2016 CFBS Christmas Newsletter

Christmas greetings from the Whitney family and 

The Center for Biblical Spirituality.


Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  

Before I give you an update on ministry of the CFBS and on the Whitney family, I’ll mention the following resources in hopes that they might serve you and/or your ministry.

First is a new blog post, a Christmas meditation on “God, the House-building God.”

These “Ten Questions to Ask at a Christmas Gathering” may be of service in stimulating discussion in slow or difficult conversational settings this week. I’m hopeful they’ll be especially useful in settings where you want to ultimately share the gospel.

Ready for 2017? Ready or not, it’s almost here. These “Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or on Your Birthday” may help you enter the new year more thoughtfully and deliberately. At the end is a bonus of 21 additional questions, for a total of one for every day in the month of January. This Sunday or the next would be the ideal time to print this document as a bulletin insert or handout for your church or small group.

Hoping to read through the Bible in 2017, but not sure how to go about it? Or maybe you read through the Bible on a regular basis, but would consider altering your approach. Last yearJustin Taylor collected several dozen different Bible reading plans. Here’s a link to that post at The Gospel Coalition Blog.

Next, here’s a “Bible Reading Record” to assist you in reading through the Bible next year. Regardless of your pace or plan, this tool can keep you on track. Print a paper copy, put it in your Bible, and cross off chapters as you read them. Or download it to your smartphone or tablet, then delete or italicize the chapters you complete each day.

Say hello to my grandson, Trippe! My daughter, Laurelen, and her husband, Mike, presented us with Trippe on May 27, so he’ll be seven-months-old soon. Obviously, this happy little fella is the most handsome grandson in the world, although admittedly as a new cereal-eater he is still working on a few of the finer points of keeping the food in his mouth. So far our two favorite activities together are sitting in the porch swing with each other and anything that makes Trippe laugh.

One of Caffy’s most satisfying activities is investing in the lives of women in the Southern Seminary Wives Institute. Led by Mrs. Mary Mohler, wife of SBTS President Albert Mohler, the program involves both seminary faculty and faculty wives. Caffy is involved in both teaching and discipling these young women.


Caffy’s talent and passion for art is manifested year-round by teaching art and art history at the Sayers Classical School in Louisville, and by teaching a couple of dozen private art students. In between she produces commissioned art work and pieces for her own pleasure. The latter category is represented by the two large pieces on the right of the fountain in the Norton Commons area of Louisville and Hinkle, Mike and Laurelen’s bulldog. The 4 x 5 portrait of Charles Spurgeon was done for the office of Dr. Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, where Spurgeon’s Library is housed in a marvelous new facility. 

Another highlight for me in 2016 was the release of the Crossway edition of my Family Worship book. In conjunction with that, Crossway released a free, five-part video series on family worship called “Family Worship 101.”

By going to this page to sign up (simply by providing your email address), you’ll receive an email from Crossway each day for the next five days. Each email will contain a video (of about 3 to 5 minutes) in which I teach practical tips on leading family worship. Here’s a sample:

Family Worship 101 with Don Whitney from Crossway on Vimeo.

Also new in 2016 was the release of the Spanish translation of my two most popular books, Disciplinas espirituales para la vida cristiana and Orando la Biblia. The are available in both print and Kindle editions. And though I’m not able to tell you where to get a copy, I can announce that just a few days ago the Korean edition of my Praying the Bible was released.

On the CFBS website we now have our three best-selling resources available in what we are calling the “Spiritual Disciplines 3-Pack.” You can order Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Family Worship, and Praying the Bible for $27.00. The cost includes shipping and handling. This is a savings of more than $3.00 off Amazon’s best price.

If, however, you prefer to order the e-book edition for your Kindle (or Kindle app), you can do that, too. Below are links that will take you directly to Amazon where you can order Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life for $9.07, Family Worship for $5.37, and Praying the Bible for $8.53.

Did you know you can support The Center for Biblical Spirituality while you shop on Amazon? It is as simple as going to smile.amazon.com and choosing The Center for Spiritual Disciplines as your charitable organization. The smile.amazon.com website is Amazon. You’ll notice no difference in appearance or function. It is simply the portal into Amazon created by Amazon to allow its customers to designate a portion of their purchases to a non-profit organization.

So whenever you go to smile.amazon.com and order anything, Amazon will donate a small percentage to The Center for Biblical Spirituality. There is no other information exchanged (such as who made the purchase or for how much) except that Amazon let’s us know at the end of the month of the total that the CFBS has received a donation. Thank you!

When the Lord moves people to provide financial support for The Center for Biblical Spirituality, I am very grateful, both to the Lord and to His human instrument. Right now gifts to this ministry would be used to provide some much-needed administrative help and allow me to focus more on preaching, teaching, and writing. Our address for tax-deductible gifts is The Center for Biblical Spirituality, 11113 Peppermint St, Prospect, KY 40059-6603. If you’d prefer to give by phone, our number is 502-883-1096.


If you’re active on Twitter and/or Facebook, you can follow my Twitter posts via @DonWhitney and get my Facebook feed by “liking” my page there.

“Finally, brothers, pray for us” (2 Thess. 3:1). 


  • Pray for our family. On January 8 Caffy and I will celebrate 40 years of marriage. My mother recently began her seventh year with us. Since falling and breaking her pelvis last year she has lived nearby in an assisted living facility. Please pray for Mike and Laurelen as they grow in grace as believers, as a couple, and as parents.


  • Pray for my ministry of teaching as professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. One out of five seminary students in America is in one of the six SBC seminaries, and the oldest and largest of these six is SBTS. We train students from all fifty states and dozens of countries, including more than half of the Master of Divinity students in the SBC seminaries. It is a solemn and joyful responsibility to prepare these students for a lifetime of service to Jesus and His kingdom. 


  • Pray for my preaching, teaching, and writing done in addition to my seminary ministry. In 2016 I preached or taught 198 times and was interviewed on 22 radio programs or podcasts and two TV broadcasts. This also included 32 churches and 5 denominational events and pastors’ conferences in 16 states via 70 airplanes and more than 42,000 miles. This is a joyous privilege, but a heavy responsibility. It is impossible without prayer.


At the close of this year, I want to express my thanks to all you who pray for us. Thanks also to those who send financial support to The Center for Biblical Spirituality. These are all gifts from Him “who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Most of all, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift,” the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 9:15). May the Lord greatly bless you this Christmas season and new year! 

By His grace and for His glory,

Don Whitney


The Center for Biblical Spirituality

11113 Peppermint St.

Prospect, KY  40059

God, the House-building God

In 2 Sam. 7:2, King David noted the incongruity of him living “in a house of cedar, [while] the ark of God dwells in a tent.” He spoke with the prophet Nathan, who encouraged him in his plan to build a house—a temple—for God.

It was good that David wanted to build a house for God. It was precious in God’s sight that it was in David (initiated by God’s grace) to want to do something great for God because of his love for God.

“But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, ‘Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in? . . . The LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house’’” (vv. 4-5, 11).

In grace God responded to David’s love by promising something for David that was infinitely greater than David could have ever imagined. Although David wanted to build a house for God, God said that instead He would build a house for David; not in a structural sense, but in a human sense. From David’s descendants would come a King—Jesus—who would reign forever. Through the coming Son of David, God promised to build the “House of David” and “establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (v. 13). David would have the joy of knowing that one of his descendants would rule not only Israel, but the entire universe and do so forever.

God was far from finished, however, in astounding His people with the grace of His house-building work.

Now, God makes us—believers in Christ—His house. “We are the temple of the living God,” the Bible proclaims in 2 Cor. 6:15. Eph. 6:22 says of believers in Christ, “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” God Himself now dwells by His Spirit in the body of each individual Christian and also in unique ways when the body of believers (the local church) is assembled.

Thus God now promises something that in many ways is greater than the promise to David. Not that there is any gift greater than sending Christ, but greater than the satisfaction David had of knowing that one of his descendants would be the greatest king of all. Greater than the inward satisfaction of knowing that one of your descendants would rule forever is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Greater than any sense of gratification about what God would ultimately do through you is the Spirit of that King living within you from the first moment of faith and forever.

Then, in another stunning, gracious promise, God tells us there’s even more to His house-building. He not only indwells our bodies as His house (temple), He is preparing a place where our bodies can dwell with him forever. As Jesus said in Jn. 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” To think of living with that King in His heavenly home forever is a promise and a gift we could no more imagine or deserve than David could have dreamed of the house God would build for him.

Remember this when you think of the coming of Jesus. We gave Him no house—only a cattle stall—in which to be born. Later, as a man He would say, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt. 8:20).

Despite how we shut Him out, He took upon Himself the sins that had shut us out of Heaven. And when we look to Him as our only door (Jn. 10:9) to God and Heaven, we will be welcomed by the Father. Then, like the astonishing outpouring of grace that He showed to David, He—the eternal King—is willing to make our bodies His house, and to give our newly-remade bodies a house with Him in glory forever.