recommend a list of questions to ask each other, but that seems formulaic and potentially legalistic. Is accountability best done in a group or 1:1? Do you have any ideas for us to get started with? Resources Mentioned Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy Dallas Willard, Knowing Christ Today (Chapter 8: Pastors as Teachers of the Nations) James Bryan Smith with Lynda, A Spiritual Formation Workbook Cindy Bunch, Be Kind to Yourself John Wesley: Accountability Questions Song: Brethren We have Met to Worship Renovaré Podcasts with Paul Patton We All Have Secrets Leading the Dance with Pop Culture Story & the Importance of Memorization

Aug 30

45 min 23 sec

In this episode, Richella, Nate, and James discuss honest listener questions regarding silence and solitude, Sabbath, and adult children walking away from the church. [1:00] Why do some people find the practice of silence and solitude so hard, and not letting the distractions of the day interrupt a time of listening for God's voice? [14:15] In seeking and walking out apprenticeship, I’ve found it difficult to Sabbath well. How can you observe Sabbath well when you have little kids? [26:50] Going back to a previous conversation regarding the church, how do I handle my adult children walking away from church? Resources Mentioned Henry Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son Smith and Graybeal, A Spiritual Formation Workbook James Bryan Smith, Embracing the Love of God Dallas Willard, Life Without Lack James Fowler, Stages of Faith Song: Can You Count the Stars Have a question for us to consider? Email friends@renovare.org.

Jul 19

41 min 30 sec

In this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, James, Richella, and Nate discuss honest listener questions about growing in humility, being disappointed with God, and feeling like a square peg in a round hole at church. [3:12] What disciplines are helpful for growing humility, other than service? Also how do you define humility? [14:25] If I’m honest, I don’t think God has done well by me. [28:12] I feel like a square peg in a round hole when attending church. How widespread is spiritual abuse and what are its dangers? Resources Mentioned Richella Parham, Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison K.J. Ramsey, This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy Have a question for us to consider? Email friends@renovare.org.

Jun 28

39 min 34 sec

In this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, James, Richella, and Nate discuss different ways to read the Bible (big chunks, small bites, meditating, memorizing, and changing it up), what to do with tricky texts in Scripture, and how to spot spiritual abuse. [:53] How do you approach Bible reading? [16:28] How do you handle tricky sections of Scripture? [30:20] How widespread is spiritual abuse and what are its dangers? Resources Mentioned Life with God Bible Wesleyan Quadrilateral The Bible Project Hard Sayings of the Bible Series, Intervarsity Press F.F. Bruce, Hard Sayings of Jesus Nick Page, The Badly Behaved Bible Renovaré Podcast Episode: Luci Shaw – On Poetry, Creativity, and Madeleine L’Engle Richard Foster, The Challenge of the Disciplined Life Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphries, Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating Healthy Christian Cultures Wade Mullen Have a question for us to consider? Email friends@renovare.org.

May 24

45 min 15 sec

In this episode, James, Richella, and Nate attempt to explain spiritual formation in layman's terms, and address questions about fasting and struggling with feeling ill-will toward others. [1:18] Can you explain spiritual formation in layman's terms? [15:50] Fasting - I'm totally sold on the idea of fasting, and I’ve read a lot of material on fasting, and even given a few devotional lessons on fasting, yet I'm still struggling with even wanting to fast or getting the results I hope to get – an increased sense of the Lord’s presence, spiritual breakthroughs in some personal issues. I struggle with answers to prayer. Please help. [34:03] I’m experiencing greater levels of ill-will toward others, and I’m concerned about where this ill will is coming from. Do you have advice on how to handle it? Resources Mentioned Song: The Great Physician Daniel Siegel, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation Have a question for us to consider? Email friends@renovare.org. Learn more about Renovaré and find lots of resources for spiritual formation at renovare.org.

Apr 26

48 min 24 sec

In this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, Richella, James, and Nate answer honest listener questions regarding Safety in the Kingdom of God, social justice concerns, and nurturing a character of peacefulness and gentleness. [0:40] I recognize it is probably uncomfortable to acknowledge that God may not keep us safe from an earthly perspective, but Christianity is nothing if it does not provide us tools for understanding and living our sometimes extremely difficult lives. And from another listener: I was a missionary in PNG time and again I would encounter tribes on the road in conflict. My kids were in the back of the pickup . I would put my landcruiser in four wheel drive 2 gear in case I was set upon. I was prepared to go through the tribe. Was I scared you bet [14:52] In your opinion, how can the church begin to have a stronger voice in issues of social justice? [27:28] What practices have you found that have helped you grow in peacefulness and gentleness? How have you been able to keep peace and calm lately with all that is going on? Resources Mentioned Dallas Willard, Life Without Lack Ronald Sider, I Am Not a Social Activist: Making Jesus the Agenda John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry African Enterprise Submit any questions you would like us to consider on future podcast episodes to friends@renovare.org. Learn more about Renovaré and find lots of resources for spiritual formation at renovare.org.

Mar 15

46 min 17 sec

In this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, Richella, James, and Nate discuss honest listener questions about safety within the Kingdom of God, rhythms of spiritual practice in a busy life, and how to listen to the news. [0:45] Dallas Willard comments on the gospel and how living within the kingdom brings safety. Could you comment on what Dallas might have meant by safe within the kingdom when the kingdom is “here but not yet” fully present? [11:40] My question, as a husband, a father of four young children, and a pastor of a church, I find it incredibly difficult to create a rhythm of spiritual practice. Every day is scheduled so differently and carving a quiet moment of meditation, contemplation, solitude, or any other attentive discipline is all but impossible in this season of life. In Richard Foster's "Sanctuary of the Soul" he suggests that parents of young children "rest easy" for the time being until the children need less attention. My kids are 3, 5, 7, and 9 and I find them even busier than when they were infants. Do you have any suggestions? [27:40] I'm a newspaper (news outlet) dabbler. For many years I never read and even avoided the news and now I read a little every day, spending ideally less than 15 minutes of my day. How would Jesus read/listen to the news our day and age? Put differently, how should the gospel of the kingdom's availability effect how we inform ourselves about current events? Submit any questions you would like us to consider on future podcast episodes to friends@renovare.org. Learn more about Renovaré and find lots of resources for spiritual formation at renovare.org.

Feb 15

43 min 30 sec

In this month’s episode of Friends in Formation, Richella, James, and Nate discuss: The Availability of the Kingdom of God Prayer Loneliness in these times Resources Mentioned Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy J. P. Moreland, Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and the Practices that Brought Peace Submit any questions you would like us to consider on future podcast episodes to friends@renovare.org. Learn more about Renovaré and find lots of resources for spiritual formation at renovare.org.

Jan 18

42 min 30 sec

Welcome to a new podcast from Renovaré where three very different friends—James Catford, Nathan Foster, and Richella Parham—discuss listener questions about life and faith, with the goal of listening, learning, and helping one another go deeper with God.

Jan 13

19 min 22 sec