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Richard J. Foster quotes (showing 1-30 of 129)

“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. 'We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.' ...It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do is provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. He cultivates the ground, he plants the seed, he waters the plants, and then the natural forces of the earth take over and up comes the grain...This is the way it is with the Spiritual Disciplines - they are a way of sowing to the Spirit... By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Love, not anger, brought Jesus to the cross. Golgotha came as a result of God's great desire to forgive, not his reluctance. Jesus knew that by his vicarious suffering he could actually absorb all the evil of humanity and so heal it, forgive it, redeem it.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honour and recognition. It will devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. If we stoutly refuse to give in to this lust of the flesh, we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh, we crucify our pride and arrogance.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Confession is a difficult Discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.

But if we know that the people of God are first a fellowship of sinners, we are freed to hear the unconditional call of God's love and to confess our needs openly before our brothers and sisters. We know we are not alone in our sin. The fear and pride that cling to us like barnacles cling to others also. We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Of all spiritual disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Jesus Christ and all the writers of the New Testament call us to break free of mammon lust and live in joyous trust...They point us toward a way of living in which everything we have we receive as a gift, and everything we have is cared for by God, and everything we have is available to others when it is right and good. This reality frames the heart of Christian simplicity. It is the means of liberation and power to do what is right and to overcome the forces of fear and avarice.”
Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World
“Because we lack a divine Center our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things. We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. 'We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like'. Where planned obsolescence leaves off, psychological obsolescence takes over. We are made to feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they are worn out. The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick. Until we see how unbalanced our culture has become at this point, we will not be able to deal with the mammon spirit within ourselves nor will we desire Christian simplicity.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Discipline brings freedom.

The purpose of meditation is to enable us to hear God more clearly. Meditation is listening, sensing, heeding the life and light of Christ. This comes right to the heart of our faith. The life that pleases God is not a set of religious duties; it is to hear His voice and obey His word. Meditation opens the door to this way of living.

To pray is to change. All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives.

For those explorers in the frontiers of faith, prayer was no little habit tacked on to the periphery of their lives; it was their lives. It was the most serious work of their most productive years. Prayer – nothing draws us closer to the heart of God.

Fasting must forever centre on God. More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.

The most difficult problem is not finding time but convincing myself that this is important enough to set aside the time.

Disciplines are not the answer; they only lead us to the Answer. We must clearly understand this limitation of the Disciplines if we are to avoid bondage.

Humility, as we all know, is one of those virtues that is never gained by seeking it. The more we pursue it the more distant it becomes. To think we have it is sure evidence that we don’t.

Anybody who has once been horrified by the dreadfulness of his own sin that nailed Jesus to the Cross will no longer be horrified by even the rankest sins of a brother.’

If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Conversion does not make us perfect, but it does catapult us into a total experience of discipleship that affects - and infects - every sphere of our living.”
Richard J. Foster, Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups
“And so I urge you to still every motion that is not rooted in the Kingdom. Become quiet, hushed, motionless until you are finally centered. Strip away all excess baggage and nonessential trappings until you have come into the stark reality of the Kingdom of God. Let go of all distractions until you are driven into the Core. Allow God to reshuffle your priorities and eliminate unnecessary froth. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, 'Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.' That is our first task: to grip the hands of Jesus with such tenacity that we are obliged to follow his lead, to seek first his Kingdom.”
Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World
“..the true test of spirituality [is] in the freedom to live among people compassionately....Prayer frees us to be controlled by God.”
Richard J. Foster
“Whenever the Christian idea of meditation is taken seriously, there are those who assume it is synonymous with the concept of meditation centered in Eastern religions. In reality, the two ideas stand worlds apart. Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind; Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind. The two ideas are quite different.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“If we think we will have joy only by praying and singing psalms, we will be disillusioned. But if we fill our lives with simple good things and constantly thank God for them, we will be joyful, that is, full of joy. And what about our problems? When we determine to dwell on the good and excellent things in life, we will be so full of those things that they will tend to swallow our problems.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Humility, as we all know, is one of those virtues that is never gained by seeking it. The more we pursue it the more distant it becomes. To think we have it is sure evidence that we don't.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“We who have turned our lives over to Christ need to know how very much he longs to eat with us, to commune with us. He desires a perpetual Eucharistic feast in the inner sanctuary of the heart.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Silence frees us from the need to control others. One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. A frantic stream of words flows from us in an attempt to straighten others out. We want so desperately for them to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people with our words. Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on that.

When we become quiet enough to let go of people, we learn compassion for them.”
Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World
“Human beings seem to have a perpetual tendency to have somebody else talk to God for them. We are content to have the message second-hand. One of Israel's fatal mistakes was their insistence on having a human king rather than resting on the theocratic rule of God over them. We can detect a note of sadness in the word of the Lord, 'they have rejected me from being king over them' (1 Sam. 8:7). The history of religion is the story of an almost desperate scramble to have a king, a mediator, a priest, a pastor, a go-between. In this way we do not need to go to God ourselves. Such an approach saves us from the need to change, for to be in the presence of God is to change.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“In our day heaven and earth are on tiptoe waiting for the emerging of the Spirit-led, Spirit-intoxicated, Spirit-empowered people. All of creation watches expectantly for the springing up of a disciplined, freely gathered, martyr people who know in this life the life and power of the Kingdom of God. It happened before, it can happen again.”
Richard J. Foster
“At the heart of God is the desire to give and to forgive. Because of this, he set into motion the entire redemptive process that culminated in the cross and was confirmed in the resurrection. The usual notion of what Jesus did on the cross was something like this: people were so bad and so mean and God was so angry with them that he could not forgive them unless somebody big enough took the rap for the whole lot of them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Love, not anger, brought Jesus to the cross. Golgotha came as a result of God’s great desire to forgive, not his reluctance. Jesus knew that by his vicarious suffering he could actually absorb all the evil of humanity and so heal it, forgive it, redeem it. This is why Jesus refused the customary painkiller when it was offered him. He wanted to be completely alert for this greatest work of redemption. In a deep and mysterious way he was preparing to take on the collective sin of the human race. Since Jesus lives in the eternal now, this work was not just for those around him, but he took in all the violence, all the fear, all the sin of all the past, all the present, and all the future. This was his highest and most holy work, the work that makes confession and the forgiveness of sins possible…Some seem to think that when Jesus shouted “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” it was a moment of weakness (Mark 15:34). Not at all. This was his moment of greatest triumph. Jesus, who had walked in constant communion with the Father, now became so totally identified with humankind that he was the actual embodiment of sin. As Paul writes, “he made him to be sin who knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus succeeded in taking into himself all of the dark powers of this present evil age and defeated every one of them by the light of his presence. He accomplished such a total identification with the sin of the race that he experienced the abandonment of God. Only in that way could he redeem sin. It was indeed his moment of greatest triumph. Having accomplished this greatest of all his works, Jesus then took refreshment. “It is finished,” he announced. That is, this great work of redemption was completed. He could feel the last dregs of the misery of humankind flow through him and into the care of the Father. The last twinges of evil, hostility, anger, and fear drained out of him, and he was able to turn again into the light of God’s presence. “It is finished.” The task is complete. Soon after, he was free to give up his spirit to the father. …Without the cross the Discipline of confession would be only psychologically therapeutic. But it is so much more. It involves and objective change in our relationship with God and a subjective change in us. It is a means of healing and transforming the inner spirit.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Freedom from anxiety is characterized by three inner attitudes. If what we have we receive as a gift, and if what we have is to be cared for by God, and if what we have is available to others, then we will possess freedom from anxiety. This is the inward reality of simplicity. However, if what we have we believe we have gotten, and if what we have we believe we must hold onto, and if what we have is not available to others, then we will live in anxiety. Such persons will never know simplicity regardless of the outward contortions they may put themselves through in order to live “the simple life.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on all self-justification.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“If you are too busy to read, you are too busy.”
Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World
“In “The Cost of Discipleship” Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes it clear that grace is free, but it is not cheap. The grace of God is unearned and unearnable, but if we ever expect to grow in grace, we must pay the price of a consciously chosen course of action which involves both individual and group life. Spiritual growth is the purpose of the Disciplines.

It might be helpful to visualize what we have been discussing. Picture a long, narrow ridge with a sheer drop-off on either side. The chasm to the right is the way of moral bankruptcy through human strivings for righteousness. Historically this has been called the heresy of moralism. The chasm to the left is moral bankruptcy through the absence of human strivings. This has been called the heresy of antinomianism. On the ridge there is a path, the Disciplines of the spiritual life. This path leads to the inner transformation and healing for which we seek. We must never veer off to the right or to the left, but stay on the path. The path is fraught with severe difficulties, but also with incredible joys. As we travel on this path the blessing of God will come upon us and reconstruct us into the image of Jesus Christ. We must always remember that the path does not produce the change; it only places us where the change can occur.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“Submission reaches the end of its tether when it becomes destructive.”
Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
“The tithe simply is not a sufficiently radical concept to embody the carefree unconcern for possessions that marks life in the Kingdom of God. ...

It is quite possible to tithe and at the same time oppress the poor and needy. ...

The tithe is not necessarily evil' it simply cannot provide a sufficient base for Jesus' call to carefree unconcern over provision. ...

Perhaps the tithe can be a beginning way to acknowledge God as the owner of all things, but it is only a beginning and not an ending.”
Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World
“Christians feed on Scripture. Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body. Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son. —Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book”
Richard J. Foster, Life with God: Reading the Bible for Spiritual Transformation

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