Issue Number Fourteen

Don's Schedule

Please pray for these ministry opportunities.

  • Wellspring Covenant
    Community Church
    San Leandro, CA
  • Ballwin Baptist Church
    Ballwin, Missouri

  • Highview Baptist Church
    Chillicothe, MO

  • Glenwood Hills Bible Church
    Conyers, GA

  • Grace Bible Fellowship Church
    Quakertown, PA

Click the Speaking Schedule button on the website for more information about these dates.

Bulletin Inserts

Both the articles in this newsletter are available for download as bulletin inserts in .doc format for MS Word or in .pdf format for Adobe Reader, a free browser plug-in. Click the "Bulletin Inserts" button on the homepage. We will notify you as more chapters become available in this format.

Sample Chapters from
Books by Don Whitney

Why I Am A Baptist
from Why I Am A Baptist

Do You Thirst for God?
from Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health

Silence and Solitude
from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

Why Join a Church?
from Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church

A Spiritual MindSet
from How Can I Be Sure I'm A Christian?

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More Chapters from
Simplify Your Spiritual Life

Featuring Don's Newly-Released Book

Below are two of the ninety chapters
from Don's book

Simplify Your Spiritual Life.

with Discussion Guide included.

Sing the Table Blessing

When I was a child my Christian parents assigned to me the mealtime responsibility of thanking the Lord for our food and to ask His blessing upon it. They never required me to vary the few words I prayed, so before long the thrice-daily habit devolved into mechanical repetition. One time I went through the ritual so mindlessly that instead of starting by saying, "Dear Heavenly Father," I crossed wires with my phone answering routine and began my prayer with, "Hello?"

The traditional Christian practice of thanking God for food dates to biblical times. Jesus "gave thanks" to the Father for the loaves and fishes before He miraculously multiplied the food to feed thousands (Matthew 15:36). It was after "He had given thanks" that He distributed the bread at the last supper with His disciples (1 Corinthians 11:24). The book of Acts (27:35) records that the apostle Paul "took bread and gave thanks to God," and in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 he taught us to do likewise.

No one wants to bore or be bored when giving thanks to God in prayer. But when we thank Him for the same thing (our food) every few hours more than a thousand times a year, year after year, it's easy to find ourselves praying on autopilot (a practice Jesus condemns as "vain repetitions" in Matthew 6:7).

Click HERE to finish reading this article.

Build the Wealth of Simplicity with Contentment

Wealth comes in many forms. In today's world, one form of wealth is simplicity. The more freedom one has from the frustrations of an increasingly complex world, the wealthier he or she is. And one of the ways of simplifying the spiritual life is to learn contentment.

The apostle Paul once warned his younger colleague, Timothy, about devious men who enter the ministry and deceive people through false piety in hopes of making money. He spoke of them as those "who suppose that godliness is a means of great gain" (1 Timothy 6:5). Then Paul said, "Now godliness with contentment is great gain" (verse 6). In other words, true godliness—the kind "with contentment" instead of greed—really "is great gain." How so?

Click HERE to finish reading this article.


The prophet Samuel exhorted the people of God to service with these words: "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you" (1 Samuel 12:24). It is no burden to serve God when we consider what great things He has done for us.

Do you remember what it is like not to know Christ, to be without God and without hope? Do you remember what it is like to be guilty before God and unforgiven? Do you remember what it is like to have offended God and to have His anger burning toward you? Do you remember what it is like to be only a heartbeat away from hell? Now do you remember what it is like to see Jesus Christ with the eyes of faith and to understand for the first time who He really is and what He has done by His death and resurrection? Do you remember what it was like to experience forgiveness and deliverance from judgment and hell? Do you remember what it was first like to have the assurance of Heaven and eternal life? When the fire of service to God grows cold, consider what great things the Lord has done for you.

[Taken from pages 112-113 of Don's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Find out more about this book.

Or order by phone: 800-405-3788

What's new?

  • We have added links to two Baptist Press articles about Don's recent lectures at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on the "Articles" page.

Family News and Notes

  • I'm writing on this chilly November evening with a seventy-five-year-old hard rubber Waterman #7 fountain pen, sitting with my feet toward the woodstove. In the dark of this windy night, the mercury in the Kansas City northland should fall into the teens for the first time this season. I hope there are many such nights to come so I can stretch out in front of the fire and enjoy the warmth it gives to body and soul. After turning the heater on in the van a few days ago, I concluded that I find more pleasure in feeling warmth when I am cold than I do feeling cool air when I am hot. As you can tell, I think deeply when I am driving.

    Thanks to those who responded to my special request for prayer in the last newsletter. I did sense the Lord's help in the message delivered at the conference in Minneapolis commemorating the three-hundredth anniversary of Jonathan Edwards' birth. Now I'd request your prayers for the Lord's blessing on my work turning the notes of that message into a chapter for a book. John Piper is collecting the messages from the conference and publishing them sometime in 2004. My work for this project must be completed by December 31.

    Another highlight since the last newsletter was an opportunity to deliver the annual Institute for Christian Worship lectures at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. My host, professor Carl Stam, gathered several other SBTS professors and students in his home for a meal and koinonia-saturated conversation. We spoke for at least an hour about the importance of reading the Scriptures in public well, of how to better cultivate this in our classes and churches, and then heard and discussed a recorded reading of three chapters of the Bible by Max McLean. Baptist Press wrote two stories about the lectures and if you'll scroll down the "Articles" page of the website, you'll find a box in which the articles are linked.

    For those of you interested in books on the subject of worship, P&R is scheduled to release Give Praise to God in December. Some twenty writers have contributed to this large (400+ page) volume edited by Philip Ryken and Ligon Duncan. While it deals mostly with public worship, the chapter I was asked to write is on "Private Worship."

    In addition to prayer for the completion of the chapter on Edwards, my other major ministry-related prayer request this month is for perseverance in the completion of my seminary classes in mid-December. In particular, I'd be grateful for prayer regarding my Worship Leadership class. The seminary is video-recording the class for broadcast as an Internet course in the spring. Placing the class material on PowerPoint for this purpose has been incredibly time-intensive. I won't bore you with the wherefore and why, suffice it to say that the work involved has made for the most difficult and sleepless semester in eight-and-a-half years of teaching. The end result will, I believe, be useful. But I'd be grateful for any prayer regarding the great amount of work yet to be done. Incidentally, if you're interested in taking the video class online—for credit or as an auditor, contact Midwestern at or by phone at 800-944-6287. I teach much of the same material in the local church conference I present on worship. For more information on this, see the Conference Topics button on

  • Caffy's has completed therapy for her broken leg. As you may recall, she broke it just above the ankle in July. Despite her protests to the contrary, she was told three times during the next six weeks that, based upon x-rays taken at each evaluation, the leg was not broken. A bone scan in September, however, revealed multiple fractures on both sides of the bone. So after hobbling on a broken leg for six weeks, she was placed in a cast for a fortnight, then began therapy. The therapist recently told her the leg would never completely return to normal and that she'd always endure some pain. Not the news she wanted after all she's been through. Please pray for her in this regard.

    In addition to homeschooling Laurelen and teaching her art class, Caffy has completed a cover for a paperback reprint of a Victorian children's book by Grace & Truth Books, and started work on a portrait commissioned as a Christmas present. After Thanksgiving she'll start her inimitable transformation of our home for Christmas.

  • Laurelen loves sitting in front of the woodstove almost as much as dad. She had an assignment for Creative Writing to discover and pen a brief description of her favorite place to do schoolwork. She wrote, "I do my homework by our wood-burning stove in our family room. I sit in a forest green floor-chair with a lap top desk. It is warm, cozy, and relaxing." Christmas and the day after (her tenth birthday) are increasingly on her mind.

  • Thank you for reading the Spiritual Disciplines newsletter, and for your prayers.

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